Many private companies in Texas have the option of requiring injured employees to settle their claims through a court or arbitration. Instead of filing for benefits under a workers’ compensation insurance policy, an employee may negotiate his or her remedy with a third party.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, workers’ compensation may only provide benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. The program’s temporary financial support generally helps a family get by until an employee can recover enough to return to his or her job.

Pursuing a legal action against an employer who does not subscribe to workers’ comp allows an employee to also claim monetary damages for pain and suffering. If an employer’s willful negligence caused a serious workplace accident, a non-subscriber award may include additional compensation as a means to punish the company.

Common workplace accidents

Workers’ compensation claims do not require an employee to show fault. All he or she needs to prove is that an injury occurred while on the job. As reported by the Houston Business Journal, the most common claims involved injuries from slipping and falling at work. Employees in the service industry experienced the highest number of workplace accidents during 2018.

Manufacturing and construction workers faced severe injuries while performing their job-related tasks. Pain, sprains and strains from lifting heavy objects took their toll on employees’ blood vessels, tendons and muscles. Employees hurt from falling objects accounted for 36% of the requests for taking time off.

When an injury requires a claim

In some cases, filing a claim for workers’ comp may disqualify an employee from pursuing a lawsuit against an employer. If an employee’s injury or illness becomes catastrophically debilitating and he or she can no longer work, another option is filing a claim for long-term disability.

While these programs may not cover all the necessary medical expenses and personal damages, a legal action may help an employee obtain the full degree of relief that he or she needs.