Waco Workplace Accident LawyersLast updated on: July 31, 2022
Call (800) 863-5312 To Speak With Zinda Law Group’s Waco workplace accident lawyers Today
Although you hope it never happens, serious injuries can occur while you are working. The variety of employers in Waco comes potential workplace accident injuries including repetitive stress, slip and falls, and equipment malfunctions. If you were injured in a workplace accident, it is important to contact Waco workplace accident lawyers as soon as possible to discuss a claim.
Workers’ compensation provides medical and wage benefits for employees who are injured while working and miss work as a result. The employer pays an insurance company’s premiums that will cover the lost wages and medical expenses of an employee injured on the job. However, in exchange for receiving coverage for lost wages and medical expenses, an employee typically gives up their right to sue their employer. Importantly, Texas does not require its employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the employer.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Workplace accident in Waco
Following a workplace accident, you are likely concerned with what happens next. Fortunately, there are important steps you should take to support your claim:
1. Stop Working Immediately
The first step to take after your workplace accident injury is to immediately stop what you are doing and promptly notify your employer of your injury. By working, you may receive less in benefits as the insurance carrier may determine that your injury must not have been severe if you immediately continued working. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is to cease all work.
2. Seek Medical Attention if Injured
Next, you should evaluate your health after the accident. Injuries from a workplace accident can range from minor cuts, scrapes, or aches to serious life-threatening injuries such as paralysis or even death. If you believe that your injuries are severe, promptly go to a medical facility as soon as possible. Additionally, sometimes symptoms of a severe injury do not show up until long after the accident has happened. Therefore, by getting your injuries addressed by a medical professional, you are putting yourself in the best position to begin your road to recovery.
3. Report Your Injuries
Afterward, file an accident report with your employer. By filing a formal accident report, you are creating an official record of your injuries which is crucial for settlement negotiations. Additionally, your employer’s policy may require you to report the accident or else be prohibited from obtaining benefits. Confirm with your employer the forms that you will need to fill out in order to maintain eligibility for benefits. Furthermore, an experienced workplace accident attorney can inform you of the proper paperwork to fill out under state law.
4. Document the Evidence
Although you generally cannot sue your employer for your workplace injury, it is nonetheless very important to collect evidence and information from the scene of the accident, as you might use it to bring a lawsuit against a third party. Additionally, documentation can assist your attorney with determining the extent of your injuries, how the accident happened, and who is responsible. Documents that you will want to obtain include:
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Medical bills
- Copies of the accident report
Additionally, witnesses are integral to strengthen your claim. If there were any witnesses at the scene of your workplace accident, try to obtain their contact details. Furthermore, if any of the witnesses took photographs of the accident, ask if you can obtain a copy of the photographs. Also, if it is possible, write down anything that you observe following the workplace accident. Your initial observations can help in settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
5. Speak with a Waco Personal Injury Lawyer
Next, you should contact a Waco personal injury attorney if you have questions about your injuries or about the events leading up to and surrounding your workplace accident. This is true even if your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, as there is the possibility that your workers’ compensation claim is denied or is an insufficient amount. Your Zinda Law Group attorney will want to hear your side of the story and review any relevant documents. Plus, we can further investigate your case by uncovering additional facts to aid in determining what your claim is worth.
6. Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Typically, you can file a workers’ compensation claim prior to hiring your attorney. However, your lawyer can greatly assist with the claim process. For example, your lawyer can tell you whether you are exempt from filing a personal injury claim against your employer or if you can file a claim against another party who is responsible for your injuries. This is especially important in Texas, as employers are not universally required to carry workers’ compensation policies. Therefore, an attorney can determine whether a workers’ compensation claim is a permissible step or if filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best action.
Read More: When to Hire a Workplace Injury Lawyer
7. Settlement and Trial
If your personal injury attorney files a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties, the attorney will likely negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance company on your behalf to obtain a favorable monetary settlement for you. Typically, trials are rare for workers’ compensation claims and usually are settled out of court. However, if the negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will bring your case to trial and pursue maximum compensation in court..
Common Causes OF workplace accidents in Waco
Generally, the most common causes for a workplace accident are:
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Slip and falls
Additionally, if you are operating a work vehicle when the accident occurs, you could receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, that will largely depend on the factors leading up to the accident, such as what you were doing when the accident happened, whether you were hit by a private citizen, and whether the accident was due to a problem with the work vehicle. Although your claim may have a lot of complexity and moving parts, at Zinda Law Group, a Waco workplace injury lawyer can investigate all matters regarding your claim.
