Frequently Asked Questions
The Answers You Need from Our Houston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Were you injured while on the job? Whether you were hurt due to repetitive motions or you simply had a sudden accident, it is important to know that workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you during this time. At Recalde Law Firm, PLLC, we make it a point to give our clients the information they need in order to pursue just compensation after they have suffered a workplace accident.
Over our 15+ years of experience, we have received numerous questions regarding workers’ compensation, the benefits involved, and how to file the claim. Our Houston workers’ compensation attorneys have provided answers to the most common questions below. If you have any other questions, call our firm at 832-261-0029.
Why should I file for workers’ compensation?
Most employers have workers’ compensation insurance that covers them if any employees are injured on the job. This is a way for the injured worker to secure benefits through the Texas Worker’s Compensation system. An injured worker in Texas is entitled to monetary (usually weekly) benefits and medical benefits. The weekly benefits will help sustain you in the event you are unable to work while recovering from your injury.
I got hurt on the job, can I sue my employer?
First, you must find out if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance. In the state of Texas, there is no legal requirement for employers to have workers’ comp; and if they do have workers’ comp insurance, they cannot be sued for regular negligence.
What happens if my employer refuses to file a workers’ compensation claim?
It is crucial that you report your injury to your employer right away. This report should be made to someone in a supervisory capacity, not a co-worker. After you have reported the incident to your employer, they may file a claim with the insurance carrier.
If they do not file a claim with their insurance carrier, then you must file the proper paperwork with the Division of Workers’ Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance (DWC 41 form, or Employee’s First Report of Injury). You only get 30 days to report an injury—do not delay!
The accident was minor. Should I still seek medical attention?
Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is important to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Injuries aren’t always immediately apparent and a medical professional can give you a full analysis of your situation. Some injuries don’t become apparent until hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. The best thing you can do is seek a medical evaluation situation as soon after the injury as possible.
What kind of benefits can I receive?
If you successfully file for workers’ compensation benefits, you can receive help covering numerous expenses. In Texas, the workers’ compensation system offers different type of monetary benefits.
The first is Temporary Income Benefits or TIBs. These benefits are dependent on your work status. If the doctor states that you cannot work in any capacity, then you are entitled to TIBs. If the doctor states that you can only work in a light duty capacity, then you still may be entitled to partial TIBs. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay you 70% of the different between your pre-injury wages and your light duty wages.
For Impairment Income Benefits, once you have received all the medical care that will help you recover from your injury, you will reach a point called Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI. At this point, you will receive an impairment rating. The doctor gives you an impairment rating based on your condition at the time of MMI and the American Medical Association’s Guides to Impairment. For each percentage point you receive, you will get three additional weeks of benefits. Impairment Income Benefits are not dependent on your work status like Temporary Income Benefits.
If your impairment rating is 15% or greater, you may also be entitled for Supplemental Income Benefits or SIBs. These benefits are dependent on your work status and are paid monthly and you must apply for them every quarter.
Can I file for workers’ compensation by myself?
While it is possible for you to seek workers’ compensation benefits without the help of an attorney, having a lawyer on your side can help in a number of ways. A legal advocate has the full understanding of the filing process, as well as knowledge of deadlines and any mistakes you can make during the investigation or even just filing the claim forms. We help you bypass these issues to give your claim a strong chance of reaching a successful outcome.
Why should I hire Recalde Law Firm, PLLC?
We bring more than a decade of experience to the table, working directly with each client in order to formulate a personalized plan. We focus on your needs, allowing for direct communication between you and your attorney. This helps us address your concerns and questions in a timely and efficient manner. Our passion is helping injured workers just like you.