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Houston Texas Accident Lawyers

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Super Lawyers
Mr. Padilla was named a Texas Super Lawyer (Rising Star)(2006) by Thompson Reuters as seen in Texas Monthly Magazine
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers

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Super Lawyers
Mr. Padilla was named a Texas Super Lawyer (Rising Star)(2006) by Thompson Reuters as seen in Texas Monthly Magazine
Wrongful Death Attorneys

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Super Lawyers
Mr. Padilla was named a Texas Super Lawyer (Rising Star)(2006) by Thompson Reuters as seen in Texas Monthly Magazine
OSHA recently issued one willful violation and one serious violation safety citation to a Florida roofing company following an inspection of a Pompano Beach worksite.   OSHA found that the employer exposed employees to fall hazards while they removed roofing materials without fall protection.  OSHA also found that the employer exposed workers to a struck-by hazard while working in close proximity to a crane. OSHA conducted its inspection as part of a regional emphasis program for falls in construction.  For more information on workplace injuries, visit www.houstontexaspersonalinjurylawyers.com/workplace-hazards.
The Department of Labor found significant wage and hour violations by a roofing company in Denver Colorado, ordering the employer to pay over $140,000 in back wages to employees for unpaid overtime and unpaid minimum wages.
The Department of Labor found significant wage and hour violations for failure to pay overtime after investigating a home building company in Arizona.  The Wage and Hour Division in Phoenix found that the home builder had misclassified employees as independent contractors, illegally avoiding payment of overtime.  The employer agreed to pay back wages and civil money penalties.
Pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations issued by the United States Department of Labor, under the Fair Labor standards Act, breaks of twenty minutes or less must be paid:
Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, are common in the industry. They promote the efficiency of the employee and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be counted as hours worked.  Compensable time of rest periods may not be offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or on-call time.

29 C.F.R. § 785.18 (emphasis added). This provision requires that breaks in duration of 20 minutes or less be compensated.  See, e.g., Espinosa v. 953 Associates LLC, 280 F.R.D. 113, 121 n. 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing to 29 C.F.R. § 785.18) (“Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes . . . . must be counted as hours worked.”).  More information on unpaid overtime and wage and hour viovlations can be found at Padilla & Rodriguez, LLP’s website, unpaidovertimelawyer.com.
OSHA has fined a Cypress, Texas company after a December 13 trench collapse in Cypress Texas resulted in a fatality and an injury.  Two workers were working in an excavated trench when one wall of the trench collapsed.   No trench box was used.   OSHA considers excavation and trenching to be among the most hazardous construction operations.

More information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.houstontexaspersonalinjurylawyers.com/trench-injuries or www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html
The United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s investigation into the child care industry in Kentucky uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of Federal wage law, the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL’s  ongoing initiative in Kentucky seeks to remedy widespread labor violations and promote compliance throughout the child care industry. The DOL found a number of common violations by employers including failing to pay childcare workers for attendance at mandatory training courses, misclassifying childcare workers as exempt from overtime requirements, paying those workers straight time instead of time and a half for overtime, and failing to keep legally required records of overtime worked.   More information on unpaid overtime is available on the Padilla & Rodriguez, LLP website, unpaidovertimelawyer.com.

Raising health and safety awareness in the oil and gas industry is the mission of US Labor Department's OSHA “stand down”  in Humble, Texas.


The stand down was intended to raise health and safety awareness in the oil and gas industry.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network (STEPS) sponsored a national stand down intended to raise awareness and to promote safety and health practices at United States oil and gas exploration sites and production sites. The event was held at the Humble Civic Center in Humble.
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Numerous websites discuss coping with unthinkable traumatic injuries and accidents.  For example:

Coping with Traumatic Burns:
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The Department of Labor recently recovered  $292,000 in back-wages and liquidated damages for  205 current and former employees of a California automobile detailer, in addition to recovering civil money penalties of $34,408 from that employer. The DOL Wage and Hour Division found that the Southern California company willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. The DOL investigation determined that the company made illegal deductions from employees' wages, did not pay workers time and one half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, and misclassified some nonexempt employees as exempt from overtime pay.
The United States Department of Labor recently recovered over $130,000 in back wages for 27 laborers and mechanics of a Detroit-based building company.  The DOL found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including failure to pay mandatory fringe benefits and maintain accurate records.

Volume 5: Documenting head-light, tail-light and turn signal illumination in vehicle collisions


Accident reconstruction experts can examine light bulbs from vehicles involved in a collision for hot or cold shock.  This may provide information about which light bulbs were illuminated before the collision.

