As workplace injury attorneys, we know on the job accidents can range from relatively minor and temporary to life altering trauma and death. In fact, Texas has more workplace fatalities per year than any other state. When these unwanted events happen, it can be confusing and emotionally difficult to process what to do next. If you or a loved one has been involved in a work-related accident, we extend our sympathies to you and hope we are able to help. An accident at work can be downright traumatizing, if not deadly. Even seemingly small injuries can lead to a cascade of medical bills, stress, and uncertainty.
Why Are Workplace Injuries So Common?
When a workplace accident occurs, companies usually begin to gather evidence to prove they have no responsibility. Under normal conditions, companies do not have to worry very much about a safety investigation because of how understaffed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is. With only one compliance officer for every 70,000 workers, there is little incentive for companies to make sure everything is up to federal standards. This forces an injured worker to do one of two things: let the company continue to violate the law and potentially hurt more workers or hire an attorney to investigate on their behalf. The most common types of workplace injuries we see include:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
- Crush injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Muscle, ligament, and tendon sprains, strains, and tears
Workplace Accident Claims in Texas
Texas is the only state that does not mandate employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. However, an employer is legally required to inform its workers of its insurance status. You are legally entitled to know if your employer is insured, including self-insured, and/or if they have elected not to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation system. They are also required to inform you if they drop their insurance. You also have the option of researching whether your employer is insured on the Texas Department of Insurance website. This is important because your employer’s insurance status largely determines your legal options when you’ve suffered a workplace injury.
Workers’ Compensation Claim vs Personal Injury Claim
If your employer subscribes to the Texas workers’ compensation insurance program, you can file a claim regardless of whether you were at fault or not. Workers’ compensation insurance is considered “no fault,” so regardless of who is responsible for your injury, you are entitled to benefits when you’ve been injured at work. These benefits may include weekly compensation, impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation. Unfortunately, you are not eligible to be compensated for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation claim.
Personal injury claims, on the other hand, require the at fault party to be legally responsible for your injuries. In a personal injury case, it would be the job of your attorney to prove that an individual and/or company did something wrong that led to you being hurt. You can only file a personal injury lawsuit against a party that is not a workers’ compensation insurance subscriber. Subscribing to comp is a legal bar to civil litigation exposure.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Serious, non-fatal occupational injuries occur daily across the state. Some of the most common causes of Texas work injuries include:
- Falls on the same level or from a height
- Being struck by or caught in equipment
- Repetitive actions or motions
- Workplace roadway accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
Why Hire A Workplace Accident Lawyer
As you also know, your company may already be internally investigating the incident to be ready for any external investigations or lawsuits headed its way. It is crucial that no time is wasted in gathering evidence to protect you and your family’s interests. Workplace accident cases can be complex to litigate and will require a lot of time, energy, and resources. Our team of attorneys is well equipped to handle this task, but the more time we have to investigate, organize, and prepare, the better chances you have of prevailing and obtaining top dollar for your losses.
When deciding to hire an attorney for an on-the-job injury, it is important to find someone with a proven record of obtaining results. Large companies have extremely smart teams of lawyers. These lawyers have the single goal of protecting their company’s profits and they are going to build the strongest case possible against you in order to protect their client.
State of Limitations on Workplace Injury Claims
It is also critical that evidence is gathered, examined, and organized as early as possible in order to avoid missing the filing deadline known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for a workplace injury case is typically two years in Texas. Every day that the case is not being worked on means you have less and less time before the deadline to file passes. Once the deadline is passed, it may cost you all of your legal options.