Many injury victims want to know how much they could be awarded if they file a non-subscriber claim against their employer. Unlike employees who are covered by worker’s compensation, there is no set amount of damages that Texas employees who are not covered by these benefits may receive. That said, there are a few ways to estimate the possible award in a non-subscriber case.
Determining the Value of a Texas Non-Subscriber Case
The most important thing to remember in your injury claim is that you are looking for compensation for the way your accident has affected you. Injuries can have very different effects on different people, and even so-called “minor” injuries can result in high medical bills and weeks off of work. The first step in estimating your potential damages is to total all of your expenses and losses, including:
- Medical bills. Your case should take into consideration how much you have paid for medical treatment, including emergency room costs, x-rays and scans, prescription medications, follow-up appointments, co-pays, physical therapy, and any other costs you paid out-of-pocket.
- Lost income. You should add up your lost wages for the total time you were unable to work due to your injury, including any overtime opportunities, bonuses, and other benefits you were not eligible for.
- Disability. You should calculate the value of any limitations that have resulted from your injury, such as those that prevent you from working in your old job, make it more difficult to live independently, or have full enjoyment of your life.
- Future costs. You must consider whether your injury could cause you to incur any expenses in the future, such as additional surgeries or replacements for wheelchairs, braces, or assistive devices.
- Pain and suffering. Victims may be able to get additional payments depending on the amount of physical and mental anguish they have endured.
Things That Can Affect the Value of a Non-Subscriber Case
After your losses has been totaled, you should carefully examine the factors that can add or subtract from your damages. While every case is different, each one will involve potential losses or additions based on the facts of the case.
Some things that can alter the amount of your damages include:
- Fault. The employer must be at least 51% to blame for causing the injury in order to owe an employee compensation. As Texas has a comparative fault system, a victim’s award will be reduced by the percentage of fault he owes for the injury. For example, if you are found 30% responsible, the overall award will be reduced by 30%. There are also a few employer defenses in a non-subscriber case that may completely bar the employee from compensation, such as hurting himself on purpose or as a result of intoxication. In order to get compensation, you must not be more than 50% responsible for the injury you sustained.
- Negotiation. Your employer’s attorney will likely make a settlement offer throughout the course of your case, and it is up to you whether you will accept. The amount offered will depend on how much the other attorney thinks a jury could award you if the case goes to trial. These offers are typically lower than the case is worth, but should at least cover medical and out-of-pocket expenses. Your own attorney can help you decide if the amount offered is fair compensation.
- The jury. Juries in non-subscriber cases have the final call on how much compensation you should get for your losses. It is nearly impossible to determine how each person in a jury will respond to your accident, so you should be able to trust your attorney to plead your case effectively.
- Punitive damages. If the employer demonstrated gross negligence or the employee died as a result of his injuries, you may be awarded punitive damages as a way of punishing the employer.
If your work injury prevents you from earning a living, our attorneys can fight on your behalf. Contact the Packard Law Firm today to set up your free, confidential consultation to find out how much your non-subscriber claim could be worth.