Because Texas does not require companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance, trying to obtain compensation for the costs associated with an on-the-job construction injury can be difficult. According to The Dallas Morning News, one study revealed that construction workers make up only 6% of the workforce in Texas, but nearly 20% of the uncompensated hospital costs for work-related injuries.
In the construction industry, even finding the responsible party may be a challenge.
Subcontractors and liability
For one Texas construction worker who fell as a result of collapsed scaffolding, the medical bills and time off work have resulted in thousands of dollars in debt. The accident caused several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The worker’s employer was a subcontractor hired by another of the project’s subcontractors. However, many believe that the construction company that hired the subcontractors should provide workers’ compensation to all the people who work on the project. According to a spokesperson for the employer, the home building company does carry insurance for its own employees and requires subcontractors to at least carry liability insurance.
When companies do not carry workers’ compensation, they waive the right to protection from liability lawsuits that this type of insurance provides. In order to win a case, though, injured workers must prove that the employer was negligent.
In some cases, a third party may be liable for the accident. For example, if faulty equipment caused the accident, then the injured person may be able to sue the manufacturer or designer of the defective product.
Unless the state laws regarding workers’ compensation insurance change, Texas workers will continue to have to take employers to court before they can receive the compensation they deserve.