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The Hart Law Firm

Our Attorneys Have Over 25 years of Experience, and Are Here to Answer All Your Questions After an Accident

You must be overwhelmed with questions after your Dallas car wreck.  Why not get the answers from a Texas board-certified personal injury attorney?

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  • Can I represent myself in my non-subscriber workplace injury case?

    If you are like many employees in Texas, you may work for a non-subscriber employer who does not provide workers’ compensation benefits to workers injured on the job. However, you still have a right to compensation if you hurt at work, as long as you can prove that your employer was at least one percent negligent in causing your injuries. If you are in this situation and need to file a claim, you may be wondering if you should represent yourself or retain an experienced workplace injury attorney.

    Times You Can Represent Yourself After Suffering a Workplace Injury

    You may be surprised to learn that there are situations when you can represent yourself when settling a workplace injury claim. However, these are limited cases. If all of the following apply to you, you may be able to settle your own claim:

    • You suffered a minor injury, such as a sprained wrist or ankle or one requiring stitches.
    • You only took a little time or no time off work.
    • Your employer agrees to liability for your injury and is paying for your medical expenses and any lost wages.

    Why You Need an Attorney in Most Workplace Injury Cases

    A non-subscriber workplace injury case is more complicated than a workers’ comp case and can be much more difficult to settle. Here are common issues that arise in these cases that require an attorney’s assistance:

    • Negligence. While you only have to prove that your employer was one percent negligent to be entitled to all of your compensation, you still must prove that your employer’s negligence caused your injuries. This can be impossible without the help of an experienced workplace injury attorney who can investigate the incident and collect the evidence necessary to prove your employer’s negligence.
    • Disputes. You could have disputes with the insurance adjuster for your employer about the cause of your injuries or their severity. In a non-subscriber case, you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, and pain and suffering, which is not allowed in a workers’ comp cases. The insurance adjuster may raise more disputes in your case because of the higher value of your claim.
    • Serious injuries. Whenever you suffer any serious injuries that require you to take off more than a few days, need surgery, or result in you becoming partially or completely disabled, this will increase the amount of settlement that you are entitled to. This can also make it more difficult to obtain the full amount of compensation you deserve without aggressively fighting for it.
    • Pre-existing injuries. If you have any pre-existing injuries to the same body part, the insurance company could argue that this prior injury and not the incident at work was the cause of your current injuries. An experienced attorney will have strategies to defeat this argument.
    • Value of your claim. Calculating the amount of your past and future medical expenses and lost wages can be more complex than you think, and you do not have the experience to value the pain and suffering portion of your claim. To ensure that you receive what you deserve, you need the advice of an attorney on how much you should receive in your settlement.
    • Third-party claims. You may have a claim of negligence against a third party as well as your employer. Proving liability and negotiating settlements with multiple parties is not something that you can successfully accomplish on your own.

    Do you work for a non-subscriber employer? Our experienced legal team can help you file your claim for compensation for your workplace injuries. Contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation. We will talk about our experience and your legal options.

    We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • How much will it cost to hire an attorney in my non-subscriber workplace injury case?

    If you are injured at your job in Texas, you have many worries that employees in other states do not have. This is because Texas allows employers to opt out of providing injured workers with workers’ compensation benefits. You will need to file a personal injury claim and prove your employer’s negligence in order to obtain the compensation you deserve when working for a non-subscriber employer. You may know that you need the help of an experienced non-subscriber workplace injury attorney to do this, but may worry that you cannot afford his fees.

    How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Attorney?

    You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you most likely can afford to retain an experienced attorney for your work injury claim. Like other personal injury attorneys, many non-subscriber workplace injury attorneys takes these cases on a contingency fee basis. Here is how this type of fee arrangement works:

    • You only owe attorney fees if you win your case either through settlement or at trial.
    • Your attorney is paid an agreed-upon percentage of your compensation out of your settlement proceeds, so you do not pay any attorney fees directly.
    • If you lose your case, you would owe no attorney fees.
    • You may owe additional costs, such as the fees for filing a lawsuit, deposition costs, and expert witness fees. You need to discuss these expenses with your attorney before hiring him and understand whether you pay these fees or he will front the cost for you.

    Experience as Well as Cost Matters When Retaining an Attorney for Your Workplace Injury Case

    While the cost of an attorney should be a consideration in deciding who to hire, it should not be the only consideration that you base your decision on. Retaining an experienced attorney who has a track record of success in settling and trying non-subscriber workplace injury cases—not just workers’ compensation claims—is equally important. You also want an attorney who you communicate well with and trust.

    If you've been injured at your job and work for a non-subscriber employer you need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Hart Law Firm, our experienced legal team has spent years fighting for the rights of our clients who work for non-subscriber employers. Contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

    We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • What is a third-party claim in a non-subscriber workplace injury case in Texas?

    Because employers are permitted to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits in Texas, you may work for a non-subscriber employer. If you do and are injured on the job, you will have to prove your employer’s negligence to be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To make it more likely that you will be fully compensated, you should pursue claims for negligence against any possible third parties.

