Husband killed on the job, widow sued by late husbands insurance company
Tyler, TX (KETK) — The wedding band that hangs around her neck, photographs, and memories are all Crystal Davis has to remember her late husband Wayne. "Even after the funeral, I'd have to clutch his ring to remind myself he's really not coming home." Leaving behind two young children, a son, Cash and daughter, Lucy. "I can never bring him back and say, here's your dad. I can never do that,” Crystal says.
A sales coach for the Burger King Corporation, 28-year-old Wayne Davis got in his company car on September 4, 2012, and was on his way to a store in Coushatta, Louisiana, from his home in Flint, but he never made it to his destination. "Wayne's life was taken by somebody who was completely irresponsible, that literally drove into him off the road,” Crystal says. Wayne was killed on a Cherokee County road just outside of Jacksonville after a distracted driver hit him head-on. Crystal says after that, "We all just tried to pick up the pieces and move on as a family."
Wayne's job description required him to travel 80-90 percent of the time. Therefore, the Texas Division of Workers Compensation ruled his death occurred while he was on the job. Crystal and her two children were then awarded workers’ compensation benefits, a sigh of relief for her family. "I can sleep at night, I can rest assured that, you know, my children will have some security in our future; and then when they sued me and they gave me these papers, your heart just sinks, and you feel nauseous." Crystal says.
ACE Insurance, Burger king's insurance company, is appealing the ruling from the Texas Division of Workers Compensation and has filed a lawsuit against Crystal and her children, requesting to cease all past and future benefits. They're claiming Wayne was not working the day he died, that he "deviated from his route" of travel and was not in the "course and scope" of his work.
Crystals reaction, “Why would you ever, do this to somebody? Why would you put a family that has a huge loss of a father, a husband, one of your own, employees, do that to their family, and they have no answers." Because of current Texas law, Crystal and her family are now at the mercy of the insurance company.
Crystals attorney, Frank Weedon, tells KETK News, "She can no longer sue her insurance company for what's called insurance ‘bad faith.’ Because these rights have been eroded it opens the door for insurance companies to make bigger and bigger grabs to erode the rights of injured workers."
Now Crystal and her attorney preparing for a legal battle with ACE. A September trial, the same month; marking 2 years, since her husband Wayne's death.
To read more about this story, visit: http://apps.texastribune.org/hurting-for-work/a-twisted-system/