What You Can Expect from Harvey and Workers' Injuries

  

 

Hurricane Harvey created immense damage and left a treacherous path for all. With billions of dollars of damage, this storm won’t soon be forgotten. What can your county expect in the realm of workers’ compensation from this storm and its aftermath? Below is some information to keep in mind moving forward, especially with regard to law enforcement, other emergency responders, and road and bridge workers.

Common Injuries 

- Lacerations, blunt trauma (most commonly from flying debris) fractures, puncture wounds, concussions and avulsions are the most common injury types after a hurricane. 

- Lower extremity injuries will be more common from walking in flood waters and sewage. 

- Illnesses and bacterial infections can result, from such things as rodents feeding in the water. Ensure protective gear is worn at all times. 

- Some respiratory illnesses can occur from chemical inhalations. 

- Ordinary diseases of life, such as asthma, can also be aggravated by the winds, rain and allergens in the air. 

Directive from the Division of Workers’ Compensation

In addition to the continuance of income benefits, tolling of certain deadlines on filings and exceptions for medical care outside of the networks, carriers, pools and third party administrators have been directed to ensure priority treatment is given to first responders.   

This is outlined in COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0020-17 below:  

“DWC also recognizes that first responders are currently on the front lines of this disaster, helping their fellow Texans. Political subdivisions should keep in mind that Section 504.055 of the Texas Labor Code states that both DWC and political subdivisions shall accelerate and give first priority to an injured first responder’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits if that first responder sustains a serious bodily injury in the course and scope of employment.

The Office of Injured Employee Counsel has a designated First Responder Liaison, Yolanda Garcia, who can be reached at 512-804-4173 or .”

Questions?

For general workers’ compensation questions and claims inquiries, please contact Stacy Corluccio via email at or by phone at (512) 478-8753, ext. 3629. For claims-specific matters, contact Helana Barmore via email at  or by phone at (512) 427-2415.

 

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