On June 26, 2018, a small 25-bed hospital in Gatesville, Texas, was the scene of a terrible, but likely avoidable tragedy. Fifteen construction workers suffered burns and shrapnel injuries when an electric generator exploded. Construction worker Michael Bruggman, 44, was killed in the explosion. Questions remain as to whether this tragedy was the result of a faulty natural gas line, or from an issue with the generator itself.
Firm attorneys Benny Agosto, Jr. and Jonathan Sneed have reached a confidential settlement against Piling, Inc. regarding a fatal incident that occurred on June 27, 2016. The settlement brings a favorable end to the family's lawsuit seeking compensation for the gross negligence of the company that resulted in the death of their loved one.
On April 14, 2017, Susan Coons, a 44-year-old- Elizaville resident, was identified as a victim in a work construction accident. Coons was in the process of leveling a field at 7775 Albany Post Road when she was struck by a 800 ton bulldozer. According to state police, the partner was moving the machine to make a minor adjustment to the blade and then noticed that Coons was struck by the bulldozer.
Recently in Texas and other states there has been a new trend emerging where employers are choosing to "opt out" of the traditional Worker's Compensation benefit scheme. By opting out of the Worker's Compensation scheme companies are self-insuring themselves and foregoing protections that Worker's Compensation provides to the company when an employee is injured on the job. However, what many feel the companies are betting on is that injured workers will not retain the services of an attorney, and will rely on their employer to provide them the medical care and benefits they need and deserve. This reliance can lead to issues of proper coverage and adequate benefits to the injured worker.
Recently, the Texas Supreme Court expanded protections available to insurance companies facing lawsuits from injured workers.
In 49 states, most or all employers are required to participate in a workers' compensation program to provide benefits to employees injured on the job. In Texas alone, it is entirely up to the employer whether to provide workers' compensation benefits to employees. Employers who chose not to are called "nonsubscribers." So, if you are injured on the job, what is the difference between having an employer with workers' compensation and having an employer who is a "nonsubscriber"?
One worker was killed and another seriously hurt at a wrecker service in Amarillo on February 7 when a pickup truck fell from a forklift. The workers had been using the forklift to lift the truck while they worked on it.
Julio Barrera was a derrickman working in Webb County when he was killed on September 2, 2009. According to his wife, Claudia Hernandez, she recalls him telling her over the phone that the tower he was working on was not stable, but he would lose his job if he did not climb the tower. The very next day, Barrera climbed 25 feet up the derrick owned by Coastal Drilling Land Company to fix a locking pin in the metal frame. While he was on the tower, the structure began swaying, tipped over, and fatally crushed him. Barrera and his wife had two sons, and she was pregnant with their third child when he died. Even though she reached a confidential settlement with the companies responsible, she said they would not be able to give her what her kids lost.
The Texas Supreme Court has recently ruled against a fire fighter who was injured on the job. The gist of its opinion is that, once again, a workers' compensation carrier cannot be liable under the main enforcement provisions of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (dtpa). In addition, the insurance company does not have a common-law duty of good faith and fair dealing to the injured employee.
Early Friday morning, an explosion and fire ripped through an offshore energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy LLC. Initial reports suggested that the explosion occurred when maintenance workers were using a torch to cut into a pipe with 28 gallons of oil inside. United States Coast Guard Captain Ed Cubanski said that approximately 22 workers were onboard the platform at the time of the accident.