What is the process for workers' compensation in Texas?

When you become injured on the job in Texas, you may be entitled to workers' compensation. However, there is an important process you need to follow to improve the chances of a quick and positive result for your workers' compensation claim, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

The very first action you need to take after the accident is to notify your employer. You have 30 days to file the report, but it is often best to get the report started right away when possible. Of course, if you have a major injury or need immediate assistance, then get checked by a doctor first and worry about filing any reports later.

Next, you need to find a doctor to treat you, since some physicians do not handle injuries and illnesses that fall under workers' compensation. Your primary care physician might be able to help you or refer you to someone. In an emergency, you should go to a hospital or urgent care facility. You might find it beneficial to talk with your employer to find out whether there is a certified workers' compensation health care network under which you need to find a doctor for your care. Working with a doctor under their insurance might speed up your claim process.

After you have handled your initial medical care, it is important that you file a claim either online or through the mail within one year of the incident to the Texas Department of Insurance. The form you need is the "DWC Form-041 Employee's Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease."

Your employer might also have other paperwork you need to fill out beyond the initial injury report and workers' compensation claim. They will also need to be regularly updated on your work status, including when you are cleared to return to work, if applicable. Your employer's insurance carrier might also need additional information, including the medical report, change of employment status, date of injury, and a copy of the DWC Form-041.

Your employer's workers' compensation insurer will assess the claim and decide whether or not to approve it. Upon approval, you will receive your benefits. If it is denied, you have the right to appeal. You also can appeal if you feel the benefits are not sufficient. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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