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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

Accident compensation may be available to brain injury victims

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is a contributing factor in 30 percent of deaths resulting from an injury. Surviving a brain injury can still leave a person with memory impairment, impaired movement and sensory function, and can be the cause of personality disorders such as depression.

Head injury can happen from a fall, from being hit in the head by an object or from bumping your head on a hard surface such as the steering wheel of a car. A person suffering a head trauma in an accident might have a claim for compensation against the person or entity whose negligence caused it.

Contractors and premises liability in Texas: an overview

Often when we consider premises liability in the abstract, we think of the allegorical "slip-and-fall" scenario, in which a store owner can be held liable to a customer who steps on a grape on the floor and slips, suffering injury as a result. But owners of land are not the only ones who can be held liable for premises liability-related damages. In some circumstances contractors can also be found to be liable based on their negligent activity on the premises.

We should note concerning contractors that premises liability and negligent activity are distinct causes of action with regard to persons who are injured on the property of others. To recover against the general contractor for a premises defect, the injured plaintiff needs to prove that the general contractor had the right to control the activity that produced the defect and breached that duty using the elements of a premises liability cause of action.

Can I lose my right to compensation after a car accident?

It might seem harsh to deny a person who suffered a serious injury in a car collision caused by a drunk driver or by a negligent driver, but that is the law in Texas and most other states. Waiting too long to file a lawsuit after a car accident may violate the statute of limitations.

A car accident victim has a right to sue a negligent driver for damages following an auto accident, but the government realizes that the more time that elapses from the date of a car accident until a lawsuit is file can harm a defendant’s ability to defend against it. Witnesses may forget details of what they saw, and evidence can be lost or destroyed. An accident investigation conducted long after the incident might not be as complete as one undertaken immediately after the collision.

Are there exceptions to workers' compensation exclusivity?

Before the development of workers’ compensation laws in Texas, it used to be that if an employee was injured while on the job then he or she would have to consider filing a lawsuit against the employer to recover compensation in connection with that injury. In addition to providing a means of compensation for injured workers that avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation, workers’ compensation also generally protects employers from the risk of being sued in connection with worker injury claims. This protection takes the form of the “exclusivity” rule, and it is codified in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.

Still, it may be possible under limited circumstances for an employee to have a legal cause of action in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. The two most common of these potential additional remedies are an exception built into the workers’ compensation statute and third party liability claims.

Texas workers’ comp carrier fined for refusing, delaying benefits

When a worker’s injury ends in death, one of the most difficult issues for the survivors is how to collect money from the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier to replace the lost income. But it’s usually the insurance company’s position to pay as little as possible and, even when it agrees to pay benefits, to wait as long as legally possible to pay them to continue to earn interest on the money it will eventually pay. A recent Texas case is a good example of both practices, and resulted in the insurer being slapped with what is reportedly the largest fine ever for violating Texas’ workers’ compensation laws.

The case involves a worker who was killed in an automobile accident while on the job. ACE American, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, at first refused to pay death benefits to the widow, who is a stay-at-home mom with two children. Eventually the Texas insurance department ordered Ace American to pay, but they paid late and then delayed the payment of interest that had accrued on the payment for over a year.

The Texas dram shop law and premises liability claims

The majority of states have some form of dram shop law allowing a person who suffers injuries at the hands of  an intoxicated individual to sue the owner of the bar, restaurant or establishment that served the wrongdoer the alcohol. A claim against the seller of the alcoholic beverage is in addition to any cause of action the injured party might have against the person who actually caused the injuries.

The dram shop law in Texas, as well as the other states that have similar laws, have generally become associated with claims based upon the actions of an intoxicated driver who gets into an accident after being served alcohol at a bar and injures someone. In fact, a claim under the dram shop law may also be made if an intoxicated individual injuries another customer at the bar or restaurant.

How damages in brain injury cases are calculated

In an earlier post, we discussed the reasons why brain injury awards are so large. This post is intended to help you understand how the damage awards are calculated. 

Every brain injury case is very different. If you sustained a brain injury, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to find out what your options are. As demonstrated above, you may be entitled to damages. The value of your damages award, however, will depend on the particular facts of your case.

Involved in a motor vehicle accident? Let us help you recover

Word association: When you hear the term, "motor vehicle", what is the first word to come to mind? Did you say, "car"? You are probably not alone if you did, but when you think of the term in a broader sense it can mean much more than that. Whenever you travel, wherever you go, chances are that you do so by means of a "motor vehicle": boats, motorcycles, trains, aircraft, mass transit, trucks and more. And with any of these, there is always the chance that you can be involved in a motor vehicle accident as a driver or as a passenger.

Modern transportation is a convenience that most of us cannot imagine doing without, but it comes with a burden of responsible behavior not to harm others through careless operation of a motor vehicle. And while the majority of people will adhere to that duty of care, until automation reaches the point where drivers become obsolete there will always be a few who do not take that duty as seriously as they should.

How can you prove a premises liability case?

Most people are generally aware of the duty of a property owner or occupier, such as a retail business, to maintain safe premises for others who are on the premises. The failure of such a property owner or occupier to uphold this duty is often referred to as "slip-and-fall" liability, but attorneys usually refer to the legal theory as premises liability. 

On first impression, proving a premises liability case when visiting a business may seem like a simple matter. For example, you slipped on something, you fell, and you were hurt. But in fact, proving a slip and fall case as a legal matter can be more complicated than that.

Workers compensation still has room for improvement

There is no disputing that workers in Texas are better off under the system of workers’ compensation than they were before its existence, not only from a standpoint of worker safety but also in terms of having a reliable source of partial income and medical expense coverage in case a job-related accident or illness makes them temporarily or even permanently unable to return to work.

Still, there is no such thing as a perfect system, and workers’ compensation is no exception to this rule. This is one of the conclusions that we can draw from a recent report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Adding Inequality to Injury: The Cost of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job”. The report contains a number of disturbing findings about how structural characteristics of the workers’ compensation system place undue burdens on workers while sparing the employers who are supposed to be paying much of the costs of insurance, as well as problems that workers have with navigating the claims process.

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10107 McAllister Freeway
San Antonio TX 78216

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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