Q: Are teenage workers eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?
Yes, teenage workers may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Age is not a factor in determining the legitimacy of workers’ compensation claims.
Work-Related Injuries Are Common Among Teenagers
Many teenagers have fast-paced, physically strenuous jobs, and a teenager’s first job sometimes leads to serious injuries.
While child labor laws prohibit teenagers from working the most dangerous jobs, there is still a number of ways a teen can be injured due to part-time or summer employment. These include:
- Slip and fall injuries due to wet or greasy floors.
- Back injuries due to lifting children at a daycare facility.
- Burns caused by careless handling of hot cooking oil and grease.
- Falls from a ladder while retrieving items from high shelving in a retail store.
- Cuts, bruises, and fractures caused by landscaping equipment.
- Vehicle accident injuries while working as a delivery driver.
Teenagers Are Protected by the Law
Fault is irrelevant when it comes to the validity of workers’ compensation claims. Even if a teenager’s youth and inexperience caused him to make mistakes leading to his injuries, he is still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The only exceptions are injuries from accidents caused by gross negligence and drug or alcohol use.
Occupational Accident Insurance
Unlike companies in every other state, Texas employers have the right to opt out of workers’ compensation insurance. Public employers and employers contracted by a governmental entity to do construction work must provide workers’ compensation, but private employers have no such requirement.
Companies may instead carry occupational accident insurance, which is not state-regulated and typically isn’t as comprehensive as workers’ compensation insurance. However, while recipients of workers’ compensation benefits are generally barred from suing their employers, no such restriction exists for occupational accident insurance. Therefore, if the benefits provided under an occupational accident insurance policy are insufficient to cover a teenager’s injuries, he can sue his employer for additional compensation.
You Need an Attorney
Teenagers who have suffered on-the-job injuries deserve compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, an experienced attorney can help with your recovery. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.