Houston Work Injury Attorneys
Houston Work Accident Lawyers Serving Texas & Nationwide
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident at their job, first things first: we're sorry this happened to you. The road ahead might be long and difficult, and we know it's hard to face the future. Unfortunately, the tragedy isn't over. You're part of a process, whether or not you know it. Your employer is likely already at work to prevent you from filing a lawsuit or figuring out a way to weaken your case. They may tell you it's not personal, but if you've been with your company for a long time, it'll certainly feel that way. Here's what you need to do.
Turn to Experienced Texas Work Accident Attorneys
If you have suffered a work accident in Houston, you need to take action now to protect your rights. In some cases, the first few hours can be the most critical. Companies immediately go into cover-up mode and use all of their resources to uncover any evidence that will help them avoid responsibility.
For example, companies send investigators to the site of the accident right after it happens. Their mission is to take pictures, interview witnesses, and collect all evidence that may show the accident was not caused by any inappropriate or negligent action on the part of the victim's employer—even if that's not the whole story. Getting your own Houston personal injury attorney means you have your advocate on the scene. We work to gather evidence for your case, interview managers and other workers, and take steps vital for your case.
Why You Can't Wait Until You've Recovered
Once the evidence is collected and shown in a light that benefits the company, it becomes difficult to protect the worker's rights. A victim's best chance of recovering money is to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Without a qualified attorney, you could lose the ability to secure compensation by the time you have checked out of a hospital. If the victim is too ill to contact an attorney, a loved one should do it for them.
Why the rush? Attorney Jason Itkin explains:
"If the company is sending investigators to work right away, and their goal is to prove you got hurt through no fault of their own, you need someone at the scene of the accident at the same time, working to find the evidence of what really caused your injuries."
At Arnold & Itkin, we have the resources necessary to investigate any accident. If you were injured, don't wait until you are feeling better to speak to a lawyer—contact a Houston work accident lawyer at (888) 493-1629.
Legal Help for Workplace Fatalities in Houston, TX
Although the incidence of workplace wrongful death has been falling steadily, work still, unfortunately, remains one of the most dangerous places for the average adult. Below are a few of the most startling statistics:
- In 2012, 4,628 workers were killed on the job in the United States.
- 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of an average of 150 workers each day.
- North Dakota had the highest fatality rate of 17.7 per 100,000 workers.
- Massachusetts had the lowest rate of workplace wrongful deaths at 1.4 per 100,000 workers.
- Workplace violence is a growing problem, seriously injuring 24,610 workers and killing 803 in 2012.
- The most violated OSHA standard in 2013 was related to fall protection in the construction industry.
Losing a family member comes with emotional and financial loss, especially if the death could have been prevented. We work hard to ensure our clients know their options and receive the maximum compensation possible while handling each case with care to ensure families experience as little hassle as possible.
Read more about workplace fatality statistics in the U.S.
America's Most Dangerous Jobs
Past data from the Department of Labor Statistics shows the most dangerous jobs in America. You may be surprised to learn that professions commonly thought to be dangerous, such as police, are not among the top 10 in terms of yearly fatalities. Transportation-related jobs accounted for over 40% of the fatalities in 2012.
Below are the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America:
- Loggers – 128.0 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Fisherman – 117.0 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Pilots & Flight Engineers – 53.4 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Roofers – 40.5 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Structural Iron & Steel Workers – 37.0 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Trash & Recyclable Material Collectors – 27.1 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Electrical Power-Line Installers & Repairmen – 23.0 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Drivers (Including Traveling Sales People) – 22.1 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Farmers, Ranchers, Agricultural Managers – 21.3 deaths per 100,000 workers
- Construction Laborers – 9.5 deaths per 100,000 workers
Common Work Accidents in Texas
- Offshore accidents
- Oilfield accidents
- Chemical plant explosions
- Construction accidents
- Hospital accidents
- Work vehicle accidents
- Ladder accidents
- Scaffolding accidents
- Workplace falls
- Accidents during evacuation
Falls in the Workplace
Falls are considered one of the most common causes of serious workplace accidents each year. That is why it is the employer's responsibility to prevent employees from falling off any platforms or elevated workstations that could cause serious accidents. Employees that work in manual labor jobs, construction jobs, or industrial workspaces are also at risk of falling into holes in the floors and walls where they are working.
