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What is the routine job defense in a non-subscriber workplace injury case?
If your employer is a non-subscriber employer who opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits in Texas, you must prove that your employer was negligent in order to hold him responsible for compensating you for your workplace injuries. However, unlike other personal injury cases, your employer would be liable if you can show that your employer was as little as one percent negligent in causing your injuries. Comparative negligence is one of a number of defenses that your employer is barred from raising. However, your employer may still have defenses to your claim, and one of them is the routine job defense.
What Is the Routine Job Defense?
To understand the routine job defense, you need to know what you must prove to win your case for injuries caused at your job. You must prove the following:
- Your employer owed you a duty. This duty includes the requirement that your employer provide you with a reasonably safe work environment.
- Your employer breached this duty. Your employer failed to provide a safe working environment.
- Your employer’s breach of the duty caused your injuries. To prove this, you must show that your injury was foreseeable.
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries. You incurred medical bills, lost wages, or other financial hardships because of your injuries.
The routine job defense attacks the third element that you must prove. It claims that the job duty was so routine that the employer could not foresee that the employee would be injured doing the task and there was no way to avoid the injury. For example, if part of your job duty was to empty a wastebasket which you did for years without incident, your employer could argue any injury caused by doing this task was not foreseeable or preventable.
Unfortunately, employers can abuse the routine job defense and try to argue that many injuries were not foreseeable due to the routine nature of the job. However, an experienced non-subscriber injury attorney will be able to help you refute this argument through the collection of evidence and expert witness testimony that establishes your employer’s negligence.
Did you suffer an injury at your job? You need an experienced attorney who handles non-subscriber employer cases on your side as these claims are very different from workers’ compensation cases. Review our case results to see how we have helped other clients and then contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free case evaluation. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
How can I pay my medical bills and living expenses while my workplace injury claim is pending?
Once your medical condition stabilizes after you suffer a workplace injury, your next major worry may be how to pay for the expensive medical treatments you will need, other bills, and living expenses during the months or longer when you are off work recovering. This can be even more stressful when you work for a non-subscriber employer because you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You may have to file a lawsuit against your employer to obtain the compensation you deserve. How do you pay your medical and other bills until you receive your settlement?
How to Pay Medical Bills While Your Workplace Injury Claim Is Pending
Figuring out how to pay your medical bills while your claim is pending may be more manageable than you think. Here are some options to consider:
- Your health insurance. If you have health insurance, your health insurance provider can pay your medical bills and be reimbursed for what they paid when your case settles or is decided at trial.
- Medical lien. A medical lien is a legal agreement between you and your medical providers where they agree to delay receiving payment of your medical bills until you receive your settlement. The agreement gives them a security agreement or legal right to receive their payment once your attorney receives your settlement money. An experienced workplace injury attorney can work with your medical providers and draft this agreement.
- Working with your doctors. Another alternative is for your attorney to help you work with your medical providers to reduce what you owe, make payment arrangements, or work out an agreement to wait until your claim is resolved to receive their payment.
Paying Your Living Expenses While Your Claim Is Pending
You may have a more challenging time paying your living expenses and bills when you have no paycheck coming in. If you are like most people, you probably have been relying on your paycheck to pay these monthly expenses. Here are ways to manage your bills until your settlement is completed:
- You may have to prioritize what is paid and pay the essential expenses, such as your mortgage or rent, auto loan, insurance, utilities, and food.
- You may qualify for lawsuit financing, which will give you a loan to use to pay your bills and expenses in exchange for a certain portion of your settlement. You need to be careful to work with a reputable company if you select this option and discuss it with your attorney before making any decisions. You should also have your attorney review any agreement before you sign it.
- You may be able to work with your creditors to reduce your payments or delay payments while your claim is pending. However, this option is less feasible for the essential expenses listed above.
Do you have concerns about paying for medical treatment and your other bills while your workplace injury claim is being resolved? Our experienced non-subscriber workplace injury attorneys can help. To learn more, contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free case evaluation. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
Will I have to go to court in my case for compensation against the drunk driver who caused my injuries?
One reason you may be reluctant to file a claim for compensation after suffering injuries in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver may be fears about going to court. It may be frightening to think of testifying at a trial and emotionally draining to relive the experiences of the wreck. However, you should not let the fear of a trial stop you from filing a claim. The reality is that it is unlikely that you will need to take your case to trial to receive the full value of your claim.
