Construction workers have some of the most dangerous jobs and the highest rates of workplace injuries. Sometimes, injuries may be minor annoyances; however, they can also cause lifetime, severe disabilities and even death. If you’re injured on a construction site, get proper medical attention and call Waldman Legal Group to learn about your right to workers’ compensation benefits or other potential paths to recovery.

Workers’ compensation was originally developed to be a simpler system than litigation to resolve the issues that come with workplace injuries. Over time and as benefits and medical care have become more expensive, the workers’ compensation system has become overwhelming to many. There is simply too much at stake to be confused about how to pursue a claim, especially if you suffer a serious injury.

Working with our Houston construction accident lawyer gives you the insight and guidance necessary to protect your rights to compensation for your losses. They are committed to working closely with you to understand your losses and pursue the financial compensation owed to you.

Don’t wait to call us to learn more about your rights and how our lawyers can protect them. Call (713) 688-4878 now for a consultation.

Working in Construction is Hazardous to Your Health

Nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day, according to the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The agency states that the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average for all other industries.

The top hazards for construction workers include:

  • Falls (from heights)
  • Trench collapse
  • Scaffolding collapse
  • Electric shock and arc flash/blast
  • Repetitive motion injuries.

Out of 4,674 workers who died in private industry in 2017, 21% were in construction, according to OSHA. The top four causes of workplace deaths accounted for more than half (60%) of construction worker deaths in 2017. The “Fatal Four” are:

  • Falls – 381 out of 971 deaths (39%)
  • Struck by object – 80 (8%)
  • Electrocutions – 71 (7%)
  • Caught-in/between – 50 (5%).

For construction sites, the most OSHA citations for unsafe working conditions involved:

  • Scaffolding
  • Fall protection
  • Excavations
  • Ladders
  • Head protection
  • Excavations
  • Hazard communication
  • Fall protection
  • Electrical.

There were 7,509 workers’ compensation claims filed in Texas by those working in the construction industry alone. The average lost income claim was $10,818 according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Also, that year, 1,101 construction workers living in Harris County made workers’ comp claims, and there were 971 construction-related claims against employers based in the county.

The types of injuries that can be suffered on construction sites include:

  • Amputation of a finger, toe, or limb
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Burns due to fires or electricity
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Eye injuries or vision loss due to objects like bits of metal, wood, or glass getting into the eye or chemicals being splashed into the eye
  • Shoulder, knee, or ankle injuries such as sprains
  • Loss of hearing caused by loud noises
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord damage that may result from impact from a fall
  • Illnesses caused by exposure to chemicals, dust, or particles
  • Head or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from falls or instances in which heavy equipment or materials strike them from a higher position.

Houston Construction Accident Lawyer and the Construction Industry

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program created by state law. It pays for medical bills and other financial losses. It may also provide for some income replacement for time you’ve missed at work due to work-related injuries.

In Texas, employers are not forced to carry workers’ compensation insurance unless they are certain private employers or part of a government or educational system. Those without insurance are known as non-subscribers. For those with workers’ compensation insurance coverage, the policyholder would pay income and/or medical benefits to you or your beneficiaries if you qualify.

Workers’ Compensation Claim Process

We highly recommend contacting our construction accident attorney in Houston as soon as you suffer an injury and after you receive medical care. Let us navigate the legal process for you. Here’s what you can expect.

Get Help from a Doctor

Head to the emergency room for any life-threatening condition. Otherwise, find a doctor to treat you since some physicians do not handle injuries and illnesses that fall under workers’ compensation. Ask your employer whether it’s participating in a certified workers’ compensation healthcare network. Working with a doctor under their insurance might speed up your claim process.

After your injury or diagnosis of a work-related illness, notify your employer. You have 30 days to file the report, but you should get it started as soon as possible. If your situation is serious, get medical help first and then worry about filing the report (but as soon as possible thereafter, and within the 30-day window).

Complete Necessary Documentation

Complete the necessary documentation from your employer. Provide just the facts and clear statements about what occurred, without admitting to any fault. You can also report your claim directly to the Texas Department of Insurance if your employer fails to do so. You will need to communicate with the insurance company about your injury and provide the requested information. Your doctor will help you understand if you should go back to work and the types of limitations you may have.

