8/31/2020 law – Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents, Truck Accidents, Burn Injury gtg

Common Challenges You Will Face

The most common obstacle on the way to compensation is the insurance adjuster. If your injuries are severe and expensive, you may rely on the adjuster being hard on your case. These insurance adjusters do it for a living, and they know how to throw the blame on the victim or to deny the claim if they may show that the victim was even remotely liable for the damage. They may lessen the compensation if it is shown the victim was the cause of a part of the accident. By placing the blame on you, the insurance adjuster may stand to save his firm thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars that you would be entitled to. Insurance firms measure success in terms of profits, not harmed victims that they aid.

Insurance adjusters will many times give the unsuspecting victim a settlement offer, which is not adequate compensation for the damages you have incurred – especially when the victim is not an attorney. The sole reason the insurance firm makes this kind of settlement is to low-ball you. They already know that eventually, they will pay more if it goes to trial, and are trying to save themselves money. Most probably, if you received such a settlement offer, then you are entitled to much more than they offer. Do not sign any documents that will give the insurance firm a waiver from future suits without first consulting an attorney. If you sign the waiver of responsibility or agree to give up your legal right to sue, then there is nothing any attorney in the world may do to aid you.

Eyewitness Accounts and Testimony
Reality as recalled by witnesses is a matter of perception, and in most crashes, there will be more than one version of what occurred and who is liable. If this is the case in your vehicle accident, you must have physical evidence to substantiate your story. Finding this physical evidence requires the trained eye of a professional investigator. Without adequate legal help, victims many times may not discover vital physical evidence. If you try to rely solely on your testimony, you will not be able to show your case and recover the compensation you deserve. Our vehicle accident attorneys are skilled in the art of investigation, and our firm undertakes a thorough review of all the facts of your case as soon as our firm is hired. Our firm discovers the physical evidence and testimony to prove your claim.

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The Elements You Have To Establish in a Claim
The first thing a vehicle accident attorney has to show that the defendant owes you a duty of care to use precaution to make sure that they don’t harm you. The law establishes this level of care, owed from one party to another, depending on the circumstances of the situation. Showing that the defendant in your case owed you at least a basic duty of care would very probably be quite easy since nearly all the drivers have an obligation to drive safely as a reasonable person would. Chances are that this “reasonable party standard” applies to the defendant here.

After your vehicle accident attorney establishes that the defendant in your case owed a duty, you must show he has breached that duty. In almost all cases, it will require showing that the defendant was driving in a manner that a reasonable party would not. If the defendant drove unreasonably, even for a moment, he may be liable for consequences. Showing that the defendant breached the duty of care requires that you bring proof to the court of law to establish exactly what the defendant did or did not do. The jurors in your case will consider the physical evidence and proof that the rest of the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s actions to decide whether the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable.

When the parts of duty of care and breach have been shown, you must show that the defendant was negligent and that negligence was the cause of your injury or loss. Showing negligence is not enough to hold the defendant liable for any injuries. You must also show that the negligence was the cause of the wreck. In a motor vehicle accident, there are many times several parties who may be responsible. The defendant, as an excuse, may use other drivers, or pedestrians, and even something in the road. The defendant in his case very probably will not be the sole one who may escape responsibility by convincing the jurors that a third party was the cause of the accident, that you had a preexisting injury, or that you have was the cause of your own accident. It is vital to have sufficient physical evidence to show that it was the defendant’s behavior that harmed you. It is another reason you need a knowledgeable vehicle accident attorney.

Compensation for Damages
You must then have your vehicle accident attorney show damages. “Damages” does not refer to your bodily injuries. Instead, it refers to the financial value of your injuries you want to receive from the defendant if you win. To show what you deserve to receive, you calculate exactly what you need to pay all your losses and injuries and provide physical evidence of your injuries and losses to support your calculations. Losses such as pain and anguish, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, health care bills, and repair bills may be recovered. When you’re busy calculating how much you think you have in damages, the defendant is doing likewise. They always calculate it as less than what you figure. The defendants argue that in reality, you want more than you deserve for your damages and that you’re looking for easy money. To show the jurors that the amount you requested is legal, right, proper and that the defendant’s statement is nothing but a last-ditch attempt to escape the responsibility, you must have proof of loss available to support your calculations.

Figuring the total amount of compensation is critical because you have one chance to claim whatever you’re entitled to. This may be hard unless you have the knowledge to do so. How may you put a price tag on intangible losses such as pain and anguish? In calculating the loss of earning capacity, how to account for hypothetical raises and promotions you would have earned if you had continued to work? How do you calculate how much all your health care fees will amount to if your treatment is still continuing? Our vehicle accident attorneys know how to justify and calculate all your damages to make sure that you recover as much as possible.

In some kinds of cases, the jurors may be wary to view your request for compensation in a positive light, even if the claim is justified. In particular, it happens in regard to soft tissue injuries like muscle strains, tendon hyperextensions, sprains, and things like whiplash because they cannot easily be shown to other injuries such as broken bone or cut limb. Soft tissue injuries may many times hide most of the injuries that could take several months of rehabilitation to recover. If you have incurred a soft tissue injury, you need a vehicle accident attorney to convince the jurors of the seriousness of the harm to you. Our lawyers have developed a Rolodex filled with expert witnesses in every branch of medicine that may really attest to show their injuries, to even the most skeptical members among the jurors, so that our firm may show the damages that are owed to you.

Many Parties Could Be Liable

In many road wrecks, several parties can be the cause of or what contributed to the chain of events that was the cause of the vehicle accident. If your vehicle accident was the result of a drunk driver, whoever served the driver beyond the point of intoxication may be held liable because of Texas dram shop laws. If a mechanical problem was the cause of the wreck, the manufacturer may probably be held liable in case of product liability. If several parties were the cause of a crash, then separate lawsuits must be brought against them, and damages must be determined by the degree of responsibility of each party. Properly allocating blame and the exact amount of damage is very complex, and it takes a well-seasoned vehicle accident attorney to make sure you get what you deserve.

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When the Vehicle Accident Was Fatal

Losing someone in your life to a fatal vehicle accident is a devastating event. Our firm understands that you’re probably dealing with more than you think you can handle. The fact of the matter is that you deserve compensation so that you may take care of surviving family members and loved ones. Under Texas wrongful death law, a civil legal action for negligence and/or wrongful death will usually involve two kinds of damages and the possibility of several different claims. The damages available are damages for wrongful death or survival damages.

Compensation for wrongful death will include all the pain and anguish (and that means both financial and emotional) that the plaintiff has incurred and still incurs because of the death of the victim. The deceased’s loved ones can claim these sorts of damages. Any number of claims for damages may be applied for in a wrongful death legal action. These sorts of injuries frequently are:

Funeral bills
Compensation for the absence of companionship and consortium by reason of the death of the victim
Absence of financial support provided by the victim before death
Compensation for psychological and emotional anguish that was the cause of by the absence of a family member
Survival damages are all the damages the victim might have claimed in compensation if he had survived the vehicle accident. The plaintiff who is a survivor has the ability to pursue injury damages, standing up for the victim who died and representing them in court. In most claims, the plaintiff who is pursuing these survival damages will of course also seek damages for wrongful death. There may be sole one survival damage claim for a wrongful death legal action since there is sole one personal injury legal action to inherit, and the closest and most direct living relative typically inherits that claim. These are:

Physical pain and anguish
Loss of future earnings potential
Any damage to property
The mental and emotional damage that was caused by the incident
Any health care bills paid before the victim’s death
Compensation for disfigurement or any other long-term injuries
Absence of wages from time spent in the hospital

Wrongful death damages and survival damages claims are different and each must be sought through unique legal and strategic tactics. Also, each legal action of wrongful death is sought in a trial and must be treated separately as plaintiffs generally have basically little variance in the amounts of damages. Such damages must be shown on an individual basis. Before examining your legal opposition, the prosecution of such lawsuits is complex and technical. Most non-lawyers simply do not have the knowledge and or knowledge of administrative procedures needed to file these sorts of lawsuits effectively. Our firm has seen countless tragic stories about non-lawyers filing their own legal action for wrongful death and then forgetting a minor detail, resulting in a court of law order to lessen damages or even cause the claim to be thrown out.

Do not let it occur to you. Texas fatal vehicle accident attorneys and the other lawyers in our Law Office have over twenty years of knowledge in Texas wrongful death law, and our firm will be sure to cover all the bases at your trial and not have any loopholes that allow a defense attorney to get your claim thrown out. Our firm may aid you to obtain proper compensation for your family members. However, our firm will also do everything to force the defendants to reform their actions so that your family member’s death was not in vain. Our firm hopes to make sure they avoid such fatal auto wrecks in the future. It is an important part of the Texas wrongful death legal action, and our attorneys do not let it to go neglected.

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Vehicle Accident attorney Offers Options

Our vehicle accident attorneys will aid you in recovering from your vehicle accident and injuries by making sure that damages you deserve. Our firm may facilitate the hard legal process by offering a variety of services for you, including:

Filing your legal claim, or assume the negotiations if you’ve already filed.
Acting as a buffer between you and the insurance firm, intercepting all communications with the insurer on behalf of the client.
Take on all the casework, so you may focus on recovery.
If you are without health insurance or may not afford a doctor, our firm will discover health care with a payment plan that is manageable.
Conducting thorough investigations by providing a photographic or video documentation, getting the location of witnesses and taking testimony, examining all vehicles involved in the wreck, measuring the distance between the skid marks, scouring police reports, collecting forensic physical Evidence and cataloging of all physical evidence so it may be used in a court of law.
Helping you avoid the uncertainty of facing the jurors by obtaining a just settlement of the insurance company.
For two decades, our lawyers have dedicated our practice to doing everything in our power to fight for the legal rights of our clients. We seek to get them the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our firm will aid you in getting the compensation to which you are entitled, as our firm has for many others injured Texans.

Vehicle Accident Attorneys Can Help
Without the advice of a qualified vehicle accident attorney, you will probably be disappointed. Our vehicle accident attorneys have been helping auto accident victims to receive the compensation they are seeking for two decades.

If you or a family member has been injured, contact us for a free consultation and learn how our firm may help you too. Our firm will answer all your concerns and questions about your case and help you to feel more comfortable with this situation you’re facing.

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If you’re searching for a team of skilled and dedicated attorneys to lead you through your legal maze look no further than our Law Office. Our team has been recognized by our peers. It has taken our Law Office twenty years of hard work to get there.

Our capable team has built a reputation among our clients and colleagues as dedicated, ethical and fierce defenders who capitalize on every personal injury case to get the fairest compensation allowed.

Our Law Office has successfully litigated thousands of cases including personal traffic accidents, commercial vehicle wrecks, on-the-job accidents, and wrongful death cases to name a few. Take a look below at some of our most notable cases. These are cases where we successfully sought justice for victims and in turn, gained the respect of some well-known insurance companies that were brought to justice as well.

Some of Our Most Recent Successful Cases

– Confidential Recovery – Wrongful Death / Commercial Vehicle Accident(policy limits) – Our firm was hired by the wife and children of a retired Army Colonel who was killed in an underride 18-wheeler accident. In addition to being a decorated veteran, the decedent worked both professionally and on a voluntary basis to establish numerous learning institutions and vocational programs for at-risk youths. The accident occurred as the decedent was traveling on a rural highway when an 18-wheeler failed to yield the right of way and made a rolling stop through a stop sign.

This placed the trailer of the 18-wheeler in a position whereby it blocked the entire roadway and shoulder, leaving the decedent no option but to collide with the trailer. Witnesses on the scene attempted to revive him but to no avail. Furthermore, while two female eyewitnesses struggled to pry open the decedent’s door to provide emergency care, the truck driver stayed in his truck and offered no assistance. Despite what appeared to be an incredibly apparent case of negligence on behalf of the defendant, defense counsel refused to accept liability resulting in rather lengthy litigation.

The defendants initially denied the claim based on the allegation that the decedent was speeding and the truck driver therefore could not adequately gauge the amount of time he had to pause at the stop sign. The physical evidence contradicted this notion entirely, notwithstanding the fact that even if the decedent had been contributorily negligent, that would not have outweighed the severe degree of negligence on the part of the defendant. Nevertheless, our attorneys were able to conclusively refute this argument based on eye-witness testimony and the testimony from police investigators who calculated the decedent’s speed to be precisely at the posted speed limit. In a desperate and largely unprecedented move, the defendants then designated the state as a responsible third party.

Generally speaking, a defendant will often threaten to designate a third party in order to leverage their position but it is rare that such an arbitrary and arguably frivolous designation is actually carried out. However, that is precisely what occurred and the state was thusly incorporated into the lawsuit by the defendants. The basis of the defendant’s argument was that the state erected a large street sign that obstructed the truck driver’s view of approaching traffic.

Several months of intense litigation were required before the defendant finally acquiesced in regard to this argument. The argument was finally abandoned by the defendants when in the first mediation our attorneys presented video footage shot (in a controlled setting) from the perspective of an 18-wheeler driver which showed that the sign simply did not obstruct enough of the roadway in order to be a hazard. The case was ultimately resolved through litigation.

– Confidential Recovery – Wrongful Death / Commercial Vehicle Accident(policy limits) – Our attorneys secured a recovery against a major trucking company for the daughter of a man who was killed after his vehicle collided into an 18-wheeler which was blocking the roadway. Litigation is ongoing against additional defendants.

– Confidential Recovery – Wrongful Death / Automobile Accident (policy limits) – Our firm was hired to pursue an intoxicated driver who killed an elderly school crossing guard. The fatal accident occurred as the decedent was escorting a woman and her child across the roadway through a crosswalk. The defendant then sped through the school zone, in an intoxicated state, and struck the decedent who died on the scene.

The family hired our firm to investigate and pursue the defendant under a wrongful death cause of action. Following our investigation and preliminary vehicle inspection, our attorneys issued a Stowers’ demand to the defendants. A significant factor in resolving this claim is that merely days before we submitted our demand to the defendant’s insurance carrier, we won a large case against the very same insurance carrier, which was one of several such victories secured against the carrier in our firm’s history. Our threats of litigation were therefore heeded and the defendants offered policy limits to settle the claim without the need to file suit.

– Wrongful Death / Automobile Accident – Our attorneys were hired to represent the family of a middle-aged woman who was killed in a car accident. The incident occurred as another vehicle struck the car that the decedent was a passenger in, head-on on the passenger side. The impact resulted in catastrophic injuries that claimed the life of the decedent.

Our attorneys were hired soon after the accident and we launched a full investigation. Through the course of our investigation, it was soon determined that the head-on collision was caused a failed component in the defendant’s vehicle (the particulars of which cannot be elaborated upon per the resolution agreement). A suit was filed against the manufacturer of said component and litigation commenced. The case was successfully resolved through litigation.

– Wrongful Death / Truck Accident – An elderly man was killed when a criminally negligent truck driver rear-ended his vehicle as the man yielded the right of way to other traffic. Throughout the course of litigation, the defendants fought to deny liability. Through our diligent investigative efforts, we unearthed damning evidence and mounted an aggressive litigation strategy. Arguments were so persuasive that by the conclusion of litigation the defendant’s attorneys acquiesced wholly with regard to liability.

– Wrongful Death (Workplace Accident) – The family of a deceased factory worker hired our firm following a fatal loading dock/ 18-wheeler accident. The events unfolded as an unqualified driver reversed an 18-wheeler into the loading area of a major manufacturing concern and backed over the decedent, crushing his body. The case was filed in arbitration and litigated for approximately one year. The defendants asserted that the decedent was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. To support this assertion, they pointed to a number of allegations, but primarily counted on the claims that the decedent was not wearing a provided safety vest and that an audible reverse indicator was present in the reversing vehicle. Through discovery and an exhaustive investigation and onsite inspection, we were able to successfully counter these arguments and determine the number of theories of liability.

The safety vest argument was diffused through the testimony of our consulting expert witness who verified that the type of vest that was offered by the defendants was not of the variety that was OSHA approved and that even if the vest had been worn it would have proven entirely ineffective due to several optical shortcomings. In particular, the reversing truck had to back through a doorway that resembles a garage door found in a mechanic shop. The width of the door relative to the width of the tractor-trailer left only a narrow valley of visibility on either side of the trailer by which the mirrors could only reflect what was immediately in line with the space between the door frame and the trailer, on either side of the vehicle. Therefore, for the mirrors to be effective, the decedent would have had to have been standing in one of the two narrow valleys, which would have placed him in a position that where could not have been injured in the first place. In other words, the only place that the mirrors would allow the driver to see was the very place that there was no danger. Furthermore, if the mirrors could not see the worker wearing the vest, then clearly the vest was inconsequential, notwithstanding the fact that the vest was not approved for such use. Additionally, even if the mirrors could display the area where the worker was standing and even if the worker was wearing the vest, the type of vest in question was of the variety that it only reflected light back to the source. As such, the overhead lighting was not sufficient to illuminate the vest. Only headlamps, or other such projected light sources, would have illuminated the vest. The final blow to this argument was that in deposition testimony the defendant admitted that he did not use his mirrors. With regard to the audible reverse alert system, our consulting expert in the field of audiology analyzed sound measurements taken on location and concluded that the ambient noise of the facility drowned out the noise of the alert system such to render its effects nil. Additionally, we contended that the noise-canceling headphones worn by the decedent in compliance with stated company policy rendered the alert system doubly ineffective.

Through discovery, we learned that the defendant driver did not have a commercial driver’s license and the defendant’s liability arguments waned. The case was eventually resolved through litigation. The decedent had signed a binding arbitration agreement prior to his death which, naturally, resulted in the lawsuit being filed in arbitration as opposed to the conventional court. Also featured in the binding arbitration agreement was an option for the surviving spouse to accept a one-time payment in lieu of filing suit against the employer. At our recommendation, she declined their initial offer and we were eventually able to recover 10 times greater compensation.

