Workers’ Comp or Lawsuit for Personal Injuries in Construction Accidents


This article will help you identify when you can file a personal injury lawsuit, a worker’s comp case, or both after a construction accident. There are differences between a workers’ comp case and a personal injury claim in construction accidents.

When a worker is involved in a construction accident, he may have a workers’ comp case or a personal injury claim.

Workers’ comp or workers’ compensation insurance is intended to cover the medical expenses and lost wages of employees injured by an accident suffered as a direct result of work performed on the job. Workers’ comp insurance will cover the hospital, doctors, and physiotherapy expenses, among other medical bills, as well as pay any potential earnings the insured worker was unable to receive due to the injury or disability. However, Texas employers are not required to have (or “subscribe to”) Worker’s Compensation insurance.  What can you do if your employer doesn’t have this insurance?

When a worker is injured or killed in the performance of his work, he is entitled to workers’ compensation. If his employer doesn’t subscribe to it, the worker can sue his employer in court, by way of a personal injury claim.

For example, a construction worker is seriously injured when using a compressor; he loses a finger, and is taken to the hospital. If the company/employer provides worker’s compensation insurance, then a claim must be filed under the policy, however, if they don’t carry worker’s compensation insurance then this can be treated as a personal injury case instead.

 Also, if the fault of the accident and related injury is because of a third party, – such as due to problems or defects of the compressor or other piece of machinery – the worker may be entitled to compensation from that third party as well.  For example, when a construction worker is injured due to a faulty piece of machinery, that case may be turned into a personal injury lawsuit against the machine manufacturer. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help determine who all may be at fault in these types of situations.

What is the difference between a Workers’ Comp Claim and a Personal Injury Claim?

The difference between a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation case is that with Workers’ Comp you have no right to receive benefits for pain and suffering. In a personal injury claim, you have the right to be compensated for all damages suffered, including pain and suffering.

Our attorneys have experience and represent various clients in personal injury cases. We have recovered settlements and trial verdicts for our personal injury clients. 

Let’s look at the most frequently asked questions regarding cases of construction or work-related accidents in which workers’ comp can be replaced by a personal injury claim involving a third party.

Frequently asked questions in cases of construction accidents.

Can I sue my employer for a work accident at a construction site?

If your employer does not subscribe to worker’s compensation, you can sue your employer in court for personal injuries; you can also  sue the building or the property owners, contractors or other people responsible for your injuries. Contact our lawyers for more information.

A third party, if they caused the accident, may be sued. For example, the manufacturer, distributor or vendor of the defective equipment that caused the injury may be liable for injuries related to the work accident.

How can I know if I am entitled to workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim?

Texas, unlike some other states, does not require an employer to have workers’ compensation coverage.   To be able to differentiate between a case of workers’ comp or a personal injury claim in construction, as well as the at-fault parties,  we have to identify the cause of the accident and sometimes, this is not so easy. Our attorneys can help point out the differences between a workers’ comp case and a personal injury claim, among other things, in construction accidents.

My Boss Offers to Cover my Medical Expenses, should I accept?

 No, even though your employer doesn’t have a legal obligation to have workers compensation insurance, your accident can be classified as personal injury case; there are some benefits to a personal injury lawsuit as opposed to a workers’ comp claim. For one thing, your rights go beyond just medical expenses and are not subject to an arbitrary cap set by law.

In addition, your employer’s promises will probably begin to fade as soon as they begin to see the increase in medical bills.   If you are an undocumented worker, you are also entitled to workers’ compensation (if available), or to initiate a personal injury claim. 

I am a subcontractor; can I receive Workers’ Comp in Texas?

Texas doesn’t require most private employers to have workers’ compensation. But private employers who contract with government entities must provide workers’ compensation coverage for the employees working on the project. Some contractors may require their subcontractors and independent contractors to have workers’ compensation. 

But be careful not to leave money on the table. In many accident cases, it is the responsibility of the contractor or the property owner, regardless of how the accident occurred.

How long do I have to report a work injury?

If you have suffered an injury at work, you need to alert your employer at a certain time or you risk losing your ability to be compensated for it. The statute of limitations determines how long you will have to report your injury.

Is it advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer?

Yes. A lawyer with experience in personal injury claims can defend your rights and interests, in addition to fighting for the highest possible compensation for your case.

Our construction accident lawyers can represent union members, non-union members, and day laborers. The law in Texas is written specifically to protect the rights of all construction workers.

The more complicated or difficult it is to prove your claimed damages, the more you should consider hiring a Texas personal injury lawyer to fight for your injury case.

Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here. 

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.