What Should I Do if I’m Injured in Texas and My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp?
Your rights as an injured worker in Texas are highly dependent on whether your employer has subscribed to workers’ comp insurance. Most employers do opt-in and purchase workers’ comp insurance that will provide you with benefits if you are injured. Some companies, however, will opt-out and not provide you with workers’ comp coverage. Companies that do not carry workers’ comp are usually referred to as non-subscribers.
So, if you are injured on the job, how can you get compensation from a non-subscriber company? Firstly, don’t lose heart since you and your Edinburg or Hidalgo County work injury lawyer can pursue your compensation directly from your company. In these non-subscriber cases, you (as the injured worker) and your work injury lawyer must prove that your company was at least 1% at fault. If that can be proven (and the bar of proof is not that high), then you should be able to obtain 100% of the fair and needed compensation you deserve.
This compensation, even from a non-subscriber, can include things like:
Past and future lost wages
Past and future impairment
Financial, physical, and emotional loss from your injury, and the past and future medical expenses involved
Pain and suffering from the injury
Compensation for the mental pain your injury has caused
Most states make it mandatory for a company to carry workers’ comp insurance. Unfortunately, Texas is not one of these states. So, this is not a universal mandate and may depend on the size, type, affiliation with the specific company, state laws, and more. Most states also will allow an injured worker to sue companies (who are non-subscriber) in court using a personal injury claim. So, it becomes vital that if you’ve been injured and your company is a non-subscriber to workers’ comp, that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Texas personal injury attorneys, familiar with work-related injuries, are your best hope in receiving the compensation you need to recover and prosper.
What are Some Types of Damages My Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Me Recover?
On-the-job injuries many times are minor but also can be very severe and cause you great pain, financial loss, physical limitations, and can even affect your entire family.
When your injury occurs, the first thing to do is to obtain medical treatment immediately. But medical bills, emergency room visits, and a myriad of other costs can mount up very quickly. You may need physical or mental therapy and be unable to work for weeks or even months while you recover. You and your family could suffer severe financial hardship, which will only add to your pain, stress, and anxiety.
Some examples of damages that you and your personal injury attorney can claim are:
Medical bills, past, present, and future
Lost income for months or longer
Loss of future earning potential
Exemplary or punitive damages
Mental anguish, depression, and anxiety
Pain and suffering from many causes
Disfigurement due to your injury
Remember that you may have to produce medical documentation, proof of your financial loss, proof of your mental state, and various other items so that your personal injury attorney can effectively present and win your case.
How Can I Prove Negligence in My Non-Subscriber Lawsuit?
You can begin to prove negligence by showing that the company provided inadequate warnings, failed to provide essential and proper equipment, or simply failed to keep the premises safe. Frequently, your personal injury lawyer will use safety experts to show what the company could (and should) have done to help prevent the accident. This will help you to seek the full compensation needed from a non-subscriber company to cover all aspects of your injuries.
Your personal injury attorney can fully explain what must be proven, but simply, the following is true:
You must prove that the defendant was negligent
You must verify that you were injured and produce medical documentation of the same
You must illustrate the financial value of all your losses now (and possibly in the future)
You must contend with the non-subscriber company’s defenses
You must show the allotment of comparative fault due to the non-subscriber company’s actions
So, it is clear that many documents, medical bills, expert opinions, and other items must be detailed, arranged, and professionally presented to the court for you to be granted the help you need. Not in the least is contending with the non-subscriber’s defense, and they will have one. This is where your personal injury attorney, dealing with work-related injuries, becomes invaluable to you and your case.
When suing a non-subscriber company, it’s important to remember that it may be defended by its lawyer(s), as well as its insurance company attorneys. But again, you can win; however, you need the professional, detailed, and thorough help your personal injury lawyer provides, in doing so.
Liability Limits for Worker’s Compensation Cases
Admittedly, bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a non-subscriber company is more complex than filing for worker’s comp through a company that carries it.
There are singular benefits, though. For employers that provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Texas law does limit the employer’s liability for work-related injuries of employees. Non-subscriber companies, however, are usually not given these legal protections.
This means that if you, as an injured employee, file suit and can prove that the injury was due to the employer’s negligence, the non-subscriber company could very well be subject to high damage awards, including punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering, etc. The employer might also be required to pay defense-related legal expenses, such as attorneys’ fees.
So, don’t undermine this complex legal process before you begin. Edinburg, McAllen, and Hidalgo County work injury lawyers are able to provide you all the help you need to work through any complex injury situation.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.