Burn Injury Lawyer

burn injuriesBURN INJURIES

Burns are a major cause of suffering and death in the United States.

According to the American Burn Association there are over 486,000 burn injuries each year requiring medical treatment. American Burn Association Burn Incidence Fact Sheet 2016. 43%  of the burns are caused by Fire/Flame, 34% by Scalds, 9% by Contact, 4% by Electrical, 3% by Chemical and 7%by other causes.  73% of the injuries occur at home, 8% in the workplace, 5% on streets and highways,  5% in recreational and sport activities and  9% Other at other locations. Approximately 30,000 of these burn injuries require treatment in hospital burn centers.

Many burn injuries are caused by unreasonably dangerous and defective products.  If you or a loved one has suffered burns as a result of a product, please see our post regarding products liability. Motor vehicle and trucking accidents can involve fires. Part of a vehicle being “crashworthy” includes avoiding post collision fuel fed fires.

Electrical accidents  often result in very serious burns.  Many of these accidents involve working around power lines or work in the oilfield. improper packaging and transport of flammable gases and liquids can cause other wise avoidable fires and burn injuries. The improper use of flammable material in clothing has caused a number of burn injuries.  This list can go on and on…

The pain and suffering, disfigurement and physical impairment caused by burns and other personal injury damages are often horrendous.  These damages should be documented from the beginning.

If you or one of your family members has been the victim of these horrible injuries, please do not delay in giving us call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Chris Jones of Longview, Texas is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law  is an experienced burn injury lawyer and passionate in the representation of those suffering from burn injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or dangerous and defective products.  Mr. Jones is rated as a preeminent Lawyer by his peers.

Fatal Workplace Accidents and Injuries, Texas Lawyer

Workplace Accidents and Injury Statistics

Fatal work injuries in the United States dropped by approximately  7%  to 4,383 deaths in 2012 according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Significantly, there were 138  deaths in the oil and gas extraction industries, a 23 percent rise in fatal injuries to workers in  2012.Fatal Occupational Injuries

Even though the number of fatalities dropped in the U.S.,work related deaths increased by over 20% to 531 deaths in Texas.  Oklahoma also saw a rise in work related deaths.  During the last 20 years, 1994 saw the highest number of work related fatalities in the US at 6,632, or approximately 35% higher than 2012.According the Texas Department of Insurance the deadliest occupation in Texas was driving heavy and tractor-trailer trucks. Texas also saw an increase in construction deaths. 2012 Texas Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. In Texas, there was a 57 percent increase in fatal injuries for heavy and tractor-trailer,truck drivers with 121 deaths, up from 77 in 2011. There were 82 construction trade worker deaths in Texas, up from  59 incidents in 2011.

These statistics should be analyzed by all safety personnel to help them understand what is occurring in the workplace and how to avoid future accidents and injuries.

Please also refer to our personal injury blog and our posts,  Accidents in the Workplace – Fall Protection,Premises Liability, Defective Products, Products Liability,Lockout Tagout, Texas Truck Accidents,Oilfield Accidents, Injuries and Deaths,and Workplace Injury – Texas Workers Compensation – The Exclusive Remedy?

Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

We have experience with workplace accidents and  injuries, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990, 888-236-4878 (toll-free) for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Accidents in the Workplace – Fall Protection

OSHA Poster

WORKPLACE FALLS

Falls account for over 1/3 of all construction accident deaths, and 1/3 of those are falls from roofs. Fall protection is part of an employer’s duty to provide employees a safe place to work. Fall protection is required by OSHA. 29 CFR 1926.501 specifically sets forth the  fall protection requirements. According to OSHA, Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoreman operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

Forms of protection from falling required by OSHA include, but may not be limited to:

  • guardrail systems,
  • stair railings and hand rails
  • safety net systems,
  • covers,
  • toe-boards,
  • fences,
  • barricades,
  • personal fall arrest systems.

The best form of protection depends on the situation. OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign and OSHA’s Fall Protection are good places for employers with questions about fall protection to start their research.  To  assist  in identifying , reducing, and eliminating construction-related hazards, OSHA has also published a number of Prevention Videos.

If you are a worker that believes your employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards,  employees can file a complaint online with OSHA or by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

We have experience with accidents involving falls and lack of fall protection, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one and need a Texas accident attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Defective Products, Products Liability, East Texas Attorney

Defective products can seriously injure and kill you.

