GB -10- 8/9/21 Workplace accidents – gtg

Work Accident Attorney
Have You Been Injured in an Accident at Work and do you not Know What to do? The Work Accident Attorneys from our Law Office can Show You Your Legal Alternatives

Every day in Texas, dozens, if not hundreds of workers are harmed or somehow injured in job site mishaps and accidents. Should you or a family member have been injured in an on-the-job accident, you can call a skilled and experienced work accident attorney at our Law Office to discuss your legal alternatives or other courses of action to obtain your rightful compensation.

As in many other states, if you are injured in an on-the-job accident in Texas, it is likely your employer bears some, if not all of the responsibility for your harm. In many instances, however, employers will refute employee medical or other claims and offer reimbursement and compensation for your pain and suffering that is far less than fair. You will need an experienced and highly competent work accident attorney dedicated to helping your receive the justice and compensation that is your legal right for your injuries and losses. Our work-accident legal teams have been helping Texas workers for over twenty years.

Texas law allows for two types of employee injury claims. The first is called a Workers’ Compensation claim, and the other is termed a non-subscriber liability claim.

Workers’ Compensation Claims
Many employees in Texas do not realize that they are not guaranteed coverage by workers’ compensation (also called workman’s comp). Texas law allows employers to either accept or opt-out of workmans’ comp, and when the Texas governor signed the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act of 1993 into law, employer representatives were able to influence Texas lawmakers in such a way that companies that buy into the Workers’ Compensation program are significantly legally protected from lawsuits in instances of on-the-job accidents, thereby making workmans’ comp an attractive purchase for employers

On many occasions, workers’ compensation regulations are what will determine an injured worker’s benefits, and the law also ensures that employers can’t be sued by someone harmed on the job. However, workers’ comp does have a few exceptions to its otherwise strict rules.

Workmans’ comp does not necessarily protect a company if the on-the-job accident was fatal or if the company was found to be grossly negligent in providing a safe and secure working area. In either of these cases, the injured party, or if the accident was fatal, the family of the deceased, may file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Workers’ comp only covers the employer’s actions, but it does not cover the negligent actions of third parties. Should a third party be involved in your harm or injury, they too can be held liable for your pain and suffering.

In a perfect world, workmans’ compensation will pay a harmed employee’s medical expenses and a percentage of his or her lost wages while he or she is recovering from the injury in question. The problem is, this is not a perfect world, and every year numerous Texas employers attempt to deny or diminish workers’ comp claims. If you happen to be one of those employees who’ve been denied full and fair compensation for your injuries, you need the aid of a skilled and experienced work accident lawyer who can help you seek your rightful compensation. Our attorneys can help you navigate through the thick regulations of workers’ compensation law and we can also help you find who is liable for your injury or loss.

Non-subscriber Liability Claims
In Texas law, a “nonsubscriber” is a business or employer who does not subscribe to workmans’ compensation; that is, the employer does not purchase employee protection insurance through the State. If you are injured in an on-the-job accident for an employer who does not subscribe to workers’ comp, then the means for obtaining compensation for your injury or loss is much different and much more complex than filing a traditional workers’ compensation claim.

Our work accident attorneys have over twenty years of experience in winning hundreds of work injury claims–you can call us toll-free for a free consultation and to discuss your legal alternatives.

The major difference in filing a personal injury or wrongful death suit with a non-subscriber employer is that the harmed employee can file a claim for medical expenses and lost wages, and this is done by filing the claim with the employer. If the claim is denied or otherwise not resolved, the employee will then seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against his or her negligent employer. If you were harmed in an on-the-job accident or incident and your employer does not carry workmans’ compensation, then the aid of an experienced work accident lawyer is necessary, since these can be very complex legal actions.

The Texas Workers’ Compensation Act of 1993 made it advantageous for employers to sign on to workers’ comp, and there were provisions in the Act that were actually punitive to those businesses that opted to non-subscribe. The laws left nonsubscribers with only one legal defense before a judge and jury, and this defense is called the “sole proximate cause defense.”

This defense argues that an injured employee was solely and wholly responsible for the accident that harmed him or her, and owing to this, the employer is not liable for medical expenses or lost wages–employers uncompromisingly seek any way to make this defense.

It is Extremely Difficult to Deal With a Nonsubscriber
Not only will you have to contend with defending against a sole proximate cause defense, but your employer will also be protecting a high-value insurance policy and insurance carrier. Since these insurance policies are extremely valuable, they will be defended by very skilled, very experienced, and very aggressive legal defense teams whose only job is to reject or minimize your claim.

You should always remember that these legal defense attorneys earn their livelihood by winning cases against employees, and the more they are able to protect the employer and its insurance carrier’s money, the more these attorneys are paid–they have every incentive to see you lose.

Employers and their insurance carriers will attempt to coerce you into accepting a settlement that is far less than you need and rightfully should have. These employers and their insurance carriers will attempt to “befriend” to get you to believe that they actually have your best interests in mind; some of these attorneys have a reputation for trying to bully or intimidate accident victims into signing on to sub-par compensation that is worth a fraction of the harm suffered by the employee. In order to get a fair hearing at the negotiating table or in a court of law, you should have an experienced and equally aggressive work accident attorney from our Law Office on your side. We have the track record and reputation for success to take on the largest insurers in the United States.

Contract Employees
Contract employees have the most difficult time seeking compensation from their employers. Under Texas law, employers have no legal obligation to pay benefits to their contract employees, however, there is a catch regarding which most Texans are unaware. If the employer hires you as a contract worker and then requires that you perform certain functions and take on the responsibility of the company’s regular employees, the law then in effect gives you certain rights of a regular employee. And if you are harmed or injured while acting in that capacity, you are likely eligible for the same medical compensation that a regular employee would receive. Because of this fact, employers try to hide this relationship and the responsibilities they owe contract employees. Since employers do have fewer responsibilities and obligations to contract workers in other areas (tax liability, etc.,) most wrongly assume this lack of responsibility exempts employers from possible liability for on-the-job injuries. But this is not necessarily true–in many instances, employers are entirely liable to compensate contract employees for harms suffered while on the job.

In order to receive compensation as a contract worker who has been harmed or injured in an on-the-job accident, you will be required to prove you had an employer-employee relationship. In order to show that such a relationship in fact existed, you will need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

There is employer withheld social security or taxes from your paycheck
You use employer-provided equipment for your work
You put in employer designated work periods and hours for your job
You are effectively managed by your employer, and he or she inspects and oversees your work product.
You signed a statement agreeing to employment conditions such as mandatory drug testing or agreeing to the conditions of an employee manual.
You are hired for an extended and indefinite time period and not just for a single job.
You are paid an hourly wage or salary
The work accident attorneys at our Law Office have over twenty years of experience in proving that such relationships in many cases between employers and contract workers. In order to demonstrate this relationship, we will depose and interview coworkers and examine all available evidence such as employment contracts, pay stubs, and tax information.

