Tate Rehmet Law Offices injury attorneys are here to assist with labor & employment issues related to the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Our job injury attorneys are watching for changes in labor law at the local, state, and federal levels of government and policy. And, we are guiding clients in regard to these legal developments, helping them to understand their rights if they have been injured in the workplace or due to employer negligence. Tate Law Offices stands ready to assist with these and other pandemic-related labor and workplace injury disputes in Sherman, Dallas, Fort Worth and all of Texas, including, Amarillo, Witchita Falls, Carthage, Haltom City, Houston, North Richland Hills, Vernon, Seguin, Center, Lufkin, San Antonio, Waco, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Moore County (Cactus) and other cities or counties that are home to thousands of workers exposed to the virus while at work.
Many employees have routinely been denied protective masks, social and physical distancing restrictions, proper hand cleansing options, fever screening, safety equipment, station barriers, proper sanitation, sufficient time off when ill or infected, free and accessible testing for workers, and details about the number of COVID-19 infections in their workplace. And, in these situations, the number of infections and the rates are typically much higher than average, leaving many employees with significant risk or harm due to the outbreak.
Some companies, such as meatpacking companies have led a nationwide campaign to limit workers who are hurt on the job to obtain benefits from workers’ compensation plans.
In Texas, private employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Companies operating in Texas have adopted policies that choose not to participate in the state workers’ compensation system at all. These include meatpacking corporations.
In Texas many injured employees are only able to get medical care from the company they work for if the employee signs a document such as this:
I hereby voluntarily and willfully release, waive, and give up all my rights, claims, and causes of action that I may have against Company Name, Inc. and their parent, subsidiary and affiliated companies, including all of their officers, owners, employees, and agents, whether such rights or claims exist currently or at a future date and arise out of and are in any way due to or related to injuries (including a subsequent or resulting death) sustained during my employment with Company Name, Inc.
If an injured employee refuses to sign a waiver, the employee can be fired. The employee will have to file a lawsuit against their employer in order to receive any compensation for medical bills. Many workers are unlikely to be properly compensated in these situations whether or not they might prevail. Texas enacted a law in 2005 allowing injured employees 10 days to consider signing such a waiver. Once the employee signs the waiver, the employer has total control over his or her healthcare and is released from any other damages that may have transpired due to any on-the-job injuries.
In the meatpacking industry alone, well-over 10,000 workers have been infected by COVID-19 and more than 30 have died due to COVID-19 complications, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union as of May 15th, 2020. In many of the “hot spot” areas in the United States, the elevated number of people infected with COVID-19 are often linked to large meatpacking plants. And, these are not the only situations where workers have been exposed due to work environments that have failed to institute safety measures sufficient to keep employees from harm. Many have been exposed to the virus in their workplaces and have been put in situations where there is little to no adherence to guidelines set by official sources. And, hundreds, if not thousands, have been required to work within industries that are not considered essential.
If you have been injured in the workplace or on the job due to issues related to COVID-19, we encourage you to consult with a qualified workplace injury attorney. The attorneys at Tate Law Offices are experienced with Texas injury claims and understand the intricacies of employer negligence and labor violations related to injuries suffered by unfortunate employes. We provide free consultations for injured workers and can help you assess your case. If you have questions regarding a workplace injury for a family member or friend, we invite you to contact us now to find out how you can help them seek recovery. You may feel powerless, but many injured workers find that they have options to improve the recovery of losses and restore their health. In the case of injuries leading to death family members and loved ones may have access to a legal remedy for their losses. Tate Law Offices work injury attorneys are here to provide all of our clients with compassionate care and aggressive representation during this difficult time.
Do not hesitate to call us now at (903) 892-4440 to start exploring your legal options. Feel free to contact us 24/7 via phone, chat, or email to begin exploring your workplace injury case. We have staff available to speak with you when you are ready.