Articles Posted in Worker’s Compensation

We have said it before, and we will probably say it again. When it comes to litigation related to an east Texas automobile accident, time is of the essence. This means that a person who is hurt in a car crash should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible so that a prompt investigation can be made and all filing deadlines can be met.

Timeliness is also very important when a case is “over” – that is, when the judge has entered an order adjudicating the parties’ respective rights in the case. While both sides to a judgment have a right to ask an appellate court to review the matter, this can only happen if a timely notice of appeal is filed.

Facts of the Case

oil wells
An issue that sometimes comes up in an east Texas car accident case is whether or not a certain business or company is vicariously liable for a crash caused by someone who worked for that business or company.

The resolution of this issue can greatly affect the amount of monetary compensation received by the plaintiff in the case, since businesses and corporations typically have much higher liability insurance limits (or other resources that can be attached and liquidated by the injured party if he or she is successful at trial) than do private individuals.

Facts of the Case

car and map
Insurance is a good thing. In a Texas auto accident case, the settlement or judgment ultimately received by an injured person usually comes from the negligent driver’s liability insurance company. If the defendant did not have insurance (or didn’t have enough coverage to fully compensate the injured person for his or her losses), the injured person may seek compensation from his or her own uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier.

Usually, this involves a single insurance company – the one to which the plaintiff himself has paid premiums. Sometimes, however, there may be another possible source of monetary compensation. When multiple insurance companies are involved, a “simple” case can quickly become complicated.

Facts of the Case

garbage truck

Generally speaking, Texas law prevents those who are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits from filing a negligence lawsuit against their employer or co-workers. Of course, who exactly is or is not an “employer” can be the subject of great dispute.

Recently, a Texas appeals court was called upon to weigh in on the question of whether a garbage company to which a temporary staffing agency had assigned a worker was the worker’s “employer” for the purposes of the exclusive remedy provision of the workers’ compensation statutes.

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lawn mower

It is not unusual for an attorney to represent a person injured in an automobile accident on a contingency fee basis. Under such an agreement, no money is required up front. Instead, the attorney is paid a percentage of the settlement or judgment when the case is over. Both the attorney and the client have an incentive to accept such an agreement. The client gets legal representation without having to pay an upfront legal fee, and the attorney has the promise of payment when the work is done.

But what happens when there is another interested party that is not privy to this contractual fee agreement – for instance, an employer that has a subrogation interest in the case due to workers’ compensation benefits paid to the client because the injury in question happened on the job? Does that third party owe a legal fee? If so, how much?

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Oil storage in the modern port.

On-the-job injury and wrongful death lawsuits can be complex and procedurally difficult at times. Sometimes, multiple defendants are named, and, as the case evolves, they may stand united in their denial of any wrongdoing, or they may begin to point fingers at one another, especially if the ultimate outcome of blaming a particular defendant has the potential to be advantageous to all the defendants, such as in a case in which an employer may be protected from full tort liability by the laws of worker’s compensation, which limit recovery to statutory remedies in most circumstances.

In the recent case of In re CVR Energy, Inc., the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas was petitioned for a writ of mandamus compelling the trial court to vacate an order denying a party’s motion for leave to designate a recently non-suited defendant as a responsible third party pursuant to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.001–33.017 (2015).

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highway reflected in rearview mirror, driving through desert foothills

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you really need to hire an attorney. You have what seems like a straightforward case, so you’re confident that the other driver’s insurance company will offer you a generous settlement.

In reality, insurance companies are notoriously tight-fisted, even in obvious cases of liability. Opinions can vary widely as to the value of a case (especially when damages such as pain and suffering or future medical expenses are concerned), with insurance adjusters being at the lowest end of the spectrum.

But, settlement value considerations aside, there’s another, perhaps even more important reason why you should discuss your case with an attorney. There may be more to your case than meets the eye. It may be more than “just” a car wreck case. Issues such as product liability, premises liability, and even workers’ compensation can make their way into what may initially seem like just an average automobile accident case.

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Far too many car accidents on Texas roads involve drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or balance-1172800drugs. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2014, there were more than 6,700 crashes that involved a DUI. In Smith County alone, there were 219 accidents in which at least one driver was intoxicated. Driving under the influence is just one example of a driver’s negligence that can cause an accident and result in injuries to others. If you have been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another (whether it involved an intoxicated driver or not), you may be entitled to recover damages for your suffering and losses. Victims are encouraged to contact a local East Texas injury attorney who can assess the case and prepare a solid claim for compensation.

The type of claim you assert depends in large part on the circumstances surrounding your accident. In a recent Texas auto accident-related case, Donnie Lee Burris died in a motor vehicle crash while driving his employer’s truck on the way to a job site. The deceased’s employer had a worker’s compensation policy with Texas Mutual Insurance Company at the time of the crash. The plaintiff, Ashley Denham, brought a workers’ compensation claim to recover death benefits on behalf of the deceased’s minor daughter. After the accident, however, an autopsy as well as blood and urine tests were conducted, and the tests revealed the presence of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana.

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