Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides financial and medical benefits to employees after a work-related injury or illness. In most cases, the trade-off is that employees can’t file lawsuits against an employer that offers workers’ compensation coverage.
Texas is the only state that doesn’t require employers to subscribe to state-run workers’ compensation. Many businesses, like HEB, opt out of this coverage and offer employees a custom set of benefits. However, since HEB does not participate in Texas’s workers’ compensation program, injured employees can still file lawsuits to pay for their injuries.
Armstrong, Lee & Baker LLP can help if you get hurt on the job at HEB. We can ensure you receive HEB workers’ compensation, and if not, our attorneys can help take legal action to get you the compensation you deserve.
The Basics of an HEB Workers’ Compensation Claim
HEB is a non-subscriber because it offers its own workers’ compensation program. Personal injury claims against non-subscribers are similar to ordinary negligence lawsuits. To get compensation, you must show that HEB caused your injuries.
In most situations, your claim will assert these four elements:
- Duty—HEB owed you a duty to keep you safe while at work;
- Breach—HEB breached that duty by failing to adhere to the proper standard of care;
- Causation—HEB’s breach of its duty caused you to be injured;
- Injury—you suffered actual injuries or other harms due to the incident.
What’s more, Texas law prevents non-subscribers like HEB from raising many common defenses in negligence cases. With these restrictions, you can receive compensation even if you share some blame for your work-related injury.
Common Injuries in HEB
Grocery stores like HEB may appear clean and organized, but these workplaces can be full of hidden dangers. Employees face many risks, even when completing what appear to be routine tasks. We’ve compiled some of the typical injuries we see in HEB employees.
Cuts and Lacerations
Most products come packaged in boxes and pallets. Employees must use sharp knives to open these shipments. Managers must train employees to open these packages properly and provide the right tools to keep workers safe.
Likewise, HEB stores have busy delis and kitchens. Employees in these areas use slicers, knives, and other tools to prepare products. HEB is responsible for any cuts or lacerations that happen during the performance of these duties.
Stores often have high shelves full of heavy objects on the main floor and in stockrooms. HEB must ensure shelves don’t create a hazard for shoppers or workers. But in many cases, managers and other employees neglect this duty. As a result, shelves become crowded and dangerous over time. Eventually, an object will fall and hit an employee, leading to severe injury.
HEB often requires its workers to pick up heavy products and equipment. However, many employees don’t have the proper training or assistive equipment to lift these objects safely. As a result, they overexert themselves and suffer from muscle strains and other lifting injuries.
Slips and Falls
Grocery stores often have wet floors and cluttered aisles. These hazards can cause workers to lose their footing and fall. Even a minor fall can lead to serious harm, such as broken bones and brain injuries. HEB must prevent this harm by conducting regular floor inspections, cleaning up spills, and placing wet floor signs.
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How Can I File an HEB Workers’ Compensation Claim?
HEB doesn’t make it easy to get compensation for your workplace injury. Follow these steps to maximize the strength of your claim.
Report the Injury to Your Supervisor
Notify your superior as soon as possible after the injury. Explain what happened and any pain you feel. Your supervisor will report your injury through proper channels within HEB. This step creates a record of your injury, which will be crucial for proving liability.
Also, do not sign anything during this process. HEB may ask you to agree to terms that can prevent you from getting fully compensated. If this happens, politely request to speak with an attorney before signing.
Seek Medical Care
HEB may offer to send you to a doctor to evaluate your injuries. The physician will diagnose your condition and determine whether you can return to work.
It is not uncommon for the physician to say you are ready to return to work, even if you are still in pain. If this happens, you can see another provider for a second opinion. However, it is unlikely that HEB will pay for this second visit.
Document Evidence Related to the Incident
Keep all records that demonstrate HEB’s liability or the extent of your injuries. These can include photos or videos of the store, medical records, and witness statements from coworkers. An attorney may need these records to hold HEB responsible when seeking compensation.
Speak with an Attorney
A lawyer is an advocate who can help you during this process. Attorneys understand the tactics employers use to undervalue injuries and take advantage of workers. By working with a lawyer, you can ensure HEB complies with Texas law regarding your injuries. If the company denies or undervalues your claim, your attorney can begin legal action to help you get fair compensation.
What Compensation Can I Receive?
You can request economic and noneconomic damages when filing a personal injury claim against non-subscribers like HEB.
Economic damages are costs you incur due to the injury. Examples include medical expenses, prescription costs, lost wages, and rehabilitation. Noneconomic damages are unquantifiable harms caused by the injury. Examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The total value of your claim can be much greater than the benefits HEB might initially offer. That is why it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.
Speak with a Texas Personal Injury Attorney
Do not accept anything from HEB without consulting with Armstrong, Lee & Baker LLP. An attorney from our firm can review your HEB workers’ comp case and recommend legal options. Our attorneys have recovered millions for injured workers and can help get justice for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.