Construction zones are incredibly dangerous to both workers and casual passersby. In fact, according to OSHA, there are approximately 14 construction-related deaths in the United States each day. The construction industry’s “Fatal Four” – falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and caught-in/between objects and structures – are reportedly responsible for over 50% of these tragic accidents. Fortunately, construction workers in Texas have a legal right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if they’re ever injured while acting within the scope of their job duties. Of course, Texas doesn’t require private employers to have workers’ comp, so many independent contractors and construction workers pay for their workers’ compensation coverage.
But what happens if an employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation? Or what if an employee is injured by a third party or a sub-contractor?
A “Non-Subscriber Case”
Workers’ compensation is a double-edged sword because it protects employers from personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in accordance with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. Sadly, workers’ compensation rarely compensates workers for the full breadth of their injury-related expenses. With this is mind, an employee may have stronger rights to monetary compensation if their employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation.
A “non-subscriber case” is when a worker files a claim to seek damages directly from their employer. In this circumstance, the injured worker doesn’t even need to prove that their company exhibited negligence, so long as an employer or co-worker was at least 1% responsible for their accident and subsequent injuries. If the lawsuit is successful, the company will be ordered to pay restitution that covers the workers’ financial, physical, and emotional losses.
Pursuing Damages Outside of Workers’ Compensation
Of course, there are also situations where a construction worker may be able to file a third-party claim. For example, a General Contractor is responsible for establishing and maintaining the safety of a work zone. This individual can be held legally responsible if a sub-contractor or painter is electrocuted by live wires or harmed by faulty equipment. Likewise, a sub-contractor can also file a third party claim if they’re injured in a scaffolding accident triggered by the negligence of a fellow sub-contractor.
There is also another scenario to consider: if a worker is involved in a traffic collision while driving a company vehicle, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the employee could recover significant damages that far exceed the limits of workers’ compensation.
Modern construction sites are complex beasts operated by a farrago of companies and property owners. If a worker from an associated company or a property owner is responsible for a construction accident, injured employees can file third-party liability claims against the negligent parties and/or companies.
There are a few facts you need to know about third-party liability claims before you decide to take legal action:
- You can file third-party liability claims against contractors, subcontractors, developers, manufacturers, and property owners
- You may be able to pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and a third-party liability claim
- You must prove negligence to win your case
- You may be able to recover additional financial compensation by filing a third-party liability claim and a workers’ compensation claim
- You only have 2 years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim in Texas
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Qualified Attorney
Contact the The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC if you’re ready to file a third-party claim or have questions about non-subscriber cases. We can investigate your case, collect evidence, and help you prove that the negligent party is responsible for your injuries and any associated expenses. Our exceptional legal team has a comprehensive knowledge of OSHA regulations and can develop an effective claim on your behalf. With our assistance, you can recovery a monetary settlement or verdict that facilitates your recovery and alleviates your injury-related debts.
Schedule a free consultation today! Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112.