Texas consistently ranks high in the United States for having the most workplace accidents. Part of the reason for this is the amount of construction and the number of construction workers that work year-round in the warm climate.
No matter what kind of industry you work in, accidents can happen. This is when it gets confusing.
It’s Not Your Choice
When a company is created, they are allowed under Texas law to decide if they are going to carry workman’s compensation insurance. While some opt out, the majority of companies accept the option. That is good in a way. If you are injured, you are sent to a workman’s compensation doctor and you receive medical care. Your medical bills and prescriptions and any equipment you need during your recovery are provided to you. You are also allowed to file a claim which will pay you about ⅔ of your salary.
What’s Not To Like?
You may want to see your own doctor, but unless you self-pay or file the visits on your medical insurance, you cannot. If you pay them yourself or file it on your insurance, and the doctor gives you an opinion that is different from that of the workman’s comp doctor, that does not mean the workman’s comp doctor has to consider this opinion. In some cases, you can request a different workman’s comp doctor if you are unhappy with the doctor you are sent to.
It is up to your workman’s comp doctor when they feel you can return to work. They work for the company through insurance, not you. If the doctor feels you can go back to work, they will release you. At that point, your benefits will stop,even if you do not feel well.
If your company opted in for the state workman’s comp program, you cannot sue them for your injury. You can contest the findings of the workman’s comp office if they deny your claim.
So, Why Bother If I Cannot Sue?
Sometimes the employer forgets their end of the bargain. If an employer fires you for filing a workman’s comp claim, they void the agreement and this allows the employee the right to sue. While the law says you cannot sue your employer or a co-worker doing business for your employee, there are times when they are not the ones at fault. Maybe there was an equipment failure that caused an accident. If this is the case, your lawyer may have other options for you.
If your employer opted out of the state workman’s comp program, you can sue them. There are also other considerations that may help you recover.
Your consultation is usually free. The best avenue is to contact a workplace accident attorney and ask what they can do for you. Often, they can help you and at least, they can explain your rights and show you how to file a claim if needed. It is a simple appointment and it will give you a clear plan of action. Plus, it is always best to take a chance. You may be entitled to many benefits that you do not even realize are available. A meeting with a workplace accident lawyer can put your mind at ease.