Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation

Man in PainSuffering from an injury is never an easy situation. In fact, not only do injuries cause mental and physical stress, but they can also put pressure on your finances. For this reason, many people suffering from injury sue to recover expenses for an injury that was not their fault. That said, there is some confusion over which kind of suit they should pursue, whether it be considered personal injury or workers’ compensation. For this reason, we went ahead and compared the two, so that our Baton Rouge and Metairie area clients can have a better idea of which case their situation falls under.

Personal Injury

For a personal injury case, your wound must be the fault of a third party. This typically means you were injured due to the negligence of another person or entity. As long as you are able to properly prove that your injury occurred because of that third party’s negligence, you will be able to pursue damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress, as well as recover money you yourself spent on treating these conditions.

Workers’ Compensation

When it comes to workers’ compensation, you are entitled to compensation so long as you suffer an injury while performing duties for your employer. To specify, workers’ compensation can provide you with disability payments should you be found unable to work, full payment of all your hospital fees and charges, and a fair settlement should your disability prove to be permanent.

What Sets These Cases Apart?

When it comes to the differences separating these two types of case, there are two main factors we will look at. These are:

  • Faults: A big difference between which case you have is who was at fault. If you can show enough proof that a third party was responsible for your injury due to their own negligence, then you have a personal injury case. With a workers’ compensation case, it doesn’t really matter who was at fault so long as your injury occurred while you were on the clock and performing duties for your employer.
  • Damages: When it comes to personal injury, you are able to seek damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. But with workers’ compensation, you will only be able to claim compensation for lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation, and permanent impairment benefits. And, with workers’ compensation, you will not be able to sue your coworkers, combining personal injury with workers’ compensation.

Schedule A Case Review Today

When it comes to navigating your injury and what you might be entitled to, you can rest assured that we here at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can help. We have a lot of experience with both personal injury and workers’ compensation, and we are ready to use that experience to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. If you would like to learn more, then we encourage you to contact our office and schedule your no-obligation case review with J. Price McNamara today. We are ready and willing to assist you!

Maritime Law in Action for One Belleville Man

Navigating maritime law can be difficult.The threat of injury when doing physical activity for an employer is simply a reality for some professions. This is especially true when it comes to maritime work, which can be complicated by the constant presence of water. Fortunately, there are laws that have been put in place specifically to protect those who work in the maritime industry. That said, these laws can be complicated and can be very different from standard Louisiana law. Because of this, you will want to work with a lawyer like J. Price McNamara, who is well versed in maritime law. A recent news article that has been circulating involves a maritime worker who is suing his employer due to an injury he received on the job. We encourage you to read on to learn more about this case and what laws are in place to protect this man’s rights.

The Benefits of the Jones Act

On January 22nd, a Belleville man filed a suit against SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, a Baton Rouge, LA company, for injuries he received while on the job. On December 23, 2014, Mark S. Purkaple was assigned to do the work of a tankerman, meaning he was in charge of such tasks as starting the boat’s engine, changing its filters, pumping out water, and adding fuel to the ship. However, while he was going about his work, he slipped and fell on the boarding ramp leading up to the boat, as it was wet and slippery. When he fell, he ended up injuring his right foot and ankle.

Mr. Purkaple’s suit claims that his injuries were purely the result of negligence on the part of the SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, as they had failed to provide a safe place to work. Not only that, but his lawsuit claims that the company did not provide a safe means of entry and exit for the ship, and they did not properly inspect or treat the boarding ramp. Because of this failure, Mr. Purkaple injured himself, which required that he seek medical treatment, involving tests and therapy. He also claims that he will have to seek further treatment, which will further exasperate his loss of wages, benefits, and earning capacity.

Mr. Purkaple’s suit is centered on violations of the Jones Act, a piece of law that was passed to govern the compensation rights of workers who perform labor on water-worthy vessels. The Jones Act, also referred to as the “Merchant Marine Act of 1920”, states that maritime workers who have been in accidents or have become sick due to their work-related duties are entitled to compensation from their employers. In this case, Mr. Purkaple qualifies to utilize this piece of legislation to seek over $50,000 in compensation, plus whatever it will take to cover court costs and any other relief the court sees fit.

