Texas employees do not always enjoy the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance. That may seem like a bad thing, but not always.
When workers’ compensation does not apply, a full-fledged personal injury claim may be a possibility. This can be important when the injury or work-related death is due to employer or coworker negligence.
What a workers’ compensation claim lacks
When workers’ compensation coverage exists and applies to a particular injury or illness the employer’s negligence causes, the employee has limited options. The employee cannot sue the employer for the full personal injury damages resulting from the negligence. Rather, he or she may collect no more than some of the lost wages and medical treatment coverage allowed under the workers’ compensation rules in place.
Wage replacement is typically only a portion of the actual lost wages, as a matter of law. Typically, pain and suffering and loss of quality of life are not compensable when the matter falls under the Texas workers’ compensation scheme.
What a personal injury claim does not lack
However, if the employer opted out of the workers’ compensation system in Texas, the remedy can change. The employee may be able to pursue a personal injury case that can provide a fuller compensation for all of his or her damages. Employees need not limit themselves to the reduced damages allowed under workers’ compensation insurance rules.
Workers’ compensation coverage has some great benefits for smaller injuries one can rapidly recover from, particularly if the worker was at fault. But for serious permanent injuries or death, it may be a catch-22 that perpetuates the substantial losses to the injured worker that are not compensable.
Often, an employee or his or her family will not know whether there is applicable workers’ compensation insurance related to an injury or occupational illness. When an injury is very serious or results in the death of the worker, the family will likely face many issues. They may include how to get by financially while dealing with the initial aftermath of the tragedy.
Learning if the injured worker or family can seek a more comprehensive remedy instead of workers compensation is an important consideration. It may include more than just a portion of lost wages and medical treatment coverage and may be an important step towards moving forward after the initial injury event takes place.
Notwithstanding the positives that can result from a personal injury claim, with a more thorough level of compensation for all losses resulting from the injury or death, it can take more time than a properly filed and processed workers’ compensation claim.