April 20, 2018
Sue my employer for the negligence? The short answer is yes, if your employer is a Texas Non-Subscriber and has elected to withdraw from the Texas Worker’s Compensation Program.
No one wants to think of the unthinkable—becoming injured due to workplace accident. However, if that has happened to you, what are your legal options? Can you sue your employer for negligence? Are there other options besides taking your employer to State or Federal Court with a claim for workplace injury? Here are five things to keep in mind when weighing your options for work accident compensation.
1. What is the Duty of Every Texas Employer?
The law requires that Texas employers provide a safe workplace for their employees. If employers fail to do so, they may be liable for the injuries that result. In a general sense, an employer can be negligence by failing to provide proper training, equipment or tools, or by failing to provide the manpower necessary to do the assigned job.
2. What is Negligence?
Negligence in the workplace means that a company knew (or should have known) about steps it should take to ensuring a safe workplace for its employees but has failed to do so, and as a result, one or more employees have suffered injury. To determine whether an employer has been negligent, an injured employee can ask themselves, could having the right training, working tools, the proper equipment or additional manpower have prevented my injury. If the answer is yes, then there is a good chance the employer breached its duty to provide a safe workplace.
3.What if the Injury is Partially My Fault?
It is possible that you are partially responsible for the events that lead to your workplace accident. Even so, this does not necessarily mean you are not entitled to file a claim against your employer, especially when your employer may be more at fault than you are. If your employer is not a worker’s compensation subscriber and your are considering filing a lawsuit against your employer, the one thing you should know is that the employer loses the right to argue that the employee had any faultin bringing about the injury.
4. Why is There an Arbitration Agreement?
Non-subscriber employers often require an injured employee to sign an arbitration agreement in exchange for receiving medical and wage benefits. Most often, you are asked to sign this agreement while in a company orientation with several other employees or potential employees. You are not thinking of how this agreement will affect you in the future but, you are asked to sign it so that you can have medical benefits should you get injured. Most employees don’t even recall ever reading this agreement. An arbitration agreement is used to settle certain kinds of employment disputes in private rather than taking the matter to court (either State or Federal Court). This means that instead of having a judge or jury hear your case, the case will be heard and decided by an arbitrator. The arbitrator is usually a retired judge or a lawyer with extensive years of experience will hear the case, decide if you win or lose and, if you win, decide how much you win.
5. What are the Differences Between Arbitration and State or Federal Court?
For one thing, arbitration is usually a faster process than having a case filed at State or Federal Court. Also, you should know that you do not get to choose your arbitrator, you get to choose from about a list of ten, which two or three you do not want. In an arbitration, one person, instead of a jury, hears your case and decides if you win or lose and, if you win, how much you win. Finally, the appeal process is less favorable in arbitration than in State Courts. However, in some cases, your chances of winning on appeal in State Court are very slim. So, arbitration may be an acceptable alternative, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Hopefully, you never need to file a lawsuit or arbitration for workplace injury. However, should employer negligence strike, the above information can help you to make an informed decision about seeing work accident assistance.
Whether you decide to go the route of arbitration or file a claim in court, be sure to review and weigh your legal options carefully. Take time to research all factors involved, and seek the best advice possible. If you follow these steps, you can at least prevent a bad situation from becoming possibly much, much worse. Most importantly, do it early and as close as possible to the time when you were injured.
Speak with a work injury attorney that you can trust and one who can understand your needs. There’s no doubt that you will eventually hit a wall or a disagreement with your company’s insurance company so, you would be in a much better position being well represented when that time comes. Contact Attorney Hector L. Sandoval at Sandoval & Waldman, PLLC.