With the rich industry and manufacturing in the Lone Star State, workplace accidents can and do happen to Texas workers every day. These types of workplace injuries would immediately fall under workers’ compensation coverage in many states, but your Texas employer may opt out of the state system by providing their own 3rd-party coverage or to self-insure.1
If you have been injured in an accident at work in Texas, you may need to consult with a Houston work accident lawyer to navigate cases where your employer is a non-subscriber to workers’ compensation or where a 3rd-party may be responsible for your work-related injury.
I Have Been Injured at Work – What Should I Do?
These are the basic steps you should take to document your accident or injury:
- Seek medical care and state that you were injured on the job.
- File a workers’ compensation report or required injury claim with your employer.
- Document evidence and keep copies of all paperwork.
- Keep track of all time lost from work, travel to medical or therapy appointments, and other expenses related to your injury.
- Do not sign any documents requesting you waive your rights or which limit your
- Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Houston work injury attorney.
I Was Injured While Driving On the Job – What Should I Do?
If you sustained job injuries while you were driving as part of your employment, there are a few additional steps to take:
- Call 911 to obtain help for anyone seriously injured, including yourself.
- Call the police and file an accident report even if it seems no one was injured.
- Call your employer to report the accident, even if you feel okay at first.
- Gather contact information for anyone else who was involved in the accident and any witnesses.
- Notify the owner of a 3 rd -party property where you were injured of the incident to obtain any video footage or other evidence.
- If your injury happened somewhere other than your employer’s property, you may benefit from consulting Texas workplace injury attorneys about the process of pursuing a claim for third-party compensation.
Texas Non-Subscriber Cases Involving Injured Workers
Texas law allows employers to declare themselves “non-subscribers” by meeting some basic requirements. You may need to ask your HR representative directly to find out of you have workers’ compensation available or if they offer a private insurance policy instead.
This is important because while workers’ compensation is limited by law and provides compensation without regard to who was to blame for your accident, non-subscribers can be held accountable for negligent conduct and could be subject to common legal remedies and damages under Texas law, including punitive damages.2
What if Your Employer Says They Have Private Workers’ Comp Coverage?
Texas employers may voluntarily opt out of workers’ compensation by purchasing insurance from a private insurance company, self-insure if they meet specific requirements, or group together with other private employers to self-insure through the Texas Department of Insurance.1
Even if your employer tells you they have insurance, it pays to find out if they are a non-subscriber and speak to a Houston work injury lawyer before you sign any documents other than the required accident reports.
Some employers who are non-subscribers invest in insurance policies that offer better benefits than the state limits, and which are designed to protect your employer from claims by taking better care of their injured workers than the law requires. These insurance providers claim to offer employees access to better medical care earlier and a faster return to work with fewer disputes.3
However, these programs often fall short of these lofty goals and leave individuals to accept the treatment offered or decide to work with a workplace injury lawyer in Texas to defend their rights to full and fair compensation for their injuries. Choosing a law firm in Houston, TX that can advocate for you or a loved one will provide the help you need and deserve in this time of crisis.
Choosing a Trusted Work Injury Lawyer in Houston, TX
Sustaining an injury at work is a traumatic experience that creates lasting hardship for you and your family. The pain associated with a workplace injury may prevent you or a loved one from returning to work, which can result in lost income.
Unfortunately, in many cases, injured employees try to push through the pain and continue to work, despite their injury, out of fear of missing paychecks or losing their job. At Johnson Garcia LLP, our work injury lawyers understand the difficult decisions you face, and we can help you navigate the process of recovering damages for your workplace injuries.
We Only Get Paid When You Do
We’re so committed to doing everything possible to help our clients that we don’t get paid unless you do. The determined personal injury attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing until or unless we recover damages for you.
We Have the Experience to Handle Any Work Injury Case
We have extensive experience handling cases involving workplace injuries in a wide variety of settings, including:
- Offshore environments, including marine vessels, offshore supply vessels, platforms, drilling rigs (both jack-up or semi-submersible), tugs, towboats, and barges
- Warehouses or distribution centers, including forklift operations
- Grocery stores and retail stores, including slip and falls or repetitive stress injuries
- Construction sites, including scaffolding and lifting equipment
- Pipelines and processing equipment, including pump and valve failures
- Automobile and vehicle accidents, including company cars and trucks
- Chemical or power plants, including fires, explosions, or other failures
- Heavy machinery accidents, including rollovers or back injuries
- Confined space accidents, including suffocation or chemical/hazardous material exposure
- Exposure to dust, soot, asbestos, or other toxic substance that causes chronic illness
- Railroad injuries or accidents, which may be covered under other federal programs
Schedule a Free Case Consultation for Sound Legal Advice
At the end of the day, you or your loved one’s workplace should be a safe place to earn a living.
