If you have been injured while on the job, you may wonder whether your claim is covered by worker’s compensation (worker’s comp), covered by your company’s private insurer, or if you will have to file a lawsuit against your employer to receive financial compensation for your injuries.
Most people who are injured on the job assume their company or employer will willingly take care of their damages and any time off work. However, this is often not the case, and many times your employer or the insurance adjuster will refuse to pay for all of your medical bills and may even refuse to give you your job back when you recover from your injury.
If you have been injured on the job in Texas, you only have 30 days within receiving your injury or 30 days from the date you knew your injury resulted from your job to file a claim with your employer. It is important to immediately contact an experienced local personal injury lawyer who will make every effort to help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Houston Workplace Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured on the job, it is critical that you act quickly to exercise your right to recover. A dedicated Houston workplace accident lawyer from Ben Bronston & Associates can assist you in filing your claim and seeking the compensation you deserve, whether a worker’s comp claim or an injury from a third party. Call us today at (713) 225-5236 or 713-CALL-BEN to schedule a consultation.
Ben Bronston & Associates represents workers across the Houston area and Gulf Coast region.
Texas Workplace Accident Info Center
- Common Injuries in the Workplace
- Texas Workers’ Compensation Act
- Filing a Lawsuit for a Workplace Accident
- Potential Compensation for Gulf Coast Workers
- Accident Responsibility by Contractors and Third Parties
- Immigration Status and Workplace Injuries
- Resources for Harris County Workplace Injuries
Common Injuries in the Workplace
Some of the most common workplace accidents in Texas can include:
- Factory Accidents
- Offshore Accidents
- Oilfield Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Toxic Exposure
- Industrial Accidents
- Warehouse Accidents
- Commercial Driver Accidents
- Uninsured Employer Accidents
- OSHA Violations
Even if you have been injured on the job and you believe it is apparent that your employer should pay for any damages you may have sustained, it may be difficult to have your employer admit liability. Many employers will often dispute or deny a work-related injury or disagree with the medical attention you have received as a result of the injury. Some of the most common disputes your employer will make against your injury are:
- That you were not injured while working or while on the job;
- Your injury is not covered by your employer’s insurance;
- You are no longer entitled to paychecks or payments; or
- You no longer have a job.
You may also want to file a lawsuit against your employer or their insurance carrier if they claim you were at fault for the injury, if the medical care or coverage you were promised by an insurance carrier was not given to you, if your claim was denied by the insurance provider, or if there is another third party who is at least partially liable for your injuries.
Texas’ Workers’ Compensation Act
Workers are generally covered by the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act as defined in Chapters 401 through 419 of the Texas Labor Code. Everyone is entitled to receive benefits from injuries they received while working in Texas, no matter who was at fault, unless any of the following occurred:
- The employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident;
- The employee injured themselves on purpose or while trying to injure another person;
- The employee was injured by some Act of God;
- The employee was injured during horseplay; or
- The employee was injured while participating in an off-work activity.
An injured employee is also entitled to receive medical care for their injury, without a time limit, and they are entitled to choose their treating doctor.
However, you are only eligible to file a claim for your injuries sustained while on the job if you are defined as an employee under Texas law. The Texas Labor Code § 401.012 defines an employee as any person in the service of another person under a contract for hire, regardless if the contract is express or implied or oral or written. An employee does not include any of the following:
- A person who is a master of or a seaman on a vessel engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, or
- A person whose employment is not in the usual course and scope of the employer’s business.
An injured worker must also file a form, the DWC Form-041, to the Texas Department of Insurance within one year of the date of injury in order to preserve their rights or claims for any financial compensation for their injuries.
Most importantly, you are entitled to an attorney to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. Filing a claim for injuries sustained while at work is often very difficult and complicated, so it is important to consult with an attorney immediately once you have been injured on the job.
Filing a Claim for a Workplace Accident
Although the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act covers injuries sustained while on the job in Texas, if your company’s insurance adjuster is not responding to you or your company is treating you differently after you are involved in the accident, it is very important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston who will fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
When filing a lawsuit for injuries sustained from a workplace injury, you will need to provide your attorney with any or all of the following:
- Your date of injury
- A completed DWC Form-041
- Any information regarding your employment status
- Any information regarding your work-related injury or illness
- Any medical information about the injury
- Any information about how, where and when the injury occurred
Your attorney will be able to represent you in all matters pertaining to your injury and will also help you complete any necessary actions or paperwork in order to help you recover for your injuries sustained while you were on the job.
If you file a claim, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you in any way, including termination, demotion or passing you over for a promotion. Doing so subjects the employer to even greater damages.
Potential Compensation for Gulf Coast Workers
The benefits that are generally provided for workplace injuries are defined in Chapter 408 of the Texas Labor Code. The four general types of benefits provided to individuals who are injured on the job can include:
- Medical Benefits – These benefits compensate you for any medical care necessary to treat work-related injuries or illness.
- Income Benefits – These benefits compensate you for a portion of the wages you have lost due to work-related injury or illness. Income benefits can include temporary income benefits, impairment income benefits, supplemental income benefits, and lifetime income benefits.
- Death benefits – These benefits compensate the worker’s spouse or heirs for a portion of income lost due to the death of the worker.
- Burial Benefits – These benefits partially compensate the individuals who paid for the deceased worker’s burial and funeral expenses.
Additionally, if the workers’ death was the result of an intentional act or omission of the worker’s employer or the employer acted with gross negligence, the spouse or heirs of the worker may be entitled to receive additional damages, such as exemplary or punitive damages, which are intended to punish the actor of the offense.
Accident Responsibility by Contractors and Third Parties
Many workplaces involve employees from multiple employers working together on a single project. For instance, one of the many construction sites now in the Houston area may include ironworkers, carpenters, electricians who do not work for the primary construction company, but rather for contractors the company hires.
Workers’ compensation claims are between an employee and his or her employer. However, if an employee is injured by the negligent or wrongful act of a contractor, subcontractor or other third party, then the employee may seek compensation from that person or company.
In these instances, the employee will most likely be dealing with the contractor or third party’s general liability insurance company. Your personal injury attorney can negotiate for a settlement and file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not make a satisfactory offer.
Immigration Status and Workplace Injuries
Houston is a hub for people around the world to come work, seeking opportunity in a vibrant economic climate. However, the immigration legal system has not kept up, and many people do not have legal status to live and work here. When those employees are injured at work, many of them stay in the shadows and do not seek their rightful recovery.
Whether you are a citizen, a lawful permanent resident or in the county without legal status, you have a right to recover in Texas courts. Do not allow your immigration status deter you from taking action.
If your visa expired or you entered without permission and you do not have legal status, you will not necessarily face deportation after filing a claim. Consult an attorney to determine your options.
Resources for Harris County Workplace Injuries
Occupational Health and Safety Administration: This federal agency sets rules and regulations pertaining to on-the-job safety.
Texas Department of Insurance – Division of Workers’ Compensation: The division regulates the state’s workers’ comp program.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Program: The Bureau is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This program monitors workplace injuries in the United States.
Finding the Best Workplace Accident Lawyer in Houston
You can recover from injuries sustained on the job, whether through workers’ compensation or through a lawsuit. A skilled Houston workplace accident lawyer from Ben Bronston & Associates can help you file your claim if you are seeking compensation for damages in the Gulf Coast region. Call Ben Bronston & Associates today at 713-CALL-BEN or at (713) 225-5236 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.