Contact the Baton Rouge or Metairie Offices of J. Price McNamara

Have you received an injury while performing maritime related duties and would like to find out if you are entitled to compensation for those injuries? Are you having difficulty navigating the laws set in place to protect maritime workers? Then we encourage you to contact our office and schedule a no-obligation, comprehensive case review with J. Price McNamara today. We are ready to help you, so contact us today.

Toxic-Exposure Case Dies For Injured Farm Workers

Farming ImageIn a case that has gone far beyond a simple workers compensation case and into a complex legal fight, plaintiffs in a long-standing case against Dow Chemical and Dole recently received a blow in their toxic exposure case.  And despite an impassioned dissent from the Third Circuit, a decision was handed down barring migrant farm workers from suing the two large companies.

The case initially started in 1993 when 200 farm workers brought their claims forward, stating that they developed significant health problems directly related to chemical exposure between 1960 and the late 1980s.  The suit alleged that Dow Chemical and Dole intentionally exposed them to dangerous levels of dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, causing their injuries

According to legal experts, the procedural history associated with these cases is extremely complex and no court has ever had the chance to review the actual merits of the workers’ claims.  Instead, procedural questions tied the litigation up for decades.

After the first round of lawsuits was tanked due to procedural issues, the workers tried again with a 2011 federal complaint in the state of Louisiana. Another suit was filed in Delaware one year later.

Unfortunately, the Louisiana court ruled that the state’s statute of limitations barred the lawsuit and it was dismissed.  Later, the Delaware court ruled that the Louisiana dismissal also blocked it from hearing the farm worker’s case.

The Third Circuit then went on to affirm the Delaware court’s decision claiming that the “first-filed rule” controls.  This means that the later courts will look to the rulings in the earlier dismissed cases to determine if they will hear the case.

“They wanted to keep the same litigation going in two different federal forums simultaneously to see which one they would fare better,” Judge Nygaard wrote.  “This duplication of litigation was of their own making and it was not an abuse of discretion for the Delaware District Court to dismiss their second-filed complaint with prejudice, instead of staying the matter.”

Although many injured workers were disheartened by the ruling, the blow was softened slightly by Judge Julio Fuentes in his dissent.

“More than two hundred plantation workers brought this suit alleging their employers and certain chemical companies knowingly exposed them to toxic pesticides over a period of many years,”  Fuentes wrote. “As a result, they say, they have injured kidneys, are infertile, and are at heightened risk of cancer.  Twenty years after first bringing suit, no court has heard the merits of their claims.”

Judge Fuentes also noted that many nearby circuits have determined that the first-filed rule is not equitable and should not be applied when it prevents meritorious claims of injured parties from being heard.

In their multiple lawsuits, hundreds of injured workers argued that Dow and Dole had known about the toxic effects of DBCP for many decades.  The substance is so dangerous that the Environmental Protection Agency banned its use, with limited exceptions, in 1979.  Many of these workers are now dealing with significant injuries including aggressive cancer and progressive brain damage.

Bring Your Legal Case To J. Price McNamara

If you or a loved one are dealing with an accident or a worker’s compensation claim, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you with your case.  Aggressive and skilled representation could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.  Additionally, the law may limit the amount of time you have to file your case, so don’t wait.  The legal team at J. Price McNamara is ready to help.  So if you currently reside in or around Baton Rouge, LA, call us now to get a free case review.

8 Important Facts About Worker’s Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

1) What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a state-sponsored form of protection that offers benefits to employees who are injured on the job. The benefits can include medical care, wages, rehabilitation, and/or death benefits. All employers must pay for the medical care and indemnity wage benefits if one of their employees is injured on the job, unless they are statutorily exempted.

2) Am I Covered By Workers’ Compensation Law?

Most employees in Louisiana are covered regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or minors. Most subcontractors, domestic employees, real estate agents, uncompensated officers, directors of certain non-profit organizations, and public officials cannot receive these benefits. Volunteer workers are also not entitled to benefits.

3) What Kinds Of Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Most types of mental and physical injuries are covered if they are related to on-the-job accidents or occupational diseases. Mental injuries must be proven to be the result of a physical injury or of a sudden, unexpected and extraordinary stress related to the job.

