Every year, hundreds of thousands of workers are injured on the job in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 882,730 employees were hurt at work last year – that number accounts for 2.8% of all workers in the U.S.
Texas workers face numerous challenges after suffering from workplace injuries. Many are unable to perform their previous job duties or return to work at all. On-the-job injuries may also result in costly medical bills and loss of wages, both of which cause financial hardship for work injury victims and their dependents.
Proving fault when you’re injured on the job is tricky, so it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable work injury attorney at Hernandez Law Group, P.C. We can help you understand your legal options and determine the best plan of action for your situation.
Texas Employers Responsibilities
Employers in Texas and the United States are responsible for providing a safe work environment for employees to work in. This requires them to follow all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and health standards. If there are signs of hazards on the work site then the employer is responsible for addressing those concerns. Every decision by the employer must be made to minimize risk to their employees and ongoing training must be provided to ensure that employees know how to identify and handle potentially hazardous conditions or materials that they may have to work with.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to provide medical and financial benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. However, the State of Texas does not require private businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. (In fact, Texas is the only state in the U.S. without this requirement). An employer who opts for workers’ compensation insurance is known as a subscriber, and an employer who opts out is known as a non-subscriber.
Workers’ Compensation Subscribers
While employers aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, Texas makes carrying this insurance an attractive option. According to the Workers’ Compensation Act of 1993, an employer who carries workers’ compensation coverage is exempt from employee lawsuits, except in cases of gross negligence on the part of the employer. As for the employees, when a business has workers’ compensation, it makes it much easier for workers to gain compensation for their injuries.
If your injuries were due to your employer’s gross negligence, you deserve additional compensation for your injuries. Even if your employer has workers’ compensation, don’t hesitate to contact us to determine if you deserve additional compensation for your damages.
Workers’ Compensation Non-Subscribers
If your employer is a non-subscriber, you don’t have a streamlined way to receive compensation for your work injuries. However, you have a greater chance of receiving full compensation for your injuries. Because non-subscribers don’t have the same protections from lawsuits that subscribers have, you have a wider range of damages that you can potentially sue for.
It’s important to note that non-subscribers don’t necessarily have no coverage; employers do have alternative coverage options if they opt out of workers’ compensation insurance.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation and alternative plans may not be sufficient to cover all your work injury-related expenses, especially future medical expenses and loss of future earning capacity. If your employer’s plan provides insufficient coverage, a lawsuit may be the best means to receive a fair settlement for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses after a work injury.
Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Insight: Companies That Are Non-Subscribers in Texas
The following companies are Non-Subscribers in Texas for Workers’ Compensation:
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
- Tom Thumb
- American Bottling Company
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Hobby Lobby
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accidents in Texas?
While several conditions may lead to workplace injuries, these are the most common types of accidents:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Falls from an upper level to a lower level
- Being struck by equipment or objects
- Vehicle accidents
- Compression by equipment or objects
- Striking unsafely placed objects or equipment
- Repetitive motions
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
The above accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries that range from minor to debilitating. The most common workplace injuries are as follows:
- Herniated or Bulging Discs
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Musculoskeletal Injuries
- Broken Bones
Which Industries Have the Most Work Injuries Every Year?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these occupants lead to the most injuries every year:
- Laborers/Material Handlers
- Semi-Truck Drivers
- Nursing Assistants
- General Maintenance/Repair Workers
What If My Loved One Was Killed In a Workplace Accident?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace accidents lead to over 5,000 wrongful deaths every year. These deaths leave families devastated and deprive them of future income. With just a few safety precautions from the employer, many of these workplace deaths could have been prevented.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Receive From a Wrongful Death Claim?
If your loved one has passed away due to a workplace accident that was caused due to the negligence of their employer or a third party, you may be able to claim compensation to help cover the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses. The different types of compensation immediate family can receive are the following:
- Financial Losses
- Loss of Consortium
- Mental Anguish
- Punitive Damages
Establishing Liability Against an Employer
Work injury cases are, at their root, negligence cases. When the employer has workers’ compensation insurance, it’s difficult to receive compensation for your injuries (beyond what is provided through workers’ compensation) unless you can prove gross negligence on their part.
For employers who are non-subscribers, a lawsuit is often necessary to receive any form of compensation for injuries and other damages. Even if the employer wants to settle out of court, it’s important to have an experienced work injury attorney on your side to ensure that a fair settlement is negotiated and you are not being bullied into accepting less.
What Needs to Be Proven to Show the Employer’s Negligence?
To receive compensation for your injuries from your employer, you must prove the following:
The employer was negligent: An employer may be found negligent if they failed to maintain safe conditions in the workplace, overworked their employees, or otherwise compromised the safety of workers on the job site. To prove that an employer is liable for your injuries, you must first prove their negligence.
You were injured on the job: You must prove not only that the workplace was unsafe, but also that the unsafe conditions led to your injuries. To do so, you must gather evidence of your injuries, prove your financial losses, and prove that you sustained your injuries at the workplace.
In addition to proving that the employer is liable, you must prove that you are not. Obtaining the full compensation you deserve from an employer requires you to prove that:
- You were not intoxicated at the time of the accident: If an employee is high or drunk at the time of their workplace accident, their employer may not be held liable for the accident.
