If you have been injured in an accident at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation. If your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, you should be able to file a claim for benefits. If your employer doesn’t have coverage, you can file a personal injury claim if you can prove that your employer (and/or another party) is responsible for what happened.
Protecting your legal rights after suffering an injury on the job isn’t easy. Here are 10 important facts about work injury claims in Texas:
Unlike most other states, Texas does not require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage. As a result, determining whether you are able to file a workers’ comp claim is one of the first steps toward protecting your rights.
If you have a workers’ comp claim, you will need to meet certain deadlines and requirements to collect the benefits you deserve. If you have a claim outside of workers’ comp, different deadlines and requirements apply.
While workers’ compensation isn’t mandatory in Texas, many employers voluntarily provide coverage. As a result, you should not automatically assume that benefits are unavailable to you – especially if you work for a large employer.
One of the main reasons employers voluntarily purchase workers’ compensation coverage is that doing so protects them from being sued by an employee for a workplace injury (in most cases). Unless your employer intentionally caused you harm on the job, your legal recourse is limited to filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible employees on a “no fault” basis. This means that you do not need to prove that your employer is at fault for your injury in order to collect benefits. If you are eligible for benefits and you got injured on the job, this is enough to make a valid claim.
While the “no fault” nature of workers’ compensation makes it easier for employees to collect benefits, the losses covered by workers’ comp are limited. In Texas, workers’ compensation only covers medical expenses and partial wage replacement. Injured workers cannot collect 100% of their lost income, nor can they collect benefits for their out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If your employer doesn’t purchase workers’ compensation coverage (defined by the Texas Department of Insurance as a “non-subscriber”), then you may be able to sue for injuries sustained on the job. Non-subscribers forfeit the protection from liability afforded by workers’ comp insurance.
In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim or suing your employer, you may have a claim against one or more third parties after a work injury. Some examples of potential grounds for filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit related to a work injury include:
While workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, filing a personal injury claim requires proof of liability. This means that you will need to hire an attorney to conduct an investigation and collect evidence that proves someone else is at fault for the accident, such as your employer, a negligent third party, the manufacturer of a defective product, etc.
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, your medical expenses for a work-related injury will be paid in full. To receive additional benefits, you may need to prove that you have suffered impairment as a result of a work injury or you are entitled to lifetime income benefits. A knowledgeable attorney can advocate for the full workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to within these limits.
If you have a personal injury claim, a lawyer can help you account for all of your losses. You may be entitled to full compensation for current and future medical expenses, all of your lost income, loss of earning capacity, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, and more.
Legal action may not be required after a minor workplace injury. However, if you have been seriously injured, it is best to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.
The majority of workers are unaware of their rights if they get hurt on the job. In addition, there are strict reporting and filing deadlines you need to meet to preserve your legal options. Without legal counsel, you run the risk of recovering far less than you deserve for your work injury.
A workplace injury can turn your life upside down. Recovery from the injury should be your first priority, not dealing with a legal matter.
Patrick Daniel Law is Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless in handling claims on behalf of our clients. We understand how Texas workers’ compensation law puts workers at a unique disadvantage, and we fight to maximize your recovery through all available claim options.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free consultation. Houston work injury attorney Patrick Daniel serves clients throughout Texas.