You don’t want to get hurt by falling at your job site. Texas law gets complicated when you do, and it isn’t on your side.
About Fall Accidents on The Job in Texas
When you fall down and get hurt at work in Texas, the law gets complicated. If you thought law was already confusing, it gets even more so.
This is because Texas doesn’t require companies to carry workers’ compensation. We’re the only state to do so, and about a third of Texas companies don’t have the coverage. That amounts to millions of employees being without it.
When you fall on the job, it’s not automatically a workers’ comp case.
When Does a Fall at Work Become a Personal Injury Claim?
You may have a claim in Texas, even if you were hurt on the job, if:
- Your employer was negligent and isn’t a subscriber to Texas Workers’ Compensation
- Your loved one was killed at work because of the gross negligence of his or her employer
- Your injury was the result of the negligent action of a person or company other than your own employer
- Your employer belongs to an alternative Workers’ Compensation insurer, but only if they are not registered as such with the State of Texas
One of the main differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation law is that you don’t have to prove fault with workers’ compensation. Another is that the potential damages you can collect with personal injury are theoretically unlimited, and generally higher.
Workers’ Comp Insurance Doesn’t Like to Pay For Your Injuries
Let’s be real here.
Insurance companies make money three ways:
- Charging you premiums
- Having you help pay for costs in the form of deductibles
- Making up BS reasons for not paying your claim
That’s the way the coverage works in Texas and any other state in the nation.
A Quick Story to Illustrate the Point
Andrew Ellis was driving a semi-truck and began unloading a shipment with a two-wheel dolly. The shipment, a load of plastic PVC pipes, was being pulled by Andrew with full force, when he slipped and fell backward. During the process, he felt his left knee pop, causing his knee joint to go out of place. Of course, it was intensely painful.
The Workers’ Comp Insurance Company, Providence, denied Ellis’ claim because he verbally said his knee “gave out.” “Giving out” does not imply a work-related injury was their reasoning. And, you could say, it was just an injury waiting to happen.
Andrew was fired because he didn’t show up for work due to his injury. When he called HR, they told him he had quit. He eventually became homeless. 33 months later, law prevailed, and Ellis won $268,000 for his claim.
His attorney told him his case is nothing special.
And he’s right, it’s not!
To top it off, the policy written by Providence was intentionally designed to not pay. It required Andrew to notify his employer of his injury within 24 hours (versus 30 days normally required by Texas’ Workers Comp). Plus, the plan also required a supervisor to go with Andrew to all his doctor appointments!
You can read the full story at the Houston Press.
Texas Workers’ Comp Law Isn’t On Your Side
If you fall while working, there’s no guarantee you’ll experience trouble getting the benefits you should. But, you do have a high chance. Make sure you act fast if you’re injured in a work accident. Consultations with personal injury lawyers are free, so you risk nothing by at least checking your facts with a legal expert.
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Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years (since 1983). Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.