Hello, first off, I want to begin by saying that I work in construction (we do tile work), and as I was setting a mesh/net on the floor, before proceeding to install the tile, and when we were about to finish installing the net I tried to stand on my feet but instead I hit a ceramic cook-top and I immediately fell to the ground twisting around the floor in excruciating pain. like I already said, I hurt my back at my job on 5/13/13, but kept on going back to work until this past Tuesday when I just couldn't handle the pain anymore. I told my boss that I needed to see a doctor, so I asked him for the day and he said yes, no problem. But now that I wanna go back to work he's not answering my phone calls, therefore, I'd like to know if I can proceed legally against him. What are my options?
Employment / Labor Attorney
Has your doctor cleared you to return to work? Have you been ordered to take time off or perform a lighter workload? Are you looking for your employer to pay your medical bills and any ongoing treatment?
If you plan on filling a workers compensation claim for the injury you should speak with an attorney in the DFW area that practices workers compensation. There might also be an issue with your employer refusing to talk to you because he expects you to file workers compensation.
In addition to the workers compensation issue, or if you do not expect to file a workers compensation claim, your employer MIGHT be large enough to be subject to FMLA, which might protect your right to medical leave and to return to your position at the end of the leave. FMLA applies if your employer has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius and it applies to you if you have worked for your employer for at least a year and you have worked at least 1250 hours in the last twelve months. You would want to speak with an employment attorney in the DFW area that practices FMLA if you are not contemplating a workers compensation claim.
If you are an independent contractor instead of an employee you would not be protected under FMLA or workers compensation. Instead you might have some contractual remedies under your service contract.
Personal Injury Lawyer
In Texas employers may be subscribers or non-subscribers to the Texas workers compensation system. If your employer is a subscriber, you have thirty days to notify your employer that you were injured on the job and one year to file a claim with the Division of workers compensation. If your employer is a non-subscriber, you generally have two years to file a claim of negligence against your employer.
If you are ready recovered, and your employer is terminating you for missing work, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. Texas is a "right to work" state which makes wrongful termination difficult. However, if your employer is a subscriber, you may fall under a 451 claim.
If you have any questions, call my office at (214)357-1782. Good luck.