FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS / WORKERS COMP
Winning Compensation for Fatal Workplace Accidents on Behalf of Surviving Family Members
Have you lost a loved one in a job-related accident? No one can fill that hole in your or your family’s life. But, likely, it wasn’t “just an accident” in a “things happen all the time” world. You can seek justice against the negligent parties who caused this fatality through the state’s workers’ compensation program and possibly through the civil courts against the employer. It is also possible that additional wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against any liable third party who contributed to the death of your beloved family member. This type of loss places severe strains on any: family emotionally and financially, often approaching what seems to be a breaking point because of the sudden financial expense, amplified by the absence of emotional support from that lost loved one. You, the victim’s surviving family members, deserve fiscal relief and peaceful closure from this loss. The fatal work accident attorneys at our Law Office can help you understand your options and help you build and execute a plan that produces financial and emotional relief.
Lean on us during your family’s time of healing. Fatal workplace accident insurance claims and lawsuits can be very complex and emotionally charged. We help defend your legal rights and build wrongful solid death legal claims against all defendants.
The first step, typified by this Web page, is explaining your options and helping you understand the difficult days ahead and the ultimate peace that your quest for compensation will bring. How to handle your claim or civil injury case after a fatal workplace accident depends upon the precise details of the case and the events that led up to your loved one’s fatal mishap. You must know whether or not your loved one’s employer had workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp provides a certain amount of reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and a modest death benefit. You also must know what form of negligence, if any, was displayed by your loved one’s employer during the time leading up to the accident. You must also know what to do if any contractors, subcontractors, or authorized visitors to your loved one’s place of employment might also be liable for the accident. You need to know whether your loved one was an employee or merely a contractor in the eyes of the law. Winning civil compensation depends on the answer to each one of these questions that an investigation by your fatal workplace accident lawyer will reveal. Resolving worker injury cases is frequently very complex due to the factors mentioned above and others that may influence any fatal workplace injury case. That’s not all. The occasional ambiguities of some of Texas’ workplace laws come with loopholes that employers and their insurance companies can leverage in their attempts to justify their unfair refusal of the rightful claims of thousands of injured workers every year. This is why it’s virtually certain that inexperienced lawyers who are not aware of those technicalities fail to win a fair and appropriate settlement in fatal workplace accident cases. Inevitably, those with no legal experience representing themselves in such cases are doomed to fail.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS / WORKERS COMP
There are a Variety of Types of Workplace Accidents
From severe incidents like a fall from a large building to seemingly benign mishaps like slipping on a wet floor, any workplace accident can be potentially fatal. Some of these mishaps include but are not limited to construction site accidents.
Explosions in pipelines, gas wells, or oil fields.
Fires in the workplace.
Accidents involving work-related motor vehicles.
Slipping and falling.
Criminal activity such as robbery or assault.
In a fatal workplace accident, the victim’s loved ones can pursue restitution by either filing a workers’ compensation claim or a wrongful death civil lawsuit. However, non-attorneys usually struggle with either process since several factors can affect the family’s ability to file a workers’ comp claim or succeed with a properly filed lawsuit. So it would be best if you began at the proper beginning.
Was the Employer a Workers’ Comp Subscriber or Non-Subscriber? This is the First Question
Thanks to our lawmakers (and the political influence of the insurance company lobby), grasping workers’ compensation laws is not easy when workplace injuries happen. State law does not require Texas companies to purchase workers’ comp insurance. Because of this, workers’ comp injury cases are divided into two distinct types that require different methods and strategies to resolve. Employers who carry worker’s comp are known as “subscribers.” Those who don’t are “non-subscribers.” So to proceed with your claim or civil case, you must first know if your loved one’s employer is one or the other.
Did You Know? Our Law Firm has been fighting for work injury victims` rights for over 20 years. Call our office to discuss your case.
Workers’ comp benefits are paid out of a pool of funds provided by private insurance carriers participating in the program. Workers’ comp is “no-fault” insurance because those covered by workers’ comp are reimbursed, regardless of how the accident occurred or who was at fault. But in exchange for that no simpler fault coverage, the amount of money a family receives when their loved one is killed in a workplace accident rarely covers the total expenses suffered by the surviving family. Injured workers or their families have little recourse to receive higher compensation directly through workers’ comp. By paying for injuries through the program’s “umbrella coverage,” subscriber employers are generally protected from civil lawsuits arising from workplace accidents. By denying workers, the traditional civil venues of damage compensation, the rights of employees and their family survivors to be fairly reimbursed are severely limited because workers comp benefits are generally far below traditionally fair-market compensation levels. These workers comp “benefit cap” amount rarely, if ever, fully compensate death benefits and other fair damages to families of employees killed in a Texas workplace accident. The exception to this inability to sue his employer for gross negligence. Unless the employer has committed gross (or willful) negligence that produces the wrongful death, the subscriber-employer cannot be sued. Unless the facts of the case are overwhelming, such blatant negligence is complicated to prove. In a wrongful death workers comp claim, an insurance company assigned to the fatal worker’s comp claim is responsible for negotiating a settlement with the surviving family members, again, with benefit caps. This makes it highly unlikely that the victim’s survivors will receive the fair and appropriate compensation they are entitled to without suing the grossly negligent employer.
