November 18, 2021
Texas sets time limits for bringing a lawsuit for a work injury that depend on the individual situation and whether the injury is covered under workers’ compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died from an accident at work, you may be entitled to receive compensation through workers’ compensation or a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. Work injuries and illnesses can result in tremendous physical and emotional damage and pain, and bills and medical expenses keep mounting at a time when you are unable to work. While no amount of money can restore your health, fair compensation can help ease your financial burdens so you can go on with your life and concentrate on getting well.
What if my Employer Does not Carry Texas Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If you are an employee of the company, not an independent contractor, and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance coverage, that insurance would pay benefits for your medical costs and some of your lost income, based on factors such as the severity and permanence of your injuries. However, in Texas, employers are generally not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer is a non-subscriber or there is a third party involved in causing your injuries, you may be able to file a lawsuit in order to receive compensation for your losses. In a successful case, you may receive a damage award which may also include pain and suffering and other damages and is typically greater than the benefits you can get from workers’ compensation alone.
Texas laws are complicated; and because there are time limits involved, missing deadlines can cost you the compensation you need and deserve. Fortunately, there is help available from the work injury lawyers at the Waldman Legal Group. We offer a free consultation to examine the individual circumstances of your case, determine the best way to proceed, and make sure everything is filed correctly and in accordance with Texas time limitations.
Call us today at (713) 688-4878 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Texas Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program regulated by the state of Texas that pays medical bills and replaces some lost wages for employees who are injured at work or contract work-related illnesses, and it provides death benefits for surviving spouses, minor children, dependent grandchildren, and other legal beneficiaries of workers who die as a result of job-related injuries. You are entitled to workers’ comp if:
- Your employer is enrolled in Texas workers’ compensation insurance
- You were injured while on the clock or doing something job-related
- Your injuries were not self-inflicted or caused by misconduct, such as working while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
However, premiums for employers increase when claims are paid; and insurance companies are out for profit and want to pay out as little as possible, so they will try to find reasons to deny even legitimate claims. As a result, injured workers often run into problems trying to navigate the workers’ comp system; if mistakes are made or deadlines aren’t met, their claims are denied.
According to the Texas Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC), you must notify your employer of your injury or illness within 30 days of the date you were injured or first knew your injury or illness might be work-related. If you have a medical condition that developed over time, such as a repetitive stress injury, the 30-day period starts when you discover your injury was related to your work. Your employer may have additional forms that also need to be completed beyond the initial injury report and workers’ compensation claim.
You have one year from the date you were injured or first knew your injury or illness might be work-related to send a completed Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease (DWC Form-041) to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC). If you fail to file the form within one year after your accident, you lose your right to benefits.
When you have our Waldman Legal Group attorneys on your side, we will make sure your forms are filled out correctly and on time to increase your chances of getting compensation.
How Long do I Have to Sue a Non-Subscriber Employer or Third Party for Work-Related Injuries?
If your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, or if a third-party non-employee’s negligence or fault led to your job-site accident, you may be able to get compensation through a lawsuit.
While workers’ compensation may cover your medical expenses and lost income, a successful Texas personal injury lawsuit can bring additional benefits that may include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish,
- Disfigurement, and
- Punitive damages, for situations where a defendant acted with extreme recklessness.
Under Texas law, you generally have two years from the day of the injury or death to file a claim for personal injury or wrongful death (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, Title 2 section 16.003). In some cases, such as if a work-related disease takes many years to develop, it is not reasonable to expect that the cause of the injury would have been discovered before the statute of limitations expired. In these cases, certain personal injury suits can be filed even after the statute of limitations has ended. ***Always speak directly to a lawyer to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims.***
If you are filing an injury claim against a government entity or a state employee who was working in an official capacity, you often have only six months or even less to file your claim. In addition, you must first formally submit your injury claim to the unit of the Texas government that you believe was at fault. ***For this reason, we encourage you to speak directly with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss a critical deadline.***
Call Our Work-injury Attorneys for Help
Filing workers’ comp or a lawsuit is full of pitfalls and can be confusing, but having an attorney on your side from the start can make the entire process go as smoothly as possible. When you have Waldman Legal Group on your side, we will:
- Meet with you to determine if you have a valid claim under workers’ comp or a lawsuit
- Investigate your accident, acquire evidence, and interview witnesses to back up your claim
- Make sure all paperwork is filed properly and in a timely manner
- Negotiate with insurance companies and their lawyers on your behalf for a fair settlement
- Handle any denials and appeals
- File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit (or survival action), if you are not covered by or can go beyond workers’ comp
- Build your case and take it to court, if necessary.
The clock keeps ticking, so do not delay. Call the Waldman Legal Group today at 713-688-4878 for your free workplace injury consultation.