Can I get reimbursed for my travel expenses to see the doctor?

In addition to your health care that the insurance company has to pay for, they also have to pay for your travel expenses for that health care. If you have to travel out of town to go see a specialist or for surgery and the Insurance company has to pay for your travel expenses. If you live in a remote part of Texas, for instance, and you have to drive two hours to go see the doctor, you don’t have to bear that expense.

You collect your receipt, you make a log of your travel expenses, and the insurance company has to pay for that. That’s one of the services that our office provides, is we make sure that all your travel expenses do get reimbursed anytime you have to travel or incur expenses out of pocket to get medical care.

What is considered a work related injury?

A work-related injury is any injury that occurs in the course and scope of employment. The easy way to describe it is if you are doing something in the furtherance of the affairs of your employer’s business, then you’re engaged in the course and scope of employment. If your boss says, “Hey, why don’t you go across the street and make a deposit at the bank?” and while you’re walking across the street, you slip and fall, that’s in the course and scope of employment. Anything that you’re doing where you’re furthering the affairs of your employer, you’re not doing something for personal business but you’re doing something for work business, that’s in the course and scope of employment. If you get injured doing those things, you need to talk to a lawyer.

How long does workers comp last in Texas?

Workers’ comp in Texas lasts the entire lifetime for the claimant when it pertains to the medical care that the claimant receives. In other words, for your entire life, the workers’ compensation insurance company is supposed to pay for all your medical pay that you need for your injury. It’s different when it comes to the income benefits that you receive. Your income benefits only last up until the time that you return back to work, and then once you return back to work, you get something called an impairment rating, and you get paid three weeks’ pay for every 1% for the impairment, and even that is kept. So most people with workers’ comp claims will get paid their benefits somewhere around one to two year, but then they do get medical care for the rest of their life. But we all know insurance companies want to wrap claims up, and they don’t want to be paying on something for the rest of your life. So the insurance company is going to be doing everything they can to try and get your benefits cut off, which is why you need to see an attorney to make sure that you get the maximum amount of benefits that you are entitled to.

Can a car accident be a workers’ compensation case?

Sometimes in certain situations, when you’re driving to and from work, if you’re involved in a car wreck, that is a workers’ compensation claim. For instance, people who have places of business that are frequently changing, the common example is a plumber or an air conditioner repair man, those types of things. People that drive for work but they’ve got their company truck, they keep it at home, and they just drive from their house, those could be an on the job injury, if you’re involved in a car wreck, driving to and from different customer locations. It’s important that you talk to a worker’s compensation lawyer to look at, investigate what exactly happened, so that that way, if it is a workers’ compensation claim, you can make that claim.

Take a moment to read this investigative journalism piece. Men sent to work at a chicken processing plant for “treatment” rather than go to prison. Chicken processing plants have high incidences of on the job injuries. Program participants that got injured on the job were sent to prison while the owners collected the workers compensation payments. Oh, and the husband and wife got $168,000 a year salaries and the processing company furnished someone to make $250,000 a year as a “consultant.” While this was purportedly a “rehab” program, it is no different from the client stories we hear from workers in meat packing and chicken processing plants across Texas.

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What happens to my workers compensation if I test positive for drugs or alcohol?

Often times, someone gets injured on the job and they’re forced to do a urinalysis or a blood test and it tests positive for some type of an illegal substance. When that happens, their claim is denied. So the question arises, what do I do now? Well, it’s important that you talk to a lawyer if you’ve tested positive for any kind of illegal substance, because just because you’ve tested positive, doesn’t mean that your claim is barred. But what that does is is it shifts the burden of proof on a worker’s comp case so, that the injured worker has to not only prove their claim, but the injured worker also has to prove that they had the normal use of their physical abilities and their mental abilities at the time the injury occurred. There can be some very important things with respect to your case, so it’s very important that you talk to a lawyer if your claim is denied for testing positive for any kind of illegal substance.

What is the difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a non-compensation claim?

Texas is one of the few states where you don’t have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are employers in Texas that don’t have workers’ compensation insurance. it gets confusing because the employer may carry insurance and they may tell their employees that it’s workers’ compensation insurance but it’s what we call an occupational benefit fund. It’s a form of the insurance but it doesn’t have the same protections that workers’ comp has and it’s not regulated by the state of Texas. In those situations, an employer can very well retaliate against an employee. The employer can do anything basically what they want to you. They just can’t fire you for certain federal and protected things such as race discrimination, sex discrimination, those kinds of things but they can go and retaliate against someone if it is a non-Texas workers’ compensation fund. If it’s one of these occupational benefit plan type of situations. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer so the lawyer can look at things and see just what kind of a case is this.

Can I sue my company for causing my injury?

Unfortunately in Texas, if your employer carries workers compensation insurance, your only rights of recovery are through workers comp. That means that you can’t sue your employer for causing your workers’ compensation injury. There are certain times when maybe you can’t sue your employer for causing your workers’ compensation injury, but if someone else somehow did something wrong that caused your injury, you may have a claim against that third party. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer and in particular, it’s good to talk to a workers compensation lawyer who knows both general personal injury law, as well as more specialized workers compensation law. Those cases are going to require someone that knows both of those things and knows how to navigate the law, both for general personal injury, as well as for the workers’ compensation so that you can get the maximum recovery possible. In our offices, I’ve handled both the general personal injury type claims as well as of course, the workers’ compensation claims.

Can the company I work for fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

If you feel threatened by your company because you want to follow workers’ compensation claim, don’t feel threatened. In Texas, it is illegal for a company to retaliate both against an individual who gets hurt on the job, as well as to retaliate against any other person who assists someone who’s been hurt on the job. For instance, if you get hurt on the job and you want to report your claim, absolutely do that. Also, if you need your witness statements, if you need to talk to other people to have them support any aspect of your claim, they don’t need to worry about being fired as well because it is illegal in Texas for a company to retaliate against someone for anything related to a workers compensation claim. It’s very important whenever you get injured on the job, the first thing to do is report the claim. The second thing you need to do is contact a lawyer immediately to get advice on things.

Can I just get a settlement and be done with it?

I get asked all the time, “Can I just take a settlement and just be done with this workers’ comp insurance company?” In Texas, you can’t do that. In Texas, when your employer carries workers compensation insurance, that protects them such that your only rights are through the workers’ compensation system. The Texas Workers Compensation system does not allow for settlements. At the end of your case, you’re going to get an impairment rating. That impairment rating is going to pay you three weeks pay for every 1% of impairment. Now at the end, what you can do is you can say, “I want to accelerate all of my benefits. I want to get my benefits paid in a lump sum.” But I never ever, ever advise clients to do that. Because is you do that, another one of the things that you have to do, is you have to waive all entitlement to future benefits. Why would you waive a lifetime of medical care and also potential future income benefits all for a quick lump sum payment of just a few days or weeks worth of benefits?