On the other hand, to receive restitution from a non-subscriber to workers’ comp, the surviving family must file at least one lawsuit. Fortunately, for the injured plaintiff, there are much lower standards for proving traditional subscriber negligence. These same standards also apply against a non-subscriber in a civil case. So if you can file a lawsuit against a non-subscriber, it’s much easier to prove true liability against that employer, general contractor or subcontractor, or any third party, for accidents in the workplace due to that lower proof-of-negligence standard. An experienced fatal workplace accident attorney with our Law Office can correctly determine your deceased loved one’s employer’s workers’ comp status. Hence, you know what legal avenues are available. Once we have identified the nature of this employer’s worker’s comp standing, our attorneys will know how to process your case and move forward.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS / WORKERS’ COMP
In Subscriber and Non-Subscriber Claims, Supplemental Third Party Lawsuits also Help Compensate Family Members of Deceased Employees.
There is another practical avenue of receiving fair injury compensation besides workers’ comp. The family members of deceased employees can file a suit against someone other than the subscribing employer – known as a third party – if an investigation proves that others were involved in the accident that led to the death of your loved one. Third-party claims and lawsuits arise when someone other than the employer may have done something negligent to cause your family member’s fatal injury. If a faulty piece of machinery caused the death, the manufacturer might be liable through a defective product lawsuit. If the property owner did not provide safe working conditions, he or she could be held accountable. If a contractor or another employee negligently caused the injury, they could also be held accountable. These are the most common examples, but there are others. In workers’ comp cases, surviving family members can sue the responsible party or parties but not the subscribing employer. Experience and the ability to properly investigate the accident scene and the roles these third parties played in the fatal construction accident are required to determine all parties’ responsibility and make them pay for the injuries they caused. In non-subscriber claims, third-party lawsuits are a rightful measure that may be open to the surviving family members. A skillful wrongful death lawyer can devise a plan of attack that offers the best opportunity to secure compensation in a complex Texas work-related claim when more than one party is liable.
Gross Negligence Can Play a Big Part in Your Wrongful Death Legal Action
Two types of negligence could have led to the wrongful death of your family member: standard negligence or gross negligence. You need only prove ordinary negligence to file a successful lawsuit against a workers’ comp non-subscriber. But if the employer subscribes to workers’ comp insurance, you must prove gross negligence to bring suit. As we mentioned, gross negligence is held to a higher standard of proof and requires a solid case. The slightest error in investigation, strategy, or execution of your case could ruin it and let the subscriber-defendant escape unpunished for their negligence. When it comes to proving gross negligence against a workers’ comp subscriber in civil court, inexperienced attorneys or non-lawyers have a minimal chance of successfully navigating this tedious legal process: usually when it comes to “proving up” these more serious gross negligence charges. For over 20 years, our fatal work accident attorneys have been litigating wrongful death lawsuits. We know how to investigate properly, then build the strongest case to prove gross negligence against a workers’ comp subscribing employer if the facts of the case justify this option.
Commonly speaking, the difference between ordinary and gross negligence is a matter of degree. Ordinary negligence is a solitary error, a temporary lapse in concentration or judgment. But gross negligence is a reckless disregard for the safety of others. For example, consider a construction worker accidentally drops a brick off the top of a building, killing another worker below. This worker has merely committed ordinary negligence. However, if the same worker entertains himself and co-workers by occasionally tossing bricks off the building and the falling object then kills someone, this is most likely gross negligence. In the first example, it’s possible that nobody could have foreseen the accident. But in the second, the worker should have been stopped from his or her practice of tossing bricks off the building to maintain safety. The accident could have been predicted and avoided, and gross negligence has likely been committed. Also, it is conceivable that if the employer had foreseen this calamity, he too might become a defendant through a respondent superior-based civil suit since, in many cases, employers are viewed as liable for their employees’ actions while they are on the job.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS / WORKERS COMP
In a Workplace Wrongful Death, Non-Subscriber Employers Are Subject to the Law’s Full Weight Workers’ comp insurance, which costs less than traditional commercial insurance. But it’s still pretty expensive. Almost half of Texas employers choose not to purchase workers’ comp. When an on-the-job accident happens, they do not have workers’ comp to protect them from civil lawsuits. That’s good news for surviving family members. But suppose they will receive compensation for their loved one’s fatal workplace injury from these non-subscribing employers. In that case, surviving family members require a local work accident attorney’s investigative assistance and legal skill to get to the bottom of the facts surrounding the accident and then file an insurance claim or lawsuit and see it through to receive fair compensation.
This legal process begins when the victim’s family, also known as the plaintiff, files a claim with the employer, notifying him or her of the injury and the amount of fair reimbursement the family expects. If the employer is insured, the matter is usually handed to an insurance company, which either tries to negotiate a settlement or outright disputes the plaintiff’s allegations. If negotiations progress in good faith between the plaintiff and the insurance company, the case is settled, and fair damages are paid to the plaintiff’s family. Work-related injury cases are often hotly contested because so much money is involved in wrongful death. The survivors must file a lawsuit to win the compensation it deserves. As the injured party, the plaintiff holds the burden of proving that the employer’s negligence caused the injury, resulting in those high medical bills, funeral expenses, lost present and future income, pain and suffering, and pain and suffering by the surviving family members. If the employer has private coverage, then he or she isn’t likely to agree to pay your family for the negligence-related death. That’s because the insurance company doesn’t want them to. Most employers know that paying an expensive insurance claim will lead to significantly higher coverage rates. Their insurer consistently reminds them of that fact. Our Law Offices’ fatal work accident attorneys’ experience in these matters has revealed that most non-subscribers, their insurance companies, and attorneys try to use a pair of traditional defenses to avoid paying the survivors of employees killed on the job the restitution they deserve.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS / WORKERS’ COMP
The Sole Proximate Cause Defense in a Non-Subscriber Work Fatality Case
Proving nonsubscriber employer negligence requires the strongest possible case through an intensive physical and forensic investigation of the accident scene, witness corroboration, and the testimony of expert witnesses. As soon as the accident occurred, the insurance company’s lawyers built their defense against you, trying to prove your loved one was liable for the fatal accident. However, in a nonsubscriber case, the decedent’s family is not required to prove gross negligence. Establishing standard negligence is sufficient to have a successful claim. The first liability defense afforded non-subscribers after a fatal workplace accident to one of their employees is to turn the tables of the sole proximate cause back on the deceased worker. They claim that the victim was the only one to blame for his or her injuries. To invoke the sole proximate cause defense, non-subscribing employers will try to defame your deceased loved one’s reputation by proving he or she was a careless or irresponsible employee and caused the fatal accident. They’ll often introduce other employees as witnesses to back them up. Sometimes they dive into your loved one’s private life to try and prove their “irresponsibility in life equals the same behavior on the job.” Since insurance companies are very astute and their attorneys very wise, when it comes to fighting your claim or civil case, your own cunning on-the-job wrongful death lawyer comes in handy when it’s time to turn the tables of liability back on the negligent employer. When you think about it, it is not only the burden of proof on the plaintiff but also the burden to “disprove” whatever the defense throws against the wall, hoping it will stick.
