In many situations, people who get hurt in an accident at work can seek compensation for medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and other economic setbacks through their employer’s workers’ compensation program. In other situations, employers choose not to subscribe to workers compensation (non-subscriber) alternative means of recovery may be available. Sometimes, though, the individual responsible for the accident is a third party, like a contractor or site visitor. When this happens, there may be compensation available beyond what is offered by the injured person’s employer.
Fighting back after a workplace accident caused by a third party can become a uniquely challenging endeavor without the support of an experienced personal injury attorney. Fortunately, a knowledgeable Houston work injury lawyer could assess your accident, strengthen your legal standing, and protect your rights.
How to Establish that a Third-Party Caused an Injury at Work
Third-party claims for work injuries function like most forms of personal injury lawsuits in the sense that in order to collect financial compensation, the plaintiff must prove that someone else’s negligent behavior directly caused their injury.
In civil claims, negligence refers to someone owing a “duty of care” to someone else, violating that duty by engaging in reckless, careless, or intentional behavior, and causing a physical injury. The level of protection required by a duty of care can vary depending on the circumstances, but it generally entails acting reasonably to prevent the risk of harm.
For example, a contractor who fails to observe workplace safety rules, a product manufacturer who creates defective tools, or a third-party firm that does not train their employees appropriately might need to assume liability for any injury their actions cause.
However, it is often important to take action quickly, since Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 states that most victims of injuries at work must file their third-party claim within two years of an accident.
A tenacious attorney in Houston could determine whether a third party breached their duty of care to cause an injury in the workplace.
Recoverable Damages after a Work Accident
Anyone who gets injured on the job due to a third party’s recklessness could demand compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. This means that a plaintiff could collect payments for losses with a clear financial value, along with damages for more subjective setbacks. Common examples of compensation associated with workplace injuries includes repayments for:
- Physical pain
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Psychological/emotional trauma
- Personal property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced enjoyment of daily life
A seasoned lawyer in Houston could help the victim of a workplace injury maximize financial compensation by factoring all their setbacks into their third-party claim.
How to Pursue Compensation from a Non-Subscriber Workplace
Meanwhile, Texas law differs from other states in that it does not require employers of certain sizes or industries to provide workers compensation insurance. Instead, local companies can elect to be “non-subscribers.” This frees them from the obligation of paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums, but it also leaves them vulnerable to personal injury lawsuits filed by employees who get wounded on the job.
Similar to claims against negligent third parties, work injury lawsuits targeting non-subscriber companies are only possible if the plaintiff can prove that their employer’s reckless or careless misconduct directly caused their suffering. They also need to demonstrate that they were hurt while operating under the scope of their employment.
A well-practiced attorney in Houston could further explain claims against non-subscriber employers to help an injured worker determine the best option for their circumstances.
Contact a Houston Work Injury Attorney about Your Case
Getting hurt at work can end up costing you more than just a few days of missed wages, especially if the physical consequences of your injury will last for years or decades. Fortunately, if you can prove that someone besides your employer is clearly responsible for your injuries, you could hold them accountable for the full extent of your suffering.
A resilient Houston work injury lawyer could provide the capable assistance you need to achieve a positive case outcome. Call today to schedule a consultation.