January 04, 2018
I had an accident at work some time ago, how much time do I have to make a claim?
In Texas, the general rule is two (2) years from the date of the injury. Many workers who suffer injuries on the job find themselves needing to file a work injury claim at a date much later than when the injury first occurred. This can happen for a variety of reasons but, it is particularly the case with repetitive stress injuries, mental and emotional injuries, and certain illnesses. Time limits apply to worker-related injury claims, so contacting a work injury attorney at the first available opportunity is crucial for protecting your rights.
Some workers injury claims rest on a clear date when the injury occurred. For example, an employee struck by a forklift and injured can tie the injury to a specific instance on a specific date, though it is possible that other injuries could occur after that date. If the date of injury is clear and uncontested, then you have two (2) years to file a claim from the date of incident and you would be able to purse the claim for any damages you suffered as a result of the injury.
In some work injury claims, the date of injury may not be as specific as for a worker struck by a forklift. For example, a repetitive stress (cumulative) injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome occurs slowly over time. However, it is important to note that the two-year time limit still applies.
The question becomes when to start the clock on the time limit. Since there is no accident date to point to, several other criteria become important. In many cases involving repetitive stress injuries, the clock may be ruled to start ticking when the injured employee first took time off due to the injury, first visited a doctor for the injury, or first noticed the injury. These are general criteria. The details of a specific case matter greatly in determining the time limit application so it is vital to consult with an experienced work accident attorney as soon as you are able.
It is also important for injured workers to notify their employer of the injury as soon as possible. For a traumatic (immediate type) injury, this should occur as soon as it happens. For injuries that may come on slowly over time, employer notification should occur as soon as the employee notices the injury, visits the doctor, or if time off is taken. A verbal communication is generally sufficient, but a written notification is always best. For example, an email explaining that the injury occurred or telling a supervisor that the injury occurred are both valid for establishing that notification occurred, though, in many cases, an email is better because it establishes a written record.
Notification is a separate issue from when the injury occurred. Notification is expected as soon as possible after the injury and has separate time expectations. Many work injury insurance plans require the employee to notify the employer of the injury within 24 hours of its occurrence. Regardless of when notification takes place, you have two (2) years to file a claim from the date of incident and you would be able to purse the claim for any damages you suffered as a result of the injury.
To determine the compensation amount an injured employee may be able to recover, attorneys use past earnings reports to calculate how much the employee is due for lost wages. Examples of damages could include past and future medical expenses plus lost wages plus physical pain and mental anguish and disfigurement and physical impairment and more. The law of personal injury is intended to place injured victims in the same circumstances they were in before the injury occurred.
Many injured employees delay reporting an injury or filing a claim because they fear retaliation. Though many employers believe in providing coverage for work injuries and follow the law, there are also a large number of unscrupulous business owners and managers who refuse to follow their own procedures and report the injuries to their insurance company. In these cases, since coverage is usually provided to the employee under an employment agreement, they are violating the agreement by obstructing the employee’s ability to file an work injury claim. If employees are afraid to seek legal counsel and file claims, then the unscrupulous employers wins and injured employees suffer, sometimes losing their jobs, savings, and homes as a result of not receiving the medical attention and compensation they are rightfully owed.
The law protects workers against retaliation. No employer can get away with retaliation if it is reported to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. If you have been injured on the job and have experienced retaliatory behavior from your employer or co-workers, contact Houston work injury attorney Hector Sandoval today. Do not be intimidated, he will work hard to make sure you receive the medical attention and compensation for your work injury.
If this happens to you, talk to Héctor Sandoval. He will make sure that your legal rights are protected so that you can take care of yourself and your family.