Posted on Saturday, March 24th, 2018 at 3:14 am
Can you claim personal injury compensation after a workplace injury in Texas? Maybe! It all depends on the circumstances and particularly whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance.
Take an example. You work for company X as a driver. You are driving along the highway in work hours one day as part of your job. Suddenly, without warning, a truck hits you from the side. Not only is your company vehicle badly damaged, but you receive multiple injuries. You need extensive surgery and spend several weeks in and out of hospital and cannot return to work. You don’t have personal insurance to cover the medical bills and lost earnings and you, and your family, are worried about the future. What are your legal options?
Basically, these fall into 2 categories.
Option A: A workers’ compensation claim
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you must first seek compensation through your employer’s insurer by filing a workers’ compensation claim. The very fact that your employer has this sort of insurance will mean you cannot file a personal injury claim instead. This may only be open to you if your workers’ comp. claim was denied by the insurer and you attempted to appeal without success.
Personal injury attorneys often, but not always, deal with workers’ comp. cases as well as personal injury ones and can certainly provide advice.
One of the benefits of workers’ compensation compared to personal injury is that you do not have to prove that your employer (or anyone else, for that matter) was at fault. It is a no-fault type of insurance. Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you should still be able to claim compensation.
The disadvantage of workers’ comp., compared to personal injury claims, is that you can only claim medical expenses and part of your lost earnings. There are other benefits, too, but overall, a successful personal injury claim would lead to greater overall compensation.
Option B: A personal injury claim
Texas is an unusual state as far as workplace insurance is concerned. Unlike other states, it is not compulsory for your employer to have workers’ compensation insurance. It is up to your employer. Because there are advantages for employers to take out insurance for their workers (can’t be sued etc.), many employers in Texas do have workers’ comp., but this is by no means as certain as it is elsewhere in the U.S. If you have been injured in the scenario given above, and find that your employer does not have workers’ comp. insurance, you may have no choice other than to consider making a personal injury claim against the negligent party. However, this is unlikely to be the employer, but the driver of the vehicle that hit you.
With this option, it means you must find sufficient evidence that the other driver was at fault. You are allowed under Texas comparative negligence rules to be up to 50% at fault yourself, but no more.
The potential advantage of a successful Texas personal injury claim is that you can not only claim for medical treatment, current and future, as well as your lost earnings, but an amount for the pain and suffering experienced, too.
Personal injury claims and lawsuits are never easy. Before you file a claim you should discuss the case with a personal injury attorney in the McAllen or San Antonio area. The attorney will know from experience whether you have a chance of succeeding or whether you are wasting your time. A good attorney will be able to negotiate from strength with a wily insurance adjuster and you are far more likely to obtain a fair and appropriate compensation payment if you allow the attorney to take the case on your behalf.