Will OSHA Help?
No. OSHA does not have the authority to help you seek compensation for benefits after your on-the-job injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets guidelines for minimum safety standards for workplaces in the United States. Their sole purpose is to issue safety regulations for employers, inspect job sites and work areas and then fine and/or punish non-compliant employers.

OSHA’s purpose is to ensure the work safety standards are met–their job is not to aid an injured worker in seeking compensation, so an OSHA inspection is generally of very little use. OSHA has limited resources and a limited mandate, and they typically will inspect an on-the-job accident well after the incident happened and they will generally only tell the employer how to avoid a repeat event by issuing a short report.

What Should I Do?
Whatever you do, do not sign a document relieving liability or guilt for your on-the-job accident in exchange for the benefits you can rightfully receive. Once you sign a release, you give up your right to seek future compensation.

You also need to take immediate action. While you wait, evidence of your employer’s neglect is being corrupted, degraded, employee logs are thrown away or lost, witnesses lose memory, the list is endless. You need to hire a work accident attorney to help you gather the critical evidence to help you win your case.

Our Law Office attorneys have over twenty years of experience all across Texas helping workers get their rightful and just compensation for their on-the-job injuries.

If you are uncertain regarding the benefits and compensation you are entitled to, our work injury lawyers have the necessary skill, knowledge aggressiveness, and experience to help injured workers handle their claim and received their rightful and just compensation. Call us toll-free for a free consultation and to discuss your legal alternatives.

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Work Injury Lawyer on Work-Related Injuries in Texas

All across the state of Texas, work-related injuries are an unfortunate commonplace occurrence, with effects that reach out to touch hundreds, even thousands of people every year: families, friends, and co-workers.

A work-related accident can happen anywhere, anytime, on the road or in the office, or on the site of construction. All sorts of work-related activities can play a part in an injury while on the job, sometimes without even seeming to be dangerous. The average, everyday activity that an employee undertakes without considering the potential for danger can turn in an instant into a situation where lives are changed forever when the accident happens. If you or a family member has been injured or even killed as a result of an accident while on the job, don’t hesitate to call our Law Office for a free consultation on your legal options.

The law in Texas will provide for legal action against employers who might have had some liability for the work-related accident and the resulting injuries you might have sustained. It is not always easy, as we will show, to prove that liability and to see the full amount of fair compensation for an injury that could potentially permanently affect you. The injured party actually has the burden of proof to show that the employer was somehow responsible and to show that negligence was involved. Work-related injury cases are extremely complex, as we will show, and require the assistance of an experienced and capable attorney who knows what needs to be done to get you the compensation you deserve. After twenty years of experience in work-related injury cases, our work-related accident attorneys know all the ins and outs of work injury litigation and provide this article by way of information for those who might have suffered an injury while on the job. Below we will discuss some common types of work injury cases as well as some possible obstacles that the victim might face when trying to seek out justice for an injury they suffered while working. If at any point you have any questions or need to seek clarification on some point, don’t hesitate to call our office (toll-free) for a free consultation. If you are the victim of a work-related injury, call us today to help you protect your rights to full and fair compensation.

The Two Types of Work Accident Cases
Cases where an injury has occurred while at work can be one of two different types, depending on the type of insurance policy and coverage that the employer of the victim has purchased. The first type is a policy held through the Texas Workers’ Compensation Board and is generally referred to as workers’ comp insurance. The second type is general liability or a supplemental injury policy of one type of the other, bought through a private party by the employer. In the state of Texas, unlike in many other states, purchasing a policy through the Workers’ Comp Board is not a mandatory action; therefore your employer chooses what type of insurance coverage they will buy.

Workers’ Comp
When an employer purchases an insurance policy through the work comp system, they are subscribing to a much broader service than just a simple insurance company’s protection. They are making themselves a part of a complex system that will engage to protect them and their assets from any workers who are injured while on the job. The benefit of Workers’ Comp is that it comes with a wall of legal protection from any employee who decides to sue the company. Through Workers’ Comp, the employer gains strong protection from any lawsuits. In most cases, this system that protects the employer will prevent any lawsuits following a work-related accident because the insurance company that provides the work comp policy should be the one to compensate the injured victim of a work-related accident for their hospital bills and a portion of the wages they might have lost as a result of the accident. This is all a best-case scenario, however, as in reality it does not work this way every time. Remember, the insurance company through whom the employer has purchased a workers comp policy is still a for-profit business that is looking to increase earnings and decrease expenditures, a major one being the expense of paying an injured employee the compensation they deserve for their injury resulting from an accident while at work. The insurance company will make an effort to avoid payment or low-ball the victim, just like any insurance company and the result is that every year there are thousands of injured employees who are victims of on-the-job accidents who go in need because their workers’ compensation is either non-existent or far too low to cover all of their important needs. Even though in theory workers’ comp is an important tool for the worker to have in order to protect them from employers, the employer often uses it as a way to prevent injured employees from receiving the full benefits they deserve by manipulating the system and by setting out so much red tape that the employee can’t get their deserved restitution.

There are two major exceptions to the work comp system that can be applied in the event that they occurred. If the work-related accident or the resulting injury turns out to be fatal to one of your family members or your spouse, and it can be shown in court to have been the result of gross negligence on the part of the employer, the work accident suit can likely be taken to court a wrongful death lawsuit.

The second exception to the work comp system that can be applied is when the employer is not the only responsible party involved in the work-related accident and resulting injury. In many cases, some contractor, fellow employee or other third party might bear some liability in the work-related accident. An experienced and competent work injury attorney can be vital to helping you find full and fair compensation and can often be the difference between success and failure in proving issues like third-party liability and negligence. When you retain the services of our Law Office, we will immediately set up an investigation into the accident and help you in determining all of the possibly liable parties who might or might bear responsibility in the accident and can be named in a suit in order to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Non-Subscribers
If you have been in an accident while at work and your business doesn’t subscribe to any kind of work comp (we generally refer to employers who choose to do this as nonsubscriber), the whole process for making the claim in order to receive compensation for bills, lost wages, additional expenses, and any possible property damage as well as potentially emotional trauma, the whole process is very different from the work comp claims.

The major difference between the two types of claims is that in the event that you are injured while at work and your employer is a nonsubscriber, you are eligible to begin the process for filing a conventional personal injury claim and a lawsuit, unlike the work comp claim where the whole apparatus of work comp prevents any lawsuits. If this is the situation, your case will be managed and ruled under the operations of trial law and won’t have the resulting red tape and bureaucracy of a work comp case.

However, even though the nonsubscriber cases are not hampered with the pro-employer apparatus found with the work comp claim cases, and even though the worker has more legal rights when it comes to lawsuits, the nonsubscriber case is by no means easy to litigate and really do require the services of an experienced and competent work-related accident lawyer. In the event of a nonsubscriber case, the claim is often not sufficient to convince the employer to agree to fair compensation and must often result in an accompanying lawsuit as well. In the event of a lawsuit, the injured worker has the obligation and the burden of proving that the work-related accident was in fact caused in major part by the negligence of the employer and that the result is a serious loss of income, loss of assets, steep medical bills, loss of future earning potential, pain and suffering, as well as other serious losses that the victim of the accident suffered.

