Houston Work Accidents Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re hurt due to a work injury in Texas, it can be difficult to figure out your next steps and how to get the benefits you need. That’s why the experienced work injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Hilda
Sibrian put together this list of frequently asked questions about workplace accidents. Keep reading to learn more. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking to in this selection of work accidents frequently asked questions, give us a call or contact us online for a free and confidential case review.
What Steps Should I Take After a Work Accident in Houston?
Seek medical attention. If your employer provides workers’ compensation coverage through a certified health care network, request a copy of the list of doctors you can see. Report the accident and your injuries to your employer. Talk to an attorney to make sure you understand all your legal options.
How Long After an Accident Do I Have to Report an Injury?
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, you have 30 days from the initial date of your injury to notify your employer. Make sure you notify them in writing so there’s a record of your injury. It’s better to notify your employer as soon as possible after an accident to minimize the chance of any bureaucratic errors and to get the process moving.
What to Do If a Coworker Caused My Injury?
If the injury occurred during the scope of your employment, it should be covered by workers’ compensation if your employer offers workers’ comp benefits. Injuries caused by an employee’s horseplay are not eligible for workers’ comp. If someone committed a criminal act against you that is not related to your work, your injuries are not covered by workers’ comp. If you’re injured by a coworker, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of obtaining compensation for your injuries. Even if you do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you may still be able to pursue compensation from the coworker through alternative legal theories.
Am I Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If your employer does not offer such coverage, you are not covered by workers’ comp. In this situation, you may be able to take other legal action against your employer. It’s also important to know that if your employer offers workers’ compensation coverage, these benefits work under a “no-fault” system. This means that you can receive compensation for work-related injuries regardless of who was responsible for causing the injury.
Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Taxable?
In most cases, any money you receive from workers’ compensation benefits does not qualify as taxable income. However, a portion of your income from workers’ comp may be taxed if you receive benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Does My Employer Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Texas law allows employers to opt out of purchasing workers’ compensation insurance if they wish. Employers who do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance may avoid insurance costs, but they put themselves at risk in the event that an employee is injured because they may be held liable for any work-related injuries. On the other hand, employers who purchase workers’ compensation insurance generally cannot be sued for work-related injuries because workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” benefit. Your employer is required by Texas law to inform you at the time of your hire if they carry workers’ compensation coverage. They must also post this information beside other required workplace posters.
What Are My Options If My Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Comp?
One of the worksite accident frequently asked questions our Texas firm receives is what are your legal options if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. The answer depends on the nature and circumstances surrounding your injury. You are allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer if you sustain a work-related injury that is the result of your employer’s negligence. A lawsuit allows you to pursue compensation or the damages you suffer, such as medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish. You may also be able to file a third-party claim against others who may have played a role in your injury, such as vendors or contractors. Even if your employer does carry workers’ comp insurance, filing a third-party claim may be an option for you.
How Long Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The amount of time that you can collect workers’ compensation benefits depends on the extent of your injuries and the different types of benefits available to you. Temporary income benefits begin the eighth day that you’ve missed work after an injury, and they can continue for up to 104 weeks. The length of these workers’ compensation benefits depends on the impairment rating you receive when you file your workers’ compensation claim with your employer.
If your injury is severe enough to impact your whole body, you can receive three weeks of impairment income benefits for each percentage point of your impairment rating. Workers with severe injuries can
also receive supplemental income benefits when their impairment income benefits run out. Finally, you may qualify for lifetime income benefits if your injuries are so severe that you can never work again or you suffer certain types of injuries.
Can My Employer Fire Me While I Am Out on Workers’ Comp?
While an employer cannot fire you in retaliation for an injury or because you filed a workers’ comp claim, they can still fire you for other reasons because Texas is an “at-will” employment state. Some employers will look for a seemingly unrelated excuse to fire an employee after they’re injured on the job. Talking to an attorney as soon as possible after an injury can help you avoid a situation like this.
Can I Go to My Own Personal Doctor to Have Them Treat My Work-Related Injuries?
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the answer to this question depends on your employer and their particular workers’ comp plan. Many employers use networks of workers’ compensation doctors that are certified by the state. If this is the case, you will have to see a doctor on your employer’s list of doctors. However, your employer may not use a workers’ compensation network, in which case you could see the doctor of your choice.
What If I Can Never Work Again as a Result of My Work-Related Injury? What Benefits Are Available?
Workers in Texas who are so severely injured that they can’t ever work again may qualify for lifetime income benefits if their employer has workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the employee may be able to file a lawsuit to recover money for their injuries and lost income capacity. Severely injured workers may also qualify for federal disability benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
Do I Have to Pay for Medical Bills Related to My Accident?
If your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, you should not have to pay any medical bills related to your accident. If they do not have workers’ compensation coverage, you may have to file a lawsuit to get compensation to cover the costs of your medical treatment.
Which Lawyer Should I Contact to Represent Me After a Work Accident?
An experienced, knowledgeable work injury attorney is key to getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The team at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian has recovered millions of dollars for our
clients. We would be honored to help you with your work-injury case. Call our office today or visit our contact page for a free initial consultation.