4) Are There Any Instances Where Recovery Would Be Barred?

Compensation is usually barred if the injury was caused by the employee’s willful intention to injure himself/herself or others; intoxication at the time of the injury, the injuries are the result of an unprovoked physical altercation or the worker was involved in “horseplay” at the time that the injury occurred.

5) What Happens If I Am Barred From Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If you are barred from receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, you can file a Disputed Claim for Compensation. This process provides a means to appeal your case through an administrative law proceeding in one of ten offices in the State of Louisiana. The appeals process can take six to nine months to resolve.

6) Can I Get My Job Back After I Am Recovered From My Injury?

Employers are not required to hold a job for you if you are unable to perform your job due to your injury. Your employer also does not need to create a new job for you when you are able to return to work. However, you cannot be terminated solely because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. If this happens you would possibly be able to file a lawsuit against your employer and recover damages.

7) What If I Cannot Return To My Old Job?

Employees can sometimes obtain vocational rehabilitation services after they recover from their injury. Rehabilitation services are intended to return a disabled employee to work, with a minimum of retraining, as soon as possible after an injury occurs.

8) Do I Need To Hire An Attorney?

You are not required to have an attorney for a workers’ compensation case. However, because of the complexity and potential for serious problems, it is best to have a lawyer for more complicated cases.

If you have more questions about Worker’s Compensation Law, it is important that you speak to someone who knows about cases like yours. J. Price McNamara has a long history of dealing with Worker’s Compensation Cases like yours. The first step is to call and set up a consultation so one of our skilled attorneys can review the facts of your case. We are here to help, so call us today to get started.

Call J. Price McNamara Today For Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Case

Here at the law firm of J. Price McNamara, we know how important effective and aggressive legal representation is for your Worker’s Compensation case outcome. J. Price McNamara has the experience, skill and drive to fight for your case and help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The law limits the amount of time you have to file your case, so do not wait. The law firm of J. Price McNamara is here to help you resolve your case now. Call our practice today for your free case review.

How Does Louisiana Compare With National Worker’s Compensation Benefits?

imageLouisiana is one of the states that pays the least for serious injuries suffered while on the job. Although it may sound gruesome, every state has an exact schedule of benefits that lists the amount of compensation worker’s comp insurers will pay for lost body parts. The numbers vary from state to state. One example of this is a lost arm while working is worth approximately $400,000 in Illinois but just $48,000 in the state of Alabama.

The good news is that Louisiana does not have the lowest worker’s compensation numbers. However, it bears the negative distinction of being far below the national average. According to national reports,

Louisiana paid less than the national compensation average for all but one of 13 body parts.

The national average compensation for the loss of a foot is $91,779, but is only $78,750 in Louisiana. In Hawaii, a workers can be compensated $161,130 for a foot and in Alabama they receive $48,840.

In Louisiana, the loss of a hand entitles workers to $94,500, compared with the national average of $144,930. A lost arm is worth $126,000 in Louisiana, as compared to the national average of $169,878.

The loss of an eye will get you an average of $63,000 in worker’s compensation in Louisiana, while the national average is $96,700.

The importance of workers’ compensation is that laws require employers to buy insurance that covers medical bills and partial wages until they can return to work. Alternatively, it provides payment of lost wages if the injuries prevent the worker from being able to work again. Permanently disabled workers receive Social Security from the federal government.

According to researchers, one of the reasons for low compensation in many states is that legislatures capped amounts of wages lost more than 20 years ago, when overall average wages were lower.
And many of these states have prevented change to their policies because they want to attract industry and remain competitive in national markets.

What quickly becomes apparent is that many of the states researched had not updated worker’s compensation numbers in many years. A comprehensive update for Louisiana and many other states is necessary to compensate for inflation.

J. Price McNamara Can Help You With Your Worker’s Compensation Case

If you have recently been in an accident or suffered from an injury while on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. Serious injuries that prevent your from working could impact your life in very serious ways. For this reason, you should also have an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of Louisiana law to help you get the compensation you deserve for your on-the-job injuries. J. Price McNamara can help you fight for your case and get the results you need. Having practiced law in Louisiana for many years and he has an outstanding reputation in the community and among his legal peers. Don’t wait to call. The law may limit the amount of time you have to file your case. Call us today to schedule a free case review. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your worker’s compensation case today.