One of the most common falls is from a ladder, especially for construction work.
OSHA says many workers can avoid ladder accidents if they:
- Choose the right ladder for the job.
- Don't place ladders on uneven footing.
- Don't stand on guardrails.
- Don't climb scaffolding cross-braces.
- Don't use ladders on top of the scaffolding.
- Always face the ladder when climbing.
- Ensure that the ladder is secure.
- Don't overreach when on the ladder.
- Don't stand on the top step of the ladder.
- Maintain three points of contact.
- Ensure stable footing.
- Inspect ladders before use.
Another significant danger in construction, roofing, solar energy installation, and various other occupations is the threat of a roof fall. Injuries in such a fall can be severe and life-threatening.
Roof falls can also be prevented if workers:
- Don't disconnect their lifelines.
- Never work around unprotected openings.
- Don't use defective equipment.
- Inspect all equipment before use.
- Cover all holes or openings.
- Ensure that their harnesses fit.
- Wear harnesses at all times.
- Use guardrails when necessary.
Preventing Falls in the Workplace
To prevent falls in the workplace, OSHA suggests that employers:
- Guard every floor hole where workers could walk with boards, floor covers, or rails.
- Provide a guardrail and toe-board around open-sided platforms, floors, or high runways.
- Provide guardrails where a worker could fall into a dangerous machine or piece of equipment.
- Provide fall protection equipment like harnesses, safety nets, stair railings, or handrails.
- Train workers about job hazards in their native language when possible.
- Keep their floors clean and provide personal protective equipment when necessary.
Accidents During Evacuation
In the event of an emergency, do you know where the exits are in your building? Is there space and paths for you to follow so that you can exit from your office space in a short amount of time? Every single building is required to have an exit route. OSHA even has requirements for these exit routes to keep workers extra safe. Unfortunately, too many workplaces break fire codes or fail to provide employees with a specific drill about how to exit the building should a natural disaster, a fire, or another incident occur.
Exit Route Requirements
Exit routes are supposed to be a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel that can be reached from any location within the office space. An exit route must have exit access, an exit separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel, and exit discharge. The exit discharge is the part of the route that least directly outside to a street, walkway, refuge area, or open space with access to the outside.
OSHA and other government agencies have created requirements for exit routes that must be followed:
- All exit routes must be permanent parts of the workplace.
- Exits must lead directly outside to a street, a walkway, or another area with outdoor access.
- The discharge area must be large enough to accommodate the building occupants.
- Multilevel buildings must have stairs that lead to an exit clearly marked.
- All exit route doors must remain unlocked from the inside so workers can quickly get to them.
- All exit route doors must be free of devices that would restrict the use of the door if they fail.
- All side hinged doors in buildings must connect rooms to exit routes. These doors must swing outward in the direction of exit travel so they don't block people running out.
- All exit routes must support the maximum occupant load for each floor served.
- The exit route may not decrease travel in a way that would cause the route to become jammed.
- All exit route ceilings must be 7 feet, 6 inches high. An exit access must be 28 inches wide.
- Outdoor exit routes must have guardrails if needed and cannot have a dead-end longer than 20 feet.
Rules About the Exits of Buildings
- No highly flammable decorations or furniture near the exit.
- Signs posted to direct employees to the emergency exit.
- Items, locks, or barriers can not obstruct exits.
- Exits cannot direct employees to a high-hazard area.
- Exits should have lighting.
- Non-exit doors along the pathway should be marked.
- Exits must exist even during construction.
- Buildings should have emergency alarm systems.
