Not all Texas employers provide workers’ compensation benefits following a workplace injury, nor are they required to under Texas law. If your employer is a non-subscriber employer, its defenses against your injury claim will be limited. However, your employer could raise the Self-Inflicted Injury Defense to try to avoid paying you the compensation you deserve.
What Is the Self-Inflicted Injury Defense?
Non-subscriber employers try to raise any defenses they can to avoid liability because if they are found even one percent negligent in causing a workplace injury, they would owe 100 percent of the damages the worker suffered. The self-inflicted injury defense is a statutory one that says an employer is not liable for an injury that was caused “by an act of the employee intended to bring about the injury.” It is a fairly common defense raised by employers even when they only suspect the employee injured himself and have no facts to back up the claim. Good employees who get favorable job performance reviews may be shocked to find their employers raising this defense. The argument employers raise in this situation is that the exemplary employee must have purposely injured himself because he was too competent to have made the mistake that caused his injury.
How Can You Defend Against the Self-Inflicted Injury Defense?
When an employer raises this defense, it can cast a shadow of doubt over an employee’s negligence claim. However, with the help of an experienced workplace injury attorney, a worker can defeat the defense. Strategies his attorney may employ include:
- Investigating your claim. A lawyer should conduct a thorough investigation of what caused the worker’s injuries and the evidence his employer is relying on to support this defense to find factual weaknesses that he can challenge.
- Cross-examination of employer. An experienced attorney will be able to effectively cross-examine an employer and any supporting witnesses to poke holes in the factual claims supporting the defense. What he uncovers in his investigation may help him to do this.
- Retain experts. A lawyer could decide to hire qualified experts, such as a reconstruction expert, to refute the employer’s claim. For example, a reconstruction expert would be able to reenact the incident that led to the worker’s injury to provide visual evidence of what really occurred.
You need an experienced workplace injury attorney to help you craft an effective strategy if your employer raises this defense. To learn more about your legal options if you suffer a workplace injury while working for a non-subscriber employer, contact us onlilne or call us directly at 817.380.4888. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.