If You Were Injured While Working On or Off Site, Our Firm May Be Able to Help You Recover Damages Against Your Employer and/or Any Negligent Third-Party

We have been helping Texans who were injured at work for over 30 years. Our firm can likely assist you in recovering damages for work-related injuries if your employer was negligent and does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits or if your injuries were caused by the negligence of a third-party other than your employer or a co-worker (regardless of whether your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits) or if a loved one was killed at work due to the gross negligence of his or her employer.

Remember: Some people incorrectly assume they cannot file a personal injury claim if they were injured at work. In fact, in some circumstances you can file a personal injury claim even if you were injured during the course and scope of your employment. For example:

  • We can assist you if a loved one was killed at work due to the gross negligence or intentional action(s) of his or her employer – even if the employer subscribes to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act; and
  • We can assist you if your injuries occurred at work or during the course of your employment if the injuries were a direct result of the negligence of a person or company other than your employer; and
  • We can assist you if your injuries occurred at work or during the course of your employment and your employer or co-worker was negligent and your employer is a Non-Subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, i.e. does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits. 

Determining whether you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer or former employer can be fact-intensive and is based on several factors.  For additional information on Work-Related injuries scroll through the content below or feel free to jump to a specific topic on this page by clicking one of the links below.

The Impact of Subscriber vs. Non-Subscriber

Negligent Third-Parties

Establishing Liability Against an Employer

Cases Involving Death and Gross Negligence

Multi-Employer Work Sites

Getting the Medical Treatment You Need

Qualifying for a Law Loan

Recoverable Damages

Workers’ Compensation Liens

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   The Impact of Subscriber vs. Non-Subscriber

Q:        Can you file a personal injury case if your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits and you were injured at work due to the negligence of your employer or a co-worker? 

A:        Probably not. If your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits they are deemed a “Subscriber” to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. In most instances where the company is a Subscriber and the company or your co-worker is negligent your sole legal remedy is to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Remember:  You can file a wrongful death case against your loved one’s employer even if they are a “Subscriber” if they were killed due to the company’s gross negligence.

Remember: If you were injured at work or during the course and scope of your employment but your injuries were due to the negligence of a third-party (not your employer or a co-worker) you can file a personal injury case even if your employer is a subscriber.

Q:        Can you file a personal injury case if your employer does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits and you were injured at work due to the negligence of your employer or a co-worker?

A:        Probably so. If your employer does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits they are deemed a “Non-Subscriber” to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act and you are generally allowed to file a personal injury claim against them.

Remember: If your employer is a Non-Subscriber you must still establish your employer or co-worker was negligent for causing you injuries. You do not “automatically” win. You must demonstrate your employer or co-worker did something wrong but…

Also Remember: The State of Texas wants companies to provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to employees. Accordingly, if a company is a Non-Subscriber they are punished in the sense that they are denied several common law defenses including:

  • Assumption of the Risk: If your employer is a non-subscriber they cannot assert that you assumed the risk of injury or death associated with your employment.
  • Contributory Negligence: If your employer is a non-subscriber they cannot assert that you were guilty of contributory negligence. They can, however, argue that you were solely responsible for your injuries.
  • Fellow Servant: If your employer is a non-subscriber they cannot defend the case on the basis that your injury or death was caused by the negligence of a co-worker.

How We Can Help You: We have represented hundreds and hundreds of clients who were injured at work where the employer didn’t have Workers’ Compensation coverage. Our firm has its own well trained investigator with experience helping establish as much evidence as possible to develop your case.  If needed, we won’t shy away from retaining Certified Safety Experts and OSHA Experts to establish liability against employers for causing your injuries.  This type of case requires strategy, strategy and more strategy.  This is how our firm will give you the potential winning advantage you deserve.

Q:        Are there situations where it doesn’t matter if your employer is a Subscriber on Non-Subscriber?

A:        Yes. For example, if you were injured at work or during the course and scope of your employment and your injuries were caused by someone other than your employer or co-worker you are always free to pursue personal injury damages against the negligent third-party.

Remember: If your loved one was killed at work due to the gross negligence of his or her employer you can pursue punitive damages against the employer whether or not they are a Subscriber or Non-Subscriber.

Q:        What are some examples that illustrate the impact of Subscriber vs. Non-Subscriber status on your case?

A:        Take a look at the examples below to better understand how your employer’s classification as a Subscriber or Non-Subscriber may impact your legal rights. 

An Example: The company you work for as a delivery driver is a Subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. While you are making a delivery in a company van you get rear-ended by a negligent driver. You are entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation Claim because your injuries occurred during the course and scope of your employment.

You are also entitled to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver because your injuries occurred as a result of the negligence of a third-party.