Common Workplace Injuries in Texas
The workplace can be a hazardous place, even when that workplace is just an office. Whether you work in a warehouse, an oil rig, or a cubicle, you could be susceptible to suffering serious injuries while on the job. According to OSHA, 4,679 workers were killed on the job in 2014, and thousands more suffered serious injuries. These are serious numbers that demonstrate how dangerous the workplace can be for any worker.
Countless injuries plague people while on the job, including the following:
- Back injuries
- Blunt force trauma
- Brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Crush injuries
- Electrical Injuries
- Eye injuries
- Hand injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains, tears & strains
Amputations are devastating and can completely change an individual's life in a matter of seconds. Workers who spend time around sharp blades, machines, or presses are at risk of amputation. Factory workers, construction workers, printing press workers, butchers, processing plant employees, and manufacturing plant employees are just some of the workers at risk of this type of injury.
Machinery That Presents the Most Danger
Per OSHA, a few mechanical components of machines present obvious risks for amputation. The first is a point of operation. This is the area of the machine that performs work on material in a manufacturing or processing plant. For example, the point of operation in a sewing machine would be the needle. Another dangerous part of the machine is the power-transmission apparatuses. These are any pulleys, chains, cams, gears, flywheels, belts, couplings, rods, and other machine components that transmit energy to make the machine work.
When a person's finger or limb is pinched in one of these apparatuses, it can have devastating consequences. In addition to these components, other moving parts on any machine can cause the danger of amputation, including parts that rotate, transverse, or reciprocate. OSHA says that all mechanical motion can be dangerous, but any parts of a machine that involve nip points where two parts move together are the most dangerous.
Just a few of the machines that have been known to cause amputations:
- Mechanical power presses
- Non-powered conveyors
- Drill presses
- Meat cutting band saws
- Printing presses
- Bending machines
- Power press brakes
- Milling machines
- Roll-forming and roll-bending machines
- Powered conveyors
- Food slices
- Drill presses
Preventing Amputation Injuries
OSHA has provisions in place that are supposed to keep workers from suffering amputation at a factory or industrial location. Administrative controls can help protect workers, and machine safeguarding can improve workers' safety. Guards provide a physical barrier between the worker and the dangerous machines and should be installed when possible. The guards should be secure, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator's view or hamper an employee's work.
Some devices can protect a worker from an amputation. These can interrupt the typical motions of the machine when an operator's hands are near the machine or a device that prevents the workers from reaching into dangerous locations of the machine. The device can be something that causes an operator to withdraw their hands if they get near the danger zone. All devices must allow safe lubrication of the machine and cannot interfere with the operations that the machine is created to perform. All devices need to be secure and durable.
Per OSHA, at least a million American workers suffer back injuries each year. They form a quarter of all workers' compensation payments in the country, besides causing a great deal of suffering. Back injuries most commonly occur when workers exert extreme force on the back, such as lifting heavy objects or performing repetitive motions. Because back injuries are so common, and the causes are so well-known, some regulations require employers to ensure proper safety precautions are in place to help prevent them.
Preventing Back Injuries
Several things can be done to help avoid workplace back injuries:
- Provide workers with safety or protective equipment such as back support
- Limit the amount of bending and lifting that workers are required to do
- Instruct workers to work in teams when lifting heavy objects
- Provide workers with machines for lifting objects over 40 pounds
In addition to taking those precautions, it is also necessary to provide workers with proper training on safely lifting heavy objects or performing other tasks that could lead to a back injury. This training should be done as soon as employment begins, though it is useful to periodically remind workers about proper safety procedures.
Blunt Force Trauma Injuries
Blunt force trauma occurs from the impact of a heavy object colliding with the body. The trauma is only considered blunt force if the object that causes the trauma stays outside of the body. If the object enters, it is considered a stab or pierce wound. While the actual impact is blunt force trauma, these injuries can result in other conditions such as concussions, contusions, fractures, and internal injuries. When a worker receives a blunt force injury, it is likely the result of falling off of an elevated position, such as scaffolding or ladders. Blunt force trauma may also result from getting hit or struck by a heavy object, such as workplace machinery.
