If you suffer a work-related spinal cord injury (SCI) and your employer doesn't subscribe to workers' compensation, you can still seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages. While most other states require employers to carry workers' compensation insurance, subscribing to workers' comp is optional in Texas.
Texas Non-Subscribing Employers
All employers in Texas are required to provide their employees with ordinary care, which includes adequate training and supervision, a safe workplace, and prudent conduct toward workers. Companies that do not subscribe to workers' comp are expected to set up their own work-related injury compensation programs. Their employees, if hurt in the course of performing their job duties, are entitled to medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
You vs. Your Non-Subscriber Employer
In a case involving a minor injury with low medical bills and little or no lost income, you and your employer might work together in an amicable fashion to see that you receive the benefits you deserve. A SCI, however, is not minor. It can result in astronomical medical bills, significant lost income, and permanent disabilities. To avoid the tremendous expense of such a claim, your employer is likely to become your adversary in a SCI case. When this happens, you need the services of an experienced work injury attorney to help you seek fair compensation.
Work-Related Spinal Cord Injuries
A slip-and-fall mishap, a collision in a company vehicle, or being struck by a heavy falling object can result in a dangerous impact on your spinal cord. Such impact can pinch the nerves in your spinal column and dislocate or fracture your vertebrae. In some cases, bone fragments can penetrate the spinal cord tissue and cause chronic, excruciating pain as well as long-term or permanent loss of mobility. The most serious SCIs can result in paralysis.
Complete and Incomplete SCI Symptoms
A complete SCI leaves you with no feeling or mobility below the point where your spine is injured. You could end up paraplegic (paralyzed from the trunk down) or quadriplegic (paralyzed from the neck down), depending on where your spine was traumatized. An incomplete SCI leaves you with some sensation and mobility below the point where your spinal injury occurred. The early symptoms of a SCI include:
- Pressure or pain in the back, neck, or head
- Tingling or numbness in extremities
- Loss of hearing
- Breathing difficulty
- Mobility, coordination, or balance problems
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
Even if no symptoms are evident immediately after you suffer trauma to your back, you should schedule a medical exam as soon as possible. Your doctor's diagnostic tests might reveal a SCI of which you're not aware. Prompt diagnosis and treatment increase your chances of recovery and give you important documentation for your injury claim.
The Role of Your Lawyer
A SCI is one of the most serious and expensive injuries you can sustain on the job. You could require surgery, other costly medical treatment, and disability care for an indefinite amount of time. SCI victims also suffer serious non-economic damages for life. Your attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve by:
- Proving that your employer's negligence caused your injury
- Working with your doctors to organize and present your medical evidence
- Calling in expert witnesses to testify as to the impact of your SCI on your life
- Calculating your present and future medical expenses and potential lost income
- Putting a dollar amount on your physical pain and suffering, as well as your emotional trauma
- Filing a lawsuit demanding adequate compensation and negotiating for a fair settlement
- Taking your case to trial if a reasonable award is not offered
Have You Suffered a Work-Related SCI in Texas?
If so, you should report your injury to your employer right away, gather any evidence you can from the scene of your accident, get contact information from witnesses to your injury, seek medical care immediately, and consult an experienced work injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 281-688-6880 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.