If you suffered an injury or illness on the job in Texas, state workers’ compensation laws grant you certain rights as long as your employer subscribes to worker’s compensation. If you are legally eligible to file a claim, you have the right to:
- Receive medical and income benefits for the injury or illness regardless of who or what caused the accident (fault)
- Receive reasonable medical care for a work-related injury as long as necessary
- Receive income benefits that replace part of your wages during recovery
- Challenge a decision that changes or terminates your benefits
You must tell your employer about the injury or illness within 30 days. If you don’t file within that window, you could jeopardize your claim. It is important to note that in Texas, even if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage, you still must report your injury within 30 days.
Confirm If Your Texas Employer Carries Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Before filing a workers’ compensation benefits claim, you must confirm your employer carries this insurance. Texas does not require private employers to have it.
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation coverage, you won’t be able to sue for injuries or related damages. Instead, you can file a workers’ compensation insurance claim to cover your medical bills and partial income.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) must receive your completed claim form within one (1) year from the date of injury, or the date you learned your injury or illness is related to your job.
If your employer does not carry this insurance, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages from a negligence-based accident. You can meet with a Texas work injury attorney who can give you tailored legal advice for your situation.
Medical benefits pay for reasonable medical treatment for a work-related injury or illness. You must choose a treating physician from the Workers’ Compensation Health Care Network if your employer provides coverage through one. You should receive a list of treating in-network doctors.
If you don’t, ask your employer to give you one. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) provides a list of certified workers’ compensation health care networks.
Be advised that if you choose a medical professional who’s not in the network, you may have to cover treatment costs.
If you are eligible for wage replacement under workers’ compensation benefits, you could receive:
- Temporary income benefits (TIBs): Injured workers can receive these benefits if they have lost income for more than seven days due to a work-related injury. These benefits amount to 70% to 75% of the worker’s average weekly wage before the injury. They end when the employee returns to work, if they reach the end of the benefits period, or a doctor or other medical professional says you’ve reached the maximum medical improvement for your injury.
- Impairment income benefits (IIBs): Workers with permanent body damage from a workplace injury receive this benefit. The amount received will depend on a healthcare provider’s impairment rating. These benefits equal 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage before injury.
- Supplemental income benefits (SIBs): These monthly benefits are for injured workers with an impairment rating of 15% or higher who earn less than 80% of their average weekly wage. SIBs equal 80% of the difference between 80% of the employee’s average weekly wage before the injury and the weekly pay the injured employee receives after the injury.
- Lifetime income benefits (LIBs): These income benefits are for injured workers whose permanent injuries will last a lifetime. They can receive 75% of their average weekly wage with a 3% yearly increase.
We have offices in Houston, Corpus Christi, and Victoria; and will travel to any corner of Texas if we are capable of preventing an injustice.
How a Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
An attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims can help you make the process manageable. These cases involve complex laws and can take a great deal of time before parties resolve them. Getting help from a legal professional can be especially helpful when your recovery demands you to focus on your health.
A Texas workers’ compensation lawyer can take care of the following:
- Answer questions and address concerns about an initial claim or claim denial
- Handle all case communications
- Seek maximum monetary damages
- Collect evidence to document the accident and related injury and/or illness
- File your initial workers’ compensation claim
- Lead your appeal for a denied claim
- Complete all claims paperwork
- Keep your case on schedule to meet key deadlines
- Update you on your workers’ compensation claim’s status and case developments
How a Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights Outside a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If a third party, such as an independent contractor, caused your injury or illness while working, you might be able to pursue additional damages with a personal injury lawsuit against that individual or entity. A lawsuit allows you to demand damages that Texas workers’ compensation laws don’t cover, such as pain and suffering.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can also seek the help of a personal injury lawyer who handles work injury claims. You have the right to hire a work injury attorney who can review the matter and:
- Investigate the accident, injury, or illness to determine if negligence occurred
- Collect evidence that supports your account of events (medical records, witness testimony, an injury report or a police report that documents the incident, photographs and video footage, etc.)
- Identify liable parties that owe you monetary damages
- Assess your financial and non-financial losses and assign a monetary value to your case (e.g., medical bills, lost income, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering)
- Lead settlement negotiations for fair compensation
- Review proposed settlement offers to ensure they adequately cover your losses
- Prepare and file your injury lawsuit per Texas statute of limitations laws
- Lead your case for financial recovery at trial if necessary
Representing the injured in all areas of Texas that extends back over 40 years
What Happens If a Work-Related Injury or Illness Causes an Employee’s Death?
If a worker suffers fatal injuries on the job, surviving family members might be able to recover damages. Under Texas workers’ compensation laws, eligible surviving relatives can receive death and burial benefits. These benefits replace up to 75% of a worker’s lost income and pay up to $10,000 in burial expenses if a workplace injury or illness causes a worker’s death.
If eligible surviving family members pursue damages for a loved one’s work-related death with a wrongful death lawsuit, they could recover funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and the decedent’s medical bills.
You need a skilled advocate to protect your legal rights and present your claim in such a way as to maximize your recovery.
Call Carrigan & Anderson Today for Help with a Texas Work Injury Claim
Our Texas work injury lawyers can help you if you were hurt on the job and do not have workers’ compensation insurance or are eligible for a third-party lawsuit.
We are ready to advise you and get to work for your recovery. We respond to calls and texts seven days a week. Call us today for a free consultation.
At Carrigan & Anderson, PLLC we can talk to you about your options and rights.