Yes, if you’re a temporary worker who’s injured in the course of working for a non-subscriber employer, you may file a suit against that employer. If you can prove that the employer’s negligence, unsafe conditions, or violation of OSHA guidelines caused your injury, you can demand compensation for your damages.
What Is a Non-Subscriber Employer in Texas?
Unlike many other states, Texas does not require all employers to carry state workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees’ accidental work-related injuries. Employees of companies that do subscribe to state workers’ comp generally may not sue their employers over a work injury. Their only recourse is to file a workers’ comp claim for coverage of their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages.
At least half of Texas employers, however, do not subscribe to state workers’ comp. Some may have their own private workers’ comp insurance, while others might have no coverage at all. If you’re injured due to a non-subscriber employer’s negligence or unsafe working conditions, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for all your economic damages, including medical expenses and lost income, as well as compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.
As a Temp Worker, Who Is Your Employer?
If you’re injured on the job while working in a temporary position, your work injury claim could be complicated because Texas courts have generally held that you have two employers, both the temporary agency that assigned you to the job and the client company for which you were working at the time of your accident. In order to avoid paying your damages, each company is likely to claim you are the employee of the other company.
One Subscriber and One Non-Subscriber
If one company, such as the temp agency, does subscribe to state workers’ comp but the other company does not, you may file a claim for benefits with the subscriber employer, but you should also consult a work injury lawyer from SJ Injury Attorneys about filing a suit against the non-subscriber client company. Even if you are granted workers’ comp benefits by the subscriber, those benefits replace only two-thirds of your lost wages for a limited period of time and pay you nothing for your non-economic damages. In your suit against the non-subscriber, you may demand the other one-third of your lost wages as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
If neither the temp agency nor the client company subscribes to state workers’ comp, then you’re well advised to name both employers as defendants in your lawsuit for recovery of damages resulting from your work injury. Depending on the details of your accident, the court might determine that one or the other defendant is primarily responsible for compensating you. If, for example, you were injured due to unsafe conditions, safety hazards, or OSHA violations at the client company, you could have a strong premises liability claim against that employer.
Alternate Employer Endorsement
Temp agencies in Texas often carry state workers’ comp with an alternate employer endorsement. This means that both workers’ comp insurance and the client company’s liability insurance can be found responsible for your damages.
Why You Need to Hire a Texas Work Injury Lawyer
The complicated nature of cases involving injured temp workers makes it highly advisable for you to consult a work injury attorney. Your lawyer can find out who does or does not subscribe to state workers’ comp, investigate your accident thoroughly to determine liability, consult with your doctors to evaluate your long-term medical needs, and file one or more lawsuits for your damages, both economic and non-economic.
If you were hurt by a defective machine or other equipment, your lawyer can file a third-party suit against the manufacturer of the equipment or a repair service that maintains it. In most cases, your lawyer will be able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. If a fair award is not offered, however, your attorney can take your case to trial and fight for fair compensation in court.