March 24, 2021

Blog Thumbnail: Houston Injury & Accidents

You were injured on the job. Your employer told you they would help you. Your employer may have even promised you that the company would pay your medical bills.

If your employer sends you papers to sign, what do you do? Wait! Don’t sign anything until you know your legal rights. Immediately call the attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878. Our attorneys will review the documents at no charge. Let us help you make decisions that will help you and your family!

What am I signing?

After being injured on the job, the company may send you forms to sign. Don’t sign these forms until you have an attorney review them. Let our attorneys read the forms!

Beware! Employers may threaten to withhold compensation or medical care unless you sign documents. You may be entitled to compensation and medical care without signing anything! The documents you are being asked to sign may release all your claims! Let us read the documents before you sign them!

If your employer is pressuring you to sign documents, they may be tricking you into signing away your rights. Don’t sign! Call the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878 for a free and confidential consultation.

Can I file a workers’ compensation claim?

If your employer carries “official” Texas workers’ compensation insurance, if you are injured on the job and report the injury to your employer, you are entitled to medical treatment, and you may be eligible for disability income benefits.

What are medical and income benefits?

Medical benefits. These benefits will pay for reasonable and necessary medical care to treat your injury. Medical benefits will generally cover your doctor visits and may include other treatments that your doctor recommends. At your initial doctor’s visit, you will be asked for your workers’ comp claim information because your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier will be billed directly for the medical care you receive.

Your employer may require you to see a specific doctor. Often, employers will provide their workers with a list of doctors from which they can choose. Other times, workers may be able to choose any doctor that participates in the workers’ comp health care network.

Income benefits. Income benefits are money payments you can receive to replace some of the money you lost due to your injury. There are four types of income benefits you may receive based on your circumstances:

  • Temporary income benefits.
  • Impairment income benefits.
  • Supplemental income benefits.
  • Lifetime income benefits.

Temporary income benefits are money payments awarded to workers that were injured on the job and are not able to work more than seven days. In most cases, workers will receive 70% of the difference between the average amount of money their employer stated they received each week from their job before their injury, i.e., average weekly wage and what they are able to earn after their work-related injury. The maximum temporary income benefits workers can receive weekly is $1,007.00.

If your doctor at any point clears you to return to work in a light-duty capacity, you may still be eligible to receive temporary income benefits. However, your temporary income benefits will come to an end once:

  • you’re able to return to work on a full-capacity basis and have reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement;”
  • you’re able to earn your average weekly wage; or
  • you’ve reached the end of your temporary income benefits period, which is 104 weeks after the eighth day of your work-related injury.

To learn more about the workers’ comp claim process and the benefits you can receive through your workers’ comp claim, talk to our workers’ comp lawyers.

My doctor determined I reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Can I continue to receive income benefits?

Maximum medical improvement (MMI) refers to the point you reach when there is no curative medical treatment to improve your injuries. Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may be eligible for impairment income benefits if your doctor has determined that you have an impairment that is permanent. At that point, your doctor will assign you permanent work restrictions and a permanent impairment rating.

What is an impairment rating?

An impairment rating is a percentage number that reflects the level of permanent impairment caused to your body by a work-related injury. Your impairment rating will indicate how much you’ve been injured, as well as how much the impairment will affect your future job performance.

For example,

  • an impairment rating of 1% = the worker is 1% deficient.
  • an impairment rating of 5% = the worker is 5% deficient.
  • an impairment rating of 10% = the worker is 10% deficient.
  • an impairment rating of 15% = the worker is 15% deficient.

A low impairment rating signals that less permanent damage was done to your whole body due to your injury. Therefore, you will receive less compensation because it is expected that you will perform a higher level of work.

The higher the impairment rating, the more compensation you will obtain because greater permanent damage was done to your whole body due to your work-related injury. Your conditions are deemed worse, as compared to someone who was assigned a lower impairment rating.

A worker will receive three weeks of impairment income benefits for each percentage point of impairment. The maximum impairment income benefit a worker can receive weekly is $705.00.

You can learn more about how impairment income benefits are calculated by visiting the Texas Department of Insurance website.

What can I do if my employer did not have workers’ comp insurance at the time of my injury?

A “non-subscriber” refers to an employer that doesn’t participate in the workers’ comp system.

If your employer is a non-subscriber, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injury. You won’t be able to file a workers’ comp claim to recover benefits, but you can file a lawsuit against your employer for damages you sustained. However, you will need to prove that your injury resulted from the negligence of your employer or a coworker. If successful, you can recover all your damages, including:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Loss of earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Physical impairment.

If you’ve been injured on the job, immediately contact the attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878. Our attorneys will answer any questions you may have about the process on how to obtain compensation for your injury. Let us help you!