On the positive side of the coin, another feature of Texas law where nonsubscriber cases of work-related injury are concerned is that there exists a low standard of the negligent behavior that the victim must prove in court, which somewhat alleviates the burden of the victim when it comes to showing that their injury is the result of an accident suffered while at work due to the negligent behavior of their employer.

Common Obstacle in Nonsubscriber Work-Related Injury Cases
The primary obstacle in a situation where an employer is a nonsubscriber to work comp insurance is that he or she is required to use just one defense when the claim goes to court. The only defense is called Sole Proximate Cause. In 1993, when the Texas state legislature passed what we call the Texas Workers’ Comp Act, they engineered a system that often gives employers a free pass when it comes to the lawsuit and it the subsequent result is that it is extremely beneficial to employers to buy work comp coverage. Why, then, would a business choose to be a nonsubscriber when the subscription gives them a ticket out of a legal suit when it comes to an injury while on the job? One simple reason is money. The costs of regularly buying the work comp policy added to the headache of the government bureaucracy involved are enough to drive many employers to purchase independent insurance policies. However, the legal system punishes businesses that choose not to subscribe by making their defense harder to uphold in court. The Sole Proximate Cause defense is really the only allowed defense for nonsubscriber employers.

Sole Proximate Cause
Sole Proximate Cause is essentially a strategy of legal defense that assumes at its heart that the injured employee is one hundred percent at fault for the accident in which they were injured while on the job. Since it is really the only available defense for nonsubscriber employers, they use it pretty much every time which means that every trial involving a nonsubscriber employer will come down to a veritable witch hunt trying to show how every aspect of the original accident was somehow the fault of the injured employee plaintiff.

The nonsubscriber work-related injury cases are difficult and challenging because the plaintiff is working with a business that has a potentially particularly high insurance policy with a private business. The stakes are much higher and therefore the insurance company will fight much harder to defend their policy. This kind of insurance policy, it must be remembered, is not like a simple auto insurance policy where some agent of the company will come by and help you fill out a claim. This is a big business high stakes insurance claim that will be defended against you by a whole team of highly experienced and aggressive professional adjusters whose sole goal is to either reduce the total value of your compensation or deny it altogether.

Additionally, these types of cases will be defended in court by another team of highly experienced professionals, this time the defense lawyers, who will also be extremely aggressive in discrediting whatever you have to say and trying to show in court how the fault and ultimately the sole proximate cause of the accident lies with you rather than with the employer.

The business and the insurance company from whom the employer has purchased the policy will fight as hard as they can to prevent the payout and in fact both businesses and insurance companies, in general, are notorious in these types of situations for using aggressive strong-arm tactics to force the victim of the on-the-job accident to accept a settlement far below what they should by rights receive. The business and the insurance company, as we have already noted, have at their command a whole team of hardened professionals whose sole goal is to prevent your claim from succeeding. The employers and their insurance companies might tell you that they are going to be your friend and help and care for your in this time, but they are not interested in what is good for you. They are businesses and in business there is a bottom line that you are not a part of. They are thinking and acting on the assumption that the important element is profit. A huge work injury claim payout is not profit.

An additional obstacle faced by plaintiffs in work injury claims where the employer is a nonsubscriber is that the plaintiff must show that an employer/employee relationship existed between the two. This sounds simple and in many cases it is, but there are situations where the employer will make a great deal of effort to hide the real nature of the relationship between the injured employee and the business. A number of businesses will hire their employees under the title of “contractor” even when the nature of the work is not contract-type labor at all, in an effort to avoid having the employee listed as an official employee. If an employee is just contract labor, the employer will have to pay far less or not at all when it comes to an on-the-job injury, since the liability won’t be the same under the law. Having businesses deny the relationship between employee/employer is a commonplace occurrence in nonsubscriber cases and can often mean the difference between a successful claim and an unsuccessful claim.

Employee or Contractor?
As we stated above, an unfortunately typical tactic used by employers is to deny that the injured employee was, in fact, a regular working employee, stating instead that they were a contractor. They will go to the family of the victim and state that since the injured employee wasn’t really an employee, the employer is not liable and therefore there will be no compensation. It is not accidental on the part of the employer to hire employees under the umbrella of contract labor in order to avoid liability. When you are performing the duties of an employee, even if you are being called a contractor, you do not automatically have all of your rights to compensation should you be injured while on the job.

The injured victim has the burden of proof and must show that somehow an employer/employee relationship did exist or risk having the entire case thrown out of court. Our work-related accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge of all the different and efficient strategies for showing in court that the victim of a work-related injury was, in fact, a real employee and therefore has eligibility for just and fair compensation for the injuries sustained while working.

If you meet one or more of the following different factors, you might still be a real employee despite the fact that your employer calls you a contractor.

Does the business withhold any social security, taxes, or any other withholding from your paycheck?
Does the business provide you with any of the tools that are necessary to complete your job?
Does the business design and oversee your work schedule for your job?
Does the business supervise, oversee, manage, or inspect any aspects of your work or job during a given period of work?
Does the business have you sign documents or contracts that create limits to your rights on the job (example being drug testing or employment conditions)?
Does the business employ you as a worker for an unspecified period of time rather than just for a single job or task?
Does the business compensate you with an hourly wage or a salary rather than a lump sum in payment for a single job?

The Work Injury Attorneys at our Law Office will organize and conduct a full investigation to determine your employee status, including interviews, depositions, gathering physical evidence, and more in order to fully establish the relationship between you and the business that employs you.

Can OSHA Help?
OSHA, or the federal agency called the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, has general and minimum standards for safety that apply to all employers in the country. There does exist a whole apparatus for determining what is appropriate safety-wise, and those employers who do not follow the guidelines for safety set down by OSHA are fined. However, the safety regulations and the administration are a large and even outdated bureaucratic system that is just as efficient as most outdated administrative and enforcement agencies like it. It is understaffed and under-funded and the investigative teams will often not visit a worksite until after an accident has been reported, by which time it is too late.

At that point, OSHA will produce a general safety report on the site and on the accident and will take preventative actions and fine the business several thousand dollars accordingly in order to make sure nothing like this happens again, but they are not generally interested in your case or the compensation due to you. They have a job to do and they aren’t going to assist you in getting your just compensation because that is not really their job, as they see it. They enforce guidelines and standards. That is it. What this means ultimately for you is that OSHA is not going to help you get the compensation you deserve.

The only help you can count on in order to be compensated will come from an experienced and capable work injury lawyer who has your best interests at heart.

