Understanding Workers’ Comp Non-Subscriber Compensation and Your Legal Rights in Texas Texas
If you’ve recently been hurt on the job it is extremely important that you seek the help of an experienced legal professional who specializes in work-related injuries, especially if there are negligent parties who do not subscribe to Texas Workers’ Compensation. Without an experienced work injury lawyer, you have virtually no hope of receiving the fair compensation you deserve.
Work injury cases can be some of the most complex in the legal world. The precise approach in handling your case depends on a large number of variables. But the most important point is first learning the truth of whether or not your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation. If he or she does subscribe, the employer is protected from further litigation and all you must do is file a claim through the workers’ comp program. Because it greatly benefits them, a lot of Texas employers may tell you they have workers’ comp, even when they are actually non-subscribers. As you read further you’ll understand why.
And though some aspects of workers’ comp law do apply to a non-subscriber case; a clear understanding of it is essential in your understanding of the specific strategy that your work injury attorney with our Law Firm can craft for you. So, if you want to receive every compensation dollar you deserve from a workplace injury, regardless of whether workers’ comp covers your employer or not, you must get help from an experienced attorney.
Understanding Workers’ Comp is Necessary, Even if it Might Not Apply to Your Work Injury Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation is essentially state-sponsored group insurance. It is nothing like a privately underwritten liability insurance policy that a non-subscriber to workers’ comp would purchase. Due to intense pressure by the insurance industry and their lobbyists, the legislature created and modified original (over 50 year old) state workers’ injury compensation program around 10 years ago. Today, workers comp is a complicated government bureaucracy. It protects employers from lawsuits and generally disregards the legal rights of employees to be fairly compensated for serious injuries when the employer is truly negligent. Workers’ comp benefits come out of a “pool” of funds that are provided by private insurance carriers. In Texas, employers may elect not to subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers who participate in workers’ comp fund this insurance pool through the premiums they pay through the participating insurance companies which, in-turn, band together to provide “umbrella insurance coverage” to the workers of the participating employers. Today, around half of Texas’ businesses participate in the state’s workers’ comp program and are virtually bulletproof when it comes to civil actions being filed against them for workplace injuries. It is assumed (but again, not required) that non-subscribers get their liability coverage from a commercial insurance carrier. So if you are injured on-the-job and your employer is a workers’ comp non-subscriber, you have every right to seek a claim from their insurance underwriter if they have private coverage, or in court from them directly through a civil action if it turns out they have no coverage at all.
Workers’ comp insurance provides some benefit to injured employees: and if their injuries are not serious, it can be pretty good for them. If your employer subscribes to workers’ comp and you are injured on the job, you will receive some reimbursement. It doesn’t matter how the accident occurred or whose fault it was because it’s “no-fault” insurance. But many times the amount of money you receive doesn’t cover the actual expenses of a serious job-related injury. And since employees of subscribers cannot file a lawsuit those employers, but still need payment for their injuries, we have helped many identify all liable third parties from which they can receive a more equitable settlement, in addition to their workers’ comp claim. More often than not there are third parties involved in such serious injuries that an investigation by the injury attorney will reveal.
For example, if you are hurt at a construction site and your employer’s workers’ comp covers your injury claim, you can’t file a lawsuit. But many construction site injuries are often the fault of at least one third-party and maybe more. Let’s say you are hurt in a scaffolding collapse and the equipment belongs to a subcontractor who didn’t properly assemble it. The subcontractor is liable. The company that built the scaffolding might also be liable if your injuries are due to a defect in the equipment and you can likely file a product liability claim against the scaffold’s manufacturer. So even if you cannot file a lawsuit against your workers’ comp-covered employer, you may have non-subscriber options that allow you to seek fair compensation for your job-related injuries over-and-above a workers’ comp claim. Our work accident injury attorneys will help you identify all likely defendants in your case.
And don’t forget that your employer may claim to have workers’ comp when he or she in fact does not. Employers may even try to quickly pay you benefits you would receive from workers’ compensation insurance and ask you to sign what they may represent as a “standard release” in order to further their deception. Your Texas non-subscriber work injury attorney will thoroughly investigate your employer and determine whether or not he or she has workers’ comp coverage. If your employer doesn’t and you have a very strong claim, we can help you file and win a powerful non-subscriber lawsuit.
If a third party is a workers’ comp subscriber for his employees, but is involved in your injury claim, you can file a work injury lawsuit against this person or company because you are not an employee, And of course, any third party may also be named a defendant in a non-subscriber lawsuit.
