COLLEGE STATION WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYERS
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For many, the workplace is not thought of as a dangerous place. This might be especially true if you are one of the 17,000+ people who are employed by the Texas A&M University system. When people think of workplace injuries, they often think about people who work in obviously dangerous jobs, like underwater welders or construction workers. However, a workplace injury can happen in any sort of work environment, including a standard office building. After a workplace accident, you may want to consider contacting a College Station workplace injury lawyer to help fight for your interests.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A WORKPLACE INJURY
First and foremost, it is important to have an idea of what to do after you sustain your injury. While speaking to an attorney about the specifics of your injury is likely going to be the best way to determine exactly what your best path forward will be, the following are some steps that will likely be important in every workplace injury scenario.
1. Report the Injury
Your first step after sustaining a workplace injury should be to report it to the human resources department or your supervisor—whoever you have been instructed to report accidents and injuries to. Be very thorough in telling them how your accident occurred and what you are currently experiencing as a result. Don’t be embarrassed to report what you feel might be a minor injury—it is always better to overreport than to underreport. Make sure to document your reports in writing. Depending on the policy of your employer, a failure to report an accident or injury could prevent you from receiving any sort of compensation. Reporting an accident soon after it occurs also helps to prevent any assertion by your employer or an insurance company that your injuries are not actually related to a given accident.
2. Get Medical Attention
It is critical that you get attention for your injury as soon as possible after you sustain it. This is important for a couple of different reasons. First, certain injuries might not become apparent immediately after they occur. This means that going to the doctor soon after an accident may help catch injuries you didn’t even know you had and prevent them from getting any worse. Second, if you want to recover anything for your injuries, you will need to link them to a specific incident. Seeking medical attention soon after an accident happens makes this link as strong as possible.
3. Document the Accident
Reporting the accident according to your workplace policy is an important first step in documenting your accident. After you have done this, begin to gather any documents related to your accident or injury. This can include medical records, bills or receipts for restoring or repairing property damage, and any paperwork relating to lost wages from being unable to work. Again, at this stage, it is better to gather too much information rather than too little.
4. Contact a College Station Workplace Injury Lawyer
Though it is the last step on this list, it is perhaps the most important if you want to receive a fair settlement for your injuries. An attorney may be able to help you by removing the stress that comes with fighting a legal battle from your plate while also giving you the best chance of getting maximum compensation. A workplace injury lawyer may be able to handle the negotiations for a potential settlement using their experience of what similar claims have settled for to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of by an unscrupulous insurance company or employer.
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that protects businesses and their employees when an employee suffers an injury at work. The employer pays a defined amount in premiums to an insurance company, which then covers the lost wages and medical expenses of any injured employee. Workers’ compensation may also cover the cost of vocational rehab for an employee. In Texas, all employers, with or without workers’ compensation insurance, to follow certain reporting and notification requirements outlined in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.
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Subscribers vs. Non-Subscribers
Many states mandate that businesses with more than three employees purchase workers’ compensation insurance. However, importantly, Texas is not one of those states. This means that, in Texas, you may work for a subscribing or non-subscribing employer. Subscribers are employers who have purchased workers’ compensation insurance, while non-subscribers have not. If your employer is a subscriber, then you may be eligible to have your injuries covered by workers’ compensation, but this is an exclusive remedy, meaning you cannot sue your employer. If your employer is a non-subscriber, then you will not be compensated through workers’ compensation, but you may sue your employer as the at-fault party.
CAUSES OF WORKPLACE INJURIES
“Workplace” is an extremely broad term. Anywhere from working in an oil rig in or around College Station to maintenance jobs at Kyle Field can be considered a workplace. As such, there is a huge variety of potential workplace injuries. However, a few of the more commonly suffered injuries are outlined here.
Overexertion is common in jobs that require repetitive physical motion. For example, stocking shelves at HEB or working in a warehouse can involve lots of lifting and bending. Such motions can, over time, lead to strain on the muscles and joints involved. To avoid injuries related to overexertion, always make sure to use proper technique when lifting and take as many breaks as necessary to ensure that you are able to continue safely.
Contact with Equipment
For certain workplaces, “contact” may be putting it nicely. If you work in an environment with large, moving machinery, such as an oil drilling site, then you may be exposed to injuries from equipment colliding with you. To prevent or mitigate these sorts of injuries, make sure to follow your employer’s safety protocol when it comes to operating machinery, and always wear the appropriate protective equipment.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
These sorts of accidents are fairly common because they can happen in any sort of workplace. While not everyone works with heavy machinery on a day-to-day basis, most people do move around at least a bit, and this presents a risk of tripping. Even if you work in an office setting, a freshly mopped floor or a loose bit of carpet is all it takes to send you tumbling to the emergency room. Always make sure that you are looking where you are going and paying attention to any sort of hazardous condition when walking to avoid these injuries.
FILING A CLAIM FOR A WORKPLACE INJURY
After you have suffered a workplace injury, the proper steps to take will likely depend greatly on whether you are employed by a public or private employer, and whether your employer is covered by workers’ compensation. No matter the situation, however, the following are a good place to start for any injury when it comes to filing a claim.
By now, you should have reported your injury and hired an experienced workplace injury attorney. Your attorney may begin handling the process of gathering all of the information necessary to support your claim, including evidence like medical records, conducting interviews and depositions, and researching the specific statutes and case law that apply to your situation.
Negotiate a Settlement
After they have done all of the necessary discovery, your attorney may be able to start the process of negotiating a settlement with the other parties involved. This step is critical, as it is rare for a workplace injury claim to go to trial. Parties can typically find an agreeable settlement given the expensive and time-consuming nature of taking a case to trial. At this stage, an experienced attorney can negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf by maximizing the strengths of your position while minimizing any potential weaknesses it may have.
In rare cases, your claim may need to proceed to trial if you and your employer cannot reach a settlement agreement. Your attorney may represent you at trial, where they advocate on your behalf in front of a judge and jury.
WORKPLACE INJURY DAMAGES
Workplace accidents and injuries can often lead to a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional suffering. Luckily, a settlement may compensate a victim for their losses. Settlements will typically be comprised of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include costs like medical bills and property damage, while non-economic damages include the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries.
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CONTACT THE COLLEGE STATION WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYERS TODAY
An attorney may be able to maximize your chances of receiving maximum compensation all while relieving you of the stress that comes with dealing with insurance companies and employers who are out to pay as little as they are legally obligated to. Zinda Law Group has a No Win, No Fee Guarantee—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.
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