Can I File a Claim for Office Worker Injuries?
Austin Workers Comp Lawyer Explains Common Office Injuries and Accidents
An office setting may pose unique dangers to workers, which can cause serious, potentially disabling injuries. Office workers are at risk for trauma from falls and falling objects as well as repetitive stress injuries and occupational diseases. Depending on the circumstances, office injuries can require extensive medical treatment and may keep you from returning to work for some time. Like any work-related injury, office worker injuries should be covered by workers compensation. This means your employer should compensate you for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. However, since certain injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, can take months or years to develop, it can be difficult to get a fair workers comp settlement. This is especially true in Texas, where state workers compensation laws make the claims process extremely complex.
Austin workers comp lawyer Aaron Allison is one of the few attorneys in the state who still represents straight workers compensation claims. If you sustained an injury or developed a harmful condition as an office worker, then Aaron Allison can help. He can guide you through the claims process, whether your employer is insured or is a non-subscriber. Please call us now at (512) 474-8346.
What are the Most Common Office Worker Injuries?
Office injuries can occur after acute trauma or they may develop slowly over time. The following types of injuries are common in an office environment:
- Fall injuries. Workers may suffer acute injuries from slip and fall accidents. The force from a fall may cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or broken bones. Office clutter and wet surfaces can contribute to a fall, as can defective equipment, such as office chairs.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Office workers may develop repetitive stress injuries from performing the same motions for hours each day. For example, workers who spend hours typing at computer desks are at higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Sitting in the same position each day may also cause repetitive stress injuries to the neck, back and legs.
- Lifting injuries. Office workers can suffer musculoskeletal injuries from lifting heavy objects. Carrying a box of paper, electronics equipment, furniture or filing cabinets can harm the back, neck and shoulders.
- Occupational diseases. Many different occupational diseases can arise from exposure to harmful substances, some of which may take years to develop. Allergens may cause workers to develop occupational asthma. Workers exposed to asbestos can succumb to asbestosis or mesothelioma even decades after contact. Additionally, Texas weather is humid and rainy, which may cause toxic mold to accumulate in some offices.
- Blunt force trauma injuries. Falls are not the only cause of blunt force trauma injuries. Office workers can also suffer harm from falling objects. For example, a heavy object may fall from a shelf and strike a worker in the head, causing a traumatic brain injury or lacerations. Poor building construction or maintenance are common causes of these workplace accidents.
Can I File a Workers Comp Claim for an Office Injury?
Unlike some other states, Texas does not require employers to carry workers compensation insurance. An estimated 40 percent of small and large Texas employers are uninsured or “non-subscribers”. This means your employer has opted out of carrying workers comp. Nevertheless, if your employer does not have workers comp, then you may be able to file a nonsubscriber claim.
Additionally, in most circumstances, injured workers cannot sue employers with workers comp coverage. Employers without workers comp coverage do not have this protection. Therefore, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if negligence caused your work injury. You may also file a lawsuit if a negligent third-party (someone other than your employer) caused your injuries.
If you were hurt on the job and your employer does have workers compensation insurance, then a successful claim may cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. Family members of deceased workers might also be able to file for wrongful death benefits. Still, you only have a limited window of time to get the workers comp process started. You must report your work injury or illness to your employer within 30 days. You must also complete the required forms within a certain time frame.
However, whether your employer has workers comp coverage or not, it can be difficult to get a fair recovery for an office worker injury. The other side may try to argue that your condition does not prevent you from performing your work. If you file for a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome, the insurance adjuster or opposing attorney may dispute your pain level and other details. A qualified workers comp lawyer can defend your right to fair compensation in any type of claim.
Hurt at Your Office Job? Contact an Austin Workers Comp Lawyer Today
Filing for workers comp benefits in Texas is not an easy process. There are important deadlines to consider and the possibility of your employer’s insurance carrier disputing your claim. In some cases, workers comp benefits may not cover the full cost of injuries or your employer may not even have workers compensation insurance.
Austin workers compensation lawyer Aaron Allison has the experience and resources to help you look at all available options for benefits. Call (512)474-8346 or contact our law firm online for a free initial consultation.