93.1 KISS FM – Ask A Lawyer, Part 9

KISS-FM's Ask A Lawyer Segment with Michael J. Gopin

Announcer

Waking up with Mike and Tricia on 93.1 Kiss Fm.

Tricia

Okay. We’re back with our “Ask a lawyer” segment with Michael Gopin. So, so far we’ve talked about things like common law marriage. We’ve talked about whether or not you are in a lawsuit and deserve a settlement. Also a missed toll invoice from out of the county. And then now we’re talking about slip and fall accidents, which is something that Mr. Gopin takes care of a lot. So this last question comes from Josefina [SP] and she said, “My daughter fell at her job about three months ago and broke her ankle. Her employer doesn’t want to cover any of her medical bills. They also let her go after two weeks because the doctor said that she would need to stay off her ankle for at least a month. Is there anything we can do about this?”

Michael Gopin

Yes, there is. But this is actually a more complicated question than you would think. The first thing that needs to be answered is, is there Texas workers’ comp? If there’s Texas workers’ comp, the law is different if there’s no comp. If there is comps, you would have to follow a Texas worker’s comp claim, and then she would have protection also for that wrongful termination type case. If there is no workers’ comp and then it’s called a non-subscriber case, then it would be a direct case against the employer. In that case, you’d have to be able to prove that the employer did something negligent that caused the slip and fall and the broken ankle. Just because you’re hurt at work when they’re a non subscriber, doesn’t automatically mean that you’re entitled to have your employer pay for your loss wages and medical bills and things like that. So assuming that it’s a non-subscriber case, she would have to show at least 1% fault for the employer that caused this accident. The employee has a little bit better benefits in this situation because they could be 99% at fault for the accident and the employer just 1% and the employee wins. On the downside for this, a non-subscriber cases, you cannot file a wrongful termination case. So if they don’t have workers’ comp, Texas is a at-will state and you’re not protected from the termination. So it would be strictly injury type claim. So that’s kind of how it’s broken down.

Mike

So then the only thing really that you could go after them legally would be to pay you back for the medical bills.

Michael Gopin

Medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, impairment, future medical bills, things like that. Yes.

Tricia

Wow.

Mike

That doesn’t sound too shabby. I mean, you know even when…

Michael Gopin

That sounds like a serious injury if she broke her ankle.

Tricia

And it has to be down for a month, that’s bad.

Mike

Like what would be a situation where they would be 1% negligible?

Michael

Well, you know, let’s say a traffic case. You’re driving and someone runs a red light but the other guy, you know, should have been able to stop, didn’t, maybe was going too fast. So they’re a little bit at fault. Not more than the other guy, but there’s still some percentage of fault. So if it was a slip and fall case, maybe they should have cleaned it up sooner. You know, the employee, you know, saw it there and still fell anyway, but the employer was a little bit responsible for it because they didn’t have a safe place to work, safe environment. And so therefore the employee would be in good shape for that lawsuit.

Mike

What if you were stepping ankle rolled on you and you sprawled all over the parking lot?

Michael Gopin

Well, most likely in that situation, is just an accident and it wouldn’t be the responsibility of the employer.

Mike

Okay, all right. So that’s what you mean by having to prove that they were at least 1%, you know, responsible for that.

Michael Gopin

Correct. But then if there was Texas workers’ comp insurance, then it’s automatic and you would be able to recover no matter what.

Mike

Yeah, yeah. But this one doesn’t sound like there is though, does it?

Michael

Not from the way I read the question, but perhaps they’re not aware if there is Texas workers’ comp or not because the employer doesn’t really have to go out of their way to, you know, to file the claim for you. That’s your duty and burden, so.

Mike

Wow, all right. Okay. So all of these types of scenarios definitely worth the free consultation for Michael Gopin, if you’re in these kinds of situations, absolutely. Thank you again, Michael Gopin very informative as usual.

Michael

Thank you so much.

Tricia

Thanks.

Mike

Michael Gopin “Ask a lawyer.” For more details on how to ask a lawyer, if you’ve got a question for a future show, we’ll do this about a month from now or how to get a hold of Mr. Gopin, call us at 880-93-93, or log on to kisselpaso.com. Michael Gopin “Ask a lawyer.” Thank you, sir.

Michael Gopin

Have a great day, guys.

Announcer

Where Mike and Tricia Start your day. Today’s best mix helps you through it. KSII El Paso, a Townsquare Media station.

Song: Lets go.