Lancaster Work Injury Lawyer
Injured at Work? Call Attorney E. Michael Grossman Today
On a far too regular basis, Lancaster work-related accidents take place that often result in significant injuries or even deaths. And there are many different ways in which these workplace accidents happen.
On-the-job accidents range from slips, trips and falls, to heavy lifting injuries that can result in a great damage done to a victim’s back, to very serious injuries that take place in dangerous workplace environments such as a construction site. While sustaining an injury at your job can lead to a great deal of excruciating pain, this kind of injury can affect more than just your body - it can affect your entire way of life. In the event that a workplace accident leads to an injury, the victim will probably incur significant financial losses, known in legal terms as "damages." These damages can include lost wages due to your inability to return to work as well as the medical expenses you have accumulated and will continue to accumulate. More than likely, you will be entitled to secure some sort of restitution for the injury you have sustained and the damages you have incurred. But if you have no background in the law and how it applies to your claim, or you have never tried to pursue this kind of compensation in the past, you can find it nearly impossible to obtain the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled for the suffering you have had to endure without the help of a Lancaster work injury lawyer. In order to have the best possible chance of securing the restitution that you deserve, it is imperative that you enlist the assistance of a skilled and seasoned attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
The Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices provide this article in an effort to inform you in regard to the basics of work injury law. We will cover the importance of worker’s compensation and how it can have a huge impact on your case, show you some of the formidable opposition that you will encounter in your attempt to obtain restitution, and inform you of what you need to do after suffering an injury on the job.
It is essential that we point out, before going any further with this article, that this article is in no way intended to act as any sort of substitute for the counsel of an actual lawyer who is familiar with the specific circumstances of your case. If you would like to speak with one of our Lancaster work injury lawyers, please call us as soon as possible at 1-855-326-0000 (toll free) for a confidential and free consultation.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, it is essential that you get the medical attention that you need so you can get treatment that will speed your recovery. It is often times just as important, however, that you enlist the assistance of a skilled and seasoned Lancaster work injury lawyer so that you can make sure your rights are protected and you have the best possible chance of securing the restitution you deserve for the suffering you have experienced. The Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices have two decades of experience in representing clients in these kinds of cases, and we have helped many of them obtain the compensation to which they were entitled. And if you are able to recover monetarily, you can turn all of your focus on recovering physically and emotionally from the injury you have sustained.
If Your Employer has Purchased Worker’s Compensation Insurance Coverage
Texas, unlike most other states in this country, does not mandate that businesses carry worker’s compensation insurance. A company that purchases this sort of insurance coverage also purchases immunity from lawsuits filed by injured workers when a workplace accident occurs. When a company purchases worker’s comp coverage, it is referred to in legal terms as a "subscriber." While in the vast majority of instances a subscribing company cannot be sued when a workplace accident involves an injury or death, there is one exception. If an accident results in a fatality to one of its employees, and that company was guilty of gross negligence, then the grieving family members of that employee can file a wrongful death lawsuit against that employer. Most other times, the only way that an injured worker can obtain compensation from his or her employer is through that employer’s worker’s compensation insurance coverage.
In Texas, unfortunately, the worker’s compensation program leans heavily in favor of the employer, and not toward the employee. The Texas Legislature enacted the Worker’s Compensation Act of 1993, and this Act places a limit on the amount of money that an injury victim or family members of a workplace accident fatality can obtain in compensation from a subscribing company. Lost wages for an injured worker, for instance, are only eligible to receive 70 percent of the wages they have lost due to missing time from work due to that injury. Even worse, however, that payment is capped at a mere $600 per week. If you are hurt so severely that you will never be able to return to your job, you may be limited to receiving this relatively paltry sum for the rest of your life. You will receive compensation through a worker’s comp policy for the cost of your medical treatment, prescription and over-the-counter medications, travel costs related to seeking treatment and medical supplies, this compensation will not cover damages you have incurred such as pain and suffering and mental and emotional trauma, among several others.
And the process of trying to secure restitution for a workplace injury through a worker’s comp claim can be maddening. Often times, the red tape associated with this process can be overwhelming, resulting in a laborious, time-consuming and bureaucratic nightmare filled with seeming mountains of paperwork. In addition, you will more than likely encounter an insurance adjuster who will try to use rather weak evidence to try and deny your claim. A worker’s comp policy is, of course, an insurance policy. And insurance companies are not in business to pay injury victims. Therefore, the insurance carrier involved in your worker’s comp claim could very well contest your case and do whatever it can to make sure your claim is either completely denied or substantially reduced. In many instances, this contesting of a claim can lead to the case being argued in a special worker’s compensation court. If you are unable to justify the amount of your damages (known in legal terms as "proving up" your damages), then you will more than likely end up with scant restitution for the suffering you have experienced. At Grossman Law Offices, we can help prove your damages in worker’s comp court so that you can obtain the most compensation possible.
