If you work for an employer that does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may worry about what would happen if you were to sustain injuries at work. Who will pay your lost wages? Will your employer pay for your medical bills?
Did you know that companies that operate in Texas are not required to carry workers’ compensation? Even though they are not required to carry workers’ compensation, there are other ways you can receive payment for your injuries.
If you partner with a Houston industrial accident attorney, they can help you through the entire process. What exactly does an accident attorney do? Continue reading below to find out what an industrial accident attorney can do for you and who you can reach out to for more help.
Common Industrial Accidents
Over the years, work-related deaths and common work-related injuries have decreased due to increased health and safety measures. Back in the 1970s, occupational injuries and fatalities ranged between 30 to 38 per day.
In 2020, that number has dropped to 15, meaning there is still a need for increased safety. The most common work injuries happen due to slips, falls, and contact with work equipment.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, Trips, and Falls accidents are the most common types of workplace injuries and are the top reason for industrial accident claims.
Common slip, trip, and fall incidents:
- Falling off ladders or skyscraper construction areas
- Slipping on oily or wet floors
- Tripping due to unprotected sides, clutter, or bad lighting
You can prevent these types of injuries by being more aware of your surroundings and by following fall protection requirements. If you do sustain an injury due to something out of your control, be sure to let management know right away.
Overexertion and Muscle Strains
Overexertion injuries such as repetitive strain injuries and muscle strains can cause long-term pain, leading to a loss in productivity. These types of injuries are caused by improper lifting techniques, microtasks on a factory line, and repetitive work with no breaks.
Other common overexertion and muscle strain accidents:
- Pushing, carrying, lifting, or throwing
- Jumping to another level
- Moving a mouse or typing without good ergonomics
To reduce your risk for lasting physical harm, ensure that you take frequent breaks. During these breaks, be sure to rest and stretch.
Struck by Falling Objects, Workers, or Other Equipment
We have all turned into a wall or accidentally walked into the sharp edge of a counter, but those injuries are far less dire than the injuries commonly sustained while working in a high-risk industry. Injuries in the industrial workplace can include severed limbs, traumatic head injuries, blindness, or fractures.
These types of injuries are commonly caused by poorly guarded machines, dropped loads, or falling materials and debris.
Additional high-risk industry accidents:
- Bumping into moving equipment
- Being pushed into hard surfaces
- Getting caught in gears or wire
- Excessive vibration
The best way to avoid these incidents is to be aware of your surroundings and follow established procedures or policies. Avoiding loose clothing and putting away unnecessary hazards can also reduce your risk of these types of accidents.
Explosions and Fire
Explosions and fires can cause severe damage to your respiratory system, burn your body tissue, and cause disfigurement. Fire and explosions aren’t too common unless you work in industries that deal with explosives or there are high risks for fires. Injuries for explosions are categorized into four types based on the level of impact.
Primary blast injuries are caused by the blast wave. If you are far away from the blast, you can still sustain an injury due to the blast wave. Common primary blast injuries are eye ruptures, concussions, and middle ear rupture.
Secondary blast injuries result from flying objects displaced by the blast wave. If the blast wave carried debris or other flying objects with it and the debris contacted you, that would be a secondary injury.
Tertiary blast injuries are a result of displacement through the air. This occurs when you are physically thrown by the blast, causing direct trauma to your body. Common injuries from a tertiary blast are open and closed brain injuries and fractures in any part of your body.
Quaternary blasts are all explosion-related injuries, diseases, or illnesses unrelated to the other listed blasts. This includes any complications or exacerbation of existing conditions, and any part of the body can be affected. Common quaternary injuries are COPD, angina, burns, crush injuries and other breathing problems.
Collisions or Crashes
Whether you are working around moving vehicles or you have to operate one, you are at considerable risk for a collision or a crash. For example, if you work in a warehouse, there is a significant chance you could get run over by a forklift.
Other common injuries from collisions or crashes are:
- Getting stuck under an overturned vehicle
- Tractor-trailer or semi-truck collisions
It is best to exercise extreme care when operating any vehicle. Be sure to wear your seat belt and take proper safety measures.
Exposure to Harmful Substances or Loud Enviroments
Those who work around hazardous chemicals or in loud environments are more at risk for severe injuries to their ears, skin, eyes, and respiratory system issues. Common accidents in these types of environments are burns and loss of hearing.