– Wrongful Death / Commercial Vehicle Accident – The family of a deceased woman hired our firm following a fatal 18-wheeler accident. The fatal accident occurred as the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control of his vehicle and veered out of his lane, resulting in a massive collision. The decedent, a passenger in a vehicle, died on the scene.

Her adult children consulted our firm to initially investigate the accident and make sense of the facts and circumstances since the family felt that the police report did not make it clear enough precisely what occurred. We launched a full investigation an immediately deposed the investigating officers.

Upon the completion of our investigation, it was apparent that the trucking company was indeed negligent and a lawsuit was soon filed. The defendant’s launched an aggressive defense whereby they initially claimed that the truck driver was overcome by his passenger who allegedly grabbed the steering wheel and deliberately drove the truck off the road, despite the truck driver’s best efforts.

We refuted this claim by illustrating that the tire marks that were present clearly show the truck gradually moving across the road and eventually onto the grass, which is entirely inconsistent with an abrupt lane change caused by someone taking control of the wheel. It was quite an unusual defense strategy that we were frankly surprised to even find ourselves having to refute.

The defendants then argued that a tire blowout may have contributed to the accident, which is significant because it would enable the defendant to offset some portion of their liability to a tire manufacturer or installer. Through deposition testimony of the investigating officer, we established that there was absolutely no indication at the scene of the accident that a tire had blown out.

Finally, the defendants argued that the company which loaded the trailer may have improperly loaded the cargo. This argument was most plausible considering that the precise cause of the decedent’s death was that she was essentially pummeled by cargo that broke through the trailer and struck her person.

Our firm consulted several experts in the fields of heavy cargo transportation and physics. Our experts felt that the cargo was secured in a manner that is perfectly consistent with industry standards and that due to the forces involved, the cargo would not have behaved any differently irrespective of how it was secured. In short, the collision caused the cargo to break free and the negligence lay squarely on the trucking company and not any other entity. The case was successfully resolved through litigation.

– Confidential Recovery – Wrongful Death / Premises Liability – Facility sued for negligent contribution to the death of an innocent bystander. A fatal shooting occurred on the property after the facility failed to appropriately respond to outbursts of violence & gang activity. Following the young man’s death, his parents hired our firm to pursue the facility for their negligent actions including failure to provide adequate security. The case was successfully resolved through litigation.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident (Back Injury Requiring Surgery) – Plaintiff suffered a back injury resulting in spinal fusion surgery when her car was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler. The defendants argued that the accident was unavoidable, thus denying liability. Litigation commenced and the case was satisfactorily resolved soon thereafter.

Commercial Vehicle Accident / Work Injury (Fractured Pelvis, Other Internal Injuries) – A loading dock employee suffered a fractured and damage to internal organs as the result of a crushing injury sustained when an 18-wheeler backed into him and crushed him between the trailer and loading dock.

Wrongful Death / First Party Dram Shop – A young woman lost her life after a bar over-served her to more than three times the legal limit resulting in her burning to death in a single-vehicle accident. Witnesses stated that she was so intoxicated that she could barely make it to her vehicle without assistance. Through litigation, our attorneys ascertained the necessary evidence to prove that the establishment provided alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, thus resulting in her ultimate demise.

– Workplace Accident (Closed-Head Injury) – A painter fell from an apartment balcony resulting in a closed-head injury and other minor bodily injuries. The case was successfully resolved through litigation against the plaintiff’s employer and the general contractor.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident (Back and Neck Injury) – Recovery for driver struck from behind by 18-wheeler: Driver sustained back and neck injury.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident (Back Injury Requiring Surgery) – Plaintiff, a delivery driver, suffered a back injury resulting in spinal fusion surgery when he was injured in an accident involving falling cargo from an 18-wheeler. The defendants cited the plaintiff’s failure to take evasive action as a source of contributory negligence and litigation commenced accordingly which culminated in an acceptance of liability and eventually satisfactory resolution.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident / Motorcycle Accident (Shoulder Injury Requiring Surgery) – An airline pilot suffered a shoulder injury resulting in surgery when he was sideswiped by an 18-wheeler. The case was resolved through litigation, as establishing liability was a contentious matter. The defendants claimed that the plaintiff made an illegal passing maneuver, but the evidence showed that the defendant made a sweeping turn and intruded upon our client’s right of way.

– Wrongful Death / Medical Malpractice – A young handicapped woman lost her life when a long-term care facility failed to provide her with treatment for obvious symptoms of severe illness. The defendants maintained that there were no outwardly visible signs of illness. The medical evidence showed otherwise. The case was successfully resolved through litigation, though damages caps imposed by tort reform were a factor.

– Premises Liability (Brain Injury) – Our attorneys sued an apartment complex in relation to a brain injury sustained by a toddler when he fell through a balcony railing. The apartment complex denied liability, asserted that their railings were in spec at the time of the building’s construction (some 20 years prior), and they claimed that the child’s mother was contributorily negligent in that she did not notice that her child was playing near the railing.

Through litigation, our attorneys countered the defendant’s arguments by showing that the case law does not support the notion of any safety-related concerns in the building code being “grandfathered” in. On the contrary, a property owner has an obligation to keep safety features such as balcony railings within the specs at all times. The railings in this complex were spaced at 7-inch intervals, which was at odds with the now-standard 4-inch interval.

Additionally, our attorneys countered the claims of contributory negligence as a practical matter in that the mother was indeed monitoring the child’s activity and the child literally ran up to the railing and immediately fell through the rails. Alternatively, we argued that the doctrine of parental immunity applied and that the contributory negligence, if any such negligence ever even occurred, of the mother would not be admissible. The case was satisfactorily resolved through litigation.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident (Back Injury Requiring Surgery) – Our client, a middle-aged woman, was injured when an 18-wheeler rear-ended her vehicle. As a consequence of the wreck, she sustained a back injury that required surgery to remedy. Naturally, the defendants denied liability and argued that the accident was unavoidable. Our attorneys filed suit. The defendant driver initially claimed that our client suddenly changed lanes in front of his tractor-trailer and then inexplicably slammed onto her brakes. When confronted with eye-witness testimony and other physical evidence that reflected an entirely different scenario, the truck driver ultimately recanted. The case was successfully resolved through litigation.

– Wrongful Death / First Party Dram Shop – Our firm was hired by the minor child and parents of a young man who was killed in a motorcycle accident after being over-served alcohol at a bar. The plaintiffs hired our firm to investigate the claim on the basis that the decedent was over the legal limit at the time of his death. In initial attempts to settle the case out of court, the defendants denied liability. Suit was filed soon thereafter.

The defendants initially argued that the decedent never consumed alcohol on their premises. Through physical evidence and deposition testimony to the contrary, we were able to conclusively prove that the decedent had indeed been drinking at the establishment.

The defendants then asserted allegations that the decedent’s minor child was not actually his biological child, which would bar his claim entirely. A DNA test was performed and this argument was defeated.

The defendants then asserted the safe harbor defense. Our attorneys argued that the defendants did not qualify for safe harbor protection due to the fact that their servers were not all licensed providers. However, while this element was being addressed, our attorneys focused their attention on addressing the second element of the safe harbor defense regarding the bar’s encouragement of the over-service of alcohol. The defendants claimed that they would never serve the double-shot Bacardi cocktails that witnesses claimed the decedent drank several of. We sent private investigators into the bar to order the same drinks that the decedent consumed on the night of his death and the very same bartenders who over-served the decedent, without hesitation, served copious amounts of alcohol to the investigators, all of which was captured on hidden camera.

Once the safe harbor defense was defeated, the defendants argued that the decedent’s BAC was low enough at the time of his death (as recorded by the hospital) that he would not have necessarily appeared obviously intoxicated to the servers and therefore the bar should not be held liable even if he had been over-served. Eyewitness testimony refuted this.

Additionally, our firm’s testifying medical expert reviewed the medical records related to the emergency helicopter flight that transported the decedent to the hospital after his accident. She determined that the EMS technicians administered numerous blood transfusions while in flight. Armed with this newfound data, our medical expert reverse extrapolated and determined conclusively that the decedent’s BAC was actually in the range of .19-.21 at the time of the accident, though it was drastically diluted by the time he arrived at the hospital, which accounted for the relatively low BAC found in the hospital’s medical records. This testimony proved to be pivotal in the case, resulting in a successful recovery for our clients.

– Product Liability (Back Injury Resulting in Surgery) – A young woman suffered a back injury that required corrective surgery following a boating accident. The boat in question sped out of control and crashed into a landmass, throwing our client from the boat, as the result of a stuck throttle. Upon inspection of the boat, it was determined that a poor design led to the malfunction and a product liability lawsuit was brought against the manufacturer. The defendants argued that the boat was inappropriately piloted, however, the physical evidence depicted the cause of the accident quite clearly and the case was successfully resolved.

– Third-Party Dram Shop Accident (Punctured Colon and Soft Tissue Injuries) – Our client suffered a punctured colon and numerous soft tissue injuries in an alcohol-related car accident. The accident occurred as the defendant driver crashed his car into a concrete median. The plaintiff, a passenger in the vehicle, alleged that the defendant driver was over-served alcohol to such an extent that he was several times the legal limit. As such, a claim was brought against the defendant driver and the bar which over-served him. A settlement was reached with the defendant driver and the plaintiff turned his focus on the bar in question. The case was resolved successfully through litigation. Based on the egregious conduct of the bar and it’s numerous TABC violations, the defendant’s liquor license was revoked soon after the case was resolved.

– Wrongful Death/ Commercial Vehicle Accident – The mother of a young man hired our firm to investigate the death of her son following a fatal car accident. The incident occurred as one of the two vehicles involved ran a red light and drive into the path of the other. The defendant was driving a work vehicle for a construction company. The defendant survived the accident and stated to police that the decedent caused the accident. The police could not conclusively determine who was at fault, yet the police report strongly implied that the decedent was likely at fault based on the statement provided by the defendant.

The plaintiff’s mother was not convinced. Through a thorough investigation, we ultimately determined that the stoplight that the defendant claimed that our client ran, in fact, worked on a timer whereby the light was always green between certain hours unless a vehicle traveling on the intersecting road had been stopped at the right light for more than 30 seconds. Based on an analysis of the vehicles and tire markings, it was conclusively determined that both vehicles were traveling at the speed limit, which clearly indicates that the defendant driver had not accelerated from stop, rather, he was traveling at the speed limit, which would not have triggered a green light for the defendant.

The logical implications of this information is that the light could not have been red for the plaintiff, and it certainly would have been red for the defendant. As a consequence of this information, the case was resolved through litigation.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident (Back Injury Requiring Surgery) – A delivery driver hired our firm to pursue a negligent trucking company following a collision with insecure cargo. Our client was driving his work vehicle when numerous large metal pipes fell from the back of a flatbed trailer onto the roadway. Our client took evasive action but was unable to avoid the debris, which resulted in a fairly severe accident. As a result, our client sustained lower back injuries including two herniated discs which required surgery to correct. The defendants conceded liability early on but would not make a reasonable settlement offer. As such, a suit was filed and the case was ultimately successfully resolved through litigation.

– Wrongful Death / Third Party Dram Shop (policy limits) – An incredibly intoxicated driver drove head-on into a vehicle, killing several of the vehicle’s occupants. The defendants had limited assets, yet an alternative policy was uncovered, which the defendants argued was non-applicable. Under threat of litigation, our attorneys negotiated a settlement for the policy limits.

– Commercial Vehicle Accident / Work Injury (Facial Fractures and Head Trauma) – A loading dock worker suffered serious including numerous facial fractures and minor brain trauma when an 18-wheeler back into him, crushing him against the loading dock. The plaintiff’s employer was a subscriber to Texas Workers’ Compensation coverage, thus a claim was rightly filed against the third party trucking company whom the truck driver operating the reversing 18-wheeler worked for.

The plaintiffs asserted the position that the trucking company in question was liable on the basis of respondeat superior and negligent retention. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his injuries by virtue of the plaintiff putting himself in harm’s way. They maintained that the plaintiff simply walked behind the reversing tractor-trailer as it pushed back toward the loading dock.

It was later determined through deposition testimony that the truck driver had indeed instructed the plaintiff to stand behind the trailer in order to determine the vehicle’s proximity to the dock. Once this fact came to light, the defendants agreed to mediate whereby the case was satisfactorily settled.

– Wrongful Death / Commercial Vehicle Accident(policy limits) – A young mother was killed in an accident involving two commercial vehicles, one an 18-wheeler. The accident occurred as the young woman was a passenger in a vehicle that was traveling down a highway in the early morning hours. Without warning, the vehicle in which she was a passenger collided with a stalled 18-wheeler that parked in the right of way, resulting in catastrophic injuries that claimed the young woman’s life soon thereafter.

The authorities initially faulted the driver of the vehicle in which the victim was a passenger, stating that he was using an electronic device rather than paying full attention to the roadway. However, the 18-wheeler was indeed blocking the roadway and the plaintiff alleged that the vehicle did not follow the requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act in regard to providing adequate reflective or laminated warning at specific intervals. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to remove his vehicle from the roadway when he first noticed signs of mechanical failure.

Had he simply moved to the shoulder of the road, plaintiffs argued, his lack of adequate warning signs would have been inconsequential. An initial settlement has been obtained in this case, yet litigation has commenced in full against the remaining defendant and is currently ongoing.

– Wrongful Death / Commercial Vehicle Accident – Our attorneys were hired to investigate a fatal motor vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler that claimed the lives of several men, the family of one in particular which our firm represented, felt that the official version of events as outlined in the police report was not an accurate portrayal of the facts and circumstances of the collision.

Our firm launched an investigation, the findings of which served as the basis for a subsequent lawsuit. We were able to determine that the defendant’s accusations of contributory negligence on behalf of the driver of the vehicle did appear to be valid and the plaintiffs conceded as much. However, the plaintiffs were adamant that the contributory negligence did not entirely overshadow the negligence on behalf of the defendant truck driver.

Through physical evidence and an admission of liability that our attorneys were able to importune from the defendant under oath, we were able to show that the defendant had indeed pulled into the path of the decedent’s vehicle, which was of consequence irrespective of the decedent’s own contributory negligence.

– Workplace Accident (Shoulder Injury Requiring Surgery) – Our attorneys were hired by a delivery driver who sustained a serious shoulder injury when a worker for a third party negligently operated a forklift. The accident occurred as the plaintiff delivered a load of hay bails to a commercial farm.

An employee of said facility attempted to unload the trailer with a forklift. In doing so, he pushed several bales of hay off of the flatbed, over the side opposite the forklift. Consequently, several of the 400 lb (est.) bales of hay struck the plaintiff who was working to disconnect tie-downs on the opposite side of the trailer. This resulted in serious injury to the plaintiff’s shoulder.

The defendants took an aggressive stance and denied the claim, asserting that the plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his own injuries by virtue of the fact that he was standing in a known dangerous area. The suit was filed soon thereafter. Our attorneys argued that the plaintiff’s ordinary work duties, and indeed the normal protocol for all flatbed delivery drivers, consists of letting loose the materials to be unloaded. We maintained that the true cause of the plaintiff’s injuries was that the forklift operator rushed into unloading the trailer.

Furthermore, the manner in which he unloaded the trailer was itself a contributing element of the defendant’s negligence. The forks that were incorporated into the forklift in question were not compatible with stabbing hay bails; they were ordinary forks that were designed to be positioned below a heavy object that was to be lifted. The case was successfully resolved in mediation.

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Texas Lawyer Discusses Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. The state of Texas defines a personal injury lawsuit as a suit brought through a court of law wherein a plaintiff claims to have been somehow injured due to negligence on the part of the defendant. The plaintiff is thereby requesting some sort of financial restitution for those damages.

Put simply, the victim tells the court what happened in an accident and then asks the court to enforce the law and make the defendant compensate the victim for his or her injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney from our Law Office is here to give you a brief overview of how personal injury lawsuits work.

Elements of a Legitimate Personal Injury Lawsuit
In order to have a strong case, your lawsuit must have three factors:

A solvent defendant
Liability
Damages

A solvent defendant means that the defendant in your case has some means of compensation you for your injuries. This can be an insurance policy (most common) or personal assets, including money or physical assets. Without a solvent defendant, you cannot be compensated. For example, if you are somehow injured by a homeless person who has no money, insurance, or physical assets, that person may be liable for your injuries, but he or she has no means with which to compensate you.

Note that in some cases, defendants will attempt to hide their assets from the court in order to appear insolvent. Our attorneys have years of experience investigating personal injury cases, and we have seen every trick in the book. We can make sure that the defendant in your case does not escape justice by hiding his or her assets.

Liability and Negligence
In order to have a successful case, you must also prove that the defendant was (at least in part) liable for your injuries. Contrary to common belief, there are often multiple liable parties in a personal injury case. In some situations, the plaintiff may be partially liable. In these situations, the jury determines the percentage of liability for which each party is responsible. For instance, imagine person A is hurt in a three-car accident involving person B and person C. The jury finds that person A is 10% liable for the accident, person B is 50% liable, and person C is 40% liable. Person A’s damages amount to $100,000. Person A would then receive $90,000 in damages — $50,000 from person B and $40,000 from person C. Person A would be liable for the last $10,000 since he or she was 10% liable for the accident. Our attorneys can help you identify all potential defendants in your case so that you can be fully compensated for your injuries.

Damages
Finally, a strong personal injury case must have damages. If you are involved in an accident caused by a solvent defendant but you are not hurt and you receive no property damage, then you do not have a lawsuit because there are no damages for which you need compensation. But damages include a wide range of injuries. For example, accident victims are commonly compensated for their medical expenses, any property damage, their lost wages from time spent recovering from their injuries, and any lost earning capacity due to long-term or permanent damage caused by the accident. But victims can also receive compensation for the physical pain and suffering or the emotional turmoil caused by an accident.

