Anyone who suffers an injury on the job should be prepared to hire a workers comp attorney, because the regulations surrounding this form of insurance are extremely difficult to understand for average person. This lack of knowledge is often used against the victim following an accident, as a corporation using unsavory tactics can save a lot of money by denying a claim or trying to dodge responsibility. This is further compounded by state laws in Texas that add an additional layer of complexity onto the pile.
A workers comp attorney is typically not needed when the injury is slight or temporary, and the company has agreed to compensate the employee for medical costs. This is often open and shut enough to handle without the aid of a professional, but these cases represent a small cross-section of what may happen following an incident. If sustained injuries are severe, or cause permanent debilitation, then a professional may be needed to protect the victim’s rights. If the cause of the accident is unclear, or if corporate negligence may be the reason for the injury, then a lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible. Finally, if the business is a non-subscriber of this insurance, then the victim needs to act as if the company will attempt to avoid responsibility. In other words, a workers comp attorney is a safeguard when there is a lot of uncertainty about what to do next.
The problem with going it alone is that there are many ways for a big business to avoid or delay culpability, and these tactics have been honed for decades. In risky industries, it’s not uncommon for a company to get its employees to sign away benefits following an accident. In these cases, the business strikes when its workers are emotionally vulnerable and more likely to give up their rights. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion, multiple news reports stated that this is exactly what the responsible parties tried to get their employees to do. If an employer attempts to push a form and demands a signature in the aftermath of an accident, do not sign it and seek proper legal representation instead.
In Texas, an injured employee has additional reasons to get a workers comp attorney. Because of a state law codified in 1913, businesses have the right to not subscribe to this kind of insurance. For these non-subscribers, common law is used to determine liability instead. This is a double-edged sword for the victim, though it is dangerous for those that don’t have a lawyer for representation. A common law suit can win additional restitution for the victim, and may return benefits that a workers comp claim cannot, and the employer also loses some options for defending itself, but the victim will have a hard time wading through these issues without a legal ally. In addition, many recent laws passed in Texas have made it more and more difficult to fight non-subscribers, and it is more difficult than ever to prove culpability and the extent of injuries suffered. A workers comp attorney that knows the system will have all of the weapons needed to protect the victim and help them get the recompense they rightfully deserve.