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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Understanding the Workers' Compensation Statute of Limitations in Texas

An occupational disease or injury can disrupt people's lives, leaving them with huge medical bills to pay, lost wages, and a reduced earning capacity. The workers' compensation program offers a safety net to employees in these cases. However, this option won't be permanently available.

Workers' comp claims are subject to the statute of limitations, which defines how long injured employees have to ask for these benefits. Job-site accident victims need to meet this deadline to recover remuneration for their losses and damages.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Texas Workers' Compensation Claim?

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Texas Workers' Compensation Claim?

The Texas Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC) states that individuals who have been injured or have contracted an occupational disease while working have 30 days to notify their employer about this.

Depending on the unique circumstances surrounding each case, the clock may start ticking when:

  • The injury occurs.

  • The affected person discovers the injury.

  • Victims find out that their illnesses or injuries are work-related.

This last rule applies to cases of injuries caused by repetitive stress. The 30-day period begins when victims discover that the harm they've sustained is related to their work.

Besides the initial injury report, employees may be required to complete additional forms to file a workers' compensation claim.

File a Claim with the Texas Department of Insurance

After notifying employees about their work injuries or illnesses, employees must file an Employee Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease (DWC Form-041).

This form must be submitted to the Texas Department of Insurance, specifically to the Division of Workers' Compensation (TDI-DWC) within one year of the injury or illness occurring or being discovered.

If an injured employee fails to file the form before the deadline, they'll lose their right to recover workers' compensation benefits.

Benefits that Injured Employees Can Recover Through Workers' Compensation

Employees who are injured or contract an illness while on duty can recover medical and financial compensation based on how severe their injury is and how long they require medical treatment.

In this regard, workers' compensation benefits can cover medical bills, including those for hospital admissions, rehabilitation, prescription medications, therapies, assistive medical devices, and required surgeries.

Besides medical costs, workers' compensation can replace some lost wages for employees through the following:

  • Temporary income benefits

  • Impairment income benefits

  • Supplemental income benefits

  • Lifetime income benefits

In some cases, this program also provides death benefits to surviving family members if the injured worker loses their life. For more information, a workers comp attorney in Houston may be able to help.

Who Is Entitled to Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Texas workers and their surviving spouses, children, and other dependents or legal beneficiaries may be entitled to workers' compensation. However, these benefits are only available if:

  • Victims are injured while performing a work-related task.

  • Employers carry workers' compensation insurance.

  • Employees' injuries weren't self-inflicted.

  • Workers didn't contribute to their injuries or illnesses by committing misconduct.

What Happens If the Workers' Compensation Statute of Limitations Expires?

If an employee sustains a work injury or contracts an occupational disease but misses the deadline to file a workers' compensation claim, their employer or insurance carrier can get away without paying them their financial and medical benefits.

In other words, injured workers who fail to file a workers' comp claim within the one-year statute of limitations may lose their right to receive compensation.

What If Employees Aren't Enrolled in Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Sometimes, injured employees cannot get medical and financial benefits through workers' compensation because their employers aren't enrolled in this program or because their job-site accident or illness was caused by a third party's negligence.

Texas law still allows workers to recover compensation for job-related injuries and illnesses, but victims must file a personal injury lawsuit instead.

Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case

After a job-site accident caused by their employers or other parties, injured workers can recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, such as:

  • Future medical costs

  • Affected earning capacity

  • Pain and suffering

  • Metal anguish

  • Disfigurement

  • Punitive damages (when defendants act with extreme negligence)

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

In Texas, workplace accident victims are required to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within two years from the date when the injury occurred, was discovered, or should have been discovered. The time limit is the same for wrongful death cases.

If the case involves injuries caused by a government entity, agency, or worker, the deadline may be slightly different. Injured workers may only have six months or less to file a claim against the state, city, or county.

Under certain circumstances, some workers may be eligible to file a personal injury claim even if the statute of limitations has expired. For that reason, workplace accident victims should always seek help from an experienced attorney. They can also explain a pedestrian accident statute of limitations in Texas.

How a Work Injury Lawyer Can Help Texas Workers

How a Work Injury Lawyer Can Help Texas Workers

Whether planning to file a workers' compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit, the legal process can be challenging and confusing for employees, especially those who need to focus on their recovery.

Fortunately, those who were injured or contracted an illness while working are entitled to legal counsel. Victims should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to make sure they meet the deadline and secure the best possible outcome for their cases. They can also advise on how to file a lawsuit for personal injury in Texas.

This is what a seasoned work injury lawyer can do for Texas workers:

  • Help them understand their legal rights

  • Determine if they have a valid claim under workers' compensation or if they must file a personal injury lawsuit

  • Organize and file all paperwork on time

  • Negotiate fair compensation with the respective insurance company on their behalf

  • File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if they aren't eligible for workers' compensation benefits

  • Build their cases and collect evidence to support their claims

  • Provide legal representation if the case must be contested in court

  • Handle denials and appeals

Final Thoughts

Injured employees can obtain medical and financial benefits through a workers' compensation claim or get remuneration for their damages and losses by filing a civil lawsuit. Both options can help victims recover monetarily during this frustrating and overwhelming experience. However, these legal procedures are complex.

That's why people who have suffered a workplace accident and fatal injury victims' surviving family members should seek help from an experienced attorney. Seasoned lawyers understand the legal system and can guide them through the legal process to help them achieve the best possible results.

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, there's an exceptional and dedicated team ready to defend injured workers' rights and help them recover the compensation they're entitled to. Contact us today and request a free consultation. We'll go to war for you!


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