The amount of compensation a plaintiff can ultimately receive is in the hands of the jury. The plaintiff’s attorneys will present a list of requested damages, and the defense counsel will likely argue that many of these damages are not valid. But the jury determines the total amount of damages, so you need an attorney who can speak the jury’s language and convince them that you deserve compensation for all of your injuries.

Let our Firm of Experienced Legal Professionals Help You
Our firm has been helping victims file personal injury lawsuits for twenty years. We know how to identify defendants, prove that they are solvent, and then convince a jury that you deserve full compensation. We have successfully investigated and litigated hundreds of personal injury lawsuits, and we know how to build a case that will cater to your specific needs. We offer free consultations in which we will thoroughly explain your options to you so that you can make the best decision for your case. In other words, our attorneys are dedicated to helping you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. So if you have been hurt in an accident, do not let the guilty party’s negligence go unpunished. Contact attorneys from our Law Office today, and let us make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

The potential value of any Texas personal injury case or lawsuit is ultimately based on the amount of damages that the plaintiff has amassed. In legal terms, the word “damages” refers to money claimed by or ordered to be paid to a person as compensation for injury or loss. The State of Texas recognizes two distinct types of damages in a personal injury case: General Damages and Special damages.

General Damages, otherwise referred to as non-economic damages, are any type of damages that do not have a tangible value associated with them. General damages are much more subjective and vary from situation to situation in the way that they are quantified.

Some examples of General Damages are:
Pain and Suffering
Mental Anguish
Physical Impairment
Loss of Consortium
Emotional Suffering
Inconvenience
Injury to Reputation
Disfigurement

For an example of the subjectivity of general damages, imagine that an industrial accident has occurred, whereby a factory exploded. In this explosion there were two victims, both of which were badly burned in the ensuing fire. Plaintiff 1 was knocked unconscious in the blast, and although he suffered significant burns, he was not awake and alert to experience the pain. However, plaintiff 2 was just as badly burned, but was fully alert and experienced the full and terrible pain associated with the burn.

While both of these victims may end up with similar medical expenses and so forth, they each experienced a different amount of pain and suffering, and the damages they are entitled to would be different.

Furthermore, general damages are subjective in the sense that every person experiences and is affected differently by the above-mentioned damages. For example, an 18-year-old cheerleader who has a small scar on her face as a result of an injury may be considerably more affected by the disfigurement than a 30-year-old firefighter may be. Some people do not care what others think, and some people depend largely on their reputation, which would make damage to that reputation a significant event.

Special Damages, otherwise known as economic damages, are any variety of damages that have an explicitly quantifiable dollar amount.

Some examples of Special Damages are:
Lost Wages
Medical Expenses both past and future
Property Damage
Court Costs
Loss of Earning Capacity

For an example of special damages, imagine that a plaintiff who worked as an electrician or lineman making $60,000, yet he lost his ability to work after an 18-wheeler accident caused the loss of one of his legs. Naturally, he can no longer continue his work climbing electrical poles, and as such, he would lose his income over his remaining 20 years of expected employment. Therefore, he has at least $1.2 million in damages as a result of his loss of earning capacity, not to mention his other damages such as medical expenses and so forth.

One of the defining characteristics of a good personal injury or wrongful death attorney is that attorney’s ability to properly account for, and quantify ALL of the damages that you are entitled to be compensated for. Our Texas personal injury attorneys thoroughly evaluate every case in order to maximize the case’s potential value.

Did You Know?
Our Texas attorneys have won hundreds of cases. Call us today to discuss your case.

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Burn Injury Attorney Can Help With Your Situation

Fire is one of the natural elements of the universe that was created by God and it’s probably the most destructive force on earth. An average summer day in Texas can reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now imagine touching something ten (10X) times as hot. Scientists say the temperature of an average fire can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. There are only a few things on earth that can withstand the heat of fire and human skin is not one of them. In fact burn victims have been known to suffer nerve damage, disfigurement, and even death as a result of exposure to fire. If you or someone you know has been injured or died in a fire due to someone else’s negligence, call our burn attorneys today for a free consultation.

There are more than two (2) million burn injuries reported every year in the United States. About twenty (20,000) thousand people are admitted to the hospital because their burns cover at least twenty-five (25%) percent of their body. And some of their injuries are so severe that about ten (10,000) of those victims will die from their wounds.

According to the Bureau of Statistics:

Burn injuries are the top cause of accidental death in America after car accidents.
Children who are fourteen and under die in accidental home fires more than any other age group. And it’s the third leading cause of death for adults.
Adults over 55 are injured in house fires more often because they fall asleep by smoking.
The kitchen is the deadliest place in the house for people ages 75 and above because it’s where they are injured most. And people ages 75 and older are more likely to die in a house fire because they might be unable to escape.
Children from birth to 4 years old suffer from hot water scalds more than any other age group.
Newborn to 2-year olds have more emergency room visits due to burn injuries they received in the kitchen and bathroom than any other age group.

Because of the debilitating nature of burns, they are the most expensive injuries to treat. The more of a person’s body that is exposed to burns, the more it will cost to treat them. For instance, a burn that covers just ten (10%) of a person’s body can cost more than $100,000 in hospitalization and physician fees. If the wounds are more extensive, more costs could apply for reconstructive surgery and possibly rehabilitation. In addition to the cost to treat the burns the injured person has to miss days from work. So the accumulation of their injuries, medical bills, and lost wages often can lead to psychological stress and depression. If you or someone you know is suffering from burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence and you need legal assistance, call our burn attorneys today for a free consultation.

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How Burn Injuries Happen
You might have heard about Dallas Wiens’ story. He is the Texas man who received a full face transplant – the first in the United States – after he was disfigured in a work-related accident. Wiens had his face practically melted away and he lost his eyesight after he accidentally touched a power line while he was painting. He recently received a new nose, lips, and the underlying nerves in his face so that he could feel his daughter’s touch on his face again, thanks to advancements in burn injury treatment.

More than one million people in America suffer from burn injuries every year. Whether or not medical treatment is needed depends on the severity of the burn. Most people suffer from simple household burns while they’re cooking, while others might work in an occupation where they are exposed to high temperatures such as in welding, in machinery, or in a restaurant of course. Wounds from a curling iron burn or even sunburn can range from a minor first-degree blister that can be healed by applying aloe vera to fourth-degree life-threatening wounds that require extended treatment.

The severity of the burn depends on how hot the skin gets and the length of time the skin was exposed to the burn. If the skin was exposed to the heat for an extended amount of time there could be nerve damage that prevents the victim’s arms and legs from functioning normally. It also depends on where the burn occurred on the body because the thickness, water, and oil content are different in some parts of the body such as the hands and feet. The skin is thinner around the face, neck, and belly area. All these variations make each burn unique. If a person is exposed to extreme heat or a chemical agent, their wounds might be different than if he or she is burned in a vehicle accident or an explosion. Boiling water, gasoline spills, and electrocutions also can cause different effects on human skin. That’s why there are hospitals that have special burn units that treat only burn injuries. If you or someone you know are suffering due to burn injuries because of someone else’s negligence, call our burn attorneys today for a free consultation.

How Burn Injuries Are Treated
There are more than 130 burn units across the United States. Most of them are housed at hospitals across the country. Some of them only work with children. Long-term treatment for serious burn injuries involves skin grafts. Skin grafts are the process of taking skin from one part of the body and attaching it to the damaged area of the body. Short-term treatments for burns include bandages, antibiotics, and other methods. The effect of these treatments depends on whether or not there were previous health issues that need to be considered.

Insurance policies and Burn Injuries
More than a million people suffer from burn injuries every year which requires emergency treatment due to the negligence of someone else. Burn injuries could lead to nerve damage and limited use of the arms and legs, which is why the cost of treatment is so expensive. A majority of insurance policies are not worth enough money to pay for the average serious burn injuries. It’s because there is a specialized treatment that is needed to repair burn damage. So you might think there would be a special category of compensation for someone who is victimized in this way, but there is not. Some victims suffer disfigurement, mental anguish, and depression because of their injuries. Our self-esteem is based on mostly how we look – or more specifically, how others look at us. So if a person is disfigured by their injuries it could be a life-altering experience.

Burn Survivors of Personal Injury Accidents in the U.S.
If you’ve ever experienced a burn, even for a second, you know how painful it can be. So for someone who is injured in a car accident or exposed to fire for an extended period of time, it can be excruciating. Some people might think they are being burned alive. And that probably is the highest form of mental anguish. It’s hard to bounce back from something like that. In fact, getting back to work can be tough. For some people returning to work is medically impossible.

Personal Injury Lawsuits and Long-Term Burn Care
When someone is burned badly, even if they have insurance most policies don’t have enough value in them to cover the expense it normally takes to treat someone. So the victim is left to figure out how he or she is going to foot the medical bills and if they have been disfigured there will be emotional scars that also should be addressed. Serious burn injuries don’t just heal by themselves. They need to be treated by professional specialists trained in this area. If your burn injuries are due to the negligence of someone else, you owe it to yourself to hire a personal injury attorney who can help you outline your options. Who is to blame for your injuries and how could it have been avoided? Our burn attorneys can help you to figure it out. Our team of experienced litigators will do a full investigation of your case so that you know what your next move should be.

There are three must-haves to a personal injury case:

The victim must show he or she suffered some type of physical, mental, or emotional injury. And in the case of a burn victim that should be easy to do.
The victim must show that the defendant had a duty to do no harm. If the burns came as a result of a car accident, this can mean that the guilty party failed at their duty and caused the victim’s wounds.
The victim must show an economic loss, known as damages, because of the injuries. Damages include financial losses including medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.

What to Watch Out For: Stories vs. Evidence
Even though a judge and or jury will be emotionally moved by the sight of a victim’s injuries and the story behind the injuries, it’s important to make sure your personal injury lawsuit has all the elements (named above) needed to win the case. When some people attempt to go it alone and pursue legal action by themselves, they may be left without the resources to conduct the best investigation. So it may then prove impossible for anyone to know what truly happened. However, with the help of our burn injury lawyers, our clients can be assured of having a thorough investigation conducted into their accident scene so that the truth of the accident’s cause can be assessed, regardless of what the liable driver may be saying.

Contact our Law Office for a free consultation to discuss the merits of your personal injury burn injury case. We will answer any lingering questions you may have. And we will evaluate your possible legal options in light of the specifics of your case. By starting the process to seek compensation for your injury or loss today, you can start on the road to recovery that much sooner.

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legal 8/31/2020 – Motorcycle Accidents, Workers Comp, Drilling Rig Accidents – gtg

Injuries, and even fatalities, can happen in the workplace every day. A clerk slips on a wet floor, an employee has a wreck in the company car, or a forklift operator is injured by faulty equipment. When these things happen, the victims may be able to recover for their losses in a Work Injury lawsuit, over and above Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Under the Workers’ Compensation Act of 1993, Texas is the only state that doesn’t require it’s employers and manufacturers to carry Workers’ Comp insurance. Those who don’t are called Non-Subscribers. It is important to find out whether your employer carries Workers’ Comp. If so, they are automatically required to pay certain benefits in the case of employee injury or death. The employee must be in the “course and scope of his employment” at the time, however. Employers are supposed to be protected from lawsuits by Workers’ Comp as well. These benefits are generally inadequate, and you may be able to recover additional compensation under common law.

Experience Is The Key
Work Injury Attorneys of our Law Office have been handling these cases for 23 years and know how to get our clients the money they need for things like:

Medical Bills
Lost Income
Pain & Suffering
Funeral & Burial Costs
Disability
Lost Future Income
Lost Earning Capacity
Future Medical Expenses
Disfigurement
Loss of Companionship

If your employer is a Non-Subscriber, with no Workers’ Comp insurance, then they are not protected from common law work injury suits, and you should be able to recover for your losses with the help of a competent, experienced workers comp lawyer like those at our Law Office. In the past two decades, our Law Office has handled Work Injury cases involving:

Slip, Trip & Fall
Construction Site Fatality
Defective Equipment/Machinery
Toxic Chemicals
Traumatic Brain Injury
Trauma Injury
Falling Objects

Why Do I Need A Work Injury Lawyer?
We know how to deal with large companies and insurance adjusters to get you and your loved ones the recovery you deserve. Workers’ Comp has their own doctors who like to downplay employee injuries and adjusters who like to low-ball or deny workers comp attorney claims. We know how to counter these ploys and get you the compensation you need. For instance, Workers’ Comp only pays 70% of injured employees wages while he is out of work, after the first week (which is not paid) up to $700 per week. There is also no provision for pain and suffering or lost earning capacity. We make sure you get competent and credible medical treatment and a fair settlement for your injury or your loved one’s death.

Employers are responsible for the negligent acts of their employees in the scope of their employment under the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior (Let the Master Answer). That means they are vicariously liable for injuries done by their employees. Also, there are often 3rd-party defendants who are liable as well, including:

Manufacturers
Designers
Suppliers
Property Owners
Distributors
Property Occupiers

Employers will likely try to say they don’t have to pay because the employee was:

The Sole Proximate Cause of His Own Injuries
Was Not In The Scope of Employment (Horseplay, Drinking, Distracted)
Intentionally Injured Self to Recover Damages
We know how to counter these claims at our Law Office, and have the skill and experience you need to hold your employer and all responsible parties accountable. We have our own in-house trial prep and investigative teams, as well as the latest in graphics and technology. Our workers’ compensation attorneys keep open communication and are available to their clients night and day. Our initial consultation is free, and we don’t get paid unless we win your case. So if you or a loved one has been hurt or worse at work, call us toll-free today and let our workers compensation lawyers get to work getting you the recovery you deserve.

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Work Injury Attorney Discusses Non-Subscriber Injury Law in Texas

In 1993, when Texas passed the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, it was designed so that companies buying into workers’ comp insurance would be shielded or protected from their employees’ lawsuits in the event of an on-the-job accident.

This aspect made the insurance very attractive for employers to purchase. Although there are a few exceptions, in most cases, workers’ comp determines an injured employee’s benefits and guarantees that employers will not be sued by a worker hurt on the job.

This law is a great example of Texas’ historically business-friendly legislation and was designed to protect both insurance companies and businesses from liability. However, it is not specifically designed to help workers injured on the job or to ensure they receive full compensation for their injuries.

When you are injured at work, under workers’ compensation laws, you can receive compensation even if your employer wasn’t necessarily at fault for your injury. Unfortunately, the amount of that monetary compensation awarded is frequently limited in a workers’ comp claim. It does not provide for punitive damages, or for non-economic compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering. The compensatory economic damages, such as lost wages, are capped in terms of both time and amount and are awarded in fractions of the employee’s previous income. This can be detrimental to your needs and the compensation you deserve, relative to your injuries.

Further, you cannot sue your employer or take them to court for any additional damages. The Texas workers’ comp law does limit your rights to the total amount of compensation you may receive. Also, the workers’ comp program is administered by insurance companies, and by nature, insurance companies are in business to benefit themselves by making a profit, and not to necessarily benefit or help you.

Workers’ compensation legislation, technically, was billed as “tort reform” legislation. The public and some legislators were influenced to believe the primary goal of the legislation was to alleviate the oppressive work injury lawsuit caseload that clogged up the courts. Many of these cases were characterized as unfounded, malicious assaults on business, and frivolous in nature. In this sense, reform often has nothing to do with its real purpose or stated intention or goal. Ironically, often when a piece of legislation is offered to the public as “reform,” in the end, it may actually be used against the public’s best interests in many situations.

Texans have historically been home to individuals with good sense and integrity, so not everyone was on board with the new workers’ comp “reform” legislation. So, in order to pass it, they gave Texas employers the individual right to decide to subscribe or not subscribe to workers’ compensation coverage. This is in contrast to the majority of states in the U.S., where insurance companies, in collusion with the state, have mandated every employer must carry the coverage—it is a state requirement. There are still about 40% of Texas employers today, who have chosen not to subscribe to workers’ compensation coverage. These employers are termed “non-subscribers.” The state and the insurance companies, as a form of punishment, would very much like to penalize these employers for not subscribing to their capped liability scheme. After an accident, these employers do “pay the price”. However, this imperative to punish non-subscribers is actually to your advantage in some specific ways.

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What You Should Do When Injured While Working for a Non-Subscribing Employer

The primary difference between subscribing and non-subscribing employers is that an injured worker is prevented from suing a subscribing employer. The worker is limited to the compensation outlined by the workers’ comp statute. The law protects employers who choose to subscribe to the coverage, yet punishes non-subscribers who choose not to be covered by workers comp. In regular courts, injured employees can sue non-subscribers without limit, and recover all damages (compensatory economic, non-economic, and even punitive) which they are entitled to.

Under non-subscriber injury law, among the damages you can claim (many of which are not available under workers’ comp) are lost earning capacity due to long-term disability, medical expenses, lost wages from time spent in the hospital, property damage, physical pain, suffering and discomfort, and emotional or mental distress caused by the injury.

When injured and trying to determine if you are covered under workers’ comp or not, you may face the common scenario where your employer is not covered by workers’ comp insurance but will tell you that he is, in order to avoid the much higher potential liability of a non-subscriber work injury lawsuit. Any workers who ask if the employer carries workers’ comp coverage may be lied to outright. This is because of the high cost of workers’ compensation insurance to the employer.

In companies that are involved in inherently dangerous or risky activities and have worksites where accidents are likely to happen (such as construction or demolition companies), opting for workers’ compensation insurance can result in a significant financial burden on the company. So to reduce their overhead, many companies elect to not subscribe to workers’ comp insurance. Often, but not always, to reduce their exposure to risk, they will carry a less expensive private insurance policy. This strategy can save the company money until an accident actually occurs. For companies in accident-prone fields, like construction, playing Russian Roulette with workers’comp coverage is unwise and risky. When an accident does occur, the liability and potential recovery amounts can be “through the roof”, because of non-subscriber injury law, especially in the case of a severe accident or injury. As mentioned earlier, this is because the law frowns upon non-subscribers, and as a way of punishing them for not subscribing, exposes them to extensive liability after an accident. By law, the injured employee is actually allowed to sue the non-subscribing employer for unlimited amounts of money, up to the total value of the losses the employee can prove they incurred.