Damage to the brain can result in permanent damage that could be impossible to reverse. Although there are some instances in which a brain injury can occur from degenerative diseases, some of the most common ways brain damage can occur are through sudden and forceful impact. Due to the nature of these types of injuries, should they occur, it is in the best interests of the victim to seek immediate medical attention.
Some of the common symptoms that should raise a red flag:
- Watery fluid draining from ears and nose
- The sudden loss of consciousness
- Difficulty seeing (blurred and fuzzy vision)
- Difficulty breathing with slow, shallow breaths
- Lethargy, exhaustion, and fatigue
- Numbness throughout the victim's body
Although there is no way to reverse brain damage, certain steps can be sought to help improve the quality of life. Studies have shown that victims can improve their functioning for up to three decades past the initial accident. This is helped significantly by how immediate medical treatment is administered.
Burn injuries are commonly reported in industrial accidents—especially when a large explosion or fire occurs. Due to the dangerous chemicals and hot materials, workers run a high risk of injury. Chemical burns can result in severe pain and suffering, leaving an employee unable to work for an extended period. The combination of hot temperatures and chemical compounds can result in far worse damage than a typical burn injury. While a typical burn injury may require time away, a chemical burn injury could result in permanent disability.
Crush injuries could mean anything from a damaged finger to the entire body being compressed. When accidents or explosions occur on the job, structural damage can follow. In some cases, workers are trapped under heavy, sharp, or hot debris for hours, waiting for recovery teams to scour through the damaged plant. Even just a few seconds under a large piece of metal could result in nerve damage, disfigurement, or worse.
Other results of crush injuries include damage to:
- Blood Vessels
- Soft Tissues
Extreme cases can even result in loss of sensation in the crushed part or even paralysis. If cell death occurs, an injured worker may be forced to amputate the injured body part. Amputation can also occur during an accident; if an explosion causes equipment or pieces of metal to fly, a worker may have a limb severed.
Every year, close to 350 American workers die due to electrical injuries in the workplace. With electricity necessary for many manufacturing processes, thousands of workers are exposed to the possibility of electrocution every day. Electrocution hazards exist over a range of industries and occupations. The source of exposure can be as innocuous as a broken bulb or as apparent as a live power line.
Injuries sustained in an electrical accident can be classified into four categories:
- Electric shock
- Burn injuries
- Fatal electrocution
- Contact with a live energy source
Electrocution can occur when electrical equipment is used in an unauthorized manner; for instance, using equipment that is marked for use only in dry areas in an outdoor environment or making use of modified tools.
Preventing Electrical Injuries
The following are good steps to follow to prevent these types of injuries from occurring:
- Employers must identify and make workers aware of overhead and buried power lines.
- Employees should use fiberglass or wood ladders that do not conduct electricity near power lines.
- All electrical equipment must be well maintained and inspected regularly before use.
- Any electrical tools that have cracked casings or loose wires must be removed from service.
- All equipment must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- The power supply system, including electrical circuits, must be sufficiently grounded.
- Only three-conductor type extension cords marked for industrial use must be employed.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, around 2,000 workers in the U.S. receive eye injuries each day. Most eye injuries are caused by flying debris, including wood chips, sparks, and small metal particles, with the U.S. Department of Labor estimating that these make up 70% of eye injuries.
Workplace eye injuries can vary greatly but commonly include:
- Corneal abrasions
- Decreased visibility
- Bleeding between the cornea and the iris
- Muscle damage
- Retinal damage
- Subconjunctival hemorrhaging
- Swollen eyes or eyelids
Traumatic iritis, in which a blow to the eye causes inflammation of the colored part of the eye. Over 40% of workplace eye injuries were inflicted on craft workers, like carpenters, industrial workers, plumbers, and construction workers, although eye damage occurs in every industry.
