Austin Injury Attorneys Explain Why You Need a Lawyer After an On-the-Job Accident
Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance system that covers employees’ lost income and provides medical benefits if they are injured or become ill in the course of their work.
In Texas, private employers can decide whether or not to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. In most cases, an employer is required to announce whether they provide coverage or not. Texas is currently the only state in the Union where participation in the workers’ compensation system is voluntary.
New Rules from the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation
The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation has recently adopted new rules giving its commissioner increased authority over cases heard by the state Office of Administrative Hearings, which handles workers’ comp disputes regarding medical care and provider reimbursement. The new rules went into effect in August of this year, as part of House Bill 2605 from back in 2011, which refined the benefit dispute resolution process.
The new rules grant the Division of Workers’ Compensation the authority to make a final decision on any dispute heard by the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings. It also will allow cases to be heard by the workers’ comp division, rather than the administrative hearing office, regarding any independent medical reviews.
The Texas Legislature is apparently planning to address workers’ comp in the upcoming session. In the meantime, there is an interim review underway to deal with issues like hearing procedures and voluntary participation, as well as the possible misclassification of workers—for instance, calling an employee a “subcontractor,” which allows companies to avoid paying taxes, not to mention much-needed health benefits.
Making workers’ compensation coverage mandatory in Texas would be a giant step forward, particularly in hazardous industries like construction. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance (including Home Depot, Lowe’s, HEB and other large corporation), you need a lawyer if you are hurt at work to pursue your claim for compensation in court. In some cases, employees can recover more money from companies in court than they would through the workers’ comp system.
I Was Injured at Work and I Need a Texas Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured at work, it is important to note that workers’ compensation is not the same as general personal injury law. Lawyers who only practice one type of law are frequently not knowledgeable enough to handle the complexities of the other. Attorneys that handle both will help you feel confident that all your options have been explored and no stone has gone unturned in your case. For more than 30 years, our personal injury law firm has helped employees in all industries seek compensation through workers comp, personal injury and third party claims. Contact our office for a consultation about your situation.