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Will Having Surgery Increase My Texas Workers’ Comp Settlement?

How does surgery increase my workers’ comp settlement? While it is important to remember that each case is unique, generally, if your injury requires surgical repair, you can expect an increase in the value of your workers’ comp settlement. Any surgical procedure is a significant undertaking with both risks and benefits. You should never rush to surgery and should always consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before proceeding. At Grossman Law Offices, our number one priority is to help people, even if that means not signing them as clients. We always offer complimentary consultations; sometimes, that is all you need, while other times, you may need an attorney to fight for you in court. Either way, we are here to help. 

Factors Considered in Texas Workers’ Comp Settlements 

Surgery is only one factor in workers’ comp settlements. Many other factors come into play when negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement:

  • The type and extent of the injury,
  • Time lost from work,
  • Lost income,
  • The degree of any potential temporary or permanent disability,
  • Past and future medical costs, and
  • Loss of quality and enjoyment of life.

While many considerations impact a settlement’s value, surgery stands out as one of the most weighty. To better understand what your workers’ comp settlement may look like, contact the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices. 

Why Does Surgery Increase Workers’ My Comp Settlement?

Surgery generally increases the value of your workers’ comp case twofold. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for the medical expenses of injured workers. Undergoing surgery, undoubtedly, adds to your overall medical costs. Almost any surgical procedure will increase the general economic damages you may be entitled to receive. Not only are your medical costs likely to be higher, but you most certainly will require an extended leave from work resulting in significant lost wages. In addition, surgery often leads to an increase in non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, due to the prolonged physical and emotional recovery from surgery.

For example, a compound fracture in your femur requiring pins and rods is much more severe than a sprained ankle requiring only a removable boot. Being unable to work, exercise, participate in social activities, or help with household chores because you need surgery due to a fracture can also lead to emotional pain and suffering. 

What About Having Multiple Surgeries?

Multiple surgeries can increase the likelihood of a larger settlement for the same reasons just one surgery does. The cost of the procedure, rehabilitation, and prescriptions necessary for the surgery will surely add to your overall medical expenses. Secondly, undergoing more than one surgical procedure can affect a person’s emotional well-being, potentially adding to their pain and suffering damages. But multiple surgeries do not automatically guarantee an increase in your settlement. Often, the insurance carrier will factor in the need for potential treatment, including future surgeries, when determining a case’s value.

What If My Texas Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

In most states, employers must carry or subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance. However, Texas is one of the few states that makes subscribing to workers comp insurance optional. If you are hurt at work, determining whether your employer has workers’ comp insurance is one of the first steps you should take. Whether they are a subscriber will determine the course of action you will need to take. 

If your employer subscribes to workers comp coverage, you must file a workers’ comp claim and cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury. On the other hand, if they are a non-subscriber, you may sue for negligence in civil court. Whether proceeding with a workers’ comp claim or filing a civil lawsuit, the necessity of having surgery will likely lead to a larger settlement than for injuries that do not require surgery. 

Proving Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If your employer is a non-subscriber, you still have recourse. You may have the option of filing a civil lawsuit for damages. Proving damages in a civil suit will consist of much of the same evidence as in a workers’ comp claim. Unlike a workers’ comp claim, you must also show that your employer was negligent in a lawsuit. But navigating the Texas court system can be more complex than dealing with workers’ comp claims. 

You will need evidence if you are to receive the maximum compensation you may be entitled to after a work injury. This evidence includes: 

  • Medical bills (e.g., hospital, doctor, and medication expenses),
  • Medical records,
  • Incident report,
  • Witness statements,
  • Photos and videos of the scene and damages, and
  • Expert testimony.

Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney can help you better gauge the strength of your case.

Defenses Not Available to Non-Subscriber Employer

How does a work injury claim in civil court differ from a run-of-the-mill personal injury claim? While it generally proceeds similarly, some defenses that may ordinarily be available in a personal injury lawsuit are not available to a non-subscriber employer. For instance, the non-subscribing employer cannot seek a dismissal of your case or a reduction in your judgment because:

  • You were partially at fault (i.e., contributory negligence),
  • You assumed the risk of injury, or
  • Another employee’s actions or negligence caused the accident and injury.

The best way to determine how to proceed is to speak with a qualified and knowledgeable Texas attorney. 

Texas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Grossman Law Offices, we have over 30 years of experience handling thousands of cases for those facing unfortunate injuries. We understand that suffering a work injury can be devastating and fill you with dread and worry. We are here to assist you through this challenging time and provide the support and advocacy necessary to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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