Other Options You may have if Your Employer is a Worker’s Comp Subscriber
Obviously, the amount of compensation that can be sought through a worker’s comp claim in Texas is very, very limited. However, there may be other options at your disposal that you can pursue in order to make up for the many shortcomings of restitution available through a worker’s compensation policy. If you are able to successfully pursue these options, then you will have a much better chance of obtaining the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled for the suffering you have been forced to endure.
As stated previously, the law allows an exception in regard to pursuing legal action against a company that subscribes to worker’s compensation in Texas. Depending on the specifics of the accident, this exception may be applicable to your case. If you have suffered the tragic loss of a beloved family member due to a workplace accident, and the victim’s employer committed gross negligence that caused the accident, then you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against that employer. Even if that employer is a worker’s comp subscriber, you can still sue it in this sort of instance. You will, through a wrongful death lawsuit, be able to seek the damages mentioned previously as well as other damages, referred to as survival damages, that you can seek on behalf of your deceased family member. It takes an exceedingly high standard of proof, however, to establish gross negligence. You will not only have to show that the employer was fully aware that its safety measures were so lax that a fatal accident could easily take place, you must also prove that the employer did nothing to try and reduce the chances that sort of accident would take place. In order to have the best possible chance of meeting that standard, you will need the help of a seasoned and skilled Lancaster work injury lawyer such as those found at Grossman Law Offices.
But if you have been injured on the job, or you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident caused by the subscribing employer’s "standard" negligence (in other words, regular carelessness), then you will have to seek other ways of securing the equitable restitution that you deserve. In several instances, many different parties play a role in causing a workplace accident. There could be many liable parties involved in the accident that resulted in your injury, such as the manufacturer of a faulty safety device, a negligent co-worker or some other outside entity. You can take action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit against all of the parties responsible for the accident. If you suffered the tragic loss of a beloved family member, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against all of the responsible parties. Basically, even if you cannot sue a subscribing employer, you can take action against other liable parties that contributed to the accident through their negligence. At Grossman Law Offices, our Lancaster work injury lawyers conduct in an investigation into nearly every workplace accident case that we accept. We do this not only to accurately determine all of the potential defendants in your case, but also to gather the evidence that you will need in order to prove that case. If we find that there, indeed, were several different parties that played a role in the accident, we will pursue the appropriate legal action against each and every one of them. As a result, you will have the best possible chance of obtaining the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled for the suffering you have been forced to endure.
If the Employer is a Worker’s Compensation Insurance Nonsubscriber
Just as a company that chooses to purchase worker’s comp insurance coverage is known in legal terms as a "subscriber," a company that chooses not to purchase that insurance coverage is known as a "nonsubscriber." The law in regard to worker’s compensation in Texas is written in a manner that rewards subscribers by making them immune to nearly all kinds of legal action. On the other hand, that law severely punishes those companies that choose not to subscribe by making them susceptible to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits not matter what degree of negligence they commit that results in an accident. And to make things even tougher on a nonsubscriber, there is no limit to the amount of restitution that a plaintiff can seek in one of these kinds of cases, as long as the amount is justifiable when compared to the financial losses they have sustained. When you take action against a non-subscribing company in the form of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff does not have to deal with all of the crushing red tape that is a part of the worker’s compensation claims process.
Without the help of an experienced Lancaster work injury lawyer working on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected, however, taking legal action against a non-subscribing employer can be extremely difficult - and nearly impossible. Just as in a case with a worker’s comp subscriber, you will have to deal with an insurance company (A nonsubscriber might not have worker’s comp coverage but it does have some sort of insurance coverage). In this kind of case, there could be a vast sum of money on the line so that insurance provider will fight extremely aggressively to defend its policy. And as in every piece of personal injury or wrongful death litigation, a great deal of proof is needed in order to have any chance of winning. The court does not want to merely be told how to decide a case - it wants to see, hear and touch hard proof. In order to provide that proof, you must have the evidence gathered by a prompt and thorough investigation into the accident. That way, you can have the strongest case built on your behalf through hard evidence gathered at the accident site. The Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices have represented clients in these kinds of cases for the last two decades. As a result, we have the extensive experience you will need to have the best possible chance of securing the restitution that you have coming for the suffering you have experienced.
