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What Rights Do Texas Employees Have if They Are Injured at Work?

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Bexar County Workplace Injury AttorneyAccidents can happen in any workplace, and injuries can occur for numerous reasons. Some occupations can be especially dangerous, and workers may be at a higher risk of injuries. For example, construction workers may be at risk of injuries in fall accidents or because of falling objects, while people in the oil and gas industry may be more likely to be injured in fires or explosions. However, anyone can be injured while at work, and in these situations, it is important to understand the rights that apply to injured workers and the options that are available. In some cases, employees may qualify for workers' compensation benefits, but other workers may need to take steps to pursue compensation from a negligent employer or other parties who were responsible for their injuries.

Workers' Compensation Benefits

Employers may provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This insurance will cover any situations where workers suffer job-related injuries, with a few exceptions. When an employee is covered by workers' compensation, they can receive both income and medical benefits, and it will not be necessary to establish fault for an injury. Most work-related injuries will be covered, regardless of whether the employee made a mistake that led to an accident, an employer acted negligently, or an injury occurred for other reasons. Workers' compensation will also cover illnesses that a person contracted while working or health issues that were caused by the work they performed, such as repetitive stress injuries.

Workers' comp provides multiple types of benefits to injured workers. One of the key benefits is the payment of all medical expenses for treatment related to a workplace injury. An injured worker will typically have the right to choose the doctor that will provide treatment, although they may need to select a doctor that is within the health care network of a workers' compensation insurer. The worker will be able to receive all treatment that is medically necessary until they have fully recovered from their injury. They may also be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses, including transportation and travel costs when attending appointments.

Income benefits will also be available that will allow a worker to receive a percentage of the wages they earned before they were injured. Temporary income benefits may be paid if an injury results in a loss of income for at least seven days. These benefits will usually pay 70 percent of the amount of income lost due to an injury. Impairment income benefits may address the permanent impact of an injury, and they will usually be based on the percentage of loss of the body as a whole that a person has experienced due to a workplace injury. Lifetime income benefits may be provided if a person experienced serious injuries and permanent disabilities that may drastically limit their ability to work in the future. If a person was killed in a workplace accident, their surviving family members may be able to receive death benefits through workers' compensation.

Injured workers may also need to address disputes over what types of injuries are covered by workers' compensation and what types of benefits they can receive. In some cases, employers or insurers may deny benefits by claiming that an injury was not work-related. Employees have the right to be represented by an attorney as they address these types of disputes, and a variety of dispute resolution procedures may be used. With the help of an attorney, a person can demonstrate that their injuries should be covered under workers' comp, and they can negotiate a settlement that will fully address their medical expenses and loss of income.

Situations Where Employees Are Not Covered by Workers' Compensation

Unlike nearly all other states, Texas does not require employers to maintain workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Employers who choose not to have workers' compensation insurance are known as non-subscribers. Employees of non-subscribers will not automatically receive coverage for work-related injuries, but they may still have options for pursuing compensation for workplace accidents and other injuries suffered at work.

An injured employee may be able to file a lawsuit against an employer to address a workplace injury. In these cases, they will typically be required to demonstrate that the employer acted negligently and that this negligence was directly responsible for their injury. For example, an employer may have failed to provide employees with the necessary safety equipment when they were working with dangerous chemicals, and a worker may experience lung damage due to the inhalation of fumes. In this situation, the employee may be able to take legal action against the employer to address the injuries that occurred because of the employer's failure to follow the proper safety procedures.

In some cases, workers may also be able to pursue compensation from other parties who were responsible for an injury. For example, a person may be injured while working at a construction site because a subcontractor did not use safety equipment correctly or because of defective equipment. In these situations, the injured worker may file a lawsuit against the person or parties who put them at risk, and this may allow them to recover compensation for their injuries and damages.

Work injury lawsuits against non-subscriber employers or other parties may allow workers to recover forms of compensation that would not be available through workers' compensation. In addition to compensation for medical expenses and the full amount of past and future income lost due to an injury, a lawsuit may also address the pain and suffering that a person has experienced because of their injuries.

Protection Against Retaliation

Under Texas law, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file workers' compensation claims. Retaliation may include terminating an employee, demoting them, decreasing their pay, or taking any other adverse actions that could affect their employment or their wages. An employer who retaliates against an employee may be required to reinstate the employee to their former position and compensate them for lost wages and other damages. They could also be required to pay punitive damages, and they may face fines or other penalties.

These protections only apply in cases where employers have workers' compensation insurance. In cases where an employer is a non-subscriber, workers are not protected against retaliation, and an employer may be allowed to fire or take other actions against an employee who is injured in the workplace. However, these actions could play a role in a lawsuit brought by an employee against the employer, and they could indicate that an employer has a history of putting their own interests ahead of the interests of their employees.

Contact a Bexar County Workplace Injury Attorney

Work injuries can put people in a difficult position, and they can cause a family to struggle financially due to medical expenses and loss of income. Injured workers will need to determine their options for receiving benefits through workers' compensation or pursuing lawsuits against a non-subscriber employer or other parties. They can do so with the help of an experienced San Antonio work injury lawyer. A skilled attorney can provide guidance on the steps a person can take to ensure that they will have the financial resources they need as they recover from their injuries.

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