Can I Sue My Employer if I Was Injured on the Job in Texas?
If you were injured on the job, you may have a limited right to sue your employer in Texas. This is because of the state’s Workers’ Compensation rules, which block lawsuits against an employer. However, there are many situations where these rules will not apply.
You can generally sue your employer for work injuries in Texas if they do not have Workers’ Compensation insurance or if you opted out of the Worker’ Compensation policy when you started your job. You can also sue if you are an independent contractor or you work in certain industries. All in all, you should check with a lawyer for help determining whether you can sue your employer in your particular case and whether a lawsuit against another party might also be available.
For a free case review, call the Arlington workplace injury lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm today. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.
Can Injured Workers Sue Their Employers for Injuries in Texas?
Generally speaking, there are two limitations on when you can sue your employer for injuries in Texas. The first is a practical limitation: you can only sue your employer if they were actually at fault. The second is a legal limitation: you cannot sue an employer if you are using their Workers’ Compensation policy – but this also has exceptions. Our Dallas workplace injury lawyers can help you determine whether these restrictions apply to your case and what options you have for compensation.
Suing the At-Fault Party
To be able to sue an employer for on-the-job injuries in Texas, they have to actually be at fault for the injuries. In a negligence lawsuit – the kind typically filed for accidental injuries – a party needs to have violated some legal duty that they owed you before you can hold them liable. In a workplace injury, this often means that there must have been some OSHA regulation or state safety regulation that they violated. Alternatively, some objectively unreasonable or reckless act or omission could also supply fault.
You must also show that your employer’s actions were what caused your injuries. If you, a co-worker, or some third party caused the accident, you might not be able to sue your employer. However, if someone else caused the accident, you should be able to sue them – even if Workers’ Compensation would have prevented a lawsuit against an employer.
Lawsuits against third parties are common with workplace accidents. In many cases, injuries are caused by dangerous or defective safety gear, tools, or products used at work. When these accidents occur, the product manufacturer is often at fault instead of an employer. Additionally, accidents caused by other third parties like clients, customers, vendors, or even random drivers near your work site could be filed against the proper parties rather than your employer.
Legal Limits on Lawsuits
Workers’ Compensation prevents lawsuits against an employer by employees covered under their policy. However, Texas law allows both employers and workers to opt out of Workers’ Compensation, protecting their right to sue in case of an accident. Additionally, this limitation does not apply to independent contractors, who are not typically covered by Workers’ Compensation anyway. Check with a Texas workplace injury lawyer about your status, as some workers might count as “employees” anyway.
Moreover, there are a few professions that are not covered by Workers’ Compensation rules, such as offshore workers on oil rigs, boats, or other vessels. The same rules apply to longshoremen in many cases. These workers are often allowed to sue their employers under maritime law, so consult with our Texas workplace injury lawyers if this situation applies to you.
Typically, intentional acts are not covered by this restriction. That means that if your employer assaulted you, you should still be able to recover compensation from them in a lawsuit. Talk to our Fort Worth workplace accident lawyers about these kinds of lawsuits.
What Damages Can You Claim in a Lawsuit for a Workplace Accident in Texas?
If you are able to sue for damages, you could be entitled to damages above and beyond what an insurance claim might pay you. Typically, if you file a claim with your employer’s insurance, you could be left with only a fraction of your lost wages paid, and damages for pain and suffering could be blocked entirely. When you file a lawsuit for workplace injuries, you could be entitled to recover the full value of the damages for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering related to your injuries.
It is important to have one of our Texas workplace injury lawyers review your case and help you calculate damages. If you leave the damage calculation to insurance companies or the defendant, they will often seek a low-dollar value so that they can settle your case cheaply. This could leave out high-dollar damages that you could be absolutely entitled to.
Every case is different, and the damages you can claim often depend on your individual circumstances. Things such as your housing situation (e.g., whether your injury prevents you from using stairs), your family makeup (e.g., whether you have children your injury prevents you from taking care of), and even your job position (e.g., whether you can perform light duties while injured) all affect how much your case could be worth. Our Midland workplace injury lawyers can analyze your case and help you determine what damages are available in your particular case.
Call Our Texas Workplace Injury Lawyers Today
If you were injured in a workplace accident, the Odessa workplace injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm may be able to help. Call us today at (817) 476-1797.