The Morris Law Firm Blog

April 30, 2012


I was in a Contested Case Hearing this week.  The issue before the hearing officer was maximum medical improvement and impairment rating.  We had a DWC-69 from the treating doctor that said the claimant was not yet at maximum medical improvement.  The insurance company had a 5% impairment from a post DD RME.

Finally, we had the DD (Designated Doctor), who had a DWC-69 with a 5%.  But in the body of his report, the DD stated that the actual impairment was a 15%.  He went on to state that his previous report included the causation of the full injury and all together it should be 15%.  The 5% was for what the insurance company’s letter stated was compensable.

Thank you Matt Lewis ( for sending me over the Appeal Panel number I needed during the hearing.  I remembered the nature of the case.  But, I couldn’t remember the number and I was with a new judge who didn’t know it.

Appeals Panel Decision No. 111393 states that although there was no DSC-69 in evidence to support the hearing officer’s decision.  However, the Appeals found that it was proper for the hearing officer to rely upon the evidence in the medical records.

With all the pressure that the Division of Workers Compensation is placing on the Designated Doctors, it is nice to see that we can actually look at the reports and not just a form with the blanks filled in.

Daniel L Morris

The Morris Law Firm


July 1, 2011

Texas Workers’ Compensation, Accident Resulting in Death

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Tags: , , , , , , , , — The Morris Law Firm 702 S. Beckley, Dallas, Texas, 75203 (214)357-1782 @ 4:54 pm

In Texas when an employer subscribes to the Texas Workers’ Compensation system, the Texas Labor Code states that the exclusive remedy (for the injury) is the recovery of the Workers’ Compensation benefits.  The only exception to this statute are claims against the employer for gross negligence resulting in death.

When an employee dies as the result of a workers’ compensation accident, their spouse, dependent children and possibly parents may be entitled death benefits as the result of being a beneficiary of the deceased worker.  If the accident resulting in the workers’ death resulted from the gross negligence of the employer, the surviving spouse or heirs the body have a cause of action against the employer.

You first must establish that the worker was in the “Course and Scope” of their employment when the accident occurred.  Next, for the workers’ compensation claim, the person seeking benefits must establish that they are a legal beneficiary of the deceased worker.  To have a separate “Cause of Action”, the surviving spouse or heir’s the body of the deceased must show that the death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.

Gross negligence is an act or omission “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 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.  What lifts ordinary negligence into gross negligence is the mental attitude of the defendant . . . The plaintiff must show that the defendant was consciously, i.e., knowingly, indifferent to his rights, welfare and safety.

If one of your family members has died as the result of a Texas Workers’ Compensation accident, make sure that you do not make any agreements with the insurance company or the employer before you consult with a licensed attorney.  If you have any questions about a Texas Workers’ Compensation claim, contact the Dallas office of the Morris Law Firm at (214)357-1782 or via email at

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