Preventing Eye Injuries
Most eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper protective gear. This includes safety goggles, which provide more thorough protection than just glasses. Face shields can further protect the eyes and the face from harmful debris or chemicals. Welders and nearby workers should also protect against ultraviolet (UV) burns (also known as welder's flash). Different kinds of soldering and welding will require darker tints to protect the eyes.
Protective equipment is only effective if it is appropriately used. To provide adequate protection, industries such as construction require goggles be marked with the Z87 or Z87+ grade. Enforcement of policies regarding the constant use of goggles and other safety gear will ensure lapses do not occur. Training employees on the importance of equipment and how to ensure it is being appropriately worn can also maximize its effectiveness.
It is also important to keep medical equipment on-site to treat any workplace eye injuries that may occur quickly. An eyewash station will help workers to quickly wash out harmful chemicals or particles, while a basic first-aid kit will provide bandages, swabs, and other useful items that can reduce damage in case of an incident.
Life holds a host of new difficulties for workers whose hands have been injured. Unfortunately, hand injuries account for over 25% of workplace injuries, whether the damage is immediate or develops over time. An injured hand can mean a loss of income and medical bills. With several fine bones working together in an area placed near machinery when it is operated, it is easy to see how a hand injury could cause serious damage.
Common workplace hand injuries:
- Broken bones
- Carpal tunnel
- Crushed hand
Occupational hand injuries can be caused in numerous ways, including:
- Catching hands or fingers in chains or gears
- Cutting mechanisms amputating all or part of a hand
- Improper insulation on electric tools causing burns
- Jagged tools
- Long-term exposure to heat or cold
- Objects falling on hands
- Sharp edges on equipment
Preventing Hand Injuries
Gloves are the most useful form of protection against hand injuries. A pair of safety gloves can prevent minor injuries such as cuts, splinters, burns, blisters, and scrapes. Ensure the gloves you wear fit your hand properly and offer enough protection and flexibility to allow you to perform your job safely. If your job involves working with chemicals, you will want to make sure your gloves are made of a material that can stand up to them. Replace your gloves as soon as you notice any holes, tears, or other damage to the material.
Other than gloves, you must be careful around machinery. Machinery is the biggest threat to immediate and debilitating hand injuries. Before using any piece of machinery, you should make sure you have been properly trained on how to use it and are aware of the safety features and switches that cut power to the machine in the event of an emergency. Before using any machine, make sure you have removed rings, bracelets, watches, or any other accessory that could get stuck on one the parts or otherwise endanger your hands.
Head injuries may result from a fall or being struck by a heavy object or load in the workplace. When a worker is trapped in a collapsed mine, hit by falling debris, or slips through scaffolding, the accident's impact can cause head injuries that will vary in severity. Head injuries may be caused by the direct physical impact of heavy force on the head and secondary factors that are set off after the accident, such as swelling in the skull.
Some of the most common types of head injuries include:
- Skull Fracture: A skull fracture may be visible in the form of bleeding, swelling, and bruising near the area or may not be visible. A skull fracture denotes a significant injury that may lead to brain injury.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: There may be bleeding inside the skull or the formation of blood clots.
- Cerebral Contusion: Cerebral contusion may cause damage to be manifested in memory problems.
- Concussion: A concussion can cause a temporary lack of awareness, disorientation, confusion, and lack of memory that can last for a few minutes or a few hours after the head injury.
Not all head injuries result in brain injuries, but brain injuries are almost always caused when significant pressure is applied to the head. The intensity of the injury may vary depending on the severity of the head injury. The victim may experience increased sensitivity to noise and light, depression, memory loss, and attention deficit problems. Moderate traumatic brain injury can cause motor and cognitive impairment. In severe brain injury, the victim remains in a vegetative state, coma, or minimally responsive state.
A neck injury can occur due to repetitive movements that strain the neck and shoulder. Physical activities that call for a static load to be placed on the neck and shoulder, repeated movements of the arm and shoulders, or extreme work posture that strains the muscles of this region can lead to neck injuries with long-lasting effects. Moreover, vibrating tools like drills and electric saws can place pressure on the musculoskeletal system.
