Every seven seconds, a worker suffers an injury in the United States. Texas is largely a blue-collar work state, so workplace accidents are common here. Serious workplace accidents can happen in many settings and occupations that could require a Houston work injury lawyer to get maximum compensation for the injured worker. Your attorney can help you pursue as much financial recovery as possible from third-party liability claims.
While some industries have higher workplace injuries than others, every worker in Texas is at risk of being hurt on the job. Whether you are employed in manufacturing, construction, oil work, or retail, you can be seriously hurt at work. If you have been hurt at work in Texas, you could benefit from hiring a Houston work injury lawyer.
Sandoval & Waldman has been involved in many large damage recoveries for injured Texan workers. A few examples of cases where clients were injured on-the-job:
- Electrocution brain injury of a warehouse employee who was ordered to work on an unshielded main line, leading to permanent, profound disability.
- Crush death of heavy wrecker driver attempting to lift a box trailer that was shipped from Dubai with incorrect weight information.
- Warehouse worker death who fell through an unmarked floor opening in a feed mill under construction.
- Shoulder fusion suffered by an offshore worker who was required to work on a deep-water drill ship using an extension platform with an 18th-century design that was designed by a non-engineer with a fake doctoral degree from an online university.
- Whether you work in construction, a warehouse, or in the field, Texas workplace accidents can cause severe injury or death. In addition to pain and suffering you experience with a workplace injury, you may accumulate massive medical bills. As an injured worker, you may not be able to go back to work, either.
The work injury lawyers at Sandoval & Waldman are experienced in all kinds of workplace injury claims, including:
- Machinery with poor worker protection
- Warehouse accidents
- Electrical accidents
- Defective equipment
- Unsafe work conditions
- Chemical exposure
- Oil field injuries
- Workplace deaths.
Below is more information about workplace accidents and what you should know about hiring a Houston work injury lawyer. If you have any questions, please contact a Sandoval & Waldman work injury lawyer today.
What Is a Work Injury?
Any injury at work or while working on behalf of another company or person is considered a work injury. Do not attempt to interpret Texas work injury law on your own. If you suffered a major injury and were engaged in work, call an experienced hurt-on-the-job lawyer in Houston. The initial consultation is free.
Are You Covered If You Are Hurt at Work?
The first step in one of these cases is to look at worker’s compensation options. But worker’s comp may not be available. Unlike many states that have mandatory worker’s compensation insurance coverage, Texas allows for employers to opt out. These employers are referred to as “non-subscribers.” With them, a workplace injury lawsuit based on negligence is used to obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries. Typically, when an employer has worker’s comp, it is the exclusive remedy. However, if the employee was killed by the employer’s gross negligence or by their intentional act or oversight, families can sue an employer for wrongful death.
Possible Claims for Workplace Accidents in Houston
Our law offices in Houston have seen many types of workplace accident scenarios, including:
Wrongful death: An unexpected workplace death can leave the family feeling emotionally and financially devastated. Spouses and dependent children are seriously affected emotionally and physically by the loss of their loved one. In such an upsetting time, it can be confusing to understand who should file which type of legal claims. A workplace injury or wrongful death claim could be appropriate.
Employers with no worker’s compensation plan: Did you know that here in Texas, companies are not required to have insurance that covers workplace injuries? Smaller companies may have insurance that covers personal injury or property damage, but this insurance does not cover workplace injuries.
Construction accidents: Construction sites are notorious for causing workplace injuries, including falls and crush injuries. These accidents can cause large medical bills, and a workplace injury claim may be necessary.
Oilfield accidents: Oil drilling is big in Texas, and workplace injuries are common in oil fields and on oil rigs. If you are hurt in a workplace injury in an oil field or on a rig, entities at fault may include your employer or a contractor working at the site.
Truck accidents: Workplace injuries may occur with tractor-trailers where the driver is injured in an accident caused by another person, or the truck driver is injured during the loading or unloading process of the trailer.
4 Steps to Take After a Work Injury Happens
Hurt at work? Be certain you take these four steps:
1. Report the accident immediately. Most companies require you to report any accident right away. Make sure you follow all the rules by reporting your work injury to the appropriate person, or it could affect your work injury claim later.
2. Seek immediate medical care. If it is an emergency, dial 911. If a life is in danger, dial 911.
3. If you need medical care but it is not an emergency, ask your company to take you or send you to your physician immediately. If your employer will not do so, go on your own, or have a family member or friend drive you. If your company does not give you documentation so the medical charges can be appropriately billed, go to the nearest ER. Do not delay going to the doctor.
4. If you can, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Make notes of witness names and their contact information. If any law was violated during the accident, call the police. If work safety rules were broken, call OSHA.
How a Work Injury Lawyer Can Help You
A Houston work injury attorney can help you in these ways:
- Serve as a private prosecutor that you hire to represent you in a civil claim. This legal action can result in compensation for your injuries and lost work time.
