Federal law requires that all Texas employers provide a reasonably safe place to work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets minimum standards for work environments by industry. While some jobs may be naturally more hazardous than others, virtually anyone can incur injury on the job.
Workplace injuries may result from working with dangerous chemicals, operating heavy machinery, and exposure to environment elements. In Texas, some of the state’s most dangerous jobs include:
- The construction industry, which may endanger workers through use of heavy machinery, exposure to the elements, and working with dangerous chemicals.
- Oil field work. Workers always run the risk of serious injury by explosion or use of heavy equipment.
- Operating commercial motor vehicles. Semi-truck drivers can seriously injure themselves if they get into an accident, especially if they’re fatigued or under pressure to make tight delivery deadlines.
- Agricultural professions. These workers are the lifeblood of our local Texas economy, but they face dangers from heavy machinery and hard manual labor.
While it’s true some professions are more dangerous than others, even office workers can sustain serious injuries on the job. In fact, repetitive use injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are one of the most common claims on worker’s compensation forms.
Texas Workers’ Comp Laws
Texas is the only states that does not require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Opting to go without coverage, however, exposes the employer to potential personal injury lawsuits after worker injuries. A workplace with coverage means a qualifying injured employee could receive benefits through workers’ compensation. The state workers’ comp law sets a limit on these benefits in terms of how much an employee could receive. Lost wage replacement, for example, reimburses two-thirds of the worker’s weekly income.
A nonsubscriber employer does not have the advantage of legal limits on what it may have to pay an injured worker. A successful personal injury claim against the negligent employer could result in a jury verdict in the millions of dollars for the victim’s past and future expenses. The employer will have to pay for an employee’s losses out of pocket without the benefit of a workers’ compensation insurance plan. This is the risk an employer runs when it decides not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
Navigating Texas’s workers’ compensation laws can be difficult as an injured employee. If your employer does not carry insurance, you may only have the ability to seek recovery if your employer, a coworker, a manufacturer, or another party negligently contributed to your injuries. You will have the burden to prove negligence to secure compensation without a workers’ comp claim. Even if your employer has insurance, it may be in your best interests to forego a workers’ comp claim if a personal injury lawsuit could be worth more. An attorney can help you decide.
Can I File a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
Typically, an injured worker files a claim with their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance policy. Unfortunately, Texas is the only state in the union that doesn’t require all employers to carry insurance. Many of the state’s largest employers do carry insurance – Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and Igloo, to name a few – but others have no worker’s compensation policy.
Many other employers have what’s known as a “non-subscriber” policy, which allows them more subjectivity in denying or approving claims than traditional workers comp. This system can be frustrating for injured workers, who feel they have few possible avenues for recourse.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
Gaining compensation in wake of a workplace accident in Texas requires swift action and attention to detail. If you are hurt, take the following steps:
- Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. While Texas allows up to 30 days to file a workplace injury claim to insurance, some employers may require a report within a business day. Ask for a copy of your incident report as soon as it’s available.
- Find out if your employer carries worker compensation insurance. If your employer does carry insurance, they may want you to seek care from an approved provider. If they don’t, seek prompt medical care from your chosen provider – but be sure to mention you sustained the injury at work.
- Hire a Fort Worth personal injury attorney. If your workplace does not offer worker’s compensation insurance, you may have to file a personal injury claim against your employer to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with your accident.
Examples of Common Workplace Injuries
An employee may be able to seek legal action for workplace injuries if the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence, breach of duty, or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Even if a worker cannot prove fault for an accident, he or she may still be eligible for recovery if the employer has workers’ comp insurance. Several common workplace scenarios could give an employee the right to legal action for damages in Texas.
- Slip and fall accidents. Greasy warehouse floors, spilled liquids, and lack of proper safety initiatives could lead to workplace slip and falls.
- Struck by falling objects. A worker could suffer a traumatic brain injury if a coworker drops an object, such as a hammer at a construction site, or if an item falls from a shelf.
- Vehicle accidents. Employees that work with and around vehicles could suffer injuries in rollovers, collisions, and caught-in or caught-between object accidents.
Other common workplace accidents and injuries include chemical spills, burns, exposure to hazardous substances, animal attacks, acts of violence, defective equipment, and building collapses. The nature of the employee’s job can determine the specific risks he or she may face at work. It is an employer’s responsibility, however, to keep workers reasonably safe.
Why Choose Us?
The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. has years of experience representing victims of workplace injuries in Fort Worth. Our accident attorneys know how to go up against major corporations and employers on behalf of injured employees. Whether you suffered injuries in an oil rig explosion or pulled a muscle lifting boxes on an assembly line, our attorneys know how to help. Clients in all industries choose us because of our experience, success rates, and attention to detail.
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Texas employers must provide all employees with a safe place to work. If employers fail in this responsibility, they may be guilty of negligence. A personal injury settlement may provide your family with financial security until you can return to work.
The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert helps victims of Fort Worth workplace accidents gain compensation for their injuries. If you’re out of work and feel you’re running out of options, contact us for a free initial consultation. Let us provide a confidential review of your legal options and help you determine your next steps.
Don’t pay the price for your employer’s negligence. To take advantage of our contingency-fee based legal services, schedule your free case evaluation today.