Reasons Why Drunk Driving Injury Claims Rarely Go to Trial
While it is likely that your case will be settled rather than decided at a trial, this does not mean that your case will not go to court. If the insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement, your experienced drunk driving wreck attorney will need to file a civil lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case. This is not uncommon. However, in most cases, the insurance company will become more reasonable in its settlement offers before a trial date. Here are some reasons why it is unlikely that you will have to take your case to jury trial:
- Uncertainty of verdict. For both you and the insurance company, there is uncertainty about what will happen if a jury decides the case. There is no guarantee what a jury would do even if you have a strong case against the negligent driver. The insurance company knows that it could be required to pay you even more in a jury trial than in settlement. The uncertainty of the outcome often results in the parties to a drunk driving case reaching a settlement, and you probably will too.
- Expense. The cost of depositions, paying expert witnesses, and trial preparation are extremely expensive. By reaching a fair settlement, you and the insurance company can control the costs and the outcome of your claim. This can make it more beneficial for both sides to reach an agreement.
- Value of your claim. An experienced attorney who has a track record of success in settling and trying these cases will know the value of your claim as will the insurance adjuster for the negligent drunk driver. While there may be disputes about liability or the severity of your injuries, an understanding of what your claim is worth by both sides will help your case be settled either before or during litigation.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a drunk driving wreck, you need to hold the negligent driver accountable. While our experienced legal team settles many of these cases, we are not afraid to take a case to trial if the insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement. To learn how we can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
Should I sign a post-injury waiver from my non-subscriber employer after a workplace injury?
When an employer decides to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits and becomes a non-subscriber employer, the employer loses certain defenses to a negligence claim raised by the injured worker. For example, an employer is 100 percent liable for compensating an injured worker if the employer is even one percent negligent in causing the incident. However, employers retain the right to ask workers to sign a post-injury waiver. Should you sign this agreement if your employer asks you to after a workplace injury?
What Is a Post-Injury Waiver?
A post-injury waiver is a legal document that is signed by a worker to waive his right to pursue a lawsuit against the employer. The waiver is often part of a settlement agreement where the employer agrees to pay the employee a certain amount of compensation for his injuries—in many cases for less than he is owed. Under Texas law, post-injury waivers must meet these requirements to be valid:
- Cannot be signed by the worker before he has been injured in a workplace incident
- Cannot be signed within the first 10 business days after the date of the initial workplace injury report
- Can only be entered into by a worker voluntarily and with an understanding of the waiver’s effect
- Cannot be signed until the worker receives a medical examination from a nonemergency care doctor
- Must be a written document where the intent of the parties’ agreement is included in the document
The post-injury waiver must be conspicuous, meaning it must be obvious to the worker that he is signing it. If the waiver is included on other paperwork, this requirement can be met by making the waiver portion larger or by using contrasting colors.
Should You Sign a Post-Injury Waiver Following a Workplace Injury?
If your employer asks you to sign a post-injury waiver, you should not agree to do so. You could be waiving your right to sue your employer for compensation for your injuries without receiving what you are owed in return. You never want to sign an agreement or other legal document in regards to your claim without the advice of an experienced workplace injury attorney.
What happens if you signed a post-injury waiver? You may be able to get out of the agreement if the employer did not meet Texas’ requirements for making it valid. However, you will need the assistance of an experienced workplace injury attorney to do so.
If you signed a post-injury waiver that is valid and try to file a lawsuit for your injury, your employer can raise the Post-Injury Waiver defense to attempt to get your lawsuit dismissed. Your employer could also raise this defense even if the waiver is not valid.
Were you injured in a workplace incident where your employer has opted out of paying workers’ comp benefits? If so you need to speak with an experienced workplace injury attorney as soon as possible. Review our case results to see how we have helped other clients and then contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.
We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
What are my options for compensation if I was drunk and caused a car crash?
While it is always dangerous to drink and drive, you as the drunk driver could also suffer injuries in a crash. You may be off work for months or longer while you recover from your injuries. You may be surprised to discover that you have avenues of compensation that you may not have realized existed.
Your Options for Compensation as a Drunk Driver
While generally a drunk driver will be liable for compensating the victims of a wreck, this is not always the case. Just because you were drunk does not mean that this caused your collision. However, you also need to be realistic and accept that you could most likely be found at least partially liable for causing the drunk driving wreck. However, here are possible ways to recover some of your losses:
- Other driver. If the other driver was partially at fault in causing your wreck, such as by also being drunk or texting behind the wheel, he could be responsible for compensating you at least partially. Texas follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine, which means that if a driver is 51 percent or more at fault in causing a wreck, he would be entitled to no compensation. A driver who is 50 percent or less at fault could receive a partial award based on his percentage of fault in causing the wreck. If the other driver was more than 50 percent at fault in causing your injuries, he would not be entitled to any compensation, and you could receive a portion of the compensation you deserve from him based on your percentage of fault.
