Number of Texans Hurt at Work Unknown Says Perlmutter & Schuelke
Dec 28, 2015
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 28, 2015 – The exact number of deaths in the construction industry in Texas is not known. Some are not reported. Some are poorly documented. Texas workers are moving targets, and proper documentation can mean the difference between a worker receiving medical care or having to fend for him- or herself.
Every day in Texas is a workday for construction workers. They may be truck drivers, carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters or oil workers. They all face danger daily, such as truck crashes, falling from scaffolding, electrocution or serious hand and arm injuries.
The federal government says that there are about three million serious injuries in the workplace every year; a figure the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say is “undoubtedly only a fraction of the true number.” The disturbing fact is that less than 40 percent of eligible workers even file claims for workers’ compensation.
The state Division of Workers’ Compensation also mentioned in its recent report that it seemed workplace injuries had declined. Among the reasons cited was “the possibility of under-reporting workplace injuries and illnesses.”
Workplace accidents are supposed to be documented properly, with enough detail to allow the worker to get proper medical care and support covered by insurance. Otherwise, many are left to their own devices trying to subsist on social welfare, aid from the government and other public programs.
“There is a fine line between reporting properly and in a timely manner, and not reporting accurately or at all,” said experienced workplace injury attorney Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC in Austin, Texas. A few extra lines of explanation on an injury reporting form may mean the difference between pain and injury being taken care of with due diligence or a worker living in agony for years, struggling to keep going.
OSHA further suggests that their study reveals the majority of workplace accidents are not documented by employers, thus any estimates relating to injured workers is likely far higher than guesstimates.
Employers and insurance companies do not always take the time to complete the required documentation, and as a result it is not clear how many Texans are hurt at work. This phenomenon is not just prevalent in Texas. It affects every State.
Consider the case of a carpenter who put his hand through a concrete wall and developed painful cellulitis over a period of six weeks. The injury did not look that harmful at first, just some scrapes and cuts, so the worker’s employer refused to send him to a clinic or report the injury. Thirty days later the supervisor took the carpenter to a clinic that refused treatment for a workplace injury that old.
The worker was told to lie and say the injury was more recent. In excruciating pain and in need of medical help, he did so. He landed in hospital for a week. The insurance company said the injury was not reported in time and would not cover him. During a benefits review he almost had his claim completely written off over when he actually reported the injury.
The carpenter is now unable to work as his hand is hypersensitive and hurts when doing manual labor. He was fired from his job after being there for 22 years.
“It took a determined attorney and numerous statements from co-workers to confirm his story before the insurance company agreed to cover him,” Schuelke said. Had it not been for the attorney marshalling the additional testimonials, the carpenter would have likely been left struggling to get justice and compensation for his infection.
“There are more carpenters and other workers just like him on jobsites in Texas. If you sustain an injury at the workplace tell as many people as you can about it, including the supervisor. If the supervisor does nothing, seek legal counsel immediately. My office handles workplace injuries and you are welcome here,” said Schuelke.
Even if one’s employer does not carry worker’s compensation, one may still have alternatives. Don’t give up on the idea of making a claim without talking to an injury attorney.
Learn more at http://www.civtrial.com
Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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