According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 there were over 4.2 million job related injuries and illnesses and over 5,700 on the job fatalities. The most common causes of work-related fatalities include highway incidents, falls, falling or moving objects. Common causes of non-fatal work-related injuries include falls and overexertion in lifting and moving objects.
If you are hurt while at work or on the job, you should notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. In most instances, you should put the report in some type of writing and you should maintain a copy of the report for your records. You will also need to determine whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance. If so, you should report the injury to the insurance company. Sometimes an employer will ask you not to report the injury. This is a mistake and you should insist on reporting the injury. As with all injury claims, there are time limitations and filing requirements which need to be met if you are going to pursue a claim.
Often times these injuries an injured worker is covered by worker’s compensation. Workers’ compensation is typically provided by an employer to help an injured worker with his medical bills and lost wages. In Texas, absent special circumstances, an injured worker cannot sue his employer for its carelessness when the employer has purchased workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation is often inadequate and does not provide the injured worker with enough benefits to fully compensate for the loss. However, in many situations, the injured worker’s injury may have been caused by a third-party. In these situations, the injured worker can pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit against the careless third-party (so long as the third-party is not the employer). Third-party claims allow the injured work to pursue his or her claims without the arbitrary caps set by the workers’ compensation system.
Some employers chose not to purchase workers’ compensation. In this situation, an injured worker has what is commonly referred to as a non-subscriber case. This means that the injured worker has a right to file a lawsuit against his or her employer (absent some type of binding arbitration agreement). The advantages to this type of case are that the injured worker will not be limited by the arbitrary caps established by the workers’ compensation system. The disadvantage is that the injured worker will have to wait until the lawsuit is resolved in order to receive compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, you should consult one of our experienced and aggressive workplace accident attorneys. In an effort to help you or your loved, the attorneys of Sutliff & Stout, PLLC are happy to speak with you free of charge to discuss your concerns and situation.