It is optional for employers in Texas to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, those who do must comply with rules and regulations. Similarly, employees covered by workers’ compensation may not sue employers, except in cases of gross negligence by the employer.
Employer misconduct could occur if an employee is fired because he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim. Similarly, the employer may not violate workers’ compensation laws by discriminating against that employee. An employer may also be deemed grossly negligent if a 14-year-old worker suffers an injury while working on a machine that requires operators to be at least 16 years old.
Another example that might indicate employer misconduct is when several workers had suffered injuries while working on a cutting machine. The employer neglects to fit the machine with the necessary guard to prevent contact with moving parts, and another worker then suffers an injury that causes him or her to lose a finger.
Most workers with workers’ compensation coverage understand that their medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages will be covered if they suffer workplace injuries. However, workers might have questions about their legal rights, particularly in cases where there is evidence gross negligence by the employer. The sensible step might be to consult with an attorney who has experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury laws.
Legal counsel in Texas can assess the circumstances and viability of a personal injury lawsuit and explain the legal options to the injured worker. If there are grounds to file a personal injury claim against the employer, the recoverable damages could be significantly more than the coverage that workers’ compensation will provide. In a successful lawsuit, the employer will likely have to pay other damages over and above workers’ compensation benefits.