The Second Popular Defendant Tactic: Questioning the Employer-Employee Relationship
Once the sole proximate cause option has been exhausted by non-subscribers to avoid liability after a fatal workplace accident, many clever employers will change the argument and say that your loved one was technically not an employee but, rather, a contractor. They will then claim the issue of compensation does not apply because of this. Employers are not responsible for injuries that occur to their contractors. So, many of them hire their employees and say they’re contractors, going so far as to try and create a paper trail to back this up when that is not always so. The employer believes he can deny that an employer-employee relationship existed between your deceased family member and his or her company and deny your claim on that technicality. The simple logic is why they should be responsible for an injury to a person who was never an employee, to begin with. While many companies claim they hire their employees as contractors or as temp workers through a third-party, many times, the employer knows full well that an actual employer-employee relationship exists and the survivors of a fatally injured worker can still obtain compensation. So don’t be misled by this tactic: we certainly won’t. Even though the employer claims your family member was a contractor, he or she was likely still classified as an employee, which entitles you to recover compensation for your loved one’s fatal workplace injury. A skillful and well-seasoned fatal work accident attorney knows how to disprove this employer deception and verify the employer-employee relationship by meeting at least one of the following standards:
Social security or taxes have been withheld from your loved one’s paycheck by the employer.
The employer supplied the essential equipment for the job to your loved one.
Your loved one’s work was regularly managed, overseen, or inspected by the employer.
The employer sets a specific work schedule. Your loved one was not free to come and go as they pleased.
The employer required your loved one to sign a document that limited his or her rights while working for the employer.
The most common examples are taking a drug test or signing a document that states compliance with an employee handbook.
Your loved one was employed for an undetermined period, not just for a single job.
Your loved one was paid a salary or an hourly wage, not on a “by-the-job” basis.
In cases where a worker is borrowed from another company, or a third-party agency, the rules for determining the working relationship are related, but there can be some crucial differences. These conditions may include the following:
If the borrowing employer can hire or fire a borrowed worker at any time, the worker is an employee.
Most of the time, if the borrowing employer is allowed to pick a particular worker, the worker is an employee. If the agency that provides the worker is allowed to send any worker they choose, the worker is a contractor.
If the worker must provide the tools and equipment necessary to do the job, that person is a contractor. If the employer offers them, the worker is likely an employee.
If a third party or agency can substitute the borrowed worker for another, the worker is a contractor. If the lending agency cannot, then the worker is an employee.
If the worker is borrowed indefinitely, then the worker is an employee. The worker is a contractor if the worker is borrowed for a specific project with a particular completion date.
If a worker is being borrowed or “leased” because of a unique or hard-to-find skill, then the worker is a contractor. But on the other hand, if an employer borrows a worker to fill a position that just about anyone can supply, then the worker is an employee.
If the borrowing employer agrees to pay the worker’s social security and withholding income tax, then the worker is an employee. The worker is a contractor if the borrowing employer does not accept this responsibility.
Our lawyers conduct a meticulous investigation to demonstrate the existence of one clearly, and usually, more of these standards to prove an employer-employee relationship existed for your loved one. We depose co-workers, review contracts and examine pay stubs to establish that your family member was an employee when the fatal work injury was suffered. Also, suppose your loved one was hired by an employment agency to work at an “employer’s” company and suffered a workplace-related accidental death. In that case, your attorney must determine if the employment agency has workers’ comp. If so, you would file a workers’ comp wrongful death claim against the employment agency, which would most likely make the company where your loved one performed the work a third-party contributor to the accident. Also, suppose your loved one’s employer loaned him or her to another company where the fatal accident occurred. In that case, the issue of a workers’ comp subscription with your loved one’s employer comes into play, and the company where your loved one was fatally injured will likely be treated as a third-party defendant in any civil claim or suit. This brings another important point to mind. As we have previously told you, workers’ comp claims are less than adequate when major injuries include wrongful death. So the traditional way for a deceased worker’s family to receive fair damage compensation is to file a workers’ comp claim and supplement it with the appropriate number of third-party claims or lawsuits, beginning with the company where your loved one was working time.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
All Defendants Fight to Avoid Paying Damages in Wrongful Death Workplace Lawsuits
In all non-subscriber and third-party fatal workplace injury cases, many defendants will have large insurance companies with many good attorneys to represent them aggressively. The rest will be “self-insured” or uninsured. And every defendant does everything they can to wiggle out of paying damages to survive family members. Non-subscriber insurance companies have attorneys either on staff or permanent retainers. They are very good defenders of their clients against claimants like you who try to sue them. Insurance companies are belligerent in their resistance. And from the opening gavel, they cry for relief from yet another nuisance suit. But they don’t always win, especially when you have an experienced lawyer who knows how to counter every obstacle they place in your path.But as bad as the insurance companies can be in a fatal injury claim or lawsuit, they are subject to certain regulations surrounding their deportment during their legal defense. Employers who are self-insured or have no insurance are not bound by such rules; or rules other than those surrounding criminal behavior. Some defendants don’t even respect those. So they will often blatantly display underhanded behavior when survivors of a fatally injured worker take legal action against them to recover damages. That behavior runs the gamut from questionable to obscenely illegal if they think they can get away with it.
