On-the-job injuries are always difficult. In addition to the pain, stress and possible loss of income, the injured employee often has to communicate with the employer under the cloud of suspicion, anger and resentment. Many times, the employee feels pressured into receiving care from the company doctor. Other times, an injured employee may be hesitant to do anything at all, out of fear of retribution or termination.
Workers' Compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job, or suffer an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment. The problem is that the compensation is often not sufficient to address the extent of the injuries.
In addition, not all employers in Texas subscribe to a workers' compensation insurance plan. Business that have chosen to "self-insure" and do not pay compensation are required to prove that 100% of the liability for an injury lies in the hands of the injured worker, or that the injury was caused by the negligence of a third party.
Even if you may have been partially responsible for your own accident and injury at work the insurance defense attorneys will not be allowed to enter your own negligence into evidence: a jury would only be required to consider any amount of liability on the part of your employer.
This opens up your workplace injury case to possible significant compensatory and punitive damages that workers' compensation insurance benefits might not cover.
Often, those injured at work will get inadequate compensation through Workers' Compensation and should look into third-party lawsuits for greater compensation.
Third-party lawsuits involve another party (other than the employer). For example, if you were injured by a saw, there may be a products liability case against the saw's manufacturer. Also, if a worker was injured on a construction site, another contractor could be liable. These cases require immediate attention and expertise because the responsible third party is often difficult to locate and the evidence (such as a piece of defective machinery) may need to be preserved. In more complex cases, the legal principles of Agency and analysis of corporate law can lead to sophisticated determinations as to who is technically an "employee" and who the "third parties" are in a given situation.
When you go to work, you expect that you are reasonably safe as long as you perform your job in the way you should, taking all reasonable precautions. This is true even when you are in a somewhat hazardous occupation. But accidents happen in the workplace as well, and sometimes the accidents are caused by existing unsafe conditions.
If you were injured on the job, you may be thinking about whether or not you should file suit. To take action, you need to be informed about your legal options.