How we can help you if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance
Unlike most states, employers in Texas aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, they are considered a “non-subscriber,” and your legal rights are different than if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance for job injury claims.
How to know if you have a third party claim
When your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, in most situations, you aren’t allowed to sue for negligence. Your only recourse is workers’ comp benefits, which can be quite minimal. However, if your injury was caused by a person, company, piece of machinery, or someone other than your employer, you may be able to bring a negligence case against that person or company under a “third party” legal claim. There are a lot of complications with third party claims, and without the right lawyer, your legal rights may not be protected.
If a piece of equipment or machinery caused or contributed to your injury, then you may be able to bring a product liability claim against the seller, distributor, designer, or manufacturer of the equipment or machinery. Product liability claims are time-consuming, costly, complicated, and require the services of a law firm with the expertise to win cases against large corporations and their armies of insurance adjusters and lawyers.
Why you need our successful legal team on your side after you’ve been hurt at work
When you’ve been hurt at work, you need to focus on recovering and getting your life back on track. You shouldn’t have to worry about fighting your employer or their insurance company for the compensation you deserve. You also don’t have the experience or financial ability to fully investigate your work accident. That’s where our team comes in. We can thoroughly dig into the details of your case and discover evidence that may be impossible to find on your own. As soon as you hire us for your case, we get to work. We investigate to find out if the company or equipment manufacturer violated any safety regulations, hire experts to reconstruct the incident and make sure the company responsible for your injury is held accountable for their safety failures. Find out more about what we will do to make sure your rights are protected.
Why you should always report work injuries and fill out an accident report
The incident or injury report is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in any workplace injury case. Juries will place heavy emphasis on the initial incident report. On the one hand, the company’s attorneys will attempt to use the initial report to limit your workers’ comp claim. On the other hand, we use it to show that the injured party was hurt during the course of their work and has the right to be compensated.
You have the right to file an incident report and to make sure it is 100% accurate. If a supervisor refuses to allow you to fill out or file an incident report, create your own using a blank piece of paper. Explain in detail what happened when you were injured and send it to the corporate office.
Even though it is against the law for employers to harass or threaten you for reporting an injury or pursuing your rights under the law, this illegal behavior is an unfortunate reality. If your company has tried to take advantage of you or deny you your legal rights, it’s time to consult an attorney.
What to include when you fill out an accident report
You must be very specific on your accident report because every detail you leave out can and will be used against you by the company’s lawyer. This means you should make sure you include details about:
- Exactly how and when the injury took place.
- Every issue you are having with your body after the injury.
- The specific parts of your body that are injured — do not omit any detail, no matter how minor.
- The names and job titles of each person who witnessed the incident.
If you begin to feel pain in additional parts of your body, or if injuries develop over the next few hours or days after an injury, you have the right to go back and amend your incident report. Since the company will use this report to try and say you weren’t injured at work, it’s important that the report is as accurate as possible.
Is your employer threatening to fire you after reporting a work accident?
While it is illegal for employers under both state and federal law to treat a worker unfairly, threaten to fire, or fire you for reporting your work-related injury, companies try to get away with it. The company is required by law to respond appropriately to your claim. That means that many of these threats and intimidation tactics are used because the employer assumes you don’t know or understand your legal rights. The harassment usually stops as soon as you start working with an attorney who is experienced handling work injury claims and can make sure that the company adheres to the law.
Types of intimidation tactics often used against injured workers
What do we mean by harassment and intimidation tactics? It can be hard to sort fact from fiction in the whirlwind of documents and meetings that follow an accident, illness, or injury. Although there are many ways—both subtle and not so subtle—an employer might try to keep you from pursuing a work injury claim, there are some tactics that are more common than others. Learn about these intimidation tactics and how to prevent your employer from taking advantage of you.
Intimidation tactics happen to a lot of people, and you should know that you have options if you were injured at work. Many employees are mistreated by their employers after they are hurt or become ill, no matter what kind of industry they work in. If you’re being threatened or mistreated by your employer just because you got hurt, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you “just have to take it” in order to keep your job.
Why injured workers should never give a recorded statement
Despite what the insurance adjuster may tell you, you are not required to give a recorded statement for your injury claim to be processed. The insurance adjuster may tell you that a recorded statement is needed to expedite your case along or that it is simply a part of the settlement process. In actuality, employers and insurance companies often use what people say in recorded statements to twist victims’ words and minimize their claims. The company’s representatives are trained to ask misleading or tricky questions. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you for a recorded statement, call an experienced attorney right away. It’s simply not worth the risk of wrecking your work injury claim. Read more about why an injured worker should never give a recorded statement.
