Business

Defending Your Rights: A Comprehensive Look at Injured Worker Rights in Texas

Texas is a state that provides legal help to workers that are injured in the workplace. Millions of people sustain workplace injuries and many fail to seek the legal help they are entitled to. This lack of persistence can lead to financial ruin for workers who do not have any savings built up, who are the only sole provider, and those with no other source of income. To protect your rights and get compensation for your injury, you need to contact an attorney and get to know your rights.

What Steps to Take Following a Workplace Injury?

The first step is to seek medical treatment. Although you might not be in pain at the moment, that does not mean that you will not experience pain and problems at a later date. Not all symptoms present themselves at the moment of impact. In some cases, symptoms and pain show up days or even weeks after an injury. If you don’t visit a doctor, you will never know the extent of your injuries or what physical problems you might have in the near future.

What are My Rights As an Injured Workplace Employee?

As an injured worker, you have the right to:

  • Seek medical treatment at a medical facility or doctor of your choice
  • Seek the advice and assistance of an attorney that specializes in workplace injuries
  • Seek compensation for time off of work due to your workplace sustained injuries

All Employers in Texas Carry Workers Compensation Insurance?

No, not all employers doing business in the state of Texas are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Private businesses or employers are not required to carry insurance in Texas. However, these employers are required to post a notice to this effect and list the name of their insurance company. The Texas Department of Insurance can verify coverage of any company if you dial 800-372-7713.

What Type of Workplace Injuries are Covered?

Not all injuries are through operating machines or slipping and falling. Some injuries are caused by other workers. Disgruntled workers may look to do harm to others out of anger, spite or revenge. If this type of injury is sustained by another worker, you can possibly get compensation for your injuries.

Even if your employer does not participate in the workers’ compensation program, the employer is still liable for your injuries under the Texas law. Their responsibilities include:

  • Providing adequate training on using/operating machinery and other work equipment
  • Providing a safe and secure workplace free of hazardous and dangerous conditions
  • Providing safety gear protection for workers from debris, chemicals and other deadly materials or substances
  • Informing employees of whether or not they are participants in the state workers’ compensation insurance program

How to File a Workers Compensation Claim?

There are specific steps workers need to take to file a workers’ compensation claim. If these steps are not followed, you might not get the medical or financial assistance which you are entitled to receive. First, your injury must be reported to your employer within 30¬† days of the accident or injury, or as soon as the accident or injury occurs. If you fail to report within this time frame, you could possibly lose any rights to have to receive benefits.

The second step is to complete a claim form with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. The form must be completed and submitted within one year of the injury or illness. If you need help completing the form, you can reach out to the Office of Injured Employee Counsel,

What is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

There are some great benefits that injured workers are entitled to once they file and get approved workers’ compensation. These benefits are in place to help you throughout your injury or illness until you are able to return to work. The things that are covered include:

  • Medical bills
  • Dr visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medication
  • Home health services
  • Medical equipment
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgery
  • Lost income
  • Ambulance transportation to the hospital

Summary 

Your rights as an injured worker are protected under Texas law. However, depending on whether your employer participates in the workers’ compensation insurance program, you might need to go about getting benefits through another avenue. Every situation is different, and not all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, especially private employers.

Before you begin working for an employer, find out what insurance coverage is available for workers who are injured on the job.  Do not be afraid to ask for legal advice if you have been injured on the job through no fault of your own. It is up to you to follow through with the necessary steps to ensure that you are protecting yourself from being denied benefits, to which you may be entitled.

If you feel that a decision on your claim is not fair, you have the right to appeal the decision. Do not go at this alone, please seek legal expert help to assist with any or part of your workers’ compensation claim. A qualified attorney can answer all of your questions and give you the best advice on how to proceed.