Workplace injuries? Can you make a claim for your damages?

10 May 2016

If you have been injured in the workplace, you've probably been told that the only compensation you can receive will come from your employer's workers' compensation insurance.  That is because in most states and in Texas, if your employer carries workers' compensation insurance you are barred from suing or obtaining damages against your employer, even if your employer's negligence was the cause of your injuries.  For example if you are run over by a forklift at work because of a negligent forklift driver you cannot sue your employer or the forklift driver if your company carried Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance. In Texas many employers do not carry Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance or have their own work injury plans.  If this is true then under the previous edit scenario you can sue your employer for the damages you suffered even if you obtained benefits through your employer sponsered work injury plan.  However if your employer has Workers' Compensation Insurance the Workers' Compensation Bar prohibits your to sue your employer. Although this is the general rule, there are many exceptions -- situations in which you may be able to sue for damages caused by your injuries. For example:

  • If you were injured by a defective product, you might be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the product. For example if a forklift malfunctions causing it to run out of control and hit another worker, that injured worker could sue the company that made or maintained the forklift.  
  • If another company employee is working with you then you can often bring a claim against that employer.  For example if you are working on a construction site and a worker from another company causes your injuries you can sue the company of the employee who caused your injury.  We see this often in construction site or oilfield accidents.  Also in many warehouse injuries injuries occur at loading docks.  In many I cases there are different companies that are delivering or accepting products.  If an employee from one of these companies causes your injuries you can sue that employer. 
  • Truck Drivers are often injured in collisions caused by other truck drivers or are injured by imporoper loading of their trailers by companies other than the one they work for.  I have seen many cases where improper loading causes injuries. It should also be noted that in Texas the majority of trucking companies do not have Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance which means that these companies can sue for injuries suffered in the on the job injuries if the trucking company is negligence for the injury.
  • If your employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, you might be able to sue your employer in civil court.  It is often difficult for injured workers to know if their employer carries workers' compensation or not.  sometimes the first time they realize that their employer does not carry Workers' Compensation is when their claims for medical expenses are denied by their employer.  It is important for an injured worker to always seek a legal consultation from a Board Certified Employment lawyer if they are injured on the job.
  • If a third party caused your injury, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person or that person's employer.   
  • If you were injured by a toxic or poisinouse substance, you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance

Although workers' compensation can provide money and benefits to an injured worker, temporary disability and permanent disability payments are usually quite low and don't compensate the worker for things like pain and suffering. In Texas the Workers' Compensation System is stacked against injured workers in El Paso, Texas.  Workers' compensation also does not provide punitive damages to punish an employer for poor safety controls or dangerous conditions. That's why it's important for injured workers to understand their rights to bring a case outside of the workers' compensation system. Absolutely you should see a Board Certified Employment Lawyer if you are injured at work.  A free consultation from a board Certified Employment lawyer in El Paso, Texas after a work injury is the best way to determine what are rights.  If you are injured or your claims has been denied or your medical provider won't properly treat you for a work injury in El Paso, Texas seek legal advice immediately.  There are strict time limits that can limit your rights to bring claims against a responsible party and work injuries can have long term devastating consequences for fired and injured workers' in El Paso, Texas.


Roger Davie P.C. El Paso's Board Certified Personal / Work Injury, Wrongful Termination, Workers' Compensation and Employment Lawyer. Free Consultation.