Injured On The Job, Can I Sue?
The first and most important question when you are hurt on the job concerns whether or not your employer has worker’s compensation coverage. If you do not immediately get this information from your supervisor, it can usually be obtained by asking or looking for the notices posted at your place of employment, usually in the break room or near the time clock.
How To Find Worker's Comp Information
If you cannot find this information easily from your employer or they do not want to share it with you, a call to the Texas Department of Insurance - Worker’s Compensation Division (TDI-DWC) will solve the problem. You can reach them at 1-800-252-7031. An attorney can also help you obtain this information.
The second most important question will be was anyone outside of your company responsible for the injury. If someone outside of your company, a third party, was involved in the cause of the injury, document:
- Who they worked for
- What their name is
- Any contact information you can obtain
- Any witnesses to the injury and the actions of the third party
Employer With Worker's Compensation
If your employer has worker’s compensation you cannot sue them in most circumstances. The law of each state and case vary, and it is always best to consult with an attorney about your specific situation.
If an employer does have worker’s compensation then the employer can only be sued by an employee, under Texas law, if the employee is killed and the death is the result of the gross negligence of the employer. In that case, the employer can be liable for the punitive damages available as a result of the gross negligence.
Employer Without Worker's Compensation
If there is no worker’s compensation insurance, then your employer is likely a nonsubscriber and may be sued directly. If you believe you are in this situation meeting with an attorney experienced with work injury cases is crucial because evidence will be quickly destroyed and witnesses will disappear or forget.
Suing Third Parties
No matter whether your employer has worker’s compensation or not, you can sue any third parties responsible for your injury. If there is any chance that you believe some third party’s negligence caused or contributed to your injury it is very important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation. An investigation will need to begin as soon as possible and letters warning all parties involved to preserve evidence need to be sent immediately.