Accidents at Work and Work-Related Injuries
Some of the most common workplace accidents in Texas and New Mexico include:
- Slip and Fall
- Falls from Heights
- Struck by Objects
- Pinned by/Between Objects
- Vehicle and Transportation Accidents
- Heavy Equipment Accidents
- Plant Explosions and Fires
- Electric Shocks and Electrocutions
- Exposure to Hazardous Materials
- Workplace Violence
Types of Injuries
Incidents at work can lead to a wide range of moderate, serious, and catastrophic injuries:
- Broken Bones
- Dislocated joints
- Traumatic brain injury
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory injuries
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Internal organ damage
- Repetitive strain injury
- Fire, electrical, or chemical burns
Common Work Injury Questions
- Am I required to report a work injury? You should report a work-related injury or medical diagnosis to your employer. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury. If you fail to report the injury, you can lose the right to workers’ comp benefits. The delay or failure to report also can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or a third party.
- I was injured at work, can I sue? Whether or not you can sue for an injury at work depends on who was at fault and whether you have workers’ comp coverage. If your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance and your injuries are covered, then you cannot sue your employer. If you are not covered by workers’ comp, the law may entitle you to sue your employer for negligence. If a party from outside of your work caused you harm, the law might entitle you to file a third-party liability lawsuit whether or not you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- Can I sue my employer for negligence? If you are covered by workers’ compensation coverage, then no, you cannot sue your employer. Workers’ comp insurance limits your employer’s liability. However, there are exceptions for when your employer was grossly negligent or acted intentionally to harm you. When you are not covered by workers’ compensation, and your employer or a coworker is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to sue for negligence.
- How long do I have to sue for a work-related accident? Texas gives you two years to file a personal injury claim while New Mexico gives you three years. These statutes of limitations apply to personal injury lawsuits. They are not deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims or appealing a denied claim. Talk with an attorney about your state’s workers’ compensation deadlines.
Fatal Workplace Accidents
Far too many work-related accidents result in death in New Mexico and Texas. Workers’ compensation insurance does provide surviving spouses, children, or parents with funeral and burial benefits. However, you may also be entitled to compensation for your family’s lost income.
Depending on the situation, surviving family members may also seek compensation in wrongful death lawsuits against employers and other negligent third parties. Examples include when your loved one was not covered by workers’ compensation insurance or if someone from outside of their work caused their death.
It is critical to know your rights, options, and how the law applies in your case. Texas and New Mexico’s wrongful death laws differ significantly. Who is entitled to file, the damages available, who can receive compensation, and how compensation is divided are all handled differently in each state. That’s why we highly recommend you speak with an attorney before pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Work Injury Compensation
When you are entitled to file a work injury lawsuit against a third party, we are here to demand you receive full and fair compensation, including:
- Medical Expenses: You can receive compensation for your past and future medical care. This includes the cost of traveling to and from doctor’s appointments, in-home care, at-home medical supplies, prescription drugs, physical rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and more.
- Out of Pocket Expenses: An unexpected injury at work can lead to a wide range of expenses that you otherwise would not have incurred, including additional education or job training. We will fight for you to be reimbursed for all of your injury-related out of pocket expenses.
- Lost Income: You can demand compensation for the wages you lost while recovering from your compensation. If you are able to return to work, but your income is lower due to a partial disability and limited physical capabilities, we will fight for you to receive your future lost wages, as well.
- Pain and Suffering: You deserve to be compensated for your past and future physical pain and suffering.
- Mental Anguish: Not all of the discomfort and suffering you experience are physical. We demand compensation for your anger, frustration, grief, depression, and anxiety, and the other emotional and psychological ramifications of suffering an injury at work.
- Disfigurement and Scarring: If a work-related injury caused significant scarring or disfigured your outward appearance, you can demand additional compensation.
- Disability/Physical Limitations: If a work accident caused you to suffer a permanent physical disability, whether or not you can return to work, you could demand compensation for your lost capabilities.
