Defenses Waived and Duties of Non-Subscribers
Between 500 and 600 Texas workers have been killed on the job during each of the past five years, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, and many of their families are left struggling for years into the future to cover the costs of their medical bills and lost earnings. This is because in Texas there are many non-subscribers to workers’ compensation due to the fact that purchasing workers’ compensation insurance is not mandatory in our state. Texas companies that do not offer workers’ compensation to their employees are called ‘non-subscribers,’ and if your loved one lost their life on the job, you have options for pursuing compensation when you call an experienced Houston attorney with the law offices of Michael P. Fleming.
Defenses Waived in Non-Subscriber Work Injury Cases
When an employer opts out of workers’ compensation insurance, not only can they be sued for injuries or fatalities, but filing and winning a lawsuit is made easier for the injured worker or surviving family members. This is possible because the employer is prohibited from raising any of the following defenses:
- The employee was contributorily negligent, meaning that he or she made a mistake that caused his or her own death;
- The employee assumed the risk of injury or death; and
- The injury or death was caused by another employee.
In most personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff must show that he or she (or a loved one) was not responsible for his or her own injuries. This is not true when you file a wrongful death lawsuit against an employer who is a non-subscriber. Therefore, the employer will owe all of the damages to the victim’s family even if the employer was found to be just 1% at fault and the injured or deceased employee was found to be 99% at fault.
Duties of Employers When There is no Workers’ Compensation
If an employer opts to become a non-subscriber, the company still owes certain duties to ensure the workplace is safe under OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations, including keeping injury and illness records if the employer had more than 10 employees in the last calendar year. The employer must:
- Use ordinary care in providing a safe workplace;
- Warn employees of the hazards of employment;
- Provide needed safety equipment;
- Furnish safe machinery; and
- Instruct employees on the safe use and handling of products and equipment in the workplace.
Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Will Hold the Employer Financially Accountable
Because your loved one’s employer made the choice to forgo purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, you are more than in the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against them, whether the death was a cause of the employer’s negligence, your loved one’s or a co-worker’s mistake, or simply and uncontrollable act of nature. The Houston wrongful death attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates are available to help right away and can be reached today to set up a consultation at no cost to you. Contact us 713-221-6800.