Workplace Injuries & Worker’s Compensation

WORKER’S COMPENSATION BATON ROUGE, METAIRIE, LA

Dangerous accident during work

Injured on the Job?

The great state of Louisiana provides a legal remedy for employees injured on the job within its borders in the form of worker’s compensation under the Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Act of 1983. Those injured while performing the duties of their jobs are automatically entitled to certain benefits. These benefits include medical care for the injury, indemnity wage benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and even death benefits in some circumstances. If you have been injured on the job and you are unable to work due to your injury, then the Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can help you determine if you may be eligible for worker’s compensation, compensation from your employer, or compensation from another party. J. Price McNamara is a former insurance company attorney who now represents clients who have suffered workplace or other types of personal injury. Read on to learn more about on the job injuries and what to do if you have suffered an injury at work.

Types of On the Job Injuries

Any injury that occurs during the proper course and scope of a job is usually covered by workers compensation. There are certain exceptions that are not covered by worker’s compensation such as injuries suffered while committing a crime, self-inflicted injuries, and injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Some of the most common workplace injuries include:

  • Workplace Violence Between Employees
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries
  • Machine Accident Injuries
  • Vehicle Accident Injuries
  • Falling Object Injuries
  • Slip/Trip, and Fall Injuries
  • Chemical or other burns
  • Occupational Diseases
  • Electrical Injuries
  • Mental Injuries
  • Overexertion Injuries: Lifting, Pulling, Carrying, etc.

These common workplace injuries are simply a small selection of the types of injuries that may covered by worker’s compensation in Louisiana. If you suffered any of the injuries listed above while on the clock, then it is important that you select an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney like J. Price McNamara to represent your best interests and to assist you in determining any compensation that you may be entitled to as a result of your workplace injury.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara

If you have been injured on the job then you may be entitle to seek compensation for your injuries. J. Price McNamara is a former insurance company attorney and Louisiana state prosecutor who now works to prevent insurance companies from exploiting those that are injured or disabled. The exensive courtroom experience and in-depth knowledge of Louisiana Worker’s Compensation of the Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can provide you with the assistance, advice, and expertise you need to move forward with your personal injury case for your on the job injury. If you were hurt at work you may be eligible to seek compensation in addition to your worker’s compensation depending on how you were injured, where the injury occured, and the circumstances of your injury . The Law Offices of J. Price McNamara has proudly served the communities of Baton Rouge, Metairie, and other Louisiana communities on both sides of the courtroom for many years. Contact our offices to schedule your free consultation with expert personal injury attorney J. Price McNamara today.

Louisiana’s Third Circuit Rules Lake Charles Server Who Tested Positive for Drugs May Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals of Louisiana held a worker who tested positive for both marijuana and Xanax following a 2008 workplace injury was entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Deloris Stenson was employed as a waitress at Pat’s of Henderson Seafood when she allegedly tripped over a box of potatoes left in the walkway of a food preparation area. Stenson immediately went to the emergency room at a local hospital for her injuries. While being treated, she was also tested for drugs and alcohol in accordance with restaurant policy. After Stenson tested positive for marijuana and Xanax, her employer’s insurer denied all workers’ compensation benefits except for the costs associated with her emergency room visit.

Because Stenson had a prescription for Xanax and admitted to taking the drug for a back problem on the day of the accident, a workers’ compensation judge determined intoxication was not a cause of her accident. The judge ordered the restaurant to pay Stenson temporary total disability benefits and medical benefits. Following the workers’ compensation judge’s ruling, her employer appealed to Louisiana’s Third Circuit.

On appeal, the restaurant argued a valid drug prescription did not overcome the presumption in Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:1081 that Stenson was intoxicated at the time of her accident. Her employer also argued that the workers’ compensation judge should not have taken the prescription into account when determining whether or not Stenson was intoxicated.

Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals, however, agreed with the workers’ compensation judge, reasoning that although the restaurant met its burden of proof regarding its employee’s alleged intoxication with her drug test results, the burden then shifted to Stenson. Once the burden shifted, it was up to Stenson to prove her drug use was not a contributing case of her accident. The Appellate Court also found that although Stenson admitted to smoking marijuana four days prior to the accident, there was no reason to believe it was manifestly erroneous for the workers’ compensation judge to find Stenson overcame the intoxication presumption. Because no one offered testimony stating that Stenson appeared intoxicated on the day of the accident, the Appeals Court upheld the workers’ compensation judge’s ruling.

When an employee is hurt at work in Louisiana, workers’ compensation laws generally afford the only avenue for recovery. A worker may be temporarily disabled, permanently partially disabled, or permanently totally disabled as a result of a workplace injury. The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act provides for a variety of benefits based on the worker’s gross earnings at the time the disability began. Benefits should continue until an employee is medically released by a physician to return to work, but in some cases a workers’ compensation insurance company may be willing to settle a case for a single lump-sum payment. If you were injured at work, a qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine what benefits you may qualify for.

J. Price McNamara, a Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, represents clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. To speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call J. Price McNamara at (866) 248-0580 today. You may also contact us through our website.

Lawsuit Against Employer for Ignoring Worker Safety Concerns Removed to New Orleans Federal Court

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

In October, an industrial worker filed suit against his employer and another party in Jefferson Parish District Court for an injury which allegedly occurred after his employer failed to heed his protests regarding the safety of a work procedure. In his lawsuit, Tyrone Wilson claims he was injured on October 10, 2010 while working for T.T. Coatings Inc. on a petroleum chemical barge. Wilson claims he was instructed to pull frozen test rods out of the open end of a metal shaft assembly with pliers while another employee heated the rods from the opposite end. He also stated after he protested the procedure to his employer he was threatened with termination if he did not continue. While the rod was being heated, it purportedly exploded in Wilson’s direction and injured him.

Wilson has accused TT Coatings of committing an intentional tort by ordering him to engage in a dangerous activity despite that his employer knew he was likely to be harmed. He also accused Kirby Inland Marine Transportation Co. of negligence. Wilson alleges the Kirby Corporation required TT Coatings employees to engage in an inherently dangerous work activity, failed to maintain the company’s equipment, placed workers in harm’s way in an attempt to save money, and demanded workers use an unsafe method to accomplish their task.

On January 11th, the case was removed to New Orleans federal court. In his complaint, Wilson asked the court to award him compensation for medical expenses, physical and mental pain and suffering, lost of wages, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, court costs, and interest.

Unfortunately, workplace accidents and injuries occur all too often. Navigating the laws designed to protect employees can be complicated. In Louisiana, workers can be killed or injured while working on land, on the open seas, or adjacent to navigable waters. Where an injury occurs will have an effect on an employee’s right to recovery. The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act applies to most injuries which occur on land. Meanwhile, the Jones Act protects employees injured at sea and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to worker injuries which occur adjacent to navigable waters.

The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act provides monetary relief to employees who are injured on the job regardless of fault. The same is true for the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers’ compensation laws generally provide an employee with the only remedy available from an employer for workplace injuries. Exceptions do exist, however. Louisiana’s intentional act exception allows a worker to sue his or her employer for negligence if the employee can show the employer either consciously desired the physical result or knew it was fairly certain to happen as a result of the employer’s conduct. Additionally, a worker injured on the job may sue an at-fault third-party for damages beyond those available under traditional workers’ compensation laws. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in navigating the legal process.

If you have questions regarding your workplace injury, Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara J. Price McNamara for a free initial consultation. Our Louisiana personal injury lawyers represent clients throughout Louisiana. With offices conveniently located in both Baton Rouge and Metairie, our lawyers are nearby and ready to discuss your case. To speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer, call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580 or contact us through our website.

