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What is the Safe Harbor Defense that a business can raise in a claim for compensation under Texas Dram Shop Law?
Under Texas Dram Shop law, a business, such as a bar, restaurant, or liquor store, can be liable for compensating a victim of a drunk driving crash for his injuries. The victim must be able to show that the drunk driver was so obviously intoxicated that he was a danger to himself or others when he was sold the alcohol. In addition, this must have been a proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. A minor under 18 years old who was illegally served alcohol may also have a claim for the injuries that he suffered. However, the business is not without defenses under the Dram Shop Law.
What Is the Safe Harbor Defense?
Unlike other states’ dram shop laws, Texas’ law does not hold a business strictly liable for compensating a victim once it is shown that the drunk driver was served alcohol. Liability must be proven, and the business is only liable for its proportionate share of fault in causing the person’s injuries. In addition, the business can raise the Safe Harbor Defense—also known as the Trained Server Defense—to avoid responsibility to the victim. Under this defense, the bar or restaurant would need to show the following:
- The business requires its employees to attend a Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) approved class to become certified by the Commission.
- The business follows through by making sure its employees take the class and are certified.
- The business cannot directly or indirectly encourage its employees to ignore TABC rules.
Just because a business claims that its employees are certified does not mean that it is true. In some cases, the business does not adequately train employees under the TABC certification program. In other cases, managers or other employees may help a fellow employee cheat on the exit exam.
The experienced legal team at the Hart Law Firm have helped many victims of drunk driving accidents obtain justice and receive the compensation that they deserve. To learn how we can help you if you were hurt in a drunk driving accident, call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How does a non-subscriber employer injury claim differ from a workers’ compensation claim?
Texas was the first state to allow employers to opt out of providing workers’ compensation insurance to become non-subscriber employers. If you are injured on the job, whether your employer provides workers’ compensation benefits or is a non-subscriber employer, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, your claim will be governed by different laws, which will affect your claim for compensation in many ways. Here, we discuss some of the key differences between these types of claims.
What Are Important Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Non-Subscriber Injury Claims?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance that employers purchase to pay workers’ claims when they are hurt on the job. If your employer provides workers’ compensation benefits, you would file a claim for benefits with the insurance company for workplace injuries. When your employer has opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits, you could still be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you may have to take your employer to court in order to obtain what you deserve. Here are some key differences between the two systems.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault benefit, and you do not have to prove your employer’s fault to receive benefits. In addition, you still receive benefits if you caused your injuries.
In a non-subscriber case, you must prove your employer’s fault in causing you to be injured to be entitled to compensation. However, if you can show that your employer was at least one percent at fault in causing your injuries—even if you were 99 percent to blame—you could obtain the full amount that you are owed.
The compensation you receive in each type of claim is very different. In a workers’ compensation case, you can be reimbursed for your medical bills and approximately 70 percent of your lost wages. If you become permanently disabled or must switch professions, you would not be entitled to any lost earning capacity for the wages and benefits you could lose and would only be able to receive partial long-term wage benefits if you suffered a catastrophic injury.
If your employer opted out of workers’ compensation, you would be entitled to full compensation for your medical bills and your lost wages. In addition, you may be entitled to lost earning capacity damages and future wage losses if your injuries result in your partial or complete disability.
Pain and suffering and punitive damages
You are not entitled to any pain and suffering compensation in a workers’ compensation claim. You could only receive punitive damages, which are awarded to punish your employer, if a loved one died from his injuries.
In a non-subscriber case, you would be entitled to compensation for the emotional trauma you suffered. To receive punitive damages, you would need to show gross negligence in causing an injury as well as a fatality.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits was denied, you would file an administrative appeal, which is a somewhat streamlined legal proceeding. When your employer refuses to pay you the compensation you are owed in a non-subscriber injury case, you would need to file a lawsuit and possibly go to jury trial to hold your employer accountable.
Did you suffer a workplace injury? The experienced attorneys at the Hart Law Firm are here to explain your rights and negotiate your settlement for you. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a trucker and trucking company following an accident?
There are a number of important laws that apply to truck wreck cases that you should understand if you must pursue a claim for injuries against the negligent trucker who hit you and the trucking company who employed him. One vital law you must know and follow is the statute of limitations for filing your lawsuit. You also need the assistance of an experienced truck wreck attorney to comply with this law.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Truck Accident Cases?