We use “products” every day.  As consumers we count on manufacturers to manufacture and sellers to sell safe products.  In fact, most consumers probably assume the products they buy at local stores and dealerships are safe.  But that is not always the case. What is a defective product?  There are design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects.  This post discusses Texas products liability law which is controlled by Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

This best way to understand what Texas law requires is to look at the  instructions the Judge will give the jury in a Texas products liability or defective product case.

Design Defect

In Texas, a “design defect” is a condition of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous as designed, taking into consideration the utility of the product and the risk involved in its use. For a design defect to exist there must have been a safer alternative design.

Safer alternative design” means a product design other than the one actually used that in reasonable probability—

(1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the occurrence or injury in question without substantially impairing the product’s utility and

(2) was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of DEFENDANT by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.

Manufacturing Defect

A “manufacturing defect” in a defective product means that the product deviated in its construction or quality from its specifications or planned output in a manner that renders it unreasonably dangerous.   An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product, with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.

Marketing Defect

A “marketing defect” with respect to a defective product means the failure to give adequate warnings of the product’s dangers that were known or by the application of reasonably developed human skill and foresight should have been known or failure to give adequate instructions to avoid such dangers, which failure rendered the product unreasonably dangerous as marketed.

“Adequate” warnings and instructions mean warnings and instructions given in a form that could reasonably be expected to catch the attention of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances of the product’s use; and the content of the warnings and instructions must be comprehensible to the average user and must convey a fair indication of the nature and extent of the danger and how to avoid it to the mind of a reasonably prudent person.

An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.

Unfortunately, products liability and defective product cases are difficult and expensive allowing only cases with the most serious injuries and or deaths to proceed.  Even so, you can and should report potential defective products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If your potential defective product claim involves an automobile defect, please see our personal injury blog post Crashworthiness.  We have handled a number of automotive defect claims involving roof crush,  fuel fed fires, seat belts, defective window glass, rollover, tires, doors opening during crashes.  Among other defective product cases we have handled are cases involving medications, boats, lawn mowers, steering systems,  child restraints, chain saws, backup alarms and firearms.  If your potential claim concerns an aviation product, please see our personal injury blog post Aviation Accidents.

The defective product is important evidence in a products liability case.  Do not dispose, alter, or in any way spoil the defective product as evidence if you are considering legal action.

We have experience with products liability cases, and if you or your family member has been seriously injured or died as a result of a defective product and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Oilfield Accidents, Injuries and Deaths

Oilfield accidents causing injuries and deaths are a risk that all oilfield workers must face.  A job in the oilfield can be lucrative and rewarding, but safety must be kept at the forefront.

East Texas has a strong oil and gas industry which is growing even stronger with recent discoveries in the Haynesville Shale and new drilling techniques.  East Texas County Clerks’ offices have been full of land men and land women searching title.  Mineral owners have been signing new leases.  Oil and gas companies know they must drill prior to the termination of the leases.  This means work in the oil field.

Drilling rigs are expensive.  Oil and gas operators want the job done fast.  When oil and gas prices rise,  the push to “get it done” gets even harder.  If not managed correctly, this can lead to oilfield accidents with injuries and deaths.

Unfortunately, when the push to get it done causes an accident in the oilfield, the results can be catastrophic considering the pressures that are involved, the size of the equipment used, the heights of a drilling rig, the harsh environment in which the equipment and workers must operate and the power and electricity required to operate the rig and equipment – not to mention the fact that the oil or gas being sought is flammable.

The Deepwater Horizon Accident is a good example of what can go wrong.  BP’s September report and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement report concerning the accident are interesting to read.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement report

If you work in the oilfield, resist the push to “get it done quickly” and get it done safely.

We have experience with oilfield accidents, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

 

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Compensation

What is my personal injury or wrongful death claim worth?

This is the question asked by those with personal injuries or a wrongful death claim resulting from wrongful conduct, whether from negligence in a car accident or truck wreck, injury in the oilfield, or as a result of a defective product, etc..  It is the question that the Defendant, Insurance Adjuster and Defense Lawyer must consider in determining whether to settle a personal injury claim.

The answer to the question is that the claim is worth whatever the trier of fact (judge, jury or arbitrator) may ultimately decide after considering the elements of damages available in a particular claim – if their decision is allowed to stand after any available appeals are exhausted. Accordingly, documentation of personal injury damages is extremely important.

Every client is different.  Every claim is different.  Every judge and jury is different and every lawyer presenting the case is different.  Without a crystal ball, there is no certain answer.

Often, it is the uncertainty and the desire to control the outcome that leads to the settlement of cases.