Preventing Neck Injuries
Employers must identify repetitive tasks that can result in neck injury and train workers in the correct techniques to minimize the risk of such injuries. Regular breaks between repetitive tasks can take some pressure off the neck and shoulder muscles. The work area must be sufficiently illuminated to prevent the need to stretch the neck for better visibility while working. Employers must also recognize the early signs of a developing neck injury and take steps to minimize its effects before the condition worsens.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord damage is one of the most serious situations a person can face after a workplace accident, leading to long-term complications ranging from chronic pain to paralysis. When the nerves of the spinal cord are damaged, the body may no longer communicate with the brain properly.
Spinal cord injuries manifest in a range of symptoms, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired coordination or mobility
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Numbness / tingling
- Paralysis, including paraplegia or quadriplegia
Severe spinal injuries could cause permanent damage. Everyday tasks such as walking, driving, eating, or shopping can become incredibly difficult if motor function or nerves are damaged.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries will differ depending upon which section of the spine sustained the trauma.
There are three major sections of the spine:
- Injuries to the cervical spine most often result in either full or complete quadriplegia. Quadriplegia is a condition in which all four limbs and the torso become immobile and unable to sense feeling to a certain degree. The higher up the injury, the greater the risks for loss of breathing function.
- Thoracic spinal injuries can occur anywhere from the T1 to T12 vertebrae. T1 to T8 injuries, in particular, will cause a total or partial loss of abdominal function.
- Lower thoracic spinal injuries and injuries that extend into the lumbosacral region are notorious for losing bladder or bowel function. Paraplegia is a condition that only affects the lower limbs.
Sprains, Tears & Strains
The 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed sprains, tears, and strains caused 406,200 workplace injuries within the year. This staggering number is more than twice the amount of the next most common injury.
Sprains, tears, and strains have more reported injuries than the following three categories combined:
- Soreness & Pain: 188,200
- Cuts, Lacerations, Punctures: 104,330
- Bruises & Contusions: 97,960
- Sprains, Tears, & Strains: 406,200
Common causes of sprains, tears, and strains include:
- Carrying heavy weight
- Suffering slips, trips, and falls
- Repetitive strenuous motions
- Being in a vehicle accident
- Relying on improper techniques
- Dealing with broken tools
Working to Reduce On-the-Job Injuries
Workplace injury has been significantly reduced with oversight by the Department of Labor agencies.
The agencies ensure employers implement measures that reduce workplace injury, such as:
- Preventive measures such as training workers in compliance with safety standards;
- Use of high quality, well maintained equipment and machinery;
- Training workers in the safe and proper use of equipment;
- Having procedures to correct any dangerous practices to help workers avoid injury; and
- Maintaining effective emergency response measures to reduce risks of injury to workers.
Failure to meet the standards laid out by OSHA is not only illegal, but it can lead to serious injury. Improper maintenance, inadequate inspection, insufficient training and supervision, and exposure to hazardous conditions are examples of lapses in health and safety that can affect employees.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE describes a broad range of clothing and equipment protecting workers from various hazards. Not only is it designed to prevent the spread of disease, but it is also designed to protect against workplace hazards like chemical, physical, electrical, mechanical, and radioactive hazards.
Examples of Personal Protective Equipment:
- Face shields
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Hard hats
- Safety shoes
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to assess their environment in regards to which hazards are present and pose a threat. They must also choose which protective equipment is necessary based on their assessment. The workers must use the equipment properly and know the benefits and limitations of PPE. Training employees is also key to maintaining proper health and safety standards.
Who Is Liable for Work Accidents?
Determining liability in a workplace accident can be complex. There are usually multiple parties that could be responsible or share in the responsibility for causing the accident. This makes hiring a Houston, Texas work accident law firm that's willing to do the work required to uncover liability crucial. While each accident is unique and subject to the facts of the particular incident, the following parties are generally investigated for liability.