So it is evident, non-subscribers actually have much to lose after an accident. That is why so many of them pose as subscribers or pretend to be covered by workers’ comp insurance, even to the extent of cutting you checks to compensate you in the small amounts you would have received under workers’ compensation law. If you falsely believe your employer’s claims that these payments are workers’ comp settlements, and you accept them, it will be very difficult later for us to help you get more compensation. Don’t simply accept as the fact your employer’s remarks that they’re covered by workers’ compensation insurance, since only a little over 50 percent of Texas employers carry workers’compensation coverage. Instead, you should ask an experienced non-subscriber work injury attorney, who knows how to dig up the truth and how to respond to the tricks your employer, their attorneys, and their aggressive insurance adjusters may throw at you, to keep them from paying you the full value of your claim.

By now, you can see that if your employer was a non-subscriber when you were injured, you’re probably entitled to a much higher amount of money than you would receive under a workers’ comp policy, and much more than the payoff your employer may have tried offering you. Finding out on your own whether your employer actually carries workers’ comp insurance can be very challenging. The non-subscriber work accident attorneys at our Law Office understand exactly where to look to and how to find if your employer is really carrying coverage, as he stated.

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Preparing Your Case For Court

Once you’ve clearly determined your employer actually is a non-subscriber, you can start to prepare your case. In order to file and pursue your non-subscriber personal injury case in court, your situation should contain the following three important elements:

A solvent defendant
Liability
Damages

A Solvent Defendant
It’s only natural when you’ve been injured, to want to pursue the party who caused your injury, and then to pursue compensation from them. But if that party has few or no assets, there is really no logic in filing a case against them in court, because it will cost you more in court and filing fees than in a settlement or damages awarded from that entity. So in spite of being entitled to compensation, it’s very possible you won’t receive any, just because the other party has no assets to compensate you for your claims. If the defendant has no financial means (income, insurance, or assets) to pay you for your claims, filing a case against them is a waste of time and money. Regardless of their guilt, unfortunately, as the saying goes, “You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.”

It’s also a natural tendency for a party who has injured another person or damaged their property, to make efforts to hide their assets or lie about insurance in order to protect them from being taken as compensation to the injured party. So usually, it’s best not to assume the injuring party has no assets, simply because they may appear to be hurting financially. Neither should you automatically accept your employer’s claims they do not have money or insurance. Remember, it’s a natural tendency for employers to hide and protect their assets if they think they can get away with the deception. Most of the time, it’s not their intent to injure—the injury was simply bad luck for you and for them as well. It may seem unfair or unjust to them to have to give their hard-earned assets to you as compensation, regardless of how badly they accidentally injured you.

However, if the injury was intentional, you can be sure they certainly had no intention of compensating you. This is where a non-subscriber work injury attorney can be invaluable to you. Your attorney will know where to look to uncover the defendant’s hidden, undisclosed assets, and insurance. In addition, there may be other third parties partly responsible for your injuries, including equipment manufacturers, and contractors or property owners at unsafe worksites. Your attorney can review your case with you in consultation and help clarify all the liable defendants in your case and design an appropriate strategy.

Liability
When injured, Texas law requires that you prove the defendant is liable for and owes compensation to you for injuries incurred. To do this, you must show they caused your injury and were responsible for it. In other words, you have to prove the defendant owed you a duty, and then violated or breached that duty to you, and this was the cause of your injury. Duty can take many forms. Generally, duty is simply taking reasonable care in the course of actions so that no one is harmed by either party’s actions or inaction. The injuring party breaches their duty when they do not take proper, reasonable care to prevent injury or harm. This is true both in the workplace as well as on the street.

Typically, based on the severity of the breach of duty owed to you, liability is divided into three categories. Simple negligence is the most common form of liability. This is the standard of negligence you will be required to prove under non-subscriber injury law. Essentially, negligence is careless or reckless behavior that results in an injury and is most commonly called an “accident”. For example, if a coworker, playing around, carelessly swings a broom, loses his grip, and breaks your arm, this is negligent. He should have used more reasonable care with the cleaning tool so that no one was injured.

Gross negligence is the next category of liability and is characterized by someone engaging in behavior they know or realize is reckless and dangerous, or disregards an obvious danger any reasonable person would know could cause injury. For instance, if your boss tells you to climb a ladder he knows is unstable, dangerous, or defective and you fall and break your leg, he would be guilty of gross negligence.

The third category of liability is wanton and willful behavior and usually results in punitive damages. This is when the other party intentionally causes you injury and deliberately sets out to harm you in some way. For example, if a vengeful “ex-boyfriend” stalks you and deliberately tries to kill you or a neighbor angry over your Great Dane using his yard as a pasture, intentionally assaults you, they are wantonly and willfully liable. It’s to your advantage to engage an experienced non-subscriber work injury, personal injury attorney to help separate the facts from the emotions and build the strongest case possible. our Law Office has handled thousands of non-subscriber work injury cases, understands all levels of liability, and can help in determining how legitimate a case you have. They can help pinpoint where the acts that caused your injury to fall on the liability scale.

An experienced non-subscriber work injury lawyer can assist you in sorting out the sequence of events leading up to your injury and separate the facts from the emotional elements of the case. That way, the court hears clearly exactly what happened and who caused what. You could easily get sidetracked in the emotional volleyball of “he said/she said” with the defending parties unless you have skilled attorneys advocating your rights. Although the parties at fault, the duties breached, and compensation you are entitled to in your personal injury case may seem crystal clear to you, in court, these issues often become murky, especially when argued against by savvy defense attorneys. In fact, it is the goal or intention of the opposing party attorney to make sure these issues become muddied. That is why you need an experienced lawyer on your side to clear up all the issues.

Damages
Initially, you have to prove you actually have damages, i.e. financial losses you’ve incurred because of your injury. This may strike you as totally obvious, but often it is overlooked in the rush to obtain compensation for an inconvenient, bothersome, or seriously annoying incident.

For instance, imagine you’re in a department store on a hurried errand after work in downtown , and another shopper accidentally bumps a giant stacked display of Barbie Dolls and hundreds of boxed Barbies fall on you and your cart. It takes a while to dig yourself out, right your cart, retrieve you spilled items, and continue. This causes you much frustration and anger, but you don’t have even a slight bruise, and the mishap doesn’t even make you late for work. Nothing was damaged when it fell out of your cart. You may want to get even with the careless shopper who buried you in Barbie Dolls, or the employee who built the ill-advised display, but you have no actual damages, and therefore, you have no case. You simply have the beginnings of a bad day.

Our attorneys have won hundreds of work injury cases, so call us today to discuss the specifics of your case and to answer your questions.

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Certainly, we’d all be happier and healthier if every accident only resulted in a slight inconvenience or annoyance. Unfortunately, workplace accidents often result in serious damages and injuries. In court, you must prove your damages, the severity of those damages, and that they were the result of the defendant’s liable behavior. You may, in some cases, also need to distinguish the injuries or damage resulting from the defendant’s behavior from “pre-existing” conditions. Some injuries and damages may be difficult to prove.

For instance, long-term future medical expenses and medication costs, or future medical or physical conditions likely to arise from the current injuries, or even future lost wages, can be open for debate and hard to place a specific value on. It can be particularly hard to distinguish current injuries and conditions from similar ones that were pre-existing. You can be confident the defendant’s lawyers will do all they can to attempt to show you have no actual damages arising from the defendant’s actions. After all, that is their job, and their intention, which is exactly why you need an experienced non-subscriber work injury attorney to meet their challenges and to show the full extent of the damages and injuries the defendant caused you.

Once you and your attorney are sure you have the three major case elements in place–a solvent defendant, liability, and damages—then you can start to assemble your evidence and witnesses and proceed forward with the case. When a non-subscriber is your defendant, you can avoid the entire bureaucratic red-tape of the workers’ compensation system.

That doesn’t mean your case will be any easier, however. You will still be dealing with regular civil court requirements, procedures, and filing deadlines, and will most likely face an intense, highly contested battle with aggressive defense attorneys and insurance adjusters, attacks on your character, and many other unpleasant scenarios.

You will need to present convincing evidence in court to prove all the various elements of your claim. You must show legally you were an employee, and not just a contractor or temporary worker, and that your employer was at least partially responsible for your accident. Also, you must point out how your employer’s negligence caused the injuries and that you are entitled to specific damages as compensation for your injuries. Your claim will likely be dismissed if you miss evidence on even one of these essential points. Remember this in these non-subscriber personal injury cases, the burden of proof rests squarely on you, the plaintiff. You must be proactive and aware of each of these requirements.

From the glass-is-half-full perspective, to win your case, you only have to prove standard negligence, where the employer experienced just a momentary or single lapse in his ability to maintain workplace safety. You don’t have the burden of proving the higher standard of gross negligence, such as where the employer consistently had a pattern of maintaining poor workplace safety or knowingly instructed employees to use equipment or engage in acts known to be unsafe.

The process of your non-subscriber lawsuit begins when you, the plaintiff, file the claim and notify your employer of your injury, the damages, losses, and costs you’ve incurred as a result, and the restitution you expect for damages. The employer can make a decision to agree or to negotiate a settlement out of court. However, the majority of work-related injury cases, historically are strongly contested by the employer and insurer, and the plaintiff must file a formal work injury lawsuit in court to seek compensation.

Frequently, the court process will initiate and continue for some time, as both parties file motions, claims, responses, and so forth, trying to undermine the opposing party’s case. This continues until one party recognizes it has a substantially weaker case and cannot win. Then both parties may opt to settle out of court. Before you decide you have a certain victory, you will still face major challenges to your non-subscriber case you will face in court.

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Two Significant Challenges Your Non-Subscriber Case Will Face In Court

The Sole Proximate Cause Defense
Under non-subscriber injury law in Texas, this is actually the only defense a non-subscribing employer has, and you can bet they make the most of it. Texas law only allows non-subscribers this single, rather difficult, defense. This limitation of possible legal defenses is another way of punishing non-subscribers for not subscribing to workers’ compensation coverage. In almost every case, non-subscribers use this defense, since it is their only hope. Consequently, you can expect it to be a major focus and issue in your case. Whole legions of high-blood-pressure insurance defense attorneys have built their careers around this defense. While you can anticipate it being a source of conflict in court for you, it is not an automatic airtight defense for your employer.

In order to win, your employer has to prove you were 100% responsible for your work injury. This requires your employer to prove you caused your accident entirely by yourself, and that no other causes (defective equipment, a slippery floor, or unsafe work procedures) contributed. It is rare that any person is 100% responsible for an incident. For this defense to be upheld, your employer would have to maintain 100% safe premises and equipment and have 100% observed totally adequate safety procedures at the time of your injury. Does this sound reasonable or likely to you? An employer who skimps on workers’ comp insurance expenses is also likely to skimp on safety precautions. For over twenty years, we have been fighting for the rights of non-subscriber work injury victims. Call today to discuss your case and the options available to you.

Regardless of the limitations, sole proximate cause is your employer’s only defense, so they will undoubtedly attempt to use it. Your employer and their insurance company will initiate a full-scale investigation into your work habits and work history. They’ll review your employment records, talk with coworkers, and search for and collect evidence to use to prove you were a sloppy, inconsistent worker who caused your injuries at the time of the accident. They will try to destroy your reputation and make you seem like a careless worker who can’t perform a simple task with bringing disaster down upon your head. And, the seasoned high-end, savvy defense attorneys will try to prove their client has no liability whatsoever, by questioning your competence and ability to do your job. This literally adds insult to your injuries. The employer will talk with witnesses and try to get coworkers to say you make careless mistakes at work. The defense attorneys’ ultimate goal is to prove that on the day of your accident, your behavior was so sloppy and negligent, no one except you is to blame for your injury, Sad, but true, it’s just the nature of the game they play.

At our Law Office, we’ve seen this defense hundreds of times and know exactly what to expect. We’ll prepare your case to withstand these attacks and prepare you for what’s coming. When your employer hires a shrewd, aggressive defense attorney, you need to counter with an experienced non-subscriber work injury attorney who can put the fault back onto the negligent employer, where it belongs. Remember the burden of proof in these cases rests with you, so don’t attempt to shoulder the burden alone. Our non-subscriber work injury attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life after your injury. We will help you navigate through the legal process to get the results you want.

A Solid Insurance Defense and Aggressive Opposing Attorneys
Despite your non-subscribing employer not willing to carry workers’ comp insurance, it’s highly likely the employer carries some form of insurance to help cover losses in the event there is a claim. This means your employer ultimately isn’t the only party with an interest in defending your claim. The insurance company, which would be responsible for paying a portion of your claim, has an inherently strong interest in undermining your claim. With a high-dollar personal injury case, that insurance company will be ready to deploy its team of sophisticated lawyers and slick insurance adjusters onto your case. So don’t expect the relatively friendly adjuster you encountered when you had a fender bender in your neighborhood.

Adjusters assigned to these personal injury cases are highly trained, highly compensated professionals who’ve risen to the top by denying claims and saving their employers money. They know where to find weak points in your case and are savvy in attacking its merits. Your employer and insurance company have an interest in protecting their assets and in you losing the case. And insurance companies are experts in avoiding liability. After all, that is their purpose for existing. They will use their expertise against you because that is what they are well paid for. The employer’s insurance company will have adjusters, investigators, and specialized defense attorneys to find ways to prove you aren’t entitled to recover anything for your injuries.

Your employer’s insurer and defense attorneys have one goal—to save their client as much money as possible by ensuring you receive the least compensation possible. They don’t hate you or are unsympathetic to your injuries. It’s simply their job to save clients money. Therefore, most insurance adjusters and injury defense attorneys use pressuring tactics to make an injured employee believe they don’t have a good case and should merely accept a token settlement much smaller than what is fair. They’ll likely make promises and claim to be on your side, but this isn’t the case.

Don’t rely on opposing parties who have opposing interests to yours. Hire an experienced non-subscriber work injury lawyer to help you preserve the evidence, build your case, counter the opposing counsels’ work character assassination attempts, and guide and protect you through the maze of a personal injury case.

The personal injury attorneys at our Law Office can link your injury back to your employer through your employer’s failure to provide necessary safety equipment, proper training, or other essential precautions. We understand how to prove your employer’s negligence directly caused your injuries when such negligence occurred. We are committed to helping you seek the compensation you require to move on with your life, whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance or not. We can separate the fact and fiction in your case and get it moving on the right track.

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Are You Really an Employee, Legally?

This is a very important question to answer before beginning your case. In Texas, the law states employers are not obligated to keep the workplace safe for contractors, volunteers, or temporary employees. Consequently, many employers rely on only these types of workers so they can save on insurance costs, safety upgrades, and maintenance, and to avert potential liability. The logic they rely on is simple. Why should they be responsible for your injury, when you, technically, were never their employee? Yet legally, even though an employer refers to you as a “contractor,” and even when you have a signed related contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not a true “employee”. It’s not set in stone.

Then to complicate the issue, Texas law doesn’t provide clear guidelines for determining employee status from a civil liability standpoint. Your attorney has to refer to previous rulings by the judge, called “case law,” to determine whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. Fortunately, case law in Texas is clear on this point: in terms of civil liability, an employer-employee relationship is determined not by your job title or a contract, but by your actual working relationship with your employer. You still may be able to recover from your employer, even if you were hired as a contractor or a temp worker if you can show the existence of an employer-employee relationship at the time of your injury. Some of the factors used to determine whether you are an employee or contractor are listed below:

If you are an employee, your employer withholds taxes or social security from your check.
If you are an employee, you are paid by the hour or on salary rather than on completion of a job or project.
If you are an employee, the employer sets your work schedule, (if you determine how much time is spent on each project, and can devote as much or as little time you want to a project, then you are a contractor; if the employer determines the amount of time devoted to a project, then you are an employee.
If you were hired for an indefinite period of time, as opposed to just completing a specific task or project, then you are an employee.
If you are an employee, the employer provides the materials and equipment you need for your job. If you are responsible for providing your own tools and equipment, then you are a contractor.
If you are an employee, you signed a document, like conditions of employment, an employee handbook, or a confidentiality agreement, which limited your legal rights relating to the job.
If you took a mandatory drug test, you are an employee
If you are an employee, the employer supervises, directs, and inspects you and your work as you do your job or examines your project at various stages of completion. If the employer only looks at the finished product, you are a contractor.
The employer can hire or fire you at any time if you are an employee.
If the employer can select a particular worker for a job, then that worker is an employee (if an agency can send over any worker it wants, then the worker is a contractor).
You are a contractor if you work for many different clients, rather than for a single company. For example, if a computer technician works for many different clients on different projects, he is a contractor; if he only works for an accounting company only, then he is an employee.
If an agency lending a worker can substitute another worker at any time, then the worker is a contractor.
If an employer “borrows” a worker for a particular skill set (for example, a framing company borrows an expert woodcarver from a furniture manufacturer for a special framing project), then the worker is a contractor. If, however, an employer “borrows” a worker to fill a position that virtually anyone could fill, then that worker is an employee.
As clearly seen in the examples above, the line between employee and contractor is not always completely clear-cut. The court usually looks at several factors in conjunction to determine whether such a relationship existed. The burden of proof to prove an employer/employee relationship existed at the time of your injury will rest upon you in court. Proving this relationship existed when you were injured is a complicated process requiring some intricate legal thinking.

Many attorneys do not have a grasp of how to prove this relationship, so for a layman, the task is even more difficult. To establish this relationship and obtain compensation for your injury, you need to hire a competent, experienced legal professional who understands how to prove you were a legal employee under the State of Texas laws. Even if you’ve been turned down by another attorney and told that you don’t have a case, call the non-subscriber work injury attorneys of our Law Office for a free consultation. On many occasions, we have won cases for contractors and temporary workers when other law firms turned down their cases. We’ve been handling claims similar to these for twenty years. Even if you were called a temp worker or a contractor, we can help you show the existence of the employer/employee relationship so you can receive compensation from your employer for your injuries.

