When an injury occurs on the job, a number of questions arise. One of the key questions workers often ask is, “Can I sue my employer?” The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including, notably, whether an employer has a policy of workers’ compensation in place.
In the event an employer has a policy of workers’ compensation insurance in place, an employee’s legal remedies in the realm of litigation are often limited absent specific situations and/or types of injuries. Workers in such circumstances often must instead go through the administrative workers’ compensation process separate from the courts.
In the event an employer does not have a policy of worker’s compensation insurance in place, however, a worker may not only have the potential to bring a case against his or her employer but actually be in a better position to do so given that an employer waives some defenses to a lawsuit by an employee absent a policy of workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in such circumstances are referred to as “non-subscribers.” In Texas, non-subscribing employers are deemed to have waived certain defenses to a lawsuit, including the defense of “comparative fault,” meaning they cannot blame the employee for causing his or her own injury or try to get an offset of responsibility by blaming the worker to some degree.
One “exception” to a nonsubscribing employer waiving the ability to shift blame to an injured worker is a doctrine called “sole proximate cause” by which an employer may nonetheless try to blame an employee for causing the entirety of the worker’s own injury. Notably, this is an all-or-nothing doctrine that does not allow an employer to partially blame a worker. Instead, the employer establishes that the workers’ injury was one hundred percent caused by the worker’s own failure in some manner.
If you or someone you love has suffered a work injury, call the experienced nonsubscriber work injury lawyers at Houston law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner at 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1-800-594-4884 for a personal injury consultation.