Hurt on the Job in Texas? 6 Important Steps to Take
When injured on the job in Texas, it is important to understand your rights and what steps you should take. Workplace injuries are protected by the law. If you or someone you love has been injured at work, it is important to understand the essential steps you should take next.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Texas workplace injuries commonly happen in oil fields, construction sites, railways, utility work, logging areas, commercial fishing boats, transportation, and warehouses. When an injury occurs, you have the right to seek medical care.
You have the right to choose the medical professional who you want to treat you. It is within your rights to have your injuries and/or the illness you sustained treated. So, if you need diagnostic tests, surgery, procedures, and/or treatments, you are allowed to choose the doctor and the facility at which they are performed.
Initially, you may believe that your injuries are minor. You should still seek prompt medical attention to ensure you receive the medical care you may need if the injury proves to be more serious than you originally believed. Doing so also provides a record of your injuries that could be important if the responsible party’s insurance company disputes your claim by trying to prove your injuries were not sustained on the job.
2. Report Your Injury
After sustaining a workplace injury, report the accident to your employer. This should be done promptly. In Texas, injured workers have 30 days from the date of incident to report a workplace injury or 30 days from the onset of an illness caused by working conditions. By failing to do this, you could jeopardize the potential financial compensation and other benefits you could be entitled to receive.
No matter how serious your injury or how severe your illness is, let your supervisor or manager know the details as soon as it occurs. By taking this step, you can insulate yourself from charges that your injury or illness was not caused at work.
3. Complete a Workplace Injury Report
If you incur an injury on the job, it is essential that you complete a workplace injury report. These are provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This report details the following:
- Your identifying information
- Information describing your employer and supervisor at the time of the accident
- The injuries you sustained
- Things that could have been done to avoid the injury
- The events leading up to the injury
- Information about the treatment you received for the injury
- What the injured victim was doing at the time
- Previous injuries to the same body part
Your employer may not be keen on you filling out an incident report, but if you have been injured, insist upon filling it out. Upon completion and submission of the paperwork, retain a copy so it will be in your possession if you need it later.
4. Ensure Your Supervisor Fills Out Their Portion of the Workplace Injury Report
A portion of the OSHA paperwork is for you, the workplace injury victim, to fill out. Your employer or supervisor is required to fill out their part as well. They must complete the Supervisor’s Accident Investigation Form.
This form details the following:
- Nature of your accident
- The injuries you sustained
- Witnesses to the accident
- Conditions that may have caused the accident
- Details of how the accident could have been prevented
- A diagram of the injuries you incurred
- Why the conditions that caused the injury existed
- An accounting of tools and equipment used at the time of the accident
5. Attend All Follow-Up Appointments and Adhere to Medical Protocols Laid Out for You
It is crucial that injury victims follow the instructions given to them by their chosen medical professionals to the letter. So, take care to attend all follow-up appointments and other instructions ordered by your doctor. These might include the following:
- Seeing a specialist
- Medical testing
- Attending therapy
- Having dressings changed or wounds attended to
- Only return to work with the permission of your medical team and after being given a return-to-work order
- Attend all follow-up appointments
- Do not assume because you feel better that you can end treatment
- Take your injuries and doctor’s instructions seriously so that you do not do further damage or become more ill unintentionally
By following doctor’s orders, you will ensure that your health is the priority. You must prioritize your health so that you do not cause further problems or aggravate any potentially lingering condition.
In case an insurance company becomes involved following the accident, by adhering to the doctor’s instructions, you show that you have taken the injury seriously and caused no further problems that could have been otherwise avoided. If you have to file a claim, you can show that you did everything right.
6. Seek Legal Counsel
It is critical to know your rights after sustaining a workplace injury. The process for receiving benefits can be complex, and to help ease the challenge, a qualified workplace injury attorney can provide you with valuable assistance. Understanding your rights and how to proceed in a way that does not put those rights at risk is best done under the advisement of a lawyer who understands the laws surrounding on the job injuries.
The sooner you employ an attorney, the better. Workplace injuries are nothing to play with, and you could deal with chronic illness, catastrophic injuries, and long-term battles for your health. Knowing your legal rights can at least alleviate some of the worry surrounding the situation.
Learn About Your Legal Rights Today
Reach out to the skilled Texas work injury lawyers at Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP to learn about your rights and responsibilities following an on-the-job accident that led to an injury. Contact our office to set up a free consultation as soon as possible.
The sooner you have representation, the better. We can ensure that you understand the legal process and your legal rights so that nothing you do will jeopardize your case. Call today to see what we can do for you.