Third-Party Workplace Injury Claims in Houston
Workplace injuries frequently happen in Houston and other work sites in the state of Texas, causing significant injuries and financial hardship for the workers who suffer them. To make matters worse, too many injured workers find it challenging to get the treatment and money they need to get back on their feet after an accident.
While workers’ compensation benefits can be available to many employees, these benefits only provide for medical treatment and a portion of missed wages. What do you do if your workers’ comp benefits are not enough to cover your expenses while you heal and after?
One way to recover additional compensation after a workplace injury in Houston or elsewhere in Texas is to file a third-party injury claim. Someone else’s negligence should not be overlooked when it needlessly takes away your health and ability to work.
The Houston workplace injury attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm have more than 25 years of experience handling personal injury cases. We want to help if you have been hurt at work. We strive to understand what happened and why so that we can help get your life back on track. We have a history of success in representing our clients, and our clients pay attorney fees only when there is a financial recovery.
Contact us at our office in Houston today for a free case review.
What Is a Third-Party Claim in Houston?
If you are injured in a workplace accident in Houston or anywhere else in Texas, the primary parties involved are you and your employer. If your employer has purchased workers’ compensation coverage (not required of many employers in Texas) and is thus a “subscriber” to workers’ comp, state law does not allow you to make a claim or file a lawsuit against your employer for negligence.
However, if someone other than your employer caused the accident, they are referred to as a “third party.” A third-party injury claim is when you take legal action against someone other than your employer for a workplace injury.
One reason to pursue a third-party injury claim after a workplace accident is that these claims allow you to seek financial recovery for damages not covered by workers’ compensation. For example, workers’ compensation benefits pay only a percentage of your lost wages after an accident. A third-party injury claim allows you to seek compensation for the total wages you have lost, both in the past and future.
Additionally, in a third-party claim, you can pursue compensation for pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of earning capacity, and future medical care needs. These elements of compensation are either not allowed or very limited under the workers’ compensation system.
Types of Third Parties Who Could Be Liable for a Workplace Accident
A third party in a workplace accident broadly includes anyone other than you, your employer, and your co-workers.
Some third parties who are commonly involved in Houston workplace injury claims include:
- Negligent drivers — If you are injured in a car accident on company property or while participating in a work-related activity (aside from your daily commute), the accident should be considered a work-related incident. In cases like these, you can file a third-party injury claim against the at-fault driver and the driver’s employer.
- Property owners — Property owners can be held liable for work-related injuries if a safety hazard on the property causes the injury. Potential hazards include unreasonably dangerous conditions on the property such as unsafe work areas, poorly maintained equipment, fall hazards, unsafe floor or ground surfaces, poorly maintained stairwells, inadequate lighting, and more. Generally speaking, someone other than your employer must own or otherwise control the property where you were injured to make this claim.
- Product or equipment manufacturers — Many workplace accidents are caused by defective or poorly maintained products or equipment, including moving equipment such as forklifts, different kinds of industrial machinery, and static equipment like valves, pumps, storage vessels, and more. If you have been injured on the job because of an unsafe or defective product or equipment, you may have a third-party injury claim against the company that owned, should have safely maintained, designed, manufactured, or marketed the product.
- Negligent employees or contractors —All too many workers are injured on the job because of the negligence of another contractor’s or subcontractor’s employees. This can result from inadequate training, hiring of unsafe workers, inadequate supervision, inadequate staffing, or simple carelessness in performing work such as operating a motor vehicle or other moving equipment including forklifts. If the negligence or carelessness of another company’s employee caused your on-the-job injury, you may have the right to file a claim against that third-party employer and the individual.
Types of Damages You Could Recover in a Third-Party Lawsuit
The types of compensation you can potentially recover through a third-party workplace injury lawsuit fall into the following three categories:
- Economic damages — Economic damages related to a workplace injury are your financial losses caused by the accident. This category includes things like loss of earnings in the past and future, loss of earning capacity, and past and future medical care expenses.
- Non-economic damages — Non-economic damages include claims for the pain you have suffered, physical impairment (activities you cannot do or have difficulty doing because of the injury), disfigurement, and mental anguish or emotional distress caused by the accident and injury (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.). Non-economic damages can be challenging to prove in full without help from an experienced workplace accident lawyer But these damages are real and have value under the law.
- Exemplary damages — While economic and non-economic damages are related to specific losses you have suffered in a workplace accident, exemplary damages (also called punitive damages) may be awarded to punish bad behavior. To recover exemplary damages after a workplace accident, you must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the incident and your injuries resulted from fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
How an Attorney Can Help You Pursue Maximum Compensation
The Houston injury lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm can help with your case by:
- Investigating the accident to determine what happened, why it happened, and identify any potentially liable third parties
- Finding and preserving evidence of a third party’s responsibility for your injuries
- Interviewing witnesses to the accident
- Filing your lawsuit in a timely manner and before the statute of limitations expires
- Holding settlement negotiations with the third party and their insurance company
- Bringing your case to trial when necessary
Contact the Experienced Workplace Injury Lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm
The Houston workplace injury attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm want to help you pursue full compensation for you and your family after an accident. Our focus is on getting full justice for you and your loved ones and holding the responsible parties accountable for the harm they caused.
To discover more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.
To protect your health and your rights, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Verbally notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your employer in writing when you are able, and keep a copy for yourself.
- Contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss your legal options, which may include a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation, or both, depending on your situation.
- Keep track of your time off from work and medical providers.
- Follow your physician’s treatment plan.
The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm handles personal injury claims in a wide range of workplace injury cases, including those that involve:
While you can file a workplace injury claim without the assistance of a lawyer, it can be a confusing and challenging process, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. An experienced attorney can provide the guidance you need and handle the details of your claim to help you get the most compensation available under the law.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage or if a third party was responsible for your accident, having an experienced workplace accident lawyer becomes even more crucial as the attorney can help determine who is responsible, ensure a proper investigation is done and critical evidence is preserved, and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party on your behalf.
If a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed because of a workplace accident, under Texas law, the general rule is that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you will likely lose your right to make your claim. That is why it is important to consult with a workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights when your claim must be filed, and take the necessary steps to maximize your financial recovery.
It depends. If you were hurt on the job because of the negligence of a third party (a person or company – not your employer – who caused your injury), your claim can include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, and more. If the negligence of your employer caused your injury and your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to make a claim for negligence against the employer for compensation for these same elements of damages. If your employer did have workers’ compensation at the time of your injury, a workers’ comp claim can be made for benefits such as medical care and lost wages. And if a loved one tragically passed away due to work-related injuries, your family could be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim or death benefits from workers’ compensation. In many instances, more than one of these claims can be made. A knowledgeable workplace accident attorney can determine the type of claim or claims that can be made to ensure you and your family are fully compensated under the law.