Another Example: You work in the warehouse for a company and operate a forklift for a living. The company is a Subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.  One of your co-workers isn’t paying attention and collides with your forklift knocking you to the ground and causing you to sustain injuries.  You are entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation Claim because your injuries occurred during the course and scope of your employment.

You are not entitled to file a personal injury claim because your injuries resulted from the negligence of your employer and/or co-worker. Yet Another Example: Assume similar facts to the above example BUT your employer is a Non-Subscriber to the Texas’ Workers Compensation Act, i.e. does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Since your employer is a non-subscriber you ARE entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer for the negligent actions of your co-worker and/or negligent action(s) of the company itself. 

 

Negligent Third-Parties 

Q:        If your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits can you still file a personal injury action against a negligent third-party that caused you injuries? 

A:        Yes. If your employer is a Subscriber and offers Workers’ Compensation benefits you can pursue BOTH a Workers’ Compensation claim AND a personal injury claim.

Remember: If your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits you generally cannot pursue a personal injury claim against your employer or co-worker even if they were negligent. You can, however, pursue a personal injury claim if you were injured by a negligent third-party.

An Example: Let’s say you work at an assembly plant and your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits. If a co-worker was running through the plant – not watching where he was going – and collided with you causing you injuries you could not file a personal injury action against your employer. If, however, a UPS employee entered the plant to deliver a package and collided with you because he or she was not paying attention you COULD pursue a personal injury claim – since the UPS driver is a negligent third-party.

Another Example: Let’s say you work for Best Buy’s Geek Squad for a living and Best Buy offers Workers’ Compensation benefits. While you are driving to an installation a driver runs a red light and T-Bones your VW Beetle. You CAN file a Workers’ Compensation claim because you were injured in the course and scope of your employment with Best Buy. You can ALSO file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company.

 

Establishing Liability Against an Employer

Q:        If your employer does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits and you get hurt at work will you automatically win your personal injury case?

A:        No. If your employer is a Non-Subscriber you must still demonstrate the employer or a co-worker was negligent and that the negligence caused your injuries. In shirt, you still have to prove your employer or co-worker did something wrong.

An Example: Your employer is a Non-Subscriber and does not provide Workers’ Compensation benefits. Your employer provides you with a back brace for lifting heavy items. Your job duties require you to be able to lift at least 50 pounds. While lifting a 15 pound piece of equipment you suffer a freak injury and strain a back muscle. It is unlikely that the employer would be found to be negligent since they provided you with a back brace and 15 pounds was less than the maximum amount of weight you were required to lift.

  1. How do you establish liability on the employer?

A:        Establishing liability against your employer can be done in countless ways. To win your case you will have to show your employer was negligent, i.e. failed to act as a reasonably prudent company would have acted under like and similar circumstances. You have to show your employer did something wrong that caused you to be injured.

Q:        What are some scenarios in which my employer might be negligent for my injuries?

A:        Remember that injuries can occur in a number of ways and any number of factors could have played a role in your sustaining injuries. The below examples are far from exhaustive. Call our firm for a free consultation if you have any doubts whatsoever whether your employer’s conduct (or lack of action) could have a played a part in your injuries.

Examples: Negligent Supervision:  Your employer may have liability if your injuries were caused by your employer negligently supervising your co-workers or even – perhaps – if you were not properly supervised. For example, if you were just starting to lean how to weld and your employer left you alone and unsupervised.

Negligent Training:  Your employer may have liability if the employer negligently trained either you or a co-worker if that negligent training caused your injuries.

Not Providing Proper Equipment: If your job requires you to lift 50 pounds regularly and your employer did not provide you with a weight belt you could argue the employer was negligent because it failed to provide proper equipment to is employees.

Not Implementing Proper Policies and Procedures or Not Enforcing Policies and Procedures: Your employer could be liable if the employer either never put proper policies and procedures in place or if they had policies and procedures in place but failed to enforce them.

Not Warning You of Known Dangers: If your employer knew an activity was dangerous or an area of the premises was dangerous and failed to warn you of the danger(s) the employer could be liable. …and many other ways.

 

Cases Involving Death and Gross Negligence

Q:        If your loved one was killed due to his or her employer’s gross negligence  can our family file a wrongful death action?

A:        Whether the employer is a Subscriber or Non-Subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act the family could bring a suit and seek punitive damages due to the employer’s gross negligence.

Remember: If your loved one was killed at work due to the employer’s ordinary negligence punitive damages are not available.

How We Can Help You: Our firm spends the money necessary to retain experts to attempt to establish gross negligence so that punitive damages would be recoverable. Gross negligence is difficult to prove and requires aggressive legal counsel to pursue.

Q:        If your loved one suffered catastrophic injuries due to his or her employer’s gross negligence are punitive damages potentially recoverable?

A:        No. Punitive damages are only recoverable if the employer was grossly negligent and your loved one’s injuries resulted in death.

 

Multi-Employer Work Sites

Q:        What is a multi-employer work site?

