The Morris Law Firm Blog

April 22, 2014

Texas Workers’ Compensation Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 11:12 pm

Texas work related injuries that are handled by the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation will use your Average Weekly Wage to calculate your disability benefits and impairment benefits.  If your AWW is miscalculated by just a few dollars per week, you could lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your claim.

You generally calculate Average Weekly Wage by adding up your gross salary for the thirteen weeks prior to your injury then divided by 13 to get an average.  This calculation should not only include your wage, but also any fringe benefits (i.e. bonuses, insurance, housing, food, clothing, etc.), that are discontinued after the accident.

If there are not thirteen weeks of employment prior to the date of injury, a similar employee may be used or an agreement between the parties.  If you question your average weekly wage, you may request a DWC-3 form which your employer should have provided to the insurance carrier.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

April 21, 2014

As a United States Citizen, Which relatives can I petition to become Permanent Residents?

Filed under: Immigration — Tags: , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 9:12 pm

Citizens of the United States may petition for their:

-Husband/wife

-Your children

If the citizen is 21, they may apply for their:

-Parents

-Brothers/Sisters

After you file the petition for your relative, they will be place in order of your filing date and their country category.  Immediate relatives do not have to wait at all (Parents, spouse and unmarried children under 21). Generally, when your relative is found eligible, they may bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.

If you petition for your relatives, you accept financial responsibility for them.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

Texas Workers’ Compensation Impairment Ratings

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 5:16 pm

If you suffered a work related injury in Texas and your employer is a subscriber to the Texas Workers’ Compensation system, at some point you will receive an impairment rating.  Most of the litigation at the administrative level includes disputes over the injured workers’ impairment rating.

Your impairment rating will be provided on a DWC-69 form.  This form is filled out by the doctor who does the examination.  Your impairment is calculated by using the Fourth Edition of the American Medical Association’s Guide to Impairment Ratings.  Each injured body part or condition should be included in the impairment rating.

If you are not in agreement with your impairment rating, it must be disputed before the deadline, or it may become final.  As soon as you receive a DWC-69 form which places you at maximum medical improvement and gives you an impairment rating, have it reviewed to make sure it was done correctly.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

How soon should I hire an attorney after a potentially criminal activity?

Filed under: Criminal — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 3:36 pm

About six months ago I got a call shortly after 1:00 AM in the morning.  The person of the phone had just been involved in a shooting.  The police were on the way.

I was able to arrive at the scene shortly after the police.  I was not allowed to speak to my client.  But, I was able to start gathering information.  The detective in charge let me know the person that my client shot would live and that there was a person at the scene with my client.  By 8:00 AM we had our private investigators gathering information from the witnesses and the scene.

As a result of prompt action we were able to gather evidence within 24 hours that would not have been available after a couple of days.  This evidence provided proof that our client was defending a victim of an assault and that he was not a criminal but a hero.

With the evidence we had collected, it was easy for the grand jury to no bill the case.  In addition to not being charged with a crime, my client stated that the police department at all times treated him in a polite and professional matter.

If you are a potential party at a crime scene, do not hesitate to retain an attorney right away.  The attorney will be able to help put a plan together which will make a very difficult time in your life a little easier.

Daniel L Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

February 26, 2014

WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO DURING ARREST

Filed under: Criminal — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 5:41 pm

If you are ever arrested, there are some common sense “Do’s and Don’ts” to remember.  It is not a pleasant experience, but you will get through it ok with a little patience.

DO:

-Remain polite.

-Provide your name, address, date of birth and politely let them know you are invoking your 4th Amendment right to remain silent. Then REMAIN QUIET.

-Request that your family or friend that is present take vehicle or personal items into their possession.

-Provide your Driver’s License.

-Stay alert on your ride to the jail (you are likely be video taped).

-Have your lawyer present whenever you are questioned.

-When they ask you to sign your property slip, read it to make sure what is on it.

DO NOT:

-Do not resist arrest (likely to add additional charges).

-Don’t let your friends or family argue or become combative with the police. (It could reflect upon your case).

-Do not try and explain your side to the officer (not likely to help and may hurt your defense).

-Get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene.

-Do not give them permission to search.  If there are witnesses express your refusal loud enough for the witnesses to hear.

-If the police are searching, do not assist them in the search.

-Do not allow police to enter your vehicle or home, even if it is to retrieve items such as your clothes or personal items (they will naturally search any area you allow them into).

-Do not talk about your case with your family and friends while you are in jail (assume your conversations are being monitored).

-Do not talk with other inmates about your case (you don’t know who they really are).