If the self-insured firm is small, you will likely deal directly with a company officer. This person’s salary is tied directly to company profits. Restitution paid for any injury comes directly from company funds (or a bond if they have one). By compensating you, your deceased loved one’s employer is taking money out of his pocket. So it comes as no surprise when a sneaky, self-insured company officer uses any means to oppose your claim to protect his company and his assets. We’ve often seen self-insured companies deliberately destroy evidence and bribe or intimidate witnesses. They sometimes even resort to physical threats against witnesses or others they see as “friends of the plaintiff.” This is why every time we represent a client against a self-insured company, we file motions in court to prevent anyone within the company from behaving inappropriately against our clients. Sometimes these motions include clear demands that they do not attempt to communicate with our clients in any way without one of our attorneys present.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
Every Defendant Fights to Avoid Paying Damages in Wrongful Death Workplace Lawsuits
In all non-subscriber and third-party fatal workplace injury cases, many liable employers will have large insurance companies represented by many good attorneys to defend them aggressively. The rest will be “self-insured” or uninsured. Every defendant does everything they can to wiggle out of paying full wrongful death damages to surviving family members. Non-subscriber insurance companies are very good defenders of their clients against claimants like you who try to sue them. Insurance companies are belligerent in their resistance. From the opening round, they cry for relief from another nuisance lawsuit. They don’t always win, especially when you have an experienced lawyer who knows how to counter every one of the many obstacles they place in your path. As bad as the insurance companies can be in a fatal workplace injury claim or lawsuit, they are subject to certain regulations surrounding their legal defense. Such rules do not bind employers who are self-insured or have no insurance, or any rules for that matter, other than those surrounding criminal behavior. Some defendants don’t even respect those. So they will often blatantly display underhanded behavior when survivors of a fatally injured worker take legal action against them to recover damages. That behavior can be questionable, even downright illegal, if they think they can get away with it.
If the self-insured firm is small, you will likely deal directly with a company officer. This person’s salary is tied directly to company profits. Restitution paid for any injury comes directly from company funds (or a bond if they have one). So by compensating you, your deceased loved one’s employer is taking money out of his pocket. So it comes as no surprise when a sneaky, self-insured company officer uses any means to oppose your claim to protect his company and his assets. Many times we’ve seen self-insured companies deliberately destroy evidence as well as a bribe or intimidate witnesses. They’ll even occasionally resort to physical threats against witnesses or others they see as “friends of the plaintiff.” This is why every time we represent a client against a self-insured company, we file motions in court to prevent anyone within the company from behaving inappropriately against our clients. Sometimes these motions include clear demands that they do not attempt to communicate with our clients in any way without one of our attorneys present.
FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
The Dangerous Risks of Wrongful Death Self-Representation
Let us give you some facts as you deliberate whether or not to hire a lawyer to represent your grieving family. You are not an attorney and don’t have the depth of knowledge or experience to investigate a workplace accident thoroughly, negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies, or successfully argue a complicated court case. And you certainly don’t have the time to do this by the “legal numbers” because there’s too much involved. The odds of success by lawyers with little or no experience in these matters aren’t much better than yours. Basic legal knowledge in such matters comprises little more than a third of what is fully needed to win fatal workplace injury cases against any employer or liable third party. Successful negotiation and, when necessary, litigation require a keen knowledge of civil procedure and the ability to develop the right strategy to battle the defendants, their insurance companies, and lawyers. Having your opponent’s respect is also a critical element. Do you think they’ll respect you or your neophyte lawyer? This is why highly regarded fatal workplace accident attorneys who have spent years taking on and defeating the insurance companies and their lawyers are the most powerful weapon in your fight for compensation. Doesn’t the memory of your loved one deserve this? You only have one chance at fair compensation for your loved one’s accidental death in the workplace. Make it your best shot.
We Help You Recover From the Shocking Loss of Your Beloved Family Member
The fatal work accident attorneys at our Law Office help you win the compensation you deserve. Our wrongful death lawyers have been litigating and resolving workplace wrongful death cases locally and all over Texas for over 20 years. We have successfully negotiated countless settlements and argued many cases against every major insurance provider in the nation. We have a history of success and won numerous fair settlements for our clients on behalf of their deceased loved ones. Insurance companies know our track record and don’t want to see us in court. As a result, they often offer our clients attractive settlements without the stress and uncertainty of a jury trial. The fatal workplace accident attorneys with our Law Office do whatever is necessary to help you obtain justice and fair restitution for the loved one that has been taken from you. To find out how we can help, call (toll-free) to schedule a free consultation that will be the first step to finding peace of mind in memory of your dearly departed family member.
