Workplace accidents can and do happen in all industries. Whether you work in an office, oilfield, or construction site, you need to be aware of the dangers of your workplace, as well as what to do if you do get hurt.
For many workers, a workplace accident may be answered with a workers’ compensation claim. But in Texas, where most employers don’t have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance policies, the situation can be much different. Rather than getting workers’ comp benefits, injured employees in Texas might have to sue their employer through a civil claim, just like any other type of personal injury claim.
Additionally, if a worker dies as the result of gross negligence, even if the worker may be covered by worker’s compensation, the surviving family members may have a claim for wrongful death and survival claims.
Why Some Employers Don’t Have Workers’ Comp
Employers in Texas who don’t purchase workers’ compensation are usually those who are looking to save money by not paying monthly premiums. They are also often in low-risk industries or businesses smaller than widespread national chains.
Why Many Employers Buy Workers’ Comp
Even though Texas does not require employers to buy workers’ compensation for their employees, you will find that many do voluntarily. The reason is that an employee cannot sue an employer directly for damages if they receive or are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. The insurer will provide those benefits, and the employer’s finances will be protected in most cases.
If you’re not sure if you have workers’ compensation through your employer, then you can ask them. Or if they aren’t being cooperative after a workplace accident, then you can seek the help of a personal injury attorney, or check the Texas Workforce Commission website, which provides a list of all covered entities.
Things to Consider When Suing an Employer
There are some potential landmines to be aware of when you sue an employer for compensation, including:
- Evidential burden: In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant was negligent. You will need to meet this evidentiary burden as a plaintiff in a workplace accident claim, whereas, if you were able to file a workers’ compensation claim, you would not.
- Uncertain damages: Workers’ compensation guarantees you benefits as described through the program, such as total medical coverage costs. With a work accident lawsuit, the damages you can win are uncertain. They could be higher or lower than what you would have gotten through workers’ comp.
- Fear of retaliation: Many employees are also afraid to sue their employer out of fear of retaliation, like being terminated or discriminated against. Texas employment law prohibits retaliation, so, if it does happen, then another lawsuit may be filed against the employer for that unlawful action.
Explore Your Options with Legal Help
Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C. helps injured workers in San Antonio understand and utilize their options after a workplace accident. We focus on work injury lawsuits, rather than workers’ compensation cases. Call us at (210) 361-2997 to see how you can pursue compensation and how we can help. Free consultations are available.