In the state of Texas, many employees are covered under workers’ compensation. If your employer has purchased workers’ compensation insurance, you can make a benefits claim after any on-the-job injury. In order to make a claim and have medical bills covered and income loss benefits paid, you need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the time that you get hurt. If your claim is based on repetitive stress or a workplace illness, you need to alert your employer to the health problems within 30 days of becoming aware that you are sick or hurt.
If you don’t report a Texas work injury, you could lose your right to make a workers’ compensation claim. This is a big problem since you cannot sue your employer in most cases. Workers’ compensation could be the only option you have to get your bills and losses covered. Waiting to report your injury could leave you with no compensation at all. An experienced Texas workers’ compensation lawyer at Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. can help you to alert your employer to the fact you got hurt and can assist you throughout your workers’ compensation claim in meeting all deadlines.
What Happens if You Don’t Report a Texas Work Injury?
If you don’t report a Texas work injury within 30 days, the workers’ compensation insurer generally has the right to deny your benefits claim. Neither the employer nor insurer will end up being responsible for covering any of your costs or for paying disability benefits if more than 30 days pass without a report of the injury.
According to the Texas Labor Code sections addressing workers’ compensation procedures, failure to report will result in a denial of benefits unless:
- The employer, the insurer or anyone eligible to receive notice of a work injury has actual knowledge that the injury happened.
- The Division of Workers’ Compensation determines that “good cause” exists for the injured employee’s failure to report the injury in a timely manner.
- The employer or the workers’ compensation insurer does not contest the claim and agrees to provide benefits even though the injured worker did not meet the deadline.
It can be difficult to show that you had a good reason for a delay in reporting an illness or injury. If you want to try to argue for coverage even when you have missed the deadline, you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you to make a compelling and persuasive case.
Unfortunately, even if you are denied workers’ compensation benefits, you typically will not be able to sue your employer. This is because workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy system that shields your employer from liability as long as the company has opted in and purchased insurance. Losing out on the ability to make a workers’ compensation claim thus means your employer has no responsibility to you.
You could, however, try to sue a third party who played a role in harming you, even if you cannot make a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you were hurt using a machine at work, you could sue the machine manufacturer if there was a defect. Suing a non-employer could make it possible to receive compensation even if the time has passed for you to make a workers’ compensation claim and you can no longer collect benefits from an employer.
A Texas workers’ compensation lawyer at Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. will help you to decide if there are any third-party defendants after a work injury. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.