Odessa Work Injury Lawyers
A serious work injury can leave you with expensive medical bills and unable to return to your job immediately. This can cause severe financial hardships for you and your family.
Getting your medical bills paid and getting back to work are two very hard things to do, and in most cases, the employer seems to have all the control. If you find yourself facing this difficult situation, contact the experienced Odessa work injury lawyers of Ketterman Rowland & Westlund today.
Our lawyers can provide a free consultation where we can discuss the details of your case and explain your options for recovering the compensation you need to move forward after a workplace injury.
Common Types of Workplace Accidents and Injuries in Odessa
Odessa is a largely blue-collar community with several growing industries. Oil and gas are always among the most in-demand career fields in the region, but economic development in Odessa also includes a growing medical sector, as well as manufacturing and high-tech sectors.
Given the high number of jobs in the energy field, as well as oilfield jobs, common injuries include:
- Explosion-related injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Fall-related injuries
- Knee and ankle injuries
- Back and spine injuries
- Head traumas
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Disc injuries
Keep in mind that if you lose a loved one in a work-related injury, you may still be entitled to compensation. But you need to speak with a knowledgeable workplace injury attorney right away to make sure you meet all of the necessary deadlines and notice periods to claim your rightful benefits.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
Many people don’t really understand workers’ compensation and how it works. You may be wondering, “If I’m injured at work, can I sue?” Well, it’s a bit complicated. It really depends on whether your employer opted to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Texas is unique in that unlike many states, Texas does not mandate that all employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, Texas leaves this up to the employer.
Of course, there are some serious trade-offs. As most work injury lawyers in Odessa will tell you, workers’ compensation insurance is there for the benefit of the employer just as much as it is for the worker. After all, if you get hurt and your employer does not have coverage, then you can bring a civil lawsuit. When the employer carries workers’ comp insurance, you are typically limited to filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Work Injury?
So, you may be wondering, “How long do I have to sue for work-related injuries?” Again, the answer isn’t as simple as it may sound. Texas actually has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for workers’ compensation in the country. Some states give a worker up to three years to bring a claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations is just one year from the date of the injury.
But there’s more to it than that. There are also notice periods that must be met:
- File Initial Injury Report. You get just 30 days to file your injury report, notifying your employer.
- Appeal Impairment Rating. You then get only 90 days to appeal an impairment rating, should you wish to do so.
- Formal Statute of Limitations. Finally, assuming you’ve met the other deadlines, you’ll have one year to file the formal claim for benefits.
There are situations when the time limits may vary, such as when the injury or condition is not readily apparent or where it is a medical condition that was not revealed until well after some specific environmental risk or exposure, such as in cases involving asbestos disease. In these cases, special rules apply.
What Texas Workers’ Compensation Does and Does Not Cover
Unlike a traditional lawsuit, where you may be able to claim a number of losses, in a workers’ compensation case you are able to seek three specific types of benefits:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Death benefits
You cannot receive payment for damages like emotional distress and pain and suffering in a workers’ comp case. However, if your employer failed to carry insurance or if your injury was the result of negligence by a third party, then you may be able to pursue these damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Likewise, there is no compensation for injuries caused by:
- Your own foolish behavior (“horseplay”)
- Injuries you cause through criminal acts
- Injuries caused because you were drunk or on drugs
- Injuries suffered off-duty or while engaging in recreational activities
- Criminal acts of others (unless directly related to the job – e.g. a bouncer being assaulted)
- Acts of god
Our Odessa Workplace Injury Attorneys Can Help You
If you are seeking work injury compensation, then you should call Ketterman Rowland & Westlund today. Our devoted team includes a number of trained legal professionals who understand how to navigate the workers’ compensation system and can thoroughly evaluate your case to determine whether you may be able to file a work injury lawsuit.
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our attorneys have decades of experience fighting against corporate insurance carriers that attempt to deprive honest, hardworking people of their rightful benefits. Here’s how we do it:
- First, we get to know our clients and understand their injuries. It all starts with an initial free consultation with our firm.
- While the insurance company is scrambling to get their paperwork together, and while you are in the hospital or at home recovering, our team will get right to work and begin looking for critical evidence to help your case.
- Fierce Negotiations. There’s no need to deal with medical collections people or insurance reps. Our team handles all of that for you.
- Presenting Your Case. Many times, workers’ compensation cases do need to go to a hearing in order to be decided. If so, our attorneys can help every step of the way.
With law offices throughout Texas, including right in Odessa, we are one of the largest injury firms in the state. If you plan to seek Odessa work injury compensation, you need to take action fast. Often employers and their insurance companies will attempt to send you to doctors who will minimize the severity of your injury or issue unfavorable reports. Our team will intervene and fight to give you a fair shake.
Contact us to learn more about how our law firm helps injured workers fight for the benefits they deserve. Consultations are free with no obligation to you.