Getting Compensation after Workplace Accidents in Texas
Were you injured in the workplace? If you were, there is a good chance that you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a program that provides insurance benefits to individuals who are injured while at work and shields employers from liability after workplace accidents. There are some rules on how to apply for workers’ compensation, so it’s important that you understand how the system works in order to apply correctly.
What to Do Right after Workplace Injuries
The first thing you want to do is inform your employer. As part of the workers’ compensation procedure, you must report the injury to the employer within the first 30 days. If you don’t report it, you won’t be entitled to workers’ compensation later. If your injury is work-related but is worsening gradually, you need to report it to your employer within 30 days of discovering the injury.
After reporting workplace accidents, you must apply for the claim. You do this by filling out the Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupation Disease, also called DWC Form-041. After completing it, you have to send it to the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation, TDI-DWC. If you don’t send this claim within a year after the date of the injury, you will lose your right to workers’ compensation.
What Benefits Are Workers Entitled to after Workplace Injuries?
If the workers’ compensation claim is approved, you will be entitled to compensation for all your injury-related medical bills. You may also receive a portion of your wages for as long as the injury prevents you from working. This amount is based on your past wages as well as if you are unable to work again.
In Texas, the income benefits are divided into four different categories.
- Temporary Income Benefits
- Impairment Income Benefits
- Supplemental Income Benefits
- Life time Income Benefits
Temporary Income Benefits: If your workplace injury causes you to lose part of your wages or all of your wages for more than seven days, you are entitled to apply for temporary income benefits. These benefits are calculated using the difference between your average wages before the injury and the wages you are earning after the injury. Seventy percent of that difference is what you will receive in temporary income benefits.
Impairment Income Benefits: These types of benefits are only available to people who were permanently impaired by workplace accidents. If the individual has reached Maximum Medical Improvement, the point when continued medical treatment will not improve the condition any more, and is still unable to work, then he will start receiving impairment income benefits. These benefits will equal 70% of the individual’s average weekly wage.
Supplemental Income Benefits: These are monthly income benefits that injured workers can apply to quarterly. There is specific eligibility for supplemental income benefits, so you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to see if you qualify. These are calculated by taking 80% of the difference between your wages before and after the injury and then providing 80% of that new sum.
Lifetime Income Benefits: These benefits are only available to individuals who suffer the most serious workplace injuries such as:
- Permanent Blindness
- Loss of Both Feet
- Loss of Both Hands
- Paralysis of Both Arms or Both Legs
- Physically Traumatic Injury to the Brain
If you are entitled to lifetime income benefits, you will receive 75% of your average weekly wage with a 3% increase each year. You will receive these payments for the rest of your life.