If you are injured at work, you should report the injury immediately to your employer, supervisor, and the safety man in charge of the facility in writing if possible. Many states require that you report within a specific timeframe to be eligible for workers’ compensation. By not immediately reporting a work-related injury, you may lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation. Far too often, many workers never report their accidents, and they never receive the medical treatment or financial benefits they need to recover.
What Should I Consider Before Filing a Work Injury Lawsuit?
The point of any lawsuit is to have a judge or jury award you something. For work injury lawsuits, a judge or jury can only award money. In order to win, you must prove: (1) that some person or some company was legally at fault for causing your injuries, and (2) you have suffered some sort of loss (e.g. lost income, medical costs, property damage, etc.).
Do I Need a Work Injury Lawyer or Can I Handle Everything on My Own?
The answer is—it depends. For something simple, you may be able to handle everything on your own. If you or a loved one were involved in a serious workplace accident, you would need a work injury lawyer to defend your rights. Our attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP are available to provide you with legal guidance that will help you obtain a favorable result.
My Employer Have a Good Relationship With Me—They will Do Right by Me, Won’t They?
Even if you have a good working relationship with your employer, that does not mean your employer will treat you well after being injured.
I Was Injured at Work Due to My Employer’s Negligence; Can I Sue My Employer?
The answer is—it depends. Your lawyer will need more information to answer this question properly. Your lawyer will need to know (a) whether your employer had a workers’ compensation insurance policy that provided coverage to you at the time of your workplace injury; (b) whether you personally opted out of the workers’ compensation coverage; (c) whether your employer purposely tried to injure you.
Generally, suppose your employer has workers’ compensation insurance that provided coverage to you at the time of your workplace injury. In that case, you cannot sue your employer for negligence and can only fight to obtain treatment of your injuries and a portion of your wages. You will not be able to seek maximum compensation for the damages typically available in a work injury lawsuit.
That said, Texas allows employees to opt out of workers’ compensation. Still, you must notify your employer no later than the fifth day after the date on which you: (a) begin your employment or (b) receive written notice from your employer that your employer has obtained workers’ compensation insurance coverage if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance at the time of the employment but later obtains the coverage. If neither of the above lines of inquiry applies to you, you probably will not be able to sue your employer unless you can meet other very narrow exceptions, such as an instance where your employer took steps to injure you purposely.
If I Cannot Sue My Employer for Their Negligence, Am I Stuck With What Workers’ Compensation Insurance Chooses to Give to Me?
Again, it depends. While your employer may be shielded from liability for its negligent acts, other workers and companies may not share your employer’s immunity. A lot of times, especially on big projects involving construction projects or work at chemical plants, offshore vessels and drilling platforms, and other jobs in the oil and gas industry, there are many companies involved in the work taking place. Each of those companies may have agreed to provide safety to workers, oversee and direct the work taking place, or be responsible for your injuries for other reasons. In instances where someone or some company’s negligence caused you to become injured, you may be able to hold them responsible for their actions. Unlike an employer with workers’ compensation insurance, who is generally shielded from liability in negligence lawsuits, other workers and companies can be held responsible. You can seek compensation for all of the damages typically available in a work injury lawsuit, such as compensation for your pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, the full amount of your medical expenses, and the expenses you are likely to incur in the future, your lost wages, your financial losses in the future, etc.
What Happens If I Do Not File A Lawsuit?
The decision to file a work injury lawsuit is yours. The attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can provide you with information and advice, but the decision to file a lawsuit is yours. It is essential to understand the consequences of not filing a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
Like all states, Texas has laws that limit the amount of time you have to file lawsuits. Generally, in Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit for work injuries. There are few exceptions to this general rule. Lawsuits filed after two (2) years can be immediately dismissed. After the statute of limitations expires, your claim will be lost.
You should speak to an experienced Houston work injury lawyer that can help you navigate this process for you for a free, confidential consultation. Call us at 800-489-2216 or complete our contact form online.