Every single year, hundreds, if not thousands of workers in Texas suffer an injury at work. These injuries come in a range of shapes and sizes, from falls from height, electrocution, slips on wet floors to crushing accidents.
If an individual was involved in an accident like this whilst they were not at work, pursuing compensation is relatively simple. You would call a personal injury lawyer and raise a personal injury claim against them. This way, you could recover your damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
However, things are slightly different when you are injured in the workplace. Work-related injuries in other states are often dealt with through workers’ compensation insurance. This is usually a state-regulated insurance program that provides financial compensation to injured workers. In these states, employers that do not carry workers’ compensation insurance are punished by law.
In Texas, workers’ compensation law works slightly differently. Although workers’ compensation insurance is a thing in Texas, it is not a state-required obligation. Employers do not have to purchase workers’ compensation coverage as long as they tell employees, and the state, that they have decided to opt out of this coverage.
This can be a risky move for employers. If they are subscribed to the system, they have protection and insurance that can help them if a worker is injured on the job. If they do not have this coverage, they are open to a personal injury case against them if the injury was caused by their negligent behavior.
If you have suffered workplace injuries, and your employer is signed up to workers’ compensation, the employee can use this coverage to recover damages and compensation for their injuries. When it comes to workplace injury cases like this, you have 30 days from the incident to file the claim with your employer and 12 months to file it with the Division of Workers Compensation.
A worker’s compensation claim is no-fault, meaning there is no obligation to prove that the injured employee was injured because of the negligence of their employer. The compensation is awarded automatically.
Workers’ compensation is put in place to allow employers to avoid being sued themselves in the event of an accident. Usually, if an employee has claimed through workers’ compensation, they cannot then go on to raise a personal injury claim.
In some situations, the employer’s work compensation insurance company may deny the claim and refuse to pay out. They may do this if they are unsure the incident truly happened at work, or if there is no evidence. They may also refuse if there was a pre-existing condition.
In cases where there is a denial of the benefits, there will be an administrative hearing that will require litigation. This means you will need to contact a personal injury lawyer that handles workers comp disputes and claims. There will be a sit-down session, where the lawyers on both sides will mediate, and a separate contested case hearing. The other party will be using a capable attorney for this, so you will need to level the playing field.
If you have been injured on the job and your employer has opted out of workers’ compensation insurance, you will not be able to pursue workers’ comp benefits. However, this often works out better for the injured party, as you will now be free to raise a personal injury lawsuit and pursue the full recovery of your damages and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Personal injury lawsuits are not capped in the same way as workers’ compensation. This means that for those that have been seriously injured, you can pursue a much higher level of compensation following an accident caused by your employer’s negligence.
With over 25 years of experience in Texas workplace injury law, our law firm has a long history of success. We have won favorable outcomes in cases just like yours, and this gives us an edge when it comes to tailoring our strategy for your case specifically.
Call us today and seek a free consultation with a Texas work injury lawyer at 512-520-8100.
Accidents happen in every workplace, and this means that workplace injuries look very different from one workplace to another. There are different workplace hazards and different series of events that happen in every injury.
When it comes to raising a workplace injury claim, though, your case will most likely follow this framework.
The first step following a workplace injury is usually to research which attorney you wish to represent you unless you already have one in mind. When you are raising a claim against an employer, it makes sense to seek legal representation from a skilled attorney, as the other party may have a capable attorney that works for their insurance defending them.
Insurance companies prefer to pay as little as possible, and their legal teams will work around the clock to ensure your payout is reduced if possible. The only way to counter this is to hire a good attorney who levels the playing field.
When deciding upon an attorney to represent you, you may have a lot of choices and may be unsure of who to pick. Many workers have never had the need for an attorney before.
Most personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation and case evaluation to clients and you should take advantage of this. Arrange a meeting with your potential attorneys and use this meeting to gauge their skill, confidence and experience. You can do this by preparing a list of questions you want to be answered. You can ask about their strategies and previous wins. Victories in cases similar to yours are a good sign.