Is the Money Paid by a Workers Compensation Claim Really That Bad?
To us, workers’ comp payouts for serious injuries can be described in one word: appalling.
Victims of a job-related accident whose employer has workers’ comp receive no-better-than 70% of their lost income. But there is a $600 weekly a cap. So a carpenter who earns $70,000 a year and suffers a serious job-related injury, his workers’ comp coverage pays no more than a measly $600 per week in lost wages as he recovers from your injuries until he returns to work. And even that benefit runs out in 26 weeks unless he files for permanent disability. With such little compensation, hopefully that carpenter will recover quickly
There is another glaring danger to employees who are awarded workers’ comp claims. The amount they receive does not take into account the true value of lost future potential income. If you were to suffer long-term disability and cannot return to work, the most you would ever get from your employer’s workers’ comp disability is that same $600 workers’ comp amount per week for the rest of your life, through you previously earned about $1400 every week. Now you may receive an additional disability one-time lump sum, but that total amount of workers’ comp disability is insignificant when compared to the total amount of your lost future income.
And for some, it gets even worse. Let’s say you’re an employee at a warehouse in the evenings while you work your way through graduate school during the day to become a CPA. You suffer a serious spinal injury on the job, and are physically unable to work or even continue your education. You still receive the same 70% of only your warehouse salary for the rest of your life. And since healthy CPA’s often earn ten times that of a warehouse worker ($10-$12 an hour if you’re lucky) you lose a huge amount of potential income: certainly seven figures or more, from the many years you would have earned that huge accountant salary. This poses disastrous consequences for injured workers and their families. Lost future earnings is where the insurance companies that contribute to the workers’ comp coverage pool make a killing at worker-expense because they are immune to fairly compensating you for lost future earnings.
Is it any wonder why you must have an experienced Texas work injury lawyer in Bexar County who can effectively investigate your case and represent you? If your employer does not have workers’ comp, you must know so that you can recover a fair settlement for your injuries. And regardless of whether or not your employer has workers’ comp or not, you and your attorney must immediately begin the search for every third party who’s liable for the injuries you have suffered at work, so that together we can aggressively pursue all legitimate claims against them. Our workplace injury lawyers build strong cases. And we tirelessly fight for your right to win the fairest compensation you deserve.
Here’s How Non-Subscriber Lawsuits Work to Fairly Compensate You
In non-subscriber injuries, you have a right to file a traditional personal injury lawsuit against your employer to compensate you for a variety of damages. They may include:
The income you lost for the time your injury prevented you from working.
Your diminished earning capacity if there is long-term disability.
All of your medical expenses, including long-term healthcare if there is a disability.
Your physical pain and suffering.
Mental or emotional distress that you suffer due to your injuries.
With the help of their experienced attorneys and insurance companies (if they are insured) liable employers try to frustrate an injured employee’s claims by alleging that you and only you, the employee, are responsible for your workplace injury. In your plaintiff lawsuit, you are accusing defendants of being the proximate cause of the accident. Your insurance and legal opponents are essentially turning the tables and accusing you of the very thing they have done: You did it to yourself. You and your attorney must disprove those allegations and keep the spotlight where it truly belongs, your employer.
If you suffer a lifting injury at work, your employer might claim that since you were working alone at the time and there are no witnesses, your injury is your fault. But if our attorneys can connect the responsibility for your injury back to your employer, it’s much easier to prove negligence and the odds of winning your case get much better.
One way to prove employer negligence finds your attorney proving your employer’s inability – or refusal – to give you proper safety training or the right safety equipment. Or another might reveal that your boss didn’t tell another employee to help you lift an obviously heavy object and caused your injury. And there are several other ways a skilled attorney can turn the tables on your employer and prove negligence as the cause of your on-the-job injury, not you. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff (you). But so is the burden to disprove everything that defendants accuse of you. And sometimes those countercharges can be patently false and ridiculous.
Proving employer liability for an injury usually calls for intricate tactics so a jury understands the more discrete standards of legal liability. Our experienced attorneys are thoroughly familiar with non-subscriber work injury law, know how to prove your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence and lay the real blame for them at your employer’s feet. The work injury attorneys at our Texas Law Offices effectively help you prove your case and win the fair compensation you need in non-subscriber injury cases against your employer and any liable third-parties who contribute to your on-the-job accident.
