By JohnWorkplace Accidents, Wrongful Death

Here is an article recently published by local television station WFAA concerning a real tragedy – A 68-year-old  “vendor” at a local UPS facility fell into a trash compactor and was killed. 

Man who died after falling into trash compactor at UPS Dallas facility identified

Of course, it is very difficult to know right now exactly what happened.  From the article, “UPS officials said in a statement that the man was a vendor for UPS and that the company was ‘working with authorities’ to investigate the incident.”  OSHA and other government investigators no doubt will be examining what happened and issue a report. 

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Workplace injuries and deaths are far too common in Dallas and throughout Texas.  Employers have an obligation and duty to maintain a safe workplace and premises.  If they do not and an employee is injured due to lack of safety, then workers’ compensation will pay for the harm (if the employer is a workers’  compensation subscriber).  In that situation, workers’ compensation ordinarily is the “exclusive remedy.” 

But if an employee is killed while working on employer company premises, the employer can be liable for the death regardless of whether it subscribes to workers’ compensation.  Under Texas law exemplary damages are recoverable by the surviving spouse or heirs of a deceased employee “whose death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.”  “Gross negligence” is defined as following in Texas law:

“Gross negligence” means an act or omission:

                   (A)  which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others;  and

                   (B)  of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.

Basically, this means if the employer knows of a very dangerous condition on its premises, still allows it to exist, its employees must continue to work around it, and someone is killed because of the danger, punitive damages can be recovered against the employer.  This is a big risk for employers.  It is not difficult to envision employers who ignore real safety risks on their property due to cost savings and other factors.     

Contact Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP For Help

If you, one of your children, a loved one or a friend has been injured or killed in a workplace tragedy due to lack of safety or a danger or hazard, contact the Dallas workplace injury lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP.

Our main office is in Dallas, Texas but we handle these types of cases throughout Texas. Immediate legal representation is needed due to statute of limitations issues and the need to preserve evidence.

Do not wait!

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