What Rights Do Injured Workers in Texas Have?
Regardless of your profession, it is important to know your rights. It is doubly important to be aware of your rights when you work in an industry where the risks of physical injury are high. It is not enough to know that you have rights, you must be aware of your rights so that when the need arises, you can take appropriate and timely action.
Knowledge about whether you can sue a party or not can be the difference between being eligible for adequate compensation and having to depend on a benefits plan managed by the state.
Are you aware of your rights under Texas law? Do you know if you can be compensated for injuries and the process for doing so? Are you sure if your employer is liable for injuries you have suffered? Are you at legal risk from the employer if you proceed with the work injury claim? Talk to us to find out where you stand and the best course of action for you.
Your rights as an injured Texas worker can help you only to the extent of the legal remedies available to you. You need a good lawyer with experience in handling personal injury cases to represent you in the court of law.
Texas law offers two alternatives to injured workers. They can either sue the employers for compensation or settle for workers comp benefits. However, the employer gets to choose one of the two alternatives.
If your employer has opted for workers compensation coverage, chances are that this will likely work in its favor. Under workers’ compensation, you are eligible for lost wages and medical benefits. However, this comes at the cost of your ability to file a lawsuit and access courts. The benefits, with this arrangement, are paid irrespective of fault. This means that even if your employer is fully at fault, he will get away with paying a predetermined amount.
You can opt out of workers compensation when you begin working for a company. But, there is every possibility of your employer firing you from the job, seemingly for some reason. But, more often than not, employers do this to safeguard their financial interests. Employers are not keen on retaining employees that may take them to court. A single adverse judgement can open the floodgates to many such similar complaints.
If your employers do not have workers compensation, then they are termed as non subscribers. You are free to approach the courts for remedy. The employer’s accountability is decided by a jury. The scope for compensation with this system is higher.
Under workers compensation, the usual compensation available to workers is in the form of a weekly benefit check. The compensation is often nominal and insufficient to cover the cost of injury treatment and loss of income.
The compensation available for injuries on the job consists of limited income benefits and cover for medical costs. While all emergency medical treatment is paid for by the employers insurance, normally workers will have to qualify for the income benefits. Your chances of receiving compensation are very high. The employers that participate in this scheme are required to cover almost any injury to workers regardless of who is at fault.
Compensation for accidental death due to negligence includes up $6500 for funeral expenses and a part of the workers wages paid to spouse or minor children this agreement comes to an end if the spouse remarries.
If a worker’s death is determined to have been caused because of gross negligence then the family of the deceased can sue for damages. The cap on such punitive damages is a little less than $1 million. $6500 is provided for funeral expenses and a part of the worker’s wages is given to the spouse or minor children. Employers that buy workers compensation coverage do not have to face lawsuits for death resulting from negligence. However, Texas law allows the kith and kin of workers to sue employers for deaths that happen due to gross negligence. To win a court case in a gross negligence lawsuit, you need to be represented by lawyers who have, in the past, successfully represented their clients. Such cases are not easy to win.
If your employer does not subscribe to workers compensation coverage, then there is every chance the the final outcome of a lawsuit will be in your favor. The reasoning behind this is simple. Under workers compensation, an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against the employer, even if the employer is fully responsible for the injury or death. On the other hand, with worker’s injury lawsuits the employers cannot use defense arguments that are applicable in other cases. This works to a worker’s advantage when represented by a law firm that can handle worker’s compensation cases.