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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

Work accident victim dies in fall at Texas oil field

The recent death of a worker in an oil field accident serves as another example of the often-unsafe working conditions Texas workers face. It also illustrates the important role played by workers' compensation benefits as a resource upon which workers and their families may rely when a work accident victim is injured or dies.

Fellow workers in a rural Texas oil field heard the sound of a falling hardhat. They looked up into the rig and saw an unconscious 40-year-old worker hung up in his safety harness. The injured worker appeared to have fallen while working high above the base of the oil rig when he lost his footing and fell. 

Dangerous conditions can be a source of negligence liability

Negligence cases in the state of Texas are often thought of in terms of an individual's behavior causing harm to someone else, such as an inattentive driver striking a pedestrian or another vehicle, or a surgeon accidentally leaving behind a sponge in a patient.

Less well known is negligence in the form of a failure to act when action would be necessary to prevent harm, or negligence that is evidenced by dangerous physical conditions; often these two forms of negligence can be found together in the form of premises liability.

How worker's compensation disputes are handled in Texas

Under ideal circumstances, if you are injured at work, and your Texas employer has workers' compensation coverage, applying for and receiving benefits should be simple. But sometimes misunderstandings arise which can complicate the process and may require the application of dispute resolution procedures.

If you find yourself in a dispute with your employer or its insurer about whether you are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits, then Texas has in place a multi-step process to resolve the matter.

Why are brain injury awards so large?

Given that settlements often reflect lower dollar sums than might be the case with a jury award if the matter went to trial, this can lead to the question of how can such an injury end up costing so much. The answer lies, at least in part, in the long and difficult path to recovery that a traumatic brain injury often requires on the part if its sufferer. 

Recently we wrote about a case in Texas involving a car accident-related traumatic brain injury that resulted in an out-of-court settlement of more than $2 million. 

How does workers' compensation deal with a work-related death?

Often, the most important and valuable asset that a person has is his or her ability to work to provide for the needs of a family. Many workers know this and take some action, such as purchasing life insurance or creating a special savings account, to protect their families in the event of their untimely death. When a worker's life is tragically cut short in a workplace accident, such preplanning is not always enough to fully compensate the family for the loss of income.

Fortunately, workers' compensation death benefits are available in Texas for the beneficiaries of workers killed in workplace accidents. People who may qualify as beneficiaries include the spouse, children who are minors or who are adults under age 25 and still enrolled in school, legally dependent grandchildren, or other family members. Additionally, non-dependent parents of the victim may be eligible to receive benefits when there are no other surviving dependent family members

What kinds of damages are recoverable for a brain injury?

Brain injuries can take various forms, from a mild concussion to open wounds in which the brain itself has been exposed. Given this spectrum of injury severity, it is logical that the types of damages that a brain injury victim may be able to recover, if the injury has been caused by another, are also subject to variation.

All injuries, including brain injuries, can result in direct medical costs. These include medical examination costs and medical treatment costs that may be required in the short term to treat the injury. Thus, someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury that results in a concussion can sue to recoup expenses connected with these kinds of direct expenses, even if he or she is not otherwise harmed.

Brain injury long-term financial impacts can be devastating

In May of last year, we wrote a post about a drunk driving accident in Texas that resulted in a $2 million settlement. The underlying injury in that case was a traumatic brain injury, and it serves as an example of a larger phenomenon: the enormous financial costs that can arise in connection with brain injury accidents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not only concerned with illnesses connected to infectious diseases, but it also reports on many types of debilitating events that can overtake Americans, including brain injuries. In one year alone, for which the CDC has kept statistics, the financial figures for severe traumatic brain injuries nationwide have been staggering: more than $75 billion was spent. The lion's share of that money was connected to both direct and indirect medical expenses for hospitalization and treatment.

When you need assistance with workers’ compensation, contact us

If you are like most people, you have had to work for all the good things that have come to you in your life. Sometimes, though, you can receive things at work that you did not bargain for or even want. An example of this is an injury or illness connected to your employment. It can happen in many ways: an equipment accident, exposure to a toxic substance or even a car accident away from your office or work site if the purpose for your being behind the wheel was related to your job.

Chances are that in such an event your employer participates in workers' compensation. So, you believe that you are covered, and you file your claim with your employer, but discover to your dismay that there seems to be a problem. Perhaps your employer disagrees with you that your injury or sickness is traceable to your work, or, for some reason, your employer fails to cooperate with the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation. Sometimes, your employer's insurer may balk at your claim and try to minimize it.

Can you recover damages if you were partially at fault?

Motor vehicle accidents are inevitable with so many vehicles on the road, especially in the great state of Texas with its vast interstate system. Many times drivers are involved in accidents through no fault of their own. Other times, drivers may have contributed to the accident. Thankfully, Texas law allows drivers to still recover damages even though they may have been partially responsible for the vehicle accident. 

Simply put, the law is based on the system of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence involves figuring out the percentage of fault for each party involved in the car accident. The parties may then recover damages according to their respective proportion of fault so long as the liability is not determined to be greater than 50 percent.

Who is responsible for dog bite injuries: owner, dog or victim?

Texas law creates categories for animals that may pose a danger to the public. Texas Code Section 822.041 defines "dangerous dogs," and subsequent sections describe the registration and reporting requirements with regard to such animals. In some cases, the owner of the dog that inflicts dog bite injuries may be liable for compensating the victim. But even though the law exists, the responsibility is not always clear-cut.

As one supervisor at San Antonio's Animal Care Services stated in a recent news article, "We have a people problem in San Antonio. We don't have a dog problem." And not every bite falls into the same category. For example, there is a difference between "dangerous" and "aggressive" dogs. Aggressive dog bites are those which happen on the dog's owner’s property when someone enters it, while dangerous dog bites happen off their owner's property without any provocation by the victim.

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  • Richard Tinsman & Daniel J.T. Sciano. Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • American Association for Justice | formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) | Member 2013
  • AV | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards in Legal Ability
  • Daniel J.T. Sciano, 2003-2012 and Stephen Lazor, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Super Lawyers