Q: What happens if I am injured on the job and my employer does not provide workers’ compensation benefits?
In Texas, employers have the right to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits to employees injured on the job. They become non-subscriber employers. If your company has taken this option, it does not mean that you cannot be compensated for your workplace injuries. With the help of an experienced workplace injury attorney, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for compensation for your injuries.
Recovering Compensation in a Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Case
There are both benefits and drawbacks when you work for an employer who does not provide workers’ compensation benefits. One of the negative aspects is that you are not guaranteed payment of benefits for your injuries. Most likely you will have to file a lawsuit against your employer to hold him responsible.
However, under workers’ compensation, you are only entitled to payment of your medical bills and a fixed amount of the wages you will lose while you off work recovering. This may not be sufficient to fully compensate you, especially if you suffered serious injuries or are permanently disabled. If you work for a non-subscriber employer, you may actually be entitled to more compensation for your injuries than if you had to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Filing a lawsuit against a non-subscriber employer is different than filing a workers’ compensation claim, and the laws that apply are different. Here are the basics of filing a lawsuit against your employer:
- You must prove that your employer’s negligence was the cause of your injuries in order to receive compensation. You may be able to prove this by showing that your employer failed to provide a safe work environment, provided you with defective machinery or tools, failed to train you properly, failed to supervise you, or more.
- Unlike traditional negligence cases, your employer cannot raise your own contributory negligence in causing your injuries as a defense to your lawsuit. As long as your employer was at all at fault in causing your injuries, this defense would be barred. This means that if you were 90 percent and your employer was 10 percent responsible for causing your injuries, your employer would still be liable for fully compensating you.
- Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, if you prove your employer’s negligence, you would be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, all of your wage losses, and your pain and suffering. The pain and suffering that you endured could be the largest amount of your claim, so being able to pursue this type of compensation could result in you receiving a substantially larger award than in a workers’ compensation case.
Were you injured in a workplace accident? Has your employer opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits? Attorney Steve Lee is here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.