What to do if you are involved in a work injury when your employer has filed for bankruptcy
If you are involved in a work injury during the time that your employer files for bankruptcy, you are still owed proper care and compensation. Depending on which type of bankruptcy your company files, your next steps will vary. What does not vary is your need for proper medical attention and compensation.
If your employer files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your employer is shutting down and legally dissolving their company. The company will have to manage your work injury with attention, but you will likely need to work with an attorney to ensure your needs are met.
If your employer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they are restructuring the company. This will likely result in several lay-offs, but they will retain employees to continue operations. The large offshore driller company Valeris recently declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and they will have to ensure that their insured employees are cared for, regardless of if they retain their employment.
A work injury can follow you far into the future – are you prepared?
You can’t really prepare for an unexpected work injury, and it’s not unusual for families to be thrown into a world of physical, emotional, and financial chaos after finding out that a loved one has been seriously hurt. Because these kinds of injuries can change lives forever, injured workers and their families find themselves suddenly facing long-term difficulties. Read more about some of the common long-term hardships after a work-related injury.
Families must cope with injuries to their loved ones by quickly becoming educated about their rights. Medical attention should be a priority, both initially and in follow up, and injured workers should follow their doctors’ orders carefully in order to recover as fully as possible. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, reach out to your doctor or a counselor. To make sure you receive the past, present, and future compensation needed for your injury, get help from an experienced work injury attorney to handle your claim.
How preexisting and intervening injuries affect your work injury claim
After being injured on the job with pre-existing injuries, it is important that you carefully protect your rights to pursue compensation. A preexisting condition is an injury that happened before you started your job. Your employer cannot deny workers’ compensation benefits for such conditions, but many companies try to take advantage of those unaware of their rights. Whether your job made your preexisting condition worse or injured you outright, you deserve fair compensation for your suffering. Learn more about how preexisting and intervening injuries can affect your work injury claim.
Help for cancer and mesothelioma patients exposed to years of asbestos in the workplace
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses create impossible challenges for individuals and families who have been left to pay the price for careless employers. Although asbestos has been a known hazard for many years, its wide use left many people open to the dangers. While asbestosis less commonly used today, many people still continue to be at risk for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer that occurs in the lining around the lungs, heart, testes, and abdomen. The cancer is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos and can take anywhere from 20 to 60 years to develop after exposure. The disease is more common in employees and military personnel who were directly exposed to asbestos in the line of work. Anyone who works or has worked in older public buildings with certain types of supplies and equipment, or have been exposed to asbestos in second-hand situations, is also at risk. At this time, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, and the disease is ultimately fatal.
Mesothelioma is a difficult disease to diagnose and treat, and care of the disease must be carefully tailored to each patient’s circumstances and needs. Through a number of complex treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, victims of mesothelioma can manage their disease and extend their life expectancy.
Unfortunately, the staggering expense of this highly specialized treatment leaves many mesothelioma victims to make grim choices about their healthcare options and financial futures. The sooner you learn about your legal rights after a mesothelioma diagnosis, the sooner you can protect yourself and start taking action. For more no-obligation information and a free and confidential case analysis with one of our attorneys, don’t hesitate to contact our team today.
Get the financial support you need to cover your cancer treatments
Whether you were exposed to asbestos years ago or in your current line of work, you should know that you may have rights to compensation for your resulting illness. The companies that exposed workers to this cancer-causing substance should be held responsible for ignoring the risks. If you are buckling under the weight of medical, emotional, and financial changes following a diagnosis of asbestos-related cancer or illness, our experienced legal team is standing by with the answers you need.
Since many of the victims were exposed to asbestos through their workplaces after the substance’s dangers were known, there have been numerous lawsuits filed against large companies who failed to protect their workers. In many of those lawsuits, victims or their families have received millions of dollars in compensation. To help you understand the scope of these kinds of legal actions, here are three examples of large and notable mesothelioma lawsuits:
- In 2012, Union Carbide was ordered to pay millions of dollars to 85-year-old Bobbie Izell, who developed mesothelioma after working with the company’s products as a general contractor in the 1960s and 1970s. Union Carbide was accused of hiding the dangers of the asbestos used in its products, and including damages from all companies named in the case, Izell was awarded $48 million.
- In 2013, Rose-Marie Griggs, the wife of a worker exposed to asbestos in KAYLO products, was awarded more than $27 million for mesothelioma developed after handling and laundering her husband’s work clothes.
