After a work-related accident, you will be facing many questions. Who will pay for the hospital bills and lost wages? What about the part that workers’ compensation won’t cover? Can I bring a claim against my employer, too?
A recent case decided by the Texas Supreme Court illustrates these questions well. In this case, a man died in a trucking accident after working way too many hours in recent days. The man’s surviving family tried to bring a personal injury claim against the trucking company, but the Texas Supreme Court decided against them.
Complex rules made simple
Although the rules around workers’ compensation and personal injury can seem quite complex, we can break it down and make it simple for you:
- Workers’ compensation: Workers’ comp is a form of insurance that almost all employers must carry. If you are hurt in the course of your employment, workers’ compensation is supposed to cover the costs of recovery, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot also sue your employer, with few exceptions.
- A personal injury claim: Although workers’ compensation generally prevents you from winning a claim against your employer, you can bring a third-party liability claim. A third-party claim is against someone other than your employer whose negligence had a direct cause in the accident you suffered. A classic example is a vendor, hired by your employer, who provided some tool or resource that was dangerous and caused you to have an accident. Dangerous factory machinery is a common culprit for third-party liability cases.
- Other forms of compensation: With an experienced attorney helping you, there may be other forms of compensation available. Talk with someone you trust to get the help you need.
None of these forms of compensation are easily obtained. Workers’ compensation is notoriously difficult to obtain successfully, and when it is obtained, it is usually inadequate for covering the full costs of medical care.
Make sure you work with a legal team you trust if you have been hurt at work. Your future finances could be at stake.