If you’ve been injured on the job in Houston, you probably have questions about filing a work injury lawsuit. On-the-job injuries can be incredibly costly. In addition to putting you out of work, they can also interfere with all other aspects of your life.
So when can you bring a work injury lawsuit? The answer to this question depends on two main factors:
- The cause of your injury. This will determine who bears responsibility and whether you can sue.
- Whether or not your employer has workers’ compensation coverage. Texas does not require most employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. However, employers that voluntarily provide coverage are protected against employee lawsuits for work injuries in most cases.
Patrick Daniel Law can help you explore your legal options if you have been injured at work. For a FREE consultation, please call (713) 999-6666 today.
Filing a Work Injury Lawsuit Against a Third Party
For the purposes of a work injury claim, a third party is any individual, company, or other entity whose negligence causes you harm on the job. If a third party is responsible for your work injury, you can sue regardless of whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer.
Why might a third party be responsible for your work injury? Some common scenarios in which injured workers can file third party claims include:
- Your employer leases the facility where you work. Many companies lease their offices, warehouses, and other facilities. If you were injured in a fall, fire, explosion, or other premises-related accident, the property owner could be liable for your losses.
- You were injured on a job site. Likewise, if you were injured in a premises-related accident on a job site, the owner of the site could be liable. For example, injured construction workers will have claims against property owners in many cases.
- You were injured in a product-related accident. Tool and equipment malfunctions are common causes of work injuries. When a worker’s injuries result from a product failure, the product’s manufacturer will often be liable. Injured workers can file lawsuits for injuries caused by defective hand tools, power tools, cranes, lifts, and other defective products.
- You were injured in an auto accident on the job. If you drive as part of your job (or you are a full-time driver), you can file an auto accident claim just like anyone else who is injured in a collision that is someone else’s fault. Depending on the circumstances involved, a negligent driver, a vehicle manufacturer, the government agency responsible for the roadway, and various other parties could all be liable.
- You were injured in a maritime or aviation accident. Workers who are injured in maritime accidents and aviation accidents can potentially have a variety of types of third party claims. Additionally, laws such as the Jones Act allow eligible workers to sue their employers in many cases.
These are just examples. Injured workers in Houston can have third party claims in a multitude of other scenarios as well. A knowledgeable lawyer will assess all possible options for securing compensation on your behalf.
Filing a Work Injury Lawsuit Against Your Employer
As mentioned above, injured workers typically cannot sue employers that provide access to workers’ compensation benefits. But, let’s say your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage (known as a “non-subscriber” in Texas). Does this mean you can file a lawsuit?
To sue a non-subscriber for a work injury, you must be able to prove that your employer is responsible for what happened. This is different from filing for workers’ comp, which provides coverage on a “no fault” basis.
Filing a lawsuit against your employer requires proof of negligence. This means you must be able to prove that an error on the part of your employer caused you to suffer injury at work.
Some examples of circumstances in which employees may be able to sue their employers for job-related injuries include:
- Accidents involving co-workers who were being careless or reckless
- Accidents involving co-workers who lacked necessary training or experience
- Accidents involving unsafe tools or equipment
- Accidents involving inadequate safety equipment
- Accidents involving employer-owned premises
Non-subscribers do not enjoy the immunity to liability that employers have when they purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Unfortunately, proving fault for a workplace accident can be challenging. It is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights promptly.
What If I Am an Independent Contractor?
As a rule, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Even if an employer has workers’ comp insurance, the coverage usually does not extend to contractors.
If you are injured in the course of performing contract work, it is important to determine if negligence on the part of an employer or another party led to your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation from the company that hired you and/or one or more third parties.
Find Out If You Have a Work Injury Lawsuit
Liability for a work-related injury can be complicated. This is especially true in Texas, where workers’ compensation coverage is not compulsory and workers often have to prove that an employer or other party is at fault in the event of a workplace accident, injury, or illness.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we are Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless in advocating for workers and pursuing the compensation they deserve. We can help you protect your rights under workers’ compensation (if applicable) as well as explore any additional claims you may have.
Contact Patrick Daniel Law today for a FREE case review. Our work injury lawyer serves clients in Houston and throughout Texas.