Injured contractor claims he should have been covered for wreck during work

Kelly Holleran Jun. 6, 2011, 8:34am

A Florida man claims the contractor to whom he paid "accidental insurance" premiums refuses to pay him for damages he sustained in a collision.

Francis C. Hoffman III filed a lawsuit May 26 in Jefferson County District Court against L.H. Chaney Materials.

In his complaint, Hoffman claims he owned several triple-axle dump trucks, which he used to haul material for L.H. Chaney. In turn, L.H. Chaney billed its customers for work Hoffman performed, then paid Hoffman for the work, according to the complaint.

However, before paying Hoffman, L.H. Chaney withheld money, including $25 per week for "accidental insurance," the suit states. Although Hoffman inquired multiple times as to what the accidental insurance covered, L.H. Chaney never supplied a response, the complaint says.

On May 27, 2009, Hoffman claims he sustained a shattered pelvis, shattered right hip, broken left hip and shattered right femur in a collision in Port Arthur. The collision occurred as Hoffman was on his way to pick up a truck to perform a job for L.H. Chaney.

Following the collision, Hoffman could not return to work and could not afford to pay his medical bills, according to the complaint.

Remembering his accidental insurance through L.H. Chaney, Hoffman contacted the company to ask it to pay his medical bills and lost earnings, the suit states.

However, L.H. Chaney refused to provide the requested money, saying the accidental insurance would only have covered Hoffman had he been driving the truck at the time of the collision, the complaint says.

"Defendant breached its duty to Plaintiff to procure insurance that would cover Plaintiff from injuries and damages sustained by Plaintiff while he was working in Texas," the suit states.

In his complaint, Hoffman seeks actual damages, plus additional damages allowed by the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Insurance Code, attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Steven C. Barkley of Beaumont will be representing them.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E190-113

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