Texas Construction Accident, Am I Covered Under The Insurance?

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young desperate man sitting at hospital bed alone sad and devastated suffering depression crying at clinic for serious disease diagnose feeling worried and in fear about health

As we have discussed in previous blogs, most construction sites have a number of different employers.  There will normally be a general contractor with a variety of subcontractors.  There may even be subcontractors of subcontractors.

So if you’ve been injured while working at a construction site, we must determine who employed you.  It may be as easy as who gave you your paycheck.  But, what if you were paid cash or by a check other than a payroll check?

The contracts with the general contractor will help us if there are questions.  But, some underhanded companies will contract to do the work.  They will carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by the contract.  Then, they hire employees and put them under another company without workers’ compensation insurance do the work.  They generally pay these other workers cash and claim they are working for another company.

If you are injured while working at a construction site and they tell you that you were working for a different company; don’t hesitate, contact an attorney right away.  When we find certificates of insurance for zero employees, it is pretty clear that an employer is trying to play tricks.

info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782, www.themorrisfirm.net

 

Texas Construction Accidents What Is A Independent Contractor?

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Construction worker

Most states require companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance for there employees.  So, if one of their employees gets injured on the job, their medical treatment is covered and they receive payments when they are unable to work.

Texas does have a workers’ compensation system.  However, it is not mandatory.  Because of this, it is always important to determine who is the employer of an injured worker.

Just because a company calls a person an independent contractor, for workers’ compensation purposes, they still may be an employee.  The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation looks at various factors to determine if worker will be classified as an employee or an independent contractor.

The first way to establish a person as an independent contractor is to file a DWC-83 form with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.  This form allows a worker to be classified as any employee or an independent contractor for workers’ compensation purposes.

If there is no form on file, the Division of Workers’ Compensation looks at the following to determine who has control of the worker.  To be considered an independent contractor, it must be shown that the person:

1)  acted as the employer of any employee under them, by paying wages, directing activities, and performing other similar functions characteristic of an employer-employee relationship;

2)  Was free to determine the manner in which the work or service was performed, including the hours of labor of or method of payment to any employee;

3)  Was required to furnish employees, if any, with necessary tools, supplies, or materials to perform the work or service;  and

4)  possessed the skills required for the specific work or service.

If you question a determination by an insurance company or by your employer that you are an independent contractor, do not hesitate in contracting legal counsel for assistance.

Info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782, www.themorrisfirm.net

Texas Construction Accident, Who Is My Employer?

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Construction Workers

Texas Construction:

Most construction sites in Texas have multiple companies doing different aspects of the job.  There will normally be a general contractor over the job, with sub-contractors doing a specific job, such as concrete or framing.

If you were injured as the result of an accident at a construction site, it is not always clear who your employer is.  There are times that after a sub-contractor wins a bid to perform a job, they contract a portion or all of that work to other sub-contractors.

As a worker, all of your communications may have been with a superintendent, who works for the general contractor.  So, how do we find out who is responsible for your workers’ compensation claim.

Employer:

Most job sites have contracts between the various employers describing the duties and responsibilities.  These contracts will state what type of insurance is required and if a company is allowed to contract their work out to a third party.

The workers’ compensation system has specific definitions of what constitutes and employer.  When we review cases, there are times when we find multiple companies who are considered the employer for workers’ compensation purposes.  It has to do with the intent of the contract, supervision and who is controlling your work.

Conclussion:

If you are injured while working at a construction site and they tell you that you were working for a different company; don’t hesitate, contact an attorney right away.

Info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782, www.themorrisfirm.net

Texas Construction Injuries (Types of Claims)

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Work Accident

As we have said in previous blogs, Texas is the only state which does not require employers to carry workers compensation insurance.  As a result, if you are injured while working construction, a claim for injuries may need to be handled a number of different ways.

You need to have any claim reviewed by an experienced attorney.  Your claim needs to be reviewed to see if there is one or more of the following claims:

  • A subscriber workers’ compensation claim;
  • A non-subscriber workers’ compensation claim;
  • A third party claim (against someone else who caused the           accident);
  • A product liability claim; and/or
  • A wrongful termination.

Each of these different types of claims is handled differently.  The Law Firm will explain what is required to establish your claim.

Info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782, www.themorrisfirm.net

Injured At A Construction Job In Texas

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Texas is a great place to live, unless your outside in July or August.  If you work construction, Texas provides plenty of work.  But, what happens if you are injured while working at a job site?

The first thing to know is that unlike most states, Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  This can complicate how your injury claim is handled.

When you sit down with your attorney, you will need to discuss:

  • Who is your employer?
  • How were you injured?
  • What other companies were working at that location?
  • Was another company responsible for your accident?
  • What type of insurance is available for you?

Construction site injuries require your attorney to look at not only accident issues, but also workers’ compensation.  Make sure your attorney is experienced at not only injury law, but subscriber and non-subscriber workers compensation claims.