The statute of limitations is the time period under Texas law for you to file a lawsuit against the trucker and trucking company. If you fail to file your complaint within this deadline, your complaint most likely will be dismissed by the judge, and you would be unable to pursue your claim for compensation. The following laws apply to truck accident cases:
- There is a two-year time period to file a lawsuit for personal injuries and property damage caused in a truck wreck. The time period begins to run on the date of the crash.
- If a family member died as a result of his injuries caused by a truck collision, the time period to sue is two years from the date of his death—not the date of the crash.
Why You Do Not Want to Wait Until the Statute of Limitations Is Set to Expire to Contact a Lawyer
You do not want to make the mistake of delaying hiring an attorney because you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit. You want to retain your lawyer as soon as possible after the truck accident so that he can investigate your claim, collect and preserve vital evidence, and attempt to negotiate a settlement for you before filing a lawsuit. If you wait until close to two years after the accident to hire an attorney, important evidence necessary for your case could have been lost or destroyed. In addition, you limit the ability of your attorney to help you and open yourself to disputes in your claim about the seriousness of your injuries by waiting.
If a negligent trucker caused your injuries, let the experienced legal team at the Hart Law Firm negotiate your settlement. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.488 to schedule a free case evaluation.
What compensation am I entitled to if I am injured by a drunk driver?
Victims of drunk driving crashes can suffer even more devastating injuries or death when a driver chooses to drive when intoxicated. The State of Texas takes drunk driving very seriously both in terms of criminal prosecutions for DWI and civil compensation to the victims of these tragic wrecks. If you were injured due to a drunk driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation and punitive damages for your injuries.
What Types of Compensation Could You Receive in a Drunk Driving Accident?
In any motor vehicle wreck, including when the driver is drunk, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries. However, you may be entitled to even more compensation when the driver was drunk. You may be able to recover the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses. The drunk driver is responsible for compensating you for your doctor visits, surgery, physical therapy, medications, and any other medical treatments you need. You can also receive reimbursement for assistive tools like a wheelchair or ramp at your home, home health care, and transportation costs if you must travel to receive your treatment.
- Lost wages. You want to include any wages you lost or will lose while you are off work recovering from your injuries as well as benefits, promotions, and other perks of your job that you did not receive. If you will need to make a career change or are permanently disabled due to your injuries, you could be entitled to lost earning capacity damages as well.
- Property damages. These types of damages include the cost to repair your vehicle, replacement cost of property in your vehicle that was damaged, and car rental fees.
- Pain and suffering. You are entitled to compensation for the emotional trauma you suffered due to the wreck and the injuries caused by it. Often, this is a large portion of the compensation you receive. An experienced drunk driving attorney will be able to value this portion of your claim for you.
- Wrongful death. If a family member died as a result of his injuries, you may be entitled to reasonable funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and medical expenses caused by the crash. In addition, you could receive damages to compensate you for the loss of financial and emotional support of your loved one.
- Exemplary damages. These are also referred to as punitive damages and are awarded to punish the driver if he engaged in gross negligence. Gross negligence can be easier to prove in a drunk driving accident. This amount is capped at two times the amount of the victim’s compensatory damages not to exceed $750,000 and an amount equal to his noneconomic damages, such as for pain and suffering, not to exceed $200,000.
You will need the help of an experienced drunk driving accident attorney if you hope to receive the full value of your claim. He can also ensure that you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash caused by an intoxicated driver, contact us online or call directly at 817.380.488 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How can I find out if my employer is a non-subscriber employer?
If you are hurt in a workplace injury, you need to know if your employer has workers’ compensation coverage or has opted out of providing this type of benefit as a non-subscriber employer. This information is important to help you understand how to file your claim, the time period you have for doing so, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Because some employers may be reluctant to tell you their status or may not tell you the truth, it’s best that you verify the information.
How to Determine If Your Employer Is a Non-Subscriber Employer
Texas is one of the few states in the United States that allows employers to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits. If you work for a non-subscriber employer, you must prove your employer’s negligence in order to obtain the compensation you deserve. The ways to determine whether your employer is a non-subscriber employer include:
- Division of Workers’ Compensation Website. You can verify your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage on the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation website.
- Your contract. If you signed a contract of employment, your contract should have provisions regarding your employer’s responsibilities if you are injured on the job. This can tell you whether your employer provides workers’ compensation benefits.
- Employee manual or policies. If your employer has any employee manuals or policies, these may inform you as to whether or not your employer has opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits.