WRONGFUL DEATH / PERSONAL INJURY
Legal Areas of Practice for our Law Office
With over two decades of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death law, the tough and aggressive lawyers at our Law Office can help you when you have been wrongfully hurt or lost a loved one due to the carelessness or wrongdoing of another party. Over the years, we’ve enabled thousands of Texans to recover multiple millions of dollars for their injuries and the family members they have wrongfully lost. Our Law Office handles personal injury and wrongful death cases. Such cases can cover a wide array of different negligent actions. To let you know what we can do for you, we’ve provided some brief and basic information about many of our areas of expertise. By no means is this information all-encompassing, nor are these the only types of Texas personal injury and Texas wrongful death cases. To find out how we can help you with your issue or to get more information about your situation, call us any time for a free consultation (toll-free). We’re here to answer your questions at any time.
No matter how you were wrongfully injured, or your loved one was negligently killed, we can use our immense knowledge and experience to assist you in finding the compensation you deserve. We can help you with the following personal injury and wrongful death situations: Far too many Texans lose family members every year as a result of the negligent actions of others. When this happens, the victim’s loved ones can pursue restitution for their emotional suffering and financial losses with a wrongful death lawsuit. Due to the complex nature and the large amount of compensation usually at stake, defendants will often contest Texas wrongful death lawsuits. Thus, to get the compensation you are entitled to, you will likely need the help of a skilled and seasoned wrongful death lawyer. At our Law Office, our attorneys know how to protect the rights of grieving families, and we will do whatever we can legally to help them find the compensation they deserve. As we mentioned, wrongful death lawsuits can involve several different types of accidents, such as drunken driving accidents, fatal construction accidents, deadly 18-wheeler collisions, car wrecks, and fatal workplace mishaps a. Actionable negligence can occur intentionally or accidentally due to momentary carelessness or inattention.
In many cases, more than one party will have caused or contributed to the cause of the fatal accident. When a person merely suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence, he or she still has the right to seek compensation from the responsible party with a personal injury lawsuit. To be actionable, the personal injury must have resulted from someone failing to provide a legal duty of care to another party. It must have caused measurable financial losses, such as medical expenses or lost income. Like wrongful deaths, Texas personal injury lawsuits can stem from several types of accidents, including construction accidents, medical malpractice, car wrecks, child abuse, nursing home abuse, 18-wheeler collisions, motorcycle wrecks, injuries from product defects, and many more. Any area in Texas sees plenty of traffic from 18-wheelers, so there will also be occasional accidents with semi-trucks. When injuries and deaths result from these accidents, the lawsuits to settle them are highly technical and challenging for non-attorneys to handle.
Since trucking accidents usually result in tremendous financial and physical harm, the insurance policies for commercial trucks have to be enormous. However, this doesn’t mean the victim will be adequately compensated. The opposite is often true, as the insurance company will expend more effort to protect a larger policy. This means that victims often need the help of a learned and experienced attorney to deal with an 18-wheeler accident. Thus, you should call our Law Office if you have been injured or someone you love has died in a Texas big rig wreck. We’ve dealt with many truck accident cases involving injuries and fatalities, so we know how to get you the compensation you deserve. Not only do we know how to prosecute these cases, but we have the all-important finely-honed investigative skills necessary to uncover the liable party in a complex semi-truck accident case.
Did Someone’s Negligence Lead to Your Scald or Burn Injury? You May Have A Right to Pursue Compensation
Those who suffer from burn injuries often experience some of the most acute agony known to a human being. The burn injury attorneys of our Law Office understand the ordeal you and your family must deal with during this distressing time. We are also keenly aware of the intricacies of securing the rightful compensation you deserve following a burn injury. An experienced burn injury lawyer not only serves you as a skilled legal advocate and effective negotiator with those who would deny your rightful damage claim or case, but we know every fork in your road to ultimate physical and fiscal recovery. We also know how long that road can take. Burns & scald injuries are traumatic and expensive. People who suffer a burn injury find their situations are often uniquely different from other injury cases. Not only can a burn be catastrophic physically, but the treatment and recovery from a burn injury are often painfully long, and the expenses are dramatically high. Multiple surgeries are not unusual. Many times, some of those procedures involve delicate plastic surgery, especially if the injuries are facial.
Often, two legal questions arise that directly affect your rightful compensation. Those who are legally liable for your injuries might lack the insurance coverage to pay for your medical expenses, which can be astronomical. The other issue surrounds those defendants (and the insurance company and attorneys the defendant hides behind) being unwilling to pay a fair amount to you or your family member’s many days or months of pain and suffering, lost wages, and disability, not to mention the beloved survivors of the victim who suffered a wrongful burn death. As to the former, your direct medical expenses, those responsible for your injury might have an insurance policy that might cover their liability. But is their coverage enough to pay for all of your damages fully? Or worse, do they have no coverage at all? Proficient burn injury attorneys have the knowledge and resources to conduct a thorough and professional investigation to identify all liable parties who could likely be potential sources of compensation. They are adept at convincing defendants and their paid protectors that they don’t want to go to civil court against your strong case. But they will take them there and succeed if your opponents continue their belligerence. It is in your best interests to retain local counsel, such as the personal injury attorneys with our Law Office.
A Few Types of Burn Injury Cases and the Compensation Challenges They Pose
Burn injuries can occur in many different environments. They can happen at home, work, or road in a serious vehicle accident. They can suddenly strike someone down when they’re recreating or celebrating a holiday or while we’re guests on someone else’s property or in their home. Sometimes they happen for no reason, called force majeure (an act of God and a pretty neat defense if your opponents can pull it off). But most of the time, someone’s negligence is at the bottom of the immense pain and suffering, medical bills, and other legal damages that victims have a right to be compensated for. Here are some general issues and avenues of legal relief if one has suffered injury or wrongful death in a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence:
On-the-job burn injuries happen quite often. They can be electrical, fire, or chemically related. Texas Worker’s Compensation laws are the avenue that must be followed when seeking compensation for an on-the-job burn or wrongful death. And though we have an entire section that deals with this way of negligent damage compensation, what it boils down to is that often, without the benefit of an experienced burn injury lawyer, actual compensation might not approach the true value of the damages the victim (and his family) has incurred. An experienced local burn injury attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident and determine how many liable defendants had a hand in your burn injury, their level of insurance, and their actual net worth if some of your compensation comes from their own pockets. This is important because employers covered by workers’ comp pay out less in claims and are generally immune to civil lawsuits to make up the difference. But third parties are not covered by such restrictions.
