Houston Workplace Injury Lawyer
Did you get injured at work? You may be able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits with the help of Gibson Hill Personal Injury. Our Houston workplace injury lawyers have a detailed understanding of workers’ compensation laws, and we can handle every step of the claims process to ensure you get the best outcome possible.
It can be overwhelming filing for benefits, filling out paperwork, dealing with a denied claim, and reviewing your employer’s workers’ comp policy. Most people don’t understand what they’re entitled to and whether they deserve payments for their injuries.
The attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury will work to secure the maximum benefits available to ensure you’re able to afford your medical treatment and expenses related to your accident. To find out how our Houston workplace injury lawyers can help you, call (713) 659-4000 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work quickly and effectively to obtain the benefits you need.
Types of Workplace Injuries in Houston
Workplace injuries can result from malfunctioning equipment, being hit by a falling object, falling from a platform, inhaling toxic fumes, and many other hazards. Accidents usually happen because of negligence on the part of the employer, business owner, contractor, or a coworker.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 10,000 workers sustain an amputation injury every year. It’s a serious issue that can cause medical complications and long-term effects. Amputation of the arm, leg, foot, hand, finger, and toe is the most common on job sites.
Additional injuries that are painful and can lead to a permanent disability include a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and paralysis. Someone suffering from one of these injuries often requires lifelong medical care, resulting in expensive bills.
Depending on the type of equipment and materials used daily, workers also risk crushed limbs, electrical shock, burns, broken bones, falls, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Injuries aren’t always apparent. Some take time to diagnose, like mesothelioma resulting from a worker’s exposure to asbestos.
Injuries Commonly Occur on Construction Sites
Anyone working in the construction industry is at a higher risk of debilitating injuries or death. They perform dangerous tasks and work with a variety of heavy machinery that could create a life-threatening situation. You could suffer the consequences of someone else’s careless actions despite the use of safety equipment and gear.
When you step foot on a construction site, you put yourself at risk of harm from the equipment, toxic chemicals, the job site, or the actions of another worker. Causes of construction accidents in Houston often include:
- Unsafe equipment
- Lack of protection from falls off of elevated structures
- Tripping from materials or debris
- Missing guards on power tools
- Unsafe conditions
- Inadequate safety gear
- Unstable scaffolding, ladders, or lifts
- Improper employee training
You Have Rights if You Suffer a Workplace Injury
Workers’ compensation laws in Texas allow injured employees to collect benefits from their employer’s insurance. You must sustain an injury while working to recover payments for medical expenses and lost wages. You’re not allowed to sue your employer if they carry a worker’s compensation policy, but you can file an insurance claim with their insurer or representative.
Unfortunately, many employers don’t have enough coverage listed on their policy to cover a worker’s total losses. When that happens, you could pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit through a third-party. If you were performing work on someone else’s property, you might be able to go after their liability insurance or sue the property owner. If you were using a faulty piece of equipment that led to your injury, you could file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or party responsible for maintenance and repairs.
You have options when you get injured at work, but you should check if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance first.
What Are the Benefits Included a Workers’ Compensation Policy?
There are different kinds of benefits you may be eligible for with your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
Medical benefits pay for any necessary treatment of your job-related injury or illness. Payments go directly to your provider from your employer’s worker’s comp insurance company. You can only use these benefits for a compensable workplace injury or illness.
You can start treating right after you sustain an injury at work. If your employer purchased worker’s comp insurance through a certified network, you must see a doctor they approve. Only under special circumstances are you allowed to seek treatment with someone not on the approved list.
If you decide you don’t like your initial doctor and want to see someone else, you must seek approval from the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC). You would file a request, and upon approval, all parties would receive a notification of your treatment with a different physician.
Income benefits replace lost wages resulting from your injury or illness. There are four types of income benefits: temporary income benefits, impairment income benefits, supplemental income benefits, and lifetime income benefits.
Temporary: You might be eligible for temporary income benefits if you can’t work, or your injury prevents you from earning your regular wages. You could collect 70% of the difference between your wages before and after your injury. Texas sets limits on these benefits, which get updated each year.
You can continue to collect temporary income benefits until one of these events occur:
- Your doctor places you on maximum medical improvement, which means further treatment likely won’t help you improve any more than you already have;
- You can return to your job and earn the same wages as you did before you got injured; or
- You received benefits for 104 weeks.
Supplemental: You might be able to collect supplemental income benefits if your temporary benefits run out, and you meet the following qualifications:
- Your doctor gave you a permanent impairment rating of at least 15%;
- You can’t return to work, or you’re earning a minimum of 80% of your pre-injury wages;
- You chose not to receive impairment benefits as a lump sum;
- You’re participating in vocational rehabilitation or actively looking for new employment; and
- You reapply every three months, along with documentation that proves you’re eligible.
Lifetime: A few severe types of impairments make you eligible for lifetime income benefits:
- Amputation or total loss of use of both feet, hands, or one of each;
- Total blindness;
- Spinal injury resulting in permanent paralysis of both legs, arms, or one of each;
- Third-degree burns covering at least 40% of your body and require a skin graft or that covers most of your face and one hand or both hands; or
- A traumatic brain injury that caused permanent mental impairment.
Impairment: These benefits are available if you have a job-related injury that affects your body as a whole. Impairment income benefits depend on your impairment rating. You’re entitled to three weeks of benefits for each percentage of impairment your doctor gives you.
Death benefits give immediate family members a portion of the victims’ lost income if they die because of a work-related illness or injury. These benefits become available the day after the deceased’s death and get paid at a rate of 75% of the worker’s average weekly wages for up to 104 weeks.
The people eligible to collect death benefits are:
- A surviving spouse;
- Dependent child;
- Dependent grandchild;
- Another eligible family member who was dependent on the victim; or
- Parents, if there are no surviving family members.
Burial benefits pay for some of the deceased’s costs related to funeral expenses. The maximum benefit available for a Texas worker is $10,000.
Along with compensation for lost wages and medical bills, you could also receive the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Travel expenses: Reimbursement for travel to and from your medical appointments, as long as it’s more than 30 miles away from where you live and a closer option wasn’t available. You can also receive compensation for driving to medical exams.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If you’re unable to return to the job you had before your injury or illness, you can get training and assistance to find a new place of employment.
Choose a Law Firm that Cares About You
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we care about our clients. We understand the stress caused by an injury that prevents you from working. Medical bills can get expensive, and if you’re not working, you might not be able to afford them. We will make sure you get the workers’ comp benefits you need so you don’t fall into a financial hole that you can’t climb out of.
Our Houston workplace injury lawyers take cases on a contingency basis. That means you won’t have to pay upfront or ongoing fees while we’re working on your case. We won’t collect a legal fee until we settle your case or win a jury verdict. If we’re unable to resolve your case, you won’t owe us any money.
We also provide a free consultation to prospective clients. If you got hurt at work and want to know how to collect benefits or just need some legal advice, we’ll meet with you free of charge. We’ll be happy to sit down with you and review the details of your workplace injury to advise you on your options.
If you sustained a workplace injury and want to find out how Gibson Hill Personal Injury can help you, call (713) 659-4000 to speak with one of our experienced Houston personal injury lawyers.