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Factors Affecting Your Work Injury Claim

In order to sue, you must be able to prove that you have damages. Damages can come in many different forms. Compensatory damages include all non-economic and economic damages arising from your injury. Economic damages can include lost wages, all medical bills and expenses, loss of future income, travel expenses going to and from medical treatment, and essentially any measurable financial loss. Non-economic damages are less tangible losses such as interference with family relationships, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are those damages intended to punish the defendant for their bad behavior. Punitive damages in Texas can be up to twice the amount of your compensatory damages, both economic and non-economic, but cannot exceed $750,000 or $200,000, whichever amount is greater.

The amount of compensation you can receive for your damages in workers’ compensation cases is set by statute and is limited to economic compensatory damages. Just as you are able to sue a subscribing employer under a wrongful death claim involving gross negligence, you can also obtain compensatory non-economic damages and punitive damages. In non-subscriber cases, you are entitled to both economic and non-economic compensatory damages in addition to punitive damages, where warranted.

Texas adheres to the doctrine of “modified comparative negligence’, which means as long as you were less than 50% responsible for your injuries, you can collect compensation for your injury from the other responsible parties. The doctrine is known as “joint and several liability” can have an unusual effect on the collection of your damage award. Although a defendant whose blame for your injury is less than 50% can only be held responsible for their share of the damages, a defendant who is found to be more than 50% at fault for your injury, can be held liable for the entire amount. In other words, a defendant may have to pay damages resulting not just from their share of the fault for your injury, they may have to pay the damages owed by every other defendant as well. This applies when the other defendants are not sufficiently solvent enough to pay.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations in Texas
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations, or time limit, for most personal injury cases. This time frame is marked from the date of your injury until the time you must file your personal injury lawsuit. There are a few exceptions to this, such as in the case of an injured minor, or when the victim is in a coma or completely unable to assent to a case, or where the date of the injury cannot be determined. The application of these exceptions varies on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the specific circumstances surrounding the injury. For this reason, you should consult a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney regarding the statute of limitations in your case. Don’t make a mistake and wait to file, assuming one of the exceptions may apply to you. Consult with your attorney, and be sure to file before the deadline. If you don’t, your case will be dismissed and your plans thwarted, leading to disappointment.

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After A Work Injury, OSHA Will Not Help You With Your Case

You are probably familiar with the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). This agency develops, disseminates, and enforces regulations regarding workplace safety in order to promulgate and maintain minimum workplace safety standards for American workers. Although the goals and aspirations of this agency are admirable, the key term here is “minimum”. Like many federal agencies involved in your welfare, OSHA is underfunded and understaffed. So, oftentimes, it can’t be relied upon to ensure minimum levels of workplace safety, let alone intervene on your behalf in your individual case. OSHA simply lacks the manpower.

In fact, many employees are able to coast under the radar and maintain workplace safety standards well below the mandated minimum because they know there’s a good chance they will never be caught for their failure to comply with the standards. Even when caught and fined for the transgressions, the amounts of the fines were established years ago and haven’t kept pace with inflation and profits. Therefore potential fines do not give sufficient financial motivation for all employers to keep up with workplace safety mandates. The fines are often so minimal, it seems to make financial sense for many businesses to take the risk, pay the fine, and upgrade later.

OHSA, because of its budgetary and staff limitations, is more of a reactive than a proactive agency. Because of its lack of manpower to investigate all non-compliant employers in advance, OSHA often can’t prevent workplace injuries before they occur. OSHA investigators generally do not visit a workplace until after an accident takes place. They may fine the employer several hundred or a few thousand dollars and write a report detailing the accident in terms of federal workplace non-compliance issues and what the employer has done to correct its safety lapses. This report information is intended strictly for use at higher OSHA levels and not for any bearing it may have on your individual case. The report is designed to help stop further workplace problems or make note of potential problems, and to suggest regulatory solutions. At most, the report will document the employer’s compliance failures and corrections, and used to fine those employers who refuse to comply with federal standards.

Yet many workers believe they still can rely on OSHA to help them win their cases or workers’ compensation claims against negligent employers that have caused their injuries. Sadly, this is incorrect. The focus of OHSA is simply trying to ensure the overall maintenance of safe workplace standards nationwide, not to serve individuals in their workplace safety-related injury matters. OSHA honestly isn’t concerned with specific workplace accidents or whether the victim is fully compensated for injuries or losses. So OSHA reports are typically very broad in scope and terms, and of little use whatsoever in helping you establish the finer points of your case. As a federal agency, serving a broader national purpose, OSHA doesn’t want to be involved in local matters. The reports are not intended to hurt you, yet they can rarely serve your purposes in a personal injury case where you are trying to prove employer liability for your accident.

In summary, OSHA cannot help you obtain justice in your personal injury or wrongful death claim the way an experienced non-subscriber injury attorney can. Only a competent accident lawyer like the ones of our Law Office can help secure the compensation you are justified in receiving after a workplace injury. So don’t rely on OSHA to help you, but consult with your own workplace injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident to make sure your claim and its specifics are preserved. Your future is too important, not to call.

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First Steps After Being Injured at Work in Texas

If injured at work, the first step you should always take is to get the medical attention you need to help recover from the accident. Medical attention after an injury is critical and can be crucial in helping establish an injury claim for damages. Many of our clients worry about not being able to afford medical attention. They may be uninsured or concerned about taking time off from work to get treatment. Over our many years of helping Texas workplace injury victims, we have established relationships with a large network of medical professionals who will take your personal financial situation into consideration. They will often treat you for no out-of-pocket costs since your medical expenses will likely be compensated later by your employer or its insurance company.

We can also explain how much of your lost wages and other damages may be reimbursable by your employer or its insurer. Also, it’s very important you don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a settlement from your employer or their insurer or any liable third party in your case. Don’t agree to, sign, or accept any payment offers until you have consulted with an experienced work injury attorney. Those offers are not intended to benefit you, but to benefit and protect the ones offering them. Initially, in the distress and confusion following your injury, they may initially look good, but once accepted, these offers become legally binding. In our society, settlements are encouraged because they save costly court time and resources. Once a settlement is reached, however, the law is rarely concerned with the fairness of the agreement. You waive your rights to sue for any further future compensation you may be entitled to if you accept a settlement offer. You certainly don’t want to accept an offer without having it evaluated by an experienced work injury attorney. Accepting an unfair settlement is almost always a disaster for you, your finances, and your legal rights.

It’s also important to realize your employer and its insurance company may use anything you say or do against you. So never write out a statement detailing how the accident occurred without talking with a lawyer. You may be distraught after an injury, in pain, and wondering what your future holds in light of your injury. You aren’t in a position to think clearly, talk about settlement offers, or make statements about the accident. The only statements or requests you should make are to get medical help and to talk with your lawyer, who will help you recover from your injury and seek justice.

By now, hopefully, you are seeing the importance of acting quickly to secure an attorney and your rights. Evidence starts to fade or go missing almost immediately after an incident occurs in work accident cases. The weather may erase details from the scene, cleanup personnel may unknowingly dispose of key evidence, damaged equipment involved may be removed, or witnesses may leave the scene and not give any contact information. Crucial evidence to help with your burden of proof in your injury case and the resulting damages can be quickly lost or even deliberately tampered with in order to avoid allegations of liability.

The sooner you enlist one of our non-subscriber work injury attorneys, the sooner we can get to the scene of your work accident and gather the evidence you’ll need for a strong claim. A strong body of evidence also helps convince defendants and their counsel that a favorable settlement would be better than a trial. But if you wait too long to hire an attorney, then you may be doing irreparable damage to chances of securing the compensation you deserve. Don’t jeopardize your chances of a successful settlement.

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If You’ve Been Injured On-The-Job, Work Injury Attorneys Can Help

For over 20 years, our Law Firm has been fighting for work injury victims’ rights. The attorneys at our Law Office have spent years acquiring practical knowledge in non-subscriber injury law and work injury law, with all of its complexities. Let us put all that experience to work for you. We can answer your questions and help you understand your rights and obligations, whether about the strengths and potential pitfalls of your case, how to proceed with your claim, or how much compensation justice warrants in your situation.

Our goal is to help you recover everything you are entitled to after your injury so that you can move forward with your life in the best possible position. The sooner you contact the workers’ compensation attorneys of our Law Office, the better your chances for receiving full compensation from all liable parties. So call today.

Recently we handled a case involving a worker injured on a job where he had initially signed on as a contractor. Eight different attorneys told him he did not have a case because the company responsible used contract workers. Yet our firm was able to successfully establish an employer-employee relationship, and ultimately, for this injured worker, we obtained a seven-figure settlement.

Our Law Office has been helping injured workers for over twenty years receive the compensation they deserve. We have a solid track record of successfully representing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits involving non-subscribing companies. With many high-profile work injury cases, we’ve successfully investigated and resolved the cases, and have faced every major insurance carrier and work injury defense firm in the United States. They each know how successful our attorneys have been and frequently offer our clients significant settlements, simply because they don’t want to face our lawyers in court.

We can often secure compensation for you without having to take your case to court, which helps you get back on your feet quicker. If necessary though, we are willing and capable of aggressively defending your rights in court. Our in-depth knowledge and experience of personal injury law, success in uncovering and preserving critical case elements, and our history of success, give us a solid foundation to tackle the intricacies and complexities of your unique case. Let us help bring to justice those responsible for your injuries. Call us today, for a free consultation, so we can help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve for your work injury. We want to see you get back on your feet and move forward with your life into a bright future.

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Motorcycle Accidents can be Challenging, Discuss Your Case With Our Attorneys

After a motorcycle accident, there is every reason why you may be confused and uncertain about what you should do next. You may be wondering how you should proceed in order to receive compensation from the negligent person that caused your injuries.

Many people believe that the procedures after a motorcycle accident are similar to the procedures after an automobile accident. Unfortunately, the process is quite a bit more difficult. The attorneys at our Law Office have written this brief article to help explain your basic rights as well as to explain what to do after your accident.

Why Are Motorcycle Cases Different?
First of all the severity of the property damages and physical injuries are much more extensive than in an accident involving two cars. This is mainly because the motorcyclist has basically no protection in the accident and the motorcycle is directly exposed to severe damage. When the injuries and damages are so high, the insurance companies go into high alert immediately. They know that if they lose this case they will effectively lose a lot of money in a settlement. Consequently, they will send out their most experienced insurance adjusters and defense attorneys and will do whatever they can to negate your case and attempt to pin the blame on you. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can help protect your rights in scenarios like this.

These adjusters in particular will try to talk with you and will attempt to have you incriminate yourself by saying that you really are not that seriously injured or even that you actually caused your own accident. They will twist whatever you say and will take things out of context to use against you later on in court.

Challenges Facing Motorcyclists
One of the biggest challenges that a motorcyclist faces is the popular bias that exists that basically denigrates the biker. Perhaps because of the manner that the media has portrayed motorcyclists, most people believe them to be wild, reckless irresponsible rebels, with little concern for the safety of anyone, including themselves.

Recent studies have shown that 85% of the general public assumes that the motorcyclist is the liable party when involved in an accident with the motorist. This is an example of a situation where an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a huge difference by being able to swing the jury into seeing the motorcyclist in a fair light.

In reality, studies have shown that most of the time motorcycle accidents occur because the auto drivers do not see the smaller motorcycle and driver on the highways. Motorists evidently instinctively look for vehicles that are their size or larger and fail to be vigilant enough to recognize all vehicles on the road as they should. Again, this is a time when a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can prove to be invaluable, for it takes an experienced attorney to help juries overcome their misconceptions and prejudices that cloud their judgment when considering a case involving a motorcyclist.

Proportionate Responsibility
In a large number of accidents, both drivers are to some degree responsible. Insurance companies accordingly only have to convince a jury that the motorcyclist is 51% liable in order to win their case. It isn’t necessary to prove that the accident was the motorcyclist’s fault, only that it was somewhat the motorcyclist’s fault. When you combine this with the already preconceived bias that exists with the jury, the difficulty in these types of cases becomes readily apparent. A motorcycle accident attorney can navigate these treacherous waters and ensure that the jury’s biases have a minimal negative impact upon your case.

How We Can Help
We understand the trauma that accompanies a bad motorcycle crash. Our goal is to help you through this difficult period by taking away any worries or concerns regarding your legal and financial issues, allowing you to spend time recuperating and healing.

The attorneys at our Law Office have been successfully litigating personal injury cases for over 20 years. During this time we have won millions of dollars for our Texas clients from major insurers nationally. As a result, major insurance companies are well aware of our stellar reputation and are often eager to settle out of court rather than face our highly skilled attorneys in the courtroom. This of course can be beneficial to you, requiring less of your time involved in the legal process and generally enabling you to receive your settlement check more rapidly.

If you or a family member has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Law Office today. We offer a free consultation and are available 24 hours a day. Our attorneys look forward to discussing your case with you and to answering all of your questions.

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Texas Workers Comp Lawyer Discusses Natural Gas Drilling Rig and Roughneck Injuries

As vital as oil is to the economy of not only Texas but also the entire United States, the job of gathering that oil can be fraught with danger. The oil industry is one of the most hazardous professions in existence, as injuries and, unfortunately, deaths can take place in gas well drilling accidents, offshore drilling accidents, oil rig drilling accidents, and oilfield accidents.

The use of heavy machinery is prevalent in the oil industry, so workers are almost in a constant state of danger from this machinery. There aren’t many workers in the industry that have not sustained some kind of injury, and, unfortunately, fatalities are all too common. Because of the heavy machinery used in areas such as oil platforms, oil rigs and oilfield injuries that take place can be extremely serious. They can include paralysis, severe burns, brain trauma, amputations, crushed bones, and, of course, death. Wildcatters, drillers, roughnecks, and roustabouts are, in particular, susceptible to suffering injuries in an oil industry-related accident. The extremely sad part of many of these injuries is that they, many times, could have been avoided if only proper guidelines had been observed. Accidents such as explosions, fires, valve failure, rig collapse, and others can oftentimes be quite avoidable.

If you have suffered an oil-related injury, or you are the family of an oil worker who died in an oil industry accident, the first thing you must determine is whether or not the worker’s employer bought workers’ compensation insurance. Because the oil industry is so dangerous, most employers think beforehand and buy insurance that is provided for by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act of 1993. That does not mean that every oil industry employer has purchased workers’ comp coverage.

How to Determine Whether or Not Your Employer Purchased Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Texas, unlike most other states, does not make it mandatory for employers to purchase, or “subscribe” to, workers’ compensation insurance. The manner in which you pursue litigation regarding an oil industry accident depends on whether the employer subscribed to workers’ comp, or was a workers’ comp “non-subscriber” and did not purchase the insurance. The way you go about trying to obtain compensation in the event of an oil industry injury varies greatly depending on which description fits the employer in question.

It can be oftentimes difficult to determine whether or not an employer is a subscriber to workers’ comp. Many employers, after an accident occurs that results in an injury to a worker will claim it is a subscriber in order to keep from being the subject of a lawsuit filed by either an injured worker or the family member of a worker wrongfully killed in an accident. The opposite can be true as well. Some companies will feign not having workers’ comp insurance when, in fact, they really do. They do so because they are trying to avoid seeing their premiums raised after an accident. The oilfield accident attorneys with our Law Office have been practicing personal injury law and wrongful death law for the last two decades. During that time, we have seen many, many instances where companies have attempted this kind of blatant deception. No matter what the employer chooses to tell you, we know how to correctly determine the status of a company’s worker’s compensation insurance. We can help you, no matter if the company was a subscriber or a non-subscriber.

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Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

When an employer purchases workers’ compensation insurance, it buys more than just insurance. It also purchases protection against legal action taken by employees who are injured on the job. If an employer has legitimate workers’ comp coverage, then an injured employee cannot sue that company. That employee must file an insurance claim through the correct channels through his or her workers’ compensation insurance provider.

There are many instances, however, where an insurance carrier’s idea of fair compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses is one that does not come close to adequately compensating an injury victim for the actual expenses that have been accumulated by that victim. Because our oilfield accident lawyers have been dealing with this type of litigation for 20 years, we know that there can often be other liable parties other than the employer in an oil industry accident. Other potentially responsible parties include the owner of the property where the oil is being drilled, the person who owns the oil rig or oil platform, and the vendors responsible for providing any potentially faulty machinery (such as the steel lingers that are inserted into earthen tunnels that have been drilled). Either one or a combination of more than one of these parties can be found to have either negligently contributed to an oil industry injury or to have caused it outright through negligence. It is very commonplace for more than one party to have played some kind of role in an oilfield accident. The lawyers with our Law Office have extensive experience in investigating accident scenes in order to identify all the parties that are liable.

You might be 100 percent sure that your employer subscribed to workers’ compensation insurance, but it can still be worth your time to call us for a confidential and free consultation. We can tell you whether or not the employer’s workers’ comp policy is sufficiently meeting your needs, and whether or not there may be another party or parties that you can take legal action against in order to try and obtain fair compensation.

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Workers’ Comp Claim Exceptions

There is only one exception where the family of a deceased accident victim can sue a subscribing employer. That is when the employer’s gross negligence was the reason for the accident taking place that caused the wrongful death. It can be much harder to prove gross negligence, however, than standard negligence. Gross negligence is, in a nutshell, when an employer habitually created an unsafe workplace environment and was aware that an accident would likely happen that would result in either an injury or death. Standard negligence, on the other hand, is the temporary lack of focus or reason of an employee that led to an accident. A subscribing company cannot be successfully sued unless gross negligence can be proven. The oilfield accident attorneys with our Law Office are adept at building rock-solid cases against employers that are grossly negligent in order for the families of deceased workers to obtain the restitution they have coming to them.

