CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH AN ARLINGTON WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
Injuries can occur anywhere – including at work. Whether you work at a construction site or in an air-conditioned office, you can suffer a workplace injury. Though most states require employers to have a workers’ compensation system in place to compensate employees for their injuries, Texas does not require its employers to have such a system. If you suffered an injury at your workplace, you may then wonder how you can be compensated.
If you or your loved one has suffered a workplace injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Arlington workplace injury lawyers.
The Definition of Workplace Injury
“Workplace injury” is a catch-all term that includes a range of injuries that occur at the workplace. It may also include injuries that occurred while an employee was doing work that is in the scope of his or her employment. There are three main types of workplace injuries: occupational illness, repetitive stress injuries, and physical injuries.
Occupational illness is a subcategory of workplace injuries that is not necessarily physical in nature. A common example is a nurse who contracts a disease from a patient because of poor safeguards at the hospital. This nurse would be entitled to workers’ compensation if a workers’ compensation system was in place.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Most jobs can be described as monotonous. Physically monotonous jobs can not only be boring, but also dangerous. For instance, if you work at an office and type reports all day long, you are constantly using your wrists and fingers. Unfortunately, typing all day can damage your wrists and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Physical injuries are what they sound like: injuries that occur due to physical movement. For instance, let’s say you were working at a construction site and you accidentally fall off a ledge and break your arm. This would count as a physical injury. Physical injuries can occur even if your job is not physically intensive. If you work at an office and you hurt your back after carrying a large box of files, this injury would too count as a physical injury.
Types of Workplace Injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Hearing loss
- Work-related heart attack
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
- Construction accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Manufacturing accidents
- Defective machinery
- Oilfield accidents
What to Do After a Workplace Injury
1. Stop Working Immediately
Many of us want to get the job done once we start a job. However, if you suffered an injury while on the job, it is time to throw in the towel. Though a workplace injury may seem minor and you feel like you can continue with your work, you should not do so, as you may only worsen your injury. Furthermore, if you keep working, your workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit may be affected. For example, when a claims adjuster reviews your claim, he or she may doubt that your injuries warrant a certain level of compensation because you did not stop working once you received the injuries.
2. Get Medical Attention
Get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible after an injury. A doctor’s examination and ensuing report are essential in establishing concrete evidence for your claim. Furthermore, it is important for your own health as sometimes your injuries may be more severe than you may have thought.
3. Report Your Injury or Illness to Your Employer
In Texas, you have 30 days from the date of a physical injury or 30 days from the date of discovery of an illness to notify your employer. Look at your employer’s workplace injury policy for more information.
4. Collect Evidence and Gather Witness Information
Though your employer may have signed up for workers’ compensation, be sure to diligently document and collect evidence from the scene of the accident, as you may need it to sue other parties if need be.
Witnesses are also vital to your potential case. If there were witnesses at the scene of the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies. If you have a camera at the scene of the accident, take some photographs of the scene.
5. Get a Lawyer
Though your employer may have a workers’ compensation system in place, you may nevertheless want to hire an attorney. This is because there is always the possibility that your workplace compensation claim may be denied or be inadequate to help fully recover your injuries. An experienced attorney can help guide you to different avenues of compensation.
Common Types of Compensation Available Through Workers’ Compensation
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation and you file a workers’ compensation claim, you may be entitled to the following:
Lost Income Compensation
This is the most basic of the compensation you may receive. If you are unable to work for a certain period of time because of an injury at work, you may receive compensation for that time you were unable to work. Keep in mind that this is not permanent if you eventually are able to fully function again. However, if your workplace injury has caused you to become permanently disabled, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages for a longer period.
Medical bills can be staggering. Workers’ compensation can help you make a dent in those expenses. However, be aware that workers’ compensation cannot be used to treat medical issues unrelated to the workplace injury, even if those medical issues exist alongside your medical issues related to your workplace injury. For example, if you were already suffering from arthritis and you break a bone at work, workers’ compensation cannot compensate you for your arthritis. Workers’ compensation can only pay for your broken bone.
Under workers’ compensation, you may not have the option to choose a physician of your choice. In most cases, you will be provided a physician who is approved by the workers’ compensation healthcare network.
Workplace compensation can also compensate the family members of employees who pass away due to a workplace injury. Death benefits are available for some family members, such as the spouse, minor children, and certain dependents. Generally, death benefits are 75% of the deceased’s average weekly wage. Workers’ compensation may also cover costs for funeral and burial services for the deceased. Unlike regular personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims do not provide for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Read More: Arlington Wrongful Death Lawyers
When must You File a Claim for Workplace Injury
In general, you have 30 days to notify your employer that you suffered a workplace injury. If your injury was not a physical one such as an illness, you still have to report the injury within 30 days. However, in such cases, the 30-day countdown begins once you have discovered you have the illness. For example, let’s say that you find out that you developed a medical condition because you were exposed to a toxic chemical. However, you find out about the medical condition one year after the exposure to the chemical. Your 30-day countdown would begin on the day you discovered the medical condition, not the day you were exposed to the chemical.
Once you have notified your employer, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation. The one-year countdown begins at the date of your work-related injury or the discovery of it if your injury is an illness.
If you decide to file a regular personal injury claim, you must file a claim within two years of the injury. It is important that you file before the statute of limitation expires because courts are unlikely to hear your claim if you file past the deadline. An experienced lawyer may help you determine whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit and ensure that you file within the correct timeframe.
Do I need an Attorney After a Workplace Accident?
Even if your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation, it may not be enough to help you recover adequately after an injury. Many workers’ compensation claims are denied entirely, and the employee receives absolutely nothing. If you are in such a situation, an experienced workplace injury lawyer may be able to help.
Furthermore, recall that Texas does not require an employer to carry workers’ compensation. If your employer does not carry insurance, you will have to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if you hope to receive compensation for your injury. In such cases, having a lawyer to investigate all matters regarding your claim would be invaluable.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
CONTACT AN ARLINGTON WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYER
The experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.