In Texas, it’s generally unlawful to fire an employee solely because they were injured at work. However, an employer might still terminate an employee for other legitimate reasons, such as poor performance or company-wide layoffs. If an employee files a workers’ compensation claim following an injury, Texas law also protects them from retaliation, including termination.
The fear of retaliation or termination should never deter you from seeking the compensation you are entitled to. At Abraham Watkins, we are here to guide you through the legal process and fight for your future. We are one of the longest-serving law firms in the state, having been established for more than seven decades. Our dedicated team is here to support and guide you to ensure that your rights are upheld.
With our no-win, no-fee approach, we are committed to offering our professional services to you without any upfront costs. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re ready to advocate for your rights and work tirelessly to help you secure the justice you deserve.
Arrange a free consultation today at 713-535-9319.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that offers benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Its main purpose is to cover medical expenses, compensate for lost wages, and provide financial support during the recovery period. It operates under a “no-fault” system, meaning benefits are provided irrespective of who was at fault for the incident.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, the workers’ compensation system could play a significant role. It could help ensure you receive the necessary medical treatment and compensation for your time off work, thus reducing the financial burden.
Damages You Can Claim in a Workers’ Comp Claim
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. The specific benefits available can vary based on the severity of the injury, the laws of your state, and the specifics of your employer’s workers’ comp policy, but generally include the following types of damages:
- Medical Expenses – This includes all reasonable and necessary medical treatments related to the work injury or illness. It can cover hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, prescriptions, and sometimes even transportation costs for medical appointments.
- Temporary Disability Benefits – If your injury or illness requires you to take time off work for recovery, you may be eligible for temporary disability benefits. These benefits typically cover a portion of your lost wages while you’re unable to work.
- Permanent Disability Benefits – If your work-related injury or illness results in permanent impairment that impacts your ability to work, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. The amount can depend on the severity of your impairment and its impact on your earning capacity.
- Rehabilitation Costs – If your injury or illness requires vocational rehabilitation to help you return to work or find a new job, workers’ compensation may cover these costs.
- Death Benefits – If a work-related injury or illness results in death, workers’ compensation can provide death benefits to the deceased worker’s dependents. This can include compensation for funeral and burial expenses and financial support to make up for lost wages.
It’s important to note that workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering that are typically available in personal injury claims. Also, workers’ compensation benefits are generally available regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness, whereas fault is a key issue in personal injury claims.
When is a Personal Injury Claim Necessary Instead of a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of fault. These benefits typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, workers’ compensation does not account for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
A personal injury claim, on the other hand, comes into play when another party’s negligence causes your injury; this might be a third party on a worksite, a manufacturer of faulty equipment, or in some cases, your employer. Unlike workers’ compensation, personal injury claims can result in compensation for the full spectrum of damages. These may include total lost wages, future lost earning capacity, medical bills, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Choosing between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim often depends on the specifics of your situation. In some cases, you might even pursue both simultaneously. For instance, if a third party’s negligence on a worksite caused your injury, you could file a workers’ comp claim for immediate needs and a personal injury claim against the negligent party for broader damages.
Navigating these decisions can be complex, and that’s where a skilled Houston personal injury attorney can help. They can evaluate your case, identify the most promising avenues for compensation, and guide you through the necessary processes.
How Can a Houston Work Injury Lawyer Help?
Navigating the intricacies of workers’ compensation can be a daunting task, particularly for injured employees facing recovery and possible job insecurities. That’s where the experienced attorneys at Abraham Watkins come in.
Our legal team is well-versed in workers’ compensation laws, workplace rights, and employer responsibilities. We have successfully guided numerous clients through the process of filing a workers’ comp or personal injury claim, ensuring they receive the full scope of benefits to which they are entitled.
Ultimately, our goal at Abraham Watkins is to advocate for injured employees, ensuring their rights are respected and they receive the compensation they are entitled to.
When Can an Employer Legally Terminate an Injured Worker?
While there are protections in place for injured workers, there are also circumstances under which an employer can legally terminate an employee who was injured at work. For example, if you can’t perform your job duties even with reasonable accommodations or if your prolonged absence causes significant financial strain to the business, termination may be lawful.
Furthermore, the concept of light-duty work is worth noting. If you can’t perform your original job duties, they might be offered light-duty work within their medical restrictions. If you refuse the offer, your employer might have legal grounds for termination.
Ultimately, company policies also influence these decisions. Employers should maintain fair and transparent policies regarding absences, disability accommodations, and termination to ensure they comply with legal regulations while protecting the company’s interests.
Steps to Take If You’re Fired After a Workplace Injury
If you’re fired after a workplace injury, taking the right steps can help protect your rights and secure the benefits you deserve. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:
- Seek Medical Treatment – Always prioritize your health. Seek immediate medical treatment, even if the injury seems minor. It’s important to document your injuries and maintain a record of your medical treatments.
- Report the Injury – Notify your employer about the injury as soon as possible. Failing to report in a timely manner can compromise your workers’ compensation claim.
- Document Everything – Keep a detailed record of all conversations, incidents, and treatments related to your injury and employment status; this can serve as important evidence in your claim.
- File a Workers’ Comp Claim – File a workers’ compensation claim to secure benefits for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability if necessary.
- Consult a Houston work injury lawyer – If you’ve been terminated after a workplace injury, it’s critical to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you understand your legal options and if your case qualifies for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Can I Be Fired if I Was Injured at Work? FAQ
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits, like covering medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, to employees who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.
What does a workers’ compensation claim involve?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim typically involves reporting the injury to your employer, seeking immediate medical treatment, completing specific paperwork, and following your medical provider’s treatment plan. Your personal injury attorney can assist with the details and deadlines of this process.
What protections do I have if I’m injured at work?
Texas law provides protections for workers injured on the job. This includes the right to seek medical treatment, to file a personal injury claim if the injury was due to a third party’s negligence, and to be free from retaliation for exercising these rights.
Does my employer have to carry workers comp?
In Texas, unlike most other states, employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. They can choose to opt-out, but they must inform their employees if they do so. However, you may still be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
What if my employer terminates me after I filed a personal injury claim?
It’s illegal for an employer to dismiss you solely for pursuing a personal injury claim related to a workplace injury. If you believe you’ve been unjustly terminated, it’s crucial to get legal assistance promptly.
Personal Injury Lawyer Houston: Protecting Your Rights as an Injured Worker.
Understanding your rights and the intricacies of the workers’ compensation system is critical when navigating the aftermath of a work-related injury. The fear of retaliation or termination should never deter you from filing a workers’ comp claim. It is crucial to remember that in the face of such complex situations, there are laws to protect you.
Retaining legal counsel could prove invaluable. Experienced personal injury attorneys like the team at Abraham Watkins can help you navigate the legal landscape.
If you have been injured at work and fear or face termination, reach out to a legal team for guidance. At Abraham Watkins, we offer a free consultation to help you understand your rights and the best course of action. Remember, the objective of the workers’ compensation system and employment law is to protect your rights as an injured worker. You are not alone in this journey.
Call us today at 713-535-9319.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today.
If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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