As you may be aware, Texas employers are not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to injured employees. If an employee suffers an injury on the job is not covered by workers’ compensation, then the worker has a right to file a lawsuit against the employer to get fair payment for his injuries. But what many workers do not know is that this is only one instance in which an employee has the right to sue his employer.
When Employers May Be Named in a Texas Injury Lawsuit
Failure to provide workers’ compensation benefits is a good reason to sue an employer, but there are also additional situations where the company you work for is liable for damages, including:
- Intentional harm. Employees have the right to sue employers whose conduct caused direct and intentional harm. In these cases, employees must show that the employer was trying to hurt the worker on purpose, such as if an employer assaults a worker or trips him at the top of a flight of stairs.
- Defective product injuries. If a worker is injured by tools, machinery, or other equipment in the workplace, he or she can file a lawsuit against the employer or the manufacturer of the object that caused harm. Employers and manufacturer could both be liable if the risks of using the equipment were not minimized, if the equipment failed to work properly, or if employees were not properly warned of the danger of injury.
- Toxic substance injuries. Employees who work around dangerous chemicals or toxic substances are at high risk of developing severe medical conditions. Compounds such as silica, asbestos, benzene, radium, or chromium have all resulted in illnesses that have formed the basis of toxic tort lawsuits. Toxic injuries may happen suddenly (such as a chemical burn or eye injury), but they can also take years of exposure before symptoms appear (such as asbestos-related cancers). Workers may sue an employer who was aware of the potential side effects of toxic exposure, and they may also sue the manufacturer or distributor of the harmful product.
- Third party injuries. Employees may be able to name multiple parties in a personal injury lawsuit, especially if each party played a role in the injury. There are many people on a job site who may be responsible for a worker’s injuries, including engineers, contractors, project managers, architects, drivers, or other non-employer entities.
How to Determine Who Is Responsible for the Costs of an On-the-Job Injury
In order to file a successful Texas work injury or wrongful death claim, you will have to be able to show that the party named in your suit is directly responsible for the harm you have suffered. This is done by demonstrating negligence. The person who should be named in an injury lawsuit is the person whose negligence most contributed to the accident, injuries, or suffering.
In order to demonstrate negligence, a person must show that the person accused of negligence:
- Owed the injured worker a duty of care
- Failed in the performance of that duty of care
- Performed an action or inaction that directly caused injury or harm
When workers are covered by workers’ compensation, they do not have to prove that the employer was negligent in order to get payment for their injuries. While employees outside of this benefits system do have a burden of proof, they are also able to collect additional forms of damages if their case is successful. For example, people who win work injury cases may collect payment for permanent disability, lost future income, lost companionship of a deceased worker, and pain and suffering—all of which are not provided to those covered under the workers' compensation system.
If you suffered a work injury that prevents you from earning a living, our attorneys can fight on your behalf, getting you the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Contact the Packard Law Firm today to set up your free, confidential consultation find out how much your work injury claim could be worth.