I was hurt on-the-job. Should I file a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, and what state you live in, you may be able to file a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim or both. In order to know what your options are, you need to seek experienced legal counsel to find out your rights.
In Texas, if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, then for claims against your employer, you are generally required to go through the Texas Worker’s Compensation system. However, you may still make claims against third parties who contributed to your injuries. For example, if you are on the job and hurt by a subcontractor, you may be able to sue the subcontractor. Or if you are in a car wreck while on the job, you may be able to sue the other driver.
If your employer does not have worker’s compensation, then you can sue your employer if the employer’s conduct contributed to the incident. Improper conduct by the employer can be direct – for example, not properly trenching or providing safety equipment — but it may also be indirect – failing to properly train or supervise employees. Additionally, when employers choose to not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the employer is denied the right to assert defenses, including comparative responsibility. Thus, if you can prove the employer was at least one percent responsible for your injuries, then the employer can be responsible for the full amount of your damages.
Of course, there are exceptions to these rules so contact an attorney to know your rights in these situations.