    Third-Party Claims You May Have in a Non-Subscriber Workplace Injury Case

    A third-party claim is a legal claim for compensation that you have against a party other than your employer based on some type of wrongdoing on their part. When you file a non-subscriber workplace injury claim, you can and should pursue any claims that you have against any other parties. Common reasons that you may have a claim against another negligent party includes:

    • Vehicle wrecks. If you must drive for your job and a negligent driver causes you to suffer injuries in a crash, you may have a separate claim against the negligent driver. Truck drivers, police officers, paramedics, and salespersons are a few of the workers who could suffer injuries when driving.
    • Machinery and equipment. Many workers can be burned, electrocuted, crushed, caught between, or struck by defective equipment, like forklifts and heavy machinery, power tools, and other equipment. A victim may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer as well as a claim of negligence against his employer.
    • Subcontractors and non-employees. In some workplaces, an employer could hire subcontractors or workers may be in contact with a variety of non-employees—salespersons, delivery drivers, and customers are a few. If workers suffer injuries due to the negligence of these third-parties, a claim for compensation should be filed with their insurance company.
    • Property owners. If a worker is performing work at a private residence or other property, he could be injured due to a hazard, such as a slip and fall danger, that may give him the right to compensation from the owner.

    If you must file a claim for compensation against your non-subscriber employer, you need an experienced workplace injury attorney who understands the laws governing these cases and the challenges of pursuing claims against multiple parties. To learn about our experience and your legal options, 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 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:

    1. Your employer owed you a duty. This duty includes the requirement that your employer provide you with a reasonably safe work environment.
    2. Your employer breached this duty. Your employer failed to provide a safe working environment.
    3. Your employer’s breach of the duty caused your injuries. To prove this, you must show that your injury was foreseeable.
    4. 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?

    Couple Worried About BillsOnce 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.

  • 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 Workplace Injuryagreement 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.

  • Can my employer require me to see a company doctor in a non-subscriber case?

    choosing your own doctor when you are injured at workYou 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.

  • Could my employer be engaging in surveillance in my non-subscriber workplace injury case?

    workplace injury surveillenceDo 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.

     

  • Do I sue my manager, my non-subscriber employer, or both for my injuries caused at work?

    suing a manager or an employer for work injuriesIf you suffered injuries at your job and work for a non-subscriber employer, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries as long as you can prove your employer’s negligence caused you to be hurt. You may know that you can establish this because you told your boss about the defective equipment or other safety hazard at work that caused your injuries but he did not take care of the problem. Who do you sue in this situation: your supervisor, your employer, or both?

    Why Your Attorney May Sue Just Your Employer

    You may be angry at your boss for not addressing the dangerous condition that you informed him about repeatedly and want to hold him accountable. However, your attorney most likely will not pursue a claim against your supervisor and instead will focus his efforts on settling your claim with your employer. There are very practical reasons for this decision that include:

    • Your supervisor most likely does not have sufficient assets to pay you the compensation you are entitled to. It does not make sense to spend the time and expense of proving his liability when you will not obtain much or any money from him.
    • Your employer is responsible for your boss’ actions even if his negligence and not your employer’s was the cause of your injuries. Under Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws, your employer would have to fully compensate you if your supervisor was even one percent negligent in causing your injuries.
    • Your employer will most likely have an insurance policy to protect themselves from liability in situations such as yours. This does not mean that your employer or their insurance company will initially just pay you what is owed. However, once you file a claim and prove your right to compensation, the insurance company will be obligated and have the resources to compensate you.

    If you suffered a workplace injury you need an experienced attorney who can investigate your claim, build your case of negligence against your employer, and negotiate your settlement with their insurance company. Contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to learn how our legal team can help. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • Is injury insurance for non-subscriber employers the same as workers’ compensation insurance?

    Texas was the first state to allow employers to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits, and many employers have taken advantage of this and opted out. Some employers purchase an injury insurance policy to provide benefits to workers injured on the job. In some cases, the employer may deceive the worker into thinking that the insurance policy provides workers’ compensation benefits. However, these two types of insurance are very different.

    How Are Injury Insurance Policies Different From Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

    There are critical differences between workers’ compensation and injury insurance that affects workers’ rights to compensation and their claims. Some of these differences include:

    • What they are. Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that employers purchase. It pays injured workers’ medical bills and some of their wage losses. An injury insurance policy is an insurance policy that non-subscriber employers purchase, and it provides some degree of protection for injured workers up to the policy’s limit of liability.
    • Cost.  Injury insurance can cost significantly less than workers’ compensation insurance—approximately 30 percent less.
    • What they cover. Workers’ compensation is a benefit like unemployment compensation or disability payments. It pays all related medical bills, a portion of the employee’s lost wages, and legal fees. An employee is not entitled to pain and suffering damages generally and cannot file a lawsuit against his employer for additional compensation. When purchasing an injury insurance policy, an employer can control the type and amount of coverage to provide to injured workers. It covers the worker’s medical bills and lost wages up to the insurance policy limits. However, the employer remains liable for the full amount of compensation that is owed to the employee for medical bills, lost and future wages, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages as a non-subscriber employer. An employee can file a lawsuit against his employer.

    Did you suffer a workplace injury and work for a non-subscriber employer? Start an online chat or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and obtain advice on the next steps you should take.

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