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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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  • I had a contract with my employer, but I was fired. How do I know if the firing was legal?

    Most people in Dallas-Fort Worth and the Mid-Cities are at-will employees who can be fired from their jobs or can quit for any reason. However, some employers will enter into an employment contract that governs many of the terms of the employee’s employment, which may sometimes include the right to be terminated only for cause. If you are working under such an employment contract and are discharged, you may have a claim of breach of contract against your employer.

    What Is an Enforceable Contract?

    For any contract to be valid in Texas, something of value must be exchanged by the contracting parties. In the employment context, the employer offers wages, and the employee is providing his or her services. Employment contracts may be oral or written; however, for an oral contract to be legally binding, the terms of the contract  be performable within a year. Otherwise, Texas’ statute of frauds requires that the agreement must be in writing. It can be very difficult to prove the existence of an oral contract. 
    A contract may be a formal written agreement that has the title “Employment Contract,” but it doesn’t have to in order to be considered a legal contract. Offers of employment contained in letters, emails, and faxes can be considered contracts, if they provide a fixed term of employment or the right to be terminated only for cause. An employee handbook with such terms can in limited situations create an employment contract, although most employee handbooks expressly disclaim creating any contract.
    An employment contract does not need to include every term of employment. However, it should include enough material terms and sufficiently definite terms to make it enforceable. These provisions generally include:
     
    Job title and/or job description and duties
    Wages and benefits
    Length of employment
    Grounds for termination of the employment if it is not for a fixed period of time
    An express disclaimer that nothing in the agreement alters the at-will nature of the employment may negate all of the above, except possibly an “only for cause” termination provision.

    What Are Your Rights If Your Employer Terminates You in Breach of Your Employment Agreement?

    If you are working under an employment contract, your employer must comply with its provisions when terminating your employment or altering your compensation. If your company failed to do this, you could have a claim for breach of contract that entitles you to compensation for your lost wages and attorney’s fees. 
     
    You also must be certain that you comply with the terms of your contract if you decide to leave your employment, or if you are considering trying to enforce it while still working for that employer. For example, you may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice before your resignation takes effect. If you break the contract, you may forfeit benefits or be liable for damages to your employer.
     
    Before signing an employment contract, you should have it reviewed by an experienced employment attorney to be certain that your rights are protected or that you at least know what the agreement means and what it requires of you to avoid a breach. A lawyer can also pursue your claim for breach of contract if you are wrongfully terminated in breach of the contract. To have your contract reviewed, or to learn more about your legal rights and options, call our office to schedule a free consultation with attorney Walt Taylor today.

  • Can I be fired for refusing to commit a criminal act in Texas?

    If you are like most workers in Texas, you are an at-will employee, which gives your employer the right to terminate you for no reason or for a completely arbitrary reason. However, you may fall into a narrow exception to this rule if you are discharged because your employer asked you to engage in a criminal act and you refused to do so. In this situation, you may have a wrongful discharge claim against your employer and be entitled to compensation for your losses.

    How the Criminal Act Exception to At-Will Employment Works

    This type of claim is a public policy exception created by the Texas Supreme Court in a case called Sabine Pilot and is designed to encourage employees to follow the law and to discourage employers from asking them to commit illegal acts. But the exception only applies in limited situations. Here’s what must be established to have a valid wrongful discharge claim:
     
    An employee must show that he was fired or constructively discharged solely because he refused to commit a criminal act. If there is any other reason for the discharge, such as the worker’s age or job performance, this exception does not apply.
    The act that the person refused to perform must have violated criminal, not civil, law. 
    The employer must have requested that the worker commit the criminal act. No advance, express threat that he would be fired if he refused the request is required for this exception to apply.
     
    Examples of illegal termination under this rule include being fired for refusing to violate environmental laws or refusing to sign false insurance forms. However, reporting a criminal act—even if asked not to by a supervisor—would not be grounds for a wrongful discharge claim (except possibly for public employees, who may have the benefit of the Texas Whistleblower Act.
     
    Do you believe you were fired because you refused to commit a criminal act? Attorney Walt Taylor can help you hold your employer accountable for compensating you for your lost wages and the other damages you may be entitled to. He represents clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth and Mid-Cities areas. To learn about his extensive experience fighting for the rights of workers wrongfully terminated, call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation today.

