Can You File a Personal Injury Claim for a Work Injury?
In many cases, the ability to file a personal injury claim against your employer for a work injury in Texas hinges on whether they have workers’ compensation insurance. However, depending on the circumstances, there may also be a third party that is liable.
If Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance
In Texas, employers have the option to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but they are not mandated to do so. This is referred to as an “opt-out” system. Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. As a result, if your employer has insurance, you cannot sue and must file a workers’ comp claim to receive benefits.
These benefits include medical coverage, ensuring that necessary treatments, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation costs are covered. Additionally, workers’ comp offers wage replacement, which compensates for a portion of the income lost due to the inability to work.
If Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If an employer in Texas does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, filing a personal injury claim is a potential option. This typically involves establishing that the employer’s negligence or intentional misconduct directly led to your injury. For example, demonstrating that the employer failed to provide a safe working environment or knowingly exposed employees to hazardous conditions.
Whether or not your employer carries workers’ comp insurance, if a third party other than your employer also contributed or caused your accident, you can file a personal injury claim against them. For instance, if a worker is injured due to a defective product, the manufacturer of that product could be held liable in a third-party claim.
These claims can provide an additional avenue for compensation, allowing the injured party to seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. A third-party claim can be pursued in addition to a workers’ compensation claim if your employer carries it. However, victims often must repay a workers’ compensation insurer for the benefits they have provided from their settlement or award.
How To Prove Another Party is Liable for a Work Injury
To hold another party liable for a work injury, you typically need to establish the following elements:
- Duty of Care: You must demonstrate that the party owed you a duty of care. In a workplace context, this often means that the party had a responsibility to maintain a safe environment or provide adequate training and equipment.
- Breach of Duty: You need to show that the party failed to uphold their duty of care. This could involve actions like neglecting safety protocols, providing faulty equipment, or not addressing known hazards.
- Causation: It must be proven that the breach of duty directly caused your injury. This means that without the negligent actions of the party, the injury would not have occurred. It may also be necessary to demonstrate that the party should have reasonably foreseen the potential harm that could result from their actions or negligence.
- Damages: Evidence of measurable damages as a result of the injury. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
Consulting an experienced Waco work injury lawyer is highly recommended in these situations. A lawyer can assess the specific circumstances of the case, determine who is liable, provide skilled guidance, and help you navigate your claim to ensure your rights are protected, and you recover the compensation you deserve.