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Subscribers to Workman’s Compensation
Workman’s compensation insurance is government-subsidized insurance that is set up to help companies to insure their workers in case of an accident. In theory, it is supposed to protect workers against companies that will not or cannot pay for the workers lost wages and injuries. However, arguments could be made that it does more harm than good, and although we will not enumerate all of the reasons workman’s comp is ultimately a hindrance to the injured worker, we will say, in general, that it does limit the injured worker’s rights to sue and the amount that may be collected for damages received.
There are basically two kinds of employers regarding potential lawsuits- subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance and non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. The state of Texas does not require companies to carry workers compensation insurance. More on this webpage
If a company does subscribe to worker’s compensation, they are more protected against potential lawsuits than a non-subscriber is. In addition, there is no reimbursement for pain and suffering and there are limits set on monies recovered in most cases. Only in cases that gross negligence has been proven, can a company subscribing to workman’s compensation insurance even be sued. And this is important to note, especially since gross negligence is very hard to prove in court. For these reasons, one would think that most companies would opt to purchase workman’s compensation for all of their employees. However, many companies simply do not subscribe. In Texas, around forty percent of all companies are non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. Some choose to not subscribe because of the high cost, others choose not to sign up because they want to be self-insured or because they do not want excessive government intrusion.
Although for the most part when dealing with subscribers of workman’s compensation insurance you may not be able to sue them for your injuries, there are two exceptions to the rule. One is the employer’s gross negligence that led to the injury or death of a worker; the other is when another party’s gross negligence led to the injury or death of a worker.
An example of gross negligence of an employer is found in a case we tried at our Law Office. In this instance, a worker was asked to perform his work hanging high in the air from a crane without a properly working safety harness. The company was aware that the harness was not functioning properly, but thought it would be ok. However, the worker’s strap did not hold him and he fell to his death. The company then tried to cover its tracks by purchasing a properly working harness and fitting it on the dead man’s body. Later it was shown through testimony, research and forensics, that the company was grossly negligent and that they had to pay heavily for the damages caused to the person and to their family.
In other situations, the company may not be held liable, but another third party may. Other construction contractors or the manufacturer of equipment that malfunctioned are examples of this. The negligence may not be because of the irresponsible behavior of the company itself, but because of the actions of other parties. And sometimes, there can be a combination of all the above- the company, and the third party.
Whatever may be the cause, you need a seasoned construction accident lawyer to represent you and your interests when dealing with such situations. Because of the complexity and the difficulty in proving such cases, it is unwise to go it alone. Please give us a call today toll-free and let us go to work for you. The consultation is free.