Violence by Persons or Animals
As much as we would like to think that physical fighting does not happen at work, it happens. Compounding tension and stress can result in aggressive confrontation from a customer or employee, leading to physical assault and harassment.
If you work on a farm or other environment where dogs are present, there is an increased concern for injury caused by animals.
One of the best ways to avoid workplace violence is to set a zero-tolerance policy. To reduce injury from an animal, you can wear proper attire and stay aware of your surroundings.
Depending on your industry, there is a risk for electric injuries. Common electrical injuries are electric shocks, burns, and falls. An electric shock occurs when someone comes into contact with a power source, causing electrical energy to flow throughout their body.
Injuries can range from mild to severe depending on the electrical current level. Extremely high voltage shocks can lead to cardiac arrest.
Exposure to an electrical current can cause internal and external burns. The electrical current flowing through your body can destroy muscles, nerves, and blood vessels without leaving an external mark.
Workers who work in high locations, such as wind farms or with powerlines, can come into contact with high volts of electricity. If they do, they can fall from great heights, causing neurological damage, musculoskeletal disorders, and other long-term consequences.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
After a workplace accident, the first step is to report the accident to your superior. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you must report the incident immediately. If you don’t let them know right away, there isn’t any proof that the accident happened.
If you are a part of a union, be sure to report the accident to your union representative as soon as you can. Of course, if the accident was severe and you had to be taken to the hospital immediately, you can work on the report later on with your supervisor.
Seek Immediate Medical Assistance
If the incident is too severe, you most likely will be transferred to the hospital for immediate treatment. If your injuries are not too severe, you can either go to the doctor or not.
It is best to go to the doctor as soon as possible after an accident because you will need the medical record later for your workers’ compensation claim and/or your personal injury claim. You may also require the medical record for an attorney if needed.
Choose Your Own Doctor
Your employer may have a physician they will recommend, but you have the right to see whoever you want. Keep in mind that you may need to see that physician later so they can make documentation for your employer.
Review the Statute of Limitations
Workers’ compensation and personal injury statutes depend on the state you live in and the nature of your claim. For example, in Texas, you have two years to sue for your injuries in an industrial accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
After an accident, even if you made a mistake that contributed to your injuries, do not admit fault. Speak with an experienced Industrial accident attorney about your case prior to giving any statements.
There could be other contributing factors that you may not have been aware of when the incident happened. For example, the safety equipment you were using at the time of the incident could have been defective.
Companies rarely share any information with an injured employee. An experienced industrial accident attorney will investigate your accident and ensure that all the facts are known.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
To ensure a complete recovery, you must follow your doctor’s instructions. If your doctor tells you that you are not ready to return to work yet, don’t go.
Even if you are afraid that you may lose your job or because you need the income, don’t go to work. You can make your injuries worse, or your recovery could take longer if you don’t listen to your doctor’s orders.
Contact an Industrial Accident Attorney In Houston
If you have been injured in an industrial accident, you can reach out to a Houston industrial accident attorney for help for free. The Morgan Legal Group offers 100% free case evaluations.
Many people believe that if you are injured in an industrial accident and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot bring a lawsuit for your injuries. This is not true.
An experienced industrial accident attorney may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf to get you taken care of despite your employer carrying workers’ compensation insurance.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
If you were severely injured in an industrial accident, you may want to reach out to a lawyer. A lawyer can review your situation and tell you if you have a case for compensation for your injuries. If you suffered a minor injury and you don’t have to miss too much work, you may not need to hire an attorney; however, conferring with an attorney will give you peace of mind.
Suppose your employer admits liability for the accident and they are willing to take care of your medical bills in addition to extra compensation. In that case, you also may not need an attorney. It may be a good idea to reach out to an attorney if your employer does accept liability. Your attorney can negotiate a settlement higher than what your employer may be offering.
Why Should I Hire a Houston Industrial Accident Attorney?
There are many excellent reasons to hire a Houston industrial accident attorney. For example, they are knowledgeable about the law and have experience dealing with insurance companies and other attorneys.
Knows Your Optimal Compensation Amount
So many workplace accident victims settle for way less than what they actually deserve. This can cause you to go into debt from your medical bills if your compensation is not enough to cover them and your other expenses.
