In Hassan v. Rock, a plaintiff appealed from a judgment awarding him $212,136.64 in damages because he didn’t think the trial court should have reduced the award by his proportionate responsibility for the accident. The defendant had hired the plaintiff as a day laborer to clear brush out of an empty lot that belonged to the defendant’s friend. The defendant used a Bobcat loader, and the plaintiff crouched under the bucket. The bucket fell and hurt the plaintiff.
The plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence and gross negligence. The plaintiff objected to submitting proportionate responsibility questions to the jury, claiming that proportionate responsibility didn’t apply because the defendant was his employer but didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance as required under Tex. Lab. Code § 406.033(a)(1).
Nonetheless, the trial court submitted the questions related to the plaintiff’s responsibility for getting injured to the jury. The jury found that the defendant was 57% responsible and the plaintiff was 43% responsible. The plaintiff moved to disregard the jury’s answers to the proportionate responsibility questions. The trial court denied the motion and rendered a judgment reducing the plaintiff’s damages award by 43%. The plaintiff appealed.