As an employee, you have a lot of rights. You have the legal right to work in an environment that is reasonably safe and healthy. Some jobs are more inherently dangerous than others, such as working on an offshore oil rig.
But in all cases, the employer is required to make a workplace as safe as possible within reason.
Even a diligent, caring employer can make the workplace safe and injuries can still occur. States, not the federal government, have rules in place relating to employee work-related injuries.
Out-of-State Worker Rights
If you live in Arkansas and live close enough to commute to Texas, you may be confused as to which state laws must be followed as an employer. Your employer is responsible for following the state where you physically work’s requirements.
For example, if you live in Arkansas, Oklahoma or another nearby state and work in Texas, the employer will have to follow Texas State law.
This is where legality can become confusing for an employee.
Texas employers can:
- Obtain workers’ compensation insurance
- Remain a non-subscriber in Texas
An employer is required to submit a notice of non-coverage annually to the state.
If the employer is in the non-coverage category, you do have legal rights and remedies available to you. This is where it’s important to work with a local attorney when dealing with personal injuries – no matter the state.
Local attorneys will have a clear understanding of state laws and can assist you better than an attorney in another state.
Write Down What Happened
You need to have a clear description of what led to your injury. A few of the important details that you’ll want to write down are:
- What caused the injury
- Anyone that witnessed the injury
- Injury details
Half of workplace injuries are never reported in Texas. You have a right to a safe work environment, and you should report the injury.
Report the Injury
Report the injury to management and seek medical attention. If your employer is a non-subscriber, still report the injury and seek medical attention. You’ll want to contact a lawyer after seeking medical attention.
If the employer does have workers’ comp insurance, you’ll rely on the employer to:
- Provide all the necessary forms to submit to workers’ comp
- Provide information relating to compensation procedures
- Give you information about the company’s medical treatment provider
The medical treatment provider will evaluate all of your injuries and offer treatment options. A basic form is all that’s needed to seek treatment.
It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible after an injury. Every state’s statute of limitations is different, so acting swiftly allows you to receive treatment. You’ll also have a starting point for your injuries and will deal with less questions about whether or not delaying treatment made your condition worse.
The doctor you’re required to visit to evaluate your condition will file a report of your visit. You should receive this information, and the employer will also receive a copy of the report. Employers may also have to file a report.
Acting swiftly allows you to seek medical attention faster.
Insurers will make the decision on whether or not to accept your claim. You will be notified of the insurer’s decision. If your claim was declined, you’ll have the right to appeal the decision. You have a short time frame to appeal, so appeal as soon as you possible can.
All workers’ compensation claims have specific requirements:
- Employer must have workers’ compensation
- You must be an employee
- The injury or illness has to be related to your work
- You must meet all reporting and filing deadlines
If you choose to seek medical attention or a second opinion from a medical professional outside of the doctor recommended, the insurer may refuse to reimburse you for the expenses.
Seek Additional Compensation
Even if workers’ compensation is granted, it may not cover the costs for you to fully recover. If the person that causes your injuries is a contractor, you may be able to seek compensation from their insurance provider.
Extra compensation will allow you to take your time returning to work.
You’ll also have the ability to go back to work when you’re fully healed rather than rushing back. Additional compensation may not be available in all cases, so discuss your options with your attorney.