Odessa Work Accident Lawyer
Thousands of workers in West Texas are hurt every year because of an on-the-job injury. State laws allow for employees to receive financial settlements for medical care and work days lost following a work accident, but often that money is not enough to cover your needs. In addition, the paper work and insurance requirements of your employer can be confusing, time consuming and exhausting. Many employers have big human resources departments to walk you through these kinds of personal injury issues, but sometimes even they aren’t up-to-speed on changes to the law or their company’s own insurance requirements.
On-the-job injury attorney Robert White has experience with the complexities of Texas laws. If you’ve had an on-the-job injury and need to file a claim with your employer’s insurer, talk it over with Attorney White first. He can make sure all your filings are complete and that you get all the compensation you’re due. But don’t waste any time in getting help with your claim. There are time limits for filing. Also, as with any accident injury, it’s wise to seek medical care right away. If you wait days or weeks after the accident before you visit the doctor and make your claim, the insurance company can (and will) argue that your injury happened elsewhere.
If someone else was responsible for your work accident (not your employer), there is another option you can Ask Robert White to help with. There may be an opportunity to file a third-party lawsuit against the person responsible for your injury in addition to your regular work injury claim.
Workers Compensation Eligibility
In most cases, you’re eligible for workers compensation when you sustain any injury on the job that prevents you from continuing to do your work. Medical costs and the loss of wages can be a severe financial burden which is why workers compensation exists to cover it. It’s also beneficial to employers as workers compensation grants them immunity from any personal injury lawsuits.
Before anything else, however, you need to make sure your employer actually offers workers compensation. Texas is the only state where it’s not a requirement. There are also additional factors that come into play that may affect your eligibility. Your schedule can play a major role along with whether or not you work exclusively for the job you were injured doing. Public contractors may not be eligible and you may not be able to hold your employer’s company liable if they don’t own the tools and materials that caused you injury.
Workers Compensation Denials
The entities that usually make workers compensation cases difficult are insurance companies. Payments have to go through them, and no insurance company ever wants to actually pay compensation if they can avoid it. When your claim is denied, you’ll have to make an appeal if you want to get the benefits you deserve.
Insurance companies will deny your claim for a variety of reasons. Missed deadlines is a common one in which you simply fail to file your claim in time. In the state of Texas, the statute of limitations is one year after the date of your injury or the date you learn or should have learned your disease was the result of your work.
Another common defense is claiming that your injury wasn’t sustained on the job. In order to make this case, defendants will try to prove that you weren’t working or were engaging in misconduct during the incident. This is, in part, why it’s so important to gather as much evidence as you can immediately after the incident including date and time, pictures, details and witness contact information.
In Texas, the appeal process after a denied workers compensation claim can be complicated which is why it’s so important to have an experience workers compensation lawyer at your side. First, you have to try a benefit review conference. This is an informal hearing between you, a representative from your employer and a Texas government official. Usually, a settlement can be reached here, but if this doesn’t work, you can continue on to arbitration.
Arbitration is more formal and is overseen by an arbitrator sent by the Division of Workers’ Compensation of the Texas government. When the arbitrator renders their decision, it is absolute. You have no further means of appeal. Instead of arbitration, you can try a contested case hearing which is a formal hearing in which you have to present evidence. This is overseen by a hearing officer whose decision is not final.
If the case hearing doesn’t go the way you want, you can appear before the Appeals Panel which may confirm or reverse the hearing officer’s decision. If all else fails, you can head to the state courts. This is a complicated process with many legal requirements, so make sure you have a workers compensation attorney with you at this point if you don’t have one already.
Robert White Can Help
Whatever the cause of your on-the-job injury — construction accident, negligence or just a simple mistake — Robert White has helped thousands of clients maximize their claims in Odessa, Midland, and throughout the Permian Basin and Texas Hill Country.
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