Insurance companies have two potent weapons in their arsenal, and they will use them to their fullest extent in order to see to it that your claim is either completely denied or slashed substantially. One of these weapons is an extremely skilled and very aggressive insurance adjuster. This adjuster has built a very handsome living by denying claims nearly exactly like yours. He or she will use very tactics in order to move the blame away from the defendant and onto the plaintiff, or any of the other potentially liable parties that may have played a role in causing the accident that led to your injury or loss. You will need to have a similarly effective professional on your side such as a Lancaster work injury lawyer with Grossman Law Offices.
The other weapon in the insurance company’s arsenal will be a very aggressive, effective and specialized team of defense lawyers. These lawyers have but one defense strategy that they can use when defending a nonsubscriber, and that is sole proximate cause. This means that the defense in your case will try to make it look like you or your lost loved one was solely to blame for the accident that took place. If successful in this tactic, the defense lawyer will have helped his or her client escape liability for the accident that resulted in your injury or loss. You may view this as sort of a "Hail Mary" tactic used only out of desperation. The fact is, however, that it is very likely that the defense lawyer in your case specializes in defending nonsubscriber clients. What seems like a desperate ploy to you is a way of life for that attorney - he or she has used it with success in the past, and if you do not have hard evidence on your side, that lawyer could defeat you as well. Unfortunately, this type of defense strategy comes at a cost to a plaintiff - this kind of case can get very personal, and very ugly, in a very short period of time. The reason is that, in order to have any reasonable chance of succeeding with the sole proximate cause strategy, the defense will basically have to paint you or your lost loved one as an incompetent employee. The defense will work to prove that you or your deceased family member was so inept, it was just a matter of time before that worker would cause a catastrophic accident. This is hard enough to stomach for someone who has been injured in a workplace mishap; it can be even worse for the family members of a lost loved one who is unable to speak on his or her own behalf. As with all matters pertaining to personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff will have to have hard evidence to defeat the defendant. In order to destroy the defense lawyer’s effort to soil your reputation or besmirch the memory of your departed family member, you will have to have proof. The Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices have two decades of experience in these kinds of cases, so we know how to gather the evidence you will need to destroy these malicious attacks and to make sure you obtain the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled for the suffering you have been forced to endure.
Some Companies Claim to be Worker’s Comp Subscribers when they are Not
Hopefully by this point in the article you have a crystal-clear picture of why the distinction between a worker’s comp subscriber and a nonsubscriber is so critically important for any kind of case stemming from a workplace accident. It should then be fairly obvious that some companies will pretend to be a worker’s comp subscriber when, in reality, they are not. They do so, of course, to try and dupe an injured worker into thinking the employer cannot be sued. Some companies do such a good job of concealing their true worker’s comp status that even their own supervisors and managers do not know the truth. Of course, these managers and supervisors could actually be in cahoots with the top executives and knowingly plead ignorance in order to help their company avoid legal action. There are other companies that will go so far as to pay accident injury victims out of their coffers in order to perpetuate the ruse and make it look like they are a subscriber. When they do so, however, they are providing compensation that is far less than what they would face if they lost a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Unless you have a skilled and seasoned Lancaster work injury lawyer working on your behalf to protect your rights, discovering the employer’s true worker’s compensation status can prove nearly impossible. It is definitely neither a straightforward nor simple process, since many companies themselves have a vested interest in clouding the picture in regard to their worker’s comp status. This is why it is imperative that you have the help of the experienced Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices in order so that you can uncover the truth in regard to whether or not a company is a worker’s compensation insurance subscriber. Until you can determine that true status, you will not know the next steps to take in order to attempt to secure restitution for the suffering you have experienced.
If the Company Calls You a Contractor
Another complication that can make it difficult for a workplace accident injury victim to obtain compensation is when the employer labels that worker as a contractor as an employee. Since, in Texas, contractors are responsible for their own safety while at a job site, many companies will hire nothing but contractors. This practice is especially prevalent in the construction industry. If a contractor is injured or killed on the job, that person or the person’s family will not be able to secure restitution through either a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against that company. But just because a company may call you a contractor, that does not mean you will be viewed the same way through the eyes of the law in Texas. If you can prove that an employer/employee relationship existed at the time of your accident, then, regardless of the terminology that was used by the company to classify your work status, you may still be able to hold that company responsible for its negligence. The State of Texas paints the employer/employee relationship with a broad brush; if you are able to prove that any of the following conditions apply to your case, then there is a very good chance that the court will view you as an employee:
- Taxes or social security were withheld from your paycheck by the employer.
