This is the next post in our series on the handling of workplace injuries in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Our last article discussed the need for experts in “on the job” accident cases. Expert witnesses will often be necessary in order to establish whether an employer was taking reasonable steps to ensure that the workplace was safe. When retaining a personal injury attorney it is important to choose a firm with the resources necessary to hire such experts. In this article we will discuss another important topic – how a victim’s damages are calculated. If you have been hurt while working for a “non-subscriber” employer then it is crucial that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
We have previously discussed the calculation of damages in trucking accident cases. Workplace accident cases are similar in that one may be entitled to compensation for past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, medical expenses, and, depending on the circumstances, punitive damages. We will discuss each of these in turn.
Those bringing a non-subscriber claim against an employer will be entitled to wages they have lost to date and medical bills they have already incurred. Calculating such damages is straightforward. It is important to understand that one is also entitled to future lost wages caused by an inability to work as well as future medical expenses necessitated by the injury. Such medical expenses may include future treatments, medications, surgeries, therapy, etc. In a serious injury case it will be necessary to retain vocational and medical experts. Vocational experts will testify as to the extent to which the injury has inhibited the victim’s ability to earn a living, the amount of money they would have likely earned but for the injury, and whether the victim’s condition allows them to be retrained for a new line of work. Medical professionals will testify in regards to one’s future needs, the costs associated with those needs, and the extent to which a victim will likely be in pain. The jury will decide on a damages amount after hearing testimony from the Plaintiff’s experts as well as those of the defendants.
A victim may also be able to recover punitive damages if the employer’s conduct was egregious. Punitive damages are meant to punish truly reckless or intentional conduct which places others in danger. If, for example, a construction company was aware of a dangerous situation and decided it would save money by not repairing it then the company may be required to pay punitive damages. In such a case the jury may rule that there is a need to punish the company as it would have prioritized profits over the safety of its workers. While punitive damages are rare, they are not impossible to obtain. Counsel can assist a victim in understanding whether they have such a claim against their employer.
If you have been injured while working for a non-subscribing employer it is crucial that you contact an injury attorney as soon as possible. When selecting counsel it is suggested that you retain a firm which has an on-staff investigator, which employs multiple lawyers, and which is experienced in handling such matters. You should look for such qualifications whether you were injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.