If you or a loved one were injured at work, you could gain compensation through claims besides a workers’ compensation suit. This recovery can help you afford the essential medical care you need to heal.
A Houston work injury lawyer from our firm can help you decide what action to take, help to file your claim or lawsuit, identify the liable party, and collect damages. We’ll tell you more about the legal process in a free consultation.
What Are Your Options If You’re Injured at Work?
As an injured worker, you could file a Houston injured workers’ compensation claim, a third-party claim, a non-subscriber claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or a wrongful death lawsuit. However, sometimes, only certain options are available to a worker.
You can discuss your options with a Houston work injury lawyer from our law firm.
Should You File a Claim Through Workers’ Compensation?
If you’re an employee with a company that provides workers’ compensation, you should always file a workers’ comp claim. This allows you to receive immediate medical and income assistance, in addition to other benefits. However, it does not bar or limit your rights from bringing a case against additional negligent third parties.
Some employers have insurance plans that look like workers’ compensation but are non-subscriber insurance policies. You have different rights when an employer has non-subscriber insurance versus workers’ compensation.
For instance, you can sue your employer for negligence if they are a non-subscriber but not if they have Texas Workers’ Compensation insurance.
But be aware these two insurance plans look identical, and your employer may call their “non-subscriber” insurance “workers’ compensation.” Again, we’ll help determine your insurance type and rights in a free consultation.
What Is a Third-Party Claim for Work Accidents?
Filing a third-party claim may be another option. This suit type is generally a personal injury claim you can file against a party other than an employer. For example, you can file a third-party claim against your general contractor or a claim against a product manufacturer if a product you had to use harmed you.
With a third-party claim, you can recover more damages, including some non-financial damages.
What Is a Non-Subscriber Claim for Work Injuries?
If you’re an employee or subcontractor with a company that doesn’t have workers’ comp, you can file a non-subscriber claim. With this kind of claim, you may recover more damages than you’d be able to recover through a workers’ comp claim.
Can You Sue Your Employer or a General Contractor for a Work Injury in Houston, TX?
You could file a personal injury lawsuit against a party like your employer or general contractor. However, you may not be able to sue that party if you have workers’ comp benefits through them.
Your personal injury lawyer could advise you to sue to hold the other party accountable. For instance, you might want to sue if a colleague’s actions were grossly negligent or if you suffered a serious head injury. Likewise, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one lost their life in a work incident.
Who Is Responsible for Your Workplace Accident in Houston?
You might think a person or entity like your employer is responsible for your injuries; however, another party may be responsible or share responsibility according to the law. In this case, you could pursue compensation from multiple parties.
One of our firm’s Houston workplace injury attorneys will help identify the responsible parties in your case.
Ten parties that could be liable for your workplace injuries may include:
- Your employer or general contractor
- A subcontractor on the work site
- A supplier of a work site
- The property manager or owner
- A company that rents equipment to your company
- An equipment producer
- An engineer or electrician
- A maintenance provider
- A colleague
- A pedestrian motorist
What Work Injuries Are Common in Houston?
Unfortunately, workplace accidents and injuries are too common, and some are more common and serious than others. For example, in Houston, several injuries can occur in situations like:
Workers face serious risks on construction sites, especially with harmful materials and heavy equipment. High structures also pose especially serious risks. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), falls from high structures are the most common fatal accidents on U.S. construction sites.
The most common injuries on construction sites are:
- Head injuries that may cause brain injury
- Bone injuries, including broken or even crushed bones
- Skin injuries, such as serious burns
- Cuts, including serious lacerations that can amputate a limb
- Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and shin splints
Other common accidents on construction sites are:
- Electrocutions: These incidents can happen when a worker touches an energized source, like exposed wiring, or when a worker uses an extension cord improperly.
- Struck-by incidents: These can occur when a piece of machinery, some debris, or a vehicle strike a worker.
- Caught-in or between incidents: These happen when a worker gets caught by machinery, in a cave-in, or between a moving object.
In construction, retail, and other fields of work, forklifts are commonly used. However, when they aren’t used safely, an accident can occur. A victim may suffer:
- Whiplash if a driver had been driving too fast.
- Impalement if a co-worker is hit with the forks of the forklift.
- Crushed bones if the forklift topples over.
