According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 534 people in Texas died from job-related injuries in 2017. What is your recourse if you are injured at work – or if someone you love dies in an on-the-job accident? An experienced San Antonio workplace accident attorney may be able to help.

What are the causes of workplace fatalities and non-fatal workplace injuries in the state of Texas? Are you at risk for a serious job-related injury? Can you be compensated for your damages if you are injured on-the-job and you can’t work for weeks or longer?

If you’ll continue reading, those questions are about to be answered in this brief discussion of workplace injuries, workplace fatalities, and your rights after an on-the-job injury here in Texas.

WHAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS OCCUPATION IN TEXAS?

In every state, the most dangerous line of work is construction. Construction workers accounted for more than a quarter of the 534 job-related fatalities in Texas in 2017. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that the top causes of construction-related fatalities are:

  1. falls
  2. being struck by an object
  3. being caught in or caught between objects, structures, or trenches
  4. electrocution

Construction workers often work from great heights; falls and falling objects are always a risk. Construction workers can be crushed by equipment, collapsing structures, or collapsing trenches. They often work near live electrical wiring, and they are sometimes exposed to toxic substances.

WHAT ARE THE LEADING CAUSES OF WORKPLACE FATALITIES?

No job is entirely hazard-free. You could be abruptly and severely hurt in any line of work. Office employees, for instance, sustain serious trip-and-fall injuries and back injuries routinely. Safety on the job must be a priority for every working person in Texas and every other state.

Among the general workforce, traffic accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed these causes and percentages for work-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2016:

  1. Transportation and vehicle accidents: 40 percent
  2. Homicides and other attacks by persons or animals: 17 percent
  3. Slips, trips, and falls: 16 percent
  4. Trapped or caught by equipment or other objects: 15 percent
  5. Exposure to toxic chemicals, molds, and substances: 10 percent
  6. Explosions and fires: 2 percent

In 2016, more job-related fatalities occurred in Texas (545) than in any other state. Houston reported 115 work-related deaths in 2016, and 93 were reported in Dallas.

IF YOU’RE INJURED AT WORK, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

A work-related injury has the potential to disrupt your health, your finances, and your future. Here in Texas, what steps need to be taken if you become ill or injured because of your job?

Most injured workers in Texas will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefit payments.

Employers in Texas who provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees are protected against personal injury lawsuits. Employees, in return, receive benefits when they are injured on the job without having to prove that an employer – or anyone else – was negligent.

ARE TEXAS EMPLOYERS REQUIRED TO HAVE WORKERS’ COMP INSURANCE?

However, Texas does not legally compel employers to provide their employees with workers’ comp. Employers who do not offer workers’ comp coverage are called “nonsubscribers,” and these employers have no protection against personal injury lawsuits.

Nevertheless, most Texas workers are covered, and when they are injured on the job, workers’ compensation pays the medical bills and also pays a percentage of the wages lost due to injury.

Work-related illnesses and injuries can remain latent or hard-to-detect for weeks – in some cases, months. That’s one reason you must seek medical attention immediately after any job-related accident. If you don’t, it becomes extremely difficult to determine if an injury is or is not job-related.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?

The wise move is to seek the counsel and services of an experienced Texas injury attorney from the very beginning – as soon as you know that you’ve been injured. An injury attorney can review your workers’ comp claim to ensure that it is accurate, complete, and on time.

Don’t wait. If you are injured at work, contact an experienced accident attorney and submit a claim for your workers’ compensation benefits promptly. Waiting will only cause your payments to be further delayed or possibly even denied.

People who work in Texas should also understand that workers’ compensation is not necessarily the only option for someone who is injured on the job. A number of parties other than an employer may have a share of the liability when an employee is injured at the workplace.

WHAT IS A “THIRD-PARTY” PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?

If anyone other than an employer has any responsibility for someone’s job-related injury, or if an employer is responsible for an employee’s injury and does not offer workers’ compensation coverage, the third party or employer may be held accountable with a personal injury claim.

If you suffer a disabling or catastrophic workplace injury – a serious spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, for example – you will need the maximum compensation that’s available. Over a lifetime, treatment and care for these kinds of injuries can cost several million dollars.

Third parties in personal injury lawsuits arising from job-related injuries could include contractors, vendors, other businesses, property owners, negligent drivers, and the manufacturers of defective products. Even local governments may share the liability for a job-related injury.

HOW WILL AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP YOU?

If you are applying for workers’ compensation benefits, an experienced San Antonio workplace accident attorney can offer the help you need. Your attorney will also review your accident and injury to determine if you can file a third-party personal injury or product liability claim.

If you pursue a personal injury or product liability claim in Texas, you will pay no attorney’s fee until (and unless) you are compensated. Most of these claims are resolved out-of-court.

In a very few cases, when no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in private negotiations, your attorney may recommend taking your case to court and asking a jury for the compensation – as well as the justice – that you need and deserve.

Think about your health, your family, and your career. If you are injured at your job or because of your job, you must get the legal advice and help that you need, and you must do it promptly. That’s your legal right, and it’s the right thing to do.