Workers, especially those in the construction industry, are always at great risk of a ladder or a scaffolding accident. Sadly, these incidents often cause grave injuries such as muscle damages, broken bones, herniated disks, head trauma, etc. And in worst-case scenarios, workplace accidents can lead to a loss of life.
Besides leaving you in excruciating pain, these injuries can also deny you the ability to work and earn money, result in costly medical expenses, and interfere with your ability to enjoy life.
If you have sustained injuries from a ladder or scaffolding accident, a personal injury attorney can help you secure full and fair compensation. Seeking help from a reliable attorney will guarantee that justice is served for your work accident. Keep scrolling to find out how to file a workers’ compensation claim for a scaffolding or ladder fall.
Does Your Employer Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Before even proceeding with your case, it is critical to note that different states have varying legislation regarding whether or not an employer is obliged to have workers’ compensation insurance. In Texas, it is not a must for an employer to subscribe to a workers’ comp insurance plan.
Instead, the state makes it optional for private employers to choose whether to purchase the plan or not. So if you suffer from a scaffolding or ladder fall injury, the first action you should take is to confirm if your employer has insurance coverage. Employers are legally obligated to provide this information to you, and you can double-check for accuracy through the state’s online database.
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation coverage, you cannot file a claim. Instead, you must seek compensation for your injury through the workers’ compensation claim system. On the flip side, if your employer does not subscribe to workers’ comp, you can file a lawsuit just like you would for other types of personal injury cases. It is important to note, if you are an independent contractor, you cannot file a claim against your employer.
Report the Injury to Your Employer Immediately
Before anything else, you want to notify your employer soon enough that you have sustained a workplace injury. The law dictates that failing to do so within 30 days after an accident may cost you your workers’ compensation benefits.
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation coverage and you wait for too long before reporting your injury, the insurance company may use that to intimidate you. They may argue that the accident did not occur at your workplace or that it wasn’t severe enough to warrant compensation.
After reporting your injury, the employer is obligated to direct you on how to seek medical care. If there’s a provision about health care networks in the workers’ comp insurance, you’ll need to choose a doctor in that network. At your first medical appointment, don’t forget to inform the doctor that you sustained your workplace injuries.
Some injuries are always apparent, for example, bleeding wounds, broken bones, or loss of consciousness. Others, like soft tissue damage or muscle strains, usually take a day or two before beginning to cause pain. Regardless of the time after the incident, you should report any work accident immediately you start feeling discomfort or pain.
Please don’t avoid seeking care, afraid that your boss may confront or fire you for reporting the incident. That’s illegal for your boss to retaliate in this manner. If your boss is the aggressive type and you’re scared of what would unfold after reporting, let your workers’ compensation attorney handle the situation on your behalf.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Scaffolding Accident
Once you’ve informed your employer of the ladder or scaffolding accident, and they’ve confirmed that you have suffered an injury, the next step is seeking the necessary forms and instructions for filing your worker’s compensation claim. If your employer does not provide you with the forms and information, contact your State’s Worker’s Compensation Office for more information about the forms plus the deadline.
Alternatively, instead of going through the hassle of seeking and filing the forms in person, you can do everything through the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) online filing system. You’ll be required to provide details about you, your employer, your workstation, and your injury. And at the bottom of the form, you will find comprehensive instructions on how to handle the questions.
Please note that you must file the form within one year after your scaffolding or ladder fall. Again, missing out on the deadline may result in you getting denied your workers’ compensation benefits. After submitting your claim, the DWC will alert both your employer and the insurance provider. The insurer will then evaluate the request and decide whether to deny or accept it.
What Happens if Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Not Approved?
It’s not always a guarantee that the insurance company will accept your workers’ comp claim. Besides missing the deadline or failing to inform your employer promptly, other reasons why your claim may be denied include:
- Working under the influence at the time of injury
- Your employer disputes your injury claim for not being work-related
- You filed the claim after leaving the job or being laid off
- Your injury culminated from violating company rules
- Your condition doesn’t meet state guidelines
All the same, if you’re confident that your claim was denied illegitimately, you have the right to appeal the decision. Usually, you will receive a denial letter explaining the insurance coverage and when and how you can dispute the claim denial by filing an appeal. The deadline for appealing ranges between 30 to 90 days, and missing on it completely scraps your chances of getting compensated.
Contested hearings usually follow strict procedural rules, and it is not uncommon to get overwhelmed or confused during the appellate process. You can lift that burden off your shoulders by reaching out to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guarantee getting compensated what you deserve.
After a successful settlement, you’ll want to ensure that the funds awarded to you reflect in your account as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will see this through by settling any tax implications regarding personal injury.
Thompson Law is Here to Help
If you have additional questions regarding your ladder or scaffolding accident, please do not hesitate to call us at Thompson Law. Our workers’ comp lawyers are on standby 24/7 ready to help you navigate your claim, from start to finish. For more information and help on how to pursue compensation for your ladder, scaffolding accident, or any other workplace injury, contact us today for a 100% free consultation.