In most cases, defendants will have insurance companies to handle the claim. Insurance companies are about protecting their assets as they protect their policyholders. This industry didn’t become as powerful as it is by universally paying out claims without an aggressive fight.
Vehicle accident burns are often accompanied by other serious injuries like broken bones, internal injuries, massive head trauma, and many permanent disabilities, as well as deaths. Suppose you’re the victim of burn injuries from a traditional vehicle accident (auto-on-auto). In that case, the vehicle liability insurance carriers will be the ones who will be responsible for compensating you. There are many levels (and types) of insurance coverage beginning with “minimum,” which wouldn’t cover the value of the average serious auto accident today. Usually, the more “minimum” the negligent driver’s coverage, the greater the gap between actual reimbursement and the damages you have suffered. And sometimes, your “good hands” insurance carrier might make it difficult to recover that difference should you carry uninsured/underinsured driver coverage. If your burn injuries were suffered when an 18-wheeler hit your vehicle, they, too, can be disastrous and debilitating. Big rig accidents kill more people than any other vehicle. Because of huge damage claims, these accidents get the insurers’ attention and their best people to oppose you.
Recovering from a long list of injuries, including burns, is a lengthy and arduous road for many victims. And rehabilitation is costly; with many therapists (physical, occupational, etc.), rehab bills can sometimes eclipse those from your initial medical treatment and surgeries. Like on-the-job injuries, the same sort of intensive investigation gets to the bottom of liability. Often, identifying the proper employee ties that person to the trucking company through a notion of respondent superior, which means the employer is liable for the actions of its employees while they are working. Burn injuries while we’re just living our lives can also be traumatic. They can happen at a backyard barbecue, while we’re celebrating the holidays, or at many other times when such accidents are the furthest thing from our minds. Someone could negligently and incorrectly operate a gas grill, and it explodes. Or maybe the propane tank was substandard or manufactured or serviced incorrectly. There are a lot of fireworks injuries during the 4th of July holidays. Or some careless “bumper mechanic” didn’t put out that cigarette, a gasoline tank of gasoline, or some other flammable liquid that caught fire and burned someone. In some instances, homeowners insurance will be the avenue of fiscal recovery. Or maybe a defective product lawsuit against a company that manufactures or services such a device is appropriate. Sometimes, that careless bumper mechanic has the means to pay your damages, but he doesn’t want to, even if he might have a large personal liability policy or even if he doesn’t. The bottom line, no matter how you were negligently burned, Texas law allows you to identify all liable defendants and legally seek compensation because you have been harmed. Having the right to seek compensation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get your money because there will be someone who doesn’t want to pay you, even if it’s the defendant alone. So you have a choice. You can fight them alone and let them beat you at their own game, or find an experienced burn injury attorney.
Types of Damages Burn Injury Victims may File an Insurance Claim or Civil Case.
Burn injury victims must seek and retain an experienced attorney at their earliest opportunity to ensure their rights to secure fair compensation for their injuries suffered. And local is always better. This experienced legal counsel can secure the fairest payment for the claim or civil case that their client deserves. You already know that burn injuries typically produce exorbitant medical expenses. Just as often, other less-clear damages might be appropriate. The ability to prove these damages is a critical element that distinguishes your burn injury lawyer and assures that you, the plaintiff-victim receive the best possible fair compensation.
* Disfigurement – One thing that makes burn injury cases unique is that they often produce apparent – and often long-term – disfigurement. Most personal injury accident cases involve less-visible injuries to muscles, bones, or internal organs that are treated in ways that don’t often reveal the actual nature of the injury. Once the patient has healed, there are few visible scars, and the victim returns to a generally normal appearance. This is far from the case with burn injuries. The burn injury victim must receive proper compensation relative to their disfigurement. This is especially important when the burn victim is a small child or is in a business where looks are essential. Such mutilations can mentally and emotionally scar them for life. Some must, of necessity, find another form of work to support themselves and their family. If the victim’s livelihood is based on physical appearance, or ability that the burn injury prevents, this must also be taken into account. Not only the income immediately lost but also the future income that might never be realized.
* Mental Anguish – Most burn victims suffer long-term psychological trauma. This is even truer if these same victims also suffer from long-term disfigurement. They experience deep depression and anxiety. Left untreated, this woeful condition can become chronic and lead to other psychological problems. This underscores the need for costly psychological or psychiatric therapy – in addition to the already burdensome physical and occupational therapy – to help them deal with their catastrophic experience and return to them as positive a self-image as possible, especially if they have to deal with some lifelong disfigurement.
* Impairment – Virtually all major burn injuries produce pernicious damage to muscles, nerves, skin, and other body tissues in the victim’s arms and legs. This often makes it difficult for them to perform the most simple physical tasks we all take for granted. It is no surprise how this often negatively impacts the burn victim’s ability to earn a living. This is why an attorney must secure the fairest compensation the client deserves for a burn injury. The local burn attorneys at our Law Firm regularly consult with vocational rehabilitation experts to prove the long-term financial impact of burns injury impairments on the victim. We can also refer many of these experts to our clients as a part of their recovery. Damages are divided into several categories. They include all medical bills associated with the burn injury, including all surgeries and physical, occupational, and psychological/psychiatric rehabilitation.
