What Compensation is Available after a Workplace Injury in Texas?
The compensation available in Texas for an on-the-job injury depends upon several factors. Is there worker’s comp? Was a third party involved? Was the employer without comp coverage somehow negligent? Were you an employee or an independent contractor?
Duties of the Employer
In Texas, the employer has a general duty to provide a safe working environment for its employees that can include such things as proper equipment, proper training, and sufficient personnel for the job. Texas has some of the most hazardous jobs in the country.
Many of the employers in Texas supply worker’s compensation insurance to provide money to pay for medical bills and lost wages for an injured employee and these employers are called “subscribers”. The difference between workers comp and a personal injury case depends on the facts and the worker’s comp coverage.
What is a Nonsubscriber?
Other employers may choose to forgo providing worker’s compensation insurance coverage for their employees. These employers are called “nonsubscribers”. Generally, suppose an employee is injured on the job and the company carries worker’s compensation insurance (subscriber). In that case, the employee’s remedies against the company for the injury will be limited to the worker’s compensation benefits.
The good news is worker’s compensation is pretty good for paying medical bills, and the bad news is the pain-and-suffering component and disability are pitiful at best.
Employers Without Worker’s Compensation are at Risk
A Texas employer who is a nonsubscriber to the worker’s compensation program takes the risk that if an employee is hurt on the job. The employee will have a legal right to pursue the employer in court for the employer’s negligence in causing the injury and damages. Often an employer will seek to claim the employee was an independent contractor.
Ability to Collect in Some Nonsubscriber Cases
Sometimes, having the right to pursue the employer and being able to collect from the employer for a very serious injury can be two different things as very seldom are on-the-job injuries caused by the employer covered by insurance other than workers comp. If you have been hurt on the job and your employer does not carry worker’s compensation reach out to a work injury lawyer.
What are Third-Party Claims in Texas?
One factor that should be considered when analyzing a serious workplace injury is the potential for a “third-party claim”. A third-party claim can arise when a workplace injury is caused by the fault of a party other than the employer or their employees.
Examples would be a construction site accident where the accident was caused by another contractor or company or situations where a dangerous product was a cause of the injury.
In effect, third-party claims are situations where other companies share responsibility for causing the victim’s injuries or damages. If a defendant’s conduct was reckless, an attorney might also seek punitive damages.
Two Vital Questions
Is there Workers Comp?
It is important with serious injuries that the victim learn immediately whether or not worker’s compensation insurance covers the worker.
Are any Other Companies Responsible?
This information can be key in deciding what remedies and options are available to an injury victim from a workplace accident.
Identifying Potential Third Parties
Many construction accidents involve numerous contractors and entities who actually control the work being done at the time and the worksite is an important factor in the legal analysis necessary after an on-the-job injury at a construction site.
Getting a skilled construction accident lawyer in Houston after a serious injury is an essential first step.
About OSHA and Texas Accidents
OSHA frequently will investigate a very serious injury or fatality that occurred on the job. Unfortunately, OSHA generally allows companies who are guilty of safety violations that led to an accident to enter into a plea agreement such that the plea agreement itself is inadmissible in a civil case.
While this is a great disservice to the personal injury victim or a victim’s family, it is probably necessary given the inadequate funding that has been a longtime problem of OSHA.
Worker safety should be a priority with all employers and certainly with the entities that regulate safety in Texas. We all know of the terrible, tragic explosion and West Texas, and the failures of the authorities in Texas to regulate unsafe conduct have become clear in that case.
Many political leaders routinely cite bumper sticker slogans such as “excessive regulation”; they are the first to decry situations that make the news. The hypocrisy of the anti-regulation crowd is a sad statement for our selection of political leaders.
Personal injury attorneys know the devastation many faces after a severe injury accident.
Call a Top-Rated Houston Construction Accident Attorney
The Houston construction accident lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm have represented construction accident victims in Harris County, Texas, for over three decades. Our track record of success in construction accident cases is incredible. We have numerous multi-million dollar wins. Let our next victory be yours.
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