When you are injured on the job in the Houston, TX area, you may think that worker’s compensation benefits will ease the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages from time away from work. However, in the state of Texas, private employers are not required to subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance coverage. What happens if your employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance and you have been injured?
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
Depending on the nature of your injury, you may have several options. First, if your employer does not subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance coverage, you have the option to sue in civil court to collect damages for your injuries. This typically results in much more financial compensation than you would get from worker’s compensation benefits, but you must prove your employer was directly at fault for your injury.
If a defective product or toxic chemical caused your injury, you may be able to bring a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of that product. Product manufacturers are required to ensure the things they make are responsibly produced and distributed, perform as advertised, include thorough instructions for proper use, and adequately warn users about potential risks and hazards. If they failed to do one or more of these things, then you may successfully pursue a products liability claim against them.
In some cases, an employer may intentionally cause harm to an employee through some action. They may also be found guilty of gross negligence if they made an egregious error or choice that created a hazardous scenario, and led to your injury. These situations will fall under the purview of personal injury law, and you will have to prove negligence or a clear intent to harm on part of your employer.
A third party case may also be a viable option if you were injured on the job but someone or something outside of your work environment caused your injury. If you were struck by another driver while travelling for work or a vendor damaged your company’s property and created a hazard, your attorney may advise you to pursue a third party lawsuit against the responsible parties.
PROVING NEGLIGENCE AND COLLECTING COMPENSATION
If your case requires proving negligence, it will revolve around your ability to establish three basic facts:
- The defendant had a duty to provide reasonable care in executing his or her duties. Examples may be an employer’s responsibility to provide his or her workforce with a work environment free from safety hazards or a product manufacturer ensuring his or her produced items adequately warn users of the risks of use.
- The defendant breached this duty by some action or inaction. This could mean an employer’s failure to address a known safety issue in a timely manner or a products manufacturer failing to warn about a known hazard associated with their product.
- This breach of duty directly caused your injuries. You must prove that had the defendant not breached his or her duty to provide reasonable care, your injuries would likely not have happened.
Texas follows a comparative fault rule, meaning that if a court finds you to be partially at fault for your injury, the amount of compensation you may collect will be reduced by an appropriate amount. For example, if you were horsing around on the job or talking to a coworker instead of paying attention to your environment, a judge may find that you played a part in your injury. As long as the defendant is deemed to have a greater amount of fault than you, you will be able to collect compensation for your injuries.
Navigating work-related injury cases can be difficult, and when an employer does not subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance coverage, it becomes much more complicated. One of the best things you can do in a situation such as this is to reach out to a reliable attorney.
At the Nielsen Law Firm, our legal team has no fear of going to trial. Reach out to us for a free case evaluation. We will go over the details of your situation and let you know what your options are and what type of compensation you can expect.