Work Site Accidents
Thousands of hard working Texans are injured each year across the state while on the job. The Law Offices of Patrick R. Kelly represents individuals who have been injured because of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior. Patrick R. Kelly finds representing those injured on the job site as one of the most rewarding roles he does as a Dallas/Fort Worth attorney because it hits so close to his personal life. Mr. Kelly comes from a long line of hard working individuals who have worked or continue to work in various physically demanding industries including coal mining, ranching, construction, farming, and shipping services, to name a few.
Texas law mandates that an employee’s recourse against its employer for injuries caused on the job is through a worker’s compensation insurance (“WC”) claim. However, this is only true if the employer has elected to buy WC coverage. Texas is the exception to the rule in the United States, as all other states require employers to have some form of WC.
A quick visual survey of the Dallas Fort Worth area renders sights of numerous cranes, scraped lots, and hard hats galore. The DFW Metroplex is booming. Unfortunately, others may negligently take short cuts and ignore safety rules at job work sites rendering others severely injured or even causing death. While Patrick R. Kelly does not represent injured employees against his or her employer when WC is in place, there are potentially other avenues of recovery. For example, another company or person other than the injured person’s employer may have caused in whole or in part the victim’s injury or death. In such case, WC laws do not prevent an injured person from asserting a legal claim against the at fault party. It would apply only to the employer. That is, the injured employee can seek compensation for his or her injuries, lost wages, medical bills, mental anguish, and pain and suffering in addition to WC compensation. Various methods and creative litigation procedures can fully reveal all of the parties who were at the job site where the accident occurred, the roles of each party, and whether the parties could be civilly liable to the bodily injuries sustained. An investigation can also determine whether or not WC covers the employer that may have been partially at fault for the injuries.
Attorneys have seen a trend over the last few years in Texas. Many employers are not purchasing or opting out of WC. In such cases, Texas law can be highly advantageous to the rights of an injured worker. Texas companies that do not offer WC do not reap the benefit of what is called a “contributory negligence” defense under Texas law. This is a defense where the amount of the plaintiff’s damages is reduced by the amount of fault contributed to the plaintiff for the accident. A quick example explains this benefit:
Normal personal injury claim – Peter Plaintiff is injured because of Dan Defendant’s negligent actions. A jury finds that Peter Plaintiff is 10% the cause of the injuries and finds that Dan Defendant is 90% at fault. The jury finds the reasonable amount of damages are $10,000.00. A judge would then decrease the jury award by 10% and only award $9,000 for his injuries.
Injury claim against a non-subscriber of WC – Peter Plaintiff is injured because of its employer, Defendant Corporation’s negligence. The jury will never consider Peter Plaintiff’s own negligence and the judge cannot reduce the jury award because contributory negligence is not considered when an employer does not have WC.
The Law Offices of Patrick R. Kelly is ready to speak with you or a loved one during a free, confidential consultation about your on the job injury claim. Contact us now!