If you work for a non-subscriber employer — meaning your workplace is not part of the Texas workers’ compensation system — you may have to go to court to be fairly compensated after your workplace injury in Houston. While the idea of having to file a lawsuit may not sound ideal, there is good news when it comes to making your case in court. Non-subscriber employers — which account for 44 percent of all employers in Texas—are barred from using a variety of defenses in an injury case.
Here’s a look at the defenses that will not be available to your non-subscriber employer when your workplace injury case goes to court.
Pre-injury Waiver of Liability
A non-subscriber employer cannot require their employees to sign a contract stating they will not sue if they are injured at work. These pre-injury waivers of liability put employees in a difficult spot if they suffer a workplace injury in Houston, so it is a good thing that a non-subscriber employer is prohibited from requiring them.
That said, employers can require employees to sign an arbitration agreement. These agreements require that workplace injury disputes be settled in front of mediators rather than via a lawsuit. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of when you start a new job.
Assumption of Risk
The idea here is that if an employee knows they could be injured in the normal course of their job, then the employee has assumed the risk. This means that the employee rather than the employer is now the responsible party if they are involved in a workplace injury. In this situation, it can be very difficult to demonstrate that you should be compensated for your injuries. Fortunately, a non-subscriber employer is not allowed to use this argument to defend themselves from a workplace injury lawsuit.
In many personal injury cases, the parties involved will try to demonstrate that the opposing party is at least partially responsible for the injuries in question. The idea that an employee contributed to their own injuries to one degree or another would be a possible way for employers to lessen their liability and therefore provide less compensation to the injured employee. But non-subscriber employers cannot make this case. If you can demonstrate that your non-subscriber employer is even one percent responsible for your injury, the employer can be required to pay 100 percent of the damages.
The Fellow Servant Doctrine
If another employee was involved in the incident that led to your workplace injury in Houston, your employer might want to argue that this second employee — rather than the employer — should be held responsible. But this is yet another defense that is not available to a non-subscriber employer. Even if another employee is found to be liable for your injuries, the employer could still be held responsible for your injuries.
Even With These Defenses Out of Play, You Need an Experienced Workplace Injury Attorney in Houston
While it is certainly to your advantage that a non-subscriber employer is barred from using the defenses we have discussed here, the fact remains that your employer will be motivated to avoid having to compensate you for your injuries. That’s why we don't recommend trying to defend yourself, and instead implore you to have a skilled, experienced workplace injury attorney in Houston by your side to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and their aftermath.
We Subscribe to the Idea That You Should Be Treated Fairly
If you have been injured at work, your entire life may be upended — and the impact may be long-lasting. From the moment you are hurt, there are immediate medical expenses and lost wages to worry about. There may also be long-term medical expenses and, if your injuries are serious enough, there may be ongoing lost wages due to disability. You may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
Our workplace injury attorney in Houston will vigorously pursue all of the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.