In Texas, the provisions for workplace injuries are often more complex than in other states. For one thing, not all employers in Texas are obligated to offer worker’s compensation insurance, and not all employees choose to keep worker’s compensation benefits. If you are suing your employer after an injury, do you need to worry about being fired? A work injury attorney can answer this question and more.
Ask a Work Injury Attorney: Will I Lose My Job if I Sue?
In general, under chapter 451 of Texas worker’s compensation law, employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who have filed worker’s compensation claims. This may also extend to employees who are filing lawsuits against their employer for workplace injuries or to get worker’s compensation coverage.
It is your right as an employee to file a lawsuit against your employer if your employer contributed to your accident. Work injury lawyers in Houston will also explain that your job should be protected if you file a lawsuit against your employee for several other reasons, such as whistleblowing and sexual harassment.
Why Might You Sue Your Employer?
When you are injured at work, your employer should compensate for your medical injuries and lost earnings with worker’s compensation benefits and other employee benefits. However, there are scenarios in which you may need to sue your employer to secure these benefits. Some of these scenarios include:
No Worker’s Compensation Insurance
If your employer does not offer worker’s compensation insurance, the only way to seek compensation for your injuries and damages may be by filing a lawsuit against your employer. Generally, private companies are not obligated to provide worker’s compensation insurance, while government organizations or government-contracted companies are legally mandated to provide this insurance to employees.
Worker’s Compensation Denial
You may also want to file a lawsuit against your employer if your claim for worker’s compensation has been denied. Sometimes, employers deny claims for workplace injuries because they believe the injury did not occur at work or was caused by the employee’s negligent actions. However, if your employer denies your worker’s compensation claim, you have the legal right to sue your employer to repeal this claim.
Generally, these cases will be settled outside of court or through a trial. You will need to provide evidence that will prove when and how you are injured, including evidence that proves you notified your employer soon after you were injured.
Employer and Co-Worker Negligence
If your employer contributed to your injury, such as by having unsafe working conditions, you can also sue your employer for negligence. Depending on your industry, there may be specific OSHA safety standards that your employer must abide by. Not complying with these safety standards means that employees are at risk and that your injury might have been avoided if those safety standards were observed.
Additionally, if you were injured through a coworker’s negligence, you can also file a lawsuit against your employer or sometimes the negligent employee. Negligence from another employee can contribute to your injury in several ways, such as accidents involving falls, slips, and heavy machinery.
Severe Life-Altering Injuries
If you suffered from life-altering injuries and worker’s compensation benefits do not compensate for your full injuries and damages, you may also file a lawsuit against your employer. Life-altering injuries can include traumatic brain injury, loss of limb, paralysis, and loss of life.
What Does Worker’s Compensation Insurance Cover?
Worker’s compensation insurance is meant to cover medical benefits, death benefits, and income benefits. Essentially, this means your worker’s compensation payments or settlement will be used to pay for the bills for your medical treatment, your lost wages, or wrongful death.
What Does It Mean to Waive Your Right to Worker’s Compensation?
In Texas, employees have the right to waive worker’s compensation insurance benefits when they are hired. If your employer offers those compensation insurance benefits, then employees have the right to retain or reject these benefits within a certain timeframe after signing an employment contract.
Waiving these benefits means that you will not be able to file a worker’s compensation insurance claim when you’re injured. However, when these benefits are waived, this does allow you to file a lawsuit directly against your employer if you are injured at work.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured At Work?
If you are injured at work, there are several things you should do, particularly if you plan to file a worker’s compensation claim. For example, you should get medical care to take care of your injuries and record the date of your injuries. You should also notify your employer, preferably in writing.
If you are injured at work, and you need to sue your employer for worker’s compensation benefits, you should not be afraid of being fired in retaliation for this lawsuit. A Texas work injury attorney will tell you that employees have protections against retaliation from their employers, including for work injuries, sexual harassment, and discrimination.