March 18, 2021

Blog Thumbnail: Houston Injury & Accidents

How do I report an accident at work? It’s important that you know the answer to this question so you can protect your rights following an injury accident. If you don’t do it correctly, you could lose out on insurance benefits. How you report an accident depends on your employer. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, there are very specific reporting rules put in place by the state. You must report your injury to your employer no later than 30 days following an accident or risk not being able to get benefits. But you should report it as soon as possible after it happens to reduce the chances of your initial claim being denied.

Reporting an Injury Accident at a Non-Subscriber

When you work for a non-subscriber, though, the reporting process isn’t as clear cut. What is a non-subscriber employer? A non-subscriber is a company that chose not to carry workers’ compensation to cover their employees in the event of injury or illness. They may carry their own private insurance coverage for employee injuries. Non-subscriber companies may do this because they think it will save them money. Because they control their own insurance plans, it can be easier for them to deny benefits to injured workers or to cut benefits coverage short.

On the other hand, unlike with companies that carry workers’ comp, non-subscriber companies can be sued by employees injured on the job. For this reason, some non-subscribers may try to hide the fact that they don’t carry workers’ comp, even though they are required to tell you if they don’t. It can sometimes be hard for workers to find out what kind of insurance their employers have. If you aren’t sure if your employer is a non-subscriber, you can check at the Texas Department of Insurance website. The TDI keeps lists of subscribers and non-subscribers to workers’ comp.

In any case, if you work for a non-subscriber, it’s especially important that you take the correct steps to report your injury accident. If you make any missteps, the company and their insurer may use it as an excuse to deny you coverage.

Where Is the Place to Report a Work Accident at a Non-Subscriber?

Different non-subscriber companies may have different rules about the place to report a work accident. If you received an employee handbook that told you the place and process for reporting work accidents, then closely follow those instructions.

If you’ve never been told where to report an accident at work, start by telling your supervisor or manager about the injury accident. If your company has a Human Resources department, it’s a good idea to report it to them, too. Your supervisor may do this or they may not—so it’s smart to take all available reporting steps yourself. Report the work accident as quickly as possible. If you delay, the company might think the accident and your injuries weren’t very serious, or that your injuries did not happen on the job – within the course and scope of your employment. They may use this delay to try and deny you insurance coverage. And at some non-subscriber companies, workers must report injuries within 24 hours or even by the end of the work day in which their injury accident happened, or risk losing benefits coverage.

It’s best to put your report in writing and to keep a copy of it. This way you will have evidence that you did indeed report your injury, should that be disputed. Your employer may ask you to fill out a written accident form. On this form, describe what happened and your injuries. Take a picture of all pages of the form to ensure you have a copy for your own records. But don’t speculate about who caused it and don’t place blame on yourself. Let the accident investigation determine fault.

Making a Legal Claim against a Non-Subscriber Employer

Once you’ve reported your injury accident, it’s wise to speak with a work injury lawyer in Texas who has experience with non-subscriber companies. A work injury lawyer can help you if your company tries to deny you benefits, tries to shorten the coverage period, or plays other games to get out of providing benefits. Your attorney can fill out or guide you in filling out the often complicated paperwork insurers require. They can also handle communications with the insurer, relieving you of that stress.

Your attorney can also advise you about the possibility of making a legal claim for compensation to your employer if you aren’t getting fair benefits. Serious work injuries can be expensive, both in doctor’s bills and lost wages. Sometimes the benefits insurers provide can’t adequately cover the cost.

Additional Compensation You Could Get for Your Injuries

In a legal claim, your attorney may be able to help you get compensation for:

  • Doctor, hospital, physical and occupational therapy, and other medical bills
  • Lost wages for time missed at work
  • Future lost wages if you can’t work anymore, or if your work is limited
  • Pain and suffering for physical and emotional pain and trauma.

Sometimes third parties are liable for work accidents. Third parties are someone other than your employer who caused or contributed to an accident. They could be contractors or suppliers at worksites who were negligent, product manufacturers who made defective equipment, other drivers on the road who caused accidents involving company vehicles, as just some examples. If a third party was involved in causing the accident that injured you, that party may be liable in addition to or instead of your employer, depending on the circumstances.

Get Help from an Experienced Texas Work Injury Attorney

Getting benefits for workplace injuries can be very complicated. If you don’t report your accident using the proper process or within the designated timeframe, you might be out of luck. You may not be able to get medical benefits and be forced to pay costly doctor bills from your own pocket. And if you can’t work because of injuries, but can’t get wage replacement benefits, you could face serious financial peril.

Our skilled Houston work injury lawyers at Waldman Legal Group will fight to help you get the benefits coverage and compensation you need after an on-the-job accident. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at (713) 688-4878.

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