Federal law requires employers to prove a safe work environment for all of their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act of 1970 ensures your right in Texas – as well as all other states – to be safe at work and free from occupational hazards. No one wants to be injured on the job and employers are required to do their best to prevent injuries from happening. Unfortunately, many workers are injured at work which may put their livelihood at risk. To compensate victims for the damages they suffer when injured at work, many employers will participate in workers’ compensation programs. Workers’ compensation insurance allows an employer to cover the basic medical costs and lost wages of an employee who is injured while working. Texas does not require employers to participate in workers’ compensation, however, leaving many workers at risk of suffering an occupational injury without compensation for their damages unless they take legal action. This is the most common situation in which a worker would sue their employer for an injury at work.
Work injuries can be devastating depending on the severity of the accident or situation that occurred. When injured on the job, the first thing to do is seek medical attention immediately. Leaving an injury untreated will automatically make it more difficult to file a claim or a lawsuit to seek damages as many insurance companies and other lawyers will claim you were never that injured in the first place. After seeking medical treatment, report your injury to your manager, supervisor, or up the chain of command. They will ask you about what happened, where the injury occurred, if there were any witnesses, etc. Be truthful in this but do not let your employer or their legal team push you into taking the blame for what happened. Your injuries may require significant medical treatment which can be very expensive. You may also miss work which can mean lost wages. You may be permanently disabled or disfigured depending on the situation. Pain, suffering, and mental anguish are also incredibly common with work injuries. You trust your workplace to be safe, not dangerous. You have every right to be fully financially compensated for your injuries when hurt on the job.
If you are injured while working in Texas and your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. According to Texas law, you have two years to file this lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. You are also able to file a claim against your employer’s private insurance for the injury. Consult with an experienced personal injury trial lawyer about your case to see what damages you may seek through a lawsuit. If your employer does have workers’ compensation insurance, certain circumstances may still permit you to sue your employer or another responsible third party working on your same job site for compensation.
You have the right to sue your employer if you are injured by any of the following situations:
- Your Employer Denied Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Bad Faith – A bad faith denial of workers’ compensation benefits provides grounds to sue your employer.
- Your Employer Purposely Caused Your Injury – If you can provide evidence that your employer purposely caused your injury, then you can seek compensation for your damages.
- Your Employer Made a Product that Injured You – If you were injured by a defective product produced by your employer, you may be able to sue your employer.
- Your Employer Was Grossly Negligent – Workers may sue their employers for on-the-job injuries resulting from their employers’ gross negligence.
- Your Employer Has a Relationship with a Third Party – If a worker suffers an injury in an accident involving a contractor or other third party, your employer may be held liable based upon its business relationship with that person or company.
Sometimes the workers’ compensation coverage provided by your employer after an injury at work does not cover the full cost of your recovery. Your medical expenses and lost wages may be more than the workers’ compensation insurance will payout. You and your family may suffer financially if you are unable to return to work quickly or even at all. Workers’ compensation also provides no financial benefits to cover your mental anguish or pain and suffering. You may suffer from post-traumatic stress as a result of the injury and will need therapy or other treatment to return to normal life. In these circumstances, hiring a personal injury lawyer who has experience with workplace injuries will be beneficial to your cause.
If you choose to sue your employer for a work injury, know that you are not able to be retaliated against by your employer. This means they cannot choose to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit against them as these are within your legal rights. Companies cannot claim they are “reducing their workforce” to terminate employees who have filed legal claims against them. These situations can get very complicated very quickly which is why it is essential to have experienced legal counsel on your side.
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