Personal Injury Damages

You must understand what types of personal injury damages are available for your case (known by lawyers as the elements of damages).  Looking at the questions that will ultimately be decided by the trier of fact (judge or jury) is a great way to start understand what you may or may not be entitled to receive. In Texas, we have the Pattern Jury Charges, which are a good resource to see what the trier of fact will decide.

Generally, these are the elements to be considered in a Texas personal injury case:

Damages to Injured Person

  • Physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past.
  • Physical pain and mental anguish that, in reasonable probability,
    will be sustained in the future.
  • Loss of earning capacity sustained in the past.
  • Loss of earning capacity that, in reasonable probability, will be
    sustained in the future.
  • Disfigurement sustained in the past.
  • Disfigurement that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in
    the future.
  • Physical impairment sustained in the past.
  • Physical impairment that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained
    in the future.
  • Medical care expenses incurred in the past.
  • Medical care expenses that, in reasonable probability, will be incurred
    in the future.

Damages to the Spouse of an Injured Person

  • Loss of household services sustained in the past.
  • Loss of household services that, in reasonable probability, [Spouse of Injured Person] will sustain in the future.
  • Loss of consortium in the past.
  • Loss of consortium that, in reasonable probability, [Spouse of Injured Person] will sustain in the future.

Survival and Wrongful Death Damages

In Texas, the estate of a deceased or heirs may be able to recover compensation for the deceased under the Survival Statute.

Survival Damages

  • Pain and mental anguish.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

In addition, there is a Wrongful Death Statute that allows the spouse, children and parents of someone killed by a wrongful act to recover compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Wrongful Death Damages

  • Pecuniary loss sustained in the past.
  • Pecuniary loss that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the
    future.
  • Loss of companionship and society sustained in the past.
  • Loss of companionship and society that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the future.
  • Mental anguish sustained in the past.
  • Mental anguish that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the future
  • Loss of inheritance.

Exemplary Damages

In certain cases exemplary damages may be awarded as a penalty or by way of punishment but not for compensatory purposes. Exemplary damages include punitive damages.

There is much law on what and when personal injury and wrongful death compensation is available. This post is simply to give you are general idea of what types of damages may be available.  For further information on this topic, please  refer to the article by Stephen M. Horner. Assessing Economic Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation: The State of Texas. Journal of Forensic Economics 20 (1), 2007, pp. 49-71.

If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident, please do not hesitate to give Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Electrocution Attorney

Experienced Electrocution Attorney

Chris Jones has handled electrocution and electrical contact cases on both the Plaintiff and Defense sides of the docket. Using the experience learned defending the utility, we now represent the victims of electrocutions and electrical burns against Electric Utilities.

We recently successfully represented the family of a young man who was electrocuted on an oil rig, and another family of a man who was electrocuted while trimming trees.  We also recently represented a young  man who lost his arm when he contacted a distribution line that was hanging too low.

Early in hisdanger electricity career, Chris defended an electric utility against a case involving a young man who was electrocuted in his front yard while checking on his dog. The dog was whining in the rain. As it turned out, the dog was chained to a metal spike driven into the ground. Unfortunately, the spike was contacting live electrical wiring that once fed an electric light, and when the gentleman grabbed the chain, making all of the links come together, he and the dog were electrocuted. The case went to trial and resulted in a defense verdict, probably because the wiring was on the customer side of the meter, and the gentleman likely knew there was wiring in his front yard before he drove the stake into the ground. Chris also defended the utility in a trial where a utility distribution line fell on a residential service drop causing high voltage to blast through a home.

We know how to handle electrocution cases.  They are not easy cases and you need an attorney experienced in these cases.

One thing is for sure, and everyone asked in depositions agrees, electricity is dangerous! Not all electrical contracts are deadly, but electrical burns are painful and devastating injuries.  It needs to be treated with respect and the electric codes and electrical safety standards must be followed. The IEEE publishes the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). The NESC sets forth standards for the practical safeguarding of persons during the installation, operation, or maintenance of electric supply and communication lines and associated equipment. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the National Electrical Code (NEC). The purpose of the NEC is ” the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.” The NESC basically applies to electric supply (power) and communications utilities and is used primarily by utility engineers and utility lineman. The NEC covers wiring in buildings and is primarily used by engineers and electricians. At times, the NEC and NESC overlap. Safe work practices and compliance with OSHA regulations and use of safe equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions can reduce the risks of electricity. There are also electrical devices that may help reduce risks. The use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in the home and workplace should always be considered. Use a qualified electrician for electrical work. The discovery of electricity completely changed civilization. We use it every day. Even so, we need to respect it and do everything we can to make sure its only effects are beneficial, and not harmful or deadly.

