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Wrongful Death Claim Regardless of Workers' Compensation Coverage

Employers nationwide, including here in Texas, must protect the health and safety of their employees. Their responsibilities include compliance with federal and state safety standards including but not limited to OSHA. Even if an employer has workers' compensation coverage, if an employee dies due to an employer's gross negligence, the surviving family members may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.  

A recent tragic workplace fatality in Houston may prove to be such an incident. Last week, a devoted husband and father passed away when the trench in which he was working collapsed. Reportedly, there was only one other worker on a work site where pipes were being installed. Firefighters who rushed to the scene report that at the time of the incident the worker was in a seven-foot deep trench.  

Electrical burns can be more serious than they appear

The human body is an alarmingly successful conductor of electricity. An electrical current can easily pass through the body, and even if the harm appears insignificant, it can cause severe damage and/ or scaring to the skin, muscles, heart, brain or other internal organs and can often result in death.  Different circumstances can lead to electrical injuries, and many involve the negligence of other parties. 

The potential risks are extensive and beyond what many would consider.  Coming into contact with power cords, power outlets, wiring or electrical appliances with exposed electricity, or even a tree branch near uninsulated or unsecure power lines can cause serious electrical injuries or death. If exposure occurs as a result of someone else's negligence, compensation for injuries and losses are available to victims in the Texas Civil Courts with the help of experienced attorneys.  

How Not Wearing a Helmet May Hurt Your Motorcycle Collision Claim

Texas has more lax motorcycle helmet laws than some other states. While there are some regulations and rules you must still follow, it is possible for you to legally operate a motorcycle without a helmet.

Even though you are allowed to ride without a helmet, there are a multitude of reasons why you shouldn’t. Safety reasons aside, if you are injured in a motorcycle collision – even if it is another driver’s fault – you may find that your personal injury compensation will drop as a result of you not wearing a helmet.

40-foot fall causes workplace injuries to construction worker

Last week multiple rescue units and firefighters responded to a construction site involving the expansion of a YMCA facility in Wichita Falls, Texas - An emergency call went out after a 40-foot fall that caused serious workplace injuries. A fall from such a height is sure to cause severe or even fatal injuries.

Reportedly, the construction worker was on a scissor lift that tipped over for reasons yet to be determined. Although investigators are working to determine the cause of the accident, it might take months to gather and process all of the information. In the meantime, the victim will have to deal with mounting medical bills, lost income and possible long-term disability. Workers' compensation insurance coverage is optional in Texas, and the injured worker will likely have questions about financial relief.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits may seem fairly straightforward: a person is killed due to the negligence of another, and another person subsequently brings a lawsuit on the decedent's behalf. Yet who exactly can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In many states, it is left up to the personal representative of a decedent's estate to initiate a wrongful death claim. That makes sense given that damages for such an action are awarded to a decedent's estate. It is then through the administration of the estate that those affected by their passing are compensated for their loss.

Collision in Fort Worth leaves one dead, another injured

It may not be difficult to imagine who comes out on the losing end of a collision between a semi-truck and a traditional vehicle in Houston. Local drivers understand the need to share the road with large commercial vehicles, yet that does not erase the devastating potential that such vehicles present. Given the dangers posed by large trucks, those who operate them are typically extensively trained and also required to adhere to strict safety standards. A failure to adhere to such standards can produce devastating consequences

This fact was clearly evidenced in the case of a collision between a semi-truck and a small car in Fort Worth. Witnesses to the accident say that the car became pinned under the truck after the two vehicles collided on Interstate 35W. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and authorities have yet to release who might be at fault. Sadly, the driver if the car died in the collision, and another person was reported to have sustained injuries (although it is not clear whether that person was the driver of the truck). 

The dangers of eating and drinking while driving

Distracted driving is a serious problem currently facing you and other drivers on Houston’s roads. Yet most tend to assume that such cases are limited to people using their cell phones while driving their vehicles. Many come to us here at The De La Garza Law Group after having been surprised to learn that there is another form of distracted driving that is equally (if not more) common as texting while driving yet far less underreported: eating while driving. 

Like most, you may be surprised to hear how eating behind the wheel can be dangerous. After all, fast food restaurants will serve you while you are in your car, and automakers themselves make it easier to drink beverages while driving by incorporating cupholders into vehicle designs. Indeed, it may even seem as though you are encouraged to eat and drive. 

Be on the lookout for warehouse hazards

Working in a warehouse is a job that many people have. Though some may not consider it an important job, these workers are necessary for the fulfillment of many tasks. Unfortunately, these workers often also do not get enough credit for carrying out their work-related duties in hazardous conditions.

Though work-related hazards are present at almost every job, warehouses can pose risks that other worksites do not. As a result, it is important that you, your employer and your co-workers do what you can to ensure that the warehouse in which you work is as safe as possible. That step could begin with recognizing hazards.

Texas newlyweds killed in car crash just after the wedding

Two young Texas newlyweds promised last week to stay together and love each other until death parted them. Unfortunately, that event happened much sooner than anyone anticipated. They left the courthouse where they had just exchanged vows in a car last Friday afternoon when another vehicle reportedly crashed into theirs and killed them instantly. The accident occurred a matter of minutes after the marriage ceremony had concluded. 

The other vehicle was a pickup truck towing a trailer hauling a tractor. Authorities have not indicated whether the driver of the pickup, who reportedly sustained no injury, will face any criminal charges. The mother of the groom was following the couple closely in her vehicle and witnessed the accident. She described the couple's car coming to rest in a nearby ditch after flipping over multiple times from the force of the collision.

Defining the Fatal Four

Construction work remains one of the most common career paths both in Houston and throughout the rest of the U.S. Indeed, according to information compiled and shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.3 million Americans were employed in the construction industry as of 2016. Yet despite its popularity, construction work also ranks among the most dangerous professions. The responsibility to protect employees from workplace injuries falls to the companies and contractors that employ construction workers. One might argue that to be a realistic expectation in the construction industry, given that most serious construction accidents can be traced back to a relatively few causes. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that nearly 60 percent of all fatalities in the construction industry are due to the same four factors. Dubbed "the Fatal Four," these include: 

  • Falls
  • Being struck by falling objects
  • Electrocutions 
  • Crush injuries (being caught in heavy machinery or in-between materials or surfaces)
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