Areas of Practice
In the state of Texas, employers have the opportunity to choose whether or not they wish to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance to cover employees who are injured while working in the course and scope of their employment. If employers carry this specific insurance, they subscribe to the Workers’ Compensation System and are protected from injury claims. If an employer does carry Workers’ Compensation and is a “subscriber,” an injured employee’s exclusive remedy against his employer is to work within the body of law which governs the Workers’ Compensation system and is administered through the Texas Department of Insurance – Workers’ Compensation Division (http://www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/indexwc.html). An employer that is a subscriber, meaning it carries true workers’ compensation insurance, is immune from liability to employees for on the job injuries. In other words, if you are injured on the job and your employer carries Workers’ Compensation, you cannot sue it for your injuries but must instead pursue benefits under this insurance. If you have been injured on the job, you can make a workers’ compensation claim here www.tdi.texas.gov. Through Workers’ Compensation, an injured employee is entitled to limited wage replacement (usually 60-70% your median salary) and medical care for the injury, regardless of whose fault it was that caused your injury. Most of the time, the insurance carrier will fight your claim, benefits and medical care because they are familiar with the system and because in the end, you are dealing with an insurance company that is a for-profit company and watching its bottom line. To ensure that you are obtaining all of your benefits, we would advise that you hire an attorney to represent you before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. We can assist you in navigating the complicated Workers’ Compensation system to attempt to receive all possible benefits and compensation.
Non-Subscribers to Workers’ Compensation
If an employer opts out of the Texas workers’ compensation system, it becomes known as a “non-subscriber.” Texas employers are not legally required or obligated to provide medical care to employees who sustain on-the-job injuries, if they are non-subscribers. Instead, injured employees have the right to sue in court for damages resulting from on-the-job injuries. While many non-subscribing employers carry liability insurance to cover medical bills and lost wages for injured employees, this is not true workers’ compensation insurance, and the employers are not obligated to pay or continue to pay for medical care. In these cases, employees have the right to bring claims against their employers and potentially recover not only present medical expenses and lost wages, but also future medical care and expenses, future lost wage earning capacity, past and future impairment, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish, and disﬁgurement. Many employers prefer to save money and not compensate their injured employees for “all” damages to which they are legally entitled. In order to collect damages for their on-the-job injuries, injured employees must bring a claim in court and must prove that something the employer did, or a co-employee did, was negligent and caused their injury — even if the negligence was very minimal. See Tex. Labor Code 406.033. If injured employees can prove this kind of fault, they are entitled to receive full damages. Either way, whether or not your employer “subscribes” to the Texas Workers’ Compensation System or not, you should talk to an attorney from the Espinoza Law Firm to assist you in navigating the complicated Workers’ Compensation System or filing a claim in court directly against your employer.
Employers with Workers’ Compensation.
In cases in which employees are injured on the job and their employers have workers’ compensation insurance, injured employees do not have the right to sue in Texas courts for their injuries. Instead, they must pursue beneﬁts through their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance, which is regulated through the State of Texas. In most cases, the insurance company will ﬁght an injured employee’s workers’ compensation claim. Always remember that insurance companies operate for proﬁt. Paying claims costs them money. Their people are experts on the system and will usually pay as little as possible. Many times, you will need an attorney’s assistance in navigating the process and receiving all benefits of which you are statutorily entitled to receive.
Fighting for what’s right
Updated: Friday, December 5 2014, 06:38 AM CST By Randy Escamilla SAN ANTONIO — Crystal City, about 120 miles Southeast of San Antonio, first came on our radar when taxpayers complained about the city attorney/city manager/lobbyist’s salary. James Jonas is being paid $219,000 a year. But he fired former Police Chief Johnny Vasquez, Jr. last March claiming insubordination. Read On…
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If you have suffered an injury that happened at work we can help. Related injuries include:
- Neck, back, and knee injuries
- Carpal tunnel-repetitive trauma injuries
- Rotator Cuff …
Workplace Injury: When You Can Sue Outside of Workers’ Compensationread more
Attorney Javier Espinoza
Third Party Cases.
There are times when an employee gets injured on the job due to the negligence of some other party that is neither the employee (first party) nor the employer (second party). A claim can usually be brought against the third party for its negligence. For example, if a bricklayer comes onto a construction site and suffers an electrocution due to the negligence of the electrical contractors, he may receive workers’ compensation benefits through his masonry company, and still bring a claim against the electrical contractor’s company for “all” damages owed to him. These are known as third party cases. Our firm handles a large amount of third party injury cases, especially those involving complicated multi-employer work sites, like oilfields and construction sites. If you have been injured while working in the oilfield or on a construction project, give us a call and see if we can help.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
Aside from making sure that you are properly compensated for your workplace injury, the attorneys at the Espinoza Law Firm will also make sure your employer does not retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. See Tex. Labor Code 451.001. Although Texas is an “at-will employment” state, meaning that both the employer and the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all, Section 451 of the Texas Labor Code states that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate/retaliate against an employee for ﬁling a workers’ compensation claim in good faith. So, if you have been fired soon after filing a workers’ compensation claim or getting injured on the job, contact our office so that we may investigate your potential claims and protect your rights.
18 Wheeler Accidents.
Another area of personal injury law heavily practiced by the Espinoza Law Firm involves damages sustained as a result of Commercial Tractor Trailer (18-wheeler) accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act speciﬁes many requirements for trucking companies and their drivers to follow. Unfortunately, many commercial carriers do not follow the federal guidelines and sometimes do not even properly train or qualify their drivers.
In tractor trailer accidents, as in any type of automobile accident case, the insurance company will try to undermine injuries and settle the cases for as little as possible. Our ofﬁce handles 18 wheeler cases very aggressively and will hire the needed experts to properly present your case to a jury and increase the likelihood of a potential recovery. If we do not feel you are being treated fairly, we are not afraid to present your case before a jury.
The Espinoza Law Firm handles personal injury cases where someone is injured due to someone else’s negligence. If you have been seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, before you talk to an insurance representative, call us for a free consultation.
Our Address is: 2211 Danbury Street, San Antonio, Texas 78217 Phone: 210-229-1300 Fax: 210-229-1302