October 12, 2020
Construction work is inherently dangerous, so it is not surprising that construction workers have some of the highest rates of workplace injuries, which can cause severe disabilities and death. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average for all other industries.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation through workers’ compensation or a lawsuit.
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 lost income and medical costs, based on factors such as the severity and permanence of your injuries. However, in Texas, employers are generally not forced to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer is a non-subscriber, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to receive compensation for your losses.
The construction accident lawyers at the Waldman Legal Group offer a free consultation to examine the individual circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed under the complex laws of the state of Texas.
Call us today at (713) 688-4878 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Steps to Take After a Job Site Accident
After a job site accident, receiving compensation can help ease the burdens on you so you can concentrate on getting well. To increase the chances of getting a fair settlement, take the following steps:
Get Medical Attention
Your first concern should be getting medical help and having your injuries treated. Tell the doctor you were injured in a work accident. All injuries, treatments, and your reactions to them should be documented, as medical records will be used as evidence in your case.
If your employer is enrolled in workers’ compensation, find out whether it participates in a certified workers’ compensation healthcare network. Not every doctor will handle workers’ comp cases, and working with a network doctor might speed up your claim process. There is a list of physicians approved by the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
Get Legal Help
Having an attorney on your side from the start can help prevent costly mistakes. Even if you are entitled to workers’ compensation, be aware that insurance companies are out for profit and will often try to deny your claim or pay out as little as possible. Your attorney can help by:
- Investigating your accident, acquiring evidence, and interviewing witnesses to back up your claim
- Making sure all paperwork is filed properly and in a timely manner
- Negotiating with insurance companies and their adjusters and lawyers on your behalf
- Handling any denials and appeals
- Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, if you are not covered by workers’ comp
- Taking your case to court, if necessary.
Notify Your Employer, Supervisor, or HR Department of the Accident
Texas allows you 30 days to file the accident report, but you should get it started as soon as possible. If you have a medical condition that developed over time, such as a repetitive stress injury, the 30-day period starts when you discover that your injury was related to your work. Your employer may have additional forms that need to be completed, beyond the initial injury report and workers’ compensation claim.
File for workers’ compensation
Workers’ comp pays for medical bills and partially replaces income lost due to your work-related injury or illness. 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.
If your employer participates in workers’ compensation, start your official claim by filing an Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease (DWC Form-041) with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC). You must file the form within one year after your accident or lose your right to benefits.
It’s important to keep a detailed record of your injuries, medical procedures, and copies of all forms. You will need these to support your case if denials and disputes arise or if you have to file a lawsuit.
Appeal Any Denials
If you receive a notice of a workers’ comp denial or your benefits are insufficient, you can appeal this decision by:
- Disputing resolution at an informal Benefit Review Conference (BRC).
- Arbitration with an arbitrator chosen by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The decision by the arbitrator cannot be appealed.
- Requesting a contested case hearing (if you bypass arbitration), a formal legal process run by a Division of Workers’ Compensation Hearing Officer.
- Appealing to the Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel. As a last resort, the Panel’s decision could be appealed to the Texas State Courts.
Filing a Lawsuit After Injury at a Job Site
If your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, or if a third-party non-employer’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
- Punitive damages, for situations where a defendant acted with extreme recklessness.
Get Help After an Accident at a Construction Site
Workers’ compensation laws and procedures and personal injury lawsuits can be complex, and there are Texas time limits that apply, so it makes sense to consult an attorney as soon as possible after a work-related injury.
Call the Waldman Legal Group today at 713-688-4878 for your free workplace injury consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no fee if there is no recovery.