- Written notice. Employers who opt out of providing workers’ compensation are required to post a written notice at the workplace advising employees that the employer does not provide these benefits. However, not all employers comply with this requirement.
If you were injured while at your job, you need an experienced workplace injury attorney who understands Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws. The legal team at the Hart Law Firm has over 25 years of experience helping clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us, start an online chat or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free case evaluation.
How much will it cost me to hire a construction accident attorney?
If you were hurt in a construction accident and your employer will not pay you the compensation you are entitled to, you may need to hire an experienced construction accident attorney. When deciding on which attorney to retain, it is important to understand the attorney fees you will be charged. Generally, attorneys handling construction accident cases, like other personal injury cases, will handle your case on a contingency fee basis.
What Are Contingency Fee Agreements in Construction Accident Cases?
In a contingency fee agreement, your attorney is only owed attorney fees if you win your case either through a negotiated settlement or at a trial. If you recover no money, you would not owe any attorney fees. Here’s how contingency fee agreements typically work:
- Your attorney will charge you a percentage of the total amount you receive. He will deduct his attorney fees from the final settlement or trial verdict in your case.
- Some attorneys will charge a lower percentage if they settle your case without filing a lawsuit than if they must file a lawsuit for you and litigate your case.
- You will owe the costs associated with your case as well as the attorney fees. These costs generally include medical records, expert witness fees, the fees charged for filing your lawsuit, and depositions. While some attorneys will pay these fees for you and deduct these costs from your final settlement, others will require you to pay them up front.
Why You Do Not Want to Hire an Attorney Only Based on His Fees
While the cost of hiring an attorney will be a consideration in your decision of who to hire, you do not want this to be the sole factor in making your decision. You want an experienced attorney who is not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve. In addition, many employers in Texas are non-subscriber employers who have opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits. This is a specialized area of the law, and you need an attorney who handles this type of case if your employer is a non-subscriber employer.
Were you injured in a construction accident? Start an online chat today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced construction and non-subscriber workplace accident attorneys to learn how we can help you.
What is the statute of limitations in my car accident case?
When you must file a lawsuit against a negligent driver who caused your injuries, you are right to be concerned about the statute of limitations. This is the deadline you have to sue the negligent driver for the compensation you are entitled to. The penalties for failing to sue within this time period are severe. If you do not file your lawsuit by the deadline set by Texas law, the judge would dismiss your case.
What Is Texas’ Statute of Limitations in Car Accident Cases?
The time period to sue in your car crash case will depend in part on whether the victim survived the crash or died. These statutes of limitations will apply to your case:
- Personal injury. The time period to sue is two years from the date of the wreck for personal injuries where the victim survived.
- Property damage. The time period to sue for property damage is also two years from the date of the wreck.
- Wrongful death. If a crash victim died, you would need to file a lawsuit within two years of his date of death—not the date of the crash.
Why You Do Not Want to Wait to Pursue Your Claim
Even if your crash happened a few days or weeks ago, you do not want to delay hiring an experienced car accident attorney to pursue your claim. Yes, you still have plenty of time to sue under the statute of limitations. However, you could be hurting your case by not taking prompt action. Here’s how waiting could reduce the value of your claim:
- You could lose important evidence like eyewitnesses who could move or forget what they saw or business surveillance tapes that may have recorded your crash but were taped over. You hamper your attorney’s ability to thoroughly investigate the facts of your wreck by delaying in hiring him.
- You could make inadvertent mistakes in talking to the negligent driver’s insurance company or in making other decisions about your claim without the advice of an attorney right after your crash.
- Your claim will appear weaker to the insurance company for the negligent driver. The insurance adjuster for the negligent driver is looking for reasons to deny or reduce your claim. You give him powerful ammunition to argue your injuries were not that bad or that they were caused by something other than the crash if you wait to pursue your claim.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, don’t delay any longer in pursuing your claim for the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to represent victims throughout Texas including Colleyville, Arlington, Hurst, Irving, Euless, Grapevine, North Richland and all areas in between.
Who do I sue if a party other than my non-subscriber employer caused my workplace accident?
If your employer is a non-subscriber employer who has opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove your employer’s negligence in order to receive compensation for your injuries. In some accidents, your injuries could have been caused in whole or in part by a party other than your employer. Who is responsible for compensating you in this situation?
When Could Your Injuries at Work Be Caused by a Third Party?