Many workers don’t receive the compensation they need because they go up against insurance companies that don’t want to pay more than they need to. These adjusters have been professionally trained to make you settle for less, and they do it in a way that makes you feel like you’ve received a fair deal. When you hire an industrial accident attorney, they can help you calculate the amount you need to get your life back on track.
Knowledge of the Legal Process
Many people go back and forth about pursuing claims against their employers because they are unsure of the process. When you hire a trusted attorney with experience with workplace accidents, they can walk you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve.
These attorneys also are objective to the case, meaning that they don’t have the same emotions and pain attached to the case. These insurance companies know that you are hurt and want to get the process over, so they will offer you quick compensation to close out their case.
Your attorney can help you understand how long you may need to wait to receive the compensation you need. If your attorney thinks it will take a few years, they may suggest pre-settlement funding to cover your living expenses and medical bills. That way, you will have the money you need while recovering and waiting for the insurance company to settle.
There’s a Third-Party Involved
There are times when a third party is involved in the work-related injuries you sustain. For example, if you get into a car crash while driving a company car or sustain injuries due to faulty equipment from a manufacturer. Whenever there is a third party involved, the situation becomes more complicated.
Commitment to the Process
Insurance companies usually cringe and become discouraged when you partner with a lawyer. This is because they know they can’t use specific tactics on your attorney and see that you are willing to wait for the right compensation offer.
Attorneys have adequate resources to build evidence for your case, and they know how to gain leverage to get you the compensation you need. Insurance companies hate dragging out a process longer than it needs to be because it can show negligence on their end.
They also have specific quotas they must meet within a particular timeline. The longer it takes to reach an agreement, the more leverage you have.
You Have a Previous Medical Condition
Anytime you seek compensation, your employer and their insurance company will do anything to take credibility from your case. If you have a pre-existing condition on or near the area where you sustained an injury, they may try to use that against you. They can try to say that the incident was not the leading cause of your injury.
For example, if you had chronic back pain before slipping and falling at work, they can try to use that against you. They can claim that your pain stemmed from your chronic back pain, not the fall.
To protect you and prevent that from happening, you can reach out to a lawyer. They will get to work building evidence to support your claim and to get you the compensation you deserve.
Indusrial Accident Attorney FAQ
When deciding to hire an accident attorney, you may have some questions come up. Below are the most frequently asked questions when trying to figure out if you need an attorney.
How Do I Know if I Need an Accident Attorney?
Anytime that you feel like your freedom, rights, or finances are in jeopardy, you should consider reaching out to an accident attorney. Most attorneys provide free consultations so you can see if the relationship is worth it or not.
If your employer tries to get you to sign anything before they provide you any compensation, you should have an attorney review it before you commit. If you sign and aren’t happy with what you receive, you may have waived your rights to further compensation.
How Soon Should I Get an Attorney?
If you sustained an injury at work, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as you can. Big companies and corporations have substantial resources to protect them from paying large settlements and from lawsuits.
Your job’s legal counsel, insurance company, and senior management will start to explore ways to shield the company within hours of your accident. When you hire an attorney as soon as possible, they can help you gather facts about what happened and preserve evidence.
How Much Do I Have to Pay?
Each attorney has their own way they collect payment from you. For example, some attorneys work based on a contingency fee, which means they will take payment when the case settles.
The fee varies depending on the nature of the case and if the responsible parties are willing to pay for the injuries they caused.
Who Receives Payment?
Once your attorney and your company come to an agreement, the company will pay your attorney the settlement amount. Your attorney will negotiate and pay any medical bills or other expenses that are to be paid by the settlement. After all expenses and attorneys’ fee are paid, your attorney will pay you your portion.
This ensures once your case is over you are not unexpectedly left owing money you were not aware you owed.
Receive the Compensation You Deserve
Sustaining an injury at the workplace can cause you a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if you are your family’s primary source of income. You can accumulate lost wages while you’re out of work, especially if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation.
Even if your employer carries workers’ compensation, there is no guarantee that they will provide you with the compensation you deserve. To ensure that you get all the compensation right for you and your case, you should consider reaching out to a Houston industrial accident attorney. If you or someone you love recently sustained injuries from a workplace accident, contact us for a free no-obligation case evaluation.