Austin’s vibrant industries and dedicated workforce contribute heavily to the city’s growth and reputation. Yet, amidst the daily grind, unforeseen accidents and injuries can suddenly happen, leaving you unable to work for an extended period or even permanently. If this happens to you, understanding your rights and the avenues of support available to you becomes paramount.
At the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, we understand the worry and financial strain that comes with such incidents. In this blog, our Austin work injuries lawyers explain common types of job-related injuries, how the Texas workers’ compensation system functions, and how having a trusted legal team in your corner can make a difference in ensuring you receive the support you deserve.
Why Hire Us For Your Work Injury Claim in Austin?
When facing a work injury claim in Austin, having the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, we offer a combination of experience and compassion, along with a proven track record that sets us apart.
- Experience in Work Injury Cases: We have a strong background in cases involving Texas workers’ compensation laws and regulations. Our experience enables us to effectively advocate for your rights.
- Strong Track Record: With a history of successful outcomes in work injury cases, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to securing fair compensation for our clients. Our results speak to our dedication and skill in achieving favorable resolutions.
- Client-Centered Approach: At the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, we prioritize our clients’ well-being. We recognize the toll that work injuries can take on you and are here to provide compassionate support.
- Strong Negotiation and Litigation Skills: Our team has a robust history of successfully negotiating settlements, but we’re also prepared to take your case to court if necessary, ensuring your best interests are upheld.
When you choose the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, you’re gaining advocates who are committed to fighting for your rights and helping your work injury claim succeed. Your well-being and future are our priorities and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Workplace Injuries in Texas – An Overview
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, Texas private industry employers reported 178,900 nonfatal workplace injuries in 2021. These incidents, which encompass a wide range of occupations, include injuries like the following:
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Accidents involving machinery
- Slip and fall injuries
- Toxic exposure
- Emotional and psychological injuries at the workplace.
Long-term impacts of work-related injuries can be severe. Depending on the circumstances, they may include intense pain, permanent disability, and an inability to work, especially if the employee suffers catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage. Even when physical healing occurs, financial difficulties and emotional trauma can linger.
Worker’s Compensation in Texas
Workers’ compensation in Texas provides medical benefits and a portion of lost wages to employees who suffer an occupational injury or illness. Here’s a broad overview of the system:
- Not Mandatory for Employers: Unlike many states, Texas does not mandate all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, private employers that choose not to have it (non-subscribers) can face legal claims if an employee is injured on the job.
- No-Fault System: Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for an on-the-job injury, with some exceptions (e.g., if the injury was self-inflicted or if the worker was intoxicated).
In Texas, workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical Benefits: This compensation coverage includes all necessary medical treatments related to the work injury.
- Temporary Income Benefits (TIBs): TIBs represent 70% of the discrepancy between your typical weekly earnings before your injury and what you can now earn post-injury. However, TIBs can account for 75% of this difference if you were injured before September 1, 2015, and your wage was below $8.50 per hour or your injury occurred on or after September 1, 2015, and you earned less than $10.00 per hour.
- Impairment Income Benefits (IIBs): IIBs are 70% of your average weekly wage. They are paid based on the state maximum and minimum average wage amounts on a specific date.
- Supplemental Income Benefits (SIBs): Supplemental Income Benefits equal 80% of the difference between 80% of your average weekly wage and your weekly wages after the injury. These benefits are paid monthly after your IIBs end.
- Lifetime Income Benefits (LIBs): These workers’ comp benefits are for specific serious injuries like loss of sight in both eyes or amputation of both hands. Lifetime income benefits equal 75% of your average weekly wage, with a 3% increase each year. There are maximum and minimum rates for LIBs.
- Death and Burial Benefits for Fatal Injuries: If a worker dies due to a severe injury or illness, death benefits are available to eligible family members. There’s also a set amount available for burial expenses.
Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury
No one ever anticipates a workplace injury, but when it happens, knowing what to do next is crucial. Following the right steps can make all the difference in ensuring that you receive proper medical care and that the necessary benefits and protections are in place.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: If the injury is severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Otherwise, see an approved medical professional as soon as possible to get the injury assessed and treated. Always follow the prescribed treatment plan and attend all follow-up appointments. This not only aids in recovery but also helps in documenting the severity and duration of the injury.
- Notify Your Supervisor: Inform your supervisor or employer about the incident within 30 days of the accident date or the date you knew your injury was job-related.
- Complete an Injury Report: It’s crucial to document everything related to the injury. Your employer should provide you with the necessary forms. Ensure the report is as accurate and detailed as possible.