Are You Really an Employee? Non-Subscriber Defendants Love to Claim You are Not
Many employers, regardless of whether they are workers’ comp subscribers or not, mistakenly believe (or purposefully claim) that their employees are “contractors:” which allows them to escape liability in work injury cases. This is because Texas work injury law states that only “traditional” employees are eligible to file work injury lawsuits, not contractors. But Texas law does not provide clear guidelines for determining employee status for the purposes of civil liability. This means an experienced work injury attorney must rely on previous rulings to determine whether a worker is an employee or contractor. In Texas, the sum of current “case law” is very clear. “In terms of civil liability, an employer-employee relationship is determined by the actual working relationship between employer and employee, not by a contract.”
Numerous conditions can establish an employer-employee relationship. The most straightforward is a variety of different documents that either state you are an employee, or gives clear public indication on the part of the employer that you indeed are. One clear-cut example is if a worker is performing services that are unique to an employer’s business. For instance, if a person works at Wal Mart, wears a Wal Mart shirt and badge, and serves Wal Mart customers, that person is a Wal Mart employee, regardless of the presence or absence of any sort of “contract” this person might have signed.
Over the past ten years, the line between who is “technically” an employee and who is not has become very confusing for non attorneys or inexperienced lawyers and, in some cases, very murky. Sometimes you, or your employer, might think you are an employee when you are, in truth, not. Many employers make the mistake of believing that by hiring contractors, they can automatically escape liability in work injury cases. And other non-subscriber employers may know full-well that you’re an employee, but purposely mislead you into thinking you are a contractor.
But this general topic brings a couple other important points that may or may not apply to your specific case. If you were hired by an employment agency to work at an “employer’s” company and suffered a workplace-related accident, your attorney must determine if the employment agency has workers’ comp. If so, then you would file a workers’ comp claim against the agency, which would then make the company where you actually performed the work a third-party defendant in your accident injury civil case. And if the agency is a non-subscriber, then it’s non-subscriber claims across-the-board.
Also, if your employer loaned you out to another company where the accident occurred, the issue of workers’ comp subscription is the primary determiner of your legal strategy and the company where you suffered your injury will likely be treated as a third-party defendant in any civil claim or suit. Again, if all defendants are non-subscribers, then workers comp will not apply in any way.
Why Should I Fear my Opponents In a Workplace Injury Case?
In all non-subscriber and third party injury claims or cases, the defendants often have large insurance companies with gifted attorneys to fight your compensation rights at every turn. And other times your employer is either “self-insured” or uninsured. They too fight just as hard, and are capable of underhanded and sometimes vile tactics to avoid paying for your workplace injuries.
Non-subscribers are represented by insurance companies most of the time. Their carriers use complicated delaying tactics and dispute you at every turn. Their attorneys are usually either in-house, or on-retainer. They are very good at defending insurance companies from people like you every day. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting high premiums and stubbornly avoid paying reasonable claims. They make you prove every little point of your case, file “nuisance motions” until – or if – they are persuaded that you and your attorney have a strong case. They won’t give up, even if they lose in court as they will then attack the amount of compensation you ask for and accuse you of filing a nuisance lawsuit. But they don’t always win, especially when you have a work injury attorney who knows every trick they pull, and how to counter it.
But as bad as insurance companies can be in an injury claim or lawsuit, employers who are liable for workplace injuries and are self-insured, or have no insurance altogether, are the most shameful. The shocking tactics we’ve seen some of them use in defending themselves against legitimate civil actions are disgraceful and sometimes, downright illegal.
Together, we will seek a settlement through an officer of the company or maybe even directly from your employer if it is a small company. This person’s salary is tied directly to the company’s profits. Any amount paid to you for an injury comes directly out company coffers. So by compensating you, your employer literally takes money out his own pocket. We are rarely surprised when a self-insured company officer uses any and all means for denying your claim in order to protect his company, and personal, assets. Often, their lawyers turn a blind eye to such shameful behavior and will claim ignorance to their clients’ devious actions. If you take-on one of these defendants by yourself, you’re just asking to get creamed.
Self-insured companies can sometimes deliberately dispose of damning evidence, bribe witnesses, and even intimidate you. They sometimes resort to physical threats to you and your family. Over the years we’ve seen hundreds of tricks self-insured defendants use against our clients. And it’s the reason why, when we represent a client against a self-insured company, the first thing we often do is to file motions that prevent anyone with the company from behaving inappropriately against our clients. Sometimes a motion includes demands that they make no attempt whatsoever to communicate with our client unless one of our attorneys is present.
