When an employer decides to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits and becomes a non-subscriber employer, the employer loses certain defenses to a negligence claim raised by the injured worker. For example, an employer is 100 percent liable for compensating an injured worker if the employer is even one percent negligent in causing the incident. However, employers retain the right to ask workers to sign a post-injury waiver. Should you sign this agreement if your employer asks you to after a workplace injury?
What Is a Post-Injury Waiver?
A post-injury waiver is a legal document that is signed by a worker to waive his right to pursue a lawsuit against the employer. The waiver is often part of a settlement agreement where the employer agrees to pay the employee a certain amount of compensation for his injuries—in many cases for less than he is owed. Under Texas law, post-injury waivers must meet these requirements to be valid:
- Cannot be signed by the worker before he has been injured in a workplace incident
- Cannot be signed within the first 10 business days after the date of the initial workplace injury report
- Can only be entered into by a worker voluntarily and with an understanding of the waiver’s effect
- Cannot be signed until the worker receives a medical examination from a nonemergency care doctor
- Must be a written document where the intent of the parties’ agreement is included in the document
The post-injury waiver must be conspicuous, meaning it must be obvious to the worker that he is signing it. If the waiver is included on other paperwork, this requirement can be met by making the waiver portion larger or by using contrasting colors.
Should You Sign a Post-Injury Waiver Following a Workplace Injury?
If your employer asks you to sign a post-injury waiver, you should not agree to do so. You could be waiving your right to sue your employer for compensation for your injuries without receiving what you are owed in return. You never want to sign an agreement or other legal document in regards to your claim without the advice of an experienced workplace injury attorney.
What happens if you signed a post-injury waiver? You may be able to get out of the agreement if the employer did not meet Texas’ requirements for making it valid. However, you will need the assistance of an experienced workplace injury attorney to do so.
If you signed a post-injury waiver that is valid and try to file a lawsuit for your injury, your employer can raise the Post-Injury Waiver defense to attempt to get your lawsuit dismissed. Your employer could also raise this defense even if the waiver is not valid.
Were you injured in a workplace incident where your employer has opted out of paying workers’ comp benefits? If so you need to speak with an experienced workplace injury attorney as soon as possible. Review our case results to see how we have helped other clients and then contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.
We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.