This is the next post in our series on the handling of “non-subscriber” workplace injuries in Fort Worth or elsewhere in Texas. Our last article discussed calculating compensation for one who was injured on the job. It is important to understand that a victim may be entitled to future medical expenses and future lost wages. Expert witnesses will likely be necessary in order to establish such amounts. When selecting a personal injury attorney it is important to choose a firm with the resources necessary to retain such experts. In this post we will discuss another important topic – what to expect at trial. If you have questions about the process then you should contact a lawyer immediately.
We have previously discussed attending trial in a slip and fall case. Many of those same issues will apply to non-subscriber work injury cases. The process will begin with the selection of a jury. The Plaintiff will present his or her case and then the defendants will present their evidence. After the defense rests then the Plaintiffs will have an opportunity to present “rebuttal” evidence. Rebuttal is not a time to present new arguments; a Plaintiff may only use this stage of the case to present evidence which directly responds to claims made by the defense. Once each side has presented all of their evidence then the attorneys shall make closing arguments and the jurors will deliberate. Once deliberations have concluded then the jurors will rule in favor of either the Plaintiff or the defendants. The jurors will also be responsible for determining the workplace injury damages award in the event that they rule for the Plaintiff.
A key issue in workplace injury trials is that Texas’ comparative fault laws do not apply. In most personal injury cases, a victim in our state will be prohibited from recovering any damages if the jury finds they were at least fifty-one percent responsible for the accident. A victim would be able to recover if they were fifty percent, or less, responsible for the accident and their compensation would be reduced by their percentage of fault. In claims against an employer who does not subscribe to worker’s compensation, however, an injury victim can be compensated for their damages as long as the employer bears any fault for the accident. Such cases are one of the rare instances in injury law where a victim can be primarily responsible for an accident and still receive compensation.
If you have been injured while working for a non-subscribing employer then it is important to retain an attorney experienced in handling such matters. It is best if you retain a firm who has multiple lawyers, employs their own investigator, and who has the resources to retain necessary experts. You should look for these qualities in counsel regardless of whether you were injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in the state.