If you or someone you know has ever gone through the process to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you probably know some of the difficulties that can arise. While the benefits can be useful to most applicants, certain on-the-job injuries may demand compensation beyond workers’ comp.
Additional Avenues to Pursue
In Texas, workers’ compensation laws restrict workers from receiving multiple injury settlements from the same source. In other words, you can’t use the same injury to double-dip. For instance, if you have been injured as a result of a crane malfunction on a construction site, you can’t sue your employer if you’re already receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Since the employer’s insurance is already paying for the damages, the law prohibits you from making him pay twice for the same injury.
However, as with most rules, there are exceptions. If the workplace injury was caused by malice or negligence from someone other than your employer or coworker, you might be able to pursue a claim against the negligent party in addition to pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.
Third Party Injuries
In Texas, workers’ compensation is the primary means of covering workplace injuries and occupational illness. If you’re collecting workers’ comp benefits, you cannot sue your boss or a fellow worker for their roles in causing your accident. However, you can take legal action against other people who caused or contributed to your injury. Doing so will require that you be able to identify the source of negligence in your case
If you’ve been hurt as a result of a crane malfunction on a construction site, you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the crane’s “malfunction” was due to a defective design or a manufacturer’s error, you may also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Similarly, if you work at a retail job—let’s say you’re a bartender at a tavern, for example—you have to rely on ordinary workers’ comp for a routine injury, such as slipping on a damp floor. But if you are assaulted by a violent customer, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against the patron as well as collect regular workers’ compensation.
When Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Available
Here’s a little secret that many workers don’t find out until it’s too late: most Texas companies are not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
However, businesses that opt out of the workers’ compensation system will have to follow one of two paths. Large businesses with considerable financial resources can become certified as self-insured by the Texas Department of Insurance; this requires the business to prove it can cover total claims of least $10 million for on-the-job injuries. As you might expect, only a few businesses have assets that allow this.
In the alternative, some businesses simply don’t worry about possible legal claims from injured workers. This saves money in the short run, but it’s a bad idea for the long-term health of any business. Any worker injured in a work-related incident may file a lawsuit against a negligent employer (and possibly negligent coworkers, too). A jury verdict or settlement in favor of the worker can force the company to go out of business.
Navigating Your Claim With the Help of an Experienced Guide
It’s important to note that suing outside of a workers’ compensation insurance claim can be tricky. The process can be long and arduous, and is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. This is why you need attorney Steve Lee.
Do you feel as though your workplace injury was caused as a direct result of incompetence, and not by simple circumstance or bad luck? If so, you may have the right to seek additional damages from specific, liable parties.
Attorney Steve Lee has been helping injured workers like you successfully seek extra damages as a result of negligence. Contact our office today to schedule your FREE consultation and explore your options for additional injury compensation.
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