Getting hurt on the job raises the question, What are my rights? Unfortunately, despite the fact that workplace accidents happen every day, many of us don’t know the benefits we may be entitled to receive.
Even though workplace accidents and illnesses vary greatly from case to case, almost all create significant disruption to your daily life and undue financial stress. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can protect you and your family by getting you the benefits you need.
Read on to learn more about your rights if you were injured at work in Texas and how to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. If you have questions, contact us today.
Injured Employee Rights in Texas
If you are injured at work in Texas, you have a legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Unfortunately, Texas is the only state that doesn’t require private employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
If your employer does not participate in workers’ comp, they are called a non-subscriber and they might have chosen to carry their own liability insurance or insure themselves. So even if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you are still entitled to recover damages.
In these situations, when you cannot go to workers’ comp, you can file a lawsuit based on negligence against your employer. Proving negligence requires establishing proof of four elements:
- Duty—Your employer has a duty to provide a safe workplace for their employees;
- Breach—If your employer failed to provide a safe workplace, they breached their duty;
- Causation—Your employer’s breach must have caused your illness or injury; and
- Damages—You suffered damages or other losses as a result of the breach.
So there are two routes to compensation you can take when hurt on the job. You can file a claim with workers’ comp, or you can file a negligence lawsuit against your employer.
Figuring out your employer’s status and which route is available to you requires the help of an experienced attorney. But whether you go through workers’ comp or a direct lawsuit, you can get compensation for the same losses.
To receive benefits or damages, you must show that your injury or sickness resulted from your work duties. The following are just some examples of injuries or illnesses you can get compensated for:
- Broken bones,
- Sprains and strains,
- Neck and back injuries,
- Injuries due to equipment malfunctions or other safety failures,
- Electrical injuries,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Amputation or limb loss,
- Injuries resulting from repetitive stress or overexertion, and
- Illnesses from exposure to harmful or toxic chemicals or mold, asbestos, or lead.
It’s vital to get a complete medical evaluation to determine the cause of your injury or illness and your prognosis for recovery.
What Benefits Can I Get?
Benefits you could be entitled to include the following:
- Income replacement benefits can be temporary or for your lifetime,
- Medical benefits related to your injury or illness,
- Burial benefits for funeral expenses if a workplace illness caused a loved one’s death, and
- Death benefits for survivors when a loved one dies due to a workplace injury or illness.
Speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim or negligence lawsuit so you can get the help you need.
What Is the Workers’ Compensation Process in Texas?
Texas has a procedure for filing workers’ compensation claims. You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you were hurt or learned about your diagnosis. Failing to notify your employer within this timeframe may prevent you from receiving benefits later.
After providing notice to your employer, you must then file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance—Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your attorney can assist you with filing your claim and following up on the status of your benefits.
Suffering an injury or illness on the job is stressful and creates unnecessary hardship for you and your family. On top of your recovery, you may be wondering how you can continue to support your family if you’re unable to work again.
But the workers’ compensation claim process as defined by the Texas Labor Code is complicated and challenging to understand. No one should have to face these challenges alone. Let your Texas workers’ compensation attorney navigate this complex area of law so you can focus on recovering and moving forward.
What Should I Do After a Texas Workplace Injury?
There are several steps you can take after suffering a workplace injury or receiving a diagnosis of a serious workplace-related illness. These steps help strengthen your claim in the event your employer attempts to deny responsibility.
- Seek medical attention. Seek a medical evaluation immediately after your injury or illness, and retain all copies of your medical records. Your attorney reviews these records to evaluate the extent of your harm and to calculate the value of your claim.
- Notify your employer. Notify your employer as soon as possible about your workplace injury or illness. Reporting immediately proves that your harm occurred during the course and scope of your work duties and obligations, and you stand to lose your right to compensation if you do not file your claim within 30 days of the injury.
- File a claim. File a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company or a lawsuit with the court if you are pursuing a negligence claim. Your attorney can advise you, help prepare the filing, and see the case through to resolution.
- Maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement describes the point where your condition is unlikely to improve with or without additional medical treatment. Reaching your maximum medical improvement assists your attorney in determining what benefits you may be entitled to receive.
Texas workers’ compensation claims can be complicated. With so much on the line and valuable benefits at stake, it’s crucial to have a Texas workers’ compensation lawyer represent your best interests.
With over 85 years of experience fighting for the rights of Central Texans, our team of skilled lawyers has successfully represented thousands of Texans in personal injury and wrongful death matters.
Our firm prides itself on providing zealous representation, competent and credible expertise, personal service, and the necessary financial resources to maximize your financial recovery.
Our attorneys are there for you every step of the way, handling everything so you can focus on your recovery. We offer no-cost consultations and never collect any fees until we recover compensation on your behalf.
The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. never shies away from taking on the biggest corporations and insurance companies. We fight tirelessly to negotiate a fair settlement for your damages and are always prepared to go to trial, if necessary.