What is Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation (also known as workmans’ comp) is a form of insurance. Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. Each state has its own laws concerning workers’ compensation.
Employers in Texas are not required to subscribe to workers’ compensation. They can elect, instead, to carry private insurance. Your rights may vary depending upon the type of insurance the employer elects to carry.
When can an Employee Receive Workers Compensation?
An employee who was injured on the job can usually receive workers’ compensation regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This means that the employee can receive workers’ compensation resulting from injuries caused by the employee, the employer, another employee, a customer, or a third party as long as the injury occurred during the course of the employee’s work.
If the employee qualifies for workers’ compensation, the employee cannot sue the employer (unless the employer chooses not to subscribe to workers’ compensation and carries private insurance instead—in which case you might be able to sue the employer for the injury).
Examples of Common Work Injuries:
Every workplace poses different risks to employees. Some workplaces are more dangerous than others. For example, a construction site is often a very dangerous work place.
Common workplace injuries include:
- Back injuries (often the result of lifting very heavy objects)
- Vehicle accidents
- Injuries that occur as a result of a slip and fall
- Injuries caused by heavy equipment
- Head injury caused by falling objects
- Injuries caused by falling from an elevated surface
- Injuries caused by exposure to harmful chemicals
- Injuries caused by a fire in the workplace
What should I do After a Work Injury?
After a work related injury, you should report the injury to your employer. Every company has different procedures for reporting injuries, and you may be required to file a formal report that describes how the employee was injured. Your employer will file a “report of injury” form with the workers’ compensation insurance.
Next, you should make sure to obtain medical assistance if necessary. You should ask the insurance company if you can choose your own doctor or if the insurance company requires you to see a particular doctor. If you feel like the doctor that your employer told you to go to did not properly diagnose you, you may be able to obtain a second opinion.
Lastly, consider whether you need to hire an attorney to assist you in obtaining workers’ compensation.
When Should an Injured Employee Hire a Lawyer?
Sometimes it is possible for an injured employee to obtain workers’ compensation without the assistance of a lawyer. There are several factors that an employee should consider when deterring whether the employee should hire a lawyer.
One factor to consider is whether the insurance company is fighting against the employee’s claim. Insurance companies may fight against workers’ compensation claims in two ways.
First, the insurance company may claim that the injury did not occur while the employee was working. In addition, the insurance company may claim that the employee is not entitled to workers’ compensation because the employee had a pre-existing condition.
If the insurance company is fighting against an employee’s workers’ compensation claim, the employee may need to hire a lawyer to help the employee prove that the injury occurred while the employee was working, and that the injury was not the result of a pre-existing condition.
Also, an injured employee should consider hiring an attorney if the insurance company attempts to pressure the employee to accept a low offer for any impairment rating or refusing to provide appropriate medical care.
If you have been injured in a work related accident, you should make sure that you take the time to assess your injury and consult with an attorney if necessary before settling your claim.
Next, the employee should consider whether the insurance company improperly denied the employee’s claim or does not award proper benefits. Workers’ compensation is supposed to provide injured employees with compensation for their injuries. If an employer refuses to provide this compensation, the employee should consider hiring a lawyer. A lawyer can assist the employee in obtaining benefits that cover the employee’s lost wages and medical bills.
An injured employee must also consider the extent of the injury. If the employee suffered only a minor injury, the employee may not need a lawyer. If the employee suffered a lifelong debilitating injury the insurance company may attempt to avoid paying the employee adequate compensation for their injuries. If the injury was severe the employee may need to obtain a lawyer to assist the employee in obtaining adequate compensation.
Also, the employee should consider whether the employer discriminated against the employee as a result of the workers’ compensation claim. If the employer discriminated against the employee, the employee should consider hiring an attorney.
Another factor that the employee should consider is whether they missed a lot of work because of the accident. This is an important consideration because the insurance company may attempt to claim that the employee’s injury did not warrant missing work for an extended period.
Lastly, the injured employee should consider whether they could have a claim against a third party. An injured employee cannot sue their employer for injuries suffered on the job (presuming they subscribe to workers’ compensation), but the employee could sue a third party that caused the injury. If a third party caused your workplace injury, you should consider consulting with an attorney to determine if you can file a lawsuit in order to recover damages from a negligent third party.
What will a Lawyer do for an Injured Employee?
A lawyer can assist the employee in filing the employee workers’ compensation claim. A lawyer will ensure that the injured employee meets all of the deadlines in their workers’ compensation case.
If the case is a difficult case, a lawyer can assist the employee in proving that the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation.
Often lawyers assist their clients in obtaining medical evidence that proves that the employee was severely injured. This medical evidence allows injured employees to receive adequate compensation for their injuries. The lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy can assist you in obtaining the workers compensation that you deserve.
Should an Injured Employee Consult with a Lawyer if the Employee is Unsure if they have a Claim?
An injured employee should consider consulting with an attorney if the employee is unsure whether they can receive workers’ compensation. An honest lawyer will tell the employee if the lawyer believes that the employee can obtain workers compensation without the assistance of a lawyer.