Types of Injuries in a Waco Workplace Accident
Workplace accidents can be the direct cause of a wide range of different injuries. Here are just a few of the more common examples of injuries sustained in workplace accidents:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Rib fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Electrical shocks
- Hearing Loss
As you can see, workplace accidents lead to a variety of injuries. At Zinda Law Group, your Waco personal injury attorney will understand the seriousness of your injuries and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Potentially Responsible Parties For Your Workplace accident injuries
Typically, the party responsible for your workplace accident injuries are your employer, the manufacturer of the defective machinery or equipment, or a co-worker.
Generally, if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage, you can bring a personal lawsuit claim against your employer if the employer failed to maintain adequate safety measures, created poor working conditions, or used improper training methods. Conversely, if your employer has a workers’ compensation policy, filing a claim becomes more complex. Typically, an employee is unable to bring a personal injury lawsuit against an employer who has a workers’ compensation policy unless the employer intentionally caused the employee’s injuries.
Additionally, if you are an independent contractor, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the employer because independent contractors are usually exempt from workers’ compensation policies. However, determining whether an individual is an employee, or an independent contractor is often dependent on the specific facts at hand. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the employer does not have the ability to direct or control what work will be done or how it will be done.
Sometimes, your workplace accident is due to defective machinery or equipment. If that is the case, your Zinda Law Group workplace injury lawyer can consider pursuing a claim against the manufacturer for failing to properly build the machinery or equipment. Additionally, in lieu of a personal injury lawsuit, if your employer is the manufacturer of the defective machinery or equipment, you could pursue a products liability claim against the employer.
Read More: Product Liability Lawyers
Importantly, while a workers’ compensation policy generally shields an employer from personal liability, it does not protect a fellow employee from a lawsuit. So, if you can show that a co-worker caused your workplace accident injuries, you may be able to recover damages. Therefore, if a co-worker causes your workplace accident, either intentionally or negligently, you could bring a personal injury claim against the co-worker.
Demanding Compensation After a Waco Workplace Accident
Under Texas law, you can pursue damages for your injuries, including any medical expenses incurred through treatment, as well as for any long-lasting trauma. Furthermore, Texas law grants a plaintiff the ability to pursue economic damages, noneconomic damages, or punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, rehabilitation expenses, personal care costs, and loss of future employment. These damages are the easiest to calculate as they have an obvious dollar amount.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages as they do not have an obvious dollar amount.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than make the victim “whole again.” You must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party was reckless or acted intentionally.
Importantly, even if you are able to meet the threshold for punitive damages, state law has a damage cap on what you can receive. In Texas, the cap for punitive damages is $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages, plus an equal amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000.
After a workplace accident in Texas, you should consult with your Waco personal injury attorney to determine whether you should pursue punitive damages.
Because Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, if a court determines that you have any responsibility for your accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage you are found at fault. For example, if you sue a defendant homeowner for $10,000 and are found 25% at fault, you will receive $7,500 in damages instead of the full $10,000. Furthermore, under Texas law, that if a court determines that a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, the plaintiff is fully barred from recovering any compensation. Therefore, because of how high the stakes are, it is important to talk to your attorney about what your potential liability may be.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
How long do I have to file a lawsuit in Texas?
The statute of limitations is the legal time limit in which an injured party must bring a claim for their injury or the injury of someone that the party represents. Every state has a statute of limitations. In Texas, the state’s civil statute of limitations for a personal injury is two years from the date of the injury. That means that if your injured occurred on January 1, 2022, you have until January 1, 2024, to file a claim.
Furthermore, every state has a period for notifying an employer of your work-related accident. In Texas, you must notify your employer within 30 days of the accident or else you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, for an occupational disease (i.e. an illness obtained from your work environment), the 30-day requirement does not start until the day that you discover the illness or should have discovered your illness. Your Zinda Law Group injury attorney will assist in determining the start date.
Contact Our Zinda Law Group Waco Workplace accident lawyers Today
After you have been in an accident at work, you may feel overwhelmed by medical fees, physical pain, mental fatigue, and emotional distress trying to figure out what paperwork to file and who to contact to obtain benefits. At Zinda Law Group, our Waco workplace accident attorneys have the compassion, experience, and knowledge needed to protect your legal rights and ensure that you are not improperly denied benefits. Our priority is to focus on your claim so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a workplace accident in Waco, Texas, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced Waco workplace injury lawyer. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.