  • What happens if I was partially at fault in causing my truck accident in Decatur?

    Texas is a fault state that requires negligent drivers to compensate the victims of a passenger vehicle or truck accident. In many cases in Decatur, the truck driver’s and trucking company’s liability for causing a collision is clear cut. However, in some situations, the fault may be divided among more parties. Here, we explain your rights to compensation if you are found to be partially to blame for causing your crash.

    The Hart Law Firm Truck Accident Lawyer

    How Texas’ Comparative Negligence Law Could Apply in Your Case

    Texas follows the modified comparative negligence rule in vehicle accident cases. If a party is partially at fault, he will still be entitled to compensation for his injuries as long as he was not more than 50 percent to blame. Here’s how comparative negligence works:

    • If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you would not be entitled to any compensation from the truck driver.
    • If you are less than 50 percent to blame, the amount of compensation you receive would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if your damages are $200,000 and you were 20 percent at fault, you would still be entitled to $160,000 from the negligent trucker and trucking company—a substantial amount of what you would otherwise be owed.

    Because it is a way to reduce their liability for compensating you, you should not be surprised if the insurance company for the trucker and trucking company tries to claim that you were partially negligent even if this was not true. An experienced truck crash attorney will have strategies to defeat these unjustified claims and can protect your legal rights so that you receive what you are entitled to in your settlement.

    Are you worried about how your own fault could affect your truck injury claim? Contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation today. A member of our skilled truck accident legal team will discuss your crash with you and advise you how modified comparative negligence could impact your legal rights to compensation for your injuries.

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

  • When must the Texas Board of Nursing suspend or revoke a nurse’s license?

    In Texas, you must maintain your license in order to practice as a registered nurse. The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) issues and renews licenses, enforces the Texas Nursing Practice Act, and conducts investigations of complaints against nurses. As part of its enforcement powers, this regulatory agency must suspend or revoke a nurse’s license if he or she is convicted of committing certain crimes. If you are a nurse in the Dallas-Fort Worth or Mid-Cities area, and you are worried about losing your professional license, attorney Walt Taylor may be able to help.

    When Is the Texas Board of Nursing Required to Suspend or Revoke Nursing Licenses?

    Under the Nursing Practice Act, the Texas Board of Nursing is required to suspend or revoke a nursing license if the nurse is convicted of certain crimes. A nurse must have pled guilty or nolo contendere, or been convicted of the criminal offense. Here are some crimes where a nursing license must be revoked or suspended:
     
    Murder, capital murder, and manslaughter
    Kidnapping or unlawful restraint if the crime was punished as a felony or state jail felony
    Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
    Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children or indecency with a child
    Aggravated assault
    Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring a child, elderly person, or disabled person
    Robbery and aggravated robbery
    Aiding suicide if the offense is punishable as a state jail felony
    Entering into an agreement to abduct children from custody
    Any offense that requires an individual to be listed as a sex offender

    What to Do If You Are at Risk of Having Your Nursing License Revoked or Suspended

    If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime that puts your nursing license in jeopardy, you need to contact attorney Walt Taylor as soon as possible. He has helped many nurses and other medical professionals in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Mid-Cities area and around the State of Texas facing disciplinary proceedings at the Texas Board of Nursing and other medical licensing agencies, and he has extensive knowledge of the laws and procedures that are applicable in these administrative cases. To learn more about your legal options and defenses, contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

  • What is constructive discharge in Texas?

    Constructive discharge is a specific type of wrongful termination claim in Texas. It occurs when an employer does not directly fire an employee, but instead makes the working conditions so intolerable that the person is forced to quit. These claims are very challenging to prove, and you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney right away (and before quitting) if you believe you have a constructive discharge claim against your current or former employer.
    The Hart Law Firm Constructive Dismissal

    What Constitutes Constructive Dismissal in Texas?

    Under Texas law, constructive discharge occurs when working conditions become so abhorrent that a reasonable person in the employee’s situation would have felt compelled to resign his job. Courts use an objective standard in determining what an ordinary person would do. Constructive discharge does not arise from every bad working condition, such as verbal abuse, never being given a raise, or being denied a promotion. 
     
    Constructive discharge only protects an employee if the discrimination is based on an employee’s status in a protected class or the employee’s having engaged in a protected activity. Examples include:
     
    Age discrimination
    Discrimination based on race or national origin
    Sexual harassment
    Disability discrimination
    Retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim, complaining about discrimination, wage and hour law violations, or safety hazards

    Factors That May Establish a Constructive Discharge Claim

    The courts look at many factors to determine whether a worker has established a claim of constructive dismissal. Some of the facts include:
     
    Past or future demotion
    Reduction in pay
    Reduction in the person’s job duties or a large increase in responsibilities that would have resulted in unpaid overtime
    Assignment to a different supervisor
    Verbal abuse or discrimination by the employer or co-worker with the goal of termination of the victim
    Request that the victim engage in illegal activities
    Change in employment to a less favorable status
    Offer of early retirement
    Depth of the investigation of any complaint by the employee
    Time between the employer’s actions and the employee’s resignation
     
    While it can be very difficult to prove a constructive discharge claim, and one of these factors standing alone is not likely to be sufficient, constructive discharge claims can be successful, which is why you need the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney.
     
    To discuss your situation and your possible legal claims of wrongful termination against your employer in the Dallas/Fort Worth or Mid-Cities area, please contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 today to schedule your free consultation.

  • How do I begin the process of filing a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit against my employer?

    In Texas, most people are at-will employees who can be fired for any reason—including a bad or false one – or even for no reason at all. However, individuals have protections from wrongful termination for reasons prohibited under federal and Texas laws. If you were fired illegally, you may have a wrongful termination claim against your former boss. However your claim is based on discrimination or retaliation, you may need to comply with state and federal laws that require you to file an administrative complaint with the EEOC or the Texas Workforce Commissions Civil Rights Division first, in order to have the right to file a lawsuit for compensation for your losses.
    The Hart Law Firm Wrongful Termination

    Filing an Administrative Complaint: The First Step in Many Wrongful Termination Case

    There are many grounds for wrongful termination cases in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Some of the common illegal practices that can be the basis of a claim include:
     
    Breach of contract
    Discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and other protected classifications
    Retaliation for asserting legal rights, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim, reporting a workplace safety issue, or taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    Being a whistleblower (for public employees and certain designated private sector employees)
     
    In many cases, the first step an employee must take before filing a wrongful termination civil lawsuit is to file an administrative complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. The agency you need to report to and the time period to do so—which is often relatively short—depends on the particular grounds for the illegal firing claim. It is critical to retain an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to ensure that a complaint is filed with the appropriate agency within the deadline for doing so.

    Where Do You File an Administrative Complaint for Wrongful Termination Based on Discrimination

    One of the most common claims of wrongful termination is discrimination under federal civil rights and Texas anti-discrimination laws. If this is the basis of your case, you must file an administrative complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission-Civil Rights Division (TWC-CRD) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These agencies have an agreement to work together in processing these claims, so you do not have to file a complaint with both agencies, as long you state in the agency where you file that you want to “cross-file” the complaint with the other agency. You have 180 days from the date of the discrimination to file and assert state law claims, and 300 days to file with the EEOC to assert federal claims.  If your retaliation claim arises out of your or someone else’s discrimination complaint, your deadlines are the same and run from the date the retaliation occurred.
     
    Were you wrongfully terminated from your employment in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? Attorney Walt Taylor has years of experience fighting for the rights of employees who were illegally fired. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your legal options.

  • How much is my non-subscriber workplace injury case worth?

    If you were injured at your workplace in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you will not be able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits if your employer is a non-subscriber employer who does not provide these benefits. Fortunately, you do have options. You can sue your negligent employer for compensation for your injuries. When considering whether to do this, you most likely want to know how much your claim is worth. While there is no exact formula for figuring this out, you can get a sense of how much you might receive by considering the types of compensation you could receive and factors that affect these settlements.

    Types of Compensation That You May Receive in a Work Injury Case in Dallas

    If you are able to prove that your employer’s negligence contributed to your injuries, you are entitled to receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Types of compensation awarded in these cases include:

    Medical expenses.

