After a workplace injury that was not your fault, you may be wondering what recourse you have to make up for what happened. In Texas, employers can choose to opt out of the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Employers who opt out are known as “non-subscribers.” Texas law permits employees of non-subscriber employers to receive compensation for workplace injuries if they can show their employer was negligent.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, there are certain steps you should take to increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How To Prove a Work Injury-Related Case
Proving a non-subscriber work injury requires thorough record-keeping. Keep detailed records of all your medical treatments and expenses throughout your recovery process.
Important records include hospital bills, prescription receipts, and any other expenses related to your injuries. It is also helpful to take photos and videos of the accident scene and to collect statements from witnesses who saw the incident.
The purpose of gathering all this evidence is to build a case showing that your employer’s negligence caused your injury. The law requires you to prove certain elements to prove negligence, and this evidence could make or break your case.
An experienced attorney will know how to gather and present evidence to make your claim as strong as possible.
To establish negligence, you must first establish that your employer owed you a duty of care to provide a safe environment. This duty includes, but is not limited to, an obligation to provide proper training, perform proper maintenance of equipment and machinery, and ensure compliance with safety regulations.
On the other hand, employers have no duty to warn employees about blatantly obvious hazards. If a commonly known hazard injured you, a jury would be hard-pressed to find negligence on the employer’s part.
Once you establish the employer’s duty of care, you must show they breached that duty. A breach of duty might be a failure to properly train employees, maintain equipment, or provide personal protective equipment.
Even if you can show your employer breached their duty of care, you also have to show that there is a clear link between your employer’s actions, or inaction, and your injuries.
If you were consuming drugs or alcohol, “messing around” on the job site, or participating in off-duty recreational activities, proving the employer’s negligence caused your injury would be extremely difficult.
After proving the first three elements, the last element you must prove is damages. Seeking medical attention and keeping detailed records is the best way to prove this element.
Conversely, the employer will want to show that you failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate your injury or manage treatment costs. Although Texas law allows employees to choose their doctors, the treatment and cost must be reasonable.
Contact a Lawyer Who Understands Non-Subscriber Work Injury Claims
If you believe your employer’s negligence caused your workplace injury, you need an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you maximize your compensation.
Proving a non-subscriber work injury requires a thorough investigation and a comprehensive understanding of the law. At Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP, we have won tens of millions of dollars in compensation for our injured clients.
You can be confident that our attorneys will invest the time and resources needed to get you the best outcome possible. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you with your workers’ compensation claim.