- You signed a document that stated you read and understood an employee handbook, or you submitted to a company-mandated drug test.
- Your work schedule was determined by the employer.
- The employer provided the materials and tools you needed to perform your job.
- Your work was supervised, inspected or directed by the employer on an ongoing basis, and not just after the job was complete.
- You were not hired for a specific task, but rather you were hired for an undetermined period of time.
- You were not paid by the job, but by the hour.
At Grossman Law Offices, our Lancaster work injury lawyers have assisted many injured workers and grieving families in seeking restitution from negligent employers. We have been able to do so even though many of these workers were labeled contractors, because we were able to prove that an employer/employee relationship was in existence at the time of the workplace accident.
Why OSHA Cannot Help You
In many accidents that lead to severe injuries and/or fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, will conduct an investigation into those accidents. The agency serves the very important purpose of trying to make workplaces safer across the United States. However, the agency is not an advocate for injured or killed workers. The reports generated by OSHA can take weeks and weeks to complete, and they are typically very general in nature. Many people think that when OSHA gets involved in a case that means their case has merit, but the agency’s involvement is really of no help. The only way that all of the potentially liable parties responsible for an accident can be identified, and the only way you can gather the proof you need to prove your case, is by having a prompt and thorough investigation conducted in to that accident. The Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices have two decades worth of experience in conducting these kinds of accidents and we have the experience necessary to help you secure equitable restitution from all the potentially liable parties in your case.
What Needs to be Done after a Workplace Accident
If you have been involved in a workplace accident and sustained an injury as a result, the first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you get the medical attention that you need. If you feel that you cannot afford the lost wages from time missed from work to get that attention, or you are uninsured or underinsured, we may be able to help. We work with several medical professionals throughout the Metroplex and the state of Texas, so we can get you in touch with a doctor who can give you the help you need at no out-of-pocket expense. And we can also show you how the defendant in your case could provide you compensation for not only your medical expenses, but also any lost wages you incur to get medical help. Getting the medical help you need is not only important from the perspective of your health, of course, but to the health of your case as well. In Texas, a plaintiff in a personal injury case is required to seek medical help in a timely manner. Failure to do so can lead to you being eligible for compensation for only the original injury. If you do not get that help, and you suffer complications, you will be responsible for all of the medical expenses associated with those complications.
In addition, it is critically important that you do not have any sort of communication with an insurance company representative if you have not yet hired a lawyer. And please, whatever you do, never agree to any sort of settlement offered by an insurer. The carrier’s insurance adjuster will obviously know you do not have legal representation. As a result, any offer you receive will be a serious attempt at a low-ball - that offer will not come anywhere close to providing you adequate compensation for the accident-related expenses that you have incurred, and will continue to incur. When that money runs out, then and only then will you realize the enormity of the mistake you have made. If you accept a settlement offer you will be signing a legally binding document. You will be forfeiting your rights to ever sue the defendant for more money in the future. And what’s worse, there will be nothing that any attorney will be able to do to help. Please do not fall prey to the same tactics we have seen victimize so many in the past; do not ever agree to any sort of settlement offer without first having an experienced Lancaster work injury lawyer look that offer over first to make sure it is fair.
It is imperative that you enlist the assistance of the skilled and seasoned Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices as soon as possible after a workplace accident. This will give you the best possible chance of obtaining the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled because you will be able to have a thorough investigation launched into the accident. This will help you determine all of the potential defendants in your case and will also provide the evidence you need to prove that case. A timely investigation on your behalf is needed because the defendant may tamper with evidence or destroy it. Also, physical changes to the accident scene can quickly alter evidence as well. Your best chance of not only protecting your rights but also to have the strongest possible case is by hiring an experienced attorney as quickly as possible.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, please to not hesitate to call the Lancaster work injury lawyers with Grossman Law Offices at 1-855-326-0000 (toll free) for a confidential and free consultation in regard to the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. We will give you an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and let you know how we may be of assistance. If you have any questions whatsoever about anything you have read in this article, work injury law in general or your case in particular, we are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer them.