Common Work Accidents in Texas
Exposure to Hazardous Materials at Work
Too often, employees come into contact with harmful substances that can
endanger their health and well-being. These hazardous materials may consist
of toxic chemicals, asbestos, pesticides, biological hazards, and radiation,
among others. Workers across various industries, such as manufacturing,
construction, healthcare, agriculture, and research, may face the risk
of exposure to hazardous materials while performing their duties.
Exposure to these harmful substances can lead to a wide array of health
problems, ranging from acute poisoning to long-term chronic illnesses,
and in severe cases, even death. The specific health impact depends on
the nature of the hazardous material and the degree of exposure. Employers
bear the responsibility of identifying potential hazards, establishing
safety measures and protocols, supplying workers with appropriate personal
protective equipment (PPE), and conducting thorough training programs.
These steps are crucial in reducing the risk of exposure and maintaining
a secure working environment for all employees.
Falls from Heights in the Workplace
When an employee falls from an elevated position it can cause catastrophic
injuries or even death. Unfortunately, these accidents commonly occur
in industries such as construction, warehousing, and maintenance, where
workers may need to perform tasks on ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or other
Falls from height are among the leading causes of workplace injuries and
fatalities, highlighting the importance of implementing proper safety
measures to prevent such incidents. Preventing such falls involves a combination
of training, supervision, and the use of appropriate safety equipment.
Employers must ensure that workers are adequately trained in the safe
use of ladders, scaffolds, and fall arrest systems, as well as in recognizing
potential hazards associated with working at height. Furthermore, employers
should provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as harnesses,
safety nets, and guardrails to minimize the risk of injury in case of a fall.
Workplace Fires & Explosions
The uncontrolled combustion or the release of energy can result in severe
injuries, property damage, and even fatalities in the workplace. These
accidents can occur in various industries, such as manufacturing, construction,
oil and gas, mining, and chemical processing, where combustible materials,
flammable liquids, or gases are commonly used or stored.
Fires and explosions can be caused by a range of factors, including equipment malfunction,
electrical faults, human error, or inadequate safety procedures.
Machine entanglement occurs when a worker's body, clothing, hair, or jewelry
becomes caught in moving machinery. This can lead to severe injuries,
such as amputations, crush injuries, lacerations, or even fatalities.
Machine entanglement is common in industries involving the use of heavy
machinery or equipment, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction.
To prevent these accidents, proper safety measures like machine guarding,
employee training, regular maintenance, and adherence to lockout/tagout
procedures are essential.
Overexertion on the Job
When employees push themselves beyond their physical capabilities, it can
lead to various injuries. Overexertion can result from activities such
as lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects, performing repetitive motions,
maintaining awkward postures, or working for extended periods without
breaks. Workers in industries involving manual labor, such as construction
and warehouse operations, may be particularly susceptible to overexertion
injuries. Common injuries associated with overexertion include strains,
sprains, and musculoskeletal disorders.
Work Vehicle Accidents
Work vehicle accidents refer to traffic accidents involving vehicles operated
for work-related purposes. These accidents can impact workers in various
industries, including transportation, construction, and emergency services.
Work vehicle accidents can involve collisions between vehicles, collisions
with pedestrians or stationary objects, or even single-vehicle accidents
caused by loss of control or mechanical failures.
The causes of work vehicle accidents can be diverse, ranging from driver
error, such as speeding, distractions, or fatigue, to inadequate training
in vehicle operation and safety procedures. Poor vehicle maintenance and
road or weather conditions can also contribute to work vehicle accidents.
Additionally, the lack of proper safety equipment or personal protective
gear can increase the severity of injuries in such incidents.
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:
Amputation Injuries: Workers who spend time around sharp blades, machines, or presses are at
the highest risk of suffering from an amputation injury.
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. 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. 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.
Back Injuries: Per OSHA, at least 1 million American workers suffer back injuries each
year. They form a quarter of all workers' compensation payments, 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.
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.
Brain Injuries: Damage to the brain can result in permanent damage that could be impossible
to reverse. Although there are some instances where a brain injury can
occur from degenerative diseases, some of the most common ways brain damage
can occur are through sudden, forceful impact.
Burn injuries are commonly reported in
industrial accidents—especially when a large explosion or fire occurs. 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.
Crush Injuries: 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.
Electrical Injuries: 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.
Eye Injuries: 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.
Hand Injuries: 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.
Head Injuries: Head injuries may result from a fall or being struck by a heavy object.
When a worker is trapped, 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.
Neck Injuries: 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.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal damage is one of the most serious situations a person can face
after a work 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.
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.
Legal Help for Workplace Fatalities in Houston, TX
Workplace fatalities are devastating events that leave families grieving
and searching for answers. Understanding the causes of these fatal accidents
is essential for employers to implement effective safety measures and
prevent future incidents. At Arnold & Itkin, our dedicated legal team
is committed to helping the families of workplace fatality victims seek
justice and secure the compensation they deserve during these challenging times.
Although the incidence of workplace
wrongful death has been falling steadily, work still 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.
- 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
Read more about
workplace fatality statistics in the U.S.
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
- 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
- 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.
