Fort Worth, TX asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for Texas

Q: My husband was an owner operator truck driver we live in tx his employers in Oklahoma. He had a heart attack while on a

Load in Virginia. It was normal not to hear from him for a couple of days because he was lroably out of our cell range . the nigjt came and I befin to worry so much son's all of us plus his friends despertly trying reaching him my.son called.his employer they told him over tbe ohone their dad had passed away . My husbans had called them many daya earlier to tell them he was goimg to lay down wasnt feeling gois at all dispatcher made.notes of hia call they were required to communicate daily no questions about it his load never was delivered in the 3rd day tbey try to reach him his truck was completely covered by gps as well.but dispatcher says they couldnt find him they arw lying and I know in my heart they r respinsible for not helping him when he called days earlier to say he wasnt feeling good they coldly told mt son was missing and that virfinia state police had found him deceased after 3 days of laying there all alone was in jan 2017 much more to story jan 2017

1 Lawyer Answer
Roy Lee Warren
Roy Lee Warren
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • San Marcos, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Thanks for your question; I will try to give you the best answer I can given the complexity. I am very sorry for your loss and because your situation is complicated you need to seek legal counsel, but I am sure you already know that so I can give you a better answer than that, right?

Before going to college and law school I was an over the road trucker, putting my wife through nursing school (then she put me through law school).

First you indicate he was the owner/operator of the truck so it could be that he was an independent contractor but that is not just a simple determination. It depends on the factual details and decided on a case by case basis. Next we look further, for the question; where is the proper venue? Because you live in Texas you may need to look to Texas law for a decision as to whether he was an employee. That does not end the question as to whether he was an employee and therefore covered by workers' compensation. Texas WC law is difficult to prove a causal relationship between employment and a heart attack and you must have an expert medical opinion to prove the job was "a substantial contributing factor, rather than the natural progression of a disease".

Another issue that is very important in Texas where a death is concerned is whether the employer was "grossly negligent" because if so you may be able to recover for much more than mere wc benefits. Please speak with a lawyer licensed to practice in Texas that is well versed in personal injury as well as wc law. I wish you all the best and I hope I have help you at least in some small manner.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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