Recovery When You’ve Been Injured On the Job
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, you need to know your rights. Texas law can be complicated, and we are here to explain how you can recover iff you’re injured at work. In Texas, there are three different ways to recover:
- On-the-Job Injuries: Sometimes, even if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage, you can still recover! Employers who don’t subscribe to Texas Workers’ Compensation can battle in court with injured workers. While workers’ comp subscribers cannot be sued, employers who do not subscribe can be targeted in lawsuits.
- Workers’ Compensation: Employers who subscribe to Texas Workers’ Compensation can compensate injured workers according to a set schedule. This system is a compromise between the interests of employers who do not want to be sued and workers, who need a baseline of reassurance that they will be taken care of when they are injured. But sometimes workers’ compensation lets you down and denies your benefits. When that happens, we are here for you.
- Third-party liability suits: A third-party lawsuit may be filed when an injury occurs on the worksite, but the negligence is by a third party, someone other than the employer. For example: If you are a carpenter on a project, and an electrician working for another subcontractor runs over your foot, you can sue the electrical contractor. You may even combine workers’ comp claims with a lawsuit—call us to learn about your rights.
How People Get Hurt on the Job in Texas
There are many ways workers get hurt on the job, including:
- Industrial accidents,
- Agricultural accidents,
- Commercial vehicle accidents,
- Loss of vision or hearing,
- Manual labor/landscaping injuries,
- Construction accidents,
- Manufacturing and Warehouse Injuries, and
- Oil field injuries.
In 2019, there were more than 187,000 nonfatal workplace injuries reported in Texas’s private sector. Of the reported injuries, almost 50,000 were serious enough to require an injured worker to take days off from work.
The general median amount of injury-related days away from work for Texans in 2019 was 10 days. Injured workers in natural resources and mining took a median of 19 days off of work. This is significant because mining jobs in Waco recently grew by 6.3%. With growing employment in Waco comes opportunity for more job-related injuries, and injured workers should receive compensation. A Texas workers’ compensation claims attorney can help an injured worker receive maximum compensation for their injuries and wage loss.
Workers’ Compensation Recovery Available to Injured Workers
There are many stressors that often follow a workplace injury. You need treatment, you have medical limitations, you have diminished earning capacity, etc. While it can take years for an injured worker to receive compensation in a personal injury case, some compensation is almost immediate in a workers’ comp claim.
If your injury causes more than a week of time away from work and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, your employer must immediately pay you temporary income benefits. Your temporary income rate is up to 75% of your average weekly wage.
You receive temporary benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI doesn’t mean you’re cured, but it means your physicians don’t believe your condition will improve with more care.
If you are not 100% cured after a workplace injury, you receive an impairment rating and the right to impairment income benefits. Your employer must make impairment income benefit payments within five days or less of receiving an MMI certification. Your employer must pay these benefits for a period of weeks based on the level of your impairment rating.
Your impairment income rate is 70% of your average weekly wage.
If your impairment rating is 15% or more, causing you to earn less than 80% of your average weekly wage, you can receive monthly supplemental income benefits. Your average weekly wage determines your supplemental income benefits, and you must make quarterly reports to the insurance carrier.
The options for recovery are diverse and complex. An experienced workplace accident lawyer like the professionals at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., can help you assemble a strategy for recovery that aims for maximum recovery.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
How Can an Attorney Help with My Income Benefits?
While some of your income benefits may be immediate, your employer may not pay you the full value of what the law requires. A Waco workers’ compensation lawyer can hold your employer to account for the full value of your benefits.
For example, your average weekly wage is a critical calculation in your claim and should be evaluated thoroughly. Normally, your average weekly wage is the average amount of money you made in the 13 weeks before your injury. If your work schedule was not consistent for the 13 weeks before injury, the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner may use any means they deem fair to calculate your average weekly wage. A workers’ compensation attorney can identify deficiencies in your average weekly wage calculation and petition to increase your income benefits.
I Don’t Like My Workers’ Compensation Doctor—Am I Stuck with Them?
You must choose your workers’ compensation doctor from a list of doctors the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner approves. Normally, the doctor you initially choose stays with you throughout your entire workers’ compensation claim. Sometimes that long-standing relationship is good news, and sometimes it isn’t. If you do not like your doctor, you can request a change of physician for reasons including the following:
- Your treatment by the current doctor is medically inappropriate;
- Your current doctor has a bad professional reputation;
- You are not receiving appropriate medical care to reach maximum medical improvement; or
- You have an impaired relationship with your doctor due to conflict.
Workers’ compensation attorneys in Waco can thoroughly review your medical records and research your doctor to help you make necessary changes to your care.
My Doctor Says I Reached MMI but I Believe My Condition Can Still Improve with More Treatment—What Can I Do?
You know your body better than anyone, and sometimes a doctor doesn’t understand the severity of your work injury symptoms or your potential for improvement. If you believe your doctor was incorrect about your date of MMI or your impairment rating, you can challenge them.
After receiving your doctor’s MMI certification, you have 91 days to dispute the MMI determination or impairment rating. With a dispute, the Division selects a new doctor to evaluate your condition and submit their own opinion regarding MMI and your impairment rating.
If the Division overturns your MMI determination or increases your impairment rating because of the new doctor’s opinion, you can receive additional care and/or additional income benefits. A Waco workers’ compensation lawyer can dispute your impairment rating and your MMI determination, and they can prepare you for your evaluation with the new doctor.
Call a Waco Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
A work injury can have far-reaching effects on your life. Facing a workers’ compensation claim alone may result in you receiving only a fraction of what the law demands for you. Workers’ comp lawyers in Waco can maximize your recovery and your benefits.