Workers are often taken advantage of in the State of Texas. We represented a worker in San Antonio whom was hired to do a job and given very little information regarding the dangers associated with it. The contractor knew the structure was rotten and put him on the roof anyway. His fall when the roof collapsed broke both of his legs and limited his ability to ever work again.
Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
One of the more common questions we get from new clients or people that are meeting with us, especially in South Texas in San Antonio is whether or not somebody has a claim or a right to file a lawsuit or a claim if they’re undocumented. In Texas, they have a claim. If somebody is injured through no fault of their own, the negligent party or the wrongdoer doesn’t get to say, “Well, since you’re undocumented, you don’t have a right to recourse.” Luckily, in Texas, that’s not the law.
One case I worked on, involved a construction worker, a man in his middle age who was working with a company that did a lot of odd jobs purported to be a roofing company, but when you dig into it, maybe they weren’t. They had been hired by a house flipping group to replace the roof on a house that was being flipped. If you know about house flippers, some of them cut corners, and some of them do work as cheap as possible. That’s what we were dealing with in this case. They hired a group that didn’t know what they were doing.
My client had been called by a friend, a friend who knew his cousin and asked if he could come help on a roofing job. My client was not a skilled worker or a skilled roofer, he was a laborer and he was told to start tearing off shingles. It was probably his third time ever on a roof. While he was tearing off shingles, a portion of the roof collapsed. While the house flipper had a copy of the inspection report showing rotted wood and rot under the roof, they had not shared that information. My client fell off the roof when it collapsed, and he suffered what has to be the worst lower leg injury I’ve ever seen in my career. A lower leg injury that the treating trauma surgeon said had an outcome over life that was less positive than people with diabetes, AIDS, cancer. It’s a lower leg injury that forever will alter his mobility, his ability to work, and his quality of life.
As expected, the house flipping company tried to blame everybody but themselves. At first, they said there was no inspection. Then there was an inspection and they said that it was made available. Then they said it wasn’t made available, but they would have made it available if anyone had asked. They also tried to say they didn’t do anything to control the manner and method of the work of the roofing company even though all the roofers said that the house flipping owner got on the roof, told them what to do, when to do it, and what order to do it. Specifically for us, he told them what portion to tear off of the roof that collapsed. The part of the roof that collapsed wasn’t part of the original structure, but with some add-on patio that somebody had added on, and they’d never done it correctly. That was in the inspection report as well.
After we were able to pull back all these layers of frivolous defenses, we were able to get a full measure of justice for our client who was injured on the job through no fault of his own.