What Do I Do?
The best first guideline for the victim of an injury sustained while on the job is to never sign any document that releases the employer of any aspect of liability. They will probably give you some document that promises some small benefit in exchange for that release of liability and it would not be a good idea to sign it.

You should also make an effort to preserve any evidence that you still have from the accident in order to keep it safe and unspoiled. Should you wait for a long time to retain the services of a work injury lawyer, most of the evidence will probably be gone or compromised in some way and you won’t have what you need to win your case.

If you have been injured in a work-related accident in the state of Texas, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced and competent work injury attorney. Here at our Law Office, our work injury lawyers have twenty years of valuable experience in work injury and understand the process for making sure that our clients get the best possible representation in order for them to receive the just and fair compensation they deserve following an accident while on the job.

Our work-related accident attorneys can tell you the benefits you should expect and give you good advice on how to preserve evidence and what the next steps are if you have been injured while on the job. Here at our Law Office, we have twenty years of experience and the knowledge that goes with it to help clients like you, so if you have been injured in a work-related accident, don’t hesitate to call us today (toll-free) for your free consultation.

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Non-Subscribers Vs. Workers Comp Subscribers
Texas Attorney Explains Non-Subscriber Cases VS Workers’ Comp Subscriber Cases

When you have been injured on the job, you need help from a lawyer with workplace accident experience, so you might be able to claim the proper compensation to which you are likely entitled. Accidents at work tend to make some of the most complicated cases we see in court.

The exact way in which these issues are dealt with varies depending on a number of factors. Perhaps the biggest question is whether the employer is a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. When the employer is a subscriber, then it may be that you as an employee can not sue your employer, although there could be other remedies available to you. There may also have been mitigating factors that severed the employee-employer relationship regardless of their subscriber status.

If you’ve been injured while at work, the first thing you should do is seek proper medical attention. This is your health at stake and may affect your recovery. Go see a medical professional. It is important for both your life and your lawsuit or claim. Do not worry too much about the cost. If you’re uninsured or underinsured, your medical treatment and examination may be covered by the compensation you can seek. In some cases, we are able to help you locate medical attention with the large network of medical professionals we’ve developed. They can take your financial and personal circumstances into consideration. Also, we might be able to help you see a medical doctor at no cost upfront to you. What’s more, we are able to show you how the time you take off from work to get proper medical care may be covered by the defendant or workers’ comp. Once your treatment is covered, we turn our eye to your employer and other parties that may be at fault.

If the company you work for has workers’ compensation coverage – and we’ll talk much more about that further down – you will need to notify your employer immediately after the incident. Legally, you have 30 days to notify them, but many companies will try to deny benefits for an injured worker so you are best protected by reporting your medical visit as soon as possible. Furthermore, you will need to fill out a form TWCC­41, and you will need to submit it to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission within 12 months of the date of the injury accident or you could lose your benefits. You must also be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by the doctor – who has to be in your employer’s plan – and you must answer all written requests and fill out all necessary paperwork or you may lose your benefits.

What Makes Texas Work Injury Cases So Complex
Although workers’ comp often interferes with an injured party’s ability to get compensation, it’s not always as clear as it might seem to receive proper or fair compensation. An experienced attorney can find ways around the limits that may appear in your way. For instance, we have found that many companies will say they have workers comp insurance against accidents, when in fact they do not subscribe to it. In other cases we have handled, we discovered that, even if the employer is a subscriber, we could bring an action against liable third parties involved in the Texas workplace injury accident. Clearly, seeking legal action can be complex and may involve sifting through a large number of conflicting demands. To ensure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled, you need the help of an attorney with experience in on-the-job accident litigation. The Texas workplace injury attorneys from our Law Office can be there to help protect your rights.

What is the State’s Workers’ Compensation and How Is It Limiting?
Legally, workers’ compensation in the Lone Star state is a kind of insurance, but it’s definitely not what you think of when you think of a normal insurance plan. In our state, our workers’ compensation program is part of a statewide reform of the tort rules that were designed mainly to protect employers against lawsuits filed by their workers who get injured on the job. Tort reform in Texas arose from heavy corporate lobbying. The workers’ compensation fund in Texas is run by the state government, but the actual insurance is provided by private insurers. In Texas, employers may choose not to buy into the program; they are called non-subscribers. The issue of non-subscriber vs workers’ comp must be properly addressed as soon as possible following a work injury accident since the legal routes available to an injured worker are so drastically different depending on the answer to that question.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides a relatively limited amount of benefits to injured employees. If your employer is a subscriber to Texas workers’ comp insurance and you suffer an injury while at work, then you must accept the compensation the state sets, no matter who is at fault. However, such compensation is often limited and usually does not cover the entire cost of an injury in the workplace. Also, you cannot file a lawsuit against the liable company operating in Texas – whether you work in an office, a store, or on a construction site. But there may be ways around this: an experienced lawyer can help you find other responsible persons that can be sued. For example, if you are injured in a warehouse where you work, and your employer has workers’ comp, you can file a complaint against your employer. However, many warehouse accidents are the result of several parties, so you may be able to sue those other parties.

Another avenue of redressing your grievances may be that your employer was not solely responsible for your injury. You can then file a lawsuit against other parties who are responsible for your injury. For many workplace accidents, there is often more than one party, person, or entity to blame.

Texas work injury law firm
Multiple parties can be sued for the exact same injury. So, even though the work injury law in Texas says that you cannot sue your employer, you may be able to sue others who are responsible. Let’s say that a piece of equipment has fallen and it breaks your legs. While an employer may be liable for failing to keep the workplace safe, your employer may be a subscriber company, thus immune to a lawsuit. Even if the collapse was caused in part by negligence on the company’s part, the employer can’t be sued. However, it might be that a contractor installing the equipment – be it a filing cabinet, scaffolding, a cubicle, or a store display – contributed to the collapse due to sloppy or incompetent installation. This contractor could likewise be liable for the on-the-job injury. Maybe the materials used to secure the item when it was installed were defective. If this is the case, the manufacturer of those materials may also be sued.

Suppose that you have been hurt by the collapse of the shelf at the Costco where you work. The company that built the carrier is probably responsible. If you are injured due to a faulty shelf, you may be able to make a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the shelf. In principle, although you can’t go after your employer, you may have options for compensation. Let the Texas accident lawyers help locate and bring to justice all offenders as possible.

Your employer can say they subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance when in fact they do not. Some employers might even try to pay you all the benefits you’d get under worker’s comp to promote this lie. Our lawyers can investigate your employer to determine if they really are a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. When a liable employer is a non-subscriber, we can help you file a Texas personal injury lawsuit.

The Workers’ Comp Process Is Complex
It is never easy or simple when navigating the workers’ comp insurance process in dealing with your on-the-job job injury. Companies will very often contest your claims, as will their insurer. Insurance companies are usually more interested in helping themselves than helping you because you are not the one paying their premiums. You are a liability in their financial ledger. The less that is paid to you, the more they still have.

