I represent injured workers who have been hurt on the job and who are employed by a Texas company. Some of my clients have workers' compensation claims. Others have a non-subscriber cause of action. In Texas, workers' compensation insurance coverage is not required by employers. Those employers not covered under workers' compensation are called non-subscribers.
If your employer pays for workers' compensation insurance, you are entitled to medical care and sometimes to money if you are hurt on the job, regardless of fault. You can't sue your employer over the accident. You have insurance coverage for "reasonable and necessary" medical care and "temporary income" benefits. Each case is different and discussing the facts of your situation with an attorney is the best way to learn what your rights are.
If your employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, and is a "non-subscriber" you can make a claim for damages resulting from an on-the-job accident. First of all, you must prove that your employer's negligence was one of the causes of your accident. Second, since your employer is not required to make on-going payments, you can demand for past and future medical costs, past and future loss of wages, past and future pain and suffering, and for disfigurement.
A non-subscriber claim is really just a regular injury claim such as a car accident case or a medical negligence case or a products liability case. The law requires that if these types of claims are not settled or a lawsuit filed within two years of the injury, then you can no longer make the claim. Some employers may offer disability insurance. Your rights and responsibilities under under this kind of insurance depends on several variables.
Related site: Texas Trial Lawyers Association
I represent people injured because of the negligence of others. This includes car accidents - from minor fender-benders to tragic situations.
My job as an attorney is to explain your rights, to investigate your claim, including gathering medical records and other necessary evidence. If necessary, I file the lawsuit and we continue to work toward settlement or trial. Most of these claims I handle on a contingency fee basis which means I receive a percentage of what you recover. Court costs, litigation expenses, and medical bills are paid from your share of the recovery. If there is no recovery, you will not be responsible for any court costs or litigation expenses, except for unpaid medical bills.
I often hear complaints that "people sue too much" or "people make up claims." I hear references to "the McDonald's case" in which a woman burned by the coffee was awarded a large judgement by a jury. I don't believe someone who is making up a claim should be handed money. I do beleive that in our system of justice a person injured as a result of someone's negligence has every right to pursue that claim and to ask for monetary damages based on the facts of that case. The extreme cases make good headlines while we don't hear about everyday justice.
Family Law Matters
I represent people who have decided to divorce their spouse, or have been sued for divorce. Sometimes a parent is trying to increase or decrease child support or to enforce rights to visitation. I bill for my services on an hourly basis plus expenses such as court costs, copies, investigators, and travel.
Divorce and custody are not issues to be taken lightly. An attorney friend of mine who reconciled after spending thousands of dollars to his divorce attorney suggested that it should be as hard to get married as it is to get divorced. In other words, saying "I do" should not be taken lightly. Trying to work through your problems should be your first concern. But when you have decided that the marriage cannot be saved, a divorce attorney can help make sure division of property, child custody, support and violation issues are properly addressed.
Wills and Probate
I believe in a will as a way to designate guardianship for your child and to clearly make your wishes known on passing along your property. People with small estates often need a simple will and I charge a flat fee for that service. In talking with you about your estate and your needs I may refer you to attorneys who deal with the more complex issues of estate planning.
Probating a will in Texas, especially for small estates, does not have to be an expensive, complicated matter. I bill by the hour for these services.
Social Security Disability
If you have a disability -- from an illness or accident -- that is severe and keeps you from working, you may qualify for a federal disability program. The Social Security Administration oversees two programs: Disability Income Benefits (DIB) and Supplimental Security Income (SSI). They both have the same requirements for proving your disability is severe enough to qualify. If you have paid into the Social Security system from working, (generally if you have worked five out of the last ten years, you have eaned enough quarters), you can apply for Disability. SSI is a welfare program. In order to qualify to apply, you and your household must have little to no income or property.
You don't need an attorney unless you've been turned down for disability and/or SSI. The appeals process has several steps. I represent claimants on a contingency fee basis for Reconsiderations, Hearings Before the Administration Law Judge, and appeals to the Appeals Council. It's important to remember that there are only 60 days to appeal a denial, so contact an attorney as soon as you receive a denial.
To apply for Disability or SSI, call 1-800-772-1213 which is the Social Security Administration. They answer the telephone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are usually very helpful.