Several people who suffer injuries on the job have a reasonable belief that workers’ compensation will provide coverage for medical costs and lost wages stemming from an accident on the job, but workers’ compensation is rarely as easy as just filing a claim to recover an award. Insurance companies handling workers’ compensation cases often find dubious reasons for denying valid claims, and some people are actually entitled to additional damages from other negligent parties, so you will want to be sure you speak to a Texas personal injury attorney if you sustain any kind of injuries in an accident on the job.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) notes that, unlike most other states in the country, Texas does not require employers to maintain workers’ compensation coverage. In November 2021, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reported that Texas private industry employers had 178,600 total recordable nonfatal cases for 2020, with the most common sectors being healthcare and social assistance; agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; arts, entertainment, and recreation; transportation and warehousing; retail trade; manufacturing; accommodation and food services; wholesale trade; construction; and utilities.
When Workers’ Compensation Is Not the Only Option
While workers’ compensation is something of a default mechanism that most employees rely on for on-the-job injuries, people need to know that workers’ compensation is not the only form of relief in these cases. Workers’ compensation is a system that intends to provide employers with some relief in that covering employees for workplace injuries will provide immunity from any civil actions, so an employer who has workers’ compensation insurance will not have to worry about facing potential lawsuits.
When an employer in Texas elects not to participate in the state workers’ compensation program, they have to notify employees at the time of their hiring and must post notices of their decision not to participate at the worksite. If your employer does not have any kind of workers’ compensation insurance, then you can file a personal injury claim to seek damages.
Even when an employer does participate in workers’ compensation insurance, an employee can still take legal action against other negligent parties. Some of the more common kinds of third-party claims in a workplace accident can include:
- Manufacturers of defective equipment
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting from a third party’s negligence
- Contractors, subcontractors, or other liable parties whose negligence cause injuries on construction sites
- Negligent property owners that did not notify employees of hazardous conditions
- Architects, consulting engineers, or safety consultants
- Reckless or negligent vendors or suppliers
Texas employees suffering injuries on the job may need to complete multiple forms, and employers themselves also need to fill out certain forms. Some of these forms will include:
- An employer must complete Form DWC-1, Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease, with an injured employee or the injured employee’s attorney within eight days of an employee’s absence from work or notice of the injury or occupational disease. You must report fatalities to employers within 24 hours.
- An employee must submit Form DWC-6, Supplemental Report of Injury, by mail or personal delivery to their employers three days after the injured employee begins to lose time from work, three days after the injured employee returns to work, three days after the injured employee returns to work and has additional lost time, 10 days after the end of each pay period in which the injured employee has a change in earnings, and 10 days after the injured employee resigns or is terminated.
- An employee must file a Form DWC-41, Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease, within one year of the date of injury or within one year from the date the injured employee knew or should have known the injury or disease may be work-related.
- An employee may need to file a Form DWC-3, Employer’s Wage Statement, with their employer to calculate their average weekly wage to establish benefits. It must be submitted to employers within seven days of knowledge of any accident that has caused the employee to be disabled for more than seven scheduled work calendar days.
Common Kinds of Workplace Accidents
Workplaces vary, so types of injury-causing accidents are different, depending on the specific sort of worksite relating to their employment. In general, a few of the most frequent kinds of workplace accident claims tend to involve, but are not limited to:
- Contact with object or equipment
- Slip and fall accidents
- Overexertion and bodily reaction
- Transportation incidents
- Improper use or maintenance of equipment
- Insufficient training
- Crane or hoist accidents
- Falling debris
- Collapsed structures
- Falling objects
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Electrical accidents
- Failure to maintain equipment
- Welding accidents
- Failure to comply with regulations
- Fires and explosions
All of these kinds of accidents may lead to employees suffering any one of many different kinds of injuries. Some of the most common injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Internal injuries
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Leg injuries
- Knee injuries
- Arm injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Skull fractures
- Fractures or broken bones
- Severe burn injuries
Complicating factors to workplace accident claims can include possible industry regulations, as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements are different for certain industries, and some employers may be subject to specific types of regulatory bodies. When more than a single party is at fault for an accident, you might be dealing with multiple insurance policies and, thus, multiple insurers.
An employer cannot retaliate against you for seeking workers’ compensation or taking legal action for a workplace accident. When you sustain injuries on the job, you must report your injury to your employer and file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) before choosing a treating doctor from your network’s provider list, but people with regular health plans through health maintenance organizations (HMOs) can ask the network to let them use their primary care physician as their treating doctor although the primary care physician has to agree to the network’s contract terms and the network needs to approve the doctor in advance.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Texas Personal Injury Attorney
Did you or a loved one recently suffer injuries while on the job in Texas? You will want to get in touch with Mack Injury Attorneys as soon as possible.
Our firm has office locations in San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and McAllen. Call us at 855-905-MACK (6225) or contact us online to receive a free consultation that will allow us to examine further the details of your case and help outline what you will need to do to recover appropriate damages.