Hulshouser v. Tex. Workers’ Compensation Ins. Fund – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Hulshouser v. Tex. Workers' Compensation Ins. Fund, 139 S.W.3d 789, 790 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2004, no pet.), the Dallas Court of Appeals has more recently considered the recovery of damages against a workers' compensation carrier for denying and delaying payment of benefits.

Hulshouser sued the carrier for bad faith, asserting that its denial and delay in compensating him for a hernia injury aggravated that condition. Id.

Specifically, he alleged that the carrier's unreasonable denial and delay in paying benefits resulted in permanent disability and pain that would not have occurred had he received timely medical treatment. Id.

Hulshouser further alleged that he suffered and would continue to suffer severe physical and mental pain, suffering, anguish, impairment, loss of earning capacity, and loss of credit. Id. at 790-91.

The trial court granted the carrier partial summary judgment on the ground that the exclusivity provision of the TWCA barred "the claim for common law damages related to the hernia condition." Id. at 791.

In considering the types of recoverable damages, the Dallas Court of Appeals noted that, in exchange for prompt remuneration to an employee for an on-the-job injury, the TWCA provides the exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries and prohibits the employee from seeking common-law remedies from his employer. Id. at 792.

The court stated that it "was undisputed that the compensable hernia-related damages included those stemming directly from the allegedly worsened hernia injury, complications from delayed surgery, and increased impairment." Id. at 793.

The court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of Hulshouser's claims for damages for his aggravated physical condition resulting from the insurer's denial and delay in payment of benefits.