Dallas Law Firm Blog

Texas Woman Sues Husband’s Employer for Wrongful Death

Employer for Wrongful Death A woman brought a lawsuit against a Delaware-based company based on alleged negligence. She filed the suit against Vyve Broadband LLC in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. She has hired at least one Dallas personal injury attorney to help her with her case. She argues that the company breached their duty of care to her husband when he was electrocuted and killed in Bowie County, Texas on October 14, 2014. A high-voltage power line came in contact with her husband, killing him. He was acting within the scope of his employment at the time, so she has the right to sue his employer on his behalf for wrongful death.

The suit argues that Vyve should have taken steps to prevent the dangerous working conditions where her husband was injured. She argues that the equipment around him and the equipment that he was using should have been insulated to protect against potential electrocution. She also argues that they failed to follow required safety procedures and implement policies that would have ensured her husband’s safety. She further argues that the company did not furnish proper equipment, machinery, and tools, and they failed to employ competent employees to meet required safety regulations.

Suing an Employer for Wrongful Death

As a general rule, any time that someone is injured at work, they will have access to the state’s workers’ compensation system. However, Texas does not require employers to “subscribe” to the workers’ compensation program. Where the employer does subscribe, employees enjoy a no-fault system that basically provides payments for their injuries. The calculation for this system is based on large part on the lost wages that the employee suffers because of their inability to work. If the employer does not subscribe to the workers’ compensation program, then that employer would be subject to a wrongful death suit or personal injury lawsuit.

If the employee dies at work where the employer subscribes to the workers’ compensation program, then there may be very little that the family can do regarding a wrongful death suit. This is because the calculation, which centers on missed time from work, varies significantly in a wrongful death situation. However, the family may be able to sue for punitive damages if the injury occurred because of some deliberate act on the part of the employer, but this situation is rare.

Gross Negligence and Workers’ Compensation

The other avenue that the family may have is if the employer displayed “gross negligence,” which is an extremely egregious form of negligence (carelessness). In those situations, the family can recover any workers’ compensation benefits that may be available and punitive damages. This is likely the theory that the wife is using in the case against Vyve. She is arguing that the company did not follow or create safety policies, and that makes Vyve’s conduct on par with gross negligence.

Generally, a case based on gross negligence for wrongful death in Texas should meet the following requirements:

  • The employer’s act or omission created an extreme risk
  • The employer had reason to know that their conduct would create this extreme risk
  • The employer continued with their conduct with a disregard to the worker’s safety

If a loved one has been killed at work in Dallas, you have legal options. Talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as practical.