Every day, people who work in industries such as chemical plants, oil refineries, and other types of factories are exposed to the risk of getting injured. Such an injury can be financially devastating to you and your family if you are not able to work. These workers form the backbone of our economy but are often discarded as soon as they become an inconvenience.
If you have been injured in an industrial accident, you need an attorney who will zealously represent your interests and fight to get you the just compensation you deserve. At The Queenan Law Firm, P.C., our Houston industrial accident lawyers have years of experience fighting for workers to be rightfully compensated for their workplace injuries. We will be there with you for every step of the process to ensure that you have your rights and your dignity respected. Call us today at (817) 476-1797 to speak with one of our veteran attorneys about your case.
Eligibility to File a Civil Complaint Against an Employer in Houston
While Texas has a state worker’s compensation program, both an employer and an employee can opt out of this program. As an employee, you can opt out of the program if you send written notice to your employer that you are opting out within five days of starting a new job. This comes with advantages such as being able to sue for increased damages if you are injured. Certain classes of employees, such as seasonal workers and independent contractors, are not covered under the worker’s compensation program and so always have the right to file a civil claim against their employer.
Even if you opted into worker’s compensation and therefore cannot file a civil suit against your employer, you may still be able to sue a third party who caused your workplace injury. For example, if a product you were working with was faulty in some way, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of that product.
Common Types of Industrial Accidents in Houston
There are numerous different types of accidents that can occur when working in Houston’s booming industrial sector. The following is a list of some of the most common:
- Explosions or fires at refineries or chemical plants
- Slip and fall accidents
- Exposure to gas or other dangerous chemicals
- Injuries caused by machinery
- Electric, chemical, or thermal burns
- Being crushed by supplies or equipment
- Back injuries from lifting and carrying
Suing Your Employer for Injuries Sustained in an Industrial Accident in Houston, TX
The first thing you must ensure before suing your employer for injuries sustained in an industrial accident is that your employer was actually liable for the injury in some way. If, for example, the injury occurred due to a fault in the design or manufacturing of a product outside of your employer’s control, you may need to sue the manufacturer of that product rather than your employer.
Unless you can show that the employer intentionally caused the injuries resulting from your industrial accident, your cause of action will be brought under a theory of recklessness or negligence on the part of the employer. That means that you must show your employer demonstrated some sort of neglect in the way they ran their business. Examples of the types of negligence or reckless behavior an employer might commit that can cause an industrial accident include failure to upkeep the facility in line with industry standards and regulations, failure to properly train employees, or failure to provide employees with proper safety gear to wear.
In the case of serious accidents, like oil refinery explosions, there will typically be a federal or state investigation to unearth evidence of the cause of the accident. In other cases, you will need to conduct your own investigation with the assistance of your attorney. If evidence is turned up that shows that the accident was caused by a problem that the employer negligently overlooked or failed to discover through reasonable maintenance and upkeep, you will have a strong case that the employer is at fault for your injuries.
An experienced Houston industrial accident lawyer will be able to whittle down the case to the three core elements needed to prove fault in a negligence matter: duty, breach, and causation. The lawyer will argue your employer owed you a duty, such as the duty to make inspections in accordance with state or federal regulations. Then, they will show through the evidence obtained how that the employer breached that duty by failing to make such inspections. Finally, the lawyer must prove that the breach of this duty was the cause of your injuries.
Damages from an Industrial Accident Lawsuit
Injuries resulting from industrial accidents can be quite serious, which often entitles you to substantial damages. The damages in your case will vary depending on the severity of the injury. First and foremost, your employer will likely be required to pay for any medical bills stemming from the accident. You might have to take time off from work, and damages will be available for your missed wages. If you suffer from significant long-term pain and suffering as a result of this accident, your attorney can ask for damages to compensate you for this pain and suffering as well.
If the industrial accident results in the death of your loved one, you could also be eligible for damages resulting from their lost wages, funeral expenses, and any emotional suffering that may have resulted from the death, among other damages.
Call Our Experienced Houston Industrial Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an industrial workplace accident, you may be entitled to serious damages from your employer. It is vital that you consult with an experienced Houston industrial accident lawyer like ours as soon as possible to begin collecting evidence for your claim. Call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C today at (817) 476-1797 for a free consultation.