Your life could be turned upside down if you get injured at work, so you’ll want to learn about your options for recovering compensation as soon as possible. Under the circumstances, there’s a good chance you’ve considered seeking benefits under the Texas workers’ compensation system. For many employees who suffered injuries at work, this is the default remedy. Eligible employees can file a workers’ comp claim and start receiving benefits promptly, but there are some limitations on what you can recover.
In some circumstances, it’s possible to recover compensation from your employer outside of the workers’ comp system if you can prove negligence. You may find it useful to review some background information and signs on how to tell if your employer was negligent.
Why Employer Negligence Matters
Usually, when you’re injured on the job, you file a claim through the workers’ compensation system. Employees don’t need to prove that the employer was at fault, but there are some key drawbacks:
- You cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, scarring, emotional distress, and other losses; and,
- Depending on the state, workers’ comp is your sole remedy. You can’t file a lawsuit in civil court to recover the full range of compensation including non-economic damages.
Based on these factors, you can probably realize that it’s to your advantage if you can seek monetary damages through some other legal remedy. Though workers’ comp benefits pay your medical bills and some of your lost wages, these funds may not be enough to cover your losses.
Additional Legal Remedies for Injured Employees
Fortunately, you may have other options to pursue compensation as an injured employee. As the basis of most personal injury claims, the legal concept of negligence steps in to provide additional monetary damages under certain circumstances.
To establish your right to compensation in any negligence-based case, you must prove:
- The responsible party had a duty to exercise reasonable care;
- This person or entity breached the legal duty through careless or reckless misconduct;
- A direct link between the breach of duty and the accident which caused your injuries; and,
- The losses you suffered as a result of being hurt.
How to Identify Employer Negligence
When applying these four essential elements of negligence in the context of a workplace accident, the most critical factor is often the breach of duty. In other words, you need to pinpoint the exact actions of your employer that led to an unreasonably dangerous work environment. Some examples include:
Negligent Hiring: Employers have a duty to exercise reasonable care in vetting the individuals they hire, so a failure in the hiring process may be grounds for a negligence claim. An investigation would reveal whether a candidate has a criminal history of assault, sex crimes, or other violent offenses. Therefore, it could be a breach of duty where your employer didn’t conduct a background check and you were injured by the other employee.
Negligent Retention: An employer’s duty to keep the workplace safe extends to taking appropriate action regarding existing employees as well. If there’s evidence that the worker was unfit sometime after onboarding, a company may have an obligation to retrain, reassign, or terminate the individual.
Negligent Training: Work-related accidents are more likely to occur when workers don’t have the skills and guidance necessary to perform job-related tasks safely. The responsibility to provide training falls on the employer, who can be liable if an employee causes injury due to lack of knowledge.
Negligent Supervision: Similar to the duty to train employees, employers must also properly monitor and manage workers to identify problems and take corrective action. If the proper framework isn’t in place and you were hurt, you may have a claim for negligent supervision.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
As you can see, there are multiple ways your employer’s negligence could lead to a workplace accident. Experienced legal counsel from the Krist Law Firm can help you determine if you have options outside of workers’ compensation and develop an effective strategy to recover monetary damages for your losses.