If you suffered a work accident, there is a chance your employer can be held liable for negligence. This mostly has to do with whether the accident could have been avoided with proper safety adherence. For example, one common cause of a construction accident is a fall. OSHA requires specialized harnesses and supervision of workers at great heights for fall prevention. If a worker does fall, it may be inferred that the worker was not given proper equipment or supervised. If such was the case, the worker's employer might be liable.
Some of the obligations that employers have:
- Training employees in safe work practices
- Providing employees with protective equipment
- Keeping the workplace free of hazardous materials and objects that could injure employees
- Posting warning signs near dangerous equipment or hazardous areas
Another cause of accidents is mechanical or equipment failure. When equipment is not adequately maintained and repaired, it can decay and present a greater risk of failure. Equipment failures can cause serious accidents. Think back to the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. Due to hundreds of safety violations and continued failure to remediate those issues, 15 workers lost their lives, and more than 170 others were hurt. The same was the case with the Williams Olefins explosion in Geismar: failure to adhere to regulations can result in disaster.
During the investigation, it may be found that defective equipment caused the accident. For example, in a case where malfunctioning machinery injures the worker operating it. In the case of defective equipment, the product's manufacturer could be held liable for the injuries. In some cases, the seller of the equipment could potentially be liable if there was a misrepresentation of the quality or intended use of the product.
Sometimes when workers are injured, they are partially responsible for the accident that caused the injury. For example, a worker who was injured while misusing a tool or because they failed to follow established safety procedures could share in the liability for the accident. However, even the injured worker was partially at fault for the accident, that does not preclude them from filing a lawsuit or worker's compensation claim.
Most states use something known as comparative negligence during work injury cases. Comparative negligence means that if multiple parties are responsible for the accident, they will each be responsible for covering their share of the damages to the injured worker. For example, if it is determined that the worker was 30% responsible for the accident, any compensation awarded to the worker will be reduced by 30%.
Texas Workers' Compensation Laws
In Texas, workers must receive employment-based insurance options, although employers can opt out of workers' compensation insurance. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and the Division of Workers' Compensation together regulate the workers' insurance systems.
According to these agencies, employers who opt-out of workers' compensation insurance must:
- File an annual notice with the TDI
- Display notices of non-coverage so that all employees are adequately informed
- Give a written statement of non-coverage each time they hire a new employee.
Whatever type of employment insurance policy you have been provided, you need to understand your benefits. Employees may be able to recover compensation for initial medical costs, continued medical care, funeral expenses, and income benefits for workers who have lost wages. What is unfortunate is that many workers are under-compensated and unaware of it. Arnold & Itkin exists to inform workers of their rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation for long-term care and even non-economic damages. The Houston attorneys at our firm fight to help workers throughout Texas secure benefits that they and their families need.
Work Injury FAQ
What causes most workplace injuries?
The most common causes of workplace injuries in the United States can be determined by analyzing reported work injury incidents from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most recent report shows all work-related injuries reported in the U.S. in 2018. Of these, 900,380 resulted in missed work.
Here is an analysis of those injuries and their causes:
- 282,860 were caused by "overexertion and bodily reaction." This may include overexertion injuries and injuries caused by repetitive motion. Heavy lifting, performing fine motor skills, kneeling, sitting, standing, and typing are all examples of work-related actions that could cause these injuries.
- 240,160 were classified as "falls, slips, trips." This includes any type of accident where a worker fell from a height, slipped, tripped, or fell any distance and was harmed as a result.
- 235,740 involved "contact with objects and equipment." This includes incidents where workers were struck by powered vehicles, falling or flying objects, rolling objects, swinging objects, or other equipment. It also includes accidents where workers were caught in or between equipment.
- 50,650 were "transportation incidents". This includes any accidents involving aircraft, rail vehicles, water vehicles, and all other motorized and non-motorized vehicles on or off any roadway.