Equipment and Machinery Accidents
Workers in various jobs must use equipment or machinery that must operate according to particular procedures. When workers don’t use it properly, they can suffer an injury, including:
- A serious burn
- A spinal injury
- Nerve damage
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many workers have to work in vehicles, with colleagues who operate vehicles or in areas open to pedestrian vehicles. These workers could get into a motor vehicle accident and suffer such injuries as:
- Bone fractures
- Organ injury
- Cuts due to glass shattering within the vehicle
- Injury to the spine, possibly resulting in paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
There are hundreds of oilfields surrounding Houston’s city limits. There are also many accidents in these oilfields, resulting in such injuries as:
- Slip and fall-related injuries
- Poisoning from dangerous materials
- Neck and back injuries
What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Claim in Houston?
The injuries we’ve described can be serious, resulting in financial and intangible damages. You may be eligible for many of these damages depending on your situation. But, if you do, you won’t be able to address all of them with a workers’ comp claim.
You can address your damages with a non-subscriber claim, a third-party claim, or a lawsuit. One of our work injury lawyers in Houston can help you list your damages in your claim or lawsuit so the insurance carrier doesn’t try to deny them. Your list of economic losses and non-economic damages may include:
- Loss of income and benefits
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Physical therapy
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Wrongful Death Damages
If a family member died in a work-related incident, we’re truly sorry for your loss. We’ll take on the legal process so you and your family can grieve. You deserve compensation for your damages, which may include:
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental mentorship
- Mental suffering
- Lost consortium
- Your loved one’s unresolved medical expenses
- Your loved one’s physical pain before passing
- Lost income for your family, including your loved one’s lost bonuses, benefits, and retirement contributions
- Funeral and burial expenses
How does a Houston Work Injury Attorney Prove a Case?
Attorneys require evidence to prove a case. Some of this evidence we gather from experts, like those in the medical field.
For example, your attorney will request your doctor’s patient records, which may indicate your physical and financial damages. Your attorney could also request a written statement from a workplace safety consultant if it’s relevant to your case. The statement could provide insight into how safe your workplace is.
There are many other sources of evidence for cases like yours, and your lawyer will seek out sources for you. These sources may include:
- Bystanders who witnessed the accident
- Footage from an onsite security camera
- Maintenance records for the vehicle, equipment, or machinery involved in the accident
- Your medical records
- A colleague’s cell phone photos or footage of the accident scene
- Your employer or general contractor’s incident statement
- The injury report you gave to your employer or contractor
- The police report
Details to Establish
Evidence will help prove your case, but your lawyer needs to establish certain details. These details may be:
- Whether the medical care you received was necessary and approved by a professional.
- If your injuries are as serious as you claim they are.
- Your injuries are related to your work.
- You weren’t injured due to intoxication or horseplay.
In your case against another party, your attorney must establish negligence. This is necessary to prove the party’s liability for the incident and your damages. To establish negligence, your lawyer will have to show how:
- The other party was responsible for keeping your workplace safe such as by following protocols for work safety.
- The other party failed in their responsibility by breaching protocol.
- The party’s protocol breach caused the incident.
- You suffered actual, compensable damages as a result of the injury.
What Are Some Examples of Negligence in Houston Workplaces?
Unfortunately, negligence is common in Houston workplaces. Sometimes, negligence occurs when people don’t follow protocol or when a third party is neglectful. The following are some examples of workplace negligence in Houston:
- An employer or contractor ignoring OSHA regulations
- An employer providing employees with defective equipment
- An employer neglecting to provide proper workplace safety training
- A general contractor neglecting to screen subcontractors for adequate legal experience
- A contractor leaving broken equipment or machinery unfixed and unsafe to use
- An equipment manufacturer producing faulty equipment
- An employee ignoring proper procedure when operating equipment like a crane
How Can an Attorney Help Win Your Case?
Filing a legal claim or lawsuit with the appropriate party isn’t enough. To win your case, your skilled attorney must negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and the lawyers or take your case to court before a judge. Your attorney will likely attempt to negotiate before they consider going to court.
During negotiations, your lawyer will argue your case to the other side and defend the evidence of your damages. However, the other side may refute your case and damages and refuse to settle the matter.
If the other side refuses to settle your case, your lawyer can take them to court. They will file your lawsuit for you, argue your case to a judge, and push for a fair verdict.
Corroborating Your Case
Our attorneys associate with many experts who could provide invaluable services, such as testimony during court proceedings. Testimony from a medical expert, for example, could help to establish your damages with a judge.
Your attorney will also present evidence they have gathered to support your claim.
Communicating OSHA Regulations
Our Houston worker injury attorneys understand OSHA regulations and how they apply in Texas work injury cases. Your attorney will communicate these regulations and their applicability to the other side of your case. This may help the other side understand your case better.
For instance, if you were exposed to a harmful chemical, your lawyer could help the other side understand OSHA’s regulations about harmful chemical exposure. This may convince them of the legitimacy of your case.
