Wondering if you can sue your employer for negligence that resulted in injuries to you? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’ve been injured while at work and perhaps have to have ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation, you may be wondering if you can get compensation and asking yourself questions like, “Can I sue my employer for negligence?” It’s an issue fraught with worry and stress because many people in this situation are concerned about upsetting their boss by suing them and potentially putting their job in jeopardy.
The issue may be more complicated in Texas because, unlike other states, employers here are not legally required to have workers’ compensation coverage — the only state in the country to have this policy. So it’s not as simple as getting compensation from your work’s insurance plan, and you may need the assistance of skilled work injury lawyers to get you a settlement for what happened to you.
Companies in Texas may still take out workers’ compensation insurance, but if they don’t and you’re injured while doing your job and through no fault of your own, it’s important that you get justice and compensation. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can go about it, whether your employer has insurance or not.
How Common Are Workplace Injuries in Texas?
Work environments can be incredibly dangerous places, especially factories and construction sites with all kinds of machinery and potentially hazardous materials and substances. Texas also has hundreds of oil rigs that carry their own particular dangers and risks to workers. You don’t even have to work in a challenging environment to suffer an injury, as you can slip and fall while on the job and badly hurt yourself.
Employers have an obligation to provide a safe place to work for their workers, and if they fail to do so, they may be liable if someone becomes injured due to the employer’s negligence. Family members may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit filed by specialist lawyers for injuries at work if someone is killed while at work.
The number of deaths while at work is, tragically, on the rise, with Texas reporting a sizable 25% increase in work fatalities for 2019, the most recent year for which figures are available. In total, 608 people lost their lives while at work in 2019, compared to 488 the year before, according to data from the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Non-fatal work injuries for 2019 are listed in the chart below, with various sample sectors. Retail had the most injuries, possibly because of a combination of workers rushing, insufficient safety training, transportation of goods, lifting heavy objects and products, and slippery areas due to cleaning.
Types of Workplace Injuries You May Be Able to Sue For
If your job involves manual labor, you’re putting yourself at a high level of risk of injury, but even if you’re sitting down in an office for much of the day, accidents can happen. For instance, you can trip over an electric cable that wasn’t properly taped down or hidden under the flooring. Your back can suffer from all that sitting while your hands and arms are at risk from repetitive stress injury if you’re typing for long stretches. If that’s happened to you, you should contact lawyers for injuries at work and see if you’re entitled to claim compensation.
Other frequent workplace injuries include:
- Muscle strain. This often results from overexertion when using too much effort to move, lift, shove or carry something.
- Slips, trips, and falls. These injuries can happen in various settings, from wet floors to scaffolding, climbing ladders, working on roofs, and many other structures.
- Machine-related injuries. Working with machines puts employees at risk of being injured by them, whether they’re struck, crushed, or injured in some other way by a mechanical device.
- Contact with toxic materials and substances. In factories and other settings, workers must routinely handle harmful materials and substances, such as toxic chemicals, and direct contact with them may result in severe injury.
- Fires and explosions. Some industries are more at risk of fires breaking out and explosions occurring, such as the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors, but they can also happen anywhere.
- Transportation. Sadly, many accidents happen when workers are on the road for their job, whether delivering goods or traveling to see clients.
- Violence. This is classed as happening between people — if someone punches someone else, during an argument or fight while at work — but also animals, depending on the nature of someone’s work, such as a veterinarian.
So Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence?
If your employer has failed in their duty of care obligation to you, resulting in an injury that you had to seek medical treatment and care for, you may have a case. However, if you did something that caused your accident and you are at fault, you won’t be able to file a compensation claim. Many companies may be reluctant to make a settlement, especially if they don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, and so it’s vital that you have experienced lawyers for work injury to fight for you.
Suing your employer for negligence starts with proof of what happened; just your word is not good enough. Were you able to take photographs and videos of the accident site with your phone, for example? If so, that could go a long way towards proving negligence. And were there colleagues around who saw what happened — getting witness testimony can also be hugely important in proving a claim. So ask your fellow workers who were around at the time of your accident if they will testify for you.
And then there’s your medical treatment. You and your work injury lawyers will need a report from your doctor detailing the extent of your injuries and the treatment you had. If you require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, the costs of these and your treatment so far, can be projected and included in the settlement figure that’s relevant for you. You can also add lost earnings if you’re unable to work because of your injuries and estimated future loss of earnings.
Talks between your work injury lawyers and your employer or their legal representatives might break down, and you then have to decide if you want to go to court. If so, your lawyers will prepare your case and possibly get expert medical and other testimony to support it; and they will then present your case to a judge and jury. Hopefully, you will win, and the jury will award you compensation suitable for your injuries and any ongoing suffering and loss of income.
And keep in mind the time you have to make a work injury claim. In Texas, you must file a report within 30 days of the accident, and you then have 12 months to make the actual compensation claim — so there’s no time to lose, and you must act fast.
If you have been injured while at work in Texas and are not sure how to go about getting compensation, or if you can sue your employer for negligence, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the expert work injury lawyers at Patino Law Firm now.