This is the next post in our series on the handling of construction accident cases in Fort Worth Texas. Our last article discussed the potential liability of “non-subscribing” construction companies which opt out of Texas’ worker’s compensation system. Such employers may be sued as would a defendant in any personal injury case. A worker will only recover in such a suit, however, if it is shown that the company was somehow negligent. Such matters can quickly become complicated and it is strongly suggested that you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer. In this article will discuss the potential liability of third-parties in a construction accident. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact an attorney immediately.
When people think of injury cases involving a construction accident, the first thought that comes to mind may be an employee bringing a claim against their employer. It is possible, however, that other third-parties may share fault for the accident. Such parties can include third-party vendors, equipment manufacturers, or other entities whose negligence can be tied to the accident. The claims against such parties would not be part of a worker’s compensation case and, instead, would be handled through the civil justice system in the same manner as any personal injury suit. Unlike cases involving non-subscribing employers, Texas’ comparative fault laws would apply to suits against third-parties.
The foregoing concept is best explained by way of example. Suppose a welder is employed by a non-subscribing employer. Now suppose that the employer follows a proper maintenance schedule and properly cares for all welding equipment used on the job. When the welder goes to work one morning and starts their welding machine, however, the machine explodes and the welder suffers serious injuries. An examination of the machine shows that there was a defect in the manufacturing process of the company which built the machine and, as a result, the likelihood of explosions was greatly increased. Under this scenario, the welder may very well have a claim against the manufacturer. In order to prevail in such a case it would be the welder’s burden to show that the manufacturer was negligent in their design or building of the machine and that it is such negligence that led to the accident. How the Judge or Jury will rule in such a matter will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
One point we cannot stress enough is that construction accident claims can quickly become complicated. Such matters can drag on for long periods of time, can cause a personal injury attorney to bear large costs, and will typically require expert witnesses. The complication and expense associated with such matters is why we suggest that you retain a firm in which the attorneys are board certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We also suggest that the firm you hire employee multiple attorneys and an on-staff investigator. This is true regardless of whether you were injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or any other part of the DFW metroplex.