Hurt at Work in Another State—What Should I Do?

April 12th, 2021|Workplace Accidents|

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and globalized, so does work. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in some economic activity, essential workers have still been called on consistently to put their safety on the line to help keep our country running. Whether you’re an essential worker or not—and whether you’ve been working remotely or on-site—sometimes your job can have you working across state or national borders to perform your duties. But what happens if you’re hurt at work away from home?

Steps to Take Immediately After Being Injured

The steps you take after being injured will vary on the type of injury you’ve suffered. But usually work-related accidents that happen out of state will fall into two main categories: workplace injuries and vehicular accidents.

If you’re injured on the job while at a workplace (i.e. another office, a construction site, an oilfield, etc.) there are a few steps you should take immediately:

  1. Get to safety—if you’re injured in an area with hazardous conditions, the first thing you should do is make sure to get yourself to a safe place as soon as possible to protect yourself and minimize your risk of additional injury.
  2. Report the Injury—employers usually have policies requiring on-the-job injuries to be promptly reported. Make sure to follow internal procedures and report the workplace injury to your employer immediately if possible. Be careful about what you say in any statements or reports, whether written or verbal, however, because your words may be used by the company/insurance company to deny you compensation for your injury.
  3. Obtain Medical Treatment—once you’re safe and have reported the injury, you should get medical treatment for your injuries. Receiving prompt medical treatment helps to protect your health and document the extent of your injury.
  4. Track Missed Work and Other Expenses—if you suffer a serious injury, you may have to miss some work to recover. Depending on your situation, this time away from work may be paid or unpaid. It’s important to keep track of any income (including earned sick days) you’ve lost as a result of the injury so that you can be properly compensated for your injury. You should also keep track of any other expenses you incur as a result of your injury, including things like medical care, medications, equipment, transportation, and delivery services you wouldn’t normally use if you were uninjured. By documenting these expenses, you help maximize your ability to recover for all of the damages you’ve suffered due to your workplace injury.
  5. Contact an Attorney to Protect Your Rights—being injured on the job may leave you feeling scared or confused. It’s important to consult with top-rated work injury lawyers like the experienced attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our work injury attorneys today.

Work-related injuries aren’t confined to the workplace. You also might suffer a serious injury while traveling for work, including being hit by an 18-wheeler.

If you’re hit by an 18-wheeler, in addition to the above steps, there are some other steps you should take immediately:

  1. Call 911—calling the police to document the accident scene is important—and legally required in some jurisdictions—for insurance purposes and helps provide evidence of your claims and injuries. First responders can also help treat any injuries and arrange for additional medical treatment, if necessary.
  2. Exchange Information—if you’re hit by an 18-wheeler, it’s important to get the other driver’s information, including their full name and any contact information, their insurance information (company & policy number), and driver’s license number. This will make it easier for you to protect your rights and position you to be compensated for your injuries.
  3. Document the Accident—get the information (names, agencies, and badge numbers) for any officers who arrive on the scene, get a copy of the accident report, take pictures of the damage and the locations of the vehicles, write down the names of any witnesses or other passengers, and record the other vehicle’s information (license plate number, make, model, color, the company they work for, etc.). This information should make it easier for you to prove your case.
  4. Contact an Attorney to Protect Your Rights—being injured in an 18-wheeler crash while working can leave you shaken and worried. You also need to be careful not to unintentionally do something that may hurt your case. To make sure you’re protecting your rights to receive full compensation for your injuries, it’s important to consult with top-rated 18-wheeler-injury lawyers like the experienced attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation with our trial attorneys today.

How Does Workers’ Comp Work if I’m Injured Out of State?

Depending on your home state and your employer, your injury may or may not be covered by workers’ compensation. If you’re a Texan who suffered a work injury in another state, Texas Labor Code Section 406.071 lays out the rules for extraterritorial workers’ comp coverage:

(a) An employee who is injured while working in another jurisdiction or the employee’s legal beneficiary is entitled to all rights and remedies under this subtitle if:

(1) the injury would be compensable if it had occurred in this state; and

(2) the employee has significant contacts with this state or the employment is principally located in this state.

(b) An employee has significant contacts with this state if the employee was hired or recruited in this state and the employee:

(1) was injured not later than one year after the date of hire; or

(2) has worked in this state for at least 10 working days during the 12 months preceding the date of injury.

Texas Labor Code §406.071.

In other words, if you’re injured in a way that would entitle you to worker’s compensation if it had occurred in Texas, you should also be entitled to worker’s compensation under the law.

Alternatively, some employers may purchase extraterritorial coverage for their workers’ compensation insurance for situations that wouldn’t otherwise be covered. There also may be situations where you can elect to receive workers’ compensation benefits under the laws of the state where you were injured rather than your home state. To better understand all of your rights and make an informed decision about the best way to proceed, it’s important that you speak to a lawyer experienced in work injuries, like the top-rated personal injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP. Click here to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our work injury attorneys today.

What Are My Options if I’m Injured Out of State?

Which State Has Jurisdiction?

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to sue in your home state or the state where you were injured. Among other things, your ability to sue a person or business will depend on whether a certain state has something called “personal jurisdiction” over that defendant. Personal (or “in personam”) jurisdiction refers to a court’s ability to exercise its power over a person/entity. A court’s ability to exercise that jurisdiction is governed by statutes and limited by the Constitution, specifically the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. As the United States Supreme Court explained in International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945), “due process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’”  Put another way: it is unconstitutional for a court to exercise jurisdiction over a person or entity who doesn’t have enough of a connection with that state for them to fairly expect to be sued there. Whether a state has personal jurisdiction over a defendant can be a complex question, so it’s important to get advice from experienced litigators like the top-rated trial attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP to make sure your case is filed in the right forum.

Which State’s Laws Apply?

Regardless of which state you might be able to sue in, there may also be differences in which state’s law applies to your case that could affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries. Determining which state’s law will apply to your claims can be impacted by several things including state choice of law rules and contractual choice of law provisions. Contractual choice of law provisions usually won’t apply to injuries like car accidents, but they may apply to suits against your employer for a work injury. Sometimes different states can have important differences in their substantive laws, so it’s important that you have an attorney who understands how to best leverage favorable law and avoid unfavorable law when arguing that a particular state’s law should apply to a given dispute to help you recover the maximum amount to which you’re entitled under the law.

Contact a Work Injury Attorney for Help

No matter where you were injured or who injured you, defendants and their insurance companies are going to try everything in their power to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. That’s one reason it’s important to consult with experienced work injury attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP to help you protect your rights and ensure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation as soon as possible.