- In 2012, mesothelioma victim John Bristow, a former shipyard worker, was awarded over $9 million in a suit against Crane Inc. for exposure to asbestos in the company’s products. While other companies were also named in Bristow’s complaint, all but Crane settled with the victim before the trial.
While it is possible for victims to pursue compensation, the path to success isn’t always easy. Asbestos victims and their families often struggle against large companies and insurers who hope to minimize how much they must pay for their negligence. Victims are also often unprepared to defend their claims or push for the maximum compensation they are entitled to. However, a skilled asbestos attorney can make sure that victims are informed, protected, and ready to fight for what they truly deserve.
Our legal team has extensive experience helping individuals and families across the nation protect their rights, make confident decisions, and get the compensation they need for their care. If you have questions or need help, speak directly with our mesothelioma attorneys today.
How light duty can indicate that your employer isn’t playing by the rules
In an ideal world, injured workers would be able to work closely with their medical providers to determine when to return to work and what restrictions they might be under during their recovery. In reality, many employers try to force injured employees back into light-duty positions before they’re really ready to return to work, or they use their employees’ medical restrictions against them.
Ideally, an employee should transition back to a light-duty role only when his or her doctor approves. The employer would then help the employee transition into a light-duty position that adheres to medical restrictions, and the employee would be able to communicate clearly and honestly throughout the process.
Although you may hope that your return to work will be handled as a straightforward, administrative process, the truth is that some employers or supervisors use light-duty restrictions to punish injured employees or even carry out personal grudges. In some extreme cases, demeaning or pointless light duties may even be used to try to make you walk away from the job so that they have grounds to fire you.
Some employers might pressure you to come back to work before you’re ready or before you’ve been cleared by your doctor. Sometimes, the reality is that your employer will ignore your medical restrictions entirely once you are back on the job, which may put you at risk for an intervening injury or a second injury that happens after you’ve already been hurt at work.
While in many cases, employers are breaking or bending the rules, you can still make serious mistakes if you lack knowledge about your rights and how to protect yourself. Some employers, insurance adjusters, company representatives, company doctors, and others intentionally mislead or abuse injured employees, and the real answers to your questions about your work injury may be surprising.
If you have any questions about light-duty requirements or returning to work after an injury, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping injured workers protect their rights, stop the abuse, and get the compensation they need after they’ve been hurt.
How to get compensation from disability and other insurance policies in addition to your injury claim
If you have a disability, accident, or another type of insurance policy, we will help you apply for benefits from your insurance. We do this all the time for our clients to help them have short-term funds while we’re working on their work injury lawsuit.
For people unable to work due to the severity of their injuries, receiving financial assistance from disability or accident insurance is a life-saver. These forms of financial assistance are in addition to the compensation you’re seeking in your lawsuit. Unlike applying for a loan against your future settlement, this money does not come out of your lawsuit settlement.
How to choose an attorney for your work injury case
If you’ve never hired an attorney before, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you just open the Yellow Pages and pick a lawyer? Should you use Google to find an attorney on the Internet? How do you know if the attorney is even qualified to handle your case? It’s not an easy decision to make, and the search can bring up a lot of questions about who you can really trust and how to find the right attorney to handle your work injury claim.
While the choice is ultimately up to you, there are a few traits you should be looking for in an attorney to make sure you’re choosing someone who can be the right fit for your specific case:
- Experience with state-level laws and regulations that affect your case. Work injury cases are different from other legal matters, and it’s important that you choose an attorney with relevant skills and successful experience after you’ve been injured at work.
- Experience with work injury cases in your industry. The attorney you choose should be familiar with the type of job you do, the kinds of equipment you use, what your workday is like, the dangers you typically face, the laws and regulations that apply, and other minute details of your day-to-day that can affect your case later on.
- A willingness to answer questions. If your attorney doesn’t return your calls or doesn’t address the questions you have, he or she probably isn’t the right person for your case. You want an attorney who will be responsive and focused on you.
- The ability to explain your options in language you understand. If you don’t understand a word that’s said, then you won’t be able to get the answers you need to make the right decisions in your case. Your attorney should be able to communicate in clear, easy-to-understand language.
- No history of discipline by the State Bar. It’s never a bad idea to do a little research on your own, and it’s worth taking the time to check out your attorney’s background and disciplinary history through the State Bar.
By looking for these characteristics in attorneys and law firms you talk with, you can narrow down your search and decide who is qualified to take your case and handle it well. However, don’t stop there—if you’re planning to hire an attorney, it’s a good idea to still meet in person and ask questions before you decide to move forward.