Damages You Can Recover in a Texas Work Injury Case
In a Texas work injury case, the damages you can recover depend on the
specific circumstances of your case and whether you are pursuing a workers'
compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers' Compensation Claim
If your employer participates in the Texas workers' compensation system
and you file a claim for a work-related injury, you may be eligible to
recover the following benefits:
Medical Expenses: Coverage for necessary medical treatment related to your work injury.
Income Benefits: A portion of your lost wages, including temporary income benefits (if
you are unable to work for a certain period), impairment income benefits
(based on the extent of your impairment), and supplemental income benefits
(if you can’t work after reaching maximum medical improvement).
Death Benefits: If the work injury results in death, the surviving spouse and dependent
children may receive death benefits and burial expenses.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are suing your employer (if they are a non-subscriber to the workers'
compensation system) or a third party for your work-related injury, you
may be able to recover the following damages:
Medical Expenses: Compensation for past and future medical expenses related to the injury.
Lost Wages: Recovery of lost income and loss of earning capacity due to the injury.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress
caused by the injury.
Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of support experienced by your spouse.
Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly reckless or malicious,
punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar
conduct in the future.
Texas Work Injury FAQ
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.
Can I sue my employer for a work injury in Texas?
In Texas, the workers' compensation system typically serves as the primary
source of relief for employees who suffer work-related injuries. When
an employer participates in the Texas workers' compensation system, employees
are generally not allowed to sue their employer for work-related injuries.
Instead, they can file a workers' compensation claim to receive benefits
for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if your employer
does not participate in the Texas workers' compensation system (also known
as a non-subscriber), you may be able to sue your employer for negligence.
In this case, you will need to prove that the employer's negligence directly
caused your injury.
If your employer intentionally caused your injury or engaged in grossly
negligent conduct, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. Finally,
if your injury was caused by a third party, such as a contractor or equipment
manufacturer, you might be able to pursue a separate personal injury lawsuit
against that party in addition to your workers' compensation claim. It
is important to consult with a knowledgeable Houston workplace injury
attorney to discuss your specific situation and determine the best course
of action for your case.
How long do I have to sue for work-related injuries in Texas?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for work-related injury claims depends
on the type of claim being filed.
For workers' compensation claims, you must report your work-related injury
to your employer within 30 days from the date of the injury or from the
date you knew or should have known that your injury was related to your
work. Failure to report within this timeframe may result in the denial
of your claim. Once you have reported the injury, you have one year from
the date of the injury to file a claim with the Texas Division of Workers'
Compensation (DWC). There are some exceptions to this deadline, such as
in cases where the injured worker can show good cause for the delay or
where the employer does not contest the claim.
If you are suing your employer (if they are a non-subscriber to the workers'
compensation system) or a third party for a work-related injury, you generally
have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit
in Texas. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as cases
involving minors, mental incapacity, or when the defendant's conduct concealed
the injury. Given the strict deadlines and potential complexities of work-related
injury claims, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney
as soon as possible after your injury to protect your rights and ensure
your claim is filed within the appropriate time frame.
What are my rights if I get injured at work in Texas?
If you suffer a work-related injury in Texas, you have several rights under
the state's workers' compensation system and other applicable laws. These
rights include the right to seek necessary medical treatment for your
work-related injury, with the cost covered by your employer's insurance.
You may also be entitled to income benefits if you are unable to work
or have a reduced capacity to work due to your injury.
Generally, you can choose your treating doctor within the workers' compensation
system, though specific requirements or networks may apply. You have the
right to file a workers' compensation claim with the Texas Division of
Workers' Compensation (DWC) without fear of retaliation or discrimination
and to appeal any decision you disagree with through an administrative
process. Additionally, you can consult with and hire an attorney to represent
your interests in your claim or any related personal injury lawsuit.
How are workers’ compensation and personal injury cases different?
Workers' compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits differ in several
key aspects, including their purpose, legal requirements, and the types
of damages that can be recovered. Workers' compensation is a no-fault
insurance system designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer
work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of who is at fault. In
contrast, personal injury lawsuits are legal actions taken to hold a negligent
party responsible for causing an injury, and they require proving fault
to be successful.
The types of damages that can be recovered also vary between the two. Workers'
compensation claims typically provide benefits for medical expenses, a
portion of lost wages, and disability benefits. These claims generally
do not provide compensation for pain and suffering or punitive damages.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party may recover a broader
range of damages, including full compensation for lost wages, medical
expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and, in some cases,
Benefits of Hiring a Houston 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.
Working in Houston, TX
Walmart is the top employer in Houston, with about 37,000 employees.
Memorial Hermann Health System comes in second with approximately 24,100 employees, followed by the grocery
chain H-E-B with about 23,700 employees, and then the
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with 21,000 employees. Houston Methodist comes in close with 20,000 employees.
Rounding out the top 10 are Kroger (16,000 employees), United Airlines
(14,900 employees), Schlumberger (12,000 employees), and Shell Oil (11,500
employees). With so many large companies headquartered in the Houston
area, the employment options are typically plentiful and varied.
Houston Links & Resources
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,
At Arnold & Itkin, our Houston 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, including Houston,
Baton Rouge, and beyond.