We will not be intimidated. And we will not allow our clients to be intimidated either as they pursue justice for the serious work injuries they suffer. It’s their right to be fairly compensated. And it is our mission to protect them, and make it happen.
An Experienced and Local Accident Injury Lawyer with our Law Firm is Your Best Shot at Fair Compensation
We’ve given you a lot to think about. And you still probably have questions about the legal reimbursement avenues available if you have suffered a workplace injury that is significant enough to justify legal action. But that’s our point in sharing the many nuances of Texas workplace law, and employer liability due to serious on-the-job injuries. Many things can, and do, happen that affect your ability to be fully and fairly compensated for your workplace injury.
our Law Firm can help you seek fair reimbursement for being hurt on the job through no fault of your own. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation, we help you build the strongest non-subscriber lawsuit possible and counter the arguments and underhanded tactics that are used time and again by non-subscriber employers and the defense lawyers who help them avoid liability. And if your employer has workers’ comp, we will help you identify, plus seek additional damages from every other liable third party. We immediately and thoroughly investigate your employer to clearly establish whether or not he or she subscribes to workers’ comp, and plan an effective strategy once we know. We investigate the accident scene thoroughly, preserve evidence and hire experienced workplace injury specialists that cover just about any workplace injury scenario. We build strong, bulletproof cases!
Did You Know?
Our Texas Texas attorneys have won hundreds of work injury cases. Call us today to discuss your case. 1(800) 862-1260
But for your sake, please keep this very important piece of “free advice” in mind
Before you speak with an insurance company, or accept even a single dollar of payment or compensation from your employer, or sign anything, or attempt to file a lawsuit on your own, you must contact a competent lawyer. If you reach out to us for a free consultation, we will quickly tell you what your legal options are and how we can help you recover the appropriate compensation for your work-related injury.
ournon-subscriber work injury attorneys at our Texas Law Offices regularly win fair and just compensation for injured workers who were refused assistance by other firms. Not long ago we successfully handled a case for a worker who was injured on the job, but had initially signed-on to his job as an independent contractor. Eight different law firms said he had no case because the company that hired him used contract workers. But we weren’t convinced and ultimately, our firm found the “smoking gun” that proved he was an employee and won a seven-figure settlement for this injured, and very grateful, employee, because we successfully established a clear employer-employee relationship.
Our professional workplace accident attorneys at our Texas Law Offices have helped injured workers win the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. We have successfully investigated and resolved hundreds of high-profile work injury cases in our clients’ favor. We have faced-down virtually every major insurance carrier and work injury defense firm in the state. These corporations know how successful our attorneys are. And that’s why most of the time they offer our clients sizable and fair settlements once they know we’re on the case. They don’t want to face us in court.
The best ending for your workplace injury produces a fair settlement without having to go to trial. But if a trial becomes necessary, we will persuasively litigate your case to win the judgment you deserve so you can get back on your feet and resume a normal life.
So if you or someone you love has been hurt on the job, the Texas work injury lawyers of our Law Firm can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve, and bring those responsible for your work injuries to justice.
But the first step is for you to contact us at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll free) or fill out the form at the top of this page for a free consultation to find out every legal option that is available to you and keep you from becoming an even more tragic victim of workplace injury and negligence that you already are.
Starting at the Beginning: Determining the Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Status
We can thank our lawmakers (and the insurance lobby who pays for their lunches and nice vacations) for today’s difficulty in understanding workers’ compensation laws. No employer is required by the state of Texas to purchase workers’ comp insurance. Roughly one in two employers subscribe to the program. So, workers’ comp injury cases are divided into two separate types that require altogether different methods and strategies to resolve. Employers who carry worker’s comp are known as “subscribers.” Those who don’t are “non-subscribers.” In order to know how to proceed with your serious injury reimbursement, the first order of business is to determine whether or not your employer is one or the other.
Workers’ comp benefits are paid out of a “pool” of funds. This pool is stocked by private insurance carriers that participate in the program. It pays injury claims while it protects subscriber-employers from lawsuits and generally disregards the legal rights of employees. Whether the employer is negligent does not figure into the equation. Workers’ comp reimbursement amounts are limited or “capped.” So when an employee is seriously hurt, the monetary benefits they can receive often fall way short of what is actually needed to return to physical and fiscal health. Now workers’ comp does provide some compensation to employees who are injured on the job site. But it’s basically “no fault” insurance because those covered by workers’ comp are reimbursed, no matter how the accident occurred or whose fault it was. And subscribing employers cannot be directly sued for the more appropriate amount of fair damage compensation. And we’ll go over that in more detail in a bit.