If you are looking for a work injury lawyer in Houston or the surrounding region, contact us today or call 832-844-6700 to schedule a free case consultation. We know what you’re facing, and we know how to fight the largest companies and their insurers to get you the recovery you deserve.
Workplace Injury FAQs
While your situation is unique and there is no substitute for good legal advice if you are injured in an accident, these general answers to frequently asked questions about workplace injuries in Texas may help you weigh your options.
What Is Texas Workers’ Compensation?
The state of Texas provides a state-regulated insurance system that is designed to cover the medical benefits, lost wages plus disability (income benefits), and death benefits for those injured or killed at work.4 This program limits the types of compensation available and, in most cases, provides coverage without the need to prove your employer was negligent.
If your employer uses the state-regulated workers’ compensation program, you will most likely not be able to sue your employer for additional compensation. In some cases where a 3rd-party is responsible or for injuries sustained in certain industries, a Houston work accident lawyer may be able to identify other legal paths to compensation for you or a loved one.
If My Employer Is a Non-Subscriber, What Compensation May Be Available to Me?
If you employer made the decision to take the “Texas Option” and self-insure rather than using the state-regulated program, they become open to personal injury lawsuits if the victim can show that the employer was negligent by not preventing the accident.4
Every situation is different, so a free case evaluation may be your best bet if your employer is a non-subscriber. A work injury lawyer in Houston may be able to obtain additional compensation from non-subscribing employers, including punitive damages or compensation for pain and suffering.
Why Was My Workers’ Compensation Claim Denied?
Workers’ compensation benefits should be available to you for any injury or illness that results during the course of your employment. There are a few reasons under Texas law where your claim could be denied if your injury results from:2
- Willful criminal acts by you or against you
- “Horseplay” or deliberately doing things improperly
- Injuring yourself on purpose
- Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol while working
- “Acts of God” like natural disasters
If your claim was denied by the state-regulated workers’ compensation system, you have the right to appeal. If a private or self-insured employer denies your claim, you may have the ability to pursue a lawsuit for full compensation. Our Texas workplace injury attorneys can help.
What Are the Common Mistakes People Make After Being Injured in an Accident?
When someone is injured in an accident, there are some signs that insurance adjusters and workers’ compensation representatives look for to determine how serious the injury was and to justify your claim for compensation. Their job is to advocate for the insurance company or employer, and they may find your claim suspicious if:
- You do not call an ambulance or go to the hospital from the scene of the accident.
- There are delays in seeking or following up on medical care.
- You miss scheduled appointments or therapy sessions.
- You do not follow your doctor’s orders.
- You do not fill your prescriptions for medication or do not take prescribed meds.
- You seek out only “alternative” health care like massage or acupuncture for your injuries.
What Evidence Should I Gather After Being Injured at Work?
If you or someone you trust is physically able, and it is safe to do so, gather as much evidence as you can, including:
- Photographs of the scene of your accident
- Photos of vehicles, equipment, and your injuries themselves
- Photos of your injuries over the first few days and then weekly as you heal
- Police reports, hospital reports, statements of witnesses
- Receipts for medical care, supplies, medications, assistive devices, braces, and home health care
- Receipts for copays, deductibles, travel expenses, and tolls to and from necessary care
- Legal expenses, although, with Johnson Garcia LLP, you will not pay unless we recover damages for you
What Are the Most Common Types of Work Injuries?
Workplace injuries which can result in workers’ compensation claims or personal injury lawsuits include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Electric shocks
- Burns or lacerations
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Head injuries
- Eye injuries or work-related blindness
What if a Third Party Is Involved in Your Work-Related Injury?
Some workers’ compensation cases are complicated by someone other than your employer being potentially responsible for your injuries. Some examples of situations where you might want to consult with a Houston work injury attorney about filing a third-party claim include:
- When an injury occurs while making a delivery to another company or individual as part of your work-related duties.
- When there are multiple contractors working on the same job site and one company causes injury to the employee of another company.
- If traveling for work and you are injured by a negligent or drunk driver, you may pursue a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.
Who Is Not Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
In addition to Texas and a few other states allowing employers to opt out of Workers’ Compensation, some workers are typically not covered by the program. 5 Of course, these individuals can still seek compensation for injuries that happen in the workplace, with sound legal advice:
- Independent contractors
- Domestic workers, such as housekeepers or nannies in private homes
- Volunteers or seasonal workers
- Some agricultural workers
- Some who work for charities and non-profits