If you were seriously injured in an accident at your job, you could be off work for weeks or months while you recover from your injuries. This could cause a huge financial strain on you and your family when you aren’t receiving a paycheck every week and the unpaid medical bills stack up. You may not have been worried that your employer is a non-subscriber employer who opted out of workers’ compensation until you were hurt and realize you cannot make a claim for benefits. However, you still have options to hold your employer responsible for compensating you, and you do not want to make inadvertent mistakes that could hurt your case.
Things NOT to Do in Your Workplace Injury Case
Under Texas law, a non-subscriber employer who was at all negligent—even 10 percent—in causing your workplace accident could be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. You want to start your case out right by not making these common mistakes:
- Failing to report the accident. Even if you do not believe you were hurt or think your injuries were minor, you want to report your workplace accident to your employer right away. If you fail to do so, you could have problems later on convincing your employer that injuries that develop later were really caused by an incident at work.
- Failing to document your accident. You want to document your claim at the accident scene or have another employee do so for you if you are too injured. This includes taking pictures of the scene and your injuries and obtaining contact information for your employer’s insurance company and anyone who witnessed your accident.
- Failing to seek prompt medical care. You want to begin proving your injuries were caused by your accident by seeing a doctor right away. A “minor” back injury can develop into debilitating pain that can prevent you from doing your job or a bump on the head could actually be a traumatic brain injury with life-altering changes to your reasoning, emotions, vision, or hearing. If you did not seek treatment immediately, your employer could argue your injuries were not caused by your accident.
- Not making a claim due to preexisting injuries. If you injured the same area in a prior accident—even not related to work—you could still have a claim for compensation if a workplace accident caused it to become worse.
- Giving a recorded statement. You are not required to give a recorded statement to your employer or his insurance company. Do not agree to this without first consulting with an experienced attorney. You could say something inadvertently that hurts your case and that could be used against you later.
- Signing a blanket medical authorization. You do not want to sign a medical release for your employer that gives them the right to obtain all of your medical records. This would provide them with sensitive, private information about you and allow them to go on a fishing expedition to find information to fight your claim. Don’t sign any documents without first having them reviewed by your attorney.
- Engaging in activities not consistent with your injuries. You should not be performing any duties or activities that are not consistent with how you were injured and the pain you are experiencing. At some point, a private investigator for your employer could spy on you, take pictures of you, or videotape you in an effort to show you are not as injured as you claim.
- Failing to contact an attorney. You need to contact an experienced attorney who understands the laws that apply to non-subscriber workplace accidents and what compensation you are really entitled to in these case. He can investigate your case and negotiate a more favorable settlement than you could obtain on your own.
While it is best not to make these mistakes, it is important to remember that none of them are fatal to your case. If you or a family member was injured in a non-subscriber workplace accident, start an online chat with our experienced legal team to schedule a free consultation.