But on the other hand, in order to receive restitution from a non-subscriber to workers’ comp, an injury victim must first file claim with the employer’s private liability insurance company or a lawsuit in civil court if the employer is not covered or has no insurance at all. Fortunately, for the injured party, the prerequisites that have been established to encourage companies to subscribe to “no fault” workers’ comp insurance are not as stringent as they once were. And these same lower standards of proving subscriber negligence, also apply against a non-subscriber in a civil case. So it’s not as difficult to assess true liability against a non-subscribing employer for on-the-job accidents due to these relaxed standards.
Since workers’ comp is cheaper than traditional employer liability insurance, one would assume all companies would be wise and purchase workers’ comp instead. But there’s no accounting for those who live dangerously (and pay higher rates) by not subscribing to workers’ comp, because it is comparatively cheaper than private liability coverage. So many employers still choose to roll the dice and take the risk of being a non-subscriber. Then, when the odds catch-up with them, they try to avoid a lawsuit and lie to you by claiming that they have workers’ comp when a worker is injured. These employers may try to quickly pay you benefits you would normally receive from workers’ comp , then ask you to sign what they may represent as a “standard workers’ comp release” in order to further their deception and get off the hook for the actual damages you are owed. But we don’t fall for this oft-used employer trick and neither should you
This is one of many examples of how you benefit from an experienced Texas workers compensation lawyer to get to the bottom of your company’s workers’ comp status, so you know what legal avenues are available to you. Once we have identified the nature of your employer’s workers’ comp standing, we then move forward together to secure your injury compensation.
You Deserve Compensation If You Have Been Injured on-the-job: But Getting it is Another Matter
Have you recently been hurt on the job? If you have, it is critical that you seek the help of a Texas truck work injury attorney who specializes in these types of civil actions if you expect to receive the fair compensation you deserve. Most on-the-job injury cases are quite complicated. They can be some of the most difficult to win because there can be many diverse factors that impact a work-injury case. But in Texas, the greatest issue in determining if you can be successful in recovering fair damages for your injury is whether or not your employer subscribes to Texas workers’ compensation insurance. You must start here.
If your employer subscribes to “workers’ comp” then the employer is likely shielded from a workplace injury civil lawsuit. Workers comp cases are called subscriber cases. And by law, they are not subject to civil lawsuits in state court, although there is an exception which we will discuss in a moment. But if your employer does not subscribe to workers’ comp, one option is to file in a non-subscriber case through the state’s Division of Workers Compensation. But just as often, filing a civil case against the defendant is appropriate. But you must know where (and how) to file before anything can be done.
Employers pay a portion of their income to the state for this “umbrella insurance coverage” and though it is not inexpensive for them, they find that the amount of money they pay to this state-run “insurance pool” is often less than what they would pay to a traditional commercial liability insurance company. Today, not quite half of Texas’ businesses participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
The rest of Texas businesses are considered non-subscribers to the program. Many – but not all of them – carry some form of workplace liability insurance. So if you are injured on-the-job, and the injuries are significant enough to justify bringing a suit, you are certainly within your rights to seek legal compensation in court for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability and other damages through a civil lawsuit.
But some employers neither subscribe to the state workers’ compensation insurance program, nor do they carry liability insurance for their business. When that happens you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer, and possibly even other third parties who might also have been found to be liable for your injuries. And even if your employer subscribes to workers comp, but if your on-the-job injury is caused by a third party, you can bring suit against them, even if you can’t sue your workers’ comp subscribing employer.
Complicated, isn’t it? Of course it is.
This is why you need the help of an experienced attorney to determine whether your injury falls under the state workers’ compensation subscription rules or not. The local experienced work injury attorneys at our Texas Law Offices can effectively help you protect your rights as a worker and help win a fair settlement for your on-the-job injuries. But first, you need to know who is financially obligated to pay the damages owed to you.
How Workers’ Comp Works: Sometimes it Doesn’t Work Very Well for Those Who are Seriously Injured
Think of workers’ compensation is a form of state-managed insurance. It is nothing like a normal business liability insurance policy.
Thanks to recent tort reform on the part of business and insurance lobbyists, workers’ compensation is now designed to protect employers from lawsuits filed by their employees by basically eliminating their right to seek high compensatory damages directly from their employer and their insurance companies.
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid from a state-managed fund; even if the insurance policies themselves are provided by private insurance companies. And as we mentioned, not all Texas, employers subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance.