Unfortunately, workers face dangers of injuries not only due to their employer’s negligence but also because of the negligent actions of other parties they come into contact with at work. Some examples of when your injuries could be caused by another party include:
- Another driver negligently causes a car crash when you are driving between job sites or doing a work-related errand.
- A defective piece of machinery was the cause of your workplace accident.
- You are a cable company employee who suffers a shock when you come in contact with an exposed wire at an apartment complex where you are installing cable access.
- You are exposed to a toxic substance like asbestos at work.
- A co-worker, customer, or salesperson assaults you.
Who Do You Sue If a Third Party Caused Your Workplace Injuries?
In Texas, if you work for a non-subscriber employer, you can only pursue a claim against your employer if you can show that your employer’s negligence at least in part caused your injuries. When your employer is not at fault, you would need to sue the third party whose negligence caused your accident, such as a negligent driver who causes your crash, a manufacturer of a defective part, or a co-worker who assaulted you.
What should you do if your employer and a third party were both responsible for your accident? In this scenario, you would want to sue your employer and the negligent third party. By pursuing your claim against all potentially liable parties, you increase the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries.
If you were injured in a workplace accident and your employer opted out of providing workers’ comp benefits, the workplace accident legal team at the Hart Law Firm is here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at (817) 380-4888 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
What factors could affect my Texas car accident settlement?
If you must pursue a claim against a negligent driver who caused your injuries, you want to know how much you can receive in settlement. It can be frustrating to learn that there is no set formula for determining the exact worth of your case. However, certain factors can increase—or decrease—the amount of compensation you receive.
Important Factors That Could Influence Your Bottom Line Settlement
Many variables will come into play in your attorney’s analysis of what your case is worth and the amount he is able to negotiate for you in a settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, these four factors are often important in determining the outcome of your case:
- Consistency in your statements. You will be telling your version of how the accident happened at various times in the claims process. This starts when you give a statement to the police officer at the accident scene. If your statements are relatively consistent about what occurred throughout, you will appear as a more credible witness and not give the insurance company ammunition to poke holes in your story—potentially increasing the amount of your settlement.
- Evidence of the other driver’s negligence. When the other driver’s fault is not disputed or is more clear-cut, such as in a rear-end collision or if the driver was texting, this can increase the likelihood of a higher settlement because there is less for the insurance adjuster to argue about.
- Doctor’s report supports your injuries. If your treating physician’s medical records and reports support your complaints regarding your injuries, this will help your case. When the report and tests do not support your claims of pain, the insurance adjuster could believe that you are exaggerating your injuries and your right to compensation.
- Your activities are consistent with your injuries. Consistency throughout your case is important, including that the activities you do after the wreck are consistent with the injuries you claim to have suffered. You should expect the insurance company to engage in surveillance at some points in your case. If they catch you doing activities that you should not be able to do, this could negatively impact on your attorney’s ability to obtain a favorable settlement for you.
An experienced attorney can advise you of the factors in your case that will help—or hurt—your ability to obtain all the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
The Hart Law Firm is proud to represent car accident victims throughout Texas including Colleyville, Hurst, Euless, Arlington, Irving, Bedford and North Richland.
What information is important to include in a workplace accident report?
Whether you believe you were injured or not, you want to file an accident report if you had an accident at work. Why is this so important? This will be your first documentation of your accident and will be persuasive evidence if you need to file a claim for compensation for injuries. It is especially crucial to file one when you work for a nonsubscriber employer who has opted out of workers’ compensation as you will need to prove your employer’s negligence to be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
What Should I Be Certain Is Included in the Accident Report?
Your first step after an accident—after obtaining necessary medical treatment—is to report your accident to a supervisor or manager. Depending on your employer’s procedures, he may complete the report or may ask you to fill out a form yourself. You want to be certain the following information is included in the report:
- Exactly how and when your accident occurred—including as many details as possible
- Parties involved in the accident
- The nature of any injuries you know about to any part of your body—do not omit anything, no matter how minor
- Medical treatment you have received, if any
Be certain to obtain a copy of the accident report. If you later discover additional injuries, ask to amend the report and get a copy of this as well. Do not be surprised if you need to do this. Adrenaline can mask symptoms or they can take days or weeks to emerge.
Filing an accident report promptly and being certain it contains essential information can go a long way in avoiding problems with your claim down the road. However, not filing one right away because you honestly did not believe you were injured is not fatal to your claim. Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team.