Workplace Injury Lawyers in Cedar Park, Texas
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People often get injured at work since most of our time is spent at the worksite. For some workers, their jobs can be more dangerous, and occupational hazards become more likely.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018, and there is an average of 100 deaths per week, or 14 deaths per day.
What Kind of Injuries are Most Common?
According to data from Texas Mutual, most workplace injury claims are reported in the service industry, followed by manufacturing and construction. Workplace injuries usually fall into one of the common categories:
Slips and Falls
Employees should utilize protective equipment to prevent falls, such as wearing slip-resistant shoes and using floor fats.
Strains or Sprains
Lifting improperly or any variation of twisting or bending the body while lifting heavy objects may cause injuries. Employees should be aware of proper lifting techniques.
Injured by an Object
This can include injury by falling objects or moving objects such as forklifts or other workplace machinery. Employees should wear protective gear such as hard hats or steel-toed boots when necessary.
How Common ARE WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS?
Two of Texas’s largest industries are oil and agriculture. These are also some of the most dangerous workplaces according to OSHA. Workplace injuries are more common in the construction industry than any other industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction accidents account for about 20% of fatal workplace accidents, which makes construction one of the deadliest industries in the country. Texas has the highest rate of construction accident fatalities in the country. According to the 2010 census, Texas employed just under 1 million people to the construction industry, which accounts for more than 10% of the construction output in all of the country.
What Is It?
Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance that pays out to employees for medical expenses and lost wages if they are injured on the job. According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas, unlike other states, does not require an employer to have workers’ compensation insurance.
Having workers’ compensation insurance puts a limit on the type and amount of compensation that an injured employee can receive and these limits are set by the law (TWC). An employer that chooses to go without coverage leaves itself open to personal injury lawsuits from employees who become injured at work.
Under workers’ compensation laws, an injury that occurs at work is covered regardless of who is at fault, as long as the injury was sustained during the course and scope of employment. This means the employee was carrying out the duties of the employer’s business and may include injuries suffered while traveling to a work-related event.
What Does It Cover?
If you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you may be entitled to:
This includes expenses for all medical treatment, but your medical care must be obtained by a physician within your workers’ compensation insurance network.
The insurance may help pay a portion of your income while you recover. According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), these include temporary income benefits, impairment benefits, supplemental benefits, and lifetime benefits.
Temporary income benefits are calculated by 70% of the difference between your average weekly wage and the wages you can earn after your injury. This is paid out until 104 weeks have passed or when you are able to earn your average again.
Impairment benefits are for permanent impairment resulting from your injuries. It is calculated by the percentage of damage your body sustained.
Supplemental benefits are available under some circumstances if you are not receiving enough benefits.
Lifetime benefits are also for permanent injuries, but includes major injuries such as paralysis, blindness, amputations, or other traumatic injuries
Finally, burial benefits may help compensate for the burial of an employee or funeral services, and death benefits help families recover money that is lost from an employee that provided for their family.
Injured Employee Resources
By visiting the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), workers can access necessary forms for filing for workers’ compensation. The TDI has all the forms necessary to report your injury to your employer and file your claim on time. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Firm may be able to assist you in your workplace injury claim and take the stress off you while you recover.
What if Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation?
If you are an independent contractor or your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, then you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for your workplace injuries. Your right to a claim and your claim amount will depend on various factors. It is important that you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case to help you navigate any difficulties.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
Establish What Kind of Worker You Are
To be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job, you must be an employee and not an independent contractor. An employee is usually protected by his or her employer where the company may bear most of the liability. An independent contractor will need to bring their own claim against the responsible party and has no protection from their employer.
It is the employer’s responsibility to classify workers correctly, but the relationship between the employer and the worker will determine the worker’s status, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). One of the main deciding factors is the level of control the worker has over his or her work. If the employer provides a schedule, tools, uniform, or otherwise determines how to do the job, then the worker is likely an employee. Conversely, if a worker has free reign over when they work and how they choose to complete the job, they are likely an independent contractor.
An employer owes his employee a duty of care, but will not owe the same level of duty to an independent contractor. An employee injured in a workplace accident may be able to seek workers’ compensation, but an independent contractor will not.
An attorney at Zinda Law Firm may help you determine what kind of worker you are if you are unsure.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
Steps You Should Take if You Are Involved in a Workplace Accident
- 1. Seek medical attention
- 2. Notify your employer
- 3. File a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), if your employer is a subscriber
- 4. Contact our experienced workplace injury attorneys
How You Can File a Claim
Title 5 of the Texas Labor Code provides for workers’ compensation laws. You must notify your employer of the workplace injury within 30 days from the date of injury. This is important because it helps establish the injury was work-related. Failure to notify your employer could mean losing your benefits.
You must then submit a DWC Form-041 to the TDI within one year from the date of injury. The form instructions can be found on the TDI website or one of our attorneys may be able to help you with your forms.
Can You Appeal a Decision?
Yes. You may appeal a final decision within 45 days from the date of the decision according to Title 5 of the Texas Labor Code. Your claim may be denied for several reasons and could give rise to an appeal.
There may be several reasons your claim may be denied, such as:
- Failure to notify your employer within 30 days of injury
- Failure to file the claim within one year of injury
- The workplace injury sustained was not within the scope of your employment
- Your workplace injury was due to a fault of your own such as intoxication or horseplay
You have a right to an appeal regardless of why your claim was denied. Our experienced attorneys can help you with your appeals.
Can You Get Fired for Bringing a Claim?
No. It is against the law for your employer to fire you in retaliation for filing a claim. Contact one of our attorneys to help evaluate your legal options if you feel you are being punished for filing a claim after a workplace injury.
Get Help from Our Cedar Park Workplace Injury Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our Cedar Park lawyers have handled many cases involving workplace injuries. Workplace injuries and construction accidents are common in Texas, and Zinda Law Group has experience helping clients seek compensation from their employers. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.