This insurance “pool” can benefit injured employees, but only to a point. If you are injured on the job and your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation, then you will likely be compensated; regardless of how the accident occurred or whose fault it was. But the downside for you, the employee is that the amount of money a seriously injured worker receives through workers compensation is VERY limited, and doesn’t always cover your medical bills, nor all of you lost wages due to the injury. So if your injury is a major one and you’re not able to work for several months, workers compensation can produce hardship for your family. Workers’ comp essentially works best and most efficiently for minor injuries where the injuries aren’t severe and the employee is able to return to work relatively quickly.
But there might be some good news. For seldom are on-the-job injuries cut-and-dried, even if many, primarily in the insurance industry, might want you to think they are. There are often other sources of compensation revenue that do fall under the workers’ comp injury liability umbrella that may have played a part in your injury, and are legally available to compensate you for your damages. But they’re not easy to find: nor is holding the defendants accountable a simple matter.
Third Party Responsibility for On-The-Job Injuries Justifies Additional Civil Action
We’ve already shown you why you cannot directly file a civil suit against your employer who subscribes to workers’ compensation, and that much of the time workers’ compensation cannot fully pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. This is where an experienced work accident attorney can help you find third-parties who may carry some responsibility.
We investigate every work accident site, review paperwork, interview witnesses and collect forensic evidence that points to every liable contributor to your accident. After careful review of all of the data, most of the time we find another liable defendant or two who are treated as third party defendants to your accident. And they can be sued in open court.
For example, let’s say you work in a warehouse. A truck that is owned by a transportation company hits you. You aren’t entitled to receive damages from your employer past those offered by worker’s compensation if he or she is a subscriber. But you can bring a lawsuit against the transportation company for your injuries. Here’s another example: let’s say instead, that you are injured by a piece of machinery or other equipment that your employer owns. Again, you can’t sue your employer. But if the equipment that caused your injury is proven to be defective, the manufacturer is liable for damages through a product liability lawsuit.
Sometimes multiple third-parties can combine to cause your injury. And regardless of whether your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation or not, these guilty third parties have a responsibility to compensate you for your at-work accident.
Construction site injuries often involve multiple third-party contributors to a work accident. The general contractor might participate in workers’ compensation. So he’s covered. But with so many other contractors and subcontractors scurrying around the job site, many accidents are bound to happen. And not all are covered through workers’ compensation. If a scaffold collapses and you are injured, the company that built the scaffolding could be liable. If defective construction equipment causes you injury, you can likely file a product liability claim against the product’s manufacturer.
The bottom line is that you may have options in addition to workers’ comp to seek payment for damages from your workplace injury. Our work injury lawyers assist you in identifying all likely defendants in your case.
One other thing: we’ve seen many examples where employers “pretend” to have workers’ compensation, but actually don’t. This employer might even further the charade and “pay” you workers compensation benefits after your injury. The first thing we do is investigate your employer’s claim of of being a subscriber to the workers’ comp program. If this claim turns out to be false, and again, if your injuries are significant enough to justify legal action, we will help you file a very strong non-subscriber lawsuit in civil court, and then vigorously represent you.
What Are the Deficiencies of Workers’ Compensation and What Are My Options?
If you suffer a job-related injury and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you typically receive up to 70% of your lost income. But there is a cap on this amount of $600 a week. So if you are a carpenter and earn $70,000 per year, are injured on the job and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you will receive only $600 per week for lost wages while you recover.
But if you suffer long-term disability and can never return to work, you will STILL ONLY RECEIVE $600 per week for the rest of your life, even though you previously earned about $1400 every week. Now you might receive an additional lump sum payment at the end of your recovery, but most of the time these payments are very small when you compare them to your total lost income, or any lost future wages if the disability is permanent.
There is another disadvantage to employees who are awarded workers’ compensation claims. The amount you receive does not account for lost future potential income. Let’s say you work at a grocery store while attending graduate school at night to earn a graduate degree in business. You are seriously injured on the job, unable to work and are also physically unable to continue your education. You will still receive ONLY 70% of your GROCERY STORE salary FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (which is probably minimum wage or close to it) rather than the much higher salary you would have earned once you received your MBA.
This is why it is vital for you to have an experienced workplace injury attorney investigate your case. If your employer does not have workers’ comp, you must know so that you can seek a more reasonable settlement. But if your employer does have workers’ comp, you and your attorney need to immediately begin the search for third parties that are liable for the injuries suffered in your work accident, and aggressively pursue any legitimate claims you have against them. Our workplace injury legal professionals’ build very strong cases and fight for your right to receive the fairest compensation you are owed.
