Texas Law Does Not Require Background Checks or Evidence of Convictions for Liability



Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers - Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 16, 2017 – A recent Texas lawsuit demonstrates that a company was negligent in knowingly providing an unsafe workplace.

In April of 2015, a young man was killed on-the-job at a metal products company by a co-worker. The deceased was shot with a 38-caliber handgun. The killer is currently serving 45-years in jail.

According to court documents, the convicted killer had pulled a gun on workers at a job prior to being hired at the metal products company and had waved a gun at workers in a local restaurant as well. The company was sued for failing to properly do a background check. It was alleged that had the metal products company completed a background check the convicted individual’s prior charges and convictions would have been revealed and the deceased would still be alive.

It was further alleged in the statement of claim that the metal products company was negligent in knowingly providing an unsafe workplace, failing to conduct a criminal records search and not paying attention to multiple complaints from other workers about the shooter being unstable and erratic at work.

“Ultimately, the wrongful death lawsuit resulted in a $1.2 million verdict,” said Austin wrongful death attorney, Brooks Schuelke. “Either way, it was likely the case would have resulted in a win for the plaintiff, as Texas law does not require background checks or evidence of prior convictions to determine liability.” The law also bars exemplary damages when criminal acts cause an injury, even if the person who perpetrated the criminal act was invited onto a company’s premises or invited by a co-worker.

There are two ways in which a criminal homicide is different from a wrongful death claim. In a wrongful death claim, surviving family or a personal representative, must file the claim. In such cases, liability is determined solely in terms of monetary damages. However, in a criminal case, a prosecuting attorney files charges and a guilty verdict may result in fines, imprisonment or probation. In Texas, a wrongful death claim may be filed even if there are criminal charges in the works.

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