If you suffer work-related injuries on-site at your job, what are your options? An accident at work can force you to take time off work, and could even impact future work prospects if the injury is severe enough. When do you need to contact a work accident injury lawyer, and how will your lawyer go about proving negligence?
Can You Sue for Damages if Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
The first thing you should find out is whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is a private business liability insurance that provides coverage for employee medical bills and lost wages due to accidents at work or job duties. Texas is among the states that do not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
If your employer does have workers’ comp coverage, you would file a claim for your injury and follow the required steps to report your injury. If you use workers’ comp coverage, you would not be able to sue your employer for damages. Additionally, and investigation in the the facts of your accident may lead to the discovery of other individuals or companies who may be responsible for your injuries. If those individuals or companies are not your employer, you may be able to bring separate claims against them.
If your employer does not have workers’ comp, you could sue them for negligence, which would require gathering evidence to prove that your employer’s negligence led to the accident that caused your injuries.
Whether your employer carries workers’ compensation or not, you should retain a work accident injury lawyer to represent your interests, either in court or with the workers’ comp insurance company. The insurance company will investigate to determine if you have a valid claim, and will look for reasons to deny or devalue your claim. In court, you will need to prove your employer’s negligence.
Proving Negligence Caused Your Work-Related Injuries
If you choose to take legal action against your employer instead of going through workers’ comp, what evidence should you gather? For the court to award you damages for your injuries, you must prove negligence by your employer. In injury cases, you as the plaintiff, bear the “burden of proof” to prove negligence “with a preponderance of the evidence.”
To prove negligence, you and your work accident injury lawyer must present evidence that your employer failed to address employee safety concerns or took some action that created a risk in your work environment. Negligence cases involve four conditions:
- Proving that your employer owed you a duty of care
- Demonstrating that your employer neglected their duty of care
- Showing that you suffered injuries and losses due to a workplace accident
- Proving that your employer’s action or inaction was the cause of the accident and your injuries
A jury will consider the evidence and determine whether the evidence supports your claim against your employer. If so, they will award economic damages for medical expenses and lost wages and possibly non-economic damages for pain and suffering and diminished quality of life. If your employer was reckless, wanton, intentional, or oppressive, the court may also award punitive damages.
What Evidence Should You Gather to Prove Negligence for a Workplace Accident?
You and your attorney should gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim and prove your employer’s negligence, including:
- Pictures or video from the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Expert witness testimony from medical professionals
- Reports about the safety hazard to prove your employer was aware of the hazard
- OSHA citations or safety grades from other regulatory agencies
- Medical bills and other expenses tied directly to your injuries
Contact a Workplace Accident Injury Attorney in Texas
Your work accident injury lawyer with our firm at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., can help you gather evidence, represent your interests with your workers’ compensation adjuster, and file claims in court. Call us today at 800.433.2408 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our offices in Odessa or Lubbock, TX, or in Albuquerque or Hobbs, NM.