Third Party and Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Defendants Work Hard to Wiggle Out
If your employer does not subscribe to the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program, you have a right to file a traditional personal injury lawsuit against that employer to compensate you for a variety of damages. They may include:
Income you have lost for the time you spent in the hospital.
Your diminished earning capacity if the injury produces long-term disability.
All of your medical-related expenses.
Your physical pain, suffering, and discomfort.
If you can prove that you are suffering mental or emotional distress due to the injury, you may also receive damages to cover these expenses.
One popular defense that is used by your employer (and his attorney) if he or she does not have workers’ compensation insurance and you file suit against that employer in civil court is a very simple one. Your employer will say that you were solely responsible for your injuries: the sole proximate cause. And since the burden of proof is on you, the plaintiff in your civil injury case, it is also on you to DIS-prove all countercharges.
Employers, with the help of their experienced attorneys and insurance companies (if they are insured) usually build a case against an injured employee’s claims by alleging that you alone are at fault for your workplace injury. You and your attorney must turn these allegations and the court’s attention around to where it belongs; your employer. Employers, with the help of their experienced attorneys and insurance companies (if they are insured) usually build a case against an injured employee’s claims by alleging that you alone are at fault for your workplace injury. You and your attorney must turn these allegations and the court’s attention around to where it belongs; your employer.
Let’s say you suffer a lifting injury while you are at work. Your employer will probably say that, since you were working alone at the time and there are no witnesses, your injury must be your own fault. But if our attorneys can link your actions and your injury back to your employer, it’s much easier to prove negligence by your employer and you the odds of winning your case rise significantly.
A couple of ways of proving employer negligence include focusing on their inability or refusal to provide proper safety training or equipment, or they didn’t find another employee to help you lift the heavy or cumbersome object. These are only two – of several – ways to possible employer negligence as a direct cause of your on-the-job injury.
In order to punish non-subscribing employers, Texas workers comp laws enable workplace accident victims to secure much greater damages than if the employer had purchased workers comp insurance. And the workplace accident victim must merely prove standard negligence to win their case, which means the employer only committed a sole error or momentary inability to maintain safety. In a way, once you get them into court, you’ve won more than half the battle because you have a lower standard to prove in order to win your case. But as you can guess, the laws governing these principles are extremely intricate. So in order to succeed you will need a crafty workplace accident lawyer to assist you through every intricacy of this challenging legal process.
But there are times when connecting your injury to your employer this way can involve other difficult to understand forms of legal liability. But Our experienced non-subscriber attorneys, who are thoroughly familiar with work injury law, know how to prove to a jury that your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence and are not your fault but that of the defendants: non-subscribers or third party defendants.
Another Popular Defense Tactic: Claiming You are Not Really an Employee
The sole proximate cause defense is not the only option that non-subscribers have to deflect liability after an injury has been suffered by an employee. Many clever employers might anticipate an injury and begin avoiding liability for them even before accidents occur by trying to distance themselves from you as an employee, and their responsibility to fairly compensate you. Some even begin building that paper trail to prove their claim beginning the first day you show up for work.
Texas employers are not responsible for what happens to contractors’ on a jobsite injury. So many companies will claim to hire their employees as contractors. By calling you a contractor, your employer believes it’s possible to deny that an employer-employee relationship existed between you and the company, and then they will tell you that you don’t have a legal claim to compensation for your injury-related damages. Their logic is simple: why should they be responsible for an injury to a person who was technically never their employee to begin with?
While many employers try to claim their employees are contractors or temp workers who are employees of a third-party, the employer knows an actual employer-employee relationship exists in many of these cases, and an injured worker can still obtain compensation. So don’t be misled by this ploy. Even though your employer claims you are a contractor, in the eyes of the law you are likely still considered an employee, and are entitled to recover full and fair compensation for injuries that you have suffered on the job.
A skillful and well-seasoned Texas workplace injury accident attorney in Bexar County knows how to prove the employer-employee relationship by meeting at least one the following standards, and often more of them:
This brings another important point to mind. As we have previously told you, workers’ comp claims are less-than adequate when major injuries are involved, including wrongful death. So the traditional way for an employee to recover fair damage compensation is to file a workers’ comp claim against the employer of record (assuming that employer subscribes) and then supplement the claim with the appropriate number of third party claims or lawsuits.