Additionally, the burden of proof is on you. There exists a special workers’ compensation court established to hear some workers comp cases, and you have to prove your case. It’s often a complex, bureaucratic process fraught with many hazards. Your damages can be reduced by the court. The Texas work accident attorneys at our Law Office have been winning workers’ compensation cases against insurance companies for the past twenty years, and that’s why we feel it’s critical for injured parties to have representation that’s experienced and working in your interests.

How Are Benefits Limited By Workers’ Comp?
If you are hurt at work and the employer has workers’ comp accident insurance, you usually get up to 70% of your income loss, but this compensation is limited to $600 per week at the most. For example, say you are an accountant who makes $70,000 a year. If you are injured on the job and the accident was caused by the employer, you get that $600 a week for the loss of income while you are healing. But, if you have a long-term disability and the doctor says you can never go back to work, you only get $600 a week for life, even if you used to take home $1,400 per week. You can also get a lump sum at the end of your recovery, but such payments are usually very minimal.

In addition, claims against workers’ comp do not take into account the future earning potential. Let’s say you work in a Texas Walmart while attending law school and you are seriously injured in an accident on the loading dock. It’s so bad, in fact, that you are unable to work or continue on in school. You will get only 70 percent of your salary from Walmart for the rest of your life. Your compensation is based on the life of your salary from Walmart and not the much higher average earnings you would have likely earned if you finished law school.

If the company where you work is supposed to be a subscriber, you will want to know for sure so you can seek proper legal action to pursue fair compensation. Alternatively, if one or more third parties are partly responsible for your accident, you should be able to go after them and take them to court. Our Texas on-the-job work accident attorneys can help build a solid case to get you the proper compensation.

Under workers’ comp, you are entitled to complete reimbursement for all your medical costs, such as the costs of medical treatment, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and all the other medical supplies you need to recover from your injury. Continuing treatment and medicines are also potentially reimbursable. If you incur travel expenses in seeking medical treatment or therapy, or for your supplies and prescriptions, those may likewise be reimbursed. Workers’ compensation does not, however, include coverage or reimbursement for any pain, suffering, or similar general damages, except for that of lost income and medical expenses.

The single, most important exception to the rule that a plaintiff may not sue a subscribed employer is that you can sue a subscribed employer if you are the family member of an employee who died in a fatal work accident, provided that the employer’s gross negligence was the cause of that accident. If your case meets these two criteria, you can file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit in regular court.

What if My Employer Is Not a Subscriber?
If the employer is not enrolled in Texas workers’ comp, you can bring a regular personal injury suit and claim damages for various injuries, such as:

Loss of income for the length of time in the hospital or out of work.
Any loss of earning capacity and long-term disability.
Your medical expenses.
Property damage incurred.
The physical pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
If your employer is a non-subscriber to workers’ compensation, they have only one legal defense known as sole proximate cause. This defense works to prove that you were solely responsible for your accident. Employers generally work towards building an argument against you that you’re the only person at fault. For example, if you have injuries in the workplace that resulted from you lifting something too heavy, your employer may argue that because you worked alone, the injury was your fault alone. Our lawyers are often able to prove the link between your innocent actions and any injuries by showing that your employer failed to provide the right safety equipment and training needed for someone to know how to lift and carry safely the heavy load. We also note that other forms of may have been exhibited by other parties also involved in the workplace injury accident in Texas.

Connecting the incident to the employer in this way is often done by doing the hard legal work that’s often challenging for less experienced attorneys. This legal responsibility is not something that a less experienced attorney would likely understand as well as our lawyers. You need a lawyer who knows how to handle work-related accidents. We know how to prove to the jury that the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the employer, not you. We are dedicated to helping you seek compensation regardless of the non-subscriber vs workers’ comp status of your employer.

Contracting vs. Employment – It Matters
Many companies mistakenly believe that instead of hiring employees, they can hire contractors in order to shy away from liability for accidents. This belief is because of the fact that Texas law expressly states that employees are generally entitled to protection from accidents, but not contractors. On the other hand, Texas law does not provide clear guidelines to determine the status of a person, whether an employee or a contractor. This means that your lawyer should review previous decisions to discuss whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. This is called case law and the state is very clear on this point: when it comes to civil liability, the actual work with the employer is what matters most.

Many factors can create an employment relationship. The most direct is a contract where you are employed. Another simple example is that if an employee serves, in particular, the activity of the employer. For example, a person who is working in a Gap, wearing a Gap name tag, and is serving customers in a Gap, then the person is a Gap employee, despite the absence of an agreement saying so.

In most cases, the determination between a contractor and an employee is not so simple. In these situations, we have listed a number of conditions to determine your relationship with your current employer:

The worker works for a lot of clients: If a plumber is working on various projects for several clients, he is a plumbing contractor. If he works on many buildings for one client, he is an employee.
The worker must use their own tools: If the employee is responsible for their own tools and equipment, a worker is a contractor. If the employer has the tools and equipment with which the employee works, he’s an employee.
The worker is paid at the end of a project: If the worker is paid at the end of the project, the worker is a contractor. If the employee pays the wages per hour or per year, the worker is an employee.
The worker has his work managed at various stages of completion: If the employer must take account of a project at different stages of completion, the worker is an employee. If the employer takes into account solely the finished product, the worker is a contractor.
When the worker gets to decide how long to spend on each project: If the employee cannot determine the time it takes for a particular project, the worker is not a contractor.
When you take a worker from another agency, the rules for determining the relationship may be similar, but there are fundamental differences. The conditions are:

Worker’s employer has the right to hire or fire: If the employer who borrows can fire an employee at any time, the worker is an employee.
The employer has the right to choose a particular employee whose employer: If this is the case, it’s an employee relationship.
When the borrowed employee is responsible for supplying their own tools, the worker is a contractor. If the employer provides tools for the job, the worker is employed.
The borrower cannot replace an employee with another employee at any time: If this is the case, the worker is a contractor.
When the employer borrows the worker for some unspecified time: If an employee has borrowed the worker for the length of the project only, the project worker is a contractor.
The worker is taken because of a specific skill: If a computer repair company borrows an expert on fiber optics, the worker is a contractor. However, if an employer has the employee fill a position that anyone can fill, then the worker is an employee.
Where the employer is liable for the income tax and social security: If the borrower pays for services and income so that the worker is employed. If the employer does not have this responsibility, while the worker is a contractor.

The Texas Work Accident Law Firm of our Law Office is Ready to Help You Seek Compensation

Our lawyers can help you find just compensation if you are injured at work. If the employer has state workers’ comp insurance – or when the employer does not – we can help you obtain compensation.

We can also help you identify third parties who may be liable and therefore financially responsible. Even when these third parties are liable only on the basis of unclear legal theories, we can help. If the employer does not have accident insurance, we can help build a strong and complete case against non-subscribers, and we can fight against defense lawyers, who will work to shed liability. We also thoroughly investigate your employer to determine whether or not they are a non-subscriber vs workers’ comp employer. Before talking to the insurance company, accepting a commitment fee from the company, or trying to sue on your own, contact our Texas work injury attorneys to learn more about your legal options and the possible value of your case or claim.