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrifirm.net

February 20, 2014

WHAT TO EXPECT IF ARRESTED IN TEXAS

Filed under: Criminal — Tags: , , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 3:38 pm

The U.S. economy is struggling.  Protests and civil disobedience are becoming more common.  With this there is a rise in arrests and criminal proceedings.

If you are expecting to be arrested, you should carry to forms of identification and the contact information for your attorney.  This will allow them to identify you and will make to process run smoother.  Leave the rest of your personal items (i.e. jewelry, money, etc.) at home.

It is likely that you will be handcuffed; allow the police to do their job without resistance.  Provide your name and address if asked, but no other information.  Many people try to explain to the arresting officer their side of the story.  Do not do this. The officer is doing his job and it is very unlikely that any information given to them will make them change their position.

Once at the jail, you will be placed in a holding cell.  Remain calm and quiet while in the cell.  The booking process generally takes from 4-6 hours.  However, it could take longer if it is busy.

When you are allowed to make phone calls or have visitors do not talk about the facts of your case.  Always assume that your conversations are being recorded.  Only talk when your attorney tells you to.

Wait for your arraignment.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

February 19, 2014

COURSE AND SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT TEXAS WORKERS COMPENSATION

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 8:42 pm

There are many hurdles to overcome when dealing with a Texas Workers’ Compensation claim.  One of the earliest hurdles is did the injury occur while in the course and scope of the injured workers’ employment.  Only injuries which occur in the “Course and Scope” of employment will be covered by a Texas workers compensation policy.

The Texas Labor Code defines Course and Scope as “an activity of any kind or character that has to do with and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer and that is performed by an employee while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer.”  The definition allows for a pretty broad scope of activities to be covered.  However, there is a lot of case law which helps to define “activity” and “furtherance of the affairs”.

If there are questions as regarding the course and scope of a particular activity, make sure to consult with a person experienced in Texas Workers’ Compensation law.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

February 6, 2014

TEXAS WORKERS COMPENSATION: MAXIMUM MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 7:42 pm

If you are dealing with a work related injury in Texas, you will quickly find out that the administrative system puts a lot of importance on dates.  There are many deadlines that must be complied with and dates which change how your claim will be handled.

Probably the most important and most litigated date is the date of Maximum Medical Improvement, commonly referred to as MMI.  The Division of Workers’ Compensation Rules define Maximum Medical Improvement as:

The earliest date after which, based on reasonable medical probability, further material recovery from or                             lasting improvement to an injury can no longer reasonably be anticipated

The date may not be after 104 weeks from the accrual date of disability, unless it is extended due to spinal surgery.

After the date of Maximum Medical Improvement, the injured worker is no longer eligible to receive Temporary Income Benefits.  You will receive your date of Maximum Medical Improvement on a DWC-69 form.  If you are not in agreement with this date, you have ninety days to dispute it from the date you receive it by verifiable means.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

January 27, 2014

TEXAS CRIMINAL DEFENSE; WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING DETAINED AND ARRESTED

Filed under: Criminal — Tags: , , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 8:45 pm

Why is the difference important?  The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Once a person in has been arrested their IV Amendment rights must be protected.  You are under arrest when a police officer takes you into custody and deprives you of your freedom.

The Supreme Court has held that a person’s Fourth Amendment right does apply during a Terry Stop.  In this stop a police officer may detain a suspect and conduct a light search of their body to check for weapons.  In this situation, the Court has held that the suspect is being detained and not necessarily arrested.

There is a fine line between being detained and arrested.  If you question any violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights, make sure you talk to a n experienced legal professional to understand your rights.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

TEXAS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION TEMPORARY INCOME BENEFITS (TIBS)

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 1:45 am

If you have a compensable injury as a Texas worker, your insurance policy provides for medical and indemnity benefits.  Medical benefits are payments to your medical providers and the indemnity benefits include money for lost earnings and impairments to the injured workers’ body.

Temporary Income Benefits are paid to an injured worker who, as a result of their compensable injury, is unable to obtain and retain employment at equivalent wages.  The injured worker is eligible to receive these benefits until the date of maximum medical improvement.

Temporary Income Benefits are calculated by averaging the thirteen weeks of employment prior to the date of injury.  They are calculated using the gross wages and fringe benefits provided by the employer.  If there are not thirteen weeks of prior wages, a same or similar employee may be used.  The employer should provide a DWC-3 form to calculate Temporary Income Benefits.

It is very common to find errors in the calculation of Temporary Income Benefits.  Have your Temporary Income Benefits reviewed by a person with experience in the Texas Workers’ Compensation system.

Daniel L. Morris, The Morris Law Firm, (214)357-1782, info@themorrisfirm.net

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