East Texas Personal Injury Attorney

We have experience with cases involving electrocution and electrical contact accidents, and if you or one of your family members has been seriously injured or killed as a result of an electrical contact and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Workplace Injury – Texas Workers Compensation – The Exclusive Remedy?

Workplace Injury? If you have been injured on the job, you need to know whether your employer is covered by Texas Workers Compensation Insurance. Texas does not require employers to carry workers compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries.  You may search to determine whether your employer has workers’ compensation coverage by going to the Online Employer Workers’ Compensation Insurance Verification Search.  If the employer is covered, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has a list of Employee Frequently Asked Questions you may find helpful.  If you are an employer, you may find the TDI page Information for Employers helpful.  The TDI website has a number of useful resources and is worth visiting before and after a workplace injury.

If your employer is not covered by workers compensation insurance, some employers buy accident and health policies, employer indemnification agreements, and disability policies as cheaper alternatives to workers’ compensation. Even though these policies may provide benefits to an injured employee, Texas law does not recognize them as substitutes for workers’ compensation insurance and your employer will likely be considered a nonsubscriber.

The difference between a subscribing employer and a non-subscribing employer is significant. Nonsubscribing employers are subject to a lawsuit claiming negligence for a workplace injury or death. Subscribing employers are not. The Texas Workers Compensation Act provides:

Sec. 408.001. EXCLUSIVE REMEDY; EXEMPLARY DAMAGES.

(a) Recovery of workers’ compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy of an employee covered by workers’ compensation insurance coverage or a legal beneficiary against the employer or an agent or employee of the employer for the death of or a work-related injury sustained by the employee.

(b) This section does not prohibit the recovery of exemplary damages by the surviving spouse or heirs of the body of a deceased employee whose death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.

In short, if the employer is a subscriber, workers’ compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy against the employer, unless the employee dies as a result of an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.

For nonsubscribers it is completely different. The employee can file suit against the employer claiming negligence and the employer loses some of its defenses:

Sec. 406.033. COMMON-LAW DEFENSES; BURDEN OF PROOF.

(a) In an action against an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage to recover damages for personal injuries or death sustained by an employee in the course and scope of the employment, it is not a defense that:

(1) the employee was guilty of contributory negligence;

(2) the employee assumed the risk of injury or death; or

(3) the injury or death was caused by the negligence of a fellow employee.

(b) This section does not reinstate or otherwise affect the availability of defenses at common law, including the defenses described by Subsection (a).

(c) The employer may defend the action on the ground that the injury was caused:

(1) by an act of the employee intended to bring about the injury; or

(2) while the employee was in a state of intoxication.

(d) In an action described by Subsection (a) against an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, the plaintiff must prove negligence of the employer or of an agent or servant of the employer acting within the general scope of the agent’s or servant’s employment.

The Texas workers’ compensation statutes are located in Texas Labor Code, Title 5. Workers’ Compensation.

The statutes above deals with claims against the employer. The on the job injury or death may be the result of the wrongful conduct of someone other than the employer or as a result of a defectively designed products or warnings. Whether the employer is a subscriber or not, a lawsuit can be filed against a negligent third-party or based upon a defective products.  For example, many workplace injuries involve machine guarding, or lack thereof, lock out tag out, OSHA violations, NEC and NESC violations, etc…

The Workers Compensation Statute provides:

Sec. 417.001. THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY.

(a) An employee or legal beneficiary may seek damages from a third-party who is or becomes liable to pay damages for an injury or death that is compensable under this subtitle and may also pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under this subtitle.

(b) If a benefit is claimed by an injured employee or a legal beneficiary of the employee, the insurance carrier is subrogated to the rights of the injured employee and may enforce the liability of the third-party in the name of the injured employee or the legal beneficiary.

Section (b) deals with subrogation which may allow the insurance carrier to recover all or some of the benefits it has paid out of any third-party settlement or judgment.

The above are excerpts from a detailed Act and the issues that arise in on the job accidents and injuries can be complicated. The point of this post is that there may be remedies available in addition to workers compensation benefits or a claim against an employer.

If you are a worker that believes your employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards,  employees can file a complaint online with OSHA or by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Please also see our posts concerning workplace injuries – Accidents in the Workplace – Fall Protection, Defective Products, Products Liability and Lockout Tagout.

If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

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