- Investigate your on-the-job injury and build a case for you to be submitted to a Texas civil court or arbitrator.
- Cases involving Official Texas Workers’ Compensation are handled through the Texas Department of Insurance. Cases that do not involve Official Texas Workers’ Compensation are submitted to the court or arbitrator.
- Cases involving the Official Texas Workers’ Compensation system could also have a ‘third party’ claim, if the injury was due to the negligence of someone other than your coworker or employer or by a defective product at work.
- Your Houston work injury attorney will identify any potential claims that could bring you compensation in a workplace injury legal action.
Who Is At Fault for a Workplace Injury?
Employers must exercise reasonable care and create a safe workplace for all employees. But this does not always occur. A workplace injury attorney can help to show that your employer was at fault for your injury. Employer negligence can include one of these points:
- Poor hiring: The company may be negligent if a person hired commits injury, theft, sexual assault, or murder. Not conducting a basic background check can be the basis for a lawsuit.
- Poor training: Once hired, employees must be properly trained on all equipment they will use.
- Retention: Employers must have a safe work environment for all employees.
- Poor supervision: If the employer does not monitor or control employee actions, they can be found negligent.
How to Deal with Adjusters
Remember that insurance claim adjusters exist to serve the financial interests of the insurance company. Adjusters for the employer’s plan work for the benefit of that plan.
They might say they are there to help you, and they probably do want to offer you the best medical care, but they are working within the rules of the company. The end goal is to save money for their employer and close the claim. The insurance company does not work for you, and they do not put your interests first.
On the other hand, your Houston work injury attorney is sworn to protect your personal and financial interests first. That is his legal duty. He is required to put your interests before any other person or entity.
If you have been seriously hurt at work, it is risky to trust your employer, an insurance company, or anyone who works for either company. They may attempt to help you, but you are taking a major risk that they will do what is in the best interests of their employer.
Non-Subscriber Coverage Plans
Texas employers may opt out of carrying Official Texas Workers’ Compensation coverage. These ‘non-subscriber’ companies could have an alternative ’employee accident plan,’ or they could refer to it as ‘worker’s comp.’ Or, the company may have employer liability coverage with no benefit plan. And some employers offer nothing.
The type of coverage your employer has will determine the type of claim you can make. If you or a loved one is hurt at work, the critical thing to do is to learn the type of claim you have.
Still, even if the company you work for does not have Official Texas Workers’ Compensation coverage, you have a right to file a claim for all legal damages in a third-party lawsuit, including:
Past and future medical costs
Pain and suffering.
Even if the company has an alternative plan, you have a right to seek all damages that may be recovered under Texas law. Some employers have mandatory arbitration agreements, and the procedures can be complicated. An experienced work injury lawyer in Houston can help you to review your potential claim and offer the best options.
With a third-party lawsuit, your attorney can help you to recover the full amount of damages you suffered. In most injury cases, worker’s compensation only covers 2/3 or so of your wage loss for temporary disability benefits. These benefits have a wage cap and are only for a limited time. You also may be eligible to collect punitive damages for the pain and suffering and emotional distress you suffered because of your company’s negligence.
How to Choose the Best Houston Work Injury Lawyer
If you have been hurt in an on the job injury, selecting a hurt on the job lawyer can be daunting. There are many lawyers to choose from, so what traits and qualifications should you look for in your work injury attorney? Below are some good tips to get help with your work injury claim:
Find an Experienced Attorney
It is crucial to find out how long the attorneys have been practicing in work injury law. An attorney with many years of work experience in workplace injury law may have specifically handled cases against your employer – or involving similar facts. Experienced attorneys who have worked with insurance companies and claims adjusters will help with your legal claim.
It is worth noting that experienced workplace injury attorneys can have a heavy caseload compared to a lawyer with less experience. You should check with the experienced attorney to determine whether they have the time necessary to handle your case.
Find an Attorney Who Keeps You Informed
A good attorney will communicate with you regularly during the legal process. Be sure you give them all the vital information to build a good case. They will use questions to obtain the needed details from you and will keep you informed of any case developments. Good work injury lawyers also are good at explaining legal terms and use understandable layman’s language. Your attorney should be willing to communicate with you and discuss each step of the claim process.
Find an Attorney That Represents Injured Workers
Look for an attorney who regularly works with injured employees. They should have responsive staff who can communicate the status of your case.
Find an Attorney That Communicates
Good communication in a workplace injury case is vital to getting the best result. From your initial meeting with the lawyer, you should feel confident about the case – much more so than when you walked through the door. Effective communication with your attorney should result in your learning new things about the case. Legal issues in workplace injury cases are complex and should not be made more complicated by an attorney who cannot communicate.
