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Injuries at Work / Nonsubscriber Employers

Jury verdict in negligence suit against nonsubscriber employer
Suit filed in District Court of Dallas County.

    An employee of a Grand Prairie funeral home suffered an electric shock injury while embalming a dead body. The funeral home was a nonsubscriber, meaning that it did not carry workers compensation insurance for its employees. The client experienced a degree of left sided weakness and numbness and other neurological symptoms for which he required inpatient rehabilitation therapy. We filed suit against the corporation that operated the funeral home and against its four shareholders, alleging that the corporation was the alter ego of the individuals. We engaged an expert witness who determined that the wiring in the 15 year old embalming machine was defective and that it lacked a proper grounding wire. The defendants never made any offer of settlement. After a two week trial the jury returned a verdict awarding damages against the funeral home. The jury also “pierced the corporate veil” and found that the funeral home corporation was the alter ego of the owners. Judgment was entered against the corporation and its owners for joint and several liability. To avoid execution on the judgment the defendants filed petitions for voluntary bankruptcy. After another year of litigation in the Bankruptcy Court Judge Felsenthal ordered the funeral home sold to an outside bidder. The client received the full amount of the damages awarded by the jury, plus interest, costs and attorneys fees incurred in the bankruptcy proceeding.

 

Suit against nonsubscriber employer
Suit filed in District Court of Dallas County.

    An employee of a nationwide electronics retailer was unloading televisions stacked to the ceiling inside the trailer of an 18 wheeler. A co-worker climbed up and shoved a TV a little too far forward. The client suffered carpal and cubital tunnel injuries to his forearm trying to prevent the TV from falling. We developed evidence that the trailer had been loaded in a dangerous manner in order to maximize the amount of freight delivered in one trip.

 

Suit against nonsubscriber employer
Suit filed in District Court of Dallas County.

    Employee tripped over a pipe in a poorly lighted area as she was walking along side the employer’s building toward her car after leaving work. Neck surgery.

 

Construction site accident
Suit filed in District Court of Dallas County.

    Our client was an employee of a tape and bed subcontractor working on renovation of a building on Lemmon Avenue just off Oak Lawn. Employees of another subcontractor were using a Bobcat front end loader to hoist barrels of debris from the basement to the first floor. A barrel fell, striking the client a glancing blow to the neck. The client suffered soft tissue injuries and aggravation of pre-existing degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, not requiring surgery. We filed suit against the other subcontractor and the general contractor. In written discovery and oral depositions we developed evidence that the Bobcat operator failed to properly attach the front end loader and that the general contractor was negligent in requiring the two subcontractors to work simultaneously in close proximity in an effort to speed up completion of the renovation project. The case settled in mediation with insurers of both defendants contributing to the settlement.

 

Burns suffered in explosion of paint remover fumes at a home remodeling job site
Suit filed in District Court of Dallas County.

    This client was referred to our office by a Dallas immigration attorney. Our client was an employee of a painting subcontractor working on a remodeling project of a large home in Preston Hollow. During painting of one of the downstairs rooms the owner changed her mind about the color and asked that the woodwork be stripped and repainted. The general contractor had instructed electrical subcontractor not to energize the electrical outlets in any room until after the painters were finished. The electrical subcontractor prematurely energized the room. Electric outlets were not yet equipped with faceplates. The client was scrubbing paint off the baseboard with steel wool soaked from an open can of paint remover. The room was filled with fumes. The steel wool came in contact with an electrical outlet. A spark ignited a bluish flame that began creeping along the baseboard. Five other workers in the room got out, one by crashing through a closed window. Before the client could exit the fumes exploded. Half of the skin on our client’s body was destroyed by third degree burns. Surgeons at the Parkland Hospital Burn Center used the other half , even from his head for transplants in multiple skin graft surgeries. The electrical contractor vigorously denied that the room had been energized before the explosion. The City of Dallas fire marshal investigated and officially determined that ignition was caused by friction from rubbing steel wool against the wooden baseboard. We tracked down a carpenter who had moved to California. He testified that a few hours before the explosion he used one of the outlets in the room to power an electric drill. We engaged a highly qualified expert witness. Our expert constructed a model of the electric outlet that could be used before the jury in the courtroom to demonstrate a controlled fire and explosion resulting from contact between the steel wool and the energized outlet. The case settled at mediation shortly before commencement of trial.

 

Construction site accident
Suit filed in Dallas County

    Construction accident due to negligence of subcontractor in assembling Bobcat front end loader, negligence of Bobcat operator and unsafe job site procedures.

 

Suit against nonsubscriber employer
Suit filed in Dallas County

    Employee tripped over pipe outside building as she was leaving work. Neck surgery.