Work with an Attorney to Determine the Potential Compensation Owed

We don’t encourage you to complete your claim without the legal oversight a construction injury lawyer in Houston can provide. Here’s why:

  • Insurance companies want you to settle fast, to limit additional payments they owe to you.
  • They want to just pay for medical bills, but you could have many other losses.
  • You don’t know the long-term impact your injury has on your ability to do your job.

If your injury is minor and you haven’t lost any time at work, it’s okay to accept the settlement offered to you.

If your claim is approved, you will receive your benefits. If it is denied or if you’re not getting the benefits you’re entitled to, you can appeal. As soon as you get notice of denial or that you’ll be receiving insufficient benefits, contact a Houston construction accident lawyer at the Waldman Legal Group. We are often able to straighten out misunderstandings or provide information or documentation needed before your claim can be approved. If they’re not willing to be reasonable, we can appeal their decision.

Filing a Dispute

The first stage of dispute resolution with the Division of Workers’ Compensation is a Benefit Review Conference. This meeting will include you, your attorney, and those who represent the insurance carrier providing the benefit. The Division of Workers’ Compensation Benefit Review Officer will work to try to resolve the coverage options here.

Arbitration is a more formal process where you will meet again with a representative from the insurance carrier to resolve the issue. The arbitrator hears from both sides and renders a decision. He or she is chosen by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Arbitration normally takes less time and costs less than a full contested case hearing. However, you give up your right to a contested case hearing in front of a hearing officer and, unlike with a contested case hearing, you can’t appeal an arbitration decision.

If you bypass the arbitration, the next step would be a contested case hearing. It’s a formal, legal process that is run by a Division of Workers’ Compensation Hearing Officer. He or she considers the evidence submitted by the parties and later issues a written decision adjudicating the claim.

If the decision doesn’t go your way, you could appeal it to the Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel. No new evidence is considered. Their written decision is based on the findings of the law. It will affirm, change, or reverse the Hearing Officer’s decision. The Panel’s decision could be appealed to the Texas State Courts.

Litigation

There are some situations where a construction accident lawsuit is necessary, especially if your employer denies that you were hurt on the job or you are facing financial losses that go above and beyond what the workers’ compensation insurance provider in Houston wants to pay. If that’s the case, we encourage you to work closely with our construction accident lawyer.

Call us to learn what your legal options are. Schedule a consultation at (713) 688-4878 now to discuss your case.

Employees, Not Independent Contractors, Are Covered

Often those working in construction are misclassified as independent contractors, not employees who would qualify for benefits. Just because you are labeled an independent contractor, this doesn’t necessarily make it so. Under the state’s workers’ compensation law, Texas Labor Code Chapter 406, Section 406.121(2), an independent contractor is defined as a person who contracts to perform work or to provide a service for the benefit of another.

A contractor is a person that is free to determine when and how they work to complete a task. They control the hours they work and the type of labor they perform. That’s unlike an employee-employer relationship in which the employer directs the activities and pays wages. A person may be a contractor if they provide their own tools for the job and must provide their own materials. They also have to have the skills to provide that specific task for more than one company.

If your claim for benefits has been turned down because of your employment status, contact our office so we can discuss whether there are grounds to challenge that decision so you can get the benefits you’re entitled to under the law.

What Happens If Your Employer is a Non-Subscriber

If your employer hasn’t purchased an insurance policy to cover work-related injuries or illnesses, and your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, they could be sued to compensate you for the harm you suffered. You could recover from the assets your employer has, depending on the legal entity owning the business. Your employer may also be self-insured for workers’ comp, meaning it has its own insurance plan that provides benefits and covers injuries to employees while on the job.

How a Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help

Waldman Legal Group provides representation to people injured or made ill because of their job. Workers’ compensation laws and procedures can be complex. Going it alone could allow an employer or insurance company to walk away from their responsibilities to you.

