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What Is The Definition Of “Employee” In Texas?

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If your company is dealing with an insurance claim related to an employee injury, the legal definition of “employee” is very important. Employees may be protected under certain insurance policies, but what about independent contractors? What happens when multiple contractors are working on the same worksite, and one employee becomes injured because of the negligence of another contractor? This can lead to some seriously complex legal issues, and insurance companies must defend themselves in the best possible manner.

The best way to approach this situation is to work with a team of qualified, experienced insurance defense attorneys. It’s best to work with insurance defense attorneys in Texas, as these legal professionals will have a strong understanding of local laws, regulations, and precedents. With the right legal assistance, it’s much easier to defend against these insurance claims and avoid unnecessary consequences.

The Texas Anti-Indemnity Act  

Found in Subchapter C of Chapter 151 of the Texas Insurance Code, the Texas Anti-Indemnity Act essentially prevents injured employees from shifting liability risks for negligence to third parties. This set of laws specifically relates to the construction industry. In other words, if an employee becomes injured due to the negligence of a third party (not their employer), the Texas Anti-Indemnity Act limits the employee’s ability to sue third parties that might have been negligent.

The Definition of “Employee”  

When it comes to issues related to anti-indemnity, the exact definition of “employee” becomes very important. Such was the case in a recent situation involving a crane accident in Houston. An employee became injured in the crane accident and required a leg amputation. This employee was hired by a general contractor, but this contractor then hired a subcontractor to work on the project. Next, this subcontractor leased the crane from Maxim Crane Works. Although the injured individual was employed by the general contractor, he chose to sue the subcontractor and the crane company for negligence. The subcontractor was covered under their insurance policy, but the crane company also tried to seek coverage under the same policy as an additional insured, but the insurance carrier denied them.

In the end, the crane company settled for $3.4 million with the injured employee and sought coverage under its own, separate insurance policy. The insurance company eventually required them to pay a $3 million deductible – plus the full bill of the legal defense. An appellate court found that the injured worker could be legally defined as an employee of the subcontractor despite being an employee of the general contractor. However, the crane company was still denied coverage. The state high court will eventually decide whether or not “co-employees” should be defined as “employees” under the Texas Anti-Indemnity Act.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today  

The dedicated Brownsville insurance defense lawyers at Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer, L.L.P. are prepared to assist you throughout each step of your case. Over the years, we have helped numerous organizations protect their financial well-being when facing insurance claims from employees and other entities. With our help, you can push back against these claims and pursue a positive outcome. Book your consultation today, and we can discuss your unique situation before developing an effective action plan together.

Resource:

lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=aee6e9c1-ed71-499f-a79e-fd963f174c1b

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