Webb Law Centre PLLC
Can I Sue My Employer If I Was Injured At Work?
Workplace injuries are terrifying situations. When hurt on the job, not only will you feel pain from your injury, but you may also start to worry about the consequences that will come with the injury. Will I have to take time off from work? Will I fall behind on my bills? Some may feel relief assuming their employer has workers’ compensation insurance. The problem is employees in Texas may discover that they will not receive a penny unless they take legal action and go up against their employers.
The Worker’s Compensation Act of 1993
In 1993, Texas legislators re-wrote Texas’ work injury laws to establish an alternative work-injury benefit system. The intent of this revision was to establish a system that operates independently from the court. This system is Workers’ Compensation. The Worker’s Compensation Act states that if the employer purchases worker’s compensation insurance, the insurance will shield the business from lawsuits in most situations. Under workers compensation, an injured worker will receive medical care and a percentage of their wages while in recovery. However, as part of the revision legislators allowed for a “gross negligence” exception. This means that even with workers compensation in place, employees may file lawsuits against a business when extreme acts of gross negligence occur.
Workers’ Compensation insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Unlike most states, employers in Texas are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Unfortunately, many injured workers do not understand their rights. There are times when employees think they are getting workers compensation, but instead, receive an unfair watered down version administered by the company.
What rights do I have if I’m injured working for a non-subscriber employer?
If a company does not choose to obtain workers’ compensation, they are a non-subscriber. With that said, your rights as an injured worker in Texas greatly depend on whether your employer purchased official workers’ compensation insurance or not. Employees of a non-subscribing business retain the right to sue f they suffer an on-the-job injury. Such cases allow the employee to have all of the normal common law rights that exist in a personal injury case. It may be shocking to learn that in many situations when a company does not carry workers compensation, laws tend to favor the worker. As long as you can prove that your employer is responsible for just 1 percent negligence then you are eligible to recover for your losses.
Lawmakers included provisions making it easier for injured workers to sue by prohibiting the employers from using certain common law defenses:
- the employee was guilty of contributory negligence;
- the employee assumed the risk of injury or death; or
- the injury or death was caused by the negligence of a fellow employee.
Compensation in Texas non-subscriber claims:
- Past and future medical bills
- Mental anguish damages
- Lost wages, past, and future
- Other losses
How to prove fault in a Texas non-subscriber claim
In a Texas non-subscriber workplace injury lawsuit, to prove negligence, an employee must provide evidence that:
The employer owed a duty of care to the employee. Since in this type of claim, workers’ compensation is not available to injured workers, non-subscriber employers owe their employees a considerable degree of workplace safety.
Many Texas companies choose to carry workers’ compensation insurance because although it is not mandatory, it is less costly than defending work injury lawsuits.
In some situations, a third party is responsible for the workplace injury. This makes it possible for the injured worker to file a claim against someone other than the employer. For example, in some circumstances, a loading company or a manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment may have lead to your injuries. If this is the case, the injured worker may be able to proceed with a third-party claim to recover for their losses.