On-the-Job Injuries under Texas Law
Employees injured on the job during the course of their employment are entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in the workplace you may be entitled to recovery including monetary compensation to cover your physical pain, mental anguish, loss of earnings or earning capacity, medical bills, death and disfigurement, physical impairment and more.
Injuries on the job occur frequently as a result of exposure to toxic materials, equipment accidents, defective tools and machinery, falls, construction accidents, explosions, fires, defective or missing safety devices, negligence and so on. Many work-related injuries also result from transportation, including trucking accidents and accidents involving travel in company airplanes and helicopters.
Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident, employees and their families may be entitled to damages, lost wages and death benefits through either the Texas worker's compensation program, Texas personal injury laws, or in some cases both. When these injuries prove fatal families may also be entitled to various forms of compensation.
In most cases employees may not sue their employers for injuries they have sustained on-the-job during the course of employment. By Texas law known as the "exclusive remedy rule", an employee's only remedy may be to pursue a worker's compensation claim.
One exception to this "exclusive remedy rule" is if an employee can prove that the employer acted with intentional misconduct such as when an employer knew of a hazardous condition (such as asbestos) and failed to remove the hazard or warn employees.
Another exception known as the "punch press exception" can arise if an employer removed safety protection in order to increase production.
An injured employee may pursue remedies against third parties who may be responsible or may have contributed to the accident if the third party is not the employer. In these instances an injured party may pursue both a worker's compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit. Often the amount of recovery awarded in a third-party lawsuit exceeds that of worker's compensation claims which are many times limited by Texas law.
If an on-the-job accident proves fatal the family's estate may sue the employer for gross negligence under Texas wrongful death statutes. Of course an employer may also be sued if they fail to provide worker's compensation insurance.
John Q. Lawyer
Attorney at Law
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