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Filing a Claim

1. I've been injured on the job. What do I do next?

First, report the injury to your supervisor and make sure a written claim is filed with the insurance, or at least that you have proof of when you reported the injury (such as a note, email, text message, or letter) and when the employer received it.

Two, seek medical attention! Not only is this important for your health and recovery, documenting the injury early and often is important as medical evidence to prove both that you are hurt and how it happened. A good attorney can help you find a doctor that will not only give good medical care, but document your claim properly with the insurance company and fight hard for treatments and testing to be approved in a timely manner.

Three, file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation. This must be done within one year of the injury date. You can do this online HERE. It is always wise to consider legal counsel before filing a claim because the wording of a claim is very important, and the insurance will always try to use the language in your injury claim against you.

2. My boss says I can't file workers' comp because I waited more than 24 hours to file a claim. Is this true?

Not at all. Either out of ignorance or malice, many supervisors will try to discourage you from filing a claim if you did not report it immediately. Often company policy may require you to report the injury in 24 hours, or before the end of your shift, but Texas law makes no such requirement and company policy will not keep you from meeting the legal requirements to get benefits.

Texas law requires that you report your injury to the employer (meaning someone in a supervisory capacity over you) within 30 days from the date of injury. In a typical "accident" case, where the injury results from a specific event (such as a car wreck, a slip and fall, or a lifting injury), that means thirty days from the date of the event.

The 30 day reporting deadline is usually construed very strictly by insurance companies. However, there may be some legally recognized exceptions to the thirty day requirement in your case.

The law provides that if your injury was very minor, you can be excused for "trivializing" the injury. But that does not extend your deadline to report the injury indefinitely. You still must report the injury immediately once it becomes clear the injury is serious.

If your injury results from repetitive activities, overuse, or bad ergonomics at your workstation, your 30 days to report the injury runs from the date you know, or reasonably should have known, that you had an injury related to work. This is a dangerous trap for many employees, as most will want to wait to confirm with certainty either the diagnosis or that it is truly work-related. The law does not allow an employee who knows he or she has a medical condition related to work to wait until a firm diagnosis is established to report the injury, or until receiving a formal report from a doctor stating that fact. It is always best to report the injury early and withdraw the claim later if medical testing shows the work was not a factor in the injury.

Even if you fail to file within 30 days, there can be legal loopholes that will allow you to get compensation regardless. It is important to seek an attorney's assitance to determine if such a provision applies to your case, but it is never wise to rely on this if at all avoidable.

3. How do I file a claim?

You may file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation, by printing and filling out a form DWC-41. You can download that form HERE. Once completed, you must file this form with the local field office of the TDI-DWC. Find the closest field office HERE.

Or you can mail the form to this address:

Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation

7551 Metro Center Drive, Suite 100 MS-93

Austin, TX, 78744-1645

Or, you may complete the online injury report through TXCOMP. Link HERE. When you complete this form, it automatically registers a claim with the TDI-DWC system and

generates a "DWC number" that the state uses to identify and track your claim. You will need this number when dealing with the TDI-DWC. If you file without an attorney, you will need to provide this number to him.

Please note this files a claim with the state of Texas but you still must notify your employer. A good way to do that is hand-delivering, mailing, emailing, or faxing a copy of your DWC-41 or a printout of the online report through TXCOMP.

Contact San Antonio Workers Compensation and Accident Lawyer Alan Tysinger

Suffering an on the job injury or losing a loved one to an accident is an emotional and difficult challenge. Battling with insurance and getting the right legal answers is something you won't want to do alone. Attorney Alan Tysinger has experience and know-how to get to the truth of your injury case and hold the insurance or employer accountable. You can get a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio by calling toll-free 866-957-2667 or send a message online.