* Pain and Suffering, including that of the deceased victim in a wrongful death claim or suit.
* Lost wages include income lost and future income if there is any form of an extended disability.
* Property damage, if any of the victim’s property was damaged or destroyed during the burn accident.
* Other disability damages.
The mechanics of recovering these damages are immense, specialized, and time-consuming. Those who represent themselves or rely on inexperienced counsel are destined to fight a losing battle. And that is a sad fact indeed.
The Many Difficulties in Securing Fair Compensation for Pain and Suffering without an Experienced Burn Injury Attorney
Sadly, Texas law has no special provisions that outline minimum compensation for your pain and suffering if you suffer a burn injury. In the eyes of the law, a burn injury is treated like any other injury when compensating the victim for their pain and suffering. In other words, the victim may only be entitled to “normal” compensation for pain and suffering, which can be many times greater than a “normal” injury. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to these damages. It does mean that you need a highly-experienced legal advocate to represent your interests. This is precisely the area where the skill and experience of our Law Office can help. Our burn injury lawyers perform hundreds of tasks with the minute attention to detail that only the most knowledgeable legal advocate can perform. Many investigations must be conducted. As your case unfolds, an unbelievable amount of legal paperwork is generated. It must be perfect, down to the last “i” dotted and “t” crossed. We diligently research every possible issue that impacts your case. We tirelessly negotiate on your behalf because once your opponents come to their senses, they begin to realize that your strong case should be settled, so they don’t lose in court.
But most importantly, if your burn injury case must be litigated in court, we can make the right people understand the dreadful pain experienced by burn injury victims and the degree of their suffering. Our attorneys utilize various visual aid technology and descriptive explanations to clearly “show” the jury the anguish you experienced to get you the fairest judgment for your pain and suffering. There is a way to effectively codify your pain and suffering (and that of your family if this is a wrongful death case).
Insurance Rarely Covers You Completely From an Expensive Burn Injury
You might think you have insurance covering your medical expenses. And maybe you do. But your insurance is the last line of defense. As we’ve previously said, most defendants have some form of insurance in most personal injury cases. Traditional policies, like your auto insurance if you are in an accident and suffer burns or a homeowner’s policy if you are burned in a home accident, might offer you some coverage. Most of the time, they fall short of full compensation for your medical bills. Almost all the time, your insurance company will do all it can to “inspire” you to exhaust all defendant insurance options before allowing you to hand them the bills. They’ll still squeal and try to evade their responsibility just because they can. If – for example – you suffer a burn injury in an auto accident that is the other driver’s fault who is uninsured, coverage gaps for medical expense reimbursement can range from inadequate to nonexistent. The same holds if you’re burned in someone else’s home. Will their homeowner’s insurance cover you properly? Do they even have homeowners insurance? And how hard will you have to work to satisfy the insurance provider that you have received every penny the defendant insurer owes you because you must do that before they even consider making up the difference?
Insurance adjusters love to take up a lot of your time and give you nothing: no answers or help. They might call you (or your family while you’re still in the hospital) several times, asking innocent-sounding questions about this burn accident. Their inquiries may seem harmless, especially if you convince them they’re working for you. But their “curiosity” is usually calculated to induce anyone on your end to say something that could be used against you to deny your claims. Count on whatever you say to them being recorded. They’ll find a way to twist your unassuming words to haunt you as evidence against your claim later when it’s time for them to deny you. It seems that the more serious the injury, the more adjusters try to come around “investigating” your case, which is what they’re doing for their bosses.
Many times an insurance company tries to quickly pressure you to settle your claim for less than it’s worth: often much less. We’ve heard of adjusters trying to settle a claim for peanuts the moment the victim comes out of the emergency room; and before the drugs wear off. Accepting an unfair settlement can be devastating for your legal rights. When you accept a settlement offer, you can’t sue the defendant for another dime once you discover you’ve been “played.” The settlement is all you will ever collect from the party who did this to you. So it’s important not to accept an offer unless it’s fair. How do you tell a good offer from a bad one? Insurance companies are very creative in finding ways to deny legitimate claims. And every time they win, they make more money (or, in your case, keep). One popular tactic is dragging their feet. Our clients have learned from us the best way to deal with anyone at an insurance company: ignore them altogether. When we get involved, insurance companies know they must deal with us. With us insulating you and your family from them, insurers can’t hang you with your own words or try to sneak into your hospital room at two in the morning.
Fatal Burn Accidents and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Sadly, we see many instances where a family member suffers fatal burn injuries from an accident. In addition to the high likelihood of staggering medical and funeral expenses, these families are often thrown into catastrophic financial need, especially if the family member is a husband or wife and responsible for generating income in today’s world, where both parents must work. Often insurance companies are involved – to varying degrees – in what “appears” to be a compensation settlement. But rare is the case where this settlement is fair to the family that must deal with not only the loss of a loved one but the disastrous financial fallout the survivors must deal with, not to mention the emotional scars. Our local burn attorneys know that insurance companies, when involved in these matters, have a view of “fair compensation” that often falls short of a fair amount. It makes no difference if the burn injury is suffered in an auto or truck accident, in someone’s home, or on the job. It’s the insurance company’s job to close this matter as fast as possible; and for as little as possible.
Additionally, third parties may often have direct or indirect involvement in the fatal burn injury accident. Fatal accident injuries are seldom simple. Burn fatal injury accidents can be even more complicated. And even rare is the case where the compensation offered by any single insurance carrier is simple or adequate. If more than one defendant is involved, “piggybacking” compensation is the most practical way of receiving fair compensation, mainly if workers’ comp is engaged. This is why our Law Offices’ deep experience in determining who is at fault, their actual liability, and a fair compensation amount is a most vital element in helping make Texas families again whole in the wake of a loved one’s loss of life due to a catastrophic burn injury at the hands of one, or many, negligent defendants.
