Workplace accidents happen often in Texas. Whether it be injuries from power tools, falls from a roof, or even amputations caused by equipment, workplace accidents can be tragic. They can easily alter your life, sometimes permanently. If you are injured on the job in Texas, your rights to recovery/compensation may be covered under two types of claims. Workers’ Compensation is one type of claim, and Personal Injury is the other. It is critical that you know your rights, and that you hire a work injury lawyer to uphold them.
Workers’ Comp Claims
You should file a claim for Workers’ Comp if you are injured on the job. But, in order to do this, your employer first must carry Workers’ Comp insurance. Texas does not require employers to carry this type of insurance, however. In such cases, the employers are required by Texas law to notify their employee(s) that it is not offered. Texas law also requires the employers to give notice to each employee that they have up to five days to waive their rights to Workers’ Comp benefits. By waiving them, the employee retains their right to sue the employer for injuries that happen on the job.
Workers’ Comp Benefit Categories:
- Death benefits;
- Medical benefits; and
- Income benefits.
There are limits on the type and amount of compensation you can get for each of these categories.
If you do choose to file a Workers’ Comp claim, your injury may be covered only if it happened in the course and scope of your employment duties. In other words, the employee must be injured while carrying on the employer’s business. This also includes injuries during work-related travel.
Texas requires you to file an injury report within 30 days of the injury when filing a Workers’ Comp claim. After your claim is filed, you will receive your first impairment rating. Texas law allows you to appeal the rating up to 90 days after receipt. As for your Workers’ Comp claim itself, you must file the paperwork within one year of the injury. If the injury was not immediately apparent, however, the deadlines are different. They start to run from the date you knew, or reasonably should have known, of the injury.
Personal Injury Claims
Texas law also allows injured employees to file a Personal Injury claim, in contrast to a Workers’ Comp claim, if the employer is not covered by Workers’ Compensation. So, by not offering Workers Comp insurance, the employer may be subject to various personal injury lawsuits, wherein damages are practically unlimited.
For a Personal Injury claim to be a success, Texas law requires you to show that your employer failed to provide a safe workplace. There are many ways of showing this failure. For instance, you may demonstrate that your employer did not train their employees well, that your employer did not warn the employees of known dangers (or even dangers that reasonably should have been known), that your employer provided dangerous or unsafe tools for the job, and more.
Lawsuits Involving Workers’ Comp
There are unique situations where an individual may be able to file a lawsuit even though he is being compensated through his employer’s worker’s comp insurance provider. Such a situation arises when, even though the injured person’s employer has worker’s comp and thus, the injured person cannot sue his or her employer, there is a third party, or an individual or company who shares in the total or partial fault for the injured person’s injuries. Here is an example: a worker is working for company A at an oilfield drill site, the safety of which is mainly in charge of company B. The worker falls off a tower that has a broken step and severely injures his spine. The tower was provided and serviced by company B, who also failed to fix the broken step or warn the worker about its condition. The injured worker may be able to receive some medical care and have his or her employer’s worker’s comp carrier pay for it; worker’s comp may even pay for some lost wages. However, there are other losses that will not be covered by worker’s comp that the injured person nevertheless sustained such as disfigurement or physical pain and mental anguish. In that case, the injured person should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to investigate whether there is a viable claim against company B.
Hire an Austin Work Injury Lawyer to Ensure Compensation
As noted above, workplace injuries can be devastating. When injured on the job, you deserve compensation. Call Pastrana Law Firm at 512-474-4487 to find out for FREE how we can help.