Personal injury cases in the workplace are a dime a dozen, depending on your industry or field of work. Sometimes, mistakes are made and other times circumstance can’t be prevented. Worse still, it appears that injury cases (including catastrophic injuries) are on the rise.
When a serious injury does happen in the workplace, however, you’re going to want to think about legal representation by hiring a San Antonio work injury lawyer, such as a personal injury lawyer, so you know all your rights and the compensation available to you in your frustrating situation.
Texas business and employer laws aren’t the same as every other state in the U.S. Workers’ compensation insurance coverage isn’t a requirement, which is why it’s important to know all your options.
An injury can cost you a lot of money in the long run so you’re going to need all the help you can get. Here, we’re going to fill you in on all the basics of workers’ compensation and Texas laws regarding injured workers.
Texas Workers’ Injury Laws You Need to Know
If you are hurt at work or have an injury that’s the cause of the workplace, you’re going to need to know if your employer has workers’ compensation and how this coverage can help you. An attorney can help you with this.
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation, then it’s time to learn what your options are for compensation in case of an injury.
You should never sign any paperwork without meeting with a lawyer so you can learn about all your legal options regarding your workplace injury.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
For your employer, the smart move is to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for any injuries or deaths in the workplace. This insurance is a big plus, particularly in dangerous workplaces.
This insurance covers any injuries regardless of fault and gives you, the employee, benefits. The only time workers’ compensation can be denied is if the injury was caused by you while under the influence or if you’re messing around in the workplace. Again, an attorney can help you with this.
The state of Texas runs the worker’s compensation insurance program, which includes the city of San Antonio, of course. They also settle workers’ compensation disputes between employers and employees.
However, they don’t pay the benefits. This is done by the insurance company your employer pays through for their insurance.
There are several types of benefits you can receive under a workers’ compensation claim:
- Income benefits: Income benefits are benefits you receive to help cover the work you’re missing because of your injury.
- Medical benefits: Medical benefits help cover the medical costs of your injury, from an emergency room visit to even constant treatment if it’s needed and approved.
- Death benefits: Death benefits are the benefits a family can claim if a loved one was killed in a workplace tragedy. It covers any loss of income due to death.
- Burial benefits: Burial benefits are benefits that a family receives to cover the cost of burial for a loved one that was killed in a workplace accident.
The con of you receiving these benefits, you’re not getting all the money you deserve or they can find a reason not to give you your workers’ compensation claim.
When someone files a claim, the employer’s insurance premium goes up, just as it does with any insurance coverage.
Workers’ compensation protects your employer from lawsuits from you, the injured, or the family affected by a fatal accident.
However, if the accident was caused by a third party, like a co-worker, you can receive benefits from workers’ compensation and sue the third party that caused your injury.
It’s strongly advised that, even if your employer has a workers’ compensation program, you should hire a lawyer so everything goes smoothly.
If you choose to make a workers’ compensation claim there are steps you must take.
- Within 30 days, you need to report the injury to your employer. If it’s a serious injury, let your supervisor know the situation and call 911.
- Within a year of the injury, you need to report the injury to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. You do this through a DWC Form 01.
- You need to receive medical attention or treatment from a doctor that’s insured under Texas’ workers’ compensation program. If you want to use a different doctor, you need to receive permission or you’ll end up paying the medical bills out of pocket.
If Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If your employer doesn’t pay into workers’ compensation insurance, you have the freedom to sue through your personal injury lawyer or law firm if you believe that the injury was caused by the employer’s negligence or the lack of safety in the work environment.
In fact, not only does the Texas Labor Code allow you to sue your employer, it even minimizes your employer’s legal defenses.
If you’re suing and there’s only a small portion of the guilt on the employer and the rest is on you, it’s completely their fault as they didn’t have a workers’ compensation insurance program.
They’re not allowed to use any of the common law defenses as well, such as blaming it on a third party that could have been partially at fault for the injury.
If you win, not only will you receive a larger amount of monetary compensation than if you were to get from workers’ compensation, but this also makes your employer an example for other employers and shady businesses.
You’ll want a personal injury attorney or law firm from San Antonio to help file the lawsuit, from helping you file the proper paperwork to the actual court time.
Regardless of your employer’s decision to buy into worker’s compensation insurance or not, you have options available to you. An injury attorney has the experience to offer legal advice and guide all accident victims of negligence through the process of taking legal action. Though personal injury cases are often complex, you don’t need to suffer anymore than you already have.