Houston workers’ compensation injuries can come in many forms. It could be a slip and fall, injury from malfunctioning equipment, or as a result of negligent or sloppy work space. After such a work-related accident, you’ve been left with injuries that have you need to recover from.
The workers’ compensation program is designed to cover the injured employee’s expenses from injuries that occur on the job and provide the employer with insurance money for compensating an employee. An injury can be nearly anything that occurred while someone is working—no matter what type of job.
Most people think of “workers’ comp” as something for construction, plant, and oilfield workers. But even office workers who sustain an injury at work on the job are also eligible.
Workers’ compensation covers medical care and partial income replacement for work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of fault. This means that you won’t have to prove negligence that led to your accident, as you would in a car crash or other personal injury case. The injury was “caused by employment.”
The insurance has three types of eligible events:
• Occupational illnesses, such as black lung disease in miners
• “Trauma” injuries, for example- lifting something too heavy or performing repetitive tasks
• Death on the job, in which benefits are paid to the survivors.
The injuries must have occurred while a worker was on the job and was “caused by the employment.” Workers are required to use the safety equipment provided to them by the employer.
Injuries Not Covered
Anything that’s considered “self-inflicted” will not be covered. This includes:
• Unsafe work practices
• Intentional acts
• Illegal activities
• Worker intoxication
• Horseplay by workers on the job site
• Employees involved in violating company policies
• Injuries acquired going to and from the job
“Near-misses” aren’t covered if someone isn’t injured, no matter how frightening. Obviously do alert your employer though so they can address the situation that could have led to an actual injury.
It is important to know that an employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ comp claim, nor fire you for the disability that prevents you from doing your job.
What If They Don’t Have Workers Comp Insurance?
It’s a possibility. Because the state of Texas doesn’t require employers to carry it, about 28% of companies don’t. If you are injured while working for a company without workers comp, you won’t be able to file a claim. You therefore may need to sue your employer to receive fair compensation. Many companies have Workers Compensation insurance to avoid having to pay costly personal injury claims and avoid the possibility of litigation that could include a trial.
Some companies self-insure, which means the company doesn’t buy a policy but pays the worker’s expenses just as an insurance company would. If your employer does not have workers’ comp, you will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, much as you would after a car accident. With a lawsuit, you may be able to recover for a wide range of expenses that workers comp doesn’t cover, including pain and suffering.
Independent Contractors and Subcontractors
This is where things can become complicated. Many construction sites use workers who are subcontracted by other companies to get the job done. But in this case, the worker can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company that caused the accident. Because the subcontractor isn’t an employee of that company, but merely doing work on their project or property, this way they can file and recover compensation.
An independent contractor is usually a “freelance” worker, brought in for a specific project or to fill in for someone, and not a hired employee. Therefore, they would also not be covered by worker’s compensation. But as with a subcontractor, if they are injured on the job at the client company’s property, a personal injury lawsuit may be an option to recover compensation.
Rideshare drivers are an interesting example—they would likely need to recover for their injuries from their own car insurance policies. Drivers hire themselves out to the rideshare company using their own car. The rideshare company, such as Uber or Lyft, that they work for generally does not cover them for injuries except in some limited circumstances.
Injured On The Job? Contact Paxton Law Today
You have the right to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, you also have the right to speak with an attorney about your situation.
If you or a loved one was injured at work or on a worksite, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A Texas personal injury or workplace accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and discover who may be liable for your losses and injuries.
Contact the attorneys at The Paxton Law Firm today at 281-978-2244 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation with our legal team. Let us help you with your case so you can receive needed financial compensation.