If you were injured at work, or simply want to be prepared for if and when it happens, there are a few things to be aware of. You are entitled to certain rights and compensation for suffering work injuries, although it’s important to understand the conditions that go along with these. To help explain, we’ve addressed some of the questions that are most frequently asked of a work injury attorney.
Ask a Work Injury Attorney: 5 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Counts as a Workplace Injury?
Under certain conditions, workers who are injured while on the job are entitled to fair compensation for any losses suffered. An injury that meets these conditions is known as a compensable injury, and the conditions may vary from state to state depending on local workers’ compensation law. In the state of Texas, a compensable injury is one that occurs during the course and scope of the injured employee’s regular work duties.
There are exceptions as to what constitutes a compensable injury, such as when the injury was caused by games or “horseplay” that is not part of the standard work duties. Another exception is when the injury is pre-existing, meaning it existed before the work incident and thus was not “caused” by the work duties.
2. When and How Do I Report a Workplace Injury?
If you are injured while working, it is crucial that you report the injury to your supervisor or another authority figure as soon as possible. This is especially true if your injury requires medical attention. It’s important to note that a work-related injury or illness may not cause immediate pain, but you should still report it as soon as possible.
According to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, an injury report must be filed within 30 days of its occurrence, and the associated workers’ compensation claim must be filed within one year. When you report the injury, your employer will probably have you fill out forms that explain the incident. Make sure you complete these forms thoroughly and report any pain, regardless of how minor it may seem.
3. How Do I Know Who Was Responsible for My Injury?
If you report an injury at work, one of the first things that the company will do is investigate exactly who or what caused the injury. If you hire an attorney to represent your interests in the matter, the attorney will also seek to learn who or what was responsible. This is an important detail that can determine the best course of legal action to pursue.
There are cases where the company may not be responsible, such as when the injury was caused by a client or subcontractor who is not employed by the company. Another example is when the injury was caused by faulty equipment, in which case the manufacturer may be held responsible. There are many variables involved, which is why it’s best to speak with an experienced work injury attorney in Houston, TX.
4. What Kinds of Benefits Are Available?
Work injuries can have severe consequences. Employees not only have to go through pain and suffering while recovering from the injuries but may also have medical bills to deal with. As if that isn’t bad enough, the employee may suffer lost wages if he or she is unable to work while recovering. Then there’s the worst-case scenario: work injuries that result in death.
To help ease the burden, workers’ compensation provides medical benefits to cover necessary treatment, income benefits to cover wages lost during convalescence and death benefits for the bereaved. It’s important to add that each case is unique, and some work injuries may involve legal elements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
5. What if My Injury Claim Is Denied?
Once you file a claim for workers’ compensation, your company and its insurance provider will investigate the claim to determine if it is valid and qualifies you to receive benefits. Once they complete their investigation, there is a possibility that they may deny your claim. This could be for a number of different reasons.
Examples of reasons for denial include claims not being filed on time, inconsistencies between your initial work injury report and medical records, or if you were on drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury. There are many more reasons why claims may be denied, and if you feel this denial is unjust it’s best to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer to understand your options.
These are a few of the most common questions that people have about work injuries. Remember that it’s important to report the injury as soon as possible, and be thorough in detailing any pain you are experiencing. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s best to speak with a professional work injury attorney in houston tx.