Insurance Companies Want to Lessen What They Pay

Even if your claim is accepted, there could be dozens of ways an insurance company can try to short-change you with your income and medical benefits. Our construction accident lawyers help our clients get all the benefits they deserve and are entitled to under the law. We understand how Texas’ workers’ compensation laws and systems work. Waldman Legal Group won’t tolerate an employer or insurance company’s trying to avoid its responsibilities and trying to cheat one of our clients.

Help You Know Your Rights

Even if you hope to avoid a construction accident lawsuit, it’s critical to ensure you know your rights. Let us help you to explore any compensation opportunities that may be beneficial to you. We can also address instances of retaliation for filing a claim against your employer. If you feel you were treated in any unjust manner, enable our legal team to work closely with you to pursue financial compensation.

Support You in Getting Back to Work

Your employer cannot force you to come back to work if you are under a doctor’s orders not to. But what about when you are ready?

  • Do you need any type of accommodation to get back to work and make it possible to do your job?
  • How many hours do you need to work to meet the requirements?
  • Do you need job retraining to do a new job because the existing position is no longer possible to do?
  • Is your employer threatening your position if you don’t get back to work?
  • Has your employment been terminated as a result of your injury?

Don’t assume you have to face these risks alone. With the help of our construction accident attorney, we can guide you in navigating the legal process one step at a time and protect your future.

Help You Hold Others Responsible

Depending on the circumstances and cause of your work injury or illness, other parties may be legally responsible. There could be a “third-party” lawsuit against a non-employer whose negligence or defective product contributed to the harm you suffered.

This situation is especially common on construction sites. There will be a general contractor along with a number of subcontractors. If you work for one subcontractor but are injured because of the negligence of another, you may have a third-party claim. Such a claim may also arise if you are struck by a vehicle driven by someone not with the same employer or by a defective tool or piece of equipment. These legal claims may result in compensation not available under workers’ compensation, including pain, suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages. Our Houston construction accident lawyer will work with you to pursue financial compensation for these losses.

When Should You Hire a Houston Construction Accident Attorney?

Why not just file your claim? You don’t want to lose your job or cause a rift. The key here is that you may not be fairly compensated if you do not work with a construction accident lawyer in Houston to support you. We encourage you to reach out for legal guidance at any time, especially in situations such as:

  • The employer denies you were hurt on the job.
  • Your employer or insurance company believes you had a preexisting condition.
  • You need long-term rehabilitation and support.
  • The insurance company is trying to get you to settle for less than you are owed (or you’re just not sure what you’re owed).
  • The construction site job injury may impact your ability to work and do your job for the long term.
  • You have significant pain and a loss of quality of life.
  • Your loved one lost their life in a construction accident in Houston.

Let our team navigate these far more complex legal scenarios for you, providing you with exceptional support and guidance.

How Much Will You Get for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The only way to have some idea of what applies in your case is to reach out to our construction injury lawyer in Houston for more information and support. Our team will help you determine what is owed to you.

Some factors that may play a role in what you are paid include:

  • Medical bills you have from emergency medical care received
  • Ongoing care, surgical procedures, and treatment for your injury
  • Rehabilitation and recovery efforts
  • Coverage for any equipment or adaptations you made to your home to accommodate your work injury
  • Pain and suffering claims
  • Lost time at work and lost benefits.

When you meet with our team, we will work with you to better understand what has occurred in your case. Then, we will help you to file a claim. You will need to have documentation to prove what you’re owed based on the losses you have. We can help you to do that.

Additionally, we will handle discussing your case with the insurance company. That may help you avoid any type of mistake that could cost you the compensation you’re owed. If a settlement cannot be reached, we can pursue a construction accident lawsuit.

Our goal is to help you get the compensation you need as quickly as possible. Yet, we also want to ensure you get the full compensation owed to you. For that reason, we highly encourage you to reach out to us for immediate support.

Take the Next Step: Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Our construction accident lawyers in Houston are dedicated to representing injured workers and their families. There are specific time requirements that must be met when filing workers’ compensation claims. Consult an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation as soon as possible after a work-related injury. Call us today at (713) 688-4878 for your free workplace injury consultation. Remember, your initial consultation is free, and there is no fee if there is no recovery.

Don’t wait to learn about your legal rights and options. Call our construction accident lawyer now.

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