Questions to Ask Your Workplace Injury Lawyer
Are you ready to hire your attorney? Below are key questions to ask to decide whether this is the right attorney for you:
- How many workplace injury cases have you been successful in?
- How many cases have you settled and how many have gone to trial? What is your record in these cases?
- How many years have you been practicing in workplace injury law?
- Why do you represent injured workers?
- What can I expect when I call your office for an update on my case?
- How Do Workplace Injury Attorneys Work?
Workplace injury and personal injury attorneys argue cases in court, provide legal advice, negotiate with insurance companies, and draft legal documents. They represent people who have suffered physical harm due to another person’s or entity’s negligence. Most of these attorneys in Texas do not charge an hourly fee. They work on workplace injury cases on a contingency basis. This means they only are paid their fee at the end of the case if they are successful in getting you compensation.
Do I Need a Houston Workplace Injury Lawyer?
If you have been hurt on the job, you could need an attorney to help you negotiate the complex claim process. To find the best attorney, it is wise to read online reviews, social media comments, ask friends for recommendations, and get referrals from other reliable sources. Also, go through their legal credentials and be sure they are licensed to practice law in Texas. Choosing the best work injury attorney comes down to whether you can trust that attorney to work as hard as possible to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Sandoval & Waldman Today
As the victim of a workplace accident, you have the right to be compensated for your losses, including lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and future medical costs, among other things. Call Sandoval & Waldman PLLC today at (713) 688-4878 (HURT).
Getting Help for a Work Injury
What a Work Injury Attorney Actually Does
Work injury attorneys are like private prosecutors that you hire to “prosecute” a civil claim on your behalf. If a work injury attorney accepts your case, the attorney will investigate your workplace injury and attempt to build a case on your behalf, for submission to a court or arbitrator. Cases involving Official Texas Workers’ Compensation will be handled through the Texas Department of Insurance. Cases that do not involve Official Texas Workers’ Compensation will be submitted to a court or arbitrator. There are distinct differences in how these cases are evaluated and “prosecuted” and the claims you can assert are very different.
If you have a claim under the Official Texas Workers’ Compensation system, you may also have a “third party” claim, if your injury was caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or a coworker, or by a defective product. Your experienced work injury attorney will help you identify any potential claims that may successfully bring you a damage recovery.
What is Considered a Work Injury?
Any injury that occurs on the job or while working on behalf of another person or company can be considered a work injury. You should not take chances on trying to interpret the law yourself. If you have suffered a significant injury, and you were engaged in any activity, call the experienced work injury lawyers at S&W, and allow them to advise you. The consultation is free.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
Insurance claim adjusters are there to serve the interests of the insurance company. Adjusters for an employer’s “plan” are working for the benefit of the plan. They may say they are trying to help you, and some of them are doing their best to provide you with medical care, but they work within the rules of their company. And their ultimate goal is to save their company money and close out your claim. They do not work for you, and they do not have your best interests as their primary purpose. An attorney that you hire is sworn to protect your interests first. That is his legal duty – he must put your interests before anyone else’s, including his or her own interests. If you have a serious injury, trusting your employer, or an insurance company, or the people who work for them, is a risky bet. They may try to help you, but you are taking a risk that they will do what is best for them, and not what is best for you and your family. Ask yourself – if you boss was injured, would he come to you for help and advice, or would he call a lawyer? My guess is that your boss would call a lawyer. And that is exactly what you should do. You should protect yourself and your family by calling an experienced work injury attorney.
Steps to Take After a Work Injury Occurs
The first thing to remember is that most employers require you immediately report all accidents. You should report your accident to the proper person.
You should also seek immediate medical care. If it is an emergency, call 911. If someone’s life is in danger, call 911. If you need rescue, call 911. If you need to go to the hospital, call 911. If you cannot call 911, ask a friend to call 911.
If you need medical care, but it is not an emergency, ask your employer to take you or send you to a doctor immediately. If he will not take you or send you to a doctor, then go on your own or have a friend or family member take you. If your employer will not give you a document for the medical charges to be billed, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Do not wait to go to the doctor!
If you have the opportunity to do so, take photographs of the scene of the injury, and make a note of the names of any witnesses, and their phone numbers. If there was any violation of the law, call the police. If any safety rules were violated, consider calling OSHA.
Contact Sandoval & Waldman Work Accident Lawyer in Houston
Choosing an experienced work injury attorney to represent you in your workplace injury is important. You want to be properly compensated for injuries. These cases are often very complicated, and they are frequently defended by both employers and their insurance companies.
At Sandoval & Waldman, we have experience in evaluating and handling work injury claims. We can determine what type of claim you have, and help you chart a course of action for your claim. We understand how employers and insurance companies fight these cases, and can help put together your legal team to ”prosecute” your claim. Your attorney makes a difference. Injured workers in Texas should contact Sandoval & Waldman.