Protect Your Rights: Workplace Injuries

Many people are familiar with workers compensation. However, many employers do not have workers compensation insurance. What this means for employees is that, if you get hurt at work, your employer may not pay for your medical bills and lost wages that result from your injury. In some cases, employers have a different type of insurance that will provide some benefits to injured workers. Recent media reports indicate, however, that 500,000 – 600,000 workers in Texas work for employers who have no insurance coverage for injured workers. This blog post will discuss your rights under different situations when you are injured at work.

Workers Compensation

If your employer has workers compensation (sometimes called “workers comp” or “workmen’s comp”), then your medical bills will be paid if you are injured at work, regardless of how you got hurt. You do not have to prove that your employer did anything negligent in order to make them pay for your medical bills. You will also be paid a percentage of the wages you lose due to work missed for the injury. The amount of the lost wages that will be reimbursed to you depends upon several factors, but it is usually determined by a formula and there is very little room to negotiate.

The problem with workers compensation for employees who are injured at work is that there are many damages that you suffer that you cannot get paid for. Injured employees cannot recover any money for pain and suffering or mental anguish if the employer has workers compensation coverage. Injured employees in Texas can only get medical bills paid and a percentage of lost wages and nothing else. There are very few exceptions to this rule in Texas. Unless a worker actually dies as a result of an employer’s gross negligence (not mere negligence), the worker and his family have very limited rights if the employer has workers compensation insurance.

Many injured workers are afraid that their employer will retaliate against them if they get hurt and file a claim for workers comp coverage. They worry that they will be fired for reporting the injury or asking that their medical bills be paid. This concern is often valid. However, Texas law makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers comp claim. If you or a loved one is treated unfairly by an employer for reporting a workplace injury, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Lovins Trosclair immediately for advice.

Employers who are “Non-Subscribers”

Employers who do not have workers comp coverage are often referred to as “non-subscribers.” This simply means that they do not subscribe to the Texas workers compensation system. If you are an injured worker in Texas and your employer does not have workers compensation coverage, things get more complicated, so call the personal injury attorneys at Lovins Trosclair to receive a free consultation about your rights.

Employers who choose not to buy workers compensation coverage usually make that decision because the insurance is very expensive. If your employer does not carry workers compensation coverage and you are injured at work, you first must show that your injury is in some way connected to an act of negligence by your employer. If another employee was negligent, that is usually enough to show that the employer was negligent.

Also, when the employer does not carry workers comp coverage, and the employer was negligent, he cannot blame the worker for causing his or her own injury. The only exception to this rule is if the employee was intoxicated at the time of the injury. If your employer negligently caused your workplace injury, you are entitled to recover the full amount of you medical bills and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity, and possibly other damages.

How Much Money Can I Get?

This is a question that many injured workers ask. It’s a perfectly reasonable question, because a workplace injury costs you a lot of money. You have to find a way to pay for medical care, as well as a way to replace the money you would have earned by working if you had not been hurt. There is no easy answer to this question, but the personal injury attorneys at Lovins Trosclair can help you get full compensation.

Are you Really an Independent Contractor?

Many employers call their workers “independent contractors” in an effort to avoid liability for workplace injuries.  This classification also allows the employer to avoid paying the workers’ income taxes and paying payroll taxes, including the employer’s contribution for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Classifying workers as independent contractors can save an employer a lot of money.

But saying that employees are independent contractors is also a way that employers try to take away workers’ rights. And it is often illegal. Whether a worker is truly an “independent contractor” or “employee” depends on several factors. There is often no clear and obvious answer and no simple test to apply to determine the correct classification. When a worker is injured on the job, however, the classification becomes extremely important.

Conclusion

As you can see, determining the rights of an injured worker can be a complicated task.  That’s why the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney is important in making sure your rights are protected. So, if you or a loved one was injured at work, call the Dallas and Austin personal injury attorneys at Lovins Trosclair at 214-484-1930 or 512-535-1649 right away for a free consultation. We can help workers throughout Texas sort out these complex legal issues.

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