Info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782, www.themorrisfirm.net

DART Employees Who Are Injured On the Job

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In 2005, the Texas Legislature created House Bill 7 which allowed employers to create health care networks. These networks required their injured employees to treat with doctors selected by the employer.  The statute severely limited the employees ability to treat with a medical provider of their choice.
In many cases, insurance companies have controlled the doctors permitted to join the networks.  The networks appear to contain medical providers whose primary concern is cost containment and not the full recovery of the patient.
The good news is that on May 1, 2018, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) ended their 504 medical network.  This allows DART employees who are injured on the job to treat with any medical provider able to treat Texas workers’ compensation injuries.
So, if you have been injured while working for DART, you have the ability to select your own treating doctor.  We strongly advise that you consult with your attorney when selecting a treating doctor to make sure that your selection has your full recovery as their primary concern.

The Morris Law firm, PLLC, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782

How To Get An Order For Non-Disclosure For A DWI Conviction

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Once you meet all the requirements to be eligible for an order of non-disclosure, your attorney can file with the court.

The court will review the case to determine that:

  • The DWI offense did not result in a motor vehicle accident involving another person;
  • You have never been previously convicted of or placed on           deferred adjudication for another offense other than a traffic         offense;
  • It has been two years since the completion of your                       community  supervision;
  • You have successfully complied with restrictions such as an         interlock for at least a period of six months;
  • If you did not have an interlock device, you must wait at least       five years from the completion of your community supervion;       and
  • the court determines that it is in the best interest of justice.

Fees must be paid to the clerk of the court.  When an order is issued, the clerk of the court shall send a copy of the order by certified mail, to the Crime records Service of the Department of Public Safety. The court shall send a copy to all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting attorneys or other entities and to the central federal depositories. Is should be sent to any agency that there is reason to believe may have the criminal history record information that is subject of the order.

After the order, the record is not subject to a public records request. A person who has obtained an order for nondisclosure may deny the occurrence of the arrest and prosecution to which the information relates unless it is being used against the person in a subsequent criminal proceeding.

The Morris Firm, info@themorrisfirm.net (214)357-1782

What Can I Do To Clean My Record Of A DWI Conviction?

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No one wants a criminal record.  Unfortunately, people get convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas courts all the time.  If you belong to this group of people, you know that it can affect your ability to get employment, rent a house  and can even affect your credit rating.

So can you do anything to prevent these problems?  In 2017, Texas created provisions to allow certain first time DWI offenses to be eligible for nondisclosure orders.

To qualify for a nondisclosure order, you must:

  • Have no other convictions other than minor traffic violations;
  • Your conviction was for a blood alcohol content (BAC) of less        that .15;
  • You must have completed your community supervision; and
  • Paid all your fines, costs and restitution.

If you believe that you qualify, contact the law firm to go over your case information.  If you qualify, non-governmental entities will not be able to see that you were ever convicted of a DWI.

The Morris Law Firm, PLLC, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782.

 

 

 

What is Deferred Adjudication?

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If you are charged with a criminal act in Texas, you case will normally start out with the State and your attorney discussing the evidence and possibilities of resolving your charges.  You have the right to fight the charges against you through a trial.  But, depending upon the evidence against you, it may be in your best interest to seek an alternative resolution. One of these outcomes might be deferred adjudication.

Not all charges allow for a resolution of deferred adjudication.  If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, you are not eligible for this resolution.  Other crimes which are ineligible include murder, kidnapping and crimes where a person would have to register as a sex offender.

Deferred adjudication is not a right.  All the parties, including the judge must agree to it.  The parties may present this resolution to the judge, who will then take it into consideration.  It requires that you either plead guilty or no contest to the charges against you.

If in the judge’s opinion the best interest of society and the defendant will be served, the judge may, after receiving a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, hearing the evidence, and finding that it substantiates the defendant’s guilt, defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and place the defendant on deferred adjudication community supervision.

You will then be placed on probation.  You must abide by and complete all the terms of your probation.  If you fail to do this, the state may seek terminate your deferred adjudication and move forward convicting you of the charges.  If you complete the terms of your probation, the judge will dismiss the charges against you.

Deferred adjudication is not a conviction.  But, the charge will still show up on a criminal background search.  Make sure that you discuss with your attorney and that you understand the outcomes of any decision that you make.

The Morris Firm, PLLC, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782

Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation Claims That Injured Workers Are Finding Better Access To Healthcare

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Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation recently published an article indicating that 84% of injured workers receive medical care within seven days of their injury.  They state that this is three percent better than in 2005, when 81% of injured workers received medical treatment within one week of their injury.  However, the same article explains that work injuries have also dropped by 20% in the same time period.

The truth is that in 2005, the State of Texas took away an injured workers ability to select any doctor of their choice to provide them treatment.  The allowed insurance carriers to set up employer selected medical networks.  This allowed the insurance companies to determine which doctors would be allowed to treat injured workers.  Unfortunately, it appears that those doctors are generally selected on their ability to provide cost containment and not quality of care.

If you have been injured on the job in Texas and your employer belongs to a medical treatment network, you are entitled to change your treating doctor once.  Do not make the mistake of selecting a doctor that does not put your recovery as their top priority.  Talk to your attorney and determine which medical provider will focus on your recovery and not just cost containment.