A:        A multi-employer work site is best represented by a construction project. On construction projects multiple companies are likely to have some of their employees at the same work site. For example, a general contractor hires sub-contractors which would include electricians, plumbers, roof experts, flooring experts, etc.

Remember: If you were injured by a co-worker’s negligence and your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits the filing of a Workers’ Compensation claim is likely your sole remedy for the injuries you sustained. If, however, you were on the work site as working for ABC Electricians and you were injured due to the negligence of an employee of NOP Flooring you would be able to file both a Workers’ Compensation claim and personal injury claim against NOP flooring since a negligent third-party was responsible for your injuries.

Remember: The general contractor and/or entity that owned the work site could have liability if they failed to properly supervise the work site.

 

Getting the Medical Treatment You Need

Q:        If you were injured at work are you entitled to any necessary medical treatment?

A:        Possibly. If your employer offers Workers’ Compensation benefits you will most likely receive some medical treatment. If your employer does not offer Workers’ Compensation benefits they may still attempt to get you to a medical provider the company uses on a regular basis.

Remember: Many clinics recommended by employers are recommended for a reason. These clinics are generally pro-employer and usually try and have you return to work after only a limited number of therapy sessions.

How We Can Help You: Our firm has access to an extraordinary network of medical providers who provide services to injured workers. These providers are truly concerned about your health and will not release you back to duty unless it is absolutely safe to do so. Providers we work with include: medical doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, MRI facilities, pain management doctors, and surgical clinics or hospitals.

Q:        How much is all of this treatment going to cost?

A:        We know following a work injury life is going to get challenging and bills are going to mount. We work with medical providers who agree to delay billing you for services until the conclusion of your case. You have no initial out-of-pocket expenses to receive quality care.

Q:        Should you avoid seeing the Workers’ Compensation doctors?

A:        Generally no. Remember that in many cases you may have the right to file both a Workers’ Compensation claim AND a personal injury claim. It is almost always recommended that you make your medical appointments with the “company doctor” as failing to follow your employer’s instructions or missing appointments could be grounds for banning your Workers’ Compensation claim. You do not want to become ineligible for benefits due to non-compliance.

 

Qualifying for a Law Loan

Q: If you were injured at work could you be eligible for a law loan to use to pay bills while you are recovering from your injuries? A:  Yes, you could. The law loan company will evaluate the risk of your case to determine if they are comfortable enough to loan you funds in exchange for an assignment in the settlement proceeds of your case.

How We Can Help You: We unaware of any law loan companies that will advance money on a case if the injured worker is not represented by an attorney. We have a relationship with a law loan company that charges a flat interest amount instead of payments that escalate and escalate.

 

Recoverable Damages

Q:  What damages are potentially available to you in a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your employer if they are a Non-Subscriber?

A:  If your employer does not offer Workers’ Compensation coverage and you are injured at work due to the company or a co-worker’s negligence you are allowed to recover damages against the company. Potential damages include past and future mental anguish, past and future physical impairment, past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings in the past, loss of earning capacity in the future, recoupment of past medical expenses, and any necessary future medical expenses

Remember:   If you were injured while working – whether at your office or off-site – and your injuries were caused by a negligent third-party (as opposed to your employer or co-worker) all of the above potential damages are also available to you.

Q:  What damages are potentially available if the employer was grossly negligent and the injured worker died from his or her injuries? 

A:  Punitive damages.

 

Workers’ Compensation Liens

Q:  Can the Workers’ Compensation Carrier place a lien on the proceeds of any settlement you might reach with a negligent third-party that was responsible for your injuries?

A:  Yes – and they likely will. The Workers’ Compensation carrier’s right to recover a portion of your third-party settlement is referred to as the right of subrogation.

Q: Do Workers’ Compensation carriers reduce the amount of their lien or agree to accept less than what they are owed?

A:  Yes, most carriers will at least reduce their lien amount somewhat. Sometimes they are obligated to do so (if you are represented by an attorney and they do not retain their own legal counsel, for example) Often times they are not required to reduce but will agree to a reduction in an effort to guarantee the recovery of at least a portion of funds.

How We Can Help You: We are well-trained in negotiating down Workers’ Compensation liens so that our clients are left with extra money in their pockets. We work with all major subrogation recovery organizations on a regular basis.

Q: What reduction are you generally entitled to if your injuries were caused by a negligent third-party and the workers’ compensation carrier does not hire its own counsel to aid in recovering damages against the at-fault party?

A:  Typically you are entitled to reduce the workers’ compensation lien amount by 1/3. For example, if the workers’ compensation carrier paid $150,000.00 in indemnity expenses (lost wages) and medical expenses they would likely agree to reduce their lien amount to $100,000.00

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Contact our work injury lawyers today in Dallas, Plano or Fort Worth for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose!