Texas is experiencing major population growth. In 2020, San Antonio ranked #9 in population growth in America, with no sign of slowing down. Future employment projections for the San Antonio region are also bright, driven by growth in the Texas A&M campus and jobs at the Toyota plant.
However, with more people living, driving, and working in the region, there is an increased chance of accidents and injuries. If a workplace injury has sidelined you or a loved one, you need a San Antonio workers’ comp attorney.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that provides relief to employees who have been injured on the job. Workers’ comp is designed to protect the employer from huge lawsuits, while also providing the employee, or their family in the event of a fatal injury, compensation for their injury.
Workers’ comp insurance is mandatory for public employees including workers at city, county, and state employers as well as people who work at public universities and public agencies.
Workers’ compensation insurance is also required for companies who contract with government entities, including construction and building contractors for public projects, and is also required for motorbus companies and transportation carriers.
However, Texas is the only state in the union that allows other types of private employers to choose whether or not they will carry workers’ comp insurance. Privately-owned companies in Texas have two options for workers’ comp coverage:
- Private workers’ comp insurance
- Self-insurance, if they qualify
The workers’ compensation program in Texas is managed by the Texas Department of Insurance, which ensures that injured employees:
- Are treated with dignity and respect
- Have access to a fair resolution process
- Have access to timely, high-quality medical care
- Receive rehabilitation services needed to return to work
What Costs Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
If you are injured at work, and you file a claim with workers’ comp San Antonio, then you can expect to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and other qualifying expenses. By law, injured workers may be eligible for four different types of compensation:
- Income benefits: From temporary to lifetime benefits, these are designed to replace some or all of the wages lost due to your injury.
- Medical benefits: These cover the cost of “reasonable and necessary medical care” for your injury.
- Burial benefits: If an injury was fatal, survivors qualify for compensation to help cover the cost of funeral expenses.
- Death benefits: In the case of fatal work-related injuries, families may qualify for death benefits.
Who Is Eligible for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Being injured at work does not automatically qualify you to file a workers’ comp claim. To be eligible for a claim, your injury or illness must directly result from the “course and scope” of employment. Some examples of this include:
- Slipping and falling in the warehouse where you work
- Being attacked by a dog while laying fiber-optic lines
- Developing carpal tunnel syndrome from typing
Even if you are considered at fault for your injury, it may still be covered as long as:
- You were not horseplaying
- You were not engaged in a criminal act
- You were not intoxicated
- You did not deliberately injure yourself
- You were not participating in an off-duty recreational activity on the worksite
- You were not the victim of someone else’s personally motivated criminal act directed specifically at you
- You were not the victim of an Act-of-God incident
Regardless of whether you believe your injury is minor or serious, any time you are injured at work, you should immediately take steps to protect yourself — even if you are unsure whether you are eligible for a workers’ comp claim.
What’s the Process of Filing for Workers’ Comp?
The most important factors to keep in mind while filing for workers’ comp San Antonio are:
- Workers’ comp claims must be filed within 30 days of the injury. and you must submit any first appeal within 90 days of the decision
- You will likely need to seek your medical care from a list of state-approved doctors
- Workers’ comp may disqualify you from other benefits, or vice versa
To file for a workers’ comp claim without risking your benefits, you will want to make sure you follow the four rules of the state’s labor laws. These are:
- Report your injury immediately. As soon as your injury occurs, you need to report it to your employer, even if you think someone else already has. You can lose your rights to workers’ comp if you do not file within the 30-day deadline, so it’s extremely important to be prompt. You do not have to file paperwork to report your injury, but you should make sure to document the day you reported your injury and to whom.
- Get medical care. Depending on the severity of your injury, and whether you were unconscious, you may need medical care before reporting your injury. Even if you do not think you are seriously hurt, you will need to be seen by a professional for both your own safety and for the documentation in your case. Some injuries take time to appear, and it always looks better that you took steps immediately to care for your health. If you must see a state-approved doctor, see one of your choice if you can.
- Call an attorney. Again, even if you do not think you need an attorney, call one. A San Antonio workers’ compensation lawyer can educate you about your options and how to protect your rights as you move forward with your claim.
- File your claim. In Texas, you have one year from the time of your injury to file a workers’ comp claim. Make sure that you see your claim confirmed as received, and document the date you filed your claim. A workmans’ comp lawyer in San Antonio, TX, can make sure your claim is filed correctly and on time.
Sometimes, workers’ comp claims are resolved quickly and to everyone’s benefit. Other times, the insurer will fall far short of what seems fair considering the extent of your injuries. The two most common types of disputes in workers’ comp cases are medical disputes and indemnity disputes:
- Medical disputes: In these situations, the state-approved doctor may deny care you believe you need in order to improve, such as surgery, rehabilitation, or other forms of medical treatments.
- Claim disputes: Notice of denied or insufficient workers’ comp benefits can be a blow to your peace of mind. Your family may be relying on these benefits as you recover or learn to live with your permanent disability.
Debilitating illness and injury can impact you, your family, and even generations to come. If your employer denies your workers’ claim, you can challenge the denial through the DWC. If you cannot solve the dispute through negotiation with the DWC, you can request a workers’ comp court hearing.
If you believe that your workers’ comp claim was denied unfairly, or that your award was insufficient, consult with a San Antonio workers’ comp attorney immediately.
Workers’ Comp for Exposure to Viruses and Toxins
Workers’ compensation is not just applicable to workplace accidents and injuries. If you have been exposed to viruses and toxins in the workplace and harmed as a result, you may also be eligible for compensation.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison are not intimidated by tough cases that require complex scientific knowledge. Clean room litigation has become a prominent part of our personal injury and workers’ compensation practice. Hazardous chemicals used in the production of semiconductor chips have resulted in a high number of birth defects for children of cleanroom workers. Our San Antonio workers’ compensation lawyers have experience in pursuing these complex claims.
How Can a Workers’ Comp Attorney Help Me?
When you believe your workers’ comp case has been unfairly decided, or if your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage at all, speaking with a workers’ comp attorney can provide you the information you need to move forward toward maximizing your recovery.
The Aaron Allison Law firm has successfully handled workers’ comp cases against some of Texas’ biggest businesses, including H-E-B, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and several major healthcare facilities. Since 1978, our workmans’ comp lawyer in San Antonio, TX, has provided honest and competent legal counsel to the injured workers of San Antonio, and our San Antonio workers’ compensation team has the experience and resources necessary to work to meet your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.