I’ve Been Injured at Work; What Are My Options?
Imagine This Scenario:
You go to work every day to provide for yourself and your family. You’ve invested a great deal of time and effort in your job, and you have a right to be proud of your accomplishments. One day, unexpectedly, you are injured while performing the very job you’d come to rely upon! These injuries may even leave you unable to work and unable to provide for yourself! What help does the law have for people in this situation?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Under Texas law, employers have the option to carry workers’ compensation insurance. While many employers carry workers’ compensation insurance, some do not. If you are working as an independent contractor, you are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation insurance pays medical bills and a portion of lost wages for employees injured at work. An injury is covered, regardless of fault, if it occurred in the course and scope of employment. Injured workers must file injury reports within thirty days of the injury,
Texas workers’ compensation laws pay for workers’ injuries, but also protect employers from lawsuits and limit the amount of compensation workers can receive. If you are an employee covered by workers’ compensation insurance, the only way to recover against your employer is to file a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation claim process can be complicated. If you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, it is best to hire an attorney knowledgeable in workers’ compensation law.
An employer who does not carry workers’ compensation insurance is known as a “nonsubscriber.” Workers’ compensation rules do not apply in claims against nonsubscriber employers. Instead, you file a lawsuit directly against the employer. You do not face the same compensation limits that exist for workers’ compensation claims. Rather, you can seek recovery for all damages you have suffered. If you have a workplace injury claim against a nonsubscriber employer, you should hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to obtain all the relief you deserve.
Many employers like to hire people as independent contractors. This is often done to cut company overhead (such as workers’ compensation insurance). If you are working as an independent contractor, you are not considered an employee. Therefore, the workers’ compensation rules do not apply to you. You can pursue a lawsuit directly against the employer to recover all of your damages. If you are an independent contractor injured on the job, you should hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim to the fullest.
Regardless of your employment status or workers’ compensation coverage, you may have claims against additional parties outside of the employer-employee relationship. These can include equipment manufacturers, non-employees working at the jobsite, and others. For example, if you become injured by a defective piece of equipment, you may have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer. If your injuries are caused by the negligence of an independent contractor, you may have a personal injury claim against that contractor. These claims exist regardless of workers’ compensation coverage because they are not made against the employer. The workers’ compensation rules do not apply, and you can proceed directly with a lawsuit. In these situations, you should hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to get the compensation that justice demands.