Injury at Work – Employer Responsibilities

injury at work employer responsibilities

Workplace injuries can have devastating consequences for employees and could result in lost wages, mounting medical bills, and reduced quality of life. As an employee, it is critical to understand your rights and your employer’s responsibilities if you sustain an on-the-job injury.

Employers have a legal obligation under state law and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to provide safe working conditions and protect employees from known hazards in the workplace. If an employer fails to do so and their negligence results in an injury, they may be held liable.

If you’ve experienced an injury on duty, it’s essential to understand employer responsibility and your fundamental rights as an employee.

Fundamental Rights of Injured Employees in Texas

Employers have a legal duty to provide their employees with safe working conditions under both federal and Texas state laws. This responsibility requires taking proactive measures to identify and eliminate potential hazards in order to minimize the risk of workplace injuries.

Specifically, employers must:

  • Maintain work premises free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious harm to employees. This includes implementing proper maintenance protocols, regular inspections, and prompt repairs.
  • Provide appropriate safety gear and protective equipment necessary for hazardous work. This may include helmets, goggles, respirators, safety harnesses, protective clothing, etc.
  • Install proper safeguards on dangerous equipment and machinery. This includes machine guards, emergency shut-off switches, interlocks, and safety measures.
  • Establish and enforce proper operating procedures and safety policies. This includes training employees on safe work practices, posting safety notices, and taking disciplinarian action against unsafe behaviors.
  • Provide OSHA-mandated safety training on hazards and precautions for specific job assignments. Training must be provided at no cost to employees during working hours.
  • Post required OSHA notices regarding workers’ rights and employer responsibilities. Notices must be displayed prominently in the workplace.
  • Document and record all occupational injuries and illnesses as mandated by OSHA.
  • Provide employees access to complete and current OSHA safety standards for their worksite.

Failure to meet these responsibilities mayresult in OSHA citations and significant fines. Providing a safe workplace is a legal duty and critical for protecting employees from harm.

Reporting Workplace Injuries and Seeking Medical Treatment

Reporting Workplace Injuries and Seeking Medical Treatment

It is critical for employees to understand their right to report any workplace injuries immediately and seek prompt medical treatment. Reporting injuries, regardless of their severity, is a fundamental step in ensuring your safety and well-being as an employee. It also serves as the initial step in documenting the incident for any potential workers’ compensation claim or legal action.

Employers are obligated to inform their employees about how to file a workers’ compensation claim, if applicable as Texas does not require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. Understanding these rights and obligations is essential for navigating workplace accidents in Texas.

Rights of Employees

Understanding the rights of employees in the aftermath of reporting a workplace injury is crucial in ensuring they are adequately protected and fairly treated.

  • Right to Make Complaints: Employees are entitled to lodge complaints with regulatory bodies if they face retaliation for reporting workplace injuries or unsafe conditions.
  • Investigation and Enforcement: Upon receiving complaints, agencies undertake thorough investigations into the reported retaliatory actions. If an employer is found to have violated anti-retaliation statutes, these regulatory bodies have the authority to impose sanctions.
  • Seeking Legal Remedies: Beyond administrative complaints, employees have the right to pursue legal actions against their employers. This may include seeking reinstatement to their former position if they were unjustly terminated or demoted, claiming back pay for lost wages, or demanding compensation for any damages suffered as a result of retaliation.

Understanding and exercising these rights is essential for employees to protect themselves in the event of retaliation, ensuring a safer and more just workplace environment.

Legal Options for Injured Employees in Texas

In Texas, the legal avenues available to employees injured at work vary significantly depending on whether their employer participates in the state’s workers’ compensation program or is a non-subscriber.

Legal Options for Injured Employees in Texas

Workers’ Compensation Cases: Benefits and Limitations

Employees of companies that subscribe to workers’ compensation in Texas have access to benefits without the need to prove employer negligence.

  • Medical Benefits: These cover all necessary medical treatments related to the work injury.
  • Income Benefits: These replace a portion of the wages lost due to temporary or permanent disability resulting from the injury.
  • Death Benefits: Financial support is provided to the families of workers who have died from job-related injuries or diseases.

Some of the limitations of workers’ comp claims include:

  • Coverage Limits: Benefits for income replacement have caps on both the amount and duration.
  • Exclusions: Some workers, such as independent contractors, are not covered under the workers’ compensation benefits.

To initiate a claim, an injured employee must report the injury to their employer, seek appropriate medical care, and file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. It is essential to adhere to deadlines and provide thorough documentation.

Non-Workers’ Compensation Cases: Personal Injury Claims

Employees whose employers do not participate in the workers’ compensation system can pursue personal injury lawsuits. These types of claims are referred to as Non-subscriber claims as the employer does not “subscribe” to a worker’s compensation insurance program. Employees injured due to the negligence of a non-subscribing employer can seek a wider range of damages from their employers or other responsible parties. Pursuing a personal injury claim includes:

  • Filing a Lawsuit: Employees must prove employer negligence in a civil court to succeed in a personal injury claim.
  • Recovering Damages: The potential damages in these cases can include compensation for pain and suffering, full recovery of lost wages, all medical expenses, and possibly punitive damages if the employer’s conduct was particularly harmful.

Both paths offer different strategies for Texas employees injured on the job, each with specific benefits, limitations, and legal requirements.

Dual Claims: Filing Both Workers’ Compensation and a Liability Claim

In certain scenarios, employees might find themselves in a position where they can pursue a liability claim against their employer or a third party while simultaneously obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. This typically occurs in situations where an employee is injured at work, but it was due to the negligence of a party other than their employer, such as a contractor, equipment manufacturer, or another entity operating within their workplace.

Benefit of Dual Claims

Filing dual claims allows workers to receive immediate workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, while also seeking additional damages through a liability claim for pain and suffering or punitive damages not covered by workers’ compensation.

The primary advantage of pursuing both avenues is the potential for a broader range of compensation. However, navigating the legal considerations of dual claims can be complex and overwhelming for someone who isn’t experienced and formally educated in the law.

Employees considering dual claims should seek legal advice to understand their rights fully.

Contact The Callahan Law Firm Today!

If you have experienced a workplace injury, it’s important to seek legal advice to explore all available options and ensure your rights are protected. The Callahan Law Firm is experienced in guiding injured workers through both the workers’ compensation process and personal injury lawsuits. For a comprehensive assessment of your case and personalized legal guidance, contact The Callahan Law Firm today for a no-cost consultation with a Houston workplace accident attorney. We can help you take the right steps to get you the compensation you deserve.


What is the employer’s responsibility when a worker is injured?

The employer’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of the injured worker. This includes providing immediate medical care if necessary and reporting the injury to the appropriate state workers’ compensation board or insurance provider if applicable. Employers must also maintain a safe work environment to prevent future incidents.

What should be done immediately after an injury in the workplace?

Immediately after a workplace injury, the priority is to seek medical attention for the injured employee. The incident should be documented accurately, and the injury should be reported to a supervisor or the relevant department within the company. Ensuring the scene is safe to prevent further injuries is also crucial.

Who should be notified when an injury occurs in the workplace?

When an injury occurs, the immediate supervisor or the human resources department should be notified as soon as possible. The injured worker should also inform their direct supervisor.