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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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  • 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.

    Have You Been Injured At Your Texas Job And Your Employer Doesn't Provide Workers' Compensation?

    If you've been injured on the job and your employer is non-subscriber you need to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

  • Why would my employer deceive me about whether he is a non-subscriber employer?

    In Texas, employers have the right to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits and to become a non-subscriber employer. This gives them the benefit of not paying for workers’ compensation insurance, which can be expensive, and paying any workplace injury claims regardless of who was at fault in causing them. However, being a non-subscriber employer has drawbacks, and your employer could lie about his status to avoid his responsibilities for your injuries caused on the job.

    Why Your Employer Might Lie About Being a Non-Subscriber

    Some employers deceive injured workers and tell them that they have workers’ compensation insurance when they do not really have it. In some cases, they have an insurance policy that they purchased that provides fewer benefits than true workers’ compensation insurance. Here’s why employers—including yours—could be lying about being a non-subscriber:

    • Employers want the protection of not being sued that workers’ compensation gives them and the fixed amount of medical expenses and wages they would pay to a worker. They may claim to have this insurance to dissuade an injured worker from filing a claim for additional compensation.
    • Employers do not want the negative consequence of being a non-subscriber employer in terms of liability for fully compensating workers for injuries suffered at work. Injured employees could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, all of their back and future wages, and pain and suffering in a non-subscriber employer case. Your employer would be responsible for fully compensating you if your employer was as little as one percent to blame for your injuries.

    What Should You Do If You Suspect That Your Employer Is Lying About Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

    If you are concerned that your employer is being less than truthful about having workers’ compensation insurance, you want to contact an experienced workplace injury attorney right away. He can help you determine whether your employer is a non-subscriber and assist you in pursuing your rights under Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws.

    Have You Been Injured At Your Texas Job And Your Employer Doesn't Provide Workers' Compensation?

    If you've been injured on the job and your employer is non-subscriber you need to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

  • Who Is Responsible for Compensating You for Injuries Caused in a Truck Blowout Accident?

    truck tire blowout crash liabilityWhen a truck tire suddenly ruptures or bursts in a tire blowout wreck, the truck driver could lose control and jackknife across lanes of traffic or leave tire shreds strewn across a highway or roadway in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. These tragic accidents happen for a number of reasons. If you are injured by a tire blowout, you want to be compensated for your injuries. However, determining who the responsible parties are may not be as black and white as you imagine.

    Who Is Liable in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident?

    Some of the reasons these accidents happen include lack of truck maintenance, improper loading, defective tires, or negligent inspection of the tires. The precise reason for your collision will determine the parties you pursue a claim against. In addition, there could be more than one party to blame. Here are some of the potentially responsible parties in these cases:

    Truck driver.

    Truckers are required to conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection of the truck, including the tires, under federal regulations. They are not allowed to drive trucks with repair issues that may result in the truck breaking down or causing a crash. The truck driver may have violated these rules or could have noticed the low or defective tire while on the trip and chosen to drive anyway.

    Trucking company.

    The trucking company has its own federal regulations that it must follow in regards to inspection and maintenance of a truck and its tires. These rules could have been broken in your case. In addition, the trucking company may be vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligent actions.

    Maintenance company.

    Some trucking companies contract with a maintenance facility to perform maintenance of their trucks. If the trucking company in your case did this and lack of truck maintenance was the cause of your injuries, the maintenance company could face liability.

    Shipper.

    If the cargo was improperly loaded or secured by the shipper or another company other than the trucking company, this party could be responsible for compensating you.

    Tire manufacturer.

    If the tire was defective, you may also have a claim against the tire manufacturer. Tire tread and belt adhesion separation problems are common defects that have resulted in tire recalls.

    Have You Been Injured In A Texas Truck Accident?

    If you've been injured in a truck accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

  • 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.

    Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

    If you've been injured by a drunk driver in Texas you need to speak with an experienced drunk driver injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free 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’Work Injury The Hart Law Firm 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.

    Fault

    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.

    Compensation

    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.

    Legal proceeding

    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.

    Have You Been Injured At Your Texas Job And Your Employer Doesn't Provide Workers' Compensation?

    If you've been injured on the job and your employer is non-subscriber you need to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free 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?Semi Truck Accident

    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.

    Have You Been Injured In A Texas Truck Accident?

    If you've been injured in a truck accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

  • 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.

    Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

    If you've been injured by a drunk driver in Texas you need to speak with an experienced drunk driver injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free 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. Non-subscriber employers The Hart Law Firm

    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.

    Have You Been Injured At Your Texas Job And Your Employer Doesn't Provide Workers' Compensation?

    If you've been injured on the job and your employer is non-subscriber you need to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • 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?

    Cotingency fee when hiring construction attorneyIn 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.

    Have You Been Injured In A Texas Construction Accident?

    If you've been injured in a construction accident you need to speak with an experienced construction accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

  • What is the statute of limitations in my car accident case?

    Flipping calendar pages showing the passage of timeWhen 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.

    Have You Been Injured In A Texas Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Texas car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

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