What Actions Can You Take to Help Your Case?
There are a few things you can do for yourself and your case. Doing these things will allow your lawyer to focus on the rest of your case and protect it. You should:
Seek Medical Care
Most importantly, you should get the medical care you need. For example, if you have a spinal injury due to an equipment-related accident, you should get care from an orthopedist and possibly a neurosurgeon. Take your doctor’s advice about getting medical attention.
Getting the necessary care is important for your health and work injury claim. If the insurance company learns you aren’t getting the medical attention you require, they may say you caused your pain to worsen and won’t cover you.
Many injuries can have no initial symptoms but worsen over time. For example, a concussion may have no initial symptoms but could have serious ones later on. Therefore, if you haven’t seen a doctor since your accident, you should see one immediately since you may have an injury without any current symptoms.
Be Careful Who You Speak With
An insurance company may be trying to reach you to discuss your case. However, you should avoid speaking with them because they may try to diminish your case and lowball your settlement payout.
Instead of speaking with the insurance company, direct them to a work injury attorney from our firm. Your attorney can speak on your behalf and protect your case and payout.
You should also avoid discussing your accident and injuries with colleagues, as it may jeopardize your case. You can discuss these things with your family and your attorney, however. Finally, avoid posting about the incident on social media.
Hire an Attorney Soon
By quickly hiring your lawyer, you’ll give them more time to gather evidence for your case and work on it. For example, your lawyer will have more time to collect and corroborate statements from any of your colleagues who witnessed your accident. Your lawyer will also have more time to establish the responsible company’s negligence and liability for your severe injuries.
Also, hiring your lawyer immediately will give them more time to meet a filing deadline for a lawsuit or potential lawsuit in Houston. If you’re not considering a lawsuit right now, consider one since a lawsuit may become your best option in the future.
How Long do You Have to File a Compensation Claim in Houston, TX?
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, you have two years from the date of an incident to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney can help to meet this deadline and tell you if you have more time to file.
Can You Be Fired for Hiring a Workplace Injury Lawyer in Texas?
According to Texas Labor Code § 451.001, you cannot be fired for hiring an attorney to pursue a work injury claim or lawsuit. Therefore, you can hire an attorney at no risk to you.
The Cases Our Houston Workplace Accident Firm Handles
Our firm helps victims of personal injury incidents and their families. Many people cannot rely on workers’ compensation to cover damages affecting the entire family, so they turn to us for help. Our legal team helps them recover their due damages from construction, oil field accidents, other work-related injuries, or wrongful deaths.
Our Houston work injury and accident lawyers assist many people in different sectors. For example, we help construction workers, farmers and ranchers, warehouse clerks, factory employees, workers in the oil and hydraulic sectors, trash collectors, roofers, and installation, maintenance, and repair technicians.
Our Houston Work Injury Firm’s Record of Success
Our firm has won settlements for Houston residents for 35 years. We’ve had many successes during this time, including a major success in 2019. That year, our lead attorney, Domingo Garcia, won a spot in the Texas Top 50 Settlement for 2019. Our notable work injury settlements include:
- Securing $2.75 million for the family of a roadside worker who lost their life in a commercial vehicle accident
- Securing $3 million for a person involved in a forklift-related accident
- Recovering $3.83 million for the family of an individual who lost their lives in a concrete pump-related accident
- Recovering $4.35 million for a worker who was injured in an accident involving faulty guardrails
- Winning $5 million for an individual involved in a scaffolding collapse
Continuing Our Success
We hope to continue our success with you and your work injury case. During a free initial consultation with a team member, we’ll review your case with you, explain how we help, and give you an idea of what you can expect from us.
After your consultation, if you hire one of our Houston work injury attorneys, you can expect your attorney to fight for maximum compensation. Additionally, your attorney will work for you on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay them anything until and unless your attorney succeeds with your case.
With the contingency-fee arrangement, you will find it easier to afford the medical care you need and your other damages, such as the cost of hiring a homecare worker. Also, your attorney could help you afford medical care more easily by postponing your medical payments even if you don’t have health insurance. Instead, you can pay with the money you collect from your case settlement.
Contact Us for Your Work Accident Attorney in Houston
If you or a loved one was hurt on the job, you could file a non-subscriber or third-party claim. In addition, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you lose a loved one in a tragic work accident. Domingo Garcia can help regardless of what your work-related situation may be.
One of our lawyers can hold the responsible party accountable for you and collect fair compensation from them. Contact us today for your free consultation and case review. We’ll evaluate your situation and advise you on how to move forward.