Can You Get a Lawyer for Injuries Caused by Equipment Malfunction?

Studies show that millions of people suffer an injury on the job every year in the US. Victims of equipment malfunction or negligence may find it hard to receive compensation in Texas without a lawyer because of legislative differences from other states.

Texas employers have significant influence with state laws and courts that enforce rules in their favor.  Massive for-profit insurance companies also work to deny or significantly underpay injury claims to protect their bottom line.  These factors can make a fair settlement difficult for injured workers who deserve more.

However, there is hope for injured workers who get the right legal help for their claim.  Continue reading to see when to get a lawyer involved and what options are available if you’ve suffered from injuries due to equipment malfunction or other on the job injuries.

What Qualifies as Equipment Malfunction?

Equipment malfunction can be interpreted in many different ways, which is an important reason to get a lawyer in the event of a workplace injury. Heavy equipment malfunction because of poor preventative maintenance, old equipment still in use, or due to poor safety standards are some examples. OSHA Standards are a good starting point toward litigation of a workplace injury.

What Kind of Compensation May Be Available?

Depending on the injury, some compensation is available if you are hurt due to equipment accidents. They include the following:

Medical Bills

Your employer may have to compensate you for any medical bills that can be blamed on the malfunction that caused the injury. This includes initial treatment, rehabilitation, and continuing health bills related to the injury. One very important step is choosing an approved doctor that will serve as your primary physician.

Lost Time

While Texas is the only state in the Union that doesn’t require an employer to carry workers’ compensation coverage (with a few exceptions), you may still be able to recuperate much of the wages or salary and medical benefits that you would’ve otherwise received had you not suffered an injury in the first place. If the employer is liable for your injury, then they should pay for the time you missed because of their mistakes.


Understandably, the death of a loved one is not a pleasant subject to talk to an equipment malfunction accident lawyer about. Yet, the employer of the victim of a death caused by equipment malfunction on the job may be responsible for the income lost by the deceased’s absence.


The deceased’s employer may be responsible for a part of the victim’s after-death care. This includes burial, cremation, or whatever method the decedent preferred.

Examples of Equipment Malfunction

Some examples of equipment malfunction may surprise you. You’re likely envisioning a car accident or heavy equipment accident when you think of the term. While these are issues, they are hardly the only incidents that may qualify. These include:

Maritime Injury

The Jones Act is in place to protect seamen when they suffer an injury in the course of their job. Someone is considered a seaman if they spend a majority of their time on a boat, ship, or oil rig that is navigating commercially.

The Act requires each seaman’s employer to provide them with a reasonably safe place to work. Like many workers’ compensation claims, employers can be difficult to work with, but a lawyer may be able to help.

Creosote Cancer

This may surprise you, but if you are not provided protection from creosote and you develop cancer because of your employer’s negligence, you may have a worker’s compensation claim.

18 Wheeler Injury

There are many ways in which our nation’s truckers may get injured on the job. There are many things to consider with claims in this area, including the owner of the rig, mileage expectations, safety inspections, mechanical issues, and weather.

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos has been outlawed for use in new construction for years.  However, there are thousands of older buildings and structures built before the ban that have significant levels of asbestos present.  Known for years as a cancer-causing building material, asbestos has been identified as a significant carcinogen. Because it affects the lungs and many other vital systems, employees working in buildings containing asbestos in walls or other structures may be unaware of its presence.  This “silent killer” could be exposing workers to health hazards that the employer may be held liable..

Oil Rig Injuries

Oil rig work is extremely dangerous by its very nature.  On any oil rig site, heavy equipment is everywhere and the labor is physically intense.  If you’ve been injured while working on an oil rig due to equipment malfunction, you may be able to sue your employer citing the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This Act of Congress protects workers from loss of income by requiring that the employer pay 2/3 of their salary at the time of their injury.

Medical Accidents

Medical workers are among the unsung heroes in our society.  Beyond the long hours and emotional toil, medical workers can be subject to accidents and other dangers on the job.  While medical professionals inherently accept some risk in terms of exposure, every step should be taken by hospitals and medical facilities to keep their workplace as safe as possible. Hospital administrators should consult OSHA Standards because the leading 3 causes of medical workplace injuries can all be easily avoided.

Non-Subscribing Employers And Higher Payouts

A non-subscriber company in Texas is any employer who chooses not to subscribe to workers compensation coverage.  When an employer opts out of workers comp coverage, the worker cannot file a traditional workers comp claim and must file a non-subscriber work injury claim.

While this may seem to put injured workers in a tough situation, it’s actually a bigger risk for the employer because they are leaving themselves open to almost unlimited payouts if an employee sues.  It’s an incredibly risky gamble for employers and could mean a significantly higher payout to injured employees.

For this reason, most employers in Texas are subscribers – the latest survey shows about 78%.

Being a subscribing company means coverage sets legal limits on:

  • The type of compensation an employee can collect
  • The amount of compensation an employee can collect

There are also some social and economic factors that may influence whether an employer is a subscriber:

  • Rates decreasing regularly, allowing more employers to afford coverage
  • Increased activism and publicity of workers’ compensation issues on an international stage

Employers are only required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they are:

  • Under contract with the state for construction or building projects
  • Public employers
  • Independent contractors (in some cases)

If an employer is a non-subscriber, they still must report any workplace injuries to the state.  Non-subscribers must let employees know about that status as well.

If You Believe You May Have a Claim, Get Experienced Help

Employers and insurance companies spend millions to protect themselves and their profits. Roberts Markland LLP fights for injured workers and has the experience to get the settlement you deserve.  We are proud to be among Houston’s top workers compensation law firms with millions won on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured and believe you have a workers compensation claim, don’t go it alone.  Contact us today. Let us speak for you.