According to BLS statistics, the construction industry has an average of 24% more illnesses and injuries than any other, and construction also leads the nation in preventable fatal workplace accidents. These statistics are even more alarming when you consider that BLS estimates that more than half of workplace injuries go unreported.
Unfortunately, many workers do not report Texas construction accident injuries due to concerns about workers’ compensation: they believe that the system is difficult, compensation is insufficient, and claims are too often denied. If you or a loved one have been injured in a construction accident, you deserve compensation and may need a Texas workers’ compensation lawyer to help you fight for your rights.
Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation After a Construction Accident in Texas?
Every construction worker who is injured on the job deserves compensation to help pay for medical costs and lost wages, regardless of their immigration status. In Texas, employers may choose workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for these costs, or they may choose private insurance. Employers who choose not to carry workers’ compensation are called “non-subscribers,” and they have additional risk and liability in case of workplace injuries.
If you have been injured at work in Texas, there are two main methods of receiving compensation:
- File a workers’ compensation claim
- File a claim with your non-subscribing employer’s insurance
Depending on the nature and cause of your injury, you may instead want to file a lawsuit for personal injury, wrongful death, or other types of liability. Generally speaking, making an insurance claim and accepting insurance compensation waives your right to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation in court. If you aren’t sure whether you should accept an insurance settlement, it is best to consult with a Texas construction accident attorney before making a decision.
Because Texas is the only US state that makes workers’ compensation insurance optional for employers, the state has uniquely complex laws regarding workers’ compensation. This means that most attorneys in the state won’t accept these types of cases. In fact, of the 95,000 practicing attorneys in Texas, Aaron Allison is one of only 40 lawyers who will represent injured workers in straight workers’ compensation cases. He has the experience and expertise to navigate complex workers’ compensation, private insurance, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, so he can fight for the rights of injured workers and their families in every possible way.
Common Types of Construction Accident Injuries
The most common accidents in all workplaces are trips and falls. While these types of accidents may be minor in an office or retail setting, trips and falls can lead to catastrophic injuries in the construction industry. Some of the most common construction injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Chemical and toxic exposure injuries
- Brain and head injuries
- Eye injuries
Construction workers are also at high risk for injuries due to the accumulated stress and strain of working in tough conditions over long periods of time. Construction workers are at risk of heat stroke injuries, repetitive back and shoulder injuries, vision damage, and hearing loss.
Working outdoors also puts construction workers at a very high risk of developing occupational skin cancer. Be mindful that not all occupational injuries are due to a specific incident and may silently accrue over time.
What Type of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in Texas?
Workers’ compensation covers every type of occupational injury that requires medical treatment and/or time off work.
Accidents can be simpler to report and file since they take place on a specific date in specific circumstances. In the case of an accident, report the accident and file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.
In the case of a repetitive strain injury or an illness due to prolonged exposure, it may be more difficult to determine exactly when the injury took place. In that case, report the illness and file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as you receive your diagnosis from a physician.
Reasons Why a Workers’ Compensation Claim May be Denied in Texas
Here are the most common reasons why a Texas workers’ compensation claim may be denied:
- The injury was not due to work activities. For example, if a worker was injured during an accident on their way to work, the injury is not occupational.
- The injury was due to employee recklessness. An employee who was messing around, ignoring safety protocols, or working under the influence is not eligible for workers’ compensation.
- A third party caused the injury. If an injury was caused by defective equipment or the misbehavior of someone on the job site, then the other party is liable for the damages.
- The injury was caused by “an act of God.” Injuries due to unanticipated weather events, earthquakes, or other disasters are not eligible for workers’ compensation.
You can file an appeal if your workers’ compensation claim was denied in error. Most workers’ compensation appeals are successful and result in the approval of the claim, so it is important to be persistent. If your workers’ compensation claim fails, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation. Discuss your case with a Texas construction accident attorney for advice on how to proceed with your claim.
While it can be difficult or frustrating to pursue workers’ compensation in Texas, it is important that every construction worker understand their rights and fight for the compensation they deserve. Failure to report injuries or pursue damages makes the industry less safe and prevents needed reforms to protect construction workers and their families.
Too many workers and their families bear the burden of work-related medical care and lost wages on their own rather than holding employers accountable. Since 1978, the Law Office of Aaron Allison has been proud to fight for workers’ rights in Texas and help families recover from construction accident injuries. Contact our offices online or call 512-474-8346 to schedule a free case review.