Our Texas workplace accident law firm is often able to obtain compensation for injured workers that less experienced lawyers have refused to help. We recently dealt with a case in which a worker was injured at work, and he had signed a contract saying he was only a contractor working there. More than half a dozen different law firms said that it was not a good case. Our Law Office, however, established a working relationship and eventually won a seven-figure settlement.

Our Texas on-the-job accident lawyers bring to the table decades of experience. We have successfully handled hundreds of occupational injury cases in Texas and throughout the country. We have gone against nearly all major insurers. Defense attorneys know and respect our name. They know that we care about our clients’ rights and will fight relentlessly to protect their interests. They are often afraid to take our lawyers to court. We may be able to obtain just compensation without the need to use the courtroom, but we are willing and ready to fight aggressively for your court when necessary. We do everything we can to ensure that you have fair compensation for your injuries. To learn more about your possible legal options following a work accident injury in Texas, call us for a legal consultation at no cost to you.

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Drilling Accident Lawyer
You Deserve Full Compensation for Your Drilling Rig and Pipeline On the Job Injuries

Whether drilling for oil or natural gas in Texas, there aren’t many more jobs more dangerous than working on a drilling rig or petroleum pipeline system. And because the price of gasoline, natural gas is quite profitable, the industry is working day and night to meet the even greater demand world to quench the industrialized world’s seemingly endless thirst for these petroleum products.

Due to this demand, and the technological advances of the past 20 years, oilfields again, along with new natural gas fields are beehives of activity.

But the downside of the renewal of the region’s petroleum affluence is an alarming increase of serious drilling and pipeline accident injuries. It’s sad enough that many of them are preventable, but someone’s negligence, even if it was momentary. A lot of them are the product of cutting production corners, or the use of old equipment that might not be as reliable as it once was. Another factor is the workers themselves. For days on end, they are being pushed beyond their physical limits by being “encouraged” to work many hours of overtime and double shifts. Granted, they’re making pretty good money, so long as they can work. But the sad shortcoming that is characterized by speed, corporate greed, and often questionable judgment makes it a small wonder that so many tragic injuries often result from drillers rushing to meet heightened market demands and disregarding the consequences that lead to this dreadful spike in oil production and pipeline accidents.

If you’ve suffered an injury in a drilling rig or pipeline accident, or if a loved one of yours has been killed in this tragic work environment, what do you do? How will your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or disability (short-term or permanent) be paid? And if a death is involved, who pays for the funeral and your surviving family’s devastating loss? Who will protect your rights when you or a family member is hurt just because he was following orders on the rig or pipeline that delivers unbelievably huge profits for the employer, at the expense of the unfortunate workers? An experienced drilling accident lawyer is your best option in order to receive fair and just compensation for all the damages arising from the on-the-job accident you’ve suffered on a drilling rig or pipeline.

Since workers’ compensation governs nearly all of Texas injury law, you must first know whether or not your petro-employer has this insurance. In either state, it will cover some reimbursement for many of your medical expenses, a little more than half of your lost wages, and a modest amount for your pain and suffering. Also, did any third parties past the workers’ comp subscribing employer or the company that manages the project, contribute to your injuries? If there are, they too can be a source of liability-generated compensation for your damages. Basically, the ability to obtain fair compensation is predicated on the ability of your oilfield accident attorney to clarify the events of the mishap, determine what caused it, and effectively identify every liable party who is responsible for your injury and owes you legal damages.

Getting to the bottom of oilfield worker liability cases is seldom easy, even under the most favorable of investigative circumstances. Each case usually has a lot of subjective elements and strategies arising from them which make every injury unique. Some of them include the involved parties, how they are insured, and the legal recourse necessary to bring each liable defendant in your case to justice. And while we’re at it, remember that the behemoth petroleum-industrial complex is operating in a seller’s market because everyone wants what they have. This not only creates record profits for them but also gives them too much influence when they are called to account to pay for their negligence that produces accidents. They’ll wield that power to deny your claim and fight your civil lawsuit to protect their almost usury profits. Without an experienced drilling accident attorney to represent them, injured oil and gas drilling and pipeline workers such as yourself are little more than a minor irritant, one they can make go away with hardly any trouble.

Our drilling and pipeline accident attorneys have a track record of resolving injury claims and civil cases on behalf of injured oilfield workers in Texas. This body of success dates back over 20 years. So you can be confident that you are retaining an experienced firm that is capable of winning the largest reasonable drilling rig or petroleum pipeline work-injury settlement for your accident case. But without such experienced legal counsel, it’s not very likely you or your family can accomplish this very important goal in the wake of your petroleum job accident.

Determining Your Employer’s Liability and Culpability for Your Injuries is the First Step
Many of the current rash of petroleum drilling and pipeline accidents can be caused by worn or defective rigging and machinery, or negligence that leads to explosions. Falling heavy objects, slip and falls, and a cornucopia of other hazards are very common. And we already mentioned that petroleum production workers are being pushed to their physical and mental limits every day. A lot of workers choose to take drugs to keep up the grueling work pace. Many drilling contractors turn their backs to this illegal practice, claiming to know nothing about it, though some of them silently encourage such unlawful behavior, which is typified by a lot of them not even testing their employees. Production is more important to them than safety.

Because of this employer’s “blind eye,” numerous petro-production mishaps occur such as broken bones, head and crush injuries, falls from derricks, and even deaths (at an alarming frequency). One reason for this callous behavior by petroleum production employers is because workers’ comp insurance provides them a “no-fault” coverage umbrella. This means drilling contractors and rig owners have a liability buffer that doesn’t significantly penalize them if they don’t provide a safe workplace. And those who subscribe to workers’ comp are rarely if ever, sued by their injured employees because workers’ comp generally shields them from injury lawsuits, though there are a few exceptions. So if they don’t have to pay for the injury out of their own pocket, they view an employee who is hurt in a job-related accident as little more than the cost of doing business as a driller.

Texas oil and gas drilling companies are not required to purchase workers’ comp. So when you are injured on the drilling rig or pipeline you must quickly learn if your employer carries workers’ comp or not. Employers who have worker’s comp are “subscribers.” Those who don’t are “non-subscribers.” How you seek compensation for your injury is determined by the answer to this first, very important, question. And the answer determines which one of a number of unique compensation methods and strategies is used to win your case.

The funding pool that pays workers’ comp claims for companies that subscribe to the programs comes from participating private insurance carriers. Subscribing companies are also protected from all but a few civil lawsuits. Texas workers’ comp does deliver a certain amount of financial relief to employees who are injured on the job site, mostly for your medical bills and short-term income loss. They also pay a modest amount of money for disability, but certainly not all that is needed. This “no-fault” insurance covers drilling and pipeline workers, no matter how the accident occurred or who was at fault. But as you may already suspect, this quick and easy coverage comes with some serious financial risks for claimant workers. The limited amount of money received for the injury doesn’t always cover the total value of your actual damages, especially if the injury is severe, requires long-term care, or causes permanent disability.