- You didn’t cause the injury intentionally: An employer might claim you intentionally hurt yourself to get money – a claim that you must prove to be false.
- You couldn’t reasonably have expected the injury to occur: Some occupants are going to lead to injury by their very nature. For example, a beekeeper could not expect not to ever be stung on the job, and therefore their employer wouldn’t be liable for their bee stings.
You weren’t responsible (or more than 50% responsible) for the incident: In Texas, a defendant generally won’t owe damages if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. This is called “comparative negligence.” There is an exception for work injury cases, however: comparative negligence only applies in subscriber cases. In non-subscriber cases, an employer can only avoid liability if they can prove that the employee was completely at fault for the accident (known as “sole proximate cause”).
Third-Party Liability Claims in Texas
Someone other than the employer is often responsible for work injuries: for example, outside contractors, delivery drivers, or equipment manufacturers. If the negligence of a third party has caused your work injury, you may bring forth a lawsuit against the third party even if you are receiving benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation plan.
There are also considerations if your injury occurred at a multi-employer worksite, such as a construction site. A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer at Hernandez Law Group can advise you on whether this is an option in your case.
What Are Examples of Third Party Liability Claims?
- You were hit by a distracted driver while you were at a rest stop or taking a phone call
- There was a defect in the machine or tools you were using
- A non-employer project manager was negligent in their duties to ensure that the job site was safe
- An individual slipped and fell while visiting a vendor
- A subcontractor caused your injury by handling tools or performing their job incorrectly
What Are the Different Types of Work Injury Cases That the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Represents?
The work injury attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. is proud to represent the workers of Dallas, Abilene, and Amarillo, Texas. We have dedicated our lives to protecting the right of employees to gain fair compensation for their injuries. Our experience has helped countless clients receive full compensation to cover the cost of medical expenses and damages that stemmed from their accidents. Our attorneys know that you shouldn’t have to pay for the negligence of your employer, which is why we fight so hard to defend our client’s rights. We have expertise in the following areas of work injury law:
- Heavy Equipment Accidents: Heavy equipment is one of the most dangerous aspects of a worksite. These incredible pieces of modern machinery are powerful and can easily cause serious injuries or wrongful death if they are poorly maintained or operated.
- Industrial Accidents: Industrial sites are full of heavy equipment, hazardous materials, and other dangers which is why they tend to see the highest accident rate of all workplaces. These accidents are often serious and lead to life-threatening injuries or wrongful death. If an individual gets hurt on the job, they must partner alongside a competent work injury attorney to ensure that they get the compensation they deserve to cover the damages.
- Chemical Plant Accident Attorney: Chemical plants are significant sources of risk as they are filled with harmful chemicals and fumes that can lead to serious injuries from fires or explosions. Our team can help you determine the cause of the chemical plant accident and which party you should go after for compensation, whether it is your employer or a third party.
- Oilfield Explosion Accident Attorney: Oilfield explosions are devastating accidents that have serious consequences that affect so much more than the employees working there. Whole communities can be affected due to the toxic chemicals and smoke that come from these disasters, leading to physical and emotional damage.
- Dallas Construction Accident Attorney: Construction sites are full of dangers. From heavy equipment to the need for proper training, worksites must be made safe by following proper safety procedures. When these precautions are overlooked or corners are cut, employees can get seriously hurt.
Workplace Crime Victim Attorney: Workplace crime can happen in an instant. From fellow workers suddenly going awol to patrons getting angry and committing assault, there is no warning for this type of injury. Workplaces have to keep their employees safe the best they can by ensuring they have adequate security and training to know what to do in an emergency. If you or a loved one was injured in a workplace crime, you will want to rely on the experienced attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group.
Get the Compensation You Deserve For Your Work Injuries
If you have suffered a work injury in the Dallas, Amarillo, or Abilene areas and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, or if workers’ compensation does not adequately cover your injury-related expenses, contact the experienced work injury attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C.
We are experienced in earning clients the full compensation they deserve in non-subscriber cases and proving negligence in subscriber cases. Juan Hernandez is one of the few Texas board-certified lawyers in personal injury law, so you can trust his expertise in your work injury case.
Work Injury Law FAQs
If you were injured at work in the State of Texas and the employer does not offer workers’ compensation you have two options available:
1. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. This must be done two years from the date of the accident.
2. You could file a claim against your employer’s private insurance company.
If your employer does have state-regulated workers’ compensation, you are required to notify your employer about the injury or illness. Your employer will then file a workers’ compensation report on your behalf.
Yes. In some cases, there may be a third party that is partially responsible for the accident. In these cases, you may be able to sue the third party to cover any damages that your workers’ compensation may not be able to cover.
Even if this isn’t the case, a work injury attorney can aid you in the workers’ compensation claims process and ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve and they are not convincing you to settle for less.
To know for sure if your employer is a subscriber, you will need to search the State of Texas’ workers’ compensation database. If your employer is in the database, they participate in the workers’ compensation program. If you are not on the database, then they are a non-subscriber.
Here is the link to the Workers’ Compensation Coverage Verification