Legal Options for Non-Subscriber Workplace Injuries in Texas
As a general rule, Texas employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. In the event of a workplace injury, this coverage is typically the exclusive remedy for an employee, with limited exceptions for gross negligence or intentional acts resulting in wrongful death.
However, some employers may opt out of the workers’ compensation system, which makes them nonsubscribers. In these cases, an injured employee may have legal recourse to sue their employer for damages caused by negligence.
Non-Subscriber Employers in Texas
Many large employers in Texas are electing not to carry workers’ compensation coverage, which means they are deemed nonsubscribers. In the event of a work-related injury caused by negligence, an employee may sue the nonsubscriber employer for damages. The employer may not use the defense that the employee was contributorily negligent, assumed the risk of injury or death, or that the negligence of a fellow employee caused injury or death. If the employer was even partially negligent for causing the incident and injuries, the employee could potentially recover full damages against the employer.
Negligence and an Unsafe Workplace
To bring a successful lawsuit against a nonsubscriber employer, the employee must show that the employer was negligent and failed to maintain a safe workplace. An unsafe workplace may include failing to provide proper tools, training, and warnings, creating safety policies and procedures, monitoring or supervising the employee, and instructing the employee.
Employee Benefit Plan and Lawsuits
An employer that opts out of the workers’ compensation system may still carry an employee benefit plan that provides insurance to cover work-related injuries and claims. However, this benefit plan does not change the nonsubscriber status of the employer, nor does it prevent the employee from filing a lawsuit. The employee needs to understand the specific deadlines and procedures in the event of a work-related injury and maintain a copy of the benefit plan. The benefits plan may reduce the statute of limitations and provide arbitration instead of court as the forum for proceeding with the lawsuit. Employees should not execute a post-injury claim waiver unless they are confident they do not want to pursue a lawsuit.
Workers Compensation Claims
Employers may also provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, which is no-fault insurance coverage. If an employee is injured during the course and scope of their employment, the injuries caused by the work incident are covered by worker’s compensation insurance. The negligence of the employee, their co-workers, and/or their employer is irrelevant to providingmedical treatment after a work-related injury. The employee may also be eligible for wage loss with certain wage amount and duration limitations. However, in most cases, an employee and/or their family are not entitled to sue their employer when workers’ compensation coverage is available, except for cases of gross negligence or intentional acts resulting in wrongful death.
If another company or an employee of another company caused your work related injury, you may have a separate claim against the third party in addition to your Texas workers’ compensation claim. In these cases, different deadlines will apply to separate claims.
Contact a Nonsubscriber Lawyer in League City, Texas
If you have been injured at work and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance or a third party is responsible for your work-related injury, contact Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers in League City, Texas. Our experienced nonsubscriber and third-party attorneys can help you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve.