This is the next post in our series on the handling of workplace injuries in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article provided an overview of issues which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one were hurt on a construction site. It is important that you contact counsel sooner, rather than later, in order to ensure that evidence is preserved, that witness statements are taken, and that your rights are protected. In this article we will discuss the handling of such cases when the construction company is a “non-subscriber” to the worker’s compensation system. If you are in need of assistance then, again, contact a lawyer immediately.
We previously discussed the fact that Texas does not require employers to participate in the worker’s compensation system. Instead, our state allows companies to classify themselves as a non-subscriber to the system and self-insure. This means that workplace injuries, involving such companies, will be handled directly between the employer and the employee. If an employee is hurt at work, and it can be shown that the injury was caused due to negligence by the employer, then the worker may recover damages as they would in any other personal injury case. A key difference, however, in cases involving a non-subscribing employer is that the victim may recover damages if the employer has any fault for the accident. This is different from other areas of Texas personal injury law, which require that the victim be no more responsible for an injury than was the defendant.
It is important to remember that a construction accident will not automatically result in a claim against one’s employer. It must be shown that the employer somehow failed to follow proper safety standards. Say, for example, that an employer failed to provide adequate lighting on a job site (as defined by the type of lighting typically provided on similar jobs) and an employee falls as a result. The lack of adequate lighting would likely result in a viable claim against the employer. If, however, the lighting was adequate and the employee fell simply as a result of not paying attention to where they were going, then the employer would likely not face liability. How a Judge or Jury will rule, in any given situation, is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case. It is vital that you retain an experienced workplace injury attorney to handle such matters.
Fort Worth construction accidents involving non-subscribing employers can quickly become complicated. It is important that you retain a firm which will handle your case properly. When selecting counsel, we suggest you retain a firm in which the lawyers are board certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We also suggest you retain a firm which employs multiple attorneys, as well as an on-staff investigator. Finally, your counsel should have the resources necessary to retain any necessary experts and to litigate your case for multiple years.