The widow of a 26-year-old worker killed in an industrial accident last month has filed a lawsuit for herself and on behalf of the couple’s minor child against her husband’s employer. Virgel James Stoker died after he purportedly became entangled in machinery used to package company products at Dallas Group of America, Inc.’s Texas City facility. After her husband’s unexpected death, Fredreka Denise Hayes also obtained a temporary restraining order against the Dallas Group and Action Personnel Group, Inc. The restraining order prohibits the two companies from destroying or altering physical evidence within 50 yards of the location of Stoker’s death.
The Dallas Group primarily produces absorbent synthetic magnesium silicate products used by food manufacturers. It is also the only manufacturer of ammonium chloride in the nation. If ammonium chloride is ingested in significant amounts, it may cause tremors, confusion, drowsiness, and coma. Although the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still investigating the accident, Hayes’ lawsuit alleges Stoker was overcome by a toxic substance such as ammonium chloride prior to falling into the machinery.
In her lawsuit, Hayes accuses the Dallas Group and Action Personnel of failure to supervise, failure to provide proper training to employees operating the packaging equipment, failure to properly maintain and inspect the equipment, failure to have adequate safety measures and protocols in place, failure to properly ventilate the working environment, and failure to provide workers with necessary safety equipment.
Although most workplace injuries in Texas are covered by workers’ compensation laws, important exceptions exist. For example, an employer in Texas may be directly sued where a worker died as a result of a workplace injury, left behind financial dependents, and it can be demonstrated the employer committed gross negligence. An employer may also be sued if the employer does not subscribe to, or fails to keep its workers’ compensation policy current.
In Texas, only a spouse, child, or the parents of someone killed due to an individual or company’s negligent act may file a wrongful death claim. If you recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness, a qualified wrongful death lawyer can explain your options.
At the Law Firm of Carabin & Shaw, our knowledgeable Beaumont wrongful death attorneys understand the pain of losing someone you love in a tragic accident. Wrongful death claims can be difficult and complex. Our wrongful death lawyers will work diligently to maximize the compensation you obtain for your claim. Our law firm is available day and night to assist clients across the State of Texas including San Antonio, Austin, Beeville, El Paso, Beaumont, Rockport, Laredo, McAllen, and Seguin. To schedule a free initial consultation, call Carabin & Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260 today. You may also contact us through our website.
Construction Worker in Critical Condition After Equipment Lands on Top of Him Near Austin, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, March 1, 2012
OSHA launches death investigation at TC plant, by T. J. Aulds, Galveston County Daily News
Widow gets TRO to preserve evidence at scene of husband’s workplace death, by John Suayan, Southeast Texas Record
Worker dies after Texas City industrial accident, by The Associated Press