|Rick Perry presidential campaign, 2012 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Almost anywhere in the vast Lone Star State, one can find evidence of the “Texas miracle” economy that policy makers like Gov. Rick Perry have talked about in their political speeches.
The hot economy, they say, is the result of their zealous opposition to over-regulation, greedy trial lawyers and profligate government spending.
But state leaders have rarely mentioned the grim side of the workplace: Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for seven of the last 10 years, and when Texans get hurt or killed on the job, they have some of the weakest protections and hardest-to-obtain benefits in the country.
Texas is the only state that does not require private employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance or a private equivalent, so more than 500,000 workers — about 6 percent of the work force — receive no occupational benefits if they are injured on the job. On-the-job injuries can leave them unable to work, and with little recourse.
More than a million Texans are covered by private occupational insurance from their employers. Those plans are not regulated by the state but are often written to sharply limit the benefits, legal rights and medical options of workers. Employers, however, say their workers often get quicker and better care under the private plans.
Most Texas workers, about 81 percent, are covered by a state-regulated compensation system, which provides injured workers with standard benefits, including partial...
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