- Know Your Rights: The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) governs the workers’ compensation system. Familiarize yourself with your rights, such as the right to choose a doctor and to receive benefits if you’re unable to work. If there’s a dispute about the nature or extent of your injuries, the TDI may require you to see a designated doctor to help resolve these issues.
- Keep Records: Maintain thorough records of everything related to your injury. This includes medical bills, hospital bills, doctor’s notes, time off work, and any other expenses or details related to the injury.
If there are any disputes regarding your injury or the compensation you receive, you should consider hiring an Austin personal injury attorney with experience in workers’ compensation or workplace injuries.
What if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Texas does not require all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, but there are protections and avenues available for injured workers. Here’s what you need to know:
- Employers in Texas who choose not to have workers’ compensation insurance are often referred to as “non-subscribers.” While they opt out of the workers’ compensation system, they forfeit certain legal protections.
- If your employer is a non-subscriber and you get injured on the job, you have the right to sue them for negligence (there is no need to prove gross negligence). If you can prove that your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence or that of a co-worker, the company can be held liable for damages.
- In a personal injury claim against a non-subscriber employer, you might be entitled to recover a range of damages, including medical bills, lost wages and future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other related damages
It is important to note that some non-subscriber employers might offer alternate injury benefit plans. These are not the same as workers’ compensation and may have different rules, benefits, and requirements. If your employer has such a plan, get as much information as possible.
Why You Might Need an Austin Work Injury Lawyer
When you’re hurt on the job in Austin, the path to recovery and compensation may seem straightforward at first. After all, the Texas workers’ compensation system is designed to protect injured employees. However, there are situations where you may want to seek assistance from an Austin work injury lawyer.
- Denied Claims: Insurance companies sometimes deny valid workers’ comp claims, hoping workers won’t appeal. An experienced attorney can assist in challenging these denials and ensuring that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.
- Retaliation from an Employer: Unfortunately, some employers might retaliate against employees for filing a workers’ comp claim—whether by demotion, reduced hours, wrongful termination, or other adverse actions. A workers’ compensation lawyer can protect your rights and help address any form of retaliation.
- Third-Party Claims: If your injury was caused by someone other than your employer or a co-worker (for instance, a contractor or equipment manufacturer), you might have a third-party claim. These personal injury lawsuits can be complicated, but they can also offer additional compensation. A skilled attorney can identify and pursue these compensation claims on your behalf.
Texas workers’ compensation laws are constantly evolving, but an experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process of filing and pursuing a compensation claim. They can also ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time, eliminating potential administrative hurdles, so if you have concerns or run into difficulties, legal representation can make a difference.
Choosing the Right Work Injury Lawyer
In the aftermath of a workplace injury, the right lawyer can make the difference between a stressful ordeal and a smooth, successful resolution. When evaluating potential attorneys, you’ll want to consider factors like the following:
- Experience: Look for a personal injury lawyer who takes workplace injury cases and has a strong track record of successful outcomes. Experience in Texas workers’ compensation laws and relevant regulations is crucial.
- Reputation and Reviews: Research the lawyer’s reputation by reading online reviews, checking testimonials, and seeking recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who might have had similar legal needs.
- Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in any attorney-client relationship. Choose a workplace injury lawyer who is responsive, attentive, and able to explain complex legal concepts in a way you can understand.
- Client-Centric Approach: A lawyer who puts your needs and interests first and values open collaboration with you throughout the process is a positive sign of a strong attorney-client relationship.
- Trial Experience: While most cases are settled out of court, it’s important to choose an experienced workplace injury attorney who is confident in handling courtroom litigation if necessary.
During your initial consultation, the lawyer should be able to provide an informed assessment of your case, potential challenges, and the likelihood of success. Avoid those who make unrealistic promises. Finding the right lawyer can greatly impact the outcome of your case, so take your time, do thorough research, and choose someone who instills confidence and trust in their abilities.
Speak to an Austin Work Injury Lawyer Today
Workplace accidents and injuries, while unforeseen, are a stark reality and understanding your rights in these circumstances is crucial. If you or a loved one has experienced a workplace injury in Austin, don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal advice.
At the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, our Austin work injury lawyers stand out due to their unparalleled dedication, extensive experience, and remarkable track record in the field. Although every case is different, our law firm regularly delivers successful outcomes for our clients and look forward to helping you secure the compensation and/or benefits you are entitled to. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team, call (512) 800-0000 or contact us online today.