Companies that are Workers’ Comp Non-Subscribers
The victim, or plaintiff, will more than likely have to file a lawsuit against a non-subscriber in order to obtain restitution after an oilfield injury. The first thing the victim must do is file a claim with the employer that details both the injury and the extent of the monetary damages the victim expects to receive in restitution. The employer then has the choice of either paying you what you demand or attempting to negotiate a settlement for a lesser amount. Most of the time, however, a non-subscriber will choose neither option. When that happens, your only recourse in securing the fair compensation you have coming to you is by pursuing legal action by filing a lawsuit.

A plaintiff can get a substantially higher amount of restitution via a lawsuit than he or she might be able to obtain through a workers’ compensation claim. Also, the plaintiff needs to only prove standard negligence – the aforementioned temporary, solitary error in judgment or the duty to provide a safe workplace – and doing so is fairly simple. When the Texas Legislature enacted workers’ comp in 1992, it did so with the purpose of trying to shield companies from frivolous employee lawsuits. It does not require employers to buy insurance, but it very strongly encourages them to do so. As a result, non-subscribers are “punished,” so to speak, by allowing not only employee lawsuits but requiring that those employees need only prove standard negligence.

There can be extremely large amounts of money at stake, however, and employers will employ a wide variety of tactics – both legal and illegal – in order to keep from having to pay a claim. Through two decades of dealing with workers’ comp claims, the oilfield accident attorneys with our Law Office know the tricks that non-subscribing companies can try to pull. We can protect your right to pursue compensation by putting our experience and track record of success to use for you.

As we stated previously, an injured worker, or plaintiff, has to bear the burden of proof in order to win a personal injury case, and therefore has to be able to provide a convincing argument that will prove the negligence of the employer led to the accident that caused injury to an employee. The plaintiff has to establish that the employer should be held responsible for the pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and lost potential earnings due to lifelong disabilities that the plaintiff has incurred. The standard of negligence that must be proven in a case regarding a non-subscriber is quite low, but it can still be very difficult for inexperienced attorneys and nearly impossible for those who have no legal background. But our experience enables us to establish standard negligence in a relatively easy fashion.

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Hurdles Plaintiffs Must Overcome in Winning a Case Against a Non-Subscriber

Again, the purpose behind workers’ comp is to strongly encourage companies to purchase the insurance. As a result, those that choose not to are punished for their decision by being afforded only one true defense against personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. This defense, known as the “sole proximate cause” defense, means that an employer will not be held liable for any injuries suffered by their employees if it can be proven that the employee was 100 percent responsible for the accident that caused that injury. In this instance, a case involving a non-subscriber can get very personal. The employer will often defame the employee’s character, painting a picture of that employee as an incompetent and careless worker whose own negligence resulted in his or her injuries. Since the defense has no other option at its disposal, you can be virtually certain that the opposition’s attorneys will attack your character and make you look incompetent.

In addition, even though a non-subscriber chose not to buy workers’ comp coverage, that doesn’t mean it is without a very expensive insurance policy. Many companies choose to buy private insurance rather than workers’ comp, which can be even more expensive. Millions of dollars can be at stake in a case involving a non-subscriber, so the insurance company will have aggressive adjusters on the job who will do whatever it takes to either reduce the amount of restitution you obtain or simply flat-out deny the claim. These adjusters aren’t anything like the ones you may encounter after a run-of-the-mill fender-bender. These people are highly trained and highly paid professionals, and they could not care less about your injury, no matter how severe. In fact, they are often paid handsome bonuses for denying claims, so they have a strong motivation to do the same to yours. Shortly after an accident, they will likely attempt to pelt you with a barrage of confusing questions that are designed to trip you up and get you to admit responsibility for the accident. This way, the insurance company can potentially get away without having to pay you a dime. Never talk to an insurance adjuster without an experienced attorney by your side who will protect your rights. Also, the insurance company will also be represented by very formidable attorneys who love it when an injury victim decides to go it alone and represent himself or herself. They love it because they know they can easily out-negotiate you and either give you a relative pittance or leave you with no compensation at all.

These sharks only respect an opposing attorney that has a track record of success. Our Law Office has taken on nearly every major insurance carrier in the United States and defeated it. Because insurers know us and respect us, they will often offer our clients fair settlements rather than take the risk of losing a great deal more money by tangling with our attorneys in a trial. To have any chance of getting the restitution you have coming, you simply have to have a seasoned and skilled oilfield accident attorney working on your side.

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Proving the Relationship between Employer and Employee

Non-subscribing employers are under no obligation to provide a safe workplace to temporary workers or contract workers in the eyes of the law in Texas. Those workers are responsible for their own workplace safety. An injured worker who falls under one of those categories cannot sue the non-subscribing company. However, there are many instances where a company will try and label their workers as contractors in order to avoid liability in the event of a workplace accident that results in an accident. This happens quite a bit in the oil industry, as many oilfield workers are considered contractors. Just because a company calls you a contractor doesn’t mean that a court of law will view you in that same manner. We have encountered myriad instances in our 20 years of practice where we have been able to establish that an employer-employee relationship did, in fact, exist by simply asking the right questions. As a result, we were able to help our clients secure just compensation. If you meet any of these following standards, then you will be seen as an employee in the eyes of the law.

The employer withholds taxes or social security from your paycheck.
The employer supplied you with the equipment that was essential for you to do your job.
The employer expected to you maintain a specific work schedule that is established.
The employer either inspected, oversaw, or managed your work on a regular basis, either by the employer, or the employee’s manager or foreman.
The employer asked you to either perform a task or sign a document that in some way limited your rights. For instance, you were asked to take a drug test or to sign a document stating that you had read, and agreed to comply with, an employee handbook.
The employer employed you for an undetermined period of time, and not just for a certain job.
The employer paid you on either a salary basis or an hourly basis, and not on a job-by-job basis.
The oilfield accident attorneys with our Law Office can launch a detailed, thorough investigation in order to prove that you were, indeed, an employee and not a contract worker. We can procure pay stubs, interview fellow workers, and thoroughly review contracts in order to establish that you were an employee when injured.

How We Can Help You
The attorneys with our Law Offices can help you or your family, no matter how your injury or the wrongful death of your loved one took place in an oil industry accident. We will be passionate and dedicated in working your case and work tirelessly in order that you get the maximum amount of restitution that you have coming to you.

It does not matter whether the accident was caused by a subscriber or a non-subscriber, or by one or more third parties. Call us as soon as you can for a confidential and free consultation. We will go over the specific circumstances of your case and tell you how we may be able to help you.

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law new grossman 8/31/2020 – Wrongful death/Semi-truck accidents, Workers Comp – gtg

Attorney Discusses the Loss of Future Earnings After a Wrongful Death

If your loved one dies as a result of the negligence of another, do you know what kind of compensation you’re entitled to? If your spouse has tragically died because of an unfortunate accident, are you worried about providing for the future of your family? The experienced Texas wrongful death lawyers at our Law Office understand your worry during this difficult time and will seek to provide just compensation for your loved one’s loss of future earnings.

What Does Loss of Future Earnings Mean?
Loss of future earnings is the money that the spouse, children, or another financial dependent would have received had the provider not died. It is only one of the damages that can be sought in a wrongful death case, which can be a difficult value to compute to ensure that you receive just compensation for your loved one’s lost income. Courts can often interpret the loss of future earnings in a wide variety of ways, so having competent legal help on your side is of the utmost importance.

Problematic Issues in Calculating Loss of Future Earnings
Let’s suppose that your loved one was 30-years old at the time of their passing, and was then making $50,000 per year. With an estimated 35 more years of possible working potential at the same rate of pay, the base value of future lost income would be $1.75 million. Due to many variables, calculating the loss of future earnings is seldom this straightforward. For example, would your loved one have never gotten a raise? Surely that should be factored in as well. What about inflation?

Defendants at fault will seek to reduce their payouts by trying to base the final value on the fluctuations of the market during the victim’s possible working future. The competent attorneys at our Law Office can help the opposite occur by seeking to raise the base value of the suit based on former cases and testimonies of witnesses. Essentially, our attorneys help to prove that your loved one would have most likely received a promotion or a raise as part of their future earning potential.

Certain cases can be even more troubling. What if your loved one had been working at a restaurant as a waiter in order to pay for the medical school that they were also attending, and suffered a fatal accident before becoming a doctor? Should loss of future earnings be based on their hourly wage as a waiter or their future wages earned as a potential doctor? The attorneys at our Law Office know the intricacies of presenting such a case while keeping an eye on making sure you receive fair compensation for your loved one’s future, rightful, earning potential.

Losing a Loved One Doesn’t Have to Mean Loss of Future Earnings
Proving a fair amount of potential earnings on the behalf of the bereaved is typically a complex issue best left to capable attorneys. Our Law Offices seeks to mitigate prolonged future pain as a result of possibly not receiving just compensation for your loved one’s loss of future earnings by seeking to show their most likely future earning potential.

With 20 years of experience in such cases, we are amply prepared to prove your case and show the courts why you and your family are entitled to just compensation. Lessen your worry about the future of your family by contacting our wrongful death attorney. We are here to help you in your time of need.

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Wrongful Death Lawyer on Fatal Semi-Truck Accidents and the Aftermath

Have you suffered a loss recently in a tragically fatal semi-truck accident in Texas? It is a sad fact that no action can bring back your loved one or somehow make up for the tragic loss. However, following such an accident you do have several choices for how to proceed legally in order to achieve some compensation for your loss as well as some justice for those whose negligence caused the loss.

You might ask us, what are the legal options following such a tragedy, and whom will I need to contact to start the process to achieve just restitution and to bring those responsible to account for their actions? In any case of wrongful death involving motor vehicles and especially in cases involving semi-trucks, the practical and legal proceedings are complex and convoluted, far beyond the skill-set of an inexperienced attorney, much less someone who does not have a legal background or have extensive knowledge of the law who might try and represent themselves. The fact that it is a wrongful death case will make it complicated such that only an experienced attorney can hope to bring you through the situation. The fatal semi-truck accident wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated process made more so by each of its components. Our Law Office offers this article by way of information so that you have the tools to make your first step in the arduous process following the tragic loss of a loved one to a fatal semi-truck accident. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation. Remember as well that time is of the essence. If you are uncertain what your legal options are, call us today.

Fatal Semi-Truck Accidents
A general and prevailing misconception regarding wrongful death litigation that involves semi-trucks is that the only real difference between a situation where someone is killed by an 18-wheeler and a situation where someone is killed by an automobile is the size of the accident and possibly the size of the settlement since 18-wheelers are commercial vehicles. Both of those elements have truth in them. The size of the physical accident is indeed larger, seeing as how the difference in mass between a big rig and an automobile is enormous, and indeed some semi-truck accidents affect more than just a few people on the highway. If, for example, the anti-lock breaks of a semi-truck failed and the truck was moving along a flat standard grade stretch of highway, the velocity of the truck would carry the vehicle a mile before it stopped. Imagine thousands of pounds of steel hurtling down the road for a full mile. The damage could be enormous. However, some accidents involving semi-trucks are of a similar scale to an automobile accident, if, for instance, an 18-wheeler changes lanes without looking and knocks another vehicle off the road. It can be just as fatal, though. The second part of the misconception is that aside from the physical size of the accident, the only real difference is in the settlement, which is sure to be at least a little larger since 18-wheelers are commercial. Once again, this can be the case, since the insurance policies that commercial trucking companies hold are very large. However, the real difference between a fatal accident involving a semi-truck and a fatal accident involving an automobile is the legal proceedings and the players on the defense. The trucking companies and the insurance companies are not going to mess around, they are not going to be altruistic, and they will try their hardest to prevent you from seeing a single cent of remuneration for the loss of your loved one.

In fatal semi-truck accidents what you really need is an experienced and competent lawyer who has dealt with the companies in question before and who knows the ins and outs of the legal process involved with litigating a semi-truck wrongful death claim. An attorney taking on this case is not just dealing with the negligent driver of the truck. They are dealing with a whole team of experienced and aggressive lawyers, adjusters, and company officers. The wrongful death lawyers at our Law Office have been litigating cases like this for twenty years and can foresee the variations and complications that are going to be a part of this case. We will fight for your rights, however, so that you and your family will receive the just compensation you deserve for your tragic loss. If at any point you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation.

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What Are the Options for Damages?

When we refer to damages, we are referring to the ultimately quantifiable list of financial and emotional losses. This becomes more complicated than you would think, but in the majority of fatal semi-truck accident claims, there are two possible sets of damages the victim’s family can claim. These are damages for wrongful death and survival damages. When we are talking about wrongful death damages, we are talking about the damages resulting from the suffering that the family and the loved ones have incurred following the death of a family member, and the additional losses that come if that person was a wage earner. When we talk about survival damages we are referring to the emotional and financial losses that come after losing a family member, the hospital bills, the wages lost, et cetera.

Wrongful Death Damages
The damages for wrongful death could include compensation for any medical expenses suffered by the victim while they were in the hospital and the funeral expenses resulting from the accident. These are fairly black and white. They will be clearly marked on bills and can be easily presented to a jury. Wrongful death damages also include the loss of the financial support of the deceased as proven by his or her prior support to the loved ones. In cases where the primary wage-earner was the victim of the accident, the losses are particularly acute, seeing as how not only was all of that income lost, but also some current member of the family will have to find a better job, possibly undertake expensive training, and so forth. The severe emotional trauma and the mental strain caused by the loss of a loved one, as well as the loss of an irreplaceable member of a family are two damages covered under wrongful death damages, are a more likely to be contested by the defense, who could claim that because these are intangible, they are not so easily quantifiable.

Survival Damages
The survival damages include the compensation for any lingering medical bills from the victim’s time in the hospital following the tragedy, as well as the money actually lost by the victim from their lack of work, as well as the lack of work for the family members who might have taken time off to be with the victim, all of this being due to the fatal accident. Survival damages also include some damages for emotional turmoil following the accident, as well as any physical pain and suffering undergone by the family as a result of the accident.

We understand that talk of compensation and remuneration can be unsettling since no sum of money can give you back your deceased loved one or even begin to fully compensate you for the extremity of the loss you have suffered. At the same time, though, we also know that the period following a fatal semi-truck accident can be fraught with severe financial losses that come from the hospital bills, the funeral bills, the loss of wages, the loss of property, and the loss of future opportunity, as well as many other losses. The compensation is an important part of the process since it will help to provide financial security following the accident. It also has the additional and added purpose of holding certain parties accountable for their negligence. Here at our Law Office, we understand that this next step is important for the family and we know how to assist you so that you receive the most possible compensation you deserve for your loss. We will also fight to see that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.

Because so many of the damages include less tangible losses that come from emotional suffering and trauma and are therefore extremely subjective, it is vital that you retain the services of a wrongful death lawyer who has a great deal of experience and competence when it comes to accurately and adequately calculating the full range of total losses and damages resulting from the fatal semi-truck accident. The attorneys at our Law Office understand the process for building a complete and comprehensive fatal semi-truck accident wrongful death lawsuit that carefully separates and quantifies both wrongful death damages and survival damages. An issue that creates even more confusion in fatal eighteen-wheeler accidents is that there is often more than one liable party whose negligence could have contributed to the fatal accident. If you want to find all of the responsible parties and hold them justly accountable for their actions, then you need an experienced wrongful death attorney who knows all of the different strategies necessary to bringing a suit against multiple defendants and claiming damages from all of them. Just coming up with the list of damages is complicated enough as it is, but you will also need a competent and experienced lawyer who can either pursue the case in a court trial or force the insurance company to come to an equitable and just settlement.

At our Law Office, we have twenty years of experience in litigating cases like this and we understand the strategies necessary for building comprehensive and strong lawsuits to bring against all of the liable and responsible parties involved and then following through with a strong case for just compensation that the liable parties must pay our clients. Our fatal semi-truck accident lawyers understand what it takes to build and litigate a strong case that will see our clients to their goal of achieving just compensation for the terrible loss they have incurred as a result of the negligent actions that caused a fatal semi-truck accident.

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Trucking Companies, Insurance Adjusters, and Defense Specialists

A major obstacle to achieving compensation and to bring the responsible parties to account for their actions exists in the total defense of the responsible parties. As we noted before, commercial big rig accidents are different from automobile accidents because of the legal complexities, the extent of damages, and the aggressive behavior of the agents of the trucking company and the insurance company. Below are some of the serious roadblocks to achieving justice in a fatal semi-truck accident, and therefore some of the reasons why it is vital to retain the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney who knows the in and outs of fatal semi-truck accidents.

The Insurance Company
The fairly tame commercials that one sees on television for auto insurance companies present them as fair, consumer-friendly, almost altruistic companies who want to be seen as almost family-like or paternal in their protection of the policy-holders. The truth that everyone knows to be the case is that insurance companies are for-profit businesses that gambling their assets against the chance that the policyholders and their vehicles will be injured in an auto accident. And then, when they are, or when their vehicles are damaged, the insurance company will work to show that it was the other party who was responsible, and the other party’s insurance company who should pay. In other words, insurance companies have a bottom line. They are not your friends. They are not your family. They are a business.

Compared to the insurance companies for commercial trucking companies, however, the standard auto insurance companies start to look pretty fair and altruistic. The trucking company that either owned the big rig involved in the accident or hired the owner-operator who drove the cargo purchased an enormous insurance policy to protect them in the event of an accident, but this by no means guarantees the family of the victim to an easy, hassle-free lump sum of compensation for their loss. The commercial trucking insurance company is dealing with policies that are 50 times larger than the standard policy for an automobile. The risk is so high that the insurance company hires a team of adjusters who are highly experienced and competent at short-changing the claimants in order to help the insurance company maintain or increase their profits.