    You are entitled to be compensated for your doctor bills, hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and any other medical treatments you need. This includes both past and future costs.

    Lost wages.

    You can recover the wages you lost and will lose while you are off work recovering from your injuries. If you must change jobs due to your injuries or are permanently disabled, you may be entitled to lost earning capacity damages.

    Pain and suffering.

    While wages and medical bills can be estimated, it is hard to put a dollar amount on the pain and suffering and emotional trauma you suffered due to your injuries. An experienced workplace injury attorney can help you value this portion of your claim.

    Punitive damages.

    Punitive damages are a rarer type of damages and are awarded to punish an employer whose actions are grossly negligent. This is another type of compensation that would be hard to get without the assistance of a skilled lawyer.

    Factors That Could Influence the Value of a Workplace Injury Claim

    Every workplace injury case is unique, and the factors that can affect the value of a claim vary. However, here are some factors that can influence how much your claim is worth:

    Disputes.

    When there are legitimate disputes as to the employer’s negligence in causing your injuries or whether a defense, such as the routine job defense, is applicable, this could reduce the value of your claim. However, the key issue is whether the dispute is valid or one simply raised by the insurance company to try to deny your claim.

    Severity of your injuries.

    If you suffered serious injuries or a permanent disability, this will entitle you to more compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering—and increase the value of your claim.

    Insurance company.

    When you file a claim for compensation after being injured at work, there is always some negotiation between the insurance company and your attorney. This is true even if your non-subscriber employer’s liability is clear cut. However, in some cases, the insurance company will not be reasonable, and you could have to fight harder to obtain the settlement you deserve.

    Jury.

    While many of these cases settle out of court, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit and litigate your claim. If you must take your case to a jury trial, there is no guarantee of how the jury will decide your case. However, if you have strong proof of your employer’s negligence and your injuries, this will increase the strength and value of your claim.

    Your attorney.

    Having an experienced workplace injury attorney who has a record of success in settling and trying cases against non-subscriber employers will also increase the likelihood that you will receive what you deserve either in settlement with the insurance company or through a jury verdict.

    If you suffered a workplace injury in Dallas or Fort Worth and are employed by a non-subscriber employer, our skilled attorneys are here to collect the evidence you need to win your case and to fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about our extensive experience in these cases and your legal options, start an online chat to schedule your free consultation.

  • How much does an experienced car accident attorney cost in North Richland Hills?

    A major decision you will need to make when filing a claim for compensation following an auto collision in North Richland Hills is whether to retain an experienced car crash attorney. The cost of doing so may be a worry that is holding you back from calling an attorney. However, lawyers handling these cases generally charge their fees in a unique way that is completely affordable for crash victims.

    How Contingency Fee Agreements Work in Car Accident Cases

    The most common way car accident attorneys charge their fees is by a contingency fee agreement. In this type of fee arrangement, you would not owe any up-front attorney fees, and the attorney is only entitled to a fee if he wins you compensation through a settlement or a trial. His fee would be a percentage of your award and would be paid out of your proceeds.

    The Hart Law Firm Car Wreck Lawyers

    Besides attorney fees, you would also owe the costs associated with your case. Some attorneys will front these fees and be reimbursed once a settlement is reached, but other lawyers require that these fees be paid up front. Some of these costs include

    • Record copying fees
    • Expert witness fees
    • Filing fee for your complaint
    • Service fee to serve your summons and complaint on the negligent driver
    • Deposition costs

    Other Important Factors to Consider When Retaining an Attorney

    You should not base your decision on the attorney to hire solely on the cost. You want an experienced attorney who handles many car crash cases in his practice, has a successful record of settling and trying these cases, and is someone you believe you can trust. He should also communicate well with you and be available when you have questions.

    If you or a family member was injured in a car collision in North Richland Hills, our skilled legal team can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation to learn more about your legal options and our experience in successfully resolving these cases.

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

  • What Should I Do If a Negligent Driver Hits My Parked Car in Euless?

