In Texas, non-subscriber employers typically cannot argue that an employee assumed the risk of injury or death as a valid defense in a workplace injury or wrongful death lawsuit. This limitation is primarily due to legal principles and case law that have shaped the landscape of employer liability in Texas non-subscriber cases. Here are the key reasons why non-subscriber employers cannot rely on the assumption of risk defense:
Duty of Ordinary Care:
Non-subscriber employers in Texas owe their employees a duty of ordinary care to provide a safe workplace. This means that they are obligated to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace injuries and maintain a reasonably safe environment for their employees.
Employee’s Right to a Safe Workplace:
Texas law recognizes the fundamental right of employees to work in a safe and hazard-free environment. This right is enshrined in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act and public policy.
Comparative Negligence Standard:
Texas follows a modified comparative negligence standard with a 51% bar rule in personal injury cases, including non-subscriber workplace injury cases. Under this standard, an injured employee’s contributory negligence may affect the amount of damages they can recover, but it does not absolve the employer of liability for their own negligence.
Limited Applicability of Assumption of Risk:
While assumption of risk can be a valid defense in certain contexts, such as recreational activities or sports, Texas courts have generally limited its application in employment settings. The assumption of risk defense is typically not accepted when the injury or death results from the employer’s negligence, as employers have a legal duty to provide a safe workplace.
Public Policy Considerations:
Texas courts have recognized that it is against public policy to allow employers to use the assumption of risk defense as a means to escape liability for their own negligence. The public interest in workplace safety and holding employers accountable for maintaining safe conditions takes precedence.
Texas case law has established a clear precedent that assumption of risk is not a viable defense for non-subscriber employers in cases where the injury or death is a result of the employer’s negligence.
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It’s important to note that legal outcomes can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case, and exceptions may exist. If you are involved in a Texas non-subscriber workplace injury or wrongful death case, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in such cases. They can provide legal guidance tailored to your specific situation and help you understand your rights and options under Texas law.
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