Work Injury Lawyer in Odessa
Texas has more work injuries occur than any other state in the U.S., and Odessa is no exception.
Odessa is a rapidly growing area of West Texas located above the Permian Basin oil and gas reserves. As the Odessa Development Corporation (ODC) explains on its website, the city is served by a number of different industries and is a major distribution center for various international goods. In addition to many jobs in the oil and gas industry, the area is also a medical and technology hub as well as a manufacturing center.
High-risk work zones in Odessa – like oil fields, construction sites, and oil rigs – have high rates of workplace injuries. Accidents can happen in any workplace, however, regardless of how “safe” it might seem.
Workers who are injured on the job are entitled to state-regulated workers’ compensation benefits if the employer has such coverage. Texas is one of the few states, however, that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In that scenario, some employees are forced to seek alternative means of obtaining compensation for their injuries.
If an employer has opted out of the workers’ comp system, an employee can take the employer to court in a personal injury lawsuit. An employee can also sue a third party that may have caused or contributed to the workplace injuries.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was harmed or killed on the job in the greater Odessa area, you will benefit from retaining an experienced workplace injury attorney who can conduct an independent investigation to determine all parties that could be liable in your case.
Contact the Odessa work injury lawyers of Tate Law Offices today for help. We will provide a thorough evaluation of your case and discuss your options for recovering compensation.
Call us or contact us online now to schedule a free consultation. We promise each client that we will dedicate all of our skill, experience, and resources toward seeking a maximum recovery for the injuries they’ve suffered.
Common Causes of Work Injuries in Odessa
Whether related or unrelated to the oil and gas sector, workplace accidents can stem from any various possible causes. Some causes are not always easy to determine, which only increases the need for a worker to seek the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
In general, some of the most common causes of accidents in Odessa workplaces include the following:
- Trip or slip and fall accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Failure to maintain work area
- Repetitive motions
- Struck-by incidents
- Falls from heights
- Caught-in-between incidents
- Falling objects
- Burns or explosions
- Heavy lifting
- Poor lighting
- Assaults or other acts of violence by co-workers or third parties
If you’ve been hurt in an accident at work, don’t let your employer or their insurance company deny you the workers’ compensation benefits you’re owed. If your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be entitled to recover under a personal injury claim.
Turn to an aggressive and committed Odessa work injury lawyer who can help protect your rights and help you get all of the compensation you’re owed.
Types of Workplace Injuries in Odessa
An injury on the job could require immediate hospitalization and ongoing treatment. Even after release from a hospital, victims may still require follow-up treatment and may also need additional rehabilitation.
Even if you didn’t require emergency medical care, you might discover that it is difficult or impossible to return to work and perform the duties expected of you because of your injuries. Because of these physical limitations, some workers may not be able to go back to their former jobs, and some injuries are so disabling that others cannot work in any capacity ever again.
Workplace injuries could include, but are not limited to:
- Neck and back injuries
- Eye injuries
- Hearing damage or loss of hearing
- Internal organ injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord damage
- Joint damage
- Muscle strains
- Scarring and disfiguration
- Amputation of digits or limbs
- Repetitive motion injuries
In a personal injury claim for a workplace injury when workers’ comp is not available, a worker has a maximum of two years to file a lawsuit in a Texas court. Given the scope of the evidence-gathering that is usually required, waiting until the last minute to get a lawyer is not a good idea.
A family could file wrongful death lawsuit if a worker dies because of a work-related injury. The statute of limitations on a wrongful death lawsuit is also two years, but the limitations period begins on the date of a person’s death rather than the date of the accident.
Legal Options After a Workplace Accident in Odessa
When an employee suffers injuries on the job that will keep them out of work or limit their functionality, workers’ compensation is the only remedy. In other words, when an employer covers employees with workers’ compensation insurance, it is the only option for compensation from the employer.
Employers without workers’ compensation insurance do not receive the same legal immunity to civil actions. An injured worker is permitted to file a lawsuit against their employer in such cases to recover money damages. However, unlike workers’ comp claims, an injured worker in a personal injury case must prove that the employer did something wrong to cause the injury.
Workers’ compensation does not prevent an injured worker from filing a lawsuit against other negligent, non-employer third parties involved in their accidents, such as subcontractors at the worksite or an equipment manufacturer of malfunctioning or defective equipment.
Workers’ Comp Benefits in Odessa, TX
As the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) notes, the four kinds of workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Income benefits
- Medical benefits
- Burial benefits
- Death benefits
Income benefits are divided into temporary income benefits (TIBs), impairment income benefits (IIBs), supplemental income benefits (SIBs), and lifetime income benefits (LIBs).
TIBs are 70 percent of the difference between a worker’s average weekly wage (the average amount of money an employer paid each week in the 13 weeks before an injury or illness) and the wages they earn after their work-related injury. IIBs are 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage.
SIBs are 80 percent of the difference between 80 percent of a worker’s average weekly wage and weekly wages after a work-related injury. LIBs are 75 percent of an injured employee’s average weekly wage (AWW) with a 3 percent increase each year.
The maximum amount of weekly benefits an employee can get cannot exceed the state average weekly wage (SAWW), such that TIBs cannot be more than 100 percent of SAWW and LIBs cannot be more than 100 percent of SAWW for the first year an injured employee gets LIBs.
IIBs and SIBs cannot exceed 70 percent of SAWW. Benefits continue until a worker reaches a state of maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is defined as a work-related injury or illness improving as much as it is expected to improve or 104 weeks from the date an employee becomes eligible for TIBs.
As you can see, workers’ compensation benefits can be quite complex. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Odessa workplace injury lawyer who thoroughly understands the system and will work to maximize the benefits you receive.
How a Workers Comp Lawyer at Tate Law Offices Can Help
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one harmed or killed on the job in Odessa or elsewhere in the Ector County or Permian Basin area? Contact Tate Law Offices, P.C. before you speak to insurance company representatives or accept any financial settlement offers. Our firm’s mission is to get its Odessa-area clients top-dollar settlements for their work injury cases, and we will fight to ensure that you don’t accept anything less than what you are rightfully owed.
Call us or contact us online now to schedule a free consultation.