Worker’s rights of access to fair reimbursement are highly dubious. This “donut hole” of substandard coverage in workers comp benefits for major injuries and disability (and lost wages) just don’t match up with fair-market compensation levels. This is because workers’ comp benefits the employer, not the employee. They benefit the insurance companies, not the workforce in general. And you can thank the legislatures in Austin (and the insurance lobby) for this “tort reform” legislation.

There is one exception where an employee can bring a lawsuit against their workers’ comp subscriber employer. This is when that employer commits gross (or willful) negligence that causes a fatal accident on a drilling rig or pipeline. But being able to build an airtight case that proves gross negligence is problematic at best without an experienced drilling accident lawyer to handle what is always a very complicated case.

Since only about half of Texas employers (and petroleum production companies) subscribe to workers’ comp, which leaves another very large group of employers who do not participate. And we find it curious that many Texas drilling contractors, their subcontractors, and pipeline transport companies are willing to risk being a workers’ comp non-subscriber, which subjects them to a possible civil action for a petroleum production or drilling injury. Who can say?

Be that as it may, eventually, the odds catch up with non-subscribers and someone gets hurt. Then, because they aren’t protected, the injured worker can sue them for civil damages, without benefit caps. Some of the things non-subscribers attempt in order to avoid a work injury lawsuit is sinister indeed. Many employers try to sweep their non-subscriber status under the rug by claiming to have workers’ comp when they really don’t. They want to quickly close the matter by offering to pay the benefits injured workers normally receive from workers’ comp by asking them to sign what appears to be a workers’ comp release that accompanies what appears to be a nice check. You’d be surprised how many drilling and pipeline employers resort to this and how many of the frauds our experienced petroleum accident attorneys expose.

But for an injured drilling or pipeline accident injury sufferer to win compensation from a non-subscriber, the only course of action is a civil lawsuit. An experienced petroleum accident attorney can easily determine the true nature of your company’s workers’ comp status and quickly take the best legal option available to you.

The Best Legal Results Combine Thorough Investigations and Carefully Crafted Strategies
Now that we know whether or not your employer is a workers’ comp subscriber (or not), the next steps involve developing a specific strategy to get your deserved compensation from those liable for your drilling rig or pipeline-related injury. There are several options, and combinations, from which to choose. You’re already aware of the exception that allows you to sue a workers’ comp-covered employer for gross negligence. So if your loved one was killed on the rig or at a pipeline and our investigation proves your employer’s gross (or willful) negligence, then you should definitely file a civil wrongful death lawsuit. But in Texas, there is a side issue that comes into play when it comes to wrongful death, and it’s an advantage to your case.

Texas workers’ comp’s no-fault insurance carries much lower standards of proving negligence when calculating the value of a claim. This is especially true if the accident causes a worker’s death. Those same lower standards of proof apply in civil cases surrounding gross negligence in death-related lawsuits, including non-subscriber cases as well, so don’t forget that. So if a family member has died due to anyone’s gross negligence on a Texas drilling rig or pipeline, proving it in civil court is easier.

We have also mentioned that injured workers who are employed by non-subscribers can be directly sued. But in this case, a more practical and supplemental approach to either a workers’ comp claim or civil suit, regardless of whether the employer is a subscriber or not, involves third-party claims and lawsuits against those whose negligence helped cause the drilling or pipeline worker injury. Faulty or improperly restored equipment that breaks and causes an injury, even if expired warranties exist, might expose the manufacturer (or workshop that rebuilt it) to a defective product lawsuit. The owner might not have cared for or serviced his equipment properly, or it was old and not reconditioned at all before being put back in service, or the owner of the rig (or the drilling contractor) did not create a safe workplace, either through oversight or willfully.

These are a few of the many instances of employer (and third party) negligence for which defendants can be held legally accountable for your damages that include the injury itself, medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and disability. And we often find that employees of contractors or subcontractors, or other vendors the owner might have allowed on the job site might have caused the accident. Is it possible that even the corporation that owns the rig or the owner of the lease if he or she is a legal “working partner,” shares some of the blame? Many of these scenarios fall under the purview of the personal injury law called respondeat superior. It states that employers of those found to be liable for an accident, even if they don’t have a direct hand in the mishap, are ultimately responsible for the actions or inactions of their employees.

So, once the above facts of liability in the case are known, your drilling accident attorney generally has two basic options to choose from in order to develop your winning legal strategy:

You can sue your workers’ comp non-subscriber employer and all identified third parties for damages
If your employer is a workers’ comp subscriber, you will file your normal claim and augment its coverage benefit cap with targeted civil suits against all third parties your attorney’s investigation has identified who should pay supplemental damages in addition to that claim. Often, a workers’ comp claim and third-party lawsuits combine to produce fair liability compensation.
But your lawyer knows how to look before he leaps down either of those prospective strategies, so it doesn’t happen immediately. Because he has to learn, without a shadow of a doubt, who did what, when, and whose negligence caused your injuries. His ability to properly (and immediately) investigate the accident scene and the roles everyone played in your drilling rig or pipeline accident is critical. He also must research the financial assets of all liable defendants too. A lawsuit is a waste of time if the guilty defendant doesn’t have the money to pay damages. These are all good reasons why it’s best to hire an experienced oilfield accident attorney to safely navigate you through this intricate case, and the investigation that produces the evidence which leads to your best legal strategy.

Civil Injury Lawsuits Can Take Many Curious Twists and Turns
Once the investigation of all liable parties and their solvency is done, it’s time to begin your quest for compensation. Your attorney usually kicks it off by filing any and all appropriate legal claims with each non-subscribing employer, or third-party defendant on your behalf. They allege that defendant(s) negligence led to an injury that harmed you and are owed damages. It will include a damage amount expected of each defendant. If any defendants are self-insured or not insured, we’ll go over that shortly.

Defendants with insurance underwriters will immediately dispute your allegations without consideration because that’s what insurance companies do. But some might submit a very low counter offer just to find out how serious you are, or in the hope that you’ll take this small amount of money and go away. You and your drilling accident lawyer have entered the “negotiation phase” of your case. It’s possible it will produce an acceptable settlement for you, especially if the insurance company fears your very strong case. But your petroleum job injury claim will most likely be contested, which means you must seek legal relief in court through a lawsuit. The burden of proof is yours and your attorney’s against that defendant(s) negligence. Here is where the strength of your case lies in the quality of your lawyer’s investigative powers and ability to persuade a civil jury.

