Getting hurt at work can cause significant hardship and disruption. You might have painful physical injuries that prevent you from doing your job, and bills could quickly pile up in the meantime. You could be worried about how the injury will impact your job security and your ability to support your family.
If you have these or similar concerns, contact a Mathis workplace accident lawyer. A dedicated personal injury attorney could listen to your worries and offer advice about your legal options. In many cases, you could bring a claim seeking compensation for your losses.
Suing an Employer After a Work-Related Accident
Texas offers employers an opportunity to subscribe to the Workers’ Compensation program, but unlike most states, participation is not mandatory. When an employer does not subscribe to Workers’ Compensation, someone who experiences a workplace injury could take legal action against their employer for negligence.
Negligence means a failure to take reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable accident. Almost any deviation from best practices can serve as evidence of employer negligence. An employer could be negligent if it:
- Provided outdated safety equipment
- Offered inadequate training
- Did not supervise workers appropriately
- Failed to adhere to OSHA standards
- Violated food safety rules
- Negligently hired someone who poses a threat
- Failed to take effective security precautions
When suing a negligent employer, a worker must only prove that their employer was one percent responsible for the employer to be 100 percent liable for damages, even if the worker’s conduct also contributed to their injury. A Mathis workplace accident attorney could prove an employer’s negligence to help recover financial damages for a worker’s medical expenses, lost wages, emotional suffering, and other impacts of the injury.
What Happens if the Employer Subscribes to Workers’ Compensation?
Different rules apply when an employer subscribes to the Workers’ Compensation program. An injured worker receives free medical treatment for their injury until it has healed completely or reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). If the injury has a permanent impact, a worker could be eligible for permanent disability under the Workers’ Comp program. However, a worker should never accept a disability settlement without first speaking with an attorney to ensure it is the best possible offer.
Workers’ Compensation also pays partial wages while an injury prevents an employee from working. Workers’ Compensation payments are two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage, and an injured worker can collect this payment for as long as the injury keeps them out of work, up to 104 weeks. In return for these benefits, Texas Labor Code § 408.001 says workers cannot sue their employer for negligence.
Third-Party Lawsuits in Workplace Injury Cases
When someone other than the employer causes an incident that injures a worker, it does not matter whether the employer subscribes to Workers’ Compensation. The injured employee can sue any negligent third party for damages.
The rules are a bit different for third-party lawsuits because a Mathis attorney must prove that the third party was the primary cause of the incident that injured the worker. If the worker also bears some responsibility, the third party will only be responsible for providing compensation based on the extent to which they contributed to the incident. For example, a worker who was 20 percent responsible for an injury could collect only 80 percent of their total damages from a negligent third party.
A third party could be an employee of another company working at the same site, the manufacturer of a defective product, a property manager of an office building or shopping plaza, a driver, a consultant, or anyone else whose conduct contributed to the accident. A Mathis attorney could review evidence of a work-related incident to determine whether a third party bears any liability.
Contact a Mathis Attorney About a Workplace Injury
The laws governing compensation for work-related injuries are complex. Employers are interested in protecting their bottom line and might not be straight with you about your rights to compensation. Seek answers about your options by consulting with a Mathis workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.