In Texas, employers who don’t opt for inclusion in the workers’ comp system are responsible for their employees’ injuries if they fail to warn employees of hazards. But that duty doesn’t extend to obvious dangers that should be clear to any reasonable person.
Recent case: Wade Skiles worked for Jack in the Box, delivering supplies to various restaurants. When the truck lift gate stuck during a delivery, Skiles got a ladder to climb and jumped into the truck bed from the ladder. He seriously injured his knees and sued Jack in the Box for negligence.
The Texas Supreme Court tossed out the case. It reasoned that the danger associated with leaping from a ladder into a truck full of goods was obvious, so the employer had no duty to warn Skiles about the danger. (Jack in the Box v. Skiles, No. 05-0911, Texas Supreme Court, 2007)