Sometimes an employer or third-party defendant’s insurance carriers will firmly oppose paying your injury claim, even if the defendants want them to. These insurance companies want to protect their money and strong-arm them into standing firmly against you. Many times they’ll threaten their liable policyholders with higher premiums if they want to pay your damages. The simple reason for this is that insurance companies hate paying claims. And in order to resist that, they will exert undue pressure on their defendants to behave as belligerently toward your claim as the insurers do.

And when it comes to denying your damage claims in court, the insurance companies’ lawyers use a customary defense of personal injury law. That primary strategy is to charge the plaintiff with sole proximate cause. This means the victim is the only responsible party for his drilling or pipeline injuries and no one else had a hand in the mishap. In order to invoke the sole proximate cause defense, the defendants say and do anything in order to reinforce their claim that you were careless or irresponsible and caused your own injuries. They’ll soil your reputation as a worker to make their point. They may call you a drug addict or a drunk, even if it’s not true. They try to enter evidence that has no bearing on the case to confuse the jury. Insurance companies are very experienced in fighting claims, and their attorneys are very sharp in carrying their fight into the courtroom. So you must expect any and every trick short of their breaking the law that they can come up with to change the argument, and shift the liability spotlight away from their side.

Defendants Avoid Paying Your Damages by Trying to Deny the Employer-Employee Relationship
After the sole proximate cause defense, another popular method for employer-defendants to avoid workplace injury liability is to claim you are actually not an employee in the traditional sense, to begin with. They (or their insurance companies and attorneys) know they are not liable for injury damages to their subcontractors, or their subcontractors’ employees. So in order to distance themselves from the prospect of an injury case, they will try and claim you are a contractor. But in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are an employee, proving their claim in court is hard. Remember, the burden of proof is on you. And that includes the burden of disproving every charge they fire at you, which means you must have irrefutable evidence to counter your employer’s claim that you are a contractor.
While many drilling and pipeline companies claim this non-employee point, often the employer knows that a true employer-employee relationship exists and that you have the right to receive damages from this defendant. Here are some of the ways to disprove this employer ruse and confirm an employer-employee relationship exists.

Social security or taxes have been withheld from your paycheck by the employer.
The essential equipment for the job was supplied to you by the employer.
Your work has been regularly managed, overseen, or inspected by your employer.
A specific work schedule has been set for the job by the employer. You are not free to come-and-go as you please.
Your employer requires you to sign a document that limits your rights while working for the employer. The most common examples are taking a drug test or signing a document that states you comply with an employee handbook.
You have been employed for an undetermined period of time and not just for a single job.
You are paid by a salary or an hourly wage and not on a by-the-job contract.
Sometimes, an employer might claim you have been “borrowed” from another company, or hired through a third-party employment agency. The rules for determining the working relationship are closely related to those above. But depending on the actual wording of the defendant’s allegations, there can be some differences in determining how you prove the employer-employee relationship. Some of these conditions may include:

If the borrowing employer can hire or fire you at any time, you are clearly an employee. Otherwise, you are a contractor
Most of the time, if the borrowing employer can pick a particular worker, then the worker is an employee. If the agency that provides the worker is allowed to send any worker they choose, the worker is a contractor.
If you provide your own tools, then you are a contractor. If the employer provides them, then you’re an employee.
If the agency can substitute the borrowed worker for another at-will, the worker is a contractor. If the lending agency cannot, then the worker is an employee.
If you are borrowed indefinitely, then you are an employee. But if you’re borrowed for a specific project with a specific date of completion, then you’re a contractor.
If you are borrowed or “leased” because of a skill that is unique or hard-to-find, then you’re a contractor. But on the other hand, if an employer borrows you to fill a position that just about anyone can fill, then you’re an employee.
If the borrowing employer agrees to pay your social security and income tax, then you’re an employee. If the borrowing employer does not accept this responsibility, then you’re a contractor.
In cases where you were actually hired by an employment agency to perform work for a particular drilling contractor or pipeline company, there’s a good chance the employment agency subscribes to workers’ comp as almost 90 percent of those firms, and all of the reputable ones, do. So in this particular case, you would file a workers’ comp claim against the agency, and parties at the petroleum jobsite then become third party defendants to your accident damage case. And the same thing goes if your employer loaned you to another company and you were injured on that job site.

The drilling accident attorneys with our Law Office conduct methodical investigations of your employer to prove any one of the standards that determine an employer-employee relationship exists. Most often, all we need to prove is one (or two) of the above points and the link is legally established. We will depose co-workers, review contracts, and examine pay stubs to prove an employer-employee relationship existed when you suffered your petro-work injury.

To the Defendant, It’s All About Not Paying You the Damages You Deserve
As you know, personal injury defendants break down into two basic categories. They are either covered (or represented) by an insurance carrier, or they are not. No matter what category they fall into, they fight tooth and nail to avoid paying your injury damages.

We’ve spoken about traditional insurance-related defenses, but at least belligerent insurance companies and their lawyers who are pitted against you are governed, somewhat, by a rather stringent legal code of ethical behavior. There are no such rules governing the behavior of self-insured contractors and subcontractors who are defendants in your lawsuit, or the non-insured. These defendants resort to a bag full of tricks (many of them questionable and some of them illegal) to defend themselves against your civil damage suit.

You will likely deal directly with an officer of the self-insured drilling or pipeline company. This person’s salary comes out of company profits. If injury damages are paid to you, they come directly out of company funds. This means your employer, or that third party, is taking money out his own pocket. Small wonder a self-insured company officer uses any trick he can think of to deny your claim and protect his company’s (and his personal) assets.

These people will deliberately destroy evidence or intimidate witnesses and even bribe them. Sometimes they’ll physically threaten you, even your family. Often, we file motions that prohibit anyone with the company from inappropriate behavior towards our clients. And such motions can also demand they make no attempt to communicate with our clients, or their families unless one of our attorneys is present.

What You Need to Do (and Not Do) Right Now to Win Oilfield Injury Compensation
Before you speak with an insurance company, or accept even a single dollar of payment or compensation from your employer, or sign anything, or attempt to file a lawsuit on your own, you must contact a competent lawyer.

Your petroleum drilling or pipeline employer (or its insurance provider) wants you to accept a low-ball settlement and go away. They don’t care if it’s enough or not. In order prevent them from taking advantage you, don’t talk about your intentions or anything else about the injury with your employer, a third party, anyone with any insurance company, or even with your co-workers without a lawyer protecting you.

You must act swiftly in order to present your best case. You only get one shot at fair damage compensation. Make it your best because you can’t go back and ask for more later. Quick action is vital because evidence and the physical details of the accident begin to fade almost immediately. Witnesses change their stories, or forget what they saw, or even disappear. All of these, and more, can torpedo your ability to win the restitution you and your family deserve. This is why you need to act fast.

An experienced drilling accident lawyer with our Law Office can help you win your liability case anywhere in Texas. Call us now to quickly arrange a free consultation and find out how we can help you. We can answer all of your questions and tell you the best way to win the compensation you deserve from your injury on a drilling rig or pipeline.

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