• November 01, 2022

Richard Garza Killed in Work Accident at ExxonMobil in Beaumont, TX

Beaumont, TX -- October 28, 2022, Richard Garza was killed after a rail car accident which occurred at the ExxonMobil facility.

Preliminary details said that the incident happened just after midnight at the ExxonMobil plant for blending and packaging, located along Sycamore Street. The cause of the accident is unclear at this time. Officials say only that 66-year-old Richard Garza was working as a contractor when something occurred with a rail car which resulted in fatal injuries. No other injuries were reported. Officials have yet to release additional details.

Commentary on Richard Garza Work Accident at ExxonMobil in Beaumont

Unfortunately, people don't give accidents like this enough attention. A lot of folks just think it's all for OSHA and workers' comp to sort out. That's often a big part of a deadly work accident, but Texas has unique legal factors to consider if victims and families are going to get the resolution they truly deserve.

One thing to consider is that companies are not required to subscribe to workers' comp in Texas. If an employer is a non-subscriber, they can be held accountable through the courts for negligence which causes someone's injury or death. But even when protected by workers' comp, there can be exceptions.

Richard Garza Killed in Work Accident at ExxonMobil in Beaumont, TX

One concerns gross negligence. That basically means negligence so bad that it "shocks the senses." An example would be a case I handled a while back where a man fell to his death because his supervisor and a co-worker got into a fight by a cherry picker's controls, causing the bucket to dump the victim out onto the street. They then tried to buy a safety vest and put it on his dying body before calling for help. Few people, if anyone, can hear that and think a company deserves to enjoy the full restrictions of the workers' comp system.

Another common possible exception is when multiple companies are involved. Generally speaking, workers' comp only protects employers from their own employees. If one of their workers makes a mistake which injures someone from another company, they may be liable for that beyond the confines of workers' comp. Could it be something like that happened here?

I certainly can't offer further information about this specific tragedy unless I was looking at my own independent investigations. What I do know, however, is the devastation this sort of thing causes to a family. That's why it's important the public understands that they and those victims and families have rights. They simply need to take the steps to pursue those rights as soon and as prudently as possible.

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