- 44,000 were caused by "violence and other injuries by persons or animals." This includes all intentional attacks or injuries caused by another person or an animal, such as assault.
- 40,130 involved "exposure to harmful substances or environment." This includes exposure to and injury from electricity, radiation, extreme temperatures, noise, air and water pressure changes, and harmful substances that are inhaled, ingested, or contact the skin.
How common are work injuries in the U.S.?
Workplace injuries occur in every industry. Any worker may experience a serious injury on the job.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- There were about 2.8 million work injuries reported in 2018.
- Over 900,000 of these resulted in missed work, averaging 8 days missed per injury.
When a work injury is so severe that you cannot return to work for some time, you need to be sure that your medical expenses and lost earnings are covered. An experienced Houston work injury lawyer can help you recover fair and complete compensation to help you move forward.
Do I need to hire a work injury attorney?
Many workplace injuries are severe enough that a worker should consider filing a lawsuit to recover fair compensation. While helpful, workers' compensation does not account for the full extent of serious injuries—especially for accidents caused by negligence. If you were injured at work, the company will likely launch an investigation into the cause of the accident. This is done with the oversight of company lawyers looking for ways to absolve the company of any liability so that it will not have to pay. That is why you must consult with an experienced Houston worksite injury lawyer as soon as possible. Having a lawyer looking out for your best interests can help ensure that you are afforded all of your legal rights and compensated fairly for your injuries.
What should I do after a work injury?
If you've been injured at work, you need to get medical attention and inform your employer. You should also consider talking to an attorney. If someone other than your employer or a co-worker was responsible for your injuries, you could hold them accountable—and secure more monetary damages than what workers' compensation would cover. Our team can talk to you about filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit for a work-related injury. Our goal is always to help our clients get the support they need to set things right.
Benefits of Hiring a Texas Work Injury Lawyer
When you suffer injuries on your job, your case will likely fall under workers' compensation. However, that doesn't mean that is the only legal means for you to recover; in fact, you may have a third-party claim. Regardless, even figuring out the workers' compensation process on your own can be overwhelming. With so many variables involved in every case, you want a legal professional who can confidently represent you.
Hiring a workplace attorney means you get an advocate who:
- Understands the laws surrounding your case
- Can investigate your accident and identify liable parties
- Specifically knows how to handle workplace injury cases in Texas
- Has dedicated their time and attention to related matters
- Brings experience handling similar cases to your claim
- Can walk you through the legal process
- Makes sure your rights and best interests remain protected
- Can handle cases involving third parties
While there are plenty of personal injury lawyers out there who may claim to be qualified to handle your case, they likely focus more on handling car accidents, slip and falls, and other general cases. The work injury lawyer you need should have proven expertise taking on these types of claims not just anywhere but in Texas.
From industrial jobs to construction and offshore work, they should be able to handle it all.
Make sure to discuss your case thoroughly with any potential attorneys you speak with. Ask about the previous cases they have handled. Investigate how those cases went and the type of recovery they obtained for clients. You should feel comfortable and confident in the representation you select. Their focus shouldn't be just helping you gain money but gain physical, emotional, and financial recovery.
Injured on the Job? Give Our Texas Work Injury Firm a Call: (888) 493-1629
Nearly a quarter of a million Texas workers are injured on the job each year, including hundreds of wrongful deaths. In many cases, the accidents causing these deaths and injuries could have been prevented. Often, they result from the negligence or reckless indifference of an employer, co-worker, or manufacturer.
At Arnold & Itkin, our work injury lawyers are focused on ensuring that injured workers and their families are fully compensated for their pain and suffering. We have used our skill, experience, and passion throughout the years to reach successful outcomes for our clients, recovering billions on their behalf. We aggressively, passionately represent workers and their families. If you have been injured, please do not hesitate to call now.
For a free evaluation of your case, do not hesitate to contact our Texas work injury attorneys: (888) 493-1629. We handle complex workplace injury and death cases nationwide.