Every day, thousands of American workers endure injuries on the job. Some are honest accidents, some are caused by defective products, some are caused by faulty equipment or vehicles, and some are the result of others’ negligent actions. Worker’s compensation insurance exists to help injured employees handle medical expenses and lost wages from time away from work, but it will not always cover the total costs of an injury in every situation.
In some situations, employers may try to dissuade injured employees from claiming worker’s compensation benefits because the cost of their insurance premiums will rise. This is illegal, and employers face heavy legal repercussions for taking any adverse actions against employees that file for worker’s compensation. Taking such adverse actions is known as “retaliation,” and filing for worker’s compensation benefits is a protected action.
Your employer is legally prohibited from taking any negative actions against you for filing a worker’s compensation claim in good faith. Employers have sometimes harassed, demoted, threatened, reassigned, transferred, or cut the pay rate of injured employees as reprisal for their seeking worker’s compensation benefits. If you recently filed for worker’s compensation benefits and feel as though you have faced undue negative actions from your employer as a result, contact a Houston, TX attorney as soon as possible.
In some situations, your employer may not subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance coverage. It is not required of private employers in the state of Texas. In these circumstances, if you want compensation for your injuries, you must take your employer to court and shoulder the burden of proving your employer caused your injuries.
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
The nature of your injury will be the most important determining factor when it comes to deciding the type of lawsuit you will pursue and against whom. If you were injured by a toxic substance or defective product, a products liability claim may be in order. Manufacturers are required to provide safe products that perform as advertised, include clear directions for intended uses, and issue adequate warning for any risks associated with use of the product.
You may be injured at work by someone outside of your organization. For example, you may be making a delivery for work and another motorist hits your vehicle, causing an injury. In this situation, you would want to pursue a third party lawsuit against the other driver. Worker’s compensation may cover your medical bills and time spent away from work, but you will need to sue the other driver to cover the costs worker’s compensation will not.
If your employer created an unsafe working environment, either intentionally or through poor judgment, a jury would likely find them guilty of negligence. A successful claim of negligence against your employer depends upon your ability to prove three things:
- Your employer had a duty to act with reasonable care. In the workplace, employers are legally obligated to ensure they provide their employees with a workplace that is free from safety hazards.
- The company breached this duty by some action or inaction. For example, if your employer was aware of a safety issue but did not address it in a timely manner and it led to your injury, this would constitute a breach of its duty to act with reasonable care.
- This breach of duty directly caused your injuries. You must establish that your injuries were the result of your employer’s negligence.
No matter what type of legal battle your injuries may create, the one common factor with all of the possibilities is that reliable legal representation will make the process easier. The Nielsen Law Firm has 30 years of experience defending our clients in Houston, TX and will not shy away from even the toughest court battles. Contact our team for a free case evaluation, and we can help you determine your best course of legal action.