Construction Site Accidents – Subscriber’s Workman’s Comp

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Subscribers to Workman’s Compensation

Workman’s compensation insurance is government-subsidized insurance that is set up to help companies to insure their workers in case of an accident. In theory, it is supposed to protect workers against companies that will not or cannot pay for the workers lost wages and injuries. However, arguments could be made that it does more harm than good, and although we will not enumerate all of the reasons workman’s comp is ultimately a hindrance to the injured worker, we will say, in general, that it does limit the injured worker’s rights to sue and the amount that may be collected for damages received.

There are basically two kinds of employers regarding potential lawsuits- subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance and non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. The state of Texas does not require companies to carry workers compensation insurance. More on this webpage

If a company does subscribe to worker’s compensation, they are more protected against potential lawsuits than a non-subscriber is. In addition, there is no reimbursement for pain and suffering and there are limits set on monies recovered in most cases. Only in cases that gross negligence has been proven, can a company subscribing to workman’s compensation insurance even be sued. And this is important to note, especially since gross negligence is very hard to prove in court. For these reasons, one would think that most companies would opt to purchase workman’s compensation for all of their employees. However, many companies simply do not subscribe. In Texas, around forty percent of all companies are non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. Some choose to not subscribe because of the high cost, others choose not to sign up because they want to be self-insured or because they do not want excessive government intrusion.

Although for the most part when dealing with subscribers of workman’s compensation insurance you may not be able to sue them for your injuries, there are two exceptions to the rule. One is the employer’s gross negligence that led to the injury or death of a worker; the other is when another party’s gross negligence led to the injury or death of a worker.

An example of gross negligence of an employer is found in a case we tried at our Law Office. In this instance, a worker was asked to perform his work hanging high in the air from a crane without a properly working safety harness. The company was aware that the harness was not functioning properly, but thought it would be ok. However, the worker’s strap did not hold him and he fell to his death. The company then tried to cover its tracks by purchasing a properly working harness and fitting it on the dead man’s body. Later it was shown through testimony, research and forensics, that the company was grossly negligent and that they had to pay heavily for the damages caused to the person and to their family.

In other situations, the company may not be held liable, but another third party may. Other construction contractors or the manufacturer of equipment that malfunctioned are examples of this. The negligence may not be because of the irresponsible behavior of the company itself, but because of the actions of other parties. And sometimes, there can be a combination of all the above- the company, and the third party.

Whatever may be the cause, you need a seasoned construction accident lawyer to represent you and your interests when dealing with such situations. Because of the complexity and the difficulty in proving such cases, it is unwise to go it alone. Please give us a call today toll-free and let us go to work for you. The consultation is free.


This Blog was brought to you by the Carabin Shaw Law Firm, Principal Office in San Antonio


Our Law Firm handles cases of Serious Injuries and Wrongful Death caused by Auto Accidents, Trucking Accidents, Big Rig Accidents, Defective Products, Road Hazards, Defective Road Design, and acts of Corporate Negligence. EVERY 16 MINUTES OF EVERY DAY, another person in the United States will be injured or killed in a truck-related accident.
Over four hundred and fifty thousand large trucks were involved in crashes last year.

Over one million people were involved in the crashes.
Over five thousand people were killed.
Over one hundred and forty thousand people were injured.
One-third of the injured suffered catastrophic damage.

EACH YEAR THOUSANDS of motorists and big rig drivers are killed and maimed by the negligent operation of big rigs by their drivers and by trucking companies. Semi-truck drivers and the companies they work for have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. Unsafe driving, oversized loads, and various other treacherous practices put the public and the truck operators in danger. Large trucks commonly referred to as “semi” trucks and “tractor-trailer” trucks (gross vehicle weight of over 10,000 pounds) represent only 3% of all registered vehicles on the road, yet they account for over 25% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle accidents. These are alarming statistics, but more alarming is the reality. The following excerpts are taken from a local newspaper regarding trucking accidents:

A big rig lost its brakes at 60 mph and veered into oncoming traffic. The truck hit a car driven by a 31-year-old and one driven by a 35-year-old. Both women died. The 33-year-old driver of the truck died a few days later. A CHP investigation revealed that the truck driver had not properly checked his brakes, as required by law, after picking up a load of produce. Also, his commercial license had been suspended eight days before the accident after a drunken-driving arrest.

A 44-year-old woman found herself inches away from leading off the evening news as the latest victim of a big-rig accident. She says the truck not only merged into her lane but merged into her Chevy Blazer, shoving it out of the far right-hand lane and onto the shoulder. She had to stop on the side of the road to compose herself while the truck driver sped off. After so many deadly truck crashes on local highways in the last 16 months, no area commuter should be surprised by this woman’s ordeal.

Halloween day. A big rig, unable to stop plows into and over two cars. A man is killed. His wife suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a broken clavicle.

The fifth of July. An angry big rig driver runs over a motorcyclist, dragging the vehicle and its helpless rider for more than a hundred yards. The motorcyclist loses a leg.

