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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

How to File a Lawsuit for Workers' Compensation in Texas

An on-the-job injury is often devastating for the victim. Even minor problems can cause a person to go through excruciating pain, weeks/months of treatment, and other complications like lost wages.

Thankfully, the Texas workers' compensation law allows injured employees to seek coverage for their injuries and treatment. In many cases, seeking damages through workers' comp insurance is much more convenient than filing a lawsuit.

Is workers' compensation coverage enough for victims? It depends on the case. This page covers how workers' compensation works in Texas and how it differs from a traditional personal injury lawsuit.

What Is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

What Is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

It's an insurance program that offers income benefits and medical coverage to injured workers.

The main benefit of workers' compensation insurance is that those with a workplace injury don't have to worry about proving liability. They can get financial compensation regardless of who was at fault in many cases.

How Does the Workers' Compensation System Work in Texas?

Workers' compensation in Texas includes occupational illnesses and trauma injuries caused by awkward working positions or repetitive tasks.

It's important to note that workers' compensation insurance only covers work-related injuries. Anything besides that won't count toward the medical and wage loss benefits.

Workers' comp in Texas won't cover a work-related injury that resulted from worker horseplay and intoxication or unsafe practices. It doesn't cover self-inflicted injuries either.

Furthermore, employees who got injured because they didn't use protective equipment while working may not be able to recover compensation for their medical bills. For more information, Houston workers comp attorneys may be able to help.

How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Texas

Filing a workers' compensation claim isn't complicated. If the victim got injured at work, and their employer carries workers' comp insurance, they can start the process.

Here's how to file a lawsuit for workers' compensation in Texas:

  • Report the injury to the employer. Workers have 30 days from the date of the injury. They also have 30 days from the date they discovered the damages were job-related. Failing to file a work injury claim within this timeframe will likely revoke the victim's right to their benefits.

  • Fill out a claim form (DWC Form-041, in this case) to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation. Victims have one year from the date of injury (or discovery of its connection to the workplace) to send the form.

All victims have the right to hire a work injury lawyer for assistance during any part of the process. These legal experts can help determine whether the compensation is appropriate and process appeals if necessary.

Sometimes, the insurance carrier may deny the victim's claim. If this happens, they have 45 days to appeal the decision to the district or county court. An experienced attorney can help victims handle this part of the process as well as help with how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Texas.

Are Texas Employees Required to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Private employers in the state aren't legally required to carry workers' compensation plans.

Every employer who carries this insurance plan must notify their employees and post a workplace notice. This document should include the name of the insurance carrier.

What If the Employer Doesn't Carry Workers' Compensation?

There are two options here. If the employer doesn't have any kind of insurance, the victim may be able to sue them for their damages.

In other cases, employers don't carry workers' compensation but choose private benefit plans instead. These private plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This federal law establishes minimum standards for private plans to protect employees.

All workers should receive a notification about these plans at the start of their employment. Here, the employee would have to follow the claim guidelines established by these plans.

Is It Possible to Sue Texas Employers for Workplace Injuries?

Workers can't sue their employer if they're covered by workers' compensation. There are a few exceptions, however:

  • If the employee was working on a boat or ship

  • If the employee got injured while operating a punch-press machine

  • If the employee got ill from asbestos exposure

Additionally, if the injuries were caused by a third party, the victim can sue them. It's always a great idea to contact an attorney so that they can evaluate the case thoroughly. They can then come up with the most appropriate plan to seek compensation. They can also assist with how to file a lawsuit for premises liability in Texas.

What Evidence Do Victims Need for Their Claim?

Those who want to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against their employer must follow different steps:

  • Consult all possible options with an experienced attorney.

  • File a complaint with the court against the employer.

  • Gather enough evidence to support the claim.

  • Go through the claim's "discovery phase," which involves talking to the employer's legal team and reviewing evidence, among other things.

  • Negotiate with the employer and the insurance company.

  • Take the case to court if the victim and the defendant can't settle.

Victims should note that a lawsuit is a lengthier process compared to a workers' comp claim, and it won't necessarily result in a favorable outcome.

What If the Employer Retaliates for Filing a Workers' Comp Claim?

Some victims don't file workers' compensation claims because they fear getting fired. However, it's illegal for employers to retaliate against the victim for filing a claim.

If the victim believes they're being "punished" in any way for making their workers' comp claim, they could take legal action against their employer. An attorney could help these people evaluate all their options.

Bottom Line - Get Legal Help and Fight for Your Rights

Bottom Line - Get Legal Help and Fight for Your Rights

Dealing with employers and insurance carriers isn't always easy, especially with work-related injuries. Thankfully, workers' compensation policies allow employees to get benefits regardless of who was at fault, ensuring a smooth and simple process for everyone.

However, going through these cases without legal help could result in the victim getting less money than they deserve. Hiring an attorney is always the victim's best bet to get the compensation necessary to recover without problems.

The team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has former insurance company workers, meaning they know all the tricks these businesses use to offer less money to victims. These reputable lawyers will use their expertise to get justice for their clients.

Anyone interested in these legal services can schedule a free case evaluation with the firm today.


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