Workplace Accident Lawyers in Tyler and Longview
For more than 35 years, the work accident lawyers of Roberts & Roberts have been representing people in Texas and across the nation who have been injured in workplace accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an on-the-job accident, the attorneys and staff at Roberts & Roberts can help.
Roberts & Roberts has established a national reputation for representing clients in significant personal injury matters. The firm has been featured on dozens of television programs, including Fox and Friends, ABC Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business News, CNBC, and NBC’s Dateline. They have also been featured in magazines such as Time and Newsweek.
Roberts & Roberts has a legal team ready to assist you in recovering workers’ compensation benefits and holding any at-fault third parties accountable. We can help you get the medical treatment you need to get better and recover your lost wages. For those who have more serious injuries or may have even lost a loved one as a result of a workplace accident, Roberts & Roberts has a team of experts ready to assist you in recovering workers’ compensation benefits and holding any at-fault third parties accountable.
Contact us now at 903-597-6000 or fill out our online contact form. The call costs you nothing… and it could mean everything. We serve clients in Waco, Beaumont, Lufkin, Texarkana, Tyler and Longview, as well as throughout East Texas and across the state.
Texas Workplace Injury Statistics
Workplace accidents injure thousands of Texans each year and take the lives of hundreds. Injuries can result in expensive medical bills and lost wages due to disability. A fatality can deprive a family of its breadwinner.
If you are injured on the job and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you could be entitled to medical care and disability benefits regardless of who was at fault. If someone other than your employer was to blame for your accident, you may have other rights.
At the East Texas workplace accident law firm of Roberts & Roberts, our job injury attorneys understand that a workplace accident can be a life-changing event, and we are committed to securing all of the benefits you are entitled to.
It’s clear that people who work in certain dangerous jobs are more likely to suffer a serious injury at work, but the truth is that a compensable workplace injury can happen to anyone at any job.
About 3.3 million Americans are injured at work every year, and another 5,000 or so lose their lives due to workplace accidents — including 480 Texans in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company estimates that these incidents result in around $53 billion in workers’ compensation payments each year, or more than $1 billion per week.
Common Types of On-the-Job Injuries
Listed below are some of the more common workplace injuries that could entitle you to Texas workers’ compensation benefits:
- Overexertion, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying and throwing. It is consistently the top cause of workplace injuries.
- Falls are another leading cause of workplace injuries. They accounted for more than 25 percent of all workers’ compensation payments in Liberty Mutual’s 2010 Workplace Safety Index.
- Being struck by an object, which includes injuries caused by objects dropping from above or swinging through the air.
- Psychological problems brought on by exceptionally stressful and unusual workplace events can support a claim for workers’ comp benefits under certain circumstances.
- Bodily reaction injuries happen when someone gets hurt without making contact with anything else. Some examples include injuries caused by bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting or slipping or tripping without falling.
- Auto accidents were one of the top 10 sources of workplace injuries in 2010 and are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Getting caught in or compressed by something, a type of injury that typically happens when a worker gets caught in a piece of equipment or a heavy object crushes someone.
- Striking an object, which occurs when someone accidentally runs into something solid, like a door, wall, furniture or a piece of equipment.
- Violence, while rare, does happen at Texas workplaces from time to time.
Common Types of Oilfield Accidents
Some of the most frequently seen types of oilfield injuries come from:
- Well blowouts;
- Rigs or other equipment collapsing;
- Slip-and-falls on greasy work platforms;
- Explosions and fires;
- Exposure to toxic fumes;
- Falling tools or other objects;
- Falls from heights;
- Defective tools or equipment;
- Drill bits that give off shrapnel;
- Improperly maintained equipment, especially tongs;
- Improper use of an air hoist to lift materials or personnel;
- Inadequate safety training;
- Failure to lock out and tag out equipment under repair;
- Defective or improperly fitted safety harnesses or slings; and
Common Types of Construction Injuries
- Falls: Whether workers are building a two-story home or a downtown high-rise, heights pose a constant threat to most people who work construction. Regulations require companies to take steps to prevent falls from happening and reduce their severity if they do. At any time when workers are exposed to falls of six feet or more, OSHA requires contractors to provide one of the following forms of protection: guardrails; safety nets; or personal fall-arrest systems such as harnesses and lifelines. Fall accidents frequently result when management fails to make sure the required safety devices are properly installed, inspected and maintained.
- Scaffold collapses: Workers rely on scaffolds to allow them to perform tasks on walls, windows and other building components above ground level. According to OSHA figures, scaffold accidents injure about 4,500 American construction workers each year and result in the death of 50 more. Improperly constructed and maintained scaffolds can injure workers due to unsteady footings, inability to bear the load, weak or damaged hardware and loosely connected parts.
- Excavation and trench collapses: In order to prevent workers from being buried alive in a trench or excavation collapse, regulations set strict mandates for companies to prevent catastrophic earthen support failures. Tragically, contractors don’t always follow those rules like they should. The fatality rate for excavation work is more than double the rate for general construction, according to OSHA figures.
