Brian White | November 28, 2022 | Workplace Accidents
As an employee, you are entitled to a safe work environment. You are also entitled to receive the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to perform your job. PPE minimizes the risk of injury and exposure to hazards that could cause illness or disease.
COVID-19 put personal protective equipment in the spotlight. Employees were concerned about being exposed to the virus at work. Workers in medical facilities were vulnerable, but so were workers in grocery stores, banks, and other non-medical workplaces.
Whether your employer must provide PPE depends on the industry you work in and the rules regarding PPE for your specific job. Generally, employers and industries that place their employees at risk of injury must provide some type of personal protective equipment. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) sets guidelines for PPE in the workplace.
For example, employers must provide construction workers with specific types of PPE, such as hard hats and ear protection. However, someone in a hospital would not require a hard hat and ear protection. Therefore, you must check the OSHA requirements for your specific industry to determine whether employers are required to provide PPE to their workers.
The OSHA standards for PPE regarding COVID-19 exposure are difficult to understand. They have also changed several times since the pandemic began. Talk with a Houston workplace injury lawyer if your employer is required to provide PPE for COVID-19 or other workplace hazards.
Can I Sue My Employer in Texas for Failing To Provide PPE at Work?
Your employer is required to provide a safe working environment. It might be required to provide personal protective equipment. However, if you are injured on the job, you might not be able to sue your employer if it has workers’ compensation insurance.
Texas workers’ compensation laws prohibit workers from suing employers for negligence if the employer has workers’ comp insurance. Therefore, even if the employer fails to provide PPE, you cannot sue them for an injury.
Your only recourse is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp benefits include paid medical treatment and lost time benefits.
Unfortunately, workers’ comp benefits do not compensate an injured worker for all losses. Income benefits only compensate the worker for a portion of lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not compensate a worker for pain and suffering damages.
However, Texas employers can opt out of the workers’ compensation system. If so, they are referred to as a non-subscriber. Non-subscribers do not have the same protection against negligence claims that subscribers enjoy.
Therefore, if your employer fails to provide PPE and that failure results in an injury, you might have grounds to sue your employer for negligence. You would need to prove that your employer breached a duty of care and that the breach resulted in your injury and damages.
If you are unsure what to do after a workplace injury, talk to a Houston workers’ compensation lawyer about your case. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can analyze your situation to determine whether you can sue your employer for not providing personal protective equipment.
Why Would I Want To Sue My Employer in Texas?
As mentioned above, workers’ comp benefits do not compensate employees for all damages caused by a work-related injury. The employees are limited to the benefits provided by workers’ comp.
However, a negligence claim is governed by Texas tort laws. Personal injury claims for negligence can include economic and non-economic damages. Examples of the damages you could receive from a lawsuit against your employer include the following:
- The cost of medical treatment, including physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including the cost of personal care and assistance with household chores
- All lost wages, including a decrease in future earning potential
- Emotional distress
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical pain
- Diminished quality of life
A negligence lawsuit against your lawyer might be worth much more than a workers’ comp claim. However, you have the burden of proving negligence to win your case. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you do not need to prove negligence to receive workers’ comp benefits.
What Should I Do if I Am Injured at Work?
Always report the injury to your supervisor or manager. If you do not have a manager or supervisor, report the injury directly to your employer. Seek medical treatment for your injury.
Verify with your employer whether they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If so, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits. If not, you should talk with a Houston workplace injury attorney about your rights and options for suing your employer.
Contact the Houston Workplace Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
For more information, contact the Houston workplace accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
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Houston, TX 77098
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Houston, TX 77054