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Work Injuries: What You Need to Know

August 3, 2022

In order to protect your rights as an employee, it is important to know what your legal options are if you are injured on the job. Work injuries can occur in a variety of ways, and it is important to understand your rights and what steps you need to take in order to get the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured at work, contact an experienced work injury lawyer today. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.

In 2020, employers reported approximately 2.1 million injuries—that is 5,753 injuries a day—and 4,764 fatal work injuries (Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d.). The leading causes of fatal work injuries include construction, transportation & warehousing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, & hunting.

fatal work injuries chart

The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that falls, slips and trips were the most common type of fatal injury in 2020 (33%), followed by violence and other injuries by persons or animals (17%) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d.). With respect to nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work, private industry employers reported 758,600 such cases in 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d.). The incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work was 2.8 per 100 full-time workers in 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d.). These statistics highlight the importance of worker safety and the need for employers to do everything possible to ensure a safe workplace for their employees.

How do employers and companies protect themselves from having lawsuits filed against them for their negligence?

Many employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance to limit liability against them from personal injury lawsuits.  Workers’ compensation insurance limits the types of claims injured workers can bring against their employer—often preventing injured workers from suing their employers.

Can you sue your employer if they have workers’ compensation insurance?

Usually, the answer is no.  If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, your ability to sue your employer on account of personal injuries is seriously limited.  Injured workers can still receive limited compensation for their injuries.  The compensation is generally limited to lost wages.  Additionally, the medical bills for the treatment you receive for workplace injuries are usually covered by the insurance company until a workers’ compensation doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement.

As a result of this scheme, injured workers will receive less than what they could have received, had they won a personal injury lawsuit.  Because when injured workers file a personal injury lawsuit, they can recover compensation for their past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity in the future, disfigurement, as well as mental anguish and pain and suffering.  On the other hand, when an injured worker makes a workers’ compensation claim, they cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and other types of damages.

If my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, can I sue them for their negligence?

Generally, yes.  When employers choose not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, they give up some rights.  In most personal injury claims, employers can attempt to blame the injured person who filed the lawsuit.  However, if you are injured at work and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, Texas law prevents your employer from trying to blame you for becoming injured.  Further, employers that choose not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance cannot argue that (a) you assumed the risks associated with the work you were performing, (b) a co-employee is to blame; or (c) they should not be allowed to sue for personal injuries when the injured worker signed a pre-employment waiver of liability.  If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and is found to be just 1% at fault for causing the injury, your employer is on the hook for 100% of the damages. 

If you have been injured on the job, call the work injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP to discuss what rights you may have.  We offer free, confidential consultations 24 hours a day. We’ll listen to your story and help you understand what options you may have. Don’t try to go it alone – let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today.

References:
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Injuries at Work – Frequently Asked Questions | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved May 3, 2021, from https://www.osha.gov/injuries-illnesses-faq#most_common_injuries_2020

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