- Falling objects: People working in trenches and excavations also face the danger of tools, materials and other objects falling onto them from above. In fact, all workers face these risks whenever other employees are working overhead. One way to prevent materials from falling onto workers is to install toe boards on scaffolds. Contractors all too frequently neglect this safety step. In situations where there is a high risk of objects falling from heights, it could also be advisable for the contractor to set up a net to catch them. Workers should never be allowed to walk under a load that is being lifted by a crane or other type of hoist. Simple housekeeping can also go along way toward preventing injuries from falling objects. If worksites are not free of debris, there is a high likelihood that objects could be knocked onto lower levels, striking workers.
- Unsafe equipment: All construction sites are home to a variety of heavy equipment that can include cranes, trucks, pneumatic tools, jackhammers, welding rigs and more. It is the contractors’ responsibility to inspect and maintain all equipment, including their safeguards. OSHA requires all saws, drills, nail guns and other dangerous tools to be equipped with guards and safeties, and contractors must not permit safety features to be bypassed. OSHA regulations require contractors to retrofit appropriate guards and safety devices to older equipment.
- Insufficient inspection and maintenance: OSHA regulations bar contractors from allowing employees to work in conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to their health or safety. It is the contractor’s duty to make sure a worksite meets OSHA standards and is safe. The defense that workers “consented” to such conditions is not effective. Electrocutions can result from sub-standard maintenance of power tools and failure to properly mark live electric lines. Improperly marked gas lines or failure to monitor the presence of combustible gases can set the stage for deadly explosions or fires. Improper handling of toxic substances like asbestos can also create health hazards for workers.
- Improper training: Contractors have a duty to ensure that workers are properly trained on how to use the equipment on the site, that they understand how to use safety features and that they know how to effectively avoid or minimize workplace injuries. When contractors fail to train their workers, everyone on the jobsite is in danger.
How Do I Claim Texas Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you have been injured on the job and your employer carries workers’ comp insurance, Texas law requires you to notify your employer of your accident within 30 days from the date of the injury or from the time you knew or should have known that your injury or illness was job related.
Within one year after the date of injury, you must complete and file a DWC Form-041 (Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease). If you are seeking death benefits, you must file form DWC Form-042 (Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits) within one year after the employee died.
The deadlines for notice and filing claim forms are very important, and failure to comply with them can result in a denial of benefits. It is advisable to consult with experienced Texas workers’ compensation attorneys like those at Roberts & Roberts to make sure your claim isn’t rejected on a technicality.
What Type of Benefits Are Available Under Texas Workers’ Compensation?
If your claim for benefits is approved, you will be entitled to compensation for “all health care reasonably required by the nature of the injury and as needed,” according to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. You are specifically entitled to health care that “cures or relieves the effects naturally resulting from the compensable injury; promotes recovery; or enhances the ability of the employee to return to or retain employment,” according to the act.
If you are disabled, you could be entitled to disability benefits. The system provides for four types of disability payments:
- Temporary Income Benefits (if your work-related injury or illness causes you to lose some or all of your wages for more than seven days)
- Impairment Income Benefits (if you have a permanent impairment from a work-related injury or illness)
- Supplemental Income Benefits (if you have an impairment rating of 15 percent or more; you haven’t returned to work because of your injury, or you have returned to work but are earning less than 80 percent of your average weekly wage due to your impairment; you have shown an active effort to comply with work search requirements; and you did not take a lump-sum payment)
- Lifetime Income Benefits (if you have total and permanent eyesight loss in both eyes; lose both feet above the ankle; lose both hands at or above the wrist; lose one foot and one hand; have a spinal injury that results in paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg; experience a traumatic brain injury resulting in incurable insanity or imbecility; sustain third-degree burns over 40 percent of your body or third-degree burns covering the majority of either both hands or one hand and the face)
If the workplace injury resulted in death, a surviving spouse, minor children, dependent grandchildren or other dependents might be entitled to death benefits. Workers’ comp will also pay for certain burial expenses.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Handle My On-The-Job Accident Case?
It’s not necessary to hire a lawyer for every workplace accident, but you should always consult with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney if you are injured on the job. At Roberts & Roberts the initial consultation is always free. There is never a charge unless we are successful and obtain compensation for you.
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, you might also be able to recover from a third party (not your employer) if they were negligent in causing your accident. A skilled personal injury attorney like those at Roberts & Roberts can thoroughly analyze your case and find any potential source of recovery to ensure you get full compensation.
Contact Our Texas Work Accident Lawyers Today
There are many things we at Roberts & Roberts can do to help our clients, and the most important thing we can do is listen. We understand that someone who has been injured in an on-the-job accident has lots of questions and concerns.
While we cannot predict the future or guarantee results, we can try and answer your questions and keep you as informed as possible during the recovery process. It is our goal to address each client’s concerns and answer your questions so that you can make informed decisions as we work together to get your life back to where it was before the accident occurred.
Let an experienced workplace accident attorney at Roberts & Roberts help you. Contact us now at 903-597-6000 or contact us online.