You will probably be experiencing the results of a fatal semi-truck accident for the first time with this case, and have the added burden of loss, financial instability, and emotional trauma. The insurance adjusters, however, are at the top of their game and have been doing this for years and excelling at it if they are the senior adjusters for a commercial trucking insurance company, and they know how to play the situation to their advantage, even taking into account the vulnerability of a grieving family. The first thing they will do will be to meet you on the grounds that they ‘just want to help’, and they will talk about getting you the restitution you deserve. They will just want you to answer some questions, all routine type of stuff. Do not let this fool you. They will aggressively push you with question after question waiting for you to slip up and admit even the possibility of your loved one’s liability in the accident that took his or her life so that they can avoid compensating you for your loss. We have known insurance adjusters to visit the home of the grieving family, to visit the funeral or the morgue or the hospital, attempting to just get the loved ones to ‘sign a few papers’, in which they conceal the part where the family signs away their right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against them. Sometimes they will offer a settlement right off in exchange for an agreement not to sue. These settlements are always going to be inadequate, so you must not sign anything until you have retained the services of your own attorney and consulted with them at length about the process for what to do next. So many grieving families feel like signing a settlement will bring about some sort of closure and so they will accept unjustly low offers just to put everything behind them. Don’t do this. You deserve better and the liable parties deserve to be held accountable. Once you retain the services of the attorneys at our Law Office, we will deal with the insurance adjusters for you and we can guarantee that with our twenty years of experience with this sort of case, we will not fall for some trick or jeopardize your case.

Defense Specialists
In the majority of cases, the trucking company and the team of defense specialists they have at hand knew about the accident and the wrongful death of your loved one before you did. The moment the truck driver calls the trucking company to report the accident, they will build a defense team of attorneys and specialists in fatal semi-truck accidents and send them to the scene of the accident to begin the process of building a case against your claim. They will interview locals, find witnesses, and try to search for any evidence that will show that your deceased loved one or another third party was the liable party in the accident and that the trucking company bears no responsibility. This is their only possible course of action and they aggressively pursue it. When it comes to uncovering witness statements, the driver of the semi-truck has no interest in admitting that it was his or her fault and not the deceased. Their job and livelihood and hope of future employment depend on their record and they probably won’t throw that away just to be honest. The defense specialists do not have your interest in heart. They are thinking about the company they work for and you or your best interests do not come into the equation.

In order to succeed against these lawyers, you must try and combat their experience and competence with other experience and competence. For 20 years the attorneys at Our Law Office have been dealing with fatal semi-truck accidents, the adjusters, and the defense specialists. We understand the complexities and we build our own investigative team as soon as our services are retained. We will immediately protect and sequester the vehicles that were involved so that we can keep them safe and preserve their integrity from any other party who might be interested in them, and we will set our specialists to work examining every inch of the vehicle. Others in the investigative team will be out in the field, interviewing any available witnesses, pouring over research into the trucking company records and the record of the driver, and collecting police reports and on-site measurements. We will ascertain what happened, who was liable, and will build a case on that towards helping you achieve restitution.

Why You Need a Lawyer
The availability of internet resources on law and certain legal situations might convince some non-legal experts to attempt to represent themselves in a situation where there has been a wrongful death resulting from a semi-truck accident. Remember that a successful case involves far more components than just a simple knowledge of the legal process and the law. You deserve to have an experienced attorney who knows all the complexities of the process and will be able to forestall any attempts made by the defense to have the case thrown out or to show that the victim was the liable party. You deserve a competent lawyer who knows how to account for damages and can build a strong case based on the evidence at hand as well as witness testimony. When non-legal people try to represent themselves they generally end up destroying their own cases simply because they don’t have the experience necessary and the defense lawyers eat them alive. People think that because a case looks obvious that an insurance company will automatically settle because they don’t want to look bad in court, but the truth is that insurance company lawyers are a lot better at what they do than an untrained non-lawyer who attempts to represent himself or herself, and the company will know that and work very hard to discredit that individual.

Let Us Help
The fatal semi-truck accident lawyers at our Law Office understand how to build a strong case for the protection of your right to just compensation for the loss you have experienced from the liable parties whose negligence caused the death of your loved one. After 20 years of successfully litigating cases like this, we have dealt with most of the major insurance companies in the United States and they understand our name and our reputation for success. If you have lost a loved one to a fatal semi-truck accident anywhere in the state of Texas, then don’t hesitate to contact us. We understand how to deal with trucking companies and insurance adjusters, and we know how to build a strong case that will defend your right to just compensation for your losses. Since our success rate is so high, the insurance companies will often choose to settle out of court at an amenable rate so as not to incur the extra expense of going to court against us and losing both the settlement and the court fees. Our goal is to do what is best for our clients and we will work tirelessly to see that you receive the closure and remuneration for your losses that you deserve. If you have any questions, then don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation.

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Don’t Let a Wrongful Death Go Unpunished – Call Us Today

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent act of another, you may be able to recover for things like:

Medical Bills
Lost Income
Funeral & Burial Expenses
Pain & Suffering (Mental, Physical & Emotional)
Loss of Companionship
Loss of Loved One’s Income

When someone is killed in an incident that is attributable to someone else’s liability or negligence, it is called a “wrongful death.” These types of cases are some of the most complex, highly-defended cases in Texas due to the seriousness of the accusation & the amount of potential compensation owed. The wrongful death lawyers at our Law Office have been fighting for fatality victims and their families for 23+ years. We have won hundreds of these kinds of cases. In fact, we just recently won a $2,000,000.00 award for one of our wrongful death clients. We have won thousands of cases over the years (something that many wrongful death lawyers can only dream of), including cases involving fatalities in car accidents, truck accidents, product liability (defective products), premises liability (property owner liability), workplace accidents, drunk driving accidents, as well as boat, motorcycle & ATV accidents.

What Do I Have To Prove?
To “prove” a case involving a fatality like this, you have to show that the defendant was negligent (careless or unreasonable) or grossly negligent (behavior so outrageous as to “shock the senses”). With the latter, you may be awarded punitive (exemplary) damages along with regular compensatory (actual, pecuniary) damages. Punitive damages are given to punish the wrongdoer (tortfeasor) and send a public warning. The four elements which must be proven to win your case include:

Duty
Breach
Causation
Damages
In other words, you need to show:

The defendant owed you a DUTY not to harm you.
He BREACHed (broke) that duty by acting negligently.
His negligent acts caused injury/death (causation).
You suffered harm or loss from that death (damages).
Certain cases involving fatalities, like some product liability cases, use a different theory called “strict liability,” where no fault need be shown for the defendant to be liable.

What Can I Recover?
If you can show the elements above, you may be able to recover damages under the Texas Wrongful Death Act. These kinds of damages are only awarded to cover losses (like those mentioned above) suffered directly by the victim’s family members, not the victim himself. To recover damages suffered directly by the victim, a legal representative of the victim’s estate can file a simultaneous suit under the Texas Survival Statute to recover for things the deceased suffered before passing away, like:

Medical Bills
Lost Wages
Lost Earning Capacity/Disability
Pain & Suffering
The decedent would have had to have been able to recover for these in a personal injury lawsuit, had he lived. our Law Office has been recovering these kinds of damages for clients for more than two decades, and we have a wealth of insight and experience in winning these cases. Many firms say they have experience. We can prove it. We have extensive resources to offer our clients, including:

In 2007 my daughter was killed by a drunk driver… Without the law firm, I would have been lost… They’ve helped me do what I feel was justifiable for me and my family to get closure with my daughter – and I thank them.
— V. Jordan

Significant Financial Backing
In-House Investigation Team
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Our in-house teams allow us to keep your costs down and thoroughly collect and preserve all evidence necessary to win your case. We have the financial resources and available qualified experts necessary to pursue your case as long as possible in order to get you the compensation you need and deserve. The Texas statute of limitations says a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought within two years from the time of death. Evidence can be destroyed and memories fade, so call our wrongful death lawyers today. Let us handle the legal and financial matters so you can grieve, heal, and lay your loved one to rest.

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If You are Looking for a Workers’ Comp Attorney, Call Our Law Offices

A seasoned and effective workers comp lawyer can be of a great deal of help to you should you suffer an injury resulting from a workplace accident. And these kinds of accidents come in many varieties. Some can be relatively minor, where you can return to work either immediately after a small amount of treatment or the next day.

Others can be catastrophic, and lead to months – if not years – of extensive rehabilitation and keep you out of work for a very, very long period of time. In some instances, this kind of injury can mean you will never be able to return to work. Should you experience a work-related injury, there may be a chance that you can get just restitution for the physical and emotional trauma you are going through.

Workplace accidents often occur without any warning, and with devastating consequences. They can be caused by malfunctioning or faulty equipment, negligence on the part of the company or a fellow worker, or some other entity, and can involve falls, vehicle accidents, body parts entrapped in machinery, falling debris, or many other different circumstances that can cause a great deal of personal harm. In Texas, the law states that, if an accident occurs, the employer could be held liable for your injuries and the expenses and other unfortunate consequences that result from the accident. But there are a lot of things that people may assume concerning these kinds of events. One of the most common being that the employer or the employer’s insurance company will choose to “do the right thing” and compensate that worker for any losses he or she may incur. The cold fact is, however, that oftentimes this could not be further from the truth. Most of the time quite the opposite takes place – the employer and insurer will try and deny workers’ injury claims, thus leaving them on their own to deal with the crushing financial burdens created by the accident.

When a company or insurance provider chooses to fight a claim, the result is usually a lawsuit filed by the worker to get fair restitution for the physical, mental and monetary costs associated with the accident. In these cases, the worker filing the claim – referred to as the “plaintiff” in legal parlance – has to carry the burden of proof. In other words, he or she has to prove that the negligence of the employer or another entity led to the accident. If that injured worker is you, it is imperative that you immediately get in touch with an experienced workers comp lawyer who can help you meet that burden of proof and prevail against those responsible for your injury.

You will notice a theme throughout this article – the critical importance of you seeking experienced legal representation. We will stress this point repeatedly; it really can’t be stressed enough. There is an incredible number of hurdles that you, the plaintiff, will have to surmount in order to successfully pursue personal injury litigation. These hurdles will make your case extremely complex. If you have a novice lawyer, or worse yet, you try to take on this litigation on your own, your chances of winning are basically nil.

It could prove to be the worst mistake you’ll ever make. If you leave that courtroom a loser, then you will be responsible for all of your medical expenses. That could lead to financial ruin. The workers’ comp lawyers with our Law Office have two decades of experience in handling personal injury cases involved with workers’ compensation claims. We are extremely adept at helping injury victims get the just restitution they deserve for their injuries and we can help you navigate through all the legal complexities you will face, and thoroughly explain all legal options you have.

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Is My Employer a Workers Compensation Insurance Subscriber?

The answer to the above question may be the most important one surrounding your case. There are many states in this country that require companies to pay for, or “subscribe to,” workers compensation insurance. Texas, however, does not. A lot of companies in Texas choose to subscribe to workers’ comp insurance, even though it can be very expensive. The reason is the protection from lawsuits workers comp insurance provides. Companies that choose not to purchase worker’s comp insurance are known as “non-subscribers,” and they much more exposed to litigation than is a subscribing company. Whatever the case, it is vital to ascertain whether your employer is a subscriber or a non-subscriber. You must seek legal assistance in order for you to completely comprehend the rights you have, and to determine the best legal avenue to pursue. While your litigation will differ greatly depending on whether your employer is a subscriber or non-subscriber, both kinds of cases will be filled with complexities and intricacies that inexperienced lawyers and legal laymen will find extremely daunting, to say the least. We know how to pursue litigation no matter what side of the workers’ comp fence your company resides.

How Does an Employer Benefit from Workers Comp?
The benefits to an employer from being a subscriber to workers’ compensation insurance can be enormous. Basically, a subscriber is buying much more than just an insurance policy. It’s buying lawsuit protection. An injured worker cannot sue a subscribing company. Workers comp can provide some compensation to an injured employee to help cover a portion of medical expenses and lost pay, but the amount provided normally doesn’t come close to paying for all the medical bills an injured worker accrues and is woefully inadequate in covering lost wages. Just because you suffer a workplace injury, that does not automatically guarantee that you’ll get even that relative pittance. Workers comp payments come from the insurance provider, and many times that insurer will be determined to deny a claim and thus not have to pay anything to the injured worker. At the very least, that insurer will do whatever it can to pay the least amount of money it can possibly get away with. There are several instances in Texas every year where an injured worker’s injury claim is denied flat-out thanks to the efforts of an extremely aggressive insurance provider. But an experienced workers comp lawyer can work to ensure you do not have to suffer a similar injustice.

Even though a subscribing company is shielded from a lawsuit, there are other legal methods you can employ to get fair restitution for your injury. There may be an exception that applies to your case that may allow you to take legal action against your employer, or you may be able to take action against a responsible third party, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment that may have led to the accident that caused your injury.

Exceptions in Workers Comp Cases
There are two very important exceptions regarding the workers’ compensation system that may help workplace accident victims or their families seek fair restitution. First, if a workplace accident occurs on a workers comp subscriber’s job site, and it results in the death of a worker, and it can be proven that the employer’s gross negligence led to the death, then the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against that employer.

For workers who suffer an injury, there may be a way to pursue legal action against another party. There could be multiple persons or entities to blame for the injury. A contractor, fellow employee, or an outside third party could have caused the accident. The workers’ comp lawyers at our Law Office know how to thoroughly explore all aspects of your case to identify and pursue legal action against those responsible third parties and find other means of obtaining compensation for injury victims.

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What Happens if My Employer is a Workers Comp Non-Subscriber?

Personal injury litigation involving a claim filed by a worker against a non-subscriber works in a completely different manner than those regarding subscribing companies. When the Texas Legislature enacted workers comp law, it did so with the intention of trying to lighten the burdens of an incredibly overwhelmed state legal system. The thinking was, if the instances of worker’s injury lawsuits could be lessened, the entire legal system might be able to work much more efficiently. That’s why subscribers are shielded from lawsuits involving the workplace. Consequently, the law looks unfavorably toward companies that choose not to subscribe to workers’ comp insurance. You can say the law, in effect, “punishes” non-subscribers to leaving them wide open to personal injury litigation. It is far easier for injured workers to gain just restitution for medical expenses, lost pay, and pain and suffering from a non-subscribing company than it is a subscriber. The obvious difference is that an injured worker can sue a non-subscriber. And since there is no workers’ compensation claim to file in this kind of case, a victim will not be subjected to the onerous bureaucracy associated with the workers’ comp claims process.

While it may seem like a slam-dunk, that it would be very simple to win a personal injury lawsuit against a non-subscriber, in reality, it’s not. A plaintiff in this case does, indeed, have more rights. That in no way means the process is an easy one. These kinds of cases have a lot of complexity surrounding them. Experienced attorneys – by either working for the defense to minimize compensation awarded or for the plaintiff to increase compensation – can use these complexities to the benefit of their client. The attorneys at our Law Office are extremely familiar with non-subscriber personal injury litigation and can put that experience to use for you in making sure you are fairly compensated for the injury you have suffered due to the negligence of your employer.

Sometimes a claim can be resolved amicably out of court. Many times, however, that doesn’t happen and a lawsuit gets filed as a result. When a case goes to trial, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. Your side must prove the accident that led to your injury was caused by the employer’s negligence, and that you have incurred lost wages and lost future earning potential, medical expenses, and both emotional and physical pain and suffering as a result. This is another key difference in cases involving subscribing and non-subscribing defendants. In any case, involving a subscriber, “gross negligence” has to be proven – basically, the plaintiff has to prove that an employer habitually and recklessly created a hazardous workplace environment and that an injury-causing accident was inevitable. In a case involving a non-subscriber, however, the plaintiff needs only to prove “standard negligence,” meaning that someone’s momentary lack of focus led to the accident. This may be much easier to prove, but it still comes with several pitfalls.

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Problems Involving Non-Subscriber Work Injury Claims

A non-subscribing company has but one legal defense tool it can use to try and defeat a personal injury claim, and it is called “sole proximate cause.” As we explained previously, a non-subscriber’s legal defense options are limited in this manner as a way of being punished for not purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. It can be exceedingly difficult for a non-subscriber to win a personal injury case as a result, and thus this can be a huge advantage to the plaintiff. But again, that is in no way meant to infer that winning such a case will be easy. As you will see, the sole proximate cause defense can lead to a highly emotional case that can leave lasting effects on both sides.

Sole Proximate Cause
The “sole proximate cause” defense means that the employer will maintain that you, the plaintiff, were solely responsible for the accident that caused your injury. If you were injured as a result of the accident, you were 100 percent to blame for your injury. And if this case goes to trial, the employer will always try and use the sole proximate cause defense. As a result, prepare for personal attacks on your reputation, because your employer will basically do whatever it can to paint you as an irresponsible, incompetent employee.

Non-subscribers aren’t stupid enough to not have insurance. In fact, those policies can be quite expensive. Therefore, you can guarantee the insurance provider will aggressively work to protect that policy. Specialized operatives will be dispatched to try and defeat your claim. These highly-paid professionals aren’t like a typical insurance agent you may encounter after a little fender-bender. These are normally not very pleasant people to deal with. Their only purpose is to ensure you leave the courtroom with nothing so that their insurance company’s bottom line is protected.

Those agents are but one component of the insurance company’s defense team. The other component will be a team of well-trained and highly skilled defense lawyers who will work to prove you were the sole cause of the accident that injured you. The insurance company could not care less about what you’re going through, the bills that are piling up, and the pain you’re experiencing on a daily basis. All it cares about is making money, and you are in the way of that. In order for them to continue making a profit, insurance companies work to defeat claims like yours every week. The more claims they can defeat, the higher their profit margin. By employing the services of the experienced workers’ comp lawyers at our Law Office, you will have someone on your side working in your best interests to see that you get all of the compensation you deserve.