    Not all car crashes in Euless happen at DFW or on SH 183 or 360. A crash can happen when your vehicle is parked at Albertsons, Target, or another downtown business. While these wrecks can cause less damage and serious injuries than other types of crashes, you still need to take your collision seriously. Here, we explain the steps you need to take to protect your legal rights.

    What to Do If You Are Involved in a Parked Vehicle Accident in Euless

    If another driver crashes into your vehicle while it is in a parking lot in Euless, he is responsible for fully compensating you for your injuries and damage to your vehicle under Texas law. Here is what you will need to protect your right to compensation:

    Parked Car Damage The Hart Law Firm

    Driver contact information.

    If you witnessed the crash or the other driver waited for you, you want to collect contact information for him and his insurance company and a statement of how the wreck occurred.

    Witnesses.

    Whether or not you are able to locate the driver, you want to obtain contact information for any witnesses to the accident before they are lost. In addition, if the driver did not stop, witnesses may be able to provide you with sufficient information to identify him.

    Pictures.

    Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the negligent driver’s vehicle if he stayed at the scene. Also take photos of anything else you believe would be helpful to prove the other driver’s negligence.

    Police report.

    You should contact the Euless Police Department to report the wreck and obtain a copy of the police report. The police will not always come to a parking lot accident scene, but you may be able to go to the police station to report it or to file a report with a parking lot security company.

    Surveillance tapes.

    A parking lot surveillance tape may have recorded the accident. You should attempt to obtain a copy of it to prove that the other driver was at fault and to locate him if he was a hit-and-run driver.

    Medical care.

    While not all parked vehicle crashes cause victims to suffer injuries, you should be examined soon after the collision if you were in your parked car when it was hit. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and back and neck injuries, can take days or longer for symptoms to develop.

    Insurance company.

    You should contact the negligent driver’s insurance company to file a claim. If you are not able to locate him, you can file a claim under your own collision and uninsured policies if you have these coverages.

    If your vehicle only suffered nominal damages, you may be able to settle your insurance claim on your own. However, if you suffered injuries or your vehicle suffered substantial damages, you should retain an experienced car crash attorney for assistance in negotiating your settlement. To get your questions answered and learn how our skilled legal team can help, contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

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

  • What are possible sources of compensation for my injuries caused by a drunk driver in Euless?

    When a drunk driver causes a wreck, you could suffer catastrophic injuries or, even worse, a loved one could be killed. If you are in this situation, you need and deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. In order to do this, you may need to turn to more than the driver to pay for your medical treatments, replace your lost wages, and compensate you for your pain and suffering.

    Look to These Sources of Compensation for Your Injuries Following a Drunk Driving Accident in Euless, Texas

    When you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries following a drunk driving wreck in Euless, it is important to understand that the insurance company is only legally required to pay you a maximum of the policy limits. Because of the catastrophic nature of many drunk driving collisions, one insurance policy may not be sufficient to compensate you for your losses. Here are possible sources of compensation that may help you:

    Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company

    In Texas, the drunk driver who caused your injuries is fully responsible for compensating you for your injuries. However, if he only has the minimum liability insurance coverage of $30,000 per victim and $60,000 per collision required under Texas law, this could be much less than you need to just pay your medical bills.

    Your Health Insurance

    If you have health insurance through your job, the Affordable Care Act, or another insurance company, your medical care could be covered under your health insurance policy. However, if you receive a settlement with the insurance company, you may be required to reimburse your health insurance provider.

    Your Auto Insurance

    Unless you waived it in writing, you are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, which you can use to pay your medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy limit. You are also required to purchase uninsured and underinsured coverage to protect you if the drunk driver had no or insufficient insurance that may help. If you purchased other insurance coverages, such as collision or MedPay, these could pay for your vehicle repairs and medical bills even if you caused the wreck.

    Dram Shop Liability

    You may be able to hold the bar, tavern, restaurant, or other business who sold alcohol to the drunk driver responsible for compensating you for your injuries if the motorist was a minor or obviously intoxicated. A social host may also face liability for serving alcohol to a minor. These insurance companies may be another source of compensation for your injuries.

    An experienced drunk driving attorney can help you identify all sources of compensation and negotiate your settlements so that you receive what you deserve. To discuss your situation and your legal options, contact us online or call our Colleyville office 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.

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