Austin Workplace Injury Lawyer
If you are involved in a workplace accident, it is important to report any injury, both minor and major, to an appropriate supervisor and schedule a medical examination as soon as possible. Seemingly insignificant injuries have the potential to worsen over time and you could be held accountable for improperly seeking treatment for an injury when later filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
Construction Site Accident Claims
A construction site involves heavy operating equipment, tools, and machinery which increase the risk of work-related injuries for construction workers. Despite safety regulations implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), worksite accidents are a common occurrence, especially in the construction industry where such accidents often result in serious injuries or even death.
Texas law dictates that an employer is responsible for the safety of all employees, with the exception of contractors. Based on the temporary nature of contract labor, contractors are excluded from the rights afforded to permanent employees. Thus, when oil refinery and construction employers prepare accident reports, they are not legally required to claim injuries and fatalities suffered by contractors. Knowing that construction sites are prone to accidents and subsequent injuries, hiring an abundance of contract labor appeals to employers who desire to avoid responsibility for potential injuries and minimize accident records to maintain a positive reputation.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Worksite Injury Case?
For workers’ compensation claims, current Texas state law requires you to file the proper form within one year of the date of the injury. For workers’ comp death benefits, the eligible beneficiary has one year from the date of death to file the proper paperwork.
Wrongful death cases based on third-party negligence work a little differently. They are time-bound by the state’s statute of limitations. The statute sets forth the number of years after the injury or discovery of the injury that you have to file a claim. Contact our attorneys to find out if you still have time.
Common Worksite Injury Claims
Common injuries resulting from workplace accidents include:
- brain injury
- chemical exposure
- back and spine injury
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The experience of a traumatic event, such as a worksite accident, may cause the victim to develop PTSD, an anxiety disorder with debilitating symptoms including depression, nightmares, and flashbacks triggered by factors associated with the event, i.e. locations, sounds, smells, objects, etc.
What Type of Evidence Can be Collected for a Worksite Injury Case?
There could be many items that ultimately support a desirable resolution, such as:
- Records of appointments with your doctor
- Emergency room bills
- Reports and communication with your employer
- Dates and records of the injury and accident that caused it
- Any photographs, video, correspondence, or other materials related to the injury and what followed after
The attorneys at Shaw Cowart have been handling work injury cases in Texas for many years. We know the laws, statutes, regulations, and case history that may affect your situation. We put all of our resources to work in gathering evidence, information, and testimony needed to argue your case. We focus on building a strong claim so that our injured clients can focus their time and energy on getting well.
Who Can be Held Accountable for Your Workplace Injury?
There are a few different scenarios that could affect who you can hold accountable. If your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance, then you cannot hold your employer responsible for causing your injury. Instead, you should receive medical benefits and replacement of a portion of your lost wages regardless of who was at fault.
Many private employers in Texas are not required to provide workers’ compensation. If you find yourself injured at work without workers’ comp benefits, you’ll need to call our attorneys to determine who can be held accountable.
Oftentimes, the cases we handle involve liable third parties, meaning not your employer or a co-worker. Whether you are eligible for workers’ comp or not, you may be able to pursue a claim against a third party if they caused your injury. Examples include:
- The manufacturer of defective work equipment
- The manufacturer of defective safety equipment
- The owner of an unsafe property
- A motorist who causes you to crash in your work vehicle
- A vendor who works with your company
It takes the experience and resources of a skilled work injury attorney to determine who may be at fault and what you can do about it.
Austin Workplace Injury Litigation Attorney
Employers should provide employee training procedures to clarify potential job hazards and identify accident-prevention techniques to maximize safe workplace conditions and practices. Machines and equipment should receive regular maintenance checks to prevent breakdowns, repair malfunctions, and eliminate the risk of injury. Adequate inspections allow an employer to verify employees’ proper use of protective gear, confirm employees’ correct operation of machinery, and decrease the potential for accidents through proper assessment of equipment such as hoists, derricks, forklifts, winches, pulleys, and cranes. Causes of workplace injuries are most commonly attributed to an employer’s or co-worker’s negligence, inexperience, violation of safety regulations, or reckless behavior.
Factories, construction sites, warehouses, logging sites, and shipyards are commonly subject to falling objects and flying debris – hazards that can cause damage to laborers’ eyes, ears, and head. Injuries of this nature may lead to temporary or permanent disability, damaging a person’s capacity to earn a living. Stores, ships, hospitals, drilling rigs, and oil platforms are common sites for slips and falls which may result from lack of protective railing, slippery or disorderly walkways, or poor lighting. Many worksites utilize dangerous equipment such as power saws, hoists, forklifts, cranes, derricks, torches, conveyors, rotators, welders, and feeder belts. Poor manufacturing, maintenance, and operation of such equipment can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Building a Workplace Injury Case
When you hire our attorneys to handle your case, we do all of the heavy lifting. We know the ins and outs of work injury laws in Texas, and after discussing your situation with you, we will be able to make a determination regarding injury compensation and the best way to pursue it on your behalf.
We will be in constant communication with you as we work to resolve your claim. If there is anything you can do to help us build a strategic case, we will request it of you. If you’ve been injured, these are the things you should do:
- Report the injury to your supervisor immediately
- Get medical care
- Contact our attorneys
Keep track of everything related to the event and what follows, including medical bills, medical records, work injury reports, emails and other communication regarding your injury, and any other documentation. All of these items can be very valuable to a work injury case.
Can You File a Worksite Injury Case on Behalf of a Loved One?
If your loved one’s injury left them mentally or intellectually impaired, it is possible you can file a claim on their behalf. These situations can quickly become thorny and you’ll need an experienced attorney to help you sort out issues of guardianship and whether you are entitled to pursue a claim.
You can file for workers’ compensation death benefits or a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died as a result of their work injury. If workers’ compensation applies, then the death benefits may include reimbursement for funeral and burial costs, and 75 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage, within certain maximums and minimums. The exact terms and payouts depend on whether there is a spouse, a remarried spouse, surviving children, and other factors.
Personal Injury Claims for Workplace Accidents
If the financial burden of a work-related injury is not covered by the Jones Act or worker’s compensation, victims of worksite accidents are sometimes able to make a personal injury claim against any third party whose negligence contributed to the cause of a worksite accident resulting in a serious injury. Liable third parties may include outside vendors, property owners, and general contractors. Additionally, manufacturers and suppliers may be liable if their product contributed to the cause of a worksite accident.
Worksite accidents may involve mechanical failures, slips and falls, worksite vehicle accidents, electrocution, structural collapses, and malfunctioning safety equipment. Compensation may cover losses including past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, lost income, and disfigurement. Punitive damages may also be pursued in the case of especially reckless negligence.
The experienced legal professionals of Shaw Cowart LLP provide aggressive representation for victims of workplace injuries. You deserve maximum compensation for your losses. Our Austin workplace injury lawyers will protect your rights against those at fault and fight for the resources you need to heal and move forward with your life. Fill out our online consultation form or call 512-499-8900