Questions to Ask an Attorney You’re Considering Hiring for a Work Injury Case
It is a good idea to interview the lawyer you are thinking about hiring before you give him or her your case. Any good attorney will happily answer your questions in a straightforward, no-nonsense way. An interview also gives you a chance to get a “gut feel” about whether or not you might work well together. If you sense that your questions are making the attorney uncomfortable, or if the attorney seems to be acting evasive, you may want to look elsewhere for legal representation.
To help you get ready to meet with an attorney for the first time, here are some examples of the kinds of questions you might want to ask:
- How long have you been taking work injury cases? How many workers have you represented? Ideally, you want an attorney with a proven track record, not somebody who only just started taking cases last week or doesn’t have a lot of history with the type of case you have.
- May I have a list of your case results? If the attorney is reluctant to discuss his or her case history with you, it might be a warning sign that he or she lacks experience or skill.
- Who will work on my case? At some law firms, cases are farmed out to paralegals, junior attorneys, or even to another firm entirely. It’s important that you know who will be handling your case—there’s no point hiring a big-name lawyer only to have him or her pawn the case off on somebody else.
- Have you had a case against the same company before? A lot of employers are large corporations that may operate a number of locations across the United States. Prior experience with the company you want to file a suit against is great because your lawyer will be that much more prepared. This can be especially helpful when your employer is a railroad, an oil & gas company, or in similar industries that may be dominated by only a few large companies employing hundreds of thousands of people.
- Do you also represent employers and insurance companies? An attorney who plays both sides may have a conflict of interest. You might want to try and find somebody who focuses on representing victims only.
- Are you board certified, and if so, in what field(s)? Do you carry malpractice insurance? Believe it or not, there are many attorneys out there who are not board certified and who don’t carry malpractice insurance. It is in your best interest to find one who is both certified and insured.
Getting the Answers You Need Before You Hire an Attorney
Even if you’re not sure if you’re ready to hire an attorney, an initial consultation is all about getting the answers you need to make informed decisions. As you interview potential attorneys, even if you don’t plan to hire someone immediately, you should also use the time to ask questions about your case, including questions like:
- What can I do right now to make sure my claim is successful?
- What are my rights after I’ve been hurt on the job?
- How much is my case worth?
- How do I know when to go back to work?
- Who will pay all of these medical bills?
- Why should I hire an attorney to help with my work injury claim?
- Do I really even need to hire an attorney?
If you choose to meet with our attorneys, we would be happy to talk with you and answer all of these questions, as well as explain what you need to do to protect yourself from insurance company tricks and traps — all at no cost or obligation to you. We’re here to help injured workers get the real answers they need, and we understand that you may be coming to us confused, frustrated, and unsure about the necessary next steps. Our attorneys will give you clear and honest answers — we’ll even tell you if you really need an attorney for your case and help connect you with the resources you need while you’re recovering.
Our attorneys have helped countless victims just like you get justice for their pain, suffering, and losses. We know that it’s difficult to know whom you can trust after a serious accident. That is why we always ensure that your contact with our attorneys doesn’t cost you anything unless we win your case. Your first consultation is free. We advance all court costs and fees, and you will only pay for our services after we get you the justice you deserve.
Read About Some of Our Clients’ Victories In Work Injury Cases
- Historic $17.72 million verdict awarded to the family of an ironworker who drowned building the pedestrian bridge for Baylor University’s new football stadium./li>
- A $4 million settlement was awarded to our client, an injured logger, after the logging company attempted to deny his claims under the Texas Workers Compensation Act.
- Hoyer Global pays confidential settlement after a worker, our client, was exposed to sulfuric acid, permanently impairing his vision.
- LeBouf’s Bindery pays $985,000 settlement to an injured worker after losing his hand.
- Hodges Southwest pays $1 million settlement to a worker who fell through a roof while on the job and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
We have helped people who have been injured or killed working in the construction industry, working at refineries and plants, working in the oilfield, working offshore, and more.
Protect Your Future: Learn Your Rights After Being Hurt at Work
If you are like most of our clients, this is the first time you have suffered an injury requiring medical attention and legal help. Unlike you, your employer likely has seen numerous injury cases, so they know exactly what to do and who to call to protect their bottom line at your expense.
We recommend you learn your legal rights first so you know how to avoid signing those rights away, and so you can make informed, intelligent choices about what course of action to take to ensure your rights are protected.