Worker’s comp and personal injury work differently. In either case, you can hold your employer responsible for work-related injuries. Learn more in this post.
Did you know Texas is the only state in the entire United States that does not require employers above a predetermined size to carry worker’s compensation?
Sounds crazy, but it’s true!
And here’s the good news: it’s usually easier to recover financial compensation from companies that do not carry worker’s comp. Many of the legal defenses “subscribers” (companies who carry worker’s comp) get are not available to “non-subscribers.” The Texas legal system punishes them for their actions.
Most Texas employees, about 81% of the workforce, are covered by worker’s comp. However, according to the New York Times, about 6% (500,000) are not. Some claim the Texas’ worker’s comp system protects businesses better than it does the workers. Others note that actions against insurers have increased while fewer injuries get reported. It’s got some pros and cons, but it’s the system we have.
With all that in mind, here’s how you decide whether you have a worker’s comp or personal injury claim:
- Determine Whether Your Employer Carries Worker’s Comp
This is actually harder to do than you think. Some employers do act as if they carry it without really having it. They may make regular payments associated with worker’s comp, but that no formal relationship with it. You may need to hire an attorney to figure this out before taking action.
- If They Carry Worker’s Comp, You Have a Worker’s Comp Claim
Pretty straightforward here. You can’t file a personal injury claim if your employer carries worker’s comp. You have to trudge your way through the worker’s comp system. The main benefit for employers that carry worker’s comp is they cannot be sued via a personal injury lawsuit. An exception does exist, however, if the worker died as a result of the injuries sustained due to gross negligence.
- The Trouble with Worker’s Comp…
Is that what you get out of it is rarely enough to cover the costs of your actual damages. There is one way around this, though. If a third party was involved, such as a manufacturer of defective equipment, you can file a personal injury claim against the third party, while also filing the worker’s comp claim. This would include, for example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver while you were operating a motor vehicle in the course and scope of your employment.
- If Your Employer Doesn’t Have Worker’s Comp…
You have a personal injury claim. And this can actually be a better situation for you because of all the legal defenses your employer loses when they don’t offer worker’s comp.
- However, Speed Is Key!
The faster you act, the better. Juries believe that honest people act quickly, so it’s easier to convince them your case is valid when you file your injury claim fast. Also, the necessary evidence can get lost or intentionally damaged or destroyed the longer you wait.