90,000 hours. 

That’s how long the average person will spend working in a lifetime. No doubt, long work hours lead to increased risks for suffering an accident at work. 

In 2019, the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation received 187,600 claims for workplace injuries. 15,650 of these cases involved sprains, strains, and tears to the shoulders, arms, and legs. Top causes of injury included slip and falls, overexertion in lifting or lowering equipment, and transportation accidents.

No matter the cause, getting hurt on the job is scary. You’re afraid of missing a paycheck or losing your job. 27% of the 2019 reported claims resulted in injured employees needing to take days off, and the average number of days taken off for work injuries is 10. 

This many missed work days can seriously impact your income. What are your options when seeking financial compensation after an accident at work? You know you can file a workers’ comp claim. But what about a personal injury claim?

This is why people call on a skilled Houston personal injury attorney. They want to make the right choice. At Johnson Garcia LLP, we fight for injured workers each day. Today, we share the information you need to file the claim that’ll put the most money in your pocket.

What if your Texas employer doesn’t carry workers’ comp insurance?

Texas law does not require employers to have workers’ comp insurance. How does this impact your ability to seek compensation for an accident at work?

If your employer fails to carry workers’ comp insurance, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. But you can’t file a workers’ comp and personal injury claim at the same time. This is because Texas limits the liability of employers who have workers’ compensation insurance.

Once you file a workers’ comp claim, you give up your right to sue your employer with a personal injury lawsuit. If you can’t do both claims at once, how do you decide which one is better for you?

Differences between workers’ comp vs. personal injury claims

Deciding which type of claim to file comes down to who was at fault for your work accident and by how much. Blame is not always clear so be sure to consult with an experienced Houston injury attorney who can guide you. Below are the two biggest differences between a workers’ comp and personal injury claim:

#1 Who was at fault for your workplace accident?

Even if the work injury was your fault, you can still qualify for compensation under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act

To file a personal injury claim, you need to prove that someone else was at fault for your work accident. Specifically, you need to prove:

  1. Your employer owed you safety.
  2. Your employer failed to keep you safe.
  3. You received injuries because you weren’t kept safe.
  4. That your employer’s failure caused your injuries.

 

In a personal injury case, if your work injury was partly your fault, you may still be able to demand compensation as long as your employer is 51% or more at fault for your work injury. 

But if you are more than 50% to blame, then you cannot seek compensation from your employer through a personal injury lawsuit. 

#2 Types of compensation available to you in a workers’ comp vs personal injury claim

Man experiencing pain from accident at work and deciding whether to file workers' comp vs personal injury claim
A big difference between a workers' comp vs personal injury claim is whether you can receive compensation for pain and suffering related to your work injury.

Both workers’ comp and personal injury claims provide compensation for lost income. However, only a personal injury lawsuit can get you extra money for emotional or mental pain and suffering, (like anxiety and depression) resulting from your workplace accident.

Both a workers’ comp and personal injury claim provide money to cover medical bills. Although the timeframe for when you receive this money is different: Workers’ comp claims are usually paid weekly.

Personal injury payments come in one lump sum. The skilled Houston attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP will work aggressively to settle your personal injury claim quickly so you can get your money fast.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit against someone other than your employer for a work injury

If you suffer a work injury, your employer is not the only person you can seek compensation from. You can file a personal injury claim against another at fault party when: 

  • Defective products cause your injuries. For example, you’re driving a delivery truck for work and you suffer an accident because the truck is defective. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck manufacturer or maintenance company. 
  • A third-party person who doesn’t work for your employer caused your injury. For example, if your employer rents the office space where you work and you suffer a slip and fall accident on the premises, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord who owns the building.

Make the easy decision to contact a Houston injury attorney today

Still trying to choose between a workers’ comp and personal injury claim? There’s only one decision to make right now: getting free legal advice from a trusted attorney near you. With over 30 years of experience, our Houston injury attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP will guide you every step of the way to help you make the best decision. Give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.