The Employer/Employee Relationship
There may be one other method a non-subscribing company will use in order to defeat a claim. Even though it could be as flimsy as the sole proximate cause defense, it still must be taken seriously. It can be difficult to combat. What a non-subscriber might do to avoid having to pay your claim is to try and prove that you, in fact, were never really an employee of the company, but a contractor. If they can prove that an employer/employee relationship never existed, they can successfully avoid paying your claim. In Texas, contractors are responsible for their own safety in the workplace. Thus, if the company can prove you were a contractor, they cannot be held responsible for the accident that resulted in your injury. Our law firm has dealt with this kind of tactic many times. Even if the company that hired you always saw you as a contractor, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be regarded that way in the eyes of the law. There are many ways to prove that the employer/employee relationship was in full effect at the time of your accident.

Again, though, the burden of proof lies with you, the plaintiff, in establishing that the employer/employee relationship did, in fact, exist. There are quite a few methods we use to establish that relationship. If any of the following took place, it is likely you will be considered an employee of the company in the eyes of the court.

The employer withheld Social Security or taxes from your paycheck.
You were paid either hourly or through some sort of salary: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.
You signed a document that in any way limited your rights, such as a form stating you read and understood the company’s employee handbook, or a form stating that you agreed to submit to a company-mandated drug test.
Your employer inspected, managed, or otherwise oversaw your work on a regular basis.
Your employer established a definitive work schedule for you. For example, you had to be at work at a certain time, were only allowed breaks at certain times, and could not leave until a certain time signified the end of the workday.
Your employer, and not yourself, was responsible for providing the tools and equipment necessary for you to perform your job.

The workers comp lawyers at our Law Office know how to use documented evidence, such as pay stubs, other paperwork, or the testimony of co-workers, to successfully prove the existence of an employer/employee relationship. Doing so will vastly improve your chances of winning just restitution in a personal injury lawsuit involving a non-subscribing company.

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Why You Can’t Count on OSHA to Help
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is a federal agency that plays a vital role in trying to ensure the safety of workplace environments throughout the United States. You’ve probably seen their guidelines posted somewhere at your job, maybe in the break room or the main office. So seeing those guidelines may lead you to think that if you suffer some sort of work-related injury, you can count on OSHA to help you win any litigation that may take place. As important as that agency is, however, the unfortunate truth is it can’t really help you at all.

OSHA serves a vital role, but as vital as that role is in our country, the agency will be of no use to you in your case. OSHA investigators are stretched thin because of budgetary limitations, so there’s probably very little chance they will be able to be present at every workplace accident scene. Even if they do show up, however, their only role will be to put together a report on what happened, and make recommendations to your employer on how to prevent such an incident from occurring again. This is typically a very general report used by the federal government, and normally not very specific to your case. And OSHA is not particularly concerned with who is to blame for the accident; all they want to do is enforce federal safety requirements and try to ensure that accident doesn’t happen in the future.

OSHA’s main goal is deterrence, but even in this aspect, their hands are pretty well tied. OSHA can levy a fine against a company that violates safety regulations, but its fine schedule is seriously outdated. It hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. To put that into perspective, a gallon of gas didn’t even cost 50 cents back then. So OSHA fines normally don’t amount to much more than a slap on the wrist of the offender. The intentions of the agency are noble, but it doesn’t really have as much power as you may think. And as we already said, you can forget about OSHA being of any help in your personal injury case.

So You’ve Suffered a Workplace Accident Injury. What Happens Next?
The workers’ comp lawyers of our Law Office have won thousands of personal injury cases and helped injury victims just like you reap millions and millions of dollars in awards, getting the compensation they deserve for the physical and emotional trauma they’ve experienced, and the medical expenses and lost wages they’ve incurred. And we’d like the chance to do the same thing for you. As soon as you possibly can, call us for a confidential and free consultation regarding the specifics of your case. If you hire us, we will immediately launch a thorough investigation of all the aspects of your accident. Time is of the essence in doing so, because critical evidence can often disappear if it is not gathered quickly enough. And without that evidence, your chances of winning a lawsuit are greatly damaged.

One thing you should NEVER do when you’ve suffered an injury due to a workplace accident is to sign any sort of document that will eliminate your right to sue. You’d be surprised how many injury victims will fall victim to an aggressive insurance adjuster or defense lawyer and sign away their rights in exchange for a quick settlement. They soon realize the devastating mistake they’ve made, however, when they see what kind of pittance they’ve signed for. A pittance that won’t come anywhere close to providing them just compensation for the lost wages and medical bills they’ve incurred.

Do NOT let that happen to you. Call us as soon as you possibly can so that we can go over the details of your case, clearly spell out all of your legal options, and then get to work in order to ensure you get the just compensation for your injury that you deserve.

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Texas attorney Explains Non-Subscriber Cases VS Workers’ Comp Subscriber Cases

When you have been injured on the job, you need help from a lawyer with workplace accident experience, so you might be able to claim the proper compensation to which you are likely entitled. Accidents at work tend to make some of the most complicated cases we see in court.

The exact way in which these issues are dealt with varies depending on a number of factors. Perhaps the biggest question is whether the employer is a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. When the employer is a subscriber, then it may be that you as an employee can not sue your employer, although there could be other remedies available to you. There may also have been mitigating factors that severed the employee-employer relationship regardless of their subscriber status.

If you’ve been injured while at work, the first thing you should do is seek proper medical attention. This is your health at stake and may affect your recovery. Go see a medical professional. It is important for both your life and your lawsuit or claim. Do not worry too much about the cost. If you’re uninsured or underinsured, your medical treatment and examination may be covered by the compensation you can seek. In some cases, we are able to help you locate medical attention with the large network of medical professionals we’ve developed. They can take your financial and personal circumstances into consideration. Also, we might be able to help you see a medical doctor at no cost upfront to you. What’s more, we are able to show you how the time you take off from work to get proper medical care may be covered by the defendant or workers’ comp. Once your treatment is covered, we turn our eye to your employer and other parties that may be at fault.

If the company you work for has workers’ compensation coverage, you will need to notify your employer immediately after the incident. Legally, you have 30 days to notify them, but many companies will try to deny benefits for an injured worker so you are best protected by reporting your medical visit as soon as possible. Furthermore, you will need to fill out a form TWCC­41, and you will need to submit it to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission within 12 months of the date of the injury accident or you could lose your benefits. You must also be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by the doctor – who has to be in your employer’s plan – and you must answer all written requests and fill out all necessary paperwork or you may lose your benefits.

What Makes Texas Work Injury Cases So Complex
Although workers’ comp often interferes with an injured party’s ability to get compensation, it’s not always as clear as it might seem to receive proper or fair compensation. An experienced attorney can find ways around the limits that may appear in your way. For instance, we have found that many companies will say they have workers comp insurance against accidents, when in fact they do not subscribe to it. In other cases we have handled, we discovered that, even if the employer is a subscriber, we could bring an action against liable third parties involved in the Texas workplace injury accident. Clearly, seeking legal action can be complex and may involve sifting through a large number of conflicting demands. To ensure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled, you need the help of an attorney with experience in on the job accident litigation. Texas workplace injury attorney from our Law Office can be there to help protect your rights.

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What is the State’s Workers’ Compensation and How Is It Limiting?

Legally, workers’ compensation in the Lone Star state is a kind of insurance, but it’s definitely not what you think of when you think of a normal insurance plan. In our state, our workers’ compensation program is part of a statewide reform of the tort rules that were designed mainly to protect employers against lawsuits filed by their workers who get injured on the job. Tort reform in Texas arose from heavy corporate lobbying. The workers’ compensation fund in Texas is run by the state government, but the actual insurance is provided by private insurers. In Texas, employers may choose not to buy into the program. They are called non-subscribers. The issue of non-subscriber vs workers’ comp must be properly addressed as soon as possible following a work injury accident since the legal routes available to an injured worker are so drastically different depending on the answer to that question.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides a relatively limited amount of benefits to injured employees. If your employer is a subscriber to Texas’ workers’ comp insurance and you suffer an injury while at work, then you must accept the compensation the state sets, no matter who is at fault. However, such compensation is often limited and usually does not cover the entire cost of an injury in the workplace. Also, you cannot file a lawsuit against the liable company operating in Texas – whether you work in an office, a store, or on a construction site. There may be ways around this. An experienced lawyer can help you find other responsible persons that can be sued. For example, if you are injured in a warehouse where you work, and your employer has workers’ comp, you can file a complaint against your employer. However, many warehouse accidents are the result of several parties, so you may be able to sue those other parties.

Another avenue of redressing your grievances may be that your employer was not solely responsible for your injury. You can then file a lawsuit against other parties who are responsible for your injury. For many workplace accidents, there is often more than one party, person, or entity to blame.

Multiple parties can be sued for the exact same injury. So, even though work injury law in Texas says that you cannot sue your employer, you may be able to sue others who are responsible. Let’s say that a piece of equipment has fallen and it breaks your legs. While an employer may be liable for failing to keep the workplace safe, your employer may be a subscriber company, thus immune to a lawsuit. Even if the collapse was caused in part by negligence on the company’s part, the employer can’t be sued. However, it might be that a contractor installing the equipment – be it a filing cabinet, scaffolding, a cubicle, or a store display – contributed to the collapse due to sloppy or incompetent installation. This contractor could likewise be liable for the on the job injury. Maybe the materials used to secure the item when it was installed were defective. If this is the case, the manufacturer of those materials may also be sued.

Suppose that you have been hurt by the collapse of the shelf at Costco where you work. The company that built the carrier is probably responsible. If you are injured due to a faulty shelf, you may be able to make a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the shelf. In principle, although you can’t go after your employer, you may have options for compensation. Let the Texas accident lawyers help locate and bring to justice all offenders as possible.

Your employer can say they subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance when in fact they do not. Some employers might even try to pay you all the benefits you’d get under worker’s comp to promote this lie. Our lawyers can investigate your employer to determine if they really are a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. When a liable employer is a non-subscriber, we can help you file a Texas personal injury lawsuit.

The Workers’ Comp Process Is Complex
It is never easy or simple when navigating the workers’ comp insurance process in dealing with your on-the-job job injury. Companies will very often contest your claims, as will their insurer. Insurance companies are usually more interested in helping themselves than helping you because you are not the one paying their premiums. You are a liability in their financial ledger. The less that is paid to you, the more they still have.

Additionally, the burden of proof is on you. There exists a special workers’ compensation court established to hear some workers comp cases, and you have to prove your case. It’s often a complex, bureaucratic process fraught with many hazards. Your damages can be reduced by the court. The Texas work accident attorneys at our Law Offices have been winning workers’ compensation cases against insurance companies for the past twenty years, and that’s why we feel it’s critical for injured parties to have representation that’s experienced and working in your interests.

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How Are Benefits Limited By Workers’ Comp?

If you are hurt at work and the employer has workers’ comp accident insurance, you usually get up to 70% of your income loss, but this compensation is limited to $600 per week at the most. For example, say you are an accountant who makes $70,000 a year. If you are injured on the job and the accident was caused by the employer, you get that $600 a week for the loss of income while you are healing. But, if you have a long-term disability and the doctor says you can never go back to work, you only get $600 a week for life, even if you used to take home $1,400 per week. You can also get a lump sum of at the end of your recovery, but such payments are usually very minimal.

In addition, claims against workers’ comp do not take into account the future earning potential. Let’s say you work in a Texas Walmart while attending law school and you are seriously injured in an accident on the loading dock. It’s so bad, in fact, that you are unable to work or continue on in school. You will get only 70 percent of your salary from Walmart for the rest of your life. Your compensation is based on the life of your salary from Walmart and not the much higher average earnings you would have likely earned if you finished law school.

If the company where you work is supposed to be a subscriber, you will want to know for sure so you can seek proper legal action to pursue fair compensation. Alternatively, if one or more third parties are partly responsible for your accident, you should be able to go after them and take them to court. Our Texas on the job work accident attorneys can help build a solid case to get you the proper compensation.

Under workers’ comp, you are entitled to complete reimbursement for all your medical costs, such as the costs of medical treatment, prescription and over the counter drugs, and all the other medical supplies you need to recover from your injury. Continuing treatment and medicines are also potentially reimbursable. If you incur travel expenses in seeking medical treatment or therapy, or for your supplies and prescriptions, those may likewise be reimbursed. Workers’ compensation does not, however, include coverage or reimbursement for any pain, suffering, or similar general damages, except for that of lost income and medical expenses.

The single, most important exception to the rule that a plaintiff may not sue a subscribed employer is that you can sue a subscribed employer if you are the family member of an employee who died in a fatal work accident, provided that the employer’s gross negligence was the cause of that accident. If your case meets these two criteria, you can file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit in regular court.

What if My Employer Is Not a Subscriber?
If the employer is not enrolled in Texas workers’ comp, you can bring a regular personal injury suit and claim damages for various injuries, such as:

Loss of income for the length of time in the hospital or out of work.
Any loss of earning capacity and long-term disability.
Your medical expenses.
Property damage incurred.
The physical pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

If your employer is a non-subscriber to workers’ compensation, they have only one legal defense known as sole proximate cause. This defense works to prove that you were solely responsible for your accident. Employers generally work towards building an argument against you that you’re the only person at fault. For example, if you have injuries in the workplace that resulted from you lifting something too heavy, your employer may argue that because you worked alone, the injury was your fault alone. Our lawyers are often able to prove the link between your innocent actions and any injuries by showing that your employer failed to provide the right safety equipment and training needed for someone to know how to lift and carry safely the heavy load. We also note that other forms may have been exhibited by other parties also involved in the workplace injury accident in Texas.

Connecting the incident to the employer in this way is often done by doing the hard legal work that’s often challenging for less experienced attorneys. This legal responsibility is not something that a less experienced attorney would likely understand as well as our lawyers. You need a lawyer who knows how to handle work-related accidents. We know how to prove to the jury that the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the employer, not you. We are dedicated to helping you seek compensation regardless of the non-subscriber vs workers’ comp status of your employer.

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Contracting vs. Employment – It Matters

Many companies mistakenly believe that instead of hiring employees, they can hire contractors in order to shy away from liability for accidents. This belief is because of the fact that Texas law expressly states that employees are generally entitled to protection from accidents, but not contractors. On the other hand, Texas law does not provide clear guidelines to determine the status of a person, whether an employee or a contractor. This means that the lawyer for you should review previous decisions to discuss whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. This is called case law and the state is very clear on this point. When it comes to civil liability, the actual work with the employer is what matters most.

Many factors can create an employment relationship. The most direct is a contract where you are employed. Another simple example is that if an employee serves, in particular, the activity of the employer. For example, a person who is working in a Gap, wearing a Gap name tag, and is serving customers in a Gap, then the person is a Gap employee, despite the absence of an agreement saying so.

In most cases, the determination between a contractor and an employee is not so simple. In these situations, we have listed a number of conditions to determine your relationship with your current employer:

The worker works for a lot of clients: If a plumber is working on various projects for several clients, he is a plumbing contractor. If he works on many buildings for one client, he is an employee.
The worker must use their own tools: If the employee is responsible for their own tools and equipment, a worker is a contractor. If the employer has the tools and equipment with which the employee works, he’s an employee.
The worker is paid at the end of a project: If the worker is paid at the end of the project, the worker is a contractor. If the employee pays the wages per hour or per year, the worker is an employee.
The worker has his work managed at various stages of completion: If the employer must take account of a project at different stages of completion, the worker is an employee. If the employer takes into account solely the finished product, the worker is a contractor.
When the worker gets to decide how long to spend on each project: If the employee cannot determine the time it takes for a particular project, the worker is not a contractor.

When you take a worker from another agency, the rules for determining the relationship may be similar, but there are fundamental differences. The conditions are:

Worker’s employer has the right to hire or fire: If the employer who borrows can fire an employee at any time, the worker is an employee.
The employer has the right to choose a particular employee whose employer: If this is the case, it’s an employee relationship.
When the borrowed employee is responsible for supplying their own tools, the worker is a contractor. If the employer provides tools for the job, the worker is employed.
The borrower cannot replace an employee with another employee at any time: If this is the case, the worker is a contractor.
When the employer borrows the worker for some unspecified time: If an employee has borrowed the worker for the length of the project only, the project worker is a contractor.
The worker is taken because of a specific skill: If a computer repair company borrows and expert on fiber optics, the worker is a contractor. However, if an employer has the employee fill a position that anyone can fill, then the worker is an employee.
Where the employer is liable for the income tax and social security: If the borrower pays for services and income, that the worker is employed. If the employer does not have this responsibility, while the worker is a contractor.

Our Texas Work Accident Law Firm is Ready to Help You Seek Compensation
Our lawyers can help you find just compensation if you are injured at work. If the employer has state workers ‘comp insurance’ – or when the employer does not – we can help you obtain compensation.

We can also help you identify third parties who may be liable and therefore financially responsible. Even when these third parties are liable only on the basis of unclear legal theories, we can help. If the employer does not have accident insurance, we can help build a strong and complete case against non-subscribers, and we can fight against defense lawyers, who will work to shed liability. We also thoroughly investigate your employer to determine whether or not they are a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. Before talking to the insurance company, accepting a commitment fee from the company, or trying to sue on your own, contact our Texas work injury attorneys to learn more about your legal options and the possible value of your case or claim.

Our Texas workplace accident law firm is often able to obtain compensation for injured workers that less experienced lawyers have refused to help. We recently dealt with a case in which a worker was injured at work, and he had signed a contract saying he was only a contractor working there. More than half a dozen different law firms said that it was not a good case. our Law Office, however, established a working relationship and eventually won a seven-figure settlement.

Our on-the-job accident lawyers bring to the table decades of experience. We have successfully handled hundreds of occupational injury cases in Texas and throughout the country. We have gone against nearly all major insurers. Defense attorneys know and respect our name. They know that we care about our clients’ rights and will fight relentlessly to protect their interests. They are often afraid to take our lawyers to court. We may be able to obtain a just compensation without the need to use the courtroom, but we are willing and ready to fight aggressively for your court when necessary. We do everything we can to ensure that you have a fair compensation for your injuries. To learn more about your possible legal options following a work accident injury in Texas, call us for a legal consultation at no cost to you.

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