San Antonio Legal Blog

What if an injury prevents you from working?

Employees in Texas who are injured on the job have a number of concerns, and the top of the list usually relates to paying bills, especially if is an injury that prevents them from working for a long time. To help out those who have a disability due to a workplace injury, the government has a social security program that can help for a certain amount of time. 

According to the Social Security Administration, injured workers need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for disability benefits. The employee needs to have worked in jobs that are eligible for social security, and for a minimum amount of time. The injury needs to meet the disability definition, which means the employee is unable to perform the same job as before, is unable to work in another position and will be unable to work for at least 12 months. Those who meet the criteria receive money on a monthly basis, and these payments continue until the worker is able to return to a paying position.  

Heat illness hazards in the gas and oil industry

The weather and your general working conditions can pose life-threatening hazards if you work on an oil rig in Texas. The threats of heat-related illnesses are real. Weather conditions at most drill sites could include excessive heat from the sun along with high levels of humidity. While most of your activities might be in the open, the times you have to enter confined spaces can exacerbate the risks of heat stress.

You might be a conscientious worker, but the faster you work, the more heat your body generates, and if it cannot cope with regulating the core body temperature, heat illness can set in. Your employer should train all employees to recognize the symptoms of heat stress and teach them how to respond when they notice initial telltale signs of the illness to avoid emergencies.

Poor weather and large truck crashes

A number of factors may cause a large truck collision, whether a trucker is suffering from fatigue or has consumed drugs or alcohol behind the wheel. For other drivers, these examples of negligent behavior are very concerning and can result in a fatal crash. However, there are many other reasons why people continue to pass away and sustain major injuries in truck accidents, some of which may be out of a truck driver's control. For example, poor weather has played a role in many traffic accidents and large trucks can be especially dangerous when ice or snow is present on the road, among other hazards such as heavy rain and strong wind.

Not only do large trucks require additional time to come to a stop, but the sheer size of the vehicles can pose a major risk when a truck driver loses control because of inclement weather conditions. That said, there have also been truck crashes which involved both poor weather and a truck driver's careless behavior. For example, a trucker may drive too fast and lose control after driving over a patch of ice around a turn. Or, strong winds may blow debris onto the roadway, such as a tree, which can also lead to a collision.

How Can I Prevent Blindness at My Place of Work?

In some Texas workplaces the risk of eye injuries is severe, especially manufacturing and machining plants. Not only can an eye injury impact a worker’s ability to earn a living, it can also result in permanent vision loss in some cases. Accordingly, it’s important for employers to take steps to prevent eye injuries, and PreventBlindness.org offers tips on how you can do just that.

If you provide routine physical exams for employees, make sure eye exams are a part of the process. Untreated vision issues can lead to problems at work, especially when workers must use heavy machinery or other potentially dangerous equipment. Ensuring their vision is good can prevent a workplace accident from occurring, including damaging eye injuries.

Nighttime driving can be deadly

People who drive along the streets of San Antonio, Texas, often remain on the roads once the sun has set. Once nighttime arrives, there are often drivers who are rushing to meet with friends, coming home from work or simply running errands late into the night. The danger lies in the fact that deadly car accidents are three times more likely to occur at night than they are during the day, according to the National Safety Council. Although driving at any hour of the day can be dangerous, driving at night poses a greater risk to drivers of all ages. It is important to keep in mind these hidden dangers and to drive accordingly in an effort to avoid becoming the next victim of a catastrophic accident.

Why is it more hazardous to drive at night as opposed to during the day? For one, the night can decrease a person’s ability to see clearly. Bright headlights and a lack of natural sunlight can make it hard to distinguish an approaching vehicle’s speed and distance. It can also affect drivers’ peripheral vision. This is especially true for drivers over the age of 50, as the NSC reports this age group requires nearly twice as much light to see as drivers who are younger.

Does your employer have to offer workers' compensation?

You likely go to work every day in San Antonio confident that if you were to be injured in an accident while on the job, your employer would take of you (after all, that is what workers' compensation insurance is for, right). Getting the news, then, that your employer does not carry such coverage can be quite jarring. Like most, you probably assumed that all companies are required to carry workers' compensation for their employees. Many states do indeed make such coverage mandatory; is Texas one of them? 

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the answer to that question is no. Private companies in the state are allowed to opt-out of carrying such coverage, provided that they let the state's Division of Workers' Compensation know of their intentions on an annual basis. This does not mean, however, that all is lost as far your injury case is concerned; on the contrary, it might make it easier for you to get compensation for your accident expenses. 

Safety Advice For Texas Oil Field Workers

Did you know that your job in the oil patch is more likely to claim your life than any other job? The oil and gas industry is not only the backbone of the economy in Texas but also for thousands of families who see their loved ones leave for work every day, never knowing whether they will make it home safely. Stressful working conditions, the negligence of others and faulty equipment are but some of the causes of catastrophic injuries and death in the oil patch.

If you are aware of the primary hazards of your job and know how to recognize them, you can take precautions to protect yourself from harm. While the list of dangers is endless, some oil field accidents are more prevalent than others.

What Is Distracted Driving and How Can I Prevent It?

Among the many hazards facing drivers in San Antonio, distracted driving ranks pretty high. More than just using a mobile device behind the wheel, distracted driving encompasses a range of seemingly innocuous behaviors, including conversing with passengers and eating behind the wheel. To prevent potentially deadly accidents from occurring, the Federal Communications Commission offers the following advice.

Set an Example for Other Drivers

Detailing maintenance and cure benefits

Working on an oil rig off the coast of Texas is undoubtedly exciting, which is likely one of the reasons you were drawn to such a career. However, it also presents a number of inherent risks, which is why drilling and excavation ranks among the most dangerous industries. Those who work in the same environment as you often come to us here at The Law Offices of Miller & Bicklein, P.C. after having been involved in workplace accidents expecting their expenses to be covered by traditional workers' compensation. Depending on the circumstances of such accidents, assistance may actually come from a different source. 

When working offshore, you may technically qualify as a maritime worker, in which case you are covered under a federal law known as "The Jones Act." Per this law, you are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits if you happen to be injured in the service of your vessel (or in this case, your rig). According to details of The Jones Act (as shared by the Cornell Law School), maintenance payments cover your daily living expenses while you are out of work, while cure payments are meant to pay for your medical treatment. 

How to reduce accidents with large trucks

Drivers in Texas need to share the road with large trucks of all kinds. Accidents involving cars and trucks can be disastrous because of the size of the larger vehicles. Drivers of cars should be aware of the additional hazards and drive defensively when in the vicinity of trucks to reduce the number of severe crashes.

Many car drivers think truck drivers are the cause of the majority of accidents, but this is not necessarily the case. The National Traffic Safety Institute reports that in more than half of fatal collisions the driver of the automobile was at fault, and that the majority of crashes occur during the day and in good weather. To avoid accidents, automobile drivers need to follow certain safety protocols on the road. These include:

  • Leaving extra space when stopped or driving behind a large truck
  • Staying outside of trucks' large blind spots
  • Planning for more time when passing a truck
  • Avoiding being positioned in between two large trucks on multi-lane highways
  • Slowing down while being passed by a large truck to avoid reduced visibility  

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