If you suffered an injury or illness at work, you must report the injury or illness to your employer within 30 days. Failure to meet this reporting deadline could jeopardize your opportunity to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In Texas, workers’ compensation insurance is optional for private employers. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance or you do not qualify for benefits through workers’ compensation, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your illness or injury.
Why Do I Need to Report a Workplace Injury in Texas?
Anyone hurt on the job must report the incident to their employer. Workers have important rights under the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). These rights include the right to receive compensation for medical expenses and a portion of lost income if the employer participates in the workers’ compensation insurance program. However, failing to report the injury in time could make a worker ineligible for benefits.
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How Do I Report an Injury That Happened at Work?
The best way to report a workplace injury is to tell your employer a detailed account of your injury and how it occurred. Make sure to clearly explain:
- What you were doing when you got hurt
- How you were injured
- The parts of your body that suffered injury
- The date, time, and location of the injury
Next, you will fill out a DWC Form-041 form that you must submit to the DWC within one year from the date of the injury. You must also ensure the DWC has your current address and phone number. Notify the DWC about any changes to your income or work status.
Why Is It Important to Report a Workplace Injury As Soon As Possible?
Consider the following scenario: You use a ladder to place items on a tall shelf when you fall off the ladder and hit your head. You decide to “walk it off” and finish your shift without saying anything about the injury. Later, you experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other signs of concussion. Throughout the next few weeks, these symptoms make it difficult to focus on your job or get any work done. After a month of suffering and many days of missed work, you tell your boss about falling off the ladder. He explains that it is too late to file a workers’ compensation claim.
This example shows how important it is to report a workplace injury immediately after it occurs. Even if a worker does not feel the injury is severe, it is important to report it, according to Texas law. This is the only way to ensure an employee can pursue a workers’ compensation claim, provided their employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance.
What Benefits Can I Get Through Workers’ Compensation After a Workplace Injury in Texas?
The workers’ compensation program provides financial compensation to employees hurt on the job. The compensation amount a person may be entitled to depends on the accident’s severity, how long the accident will keep the person out of work, and whether the injury caused permanent disability or loss of functioning.
Medical Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation
Medical treatment can be extremely expensive. Fortunately, many injured employees qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You could receive medical care through workers’ compensation without incurring huge medical bills.
If you qualify for workers’ compensation, the insurance carrier will pay the hospital, doctor, or medical facility, relieving you of this significant burden. As long as the medical treatment is approved by your treating doctor and related to the work injury or illness, workers’ compensation should cover the cost.
Reimbursement for Your Lost Income
A work injury or illness can keep you out of work for days, weeks, or months. Going without an income during this time can be a significant financial burden. You may be entitled to compensation for part of your lost wages through workers’ compensation.
In Texas, workers’ compensation covers 70% of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wages and the wages they can earn after the injury. If the worker earns less than $10 an hour, the worker is entitled to 75% of the difference between his or her normal weekly wage and the wage after the injury.
For example, if you earned $1,000 a week before the injury and now cannot work, you are entitled to 70% of your weekly wage or $700 a week. However, if you can return to work in a limited capacity and earn $200 a week, you are entitled to 70% of the difference between your pre-injury earnings and your post-injury earnings. In this case, you would receive 70% of $800, or $560 a week.
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Workplace Injuries in Texas for Non-Subscribers
In Texas, private employers can opt out of workers’ compensation insurance. If you were hurt at work and your employer does not have workers’ compensation, you may still be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and other financial losses.
Suing the Party Responsible for Your Workplace Injury
Non-subscribers, or employers without workers’ compensation insurance, are not protected from lawsuits like employers with workers’ compensation coverage are. If your employer acted negligently and this negligence led to your injury, you have the right to sue the employer for damages.
If the accident was caused by a third party, such as the manufacturer or designer of faulty equipment, the property owner, or a contractor, you can file a personal injury claim against the party. You may be entitled to damages above and beyond what you would have received through workers’ compensation.
You must still report your work injury as soon as possible, even if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance. Reporting the injury documents the accident and injury, which can be valuable evidence during a personal injury case. Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Texas.
Let Our Texas Workplace Injury Lawyer Help You – Call Us Today
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident. Promptly informing your employer is one way to protect your right to file a worker’s compensation claim if your employer subscribes to worker’s compensation insurance.
Our law firm can seek financial compensation for you through a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. We will evaluate your case and help you determine how to seek financial reimbursement for your medical expenses and lost income. Call us today for a free consultation.