- Reduced Earning Capacity: Suffering a permanent full or partial disability can harm your future earning potential. We demand compensation for the difference between your pre- and post-injury earning capacity.
- Reduced Quality of Life: Sustaining a disability or disfigurement can permanently alter your life and future. You may not longer be able to enjoy the career or hobbies you loved. You may not be able to participate with your friends and family before. You may have trouble dating. All of this contributes to the value of your non-economic damages.
- Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium is an injury your spouse or parents suffer because of you getting hurt at work. These damages encompass the harm done to the relationship between spouses or parents and children.
Proving Your Work Injury Damages
To obtain compensation through a personal injury or third-party lawsuit, you have to prove your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
Economic injuries, such as expenses and lost wages, can be calculated and established with documentation. We will gather and utilize your pay stubs, tax returns, medical bills, other bills, and receipts. If you have future lost wages and future medical expenses, we will hire or more experts to calculate these economic damages and prove them to an insurer or jury.
Determining the value of and proving non-economic damages can be more difficult. To prove the severity of your injuries, physical pain, and emotional suffering, we will use your medical records, medical expert testimony, photos of your injuries, your own testimony, and journal entries. We may ask you to take photos of your physical injuries daily while you recover and write brief journal entries every day regarding your experience.
Work Injury Negligence in a Third-Party Claim
When someone from outside of your employer caused you harm at work, a third-party liability lawsuit can establish that this party was negligent, reckless, or malicious. Therefore, you should be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Negligence is a breach of a duty of care, which causes another person harm. To obtain compensation, you must establish four elements:
- Duty: The other party, whether it was a property owner, manufacturer, other company, or private individual owed you a duty of care. Most people and businesses owe others the duty of reasonable care.
- Breach: The other party failed to uphold that duty of care.
- Causation: The other party’s breach of their duty directly led to a workplace accident, and the accident was a foreseeable risk of the other party’s conduct.
- Damages: You suffered an injury for which you can be compensated.
Workplace Injury Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a deadline for how long you have to file a lawsuit. It differs by state and by the type of cause of action. The clock begins to run the day you suffered an injury in a work accident.
The personal injury statute of limitations is two years in Texas and three years in New Mexico.
Workplace Injury Claims
Depending on facts involved and the state where you are filing, there are various factors to consider when pursuing a work injury claim. Without proper guidance, you may not follow the appropriate procedures or miss important deadlines, which will waste your time and efforts.
Generally, the work injury claims process involves:
- Investigating the cause of the workplace accident
- Determining fault and liability for your workplace injury.
- Analyzing your workers’ compensation coverage.
- Guiding you through a workers’ compensation claim, if applicable.
- Filing a lawsuit against your employer or a third party, if applicable.
- Negotiating a work injury compensation settlement with the employer or third party’s insurer.
- Resolving your case with a settlement or preparing for trial.
Work Injury Lawsuits and Trial Preparation
If you have the right to file a work injury lawsuit, we often recommend that you do. Workers’ compensation insurance is an important protection for workers. It ensures your medical expenses are covered, and that you receive a portion of your lost wages. But it can never make up for everything. More compensation is available through a personal injury or third-party liability lawsuit.
Once we file a lawsuit against your employer or another third party, we will serve the defendant(s) with notice. This gives them to chance to respond to our complaint. Once we receive their response, we will amend our complaint if necessary.
The next step is to go through discovery. During this phase of litigation, we use various legal tools to gather additional evidence. Those tools include interrogatories, which are questions the other party must answer, depositions, and requests for documents.
We will take this time to hire any experts we believe will help us establish negligence occurred and prove your damages.
We also will prepare any witnesses to the accident and your recovery for trial. We will make sure you are prepared to answer our questions and the defendants’ attorneys’ likely questions.
Once discovery is complete, we will have a thorough understanding of your case. We and the defendants will know each party’s strengths and weaknesses and a probable outcome to trial. That is why we typically enter into settlement negotiations after trial. We are aggressive in pursuing the maximum compensation possible for you and your family.
If a settlement is unavailable, we prepare to go to trial.