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Volume 4: Proving causal factors in the car accident, heavy truck collision or 18-wheeler personal injury case with an accident reconstruction expert


In the car collision, heavy truck collision and 18-wheeler collision personal injury case, the accident reconstruction expert can help determine causal factors.  The accident reconstruction expert may visit the scene and document and/or measure skid marks, gouge marks, and other evidence.  Sometimes this evidence is available from photographic evidence.  Distances can also be measured at the scene using survey equipment.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that covered employees be paid time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week.  A Department of Labor investigation conducted in Houston found that the Harris County Hospital District did not include certain workers’ incentive pay when calculating overtime premiums, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.   As a result of the investigation, the Harris County Hospital District agreed to pay over 4 million dollars in back pay to affected employees who worked as nurses, lab technicians, respiratory care practitioners, X-ray technicians, medical technologists, registered pharmacy technicians, eligibility auditors and security officers. The Hospital District also agreed to pay liquidated damages for the violations.

Volume 3: Documenting vehicle contact in motor vehicle wrecks using forensic paint evidence – matching paint samples through multilayer microscopic and elemental analysis


In motor vehicle collisions, heavy truck collisions and 18-wheeler collisions, forensic paint evidence can help determine who hit whom or even identify a hit and run vehicle.  Modern paints transfer in various ways.  Modern paints may not rub onto the vehicle struck, but a colliding vehicle may leave behind microscopic paint fragments.  Also, gouge marks in a contact vehicle may reveal bottom layers of the paint that are different in color from the surface color of both vehicles involved in the collision, making it impossible for gross examination of paint marks to determine the color of the other vehicle involved in the collision.

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Effective January 1, 2015, a new United States Department of Labor rule will extend the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to essential home care assistances such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants, making these workers eligible for overtime premium pay for all hours worked over forty in any given week. More information can be obtained at www.dol.gov/whd/homecare.

Volume 2: Documenting the accident scene with photogrammetry


Car Accidents, Truck Accidents and Motorcycle Accidents


Photogrammetry is an engineering tool or practice used to determine the geometric properties (or three dimensional measurements of distances, depths and relative angles) of objects from two-dimensional photographic images.   This process is not only used by NASA to accurately measure objects from photographs,  but is also widely used in car or vehicle accident reconstruction to determine scene measurements – from the length of skid marks, to distances between vehicles and relative articulation of the vehicles involved in the collision.
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There are numerous types of personal injury cases.  A description of some general categories follows.

Motor vehicle collisions/18-wheeler wrecks


Motor vehicle collisions, whether high speed or low impact, can result in serious injuries.  Often victims rush to settle with the other driver’s insurance company before they know the full extent of their injury.  What at first may seem like a back strain may really be a herniated disc or an annular tear and may require surgery.
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Volume 1: The Electronic Data Recorder, or “EDR," documenting vehicle dynamics, speed, breaking and occupant dynamics.


Many automobiles are now equipped with event data recorders, or EDRs, sometimes referred to as “the black box.” The "EDR" is a device installed in a car, 18-wheeler or heavy truck designed to record technical vehicle and occupant information in car crashes. The information recorded is usually for a brief period of time before, during and after a crash (however, data recorders in 18-wheeler tractors often record historical data such as driver hard braking events). For instance, EDRs may record (1) the vehicle dynamics before the crash and system status before the crash, (2) driver inputs, before, during and after the crash, such as breaking, throttle application and acceleration/deceleration, (3) seat belt use or non-use and airbag deployment, and (4) post-crash information such as the activation of an automatic collision notification system.

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The Department of Labor found that a Houston based employer, one of the largest land drilling rig manufacturers in the world, misclassified its roughnecks and crane operators as independent contractors and avoided legally required overtime pay.  Under the law, whether someone is an employee entitled to overtime pay, or an independent contractor not entitled to overtime pay, is determined by the actual relationship between the worker and the business, not by the label given by the company.

The Department of Labor Houston District Office found that the employer improperly labeled workers, employed as roughnecks and crane operators, as independent contractors. The firm paid the workers straight time for hours worked over 40 in a week, rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek as required by Federal law. According to the Department of Labor, Employees worked as many as 80 hours per week at the company’s Houston facility, without any overtime compensation, as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA.
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*John M. Padilla is licensed in Texas and California. The firm's other attorneys are licensed in Texas.

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