was in a wreck in a company truck

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was in a wreck in a company truck

Truck was unsafe to begin with
didn’t even have a seat belt and
other things that made it unsafe
to operate. My employer wants me
to pay all my doctor bills and
then bring him the receipts and he
will help me out with some of
them. I am not even being paid for
my time off work because I have a
broken arm and nerve damage in my
right leg and my back.My employer
has fired me since accident what
can I do?

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) The key issue is: who was at fault in the accident? If you were nominally or seemingly at fault (such as in one-car accident), then you are not entitled to any compensation unless you can prove that the accident actually came about due to one of the safety issues you mention (e.g. no or bad brakes). If you were otherwise at fault (e.g. driving carelessly) and cannot show that what seemed to be your fault was actually due to a problem with the truck, you are no entitled to any compensation: an at-fault driver has to bear his own costs, damage, and injuries. 
If you can show that the real cause was a mechanical defect of the truck, you can then likely sue the truck's owner (presumably, your employer), because their maintenance failure caused the accident.
If another driver was at fault (someone else was driving carelessly and hit you), you can sue that person.
The main point of the above: you can only recover compensation from someone at fault in causing the accident; and whomever was at fault can be sued for the costs, damage, injuries, etc. coming from it.
2) If you are not working, your employer does not need to pay you.
3) If you miss work without being eligible for or using FMLA leave or paid time off (PTO) you accrued, like sick or vacation days, you may be terminated; only with FMLA or PTO can miss work without termination. You can find the rules for FMLA on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website.
4) You may be eligible for Worker's Compensation and/or short term disability, and should look into applying for both.


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