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The four commandments for injured workers

Workers are injured all of the time in Texas, whether it's in pipeline accidents, industrial accidents, construction accidents or mishaps in other lines of work. Unfortunately, workers are not always fairly compensated for the injuries and relating losses that they sustain.

Part of the reason for this is because they don't take the right steps following a workplace injury. For example, they might settle their personal injury or workers' compensation claim for less than they deserve, or they fail to properly document their injuries or the dangerous conditions that caused their injuries.

The good news is that if workers follow the "four commandments" listed below and work with an experienced attorney, there is a good chance that they will be fairly compensated.

Commandment #1: Don't sign anything without talking to a lawyer.

Your employer and the insurance companies will want you to agree to a settlement -- or admit your own wrongdoing -- as soon as possible after a workplace accident. Remember that as soon as you become injured, you are a liability. You need to talk to a lawyer before signing anything that you are presented.

Commandment #2: Don't give any statements before talking to a lawyer.

Your employer and the insurance companies might try to get you to admit fault or agree to something in a statement that they can later use against you. Be sure to have an attorney present before giving any kind of statement, and remember that anything you say could hinder your case down the road.

Commandment #3: Make sure to document everything after your accident.

It's important to keep thorough notes following your accident and subsequent treatment, including the names of any witnesses, any faulty equipment that was present, exactly what happened, and the medical treatment that you received. It may seem like you will be able to remember everything but details are easily forgotten, and details will make all of the difference in your case.

Commandment #4: Take as many pictures as you can to document the accident scene and your injuries.

In many of these cases, it becomes one person's word against another's. However, if you use your phone to take pictures, then you have the evidence on your side. Even taking a photo of the smallest detail -- such as a rusty piece of machinery or a slippery floor -- can end up helping your case.

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