Getting appropriate compensation when you get injured at work can be complicated. Your right to seek damages in court depends on whether your employer subscribes to the Workers’ Compensation program. Sometimes employers claim they subscribe to the Workers’ Compensation program when they do not.
A McAllen workplace injury lawyer can explain the legal options available in your specific case. Engaging an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible could ensure you receive appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Options When an Employer Offers Workers’ Compensation
Most states require employers with a specific number of employees to participate in the federal Workers’ Compensation program, but Texas does not. If the employer subscribes to the program, an employee is bound by it and cannot opt out—meaning, they cannot sue their employer for negligently causing their injury.
However, some employers falsely claim they offer Workers’ Compensation to deter employees from suing them. Knowing whether the employer subscribed to the program is critical. The Texas Department of Insurance provides that information here. If an employer claims to subscribe but an employee cannot verify it, the employee should contact a knowledgeable McAllen workplace injury attorney before accepting any benefits from the employer.
If a third party created the situation that caused the injury, the employee could collect program benefits and sue the third party for damages.
Suing for Damages from a Non-Subscribing Employer
Many employers in the state do not subscribe to the Workers’ Compensation program. When an employee is hurt on the job, Texas Labor Code § 406.033 allows the worker to sue a non-subscribing employer for their damages.
The employee must prove the employer’s negligence led to the injury, so working with a capable work injury lawyer in McAllen is vital. Proving negligence requires showing that the employer did not take reasonable steps to prevent the situation or condition that caused harm.
The law allows an injured employee to collect damages from a non-subscribing employer even if the employee is partially responsible for their injuries. If the employee can demonstrate the employer had any responsibility, the employer is liable for the employee’s damages, which include payments for their pain and suffering as well as reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages.
Suing a Third Party for a Workplace Injury
Workers may sue third parties for job-related injuries regardless of whether their employer subscribes to Workers’ Compensation. A McAllen attorney must prove that the third party’s negligence caused the worker’s injury.
Many situations could lead to a third-party lawsuit. If the employee was driving for work and got into a wreck, they could sue the at-fault driver. If a defective machine or product caused a work-related injury, the manufacturer could be liable to the injured worker. If an independent contractor created an unsafe condition at a job site that led to the worker’s injury, they could sue the contractor.
Texas’ comparative negligence rule applies to third-party lawsuits. If the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, they cannot collect damages. If the injured party is not primarily responsible but contributed to the situation that caused their injuries, they could collect the portion of their damages attributable to the third party.
Consult a McAllen Workplace Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Options
Work-related accidents involve complex legal rules and procedures. If you try to handle your claim without assistance, you might inadvertently give up some of your rights.
A McAllen workplace injury lawyer has experience handling claims for people in your situation and can ensure you get reasonable compensation for your work-related injuries. Schedule a consultation today.