More than one in five Americans say they have been injured on the job, according to a Findlaw.com survey. Especially if you are an oil field or oil drilling worker, you may have seen or experienced things like back injuries, hand and finger injuries, amputations, catastrophic injuries and tragic accidents.
After your injury, you may be wondering things like how much you will be paid by workers’ compensation as you recover, how long you will be allowed to be away from work to recover and whether your job is secure and will still be there when you are ready to return to work. Here are answers to those common questions:
How much money can I get?
As with many legal issues, this depends on the individual circumstance. However, there are guidelines that may give you an idea of how much you will be paid by workers’ compensation insurance if your claim is approved. Texas state law requires the benefits to equal 70 percent of your pre-injury wages, if you qualify for Temporary Income Benefits (TIBs), up to $861 per week, but that weekly amount changes. If you earned less than $8.50 per hour before your injury, your benefits for the first 26 weeks will equal 75 percent of your pre-injury wages. The same applies if you earn less than $10 per hour and were injured on or after Sept. 1, 2015. Regardless of your wages, your benefits will also pay for all of your medical bills, with nothing out-of-pocket for you. This includes prescriptions and even round-trip mileage to the hospital.
How long can I be off work?
It depends on the situation, but typically an average workers’ compensation claim gives six to 18 months away from work (or partially away from work, and gradually increasing work hours as you are medically able). In rare cases, the claim could last up to two years, plus additional benefits.
Will my job be protected?
There is no specific state law that protects your job while you are out of work because of an injury and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, federal law and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take job-protected leave for medical reasons up to 12 weeks. There are also state provisions that may protect your job. If you are wrongfully terminated due to a work-related injury, an attorney can help you seek justice.