Your Opponents Fight Very Hard to Deny Your Accident-Related Legal Damages
In most non-subscriber and third party workplace injury claims or civil cases, defendants can have large insurance companies and lots of attorneys to oppose you. Or your employer will be “self-insured” or uninsured. Regardless, all fight very hard, to avoid paying for your injuries.
Most non-subscribers are represented by insurance companies that have attorneys who are either on-staff or on permanent retainer. And they are very good at defending insurance companies from people who try to sue them. They’re especially successful against opponents who have no attorney to represent them, or those who hire an attorney who is overmatched against them. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting high premiums, and then avoid paying legitimate claims. They are confrontational and intimidating from the very beginning. They can be dangerous and frustrating. But they don’t scare an experienced work injury attorney like those with our Law Firm who know every trick they pull, and how to neutralize each one.
But self-insured employers or those who have no insurance whatsoever, who are liable for workplace injuries are a different animal and very hazardous to your case. They resort to anything that will work for them once an injured worker takes legal action to recover damages. Some of their tricks are shameful while others can be viewed as downright illegal.
You will be seeking a settlement from an officer of this self-insured company or maybe even directly from your employer if it is a small company. In either event, the salary of whomever you deal with is certainly tied directly to company profits. So, any damage amount paid to you for an injury comes directly out of company income, not a policy or security bond. So when he or she compensates you, your employer literally takes money out his own pocket. We stopped being surprised long ago when we see a sneaky, self-insured company officer use any and all means to deny your claim in order to protect his company’s (and his personal) assets.
Self-insured companies have been known to deliberately dispose of evidence as well bribe or intimidate witnesses; maybe even you. They sometimes resort to physical threats. This is why every time we represent a client against a self-insured company, the first thing we do is to file motions in court that prevent anyone with the company from behaving inappropriately against our clients. Sometimes these motions include a clear demand that they make no attempt to communicate with our clients in any way without one of our attorneys present.
Win the Compensation Your Deserve from Your Job Related Accident by Hiring an Experienced, Local Workplace Injury Attorney with our Law Firm
Our lawyers can help you effectively seek fair compensation for being hurt on the job, through no fault of your own. If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance (or not), we will help you identify, then seek the proper compensation from liable third parties; even if their liability can only be proven based on obscure legal case law. And if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, we can help you build the strongest non-subscriber lawsuit possible and counter the arguments that are used time and again by these employers and their shifty defense lawyers who help them avoid liability. We will immediately and thoroughly investigate your employer to clearly establish whether or not he or she has workers’ compensation insurance, and plan an effective strategy once that is learned.
But for your sake, please consider this bit of “free” advice.
Before you speak with an insurance company, or accept even a single dollar of payment or compensation from your employer, or sign anything, or attempt to file a lawsuit on your own, you MUST contact a competent lawyer. If you don’t do this, then you will be at the mercy of those who wish to deny you your rights to fair injury compensation.
If you contact us for a free consultation, we will be able to quickly tell you what your legal options are and how we can help you recover the appropriate compensation for your work-related injury.
The injury attorneys at our Texas Law Officess in have regularly secured fair and just compensation amounts for injured workers who were refused assistance by other firms. Not long ago we successfully handled a case for a worker who was injured on the job, but had initially signed-on to his job as an independent contractor. Eight different law firms told him he had no case because the company that hired him used contract workers. And yet, our firm still was able to successfully establish an employer-employee relationship. Because of that small fact, we won a seven-figure settlement for this injured – and very grateful – worker.
Our legal professionals at our Texas Law Offices have been helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. We have successfully investigated and resolved hundreds of high-profile work injury cases in our clients’ favor. We have faced-down virtually every major insurance carrier and work injury defense firm in the state. These corporations know how successful our attorneys are. Based on this, they often offer our clients sizable – yet fair – settlements once they we take on the case. This is because past-experience tells them they don’t want to face our lawyers in court.
The best outcome for your workplace injury produces a fair settlement for you without having to go to trial. But if a trial is necessary, we are more than willing to vigorously argue your case in order to win the fair judgment that you deserve from ALL defendants. We represent you to the best of our skill and ability. And if we’re able to secure fair compensation for you without taking your case to court, you can get back on your feet faster and resume living your life.
So if you or someone you love has been hurt on the job, work injury lawyer our lead attorney and his associates at our Texas Law Offices can help you collect the compensation you need and deserve, and bring those responsible for your work injuries to justice. Call us at 1(800) 862-1260.