- Your insurance company. If you purchased additional insurance coverage, such as collision, MedPay, personal injury protection (PIP) for medical bills and lost wages, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. You could be entitled to this regardless of your fault in causing the wreck.
- Dram Shop Claim. If you were sold alcohol at a bar or restaurant or purchased alcohol at a store when you were obviously intoxicated, the business could be liable for compensating you if you were injured in a drunk driving wreck under Texas’ Dram Shop law. However, the business would only face liability for its share of negligence in causing your crash.
Did you suffer injuries in a drunk driving crash caused by you or another driver? Our experienced drunk driving injury team is here to discuss your legal options. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
Can my employer require me to see a company doctor in a non-subscriber case?
You work for an employer who has opted out of providing workers’ compensation insurance and you suffered a workplace injury. What do you do next? If your employer provided workers’ compensation benefits, you could be required to be treated by a doctor chosen by the company. However, when you work for a non-subscriber employer, your choices for medical treatment are different.
Can You Pick Your Doctor When Injured and Filing a Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Claim?
One of the rights you have when you work for a non-subscriber employer and are injured on the job is to pick your own doctor to treat your injuries. Your employer cannot dictate the physician that you see. However, this does not mean that your employer will not try to pressure to see a certain doctor. Do not feel that you must do so. If your employer was even one percent negligent in causing your injuries, your employer will be responsible for compensating you for your medical care—by a doctor that you choose.
What Happens If Your Non-Subscriber Employer Offers Medical Care to Injured Employees?
Some non-subscriber employers do offer medical care by their doctors to employees who are hurt on the job. In this situation, your rights are not as clear cut. The following rules could apply:
- If you entered into a contractual agreement with your employer to receive medical care by a doctor to be provided by your employer, you could be required to be treated by a company doctor.
- If your employer voluntarily offers medical care to injured employees but you did not enter into an agreement to use these services, you probably will be able to pick your own physician to treat your injuries.
Do you need to file a claim for compensation for injuries when working for a non-subscriber employer? Our experienced workplace injury attorneys have helped many workers fight for the compensation they deserve from non-subscriber employers. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
How much is your truck wreck claim worth?
If you are considering filing a claim with a negligent trucker’s insurance company for your injuries, an important question you need to have answered is what the value of your claim is. This can help you determine whether it would be worth your time and effort to file a claim and to fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. While an experienced truck wreck attorney cannot guarantee a precise settlement amount, he can give you guidance on how much your truck crash claim may be worth.
What Factors Will Influence the Compensation You Receive for Your Injuries?
A truck wreck attorney can determine the strength of your claim and its potential value by looking at a number of factors that influence the value of an injury claim in general and the specific facts of your case. This is not something that you can accurately do on your own. You need an attorney who has handled many truck wreck claims and has a record of success to evaluate this for you. Some of the factors that will determine your claim’s worth include:
- Liability. When there are serious issues about the truck driver’s liability for causing your wreck, this can weaken your claim and make it more challenging to convince the insurance adjuster to agree to a settlement of your claim. When there are real questions about the cause of the wreck, you may have to be realistic and settle for less if you hope to reach a settlement of your claim. In contrast, if the negligence of the trucker is clear cut, the value of your claim will increase.
- Comparative negligence. If the trucker has a legitimate claim that you were partially at fault in causing the crash, this could also reduce the value of your claim. For example, if you were 30 percent at fault in causing the wreck, you would only be entitled to 70 percent of the total compensation that you are owed.
- Severity of your injuries. The value of your claim will be more if you suffered long-term or life-altering injuries, become permanently disabled, or are filing a wrongful death action due to the death of a loved one. The medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages portions of your claim will be larger if your injuries are severe, making your overall claim worth more.
- Amount of insurance coverage. The reality is that the insurance companies for the trucker and his employer will only owe compensation up to the liability coverage limit of the insurance policy. You will be more likely to receive the compensation you deserve if the insurance coverage is substantial and sufficient to cover your damages.
- Hiring an experienced truck wreck attorney. An experienced truck wreck attorney will increase the value of your claim due to his experience handling cases such as yours and his reputation for successfully resolving these claims. He will understand the importance of a thorough investigation, will be able to accurately value your claim, and will not be afraid to take your case to jury trial if this becomes necessary.
Did a negligent trucker cause your truck crash? Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your wreck, the value of your claim, and what the Hart Law Firm can do to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
What happens if I was injured in an auto wreck caused by a drunk driver who had no insurance?
