Recently, the Houston Press shared the story of Andrew Ellis. Mr. Ellis was a truck driver who was making a delivery outside of San Antonio. As he was unloading PVC pipes from the bed of his truck, the pipes slipped and he fell backwards. During his fall, he felt his left knee pop. While he had a feeling that his boot laces caught a rivet as he was falling, he couldn’t remember for sure. So when he spoke with his employer’s insurance company, he said that his knee gave out.
By using that phrase, Ellis blocked his ability to receive any kind of insurance benefits. The reason those two words cost Ellis so much is the insurance company stated that a knee giving out does not meet the definition of an accident or of an injury. Although the insurance company had no trouble denying his claim based on that phrase, Ellis was seriously injured and dealing with significant pain.
Unable to walk, Ellis didn’t go to work and was fired by his employer. This caused him to lose his apartment and he ended up sleeping in a church storage room. Ellis limped in pain for 15 months until he was finally able to have surgery. And that only happened because his lawyer signed a letter of protection. After struggling and fighting for 33 months, Ellis finally received a compensation payment.
Workers’ Compensation is Not Required in Texas
Why did it take almost three years for Andrew Ellis to receive any type of compensation for a serious and obvious injury sustained while doing his job? While it may seem like simple bad luck for using the phrase ‘gave out,’ the situation Ellis found himself in is actually quite reflective of many other people who are injured in Houston or anywhere else in Texas.
The reason a workplace injury victim may get stuck in a long legal cycle is the state of Texas doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation. Around 470,000 people in Texas are entirely on their own if they get hurt, and another 1.4 million are covered by non-subscription policies. With that type of policy, an employer can put guidelines in place that make it very difficult for an injured employee to claim any benefits for what happened to them.
How a Houston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help Injured Employees
Given that Texas seems to puts employers in a position of power, injured employees may be left wondering what they can do to pursue compensation for an injury. The best answer to that question is to get in touch with a Houston workers’ compensation lawyer. Regardless of whether or not an employer carries workers’ compensation coverage, a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases will be able to evaluate their client’s situation and propose the best course of action.
Although the process of securing any type of compensation in Houston may still take a considerable amount of time, a Houston workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that everything remains on the right track.