The Clear Advantages of Retaining an Experienced Burn Injury Attorney
The moment a serious burn injury occurs, someone’s insurance company will spring into action the moment they learn their policyholder might be in trouble. Their strategy and tactics are well-rehearsed because it’s a process that has been perfected through repetition. Their adjusters/investigators are on-the cases, usually while the victim is still in ICU. Shouldn’t someone be doing the same for you? Our experience is that most of the time, someone in the victim’s family ends up deciding on whether to hire an attorney and then doing so because the victim often cannot make that decision himself, at least initially. So if a victim or the family waits a day or two to hire us, we’re already behind. But we’re good at catching up. Because our experience tells us that all of the following are true, before you speak with an insurance company, accept even a single dollar of payment or compensation, sign anything, or attempt to file a lawsuit, you must contact an experienced attorney. It’s never a good idea to discuss any details of your intentions, or anything else surrounding your injury or case, with anyone other than your immediate family without a lawyer to protect your interests. The insurance company wants you to accept a “lowball” settlement to save your own money. Their lawyers are waiting in ambush to trip you up. Don’t be taken advantage of (again, it’s already happened to you once). Insurance companies have experienced attorneys on staff or permanent retainers. They’re just waiting to take on personal injury claimants like you: especially if you are underrepresented. They specialize in cases like yours and know every trick to tilt the case in their favor unless you take steps to stop them. The best way for a seriously burned victim to ensure full compensation is to quickly retain (or the “on the ball” family member if the victim is unable) the assistance of an experienced burn injury lawyer who knows how to prove defendant liability and win just and fair damages. You only get one bite at the compensation apple. And once it’s lost, you can never have it back. Under these circumstances, time is never on your side. We must take steps ASAP to preserve the evidence in your case and act quickly because the other side has already begun. No stone is left unturned to bring all the evidence that proves – beyond reproach – your legitimate damage claim. Our professional investigators: Conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the cause of the accident. This includes asset checks of all defendants to ensure they (and their insurance) can pay damages.
Our team will:
Gather evidence, including witness statements, photographs, forensic tests, and police reports, that we will need to prove your claims. Evidence can disappear every second you make that decision, sometimes very curiously. Witnesses’ memories fade. Or their stories “mysteriously” change. Or maybe they even disappear altogether. The accident scene changes either by the passing of just a few days or because your opponents change it themselves. Lies and missing evidence permanently cripple your legal right to fair compensation for a serious negligence-related burn injury from the moment it happens: but only if you allow it by doing nothing during the critical hours following your serious burn injuries.
Then, as you recover, we continue aggressively representing you by delivering the following effective services:
Ensure that our clients receive the medical care they require to recover from their injuries.
Respond to and send discovery requests.
Manage ALL the paperwork and phone calls related to your claims.
Use our stellar reputation to pressure the defendants into a fair negotiated settlement.
Act as mediators for our client’s cases.
File lawsuits and argue them aggressively to prove your damage case before a jury.
Fairly and accurately calculate all damages resulting from the car accident and demand fair compensation.
Suppose you have a relative or friend who is a lawyer, even though he or she might be looking out for your best interests and pledges to fight for your legal rights. In that case, you might want to reconsider retaining anyone with difficulty emotionally disassociating from your serious burn injury claim or suit. Personal injury law is quite intense and, at times, very contentious. What happens if that friend or relative attorney doesn’t win the case or accepts a less-than-fair settlement because he knows how badly you need the money now and leaves even more on the table than an experienced attorney would certainly not? How will you feel about your friend or a relative then? An attorney best serves his clients when he is pragmatic, focuses solely on the facts of a case, and is calm under fire. Too much empathy is not always good if it clouds one’s thinking. The sooner you accept that fact, the better your chances of successful compensation.
The Experienced Burn Injury Attorneys with our Law Office is Here to Help
There are many burn accident attorneys for you to choose from. We suggest you interview at least two or three before choosing the lawyer to represent you. Try to find one who is local and experienced. Ask each member about his track record for settling and litigating severe burn civil cases. Find out what each one thinks the strengths and weaknesses of your case are. Ask about the attorney’s ability to negotiate fair settlements and ask them to give you at least two names of former clients whose cases were similar to yours. Then contact them and ask the same questions. Then you’ll be able to hire a local attorney whose experience in handling cases like yours instills confidence and peace of mind that this is the advocate/partner you can confidently trust. The burn injury lawyers at our Law Office have successfully represented victims like you for over 20 years. We’ve won favorable verdicts and settlements against nearly every major insurer in the country. They know who we are. Our reputation is the foundation for getting our clients the attention and compensation our clients’ claims deserve. Our goal is to make sure that you recover as much as possible from your injuries and make this oft-complicated legal process as easy as possible for you. Put our years of experience to work for you.
If you want to know your rights, how to proceed with your claim, and how much compensation you can secure from your auto injury case. Contact the burn injury attorneys with our Law Office (toll-free). We’ll get back to you quickly to arrange a free consultation wherever you need to see us. We’ll come to you. Find out how we can help you recover the total fair value of the damages you have suffered through the negligence of the rightful defendant(s). You’ve already been made a victim once. Make it stop now! Our deep experience in successfully representing clients with burn injuries makes our Law Office a well-known injury firm in Texas with a no-nonsense reputation for capably representing those who have suffered serious injury-related losses. We are just as well-known as sympathetic counselors to our clients who help enable their return to health as fast as possible.