While most people who are injured at work will recover from their injuries and return to work, others will suffer more serious injuries that cause permanent injuries. The cost of long-term medical care and the loss of wages can be overwhelming for an injured worker and his family to cope with. However, employees who work for non-subscriber employers have a right under Texas law to be compensated for their catastrophic injuries if they can prove that their employer’s negligence caused their injuries.
Common Catastrophic Injuries That Workers Suffer
Catastrophic injuries are ones that cause a worker to suffer permanent injuries that result in significant changes to his day-to-day life and ability to work—if he survives his injuries. While certain professions, such as construction or factory jobs, may be considered more dangerous and likely to cause a catastrophic injury, workers in many industries can suffer a debilitating injury. For example, an office worker who is required to travel for work could become disabled after a car accident or a cashier in a retail setting could suffer a devastating gunshot wound in a robbery. Common injuries that are considered catastrophic include:
- Amputations. A worker could lose a hand, arm, leg, or foot in an incident at work or the body part could be damaged severely enough that it must be later amputated. Even with the advances in prostheses, workers who perform manual labor—such as in construction, factories, or other manufacturing jobs—may no longer be able to remain in these professions and may need extensive job retraining in order to return to work if this is feasible.
- Paralysis. If an employee suffers a spinal cord injury, he could become partially or completely paralyzed. Depending on the extent of the paralysis, he could need modifications to his home and round-the-clock care for his injuries. He could also suffer a number of debilitating secondary medical conditions, such as respiratory illnesses, loss of bladder and bowel control, and chronic pain.
- Brain injuries. Brain injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, can cause a worker to suffer major changes to his reasoning, memory, emotions, mobility, and vision. These changes can be dramatic enough that an employee may no longer be able to work and may need assistance with his basic day-to-day activities.
- Toxic exposure. When a worker is exposed to toxic substances on the job, he can suffer life-threatening occupational illnesses, such as cancer, years or decades after his exposure to the harmful substances.
- Second- or third-degree burns. Workers who suffer second- and third-degree burns can require extensive medical treatments, including surgery, skin grafts, pain medications, and antibiotics to reduce infection. Third-degree burns can also cause nerve damage and difficulty breathing. Workers may need long-term treatments for permanent disfigurement, scarring, and psychological damage from their burns.
- Vision loss. Some workers can suffer partial or complete vision loss when chemicals are splashed in their eyes or small particles of wood, glass, or metal pierce their eyes. In addition, eye damage can be caused by flying metal parts or glass in a job-related motor vehicle crash.
Workers who suffer a catastrophic injury in a workplace incident could be entitled to compensation for their past and future medical expenses, lost and future wages, vocational retraining, pain and suffering, and more. Because the value of these claims can be larger, some employers will fight longer and harder to deny a worker’s claim. However, with the help of an experienced workplace injury attorney who handles non-subscriber employer claims, these workers can receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Did you suffer a catastrophic injury at your job? Learn about your rights to compensation under Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.