If There Is No Workers Compensation Can You Sue A Company?
In Texas, employers are allowed to choose not to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for employers with more than a handful of employees. While it is not required, most Texas employers still carry workers’ compensation in order to avoid costly and public lawsuits when their employees get injured or killed on the job.
When an employer has workers’ compensation, the employee or his or her family cannot file a personal injury lawsuit unless there are special, and typically rare, circumstances. Only if the death was caused by gross negligence or was intentional does the law allow the spouse and surviving children to bring a wrongful death claim, including punitive damages. Gross or egregious negligence is difficult, but not impossible, to prove. An example would be ordering an employee to work without proper safety equipment or to forgoing proper training for a hazardous job.
What if the Injury Was Caused by Another Party?
If the injury occurred on the job but was caused by or in part by another company or another company’s employee on the job site, the surviving spouse and children can bring a claim against those parties. Similarly, if the victim, who for this example was working on a road construction project, was killed by a careless driver, the family could bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver while collecting workers’ compensation benefits at the same time.
Bringing a Claim Against a Non-Subscriber
Non-subscribers to workers’ compensation insurance may be saving quite a bit of money by not paying workers’ compensation, but these companies have left themselves open to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Some companies have insurance plans of their own and not workers’ compensation, which means that the surviving spouse and children can bring a claim against the company.
These policies, which 1.4 million Texas employers have, are riddled with loopholes designed to work against injured workers, as reported by the Houston Press. Houston has nearly 3.2 million employed workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning that potentially millions of employees are not protected by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation is Faster, but a Wrongful Death Claim Often has a More Substantial Award
While workers’ compensation immediately begins paying for medical bills and operations, a wrongful death claim allows the plaintiff to sue for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of income, and other things that workers’ compensation does not. Although wrongful death lawsuits can take a couple of years to settle, it is usually the best course of action for the family.
For Egregious Acts of Employer Negligence, Call a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Gross negligence is rare, but it is not unheard of. In order for your employer to be found liable of gross negligence, they must have blatantly and possibly knowingly violated health or safety codes. Proving such unsafe working conditions can be complicated, which is why we urge you to call the experienced Houston wrongful death attorneys of Michael P. Fleming & Associates for help.