You can suffer life-altering injuries in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. The injustice can be even worse if you discover that he did not have any automobile liability insurance as required under Texas law. While it may seem that you do not have any means to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries, this is not necessarily true. Here, we discuss how to pursue a claim when the driver has no insurance.
Avenues of Compensation When the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance
You will need the assistance of an experienced drunk driving attorney to help you identify potential sources of compensation and to negotiate your settlements. Here are possible avenues of compensation to look into:
- Uninsured motorist coverage. If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage under your automobile insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. However, you may have to fight to obtain the compensation you are entitled to so it is best to let your attorney negotiate your settlement for you.
- Drunk driver. The drunk driver who caused your injuries is still liable for compensating you whether or not he had automobile insurance. You can file a lawsuit to obtain a judgment against him. However, most people do not have sufficient money or other assets to pay the amount owed, so you may be receiving small payments over a long period of time or be unable to collect what you are owed.
- Business or social host. If a business, such as a bar or restaurant, continued to allow the drunk driver to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel, the establishment could face liability under Texas’ Dram Shop law. A social host serving alcohol to a minor under 18 years old who caused a drunk driving wreck can also be held accountable.
- Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. You may be able to file a claim under Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund if the other sources of compensation do not fully pay you what you are owed. However, there is a cap of $50,000 on most claims, and you are only entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other similar expenses.
Were you injured in a drunk driving wreck? The experienced drunk driving attorneys at the Hart Law Firm are here to help you pursue your claims against all potentially liable parties. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
What is the statute of limitations in a drunk driving case under Texas’ dram shop and social host laws?
If you were injured in a drunk driving wreck, you may be able to hold more parties than just the drunk driver responsible for compensating you for your injuries. For example, you could have a claim under Texas’ dram shop law against the business who sold alcohol to the driver before he got behind the wheel. If the driver was an intoxicated minor under 18 years old who was served alcohol at a person’s home, that person could face liability under Texas’ social host law. However, in order to pursue these additional avenues of compensation, you will need to comply with an important law—the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dram Shop and Social Host Laws?
The statute of limitations is the time period you have for filing a lawsuit under Texas law. If you fail to file your civil complaint within this time period, the consequence is severe. You would lose your right to file a lawsuit and your right to compensation for your injuries caused by the drunk driver. Under Texas dram shop and social host laws, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of your crash.
Tolling of the Statute of Limitations
In rare cases, the two-year time period to file a lawsuit is tolled, which means that it is delayed. Under the dram shop law and social host law, the statute of limitations in tolled in these situations:
- The victim is suffering from an unsound mind, which is a major mental defect caused by the wreck that results in him being unable to understand the lawsuit.
- The victim is in the “age of minority”—under 18 years old. This victim would have until he reaches 20 years old to file his lawsuit.
Don’t Delay! Call Our Office Today for Your Free Consultation
If you've been injured by a drunk driver you need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Hart Law Firm, we sue drunk drivers and any other parties who are liable for compensating the victims of a drunk driving wreck. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free case evaluation. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.
Could my employer be engaging in surveillance in my non-subscriber workplace injury case?
Do you feel like someone is watching you? If you filed a claim for compensation following a workplace injury and work for a non-subscriber employer, you may not be paranoid in suspecting this. Your employer could be engaging in surveillance—more often than you even realize.
Why Would Your Non-Subscriber Employer Spy on You?
If you work for a non-subscriber employer, your claim for compensation could be substantial because you may be entitled to your full medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. As a result, your employer and its insurance company will investigate your claim extensively and fight hard to deny or reduce your claim. They may hire a private investigator at various times during your case to engage in surveillance. Is this legal? As long as you are in public view, it is most likely legal for a private investigator to spy on you.
This investigator may not just watch you. He could also take pictures or video of you, interview neighbors or other third parties, or search your postings on social media sites. Some of the reasons that surveillance is conducted include:
- Your employer is trying to catch you doing something that you claim you are too injured to do, such as lift a heavy bag, engage in a sports activity, or even do your errands if you claim you need assistance with this.
- Your employer is trying to show that you are less seriously injured than you claim. For example, your employer could use a videotape of you walking without difficulty or lifting your child without any problem to prove this.
When you file a claim after a workplace injury, you need to be prepared that you could be under surveillance at any time until your claim is resolved. Your best strategy to defeat this is to follow up regularly on your medical care and to follow your doctor’s restrictions on what you can do at all times.
Are you worried that you are under surveillance? The experienced workplace injury attorneys at the Hart Law Firm are here to help you protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.