CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A HOUSTON WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
Bodily injuries can occur at the workplace whether or not your work involves physical labor. If you have suffered a bodily injury at work, you may be wondering what to do next and who may be responsible for the injury. Though in most cases your employer may have workers’ compensation, workers’ compensation may not be enough to cover all of the losses you incurred from your injury. In such cases, you will want to look for additional ways to recover.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury at the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Houston workplace injury lawyers.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE INJURY?
The term “workplace injury” encompasses a broad range of injuries that occur at the workplace or while you are doing work that is in the scope of your employment. There are three basic categories of workplace injuries: physical injuries, occupational illness, and repetitive stress injuries.
Physical Injuries on the Job
Most workplace injuries are physical ones. Even if your work is not physically intensive, you can still be injured at the workplace. For example, perhaps you were carrying a box of files and tripped over a negligently placed wire in the office.
Not all workplace injuries are physical. If you work in healthcare, for example, you may be interacting with patients who are afflicted with a contagious disease. If you happen to contract a contagious disease from a patient, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Much work in our society can be described as doing the same monotonous thing for hours every day. However, if this monotonous activity happens to be a physical activity such as lifting heavy objects, you can develop physical injuries. One of the most common repetitive stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome.
TYPES OF WORKPLACE INJURIES
- Head or brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal Cord 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
- Oilfield accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
WHAT TO DO AFTER A WORKPLACE INJURY
1. Stop Working
Once you suffer an injury, stop working. Even if the injury may seem minor and you feel like you can finish 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. A claims adjuster may doubt the severity of your injury by pointing out that you kept working even if you were injured.
2. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you should go visit a doctor right away as you may not know the extent of your injuries until after a thorough examination.
3. Report Your Injury or Illness to Your Employer
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
Be sure to document and collect evidence from the scene of the accident as you may need it to sue other parties.
Witness testimony is also important. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get their names and contact information. 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
Even if your employer subscribes to workplace compensation, you may want to seek counsel. There is always the possibility that your workers’ compensation claim may be denied or be inadequate to help fully recover your injuries.
Read More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
COMMON TYPES OF COMPENSATION AVAILABLE THROUGH WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
Once you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, and it is approved, you may be entitled to the following:
Compensation for Lost Income
Whenever an injury prevents you from working, you may be entitled to the lost income that you would have received had you been able to work. Though this benefit will cease once you can return to your job, you may also be entitled to future lost income as well if you become permanently disabled.
Workers’ comp may cover costs for reasonable and necessary medical care. However, 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. Furthermore, you may not have the option to choose a physician of your choice. In most cases, you will be provided with a physician who is approved by the workers’ compensation healthcare network.
If your loved one passes away due to a workplace injury, benefits are available for some family members such as the spouse, minor children, and certain dependents. Death benefits are often 75 percent 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 such as pain and suffering.
Read More: Houston 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 the illness.
Once you have notified your employer, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation. The one-year countdown begins at the date of your work-related injury or the discovery of a work-related illness.
If you decide to file a regular personal injury claim, you must file a claim within two years of the injury. You must file before the statute of limitations expires because courts are unlikely to hear your claim if you file past the deadline.
CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER DIRECTLY?
In most states, you would not be able to sue your employer because employers are required to have workers’ compensation. In these states, workers’ compensation would be the sole remedy for employees who receive injuries on the job. Texas, however, does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Therefore, in Texas, if an employer does not provide workers’ compensation, an employee may sue the employer for negligence.
To succeed in a negligence claim, the employee must show that the employer (1) acted negligently, and (2) show that the act directly led to the employee’s injury. The employee must prove these by a preponderance of the evidence (the evidence must show that the act more likely than not caused the employee’s injury).
WHOM MAY I SUE?
If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation, you may be able to sue your employer.
If you got injured at the workplace due to defective machinery or heavy equipment, you may be able to sue the company that created the machinery or equipment.
If an individual other than your employer caused your injury, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that individual.
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’ comp claims are denied, and the employee receives absolutely nothing. If you are in such a situation, an experienced workplace injury lawyer may be able to help.
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.
DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER INJURIES RECEIVED WHILE COMMUTING?
Generally, workers’ compensation does not cover injuries suffered driving to and from work. However, if your job requires you to drive, such as that of a truck driver, then you may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you get injured while you were driving. However, this exception has caveats. For example, if you are a truck driver whose job is to drive your truck and deliver goods from point A to point B but you decide to take a detour to point C to engage in a miscellaneous activity, you may not be able eligible for workers’ compensation if you get injured while doing that miscellaneous activity, despite being on the job.
CONTACT A HOUSTON WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYER
The experienced Houston 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.