COURSE AND SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT: Texas Work Injury

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What Is Course And Scope of Employment In Texas?

The Texas Labor Code defines course and scope of employment as an activity of any kind or character that has to do with and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer and that is performed by an employee while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer.  The term includes an activity conducted on the premises of the employer or at other locations.

When you are performing your regular job duties, then you are considered to be in the course and scope of your employment.  It doesn’t even matter where you are.  If you are performing your regular job duties at a worksite, a client site or even at home, you can still be in the course and scope of your employment.

Why Is Course And Scope Of Employment Important In My Texas Workers’ Comp Claim?

The simple answer is that your claim can be denied if the injury you sustained did not occur in the course and scope of your employment.  Insurance companies deny claims for that reason all of the time.  Unloading boxes off of a delivery truck is an example of an activity that is usually in the course and scope of employment.  Falling off of a ladder while hanging drywall for your company’s client is usually within the course and scope of employment.

At times it can be hard to tell if the activity you were doing was within the course and scope of employment.  For instance, if a truck driver renders aid to someone on the side of the road and gets hurt, that is not in the course and scope of employment.  If you get into a car wreck while driving your co-workers to lunch, that is usually not in the course and scope of employment.

When an argument with a co-worker about the work you are doing escalates into a fistfight, that is within the course and scope of your employment.  When that same argument and fight developed because of a racial slur, then that is not in the course and scope of employment.  Driving home from work is not in the course and scope of employment, but fixing a flat on the company truck that blew out on the way home is in the course and scope of your employment.

It is clear that course and scope of employment is not very clear.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out.

What If My Claim Was Denied Because of Course And Scope of Employment?

You have two options when your claim gets denied based on a course and scope of employment argument.  First, you should talk to a workers’ comp lawyer.  With an issue as difficult as course and scope of employment, go get a professional opinion.

The only other thing you can do is to request a benefit review conference to get the denial overturned through the dispute resolution process.  You can do this by filing Form 45 with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-178 info@themorrisfirm.net

 

Expunctions After Dismissals and No-Bills

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As explained in our previous blogs, expunctions are intended to give relief to innocent people who seek to clean their name.  This category of expunction is the most complicated and is used for people who are indicted and subsequently dismissed, cases that are no-billed by the grand jury, cases refused by the prosecutor or never filed by law enforcement.

To qualify you must first meet three criteria:

  • You must have been released and the case can no longer be pending;
  • The offense can not conclude with a conviction; and
  • There could not have been any community supervision for any offense out of the arrest (other than a class C misdemeanor).

After these three criteria are met, you must show that your case fits into one of the following categories:

  • The statute of limitations has run;
  • The waiting period has passed; or
  • The case was dismissed for certain reasons.

These categories are in place to establish that no portion of the case is still pending or could be reopened.  They are for issues such as a mistake in the evidence or a mistaken identity.  In some instances it appears that the court still has discretion to deny the expunction.

Make sure you have a professional review the documentation prior to filing the paperwork.

What is a Chronic Pain Management Program?

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When I was 8 years old, my father hurt his back.  He had herniated discs at two different levels.  He declined surgery and chose to treat his injury with physical therapy and traction.

After a year he was still dealing with a lot of radicular pain and stiffness.  In one of the programs, they tried to help him understand the psychological component of his injury.  He misunderstood and felt they were telling him that the pain was in his head.  He didn’t understand whenever a person undergoes a significant injury, there is a psychological component that also needs to be addressed.  They were trying to help him to better cope with the pain.  With the help of the program, he was able to return to work until he retired at the age of 78.

multidisciplinary studies of adults sustaining moderate to severe injuries found that injury-related mental distress on the subtle outcomes of patient productivity, general health, and satisfaction affect functional outcomes.  Multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management (CPM) Programs coordinate the physical and psychological recover to allow for a quicker and more complete recovery of the injured worker. Like many programs, the more the injured worker puts into the program, the more they will likely get out of it.

There is no miracle cure that will take all of a person’s pain away.  However, CPM Programs give the injured worker tools to help them cope with their injury and how to properly use their body to avoid further injury.  This gives a greater chance that they will be able to return to gainful employment.

How To Qualify For An Annulment In Texas

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Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning.  Unlike a divorce, an annulment is a finding that you were never married to that person.

Annulments are saved for special purposes when the state believes at least one of the parties was unable to consent to the marriage contract.

What situations qualify a marriage for an annulment:

  • Under age married without parental consent. 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age that occurred without parental consent;
  • Drunk or high. Under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotics and as a result did not have the capacity to consent to the marriage;
  • Impotent. Either party, for physical or mental reasons, was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage
  • Fraud. The other party used fraud, duress, or force to induce the petitioner to enter into the marriage;
  • Mental Incapacity. Mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony because of a mental disease or defect;
  • Recent Divorce. The other party was divorced from a third party within the 30-day period preceding the date of the marriage ceremony; and
  • Untimely License Issues. A marriage ceremony may not take place during the 72-hour period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license.

All of the above categories have different requirements to fully qualify for an annulment.  Please talk to an attorney if you feel that you meet one of the above classifications.

Can I Get An Expunction After An Acquittal or Pardon?

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The first two areas of expunction we are going to discuss are after an acquittal and pardons.  A person who has been tried for an offense and was either acquitted or subsequently pardoned is eligible for an expunction.  They are both areas which will require that the defendant be acquitted  or pardoned for the entire criminal act and not just one element of the said act.

Acquittal

An acquittal is when the evidence in a defendant’s case does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or they received a verdict of not guilty.  This may happen either at the trial court level or one of the appellate courts.

If it happens at the appellate level, it must be an acquittal and not just a reversal.  The court will generally state in their findings that there is a finding of legal insufficiency.

Unlike other areas for expunction, the statute only states that a person may receive an expunction for an appellate acquittal.  Therefore, it appears that the trial court may still have the authority to deny an expunction even if they received an acquittal on appeal.

Pardon

A pardon is a form of clemency which give gives a person back certain rights which many felons lose.  A person may file an application to receive a pardon from the governor of Texas.  It will go through the state board of Pardons and Paroles.

If a person has been pardoned or otherwise received relief on the basis of actual innocence, they are entitled to expunction.  However, the order must state on its face that it is granted for actual innocence to allow the exception.

Conclusion

If you feel that you meet either of these classifications, do not hesitate to contact the attorney to review your case.

Does The Guy Who Hit Me Have Liability Insurance?

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In Texas just over 14% of drivers do not carry auto insurance.  If you are caught driving without insurance, you will receive a fine plus an annual surcharge.  Even for a first time offense, the charges will be over $1,000, and they increase each time.  It is cheaper to carry at least a minimum liability policy.

In Texas, the minimum liability policy will cover up to  $30,000 bodily injury per person, up to a total of $60,000 and will provide coverage for property damage up to $25.000.  Some drivers carry larger policies.  But, these are the minimum standards required by law.

If you have been in a serious accident, you will quickly discover that these minimum policies do not cover the cost of you vehicle, let alone you medical expenses and losses.  Additionally, most people do not have other assets or money which you can recover in a lawsuit.  They are what we call judgment proof.

To protect yourself, we advise that you carry insurance to protect you and your passengers, from not only the uninsured drivers, but the under insured drivers out there.  Both Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Un/Under Insured Motorist are coverage worth having on your insurance policy.  These policies are in place to protect you and your passengers and not the other vehicle.