If you suffered a workplace injury in Sugar Land, it is important to understand your rights under Texas law. If you are wondering about the differences between a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit, you should reach out to an experienced Sugar Land attorney. Adam Capetillo can explain the differences between the two options and help you decide which path to take.
When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury in Sugar Land?
Whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace injury in Sugar Law depends primarily on whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. Texas, unlike most states, does not require most private employers to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. These employers are referred to as “non-subscribers,” and they must notify their employees that they do not have workers’ compensation coverage.
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance coverage, Texas law limits their liability for work-related injuries. In general, if your employer has workers’ compensation and you are injured on the job, you can receive medical and income benefits through workers’ compensation, but you cannot sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit.
If your employer is a non-subscriber, they do not have liability protection, and depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
What are the Differences Between a Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Below are three of the biggest difference between a Texas workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim.
1. Who Was at Fault for Your Injury?
Fault is not a factor in a workers’ compensation claim. You can still qualify for compensation even if you caused your injury. As long as you were injured on the job, you are entitled to receive benefits from your employer in Sugar Land.
For a successful personal injury claim, you must prove that your employer was at fault for your workplace accident. There must be a clear connection between your employer’s negligence and the accident. Because of this burden, there is a risk that you will receive no compensation for a workplace injury. If you were partly at fault for your injuries, you still might be able to recover, as long as your employer was 51% or more at fault for the injury. However, if you were more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
2. What Damages Can You Recover?
Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages are not available.
In a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to more compensation. In addition to medical expenses and lost income, you can recover damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refer to non-economic damages, such as mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of limb, and reduced quality of life.
3. How Much Time Do You Have to File?
There are various deadlines that you must meet throughout the workers’ compensation claim process. For ou have 30 days to report your injury to your employer, and you must file your workers’ compensation claim within one year of the accident.
You have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This may seem like a long time, but it goes by faster than you realize. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the better chance you have of recovering the maximum amount of compensation when pursuing either a workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuit.
Can You File Both a Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claim in Texas?
There are very limited circumstances when you may be able to file both a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim in Texas. You may be able to file both if someone other than your employer was at fault for your injury that occurred while you were working.
For example, if a defective product caused your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury against the manufacturer in addition to receiving workers’ compensation. Another common example is if you were driving a company vehicle on the job and got into an accident. You may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer, as well as a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Your Sugar Land Personal Injury Attorney
Adam Capetillo is an experienced Sugar Land attorney passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. If you suffered a workplace injury, we encourage you to call our office today at (346) 249-5544 to schedule a free consultation.