An Update from Our Firm about COVID-19

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner remains fully operational and committed to serving our clients and colleagues throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. As we follow the CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, we remain available for phone consultations and scheduled in-person meetings with both current and prospective clients and colleagues. Please contact our office by email or by calling 713-222-7211 with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Supreme Court Removes Protection for Injured Workers

For almost 25 years, the law protected injured workers by allowing them to pursue an action against workers' compensation insurance carriers when they act in "bad faith" during the handling of workers' compensation claims. That protection no longer exists for those who are most vulnerable: workers whose ability to earn a living has been interrupted by an occupational injury.

The Supreme Court overturned longstanding Texas law in a decision entitled Texas Mutual Insurance Company v. Ruttinger, ___ S.W.3d. ___ (Tex. 2012). The reissued opinion was handed down on June 22, 2012.

In Ruttiger, the insurance carrier stopped benefits and medical care when it suspected that a worker's injury had resulted from a weekend softball game. In particular, the carrier refused to authorize and pay for a hernia surgery. However, when the matter finally reached an administrative hearing, the carrier settled the claim with the worker, agreeing in the process that he had sustained a compensable injury.

The worker filed suit against the carrier, alleging that it had acted in bad faith and that it had violated the Texas Insurance Code. The Supreme Court expressly overruled ruled a case known as the Aranda decision that permitted claimants to sue carriers when they act in bad faith by denying them the benefits they are entitled to receive under the law. With this decision, the Court eliminated the rights of injured workers to require workers' compensation carriers to act in good faith when handling claims.

In addition, the Court further ruled that statutory protections found in the Texas Insurance Code do not apply to injured employees. It held that "claims against workers' compensation insurers for unfair settlement practices may not be made [by injured workers] under the Insurance Code."

The effect of this ruling is to eliminate financial disincentives that restrained workers' compensation carriers from taking advantage of injured employees. So, workers' compensation insurance carriers now have less to fear when they abuse people who were trying to support themselves and be productive members of society but were injured during their service to their employers.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace related accident, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-396-3964.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • $50+ Million Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs, taking a lead role in the plaintiffs’ steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Plant Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Worksite Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm’s client.

  • $12 Million 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $48 Million Catastrophic Burns

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $48 million.

Our Record Of Success

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

Read More Success Stories

Let Us Help You Request a Free Consultation Today

Get Help Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Back to top