June thirteenth. A big rig driver changes lanes onto a small car, trapping the driver inside. Accidents happen. More often than not, at least in the area lately, they seem to involve large trucks, trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

A big rig chugging near the southern outskirts of the city crosses the center divide and crashes head-on into a truck traveling the opposite direction.

While mechanical failures, reckless driving, and improper driver training account for some crashes, the overwhelming cause is driver fatigue. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that driver fatigue is responsible for 30% to 40% of all large truck crashes and is the probable cause in over 30% of crashes that resulted in the truck driver’s death. As the competition for trucking contracts increases (over 200,000 new trucks were registered last year), drivers are under increased pressure to deliver faster, even if it means falsifying logbooks and breaking the law. Truck drivers get paid to deliver their loads on time and many times they get bonus pay for delivering early and do not get paid when they aren’t driving.

Regulations state that a trucker can “drive” for 10 hours per day and must have 8 hours off for every 10 hours of driving. But, for every 10 hours of driving there is also loading and unloading their trucks, wait time, and log updates. Many times the trucker’s 10 hours of driving begin after hours of physical labor getting the load ready to go. In a recent survey, almost 20% of truckers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the previous three-month period. The information relating to trucking accidents is endless. However, the sad fact is – that by the time you read this, another person will be injured in a truck-related accident and 98% of the injured will not be truck drivers.

All motorists should be aware of the dangers associated with sharing our roads with big rigs. Recent studies published by AAA have concluded that automobile drivers must also accept responsibility for many of the tragedies resulting from car-truck accidents. The American Trucking Association has offered the following “common sense” rules for motorists:

1. Never cut in front of a truck; fully loaded trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop. Most cars weigh only 2,000 pounds.
2. Don’t linger alongside a truck; there are 4 large blind spots around trucks where cars disappear from view and the driver can’t see you
3. Pass quickly to resume visibility and change lanes only when you can see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror. Never pass on the right – the right blind spot runs the length of the trailer and extends out 3 lanes.
4. Steer clear of front and rear blind spots; stay back 20 – 25 car lengths and leave 4 car lengths in front of a truck for safety cushions – following a truck too closely obscures your view and the driver can’t even see you 30 feet behind the truck.
5. If you’re following a truck and you can’t see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
6. Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver; they make wide turns at intersections and require additional space.
7. Also – be courteous. Acknowledge the truck’s turn signal by flashing your lights and then drop back to allow a truck to enter your lane.
8. When traveling on a single-lane road, let the truck driver ahead of you know that you intend to pass him. Pull slightly to the left and signal with your lights. An experienced trucker will give you clearance and respond with his lights to indicate your safe return to the lane.

To protect your legal rights following severe injury or wrongful death resulting from a trucking accident, big rig crash, or auto accident, it is wise to immediately consult an experienced personal injury law firm. Within the first week, important physical evidence can be lost, and witnesses may forget important details. Our Law Firm has extensive experience handling claims involving trucking accidents. We offer Free Initial Consultations with no obligation for you to hire our firm.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN A TRUCKING ACCIDENT, you need the advice of an experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer. CALL US TOLL-FREE TODAY FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.

Driver Distraction and Auto Accidents

Driver Distraction and Auto Accidents

If you have been involved in an auto accident there is a 28% chance that driver distraction may have been a contributing factor. Regardless of who is at fault, the sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the better your chances for a good outcome. At our Law Firm, our team of experienced Texas accident lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your interests. We will even come to you if you are unable to come to our office. More here

Different Distractions Affect Different People

Boredom alone can cause a driver to become distracted. Long trips lead to driver fatigue. Drivers take an interest in new sights, sometimes forgetting how long they’ve taken their eyes off the accident attorneys

Others are busy multitasking, trying to work while driving. With so many electronic devices in use these days, any one of them can tempt a busy business person to use them while driving. One of the most common distractions is cell phone use, including talking and texting. Studies show that there is little statistical difference between accidents attributable to hand-held calls and hands-free calls.

Computers, GPSs, Blackberries, and iPods are all just as distracting as a cell phone. Some drivers even try to read or write while driving, and others are distracted trying to find directions.

Young drivers often try to do everything at once. Infants or children often distract parents. People frequently eat or drink, or change CDs or radio stations while driving.

Regardless of how urgent the activity may or may not have been if it distracts a driver and causes an accident everyone involved will have to deal with the consequences.

First Things First
If you suspect that driver distraction contributed to your accident make sure you find out if everyone is safe, and ask for medical assistance immediately if needed when reporting the accident. Say as little as possible, and gather as much information as possible. Make a mental note of anything that might suggest driver distraction, both inside and outside of the other driver’s vehicle.

While none of us expect to be involved in an accident, it never hurts to be prepared. Take your time choosing a personal injury attorney before you need one. Keep our contact information in the same place as your registration and insurance papers and with your identification card in the event, you are in an accident in someone else’s accident law

When you contact us immediately we can advise you, at the scene, how to protect your rights when communicating to the other driver or the police. We can help you get a rental vehicle if yours is damaged, and can meet at your location if you are hospitalized or home-bound after the accident.

When you need an experienced personal injury and accident attorney in Texas, please contact our Law Firm for a complimentary case evaluation.