The very first step your attorney will take once you have agreed to representation is to begin investigating your case. They will look at the evidence you can provide them, and they will seek further evidence through their own investigative means themselves. They will speak to witnesses too.
At this point, they will be taking over the case, doing your paperwork and liaising with the other parties involved. This gives you space to focus on recovery and your own mental well-being.
They will then use their investigation and the evidence they have uncovered to calculate your damages.
Once they have calculated your damages, they will have an idea of what your pain and suffering and economic and non-economic damages are worth. This will give them a figure to take to the other party in a settlement negotiation.
At this point, the other party may decide to agree upon your settlement figure, or they may counter-offer. Your attorney will discuss their offers with you, and if they are reasonable, you may choose to accept at this point.
If they decide to decline your offer entirely, or they counteroffer with an offer too low with no negotiation, you will escalate your case.
The next stage is filing a lawsuit and fighting your case in court. Your attorney will use the case they have built for you, with all the evidence they have collected and their calculations of the damages you have suffered, to demand your compensation in court. If they have done a good job, you will be awarded your damages and compensation.
The amount of compensation that is on offer to you will depend upon the severity of the injuries you have suffered as a result of the workplace accident, as well as the damages you have suffered as a result. Serious injuries may mean that you require expensive, long-term treatment and long periods of time off work, and this will need to be accounted for.
The more cases that your attorney has fought and won that are similar to yours, the better they will be equipped to calculate your damages in a way that makes them difficult to dispute, either in court or in the negotiation phase.
Here are the main damages they will consider:
Following a workplace accident, it often surprises victims how quickly medical bills can add up. Rising medical expenses often quickly surpass a victim’s level of medical insurance, and this can leave them to pay for the treatment themselves, which obviously is not fair. Victims may be facing lost wages on top of these medical bills, leaving them in a tough situation.
Fortunately, you are entitled to recover all medical expenses, past and present. This means all of the bills you have paid for treatment so far are recoverable, and your attorney will seek compensation to cover your future costs as well.
For injuries that are going to require a lifetime of treatment and care, your attorney may work with medical experts to judge what this long-term care will cost so they can seek a sum that covers these costs.
Serious injuries will usually require time off work. This means lost wages for the majority of workers across Texas.
Under Texas law, you are fully entitled to pursue the recovery of all of your lost wages that result from an accident caused by a negligent employer. Your attorney will look at your lost wages, and they will consider what your future losses may look like too.
Some injuries are so severe that the victim will not be able to return to work ever again. In these cases, your attorney may work with a financial expert who can accurately gauge what a lifetime of lost earning potential might look like for you.
Claiming for pain and suffering compensates you for the physical pain you have been through, the loss of enjoyment of life, and any mental anguish or trauma. These damages are judged by your attorney, and this means their skill and experience will prove invaluable.
The better they are at placing a fair and reasonable sum on your pain and suffering damages, the harder they are to dispute.
Pain and suffering include your loss of enjoyment of life. If you can no longer carry your son on your shoulders, ride your bike on the weekend or swim lengths of your pool, you should be compensated for this loss of enjoyment.
You can help your attorney in calculating these damages by keeping a daily diary of your thoughts, pain levels, and mood levels. Even if it is as simple as a 1-10 number for your pain and mood, this will help your attorney massively.
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, our workplace injury attorneys have won favorable outcomes for numerous clients in similar situations to you.
Our reputation for fierce advocacy is well known, and many of the insurance companies in Texas know that we are no pushovers. This means you may receive fairer treatment simply by retaining one of our attorneys.
Each member of our team is an exceptional litigator, but they are also equally skilled in negotiation. This means they can handle your case, no matter what direction it takes. We build a confidence-inspiring client-attorney relationship and involve our clients in important decisions. We keep you educated and informed throughout the case.
Our phone lines are active 24/7 so that you can seek help when you need it most. Arrange a free consultation today and find out what we can do for you.