Wrongful Death Case Filed in New Orleans After Man Burned With Molten Steel

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION, WRONGFUL DEATH

On December 30, 2011, the spouse of a manufacturing worker killed after a steel ladle unexpectedly erupted and discharged melted steel on him filed suit in New Orleans federal court against his employer and the manufacturer of the steel ladle. Samuel N. Moyer received third degree burns when the ladle purportedly malfunctioned on February 1, 2011 while he was working as a furnace second helper at ArcelorMittal Laplace steel manufacturing mill. He died as a result of his injuries two days later

. Moyer’s wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Signal Metal Industries Inc., Danieli Corp., North American Refractories Co., Siemens Vai Services, and Black Diamond Capital Management seeking compensation for conscious physical suffering and pain, mental suffering and pain, medical and funeral expenses, court costs, and other damages such as loss of support and grief. She has alleged the steel ladle itself as well as a transfer car, nest block assembly, and stir plugs were unduly hazardous in design, composition, and manufacture. She also claims the defendants failed to warn Moyer of the hazards associated with the equipment and alleges the equipment failed to conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty.

Each year, literally thousands of deaths result from tragic events such as motor vehicle and workplace accidents. The death of someone close to you is always overwhelming, but it can be particularly devastating when the death resulted from a preventable accident. When a wrongful death occurs at a workplace, a death beneficiary may sue an at-fault third-party for damages beyond those available under traditional workers’ compensation laws.

In most instances of wrongful death, certain family members, referred to as death beneficiaries, will have a claim for damages against the at-fault party. A death beneficiary is generally the spouse of the person who died, but may also be the individual’s child, a parent, or even a sibling or grandparent under certain circumstances. In Louisiana, the death beneficiary of an accident victim may bring both a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. A beneficiary may bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party for their own loss of financial support and a loss of love and affection which resulted from the death. Additionally, a beneficiary may bring a survival action claim to recover for the decedent’s conscious suffering and pain, lost wages, and any medical expenses which may have occurred prior to the wrongful death.

If your loved one has been killed in a tragic accident, it is important to know your rights before talking to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Call J. Price McNamara, a Baton Rouge wrongful death attorney, for a free initial consultation. Our skilled and diligent personal injury lawyers represent clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. To speak with an accident attorney at our firm, call J. Price McNamara at (866) 248-0580 today. You may also contact us through our website.

No Workers’ Compensation Exception in St. Landry Parish Landfill Death

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently stated the parents of a man killed while working at the St. Landry Parish Sanitary Landfill failed to prove the intentional act exception to worker’s compensation immunity applied to their son’s accident. 22-year-old Martel Smith was crushed to death on April 22, 2008 while working at the 200 acre landfill. On the day of his death, Smith was working alone using a Mack truck with a tilting bed to dump canisters. The tilting truck bed was moved by a hoist system operated by spring loaded controls which required constant pressure and were located inside the truck’s cab. Although the landfill was closed to the public, 14 other employees were also working on the premises on the day of Smith’s death. After a co-worker found Smith crushed between the truck’s frame and the hoist, a number of co-workers extricated him and moved his body away from the truck. Unfortunately, all efforts to revive him failed.

There was no evidence the truck had malfunctioned and each of Smith’s co-workers testified at trial they were not present during his accident. Many of his fellow employees also stated it was likely impossible for Smith to operate the hoist’s controls from the location where his body was found. An expert hired by Smith’s parents testified a third party must have been involved in the accident due to the spring loaded nature of the hoist controls.

Smith’s parents alleged an unnamed co-worker must have killed him. According to his parents, Smith was the victim of an intentional act which nullified the exclusive remedy available through Louisiana workers’ compensation laws. Because his parents lacked further evidence to support their claim, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Smith’s employer.

Generally, when a person is injured on the job while working on land, workers’ compensation laws provide the only remedy. Exceptions to state workers’ compensation laws exist, however. Louisiana’s intentional act exception put forth by Smith’s parents requires a showing the employer consciously desired the physical result or knew it was fairly certain to happen as a result of the employer’s conduct. Because Smith’s co-workers each testified they were nowhere near him at the time of his accident, his parents were required to show an issue of material fact regarding an intentional act existed. Instead, Smith’s parents only offered possible third-party causes for his death which failed to demonstrate his employer consciously desired his injury. Consequently, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

In Louisiana, workers’ compensation benefits are owed to an employee injured while on the job regardless of fault. Although few exceptions to workers’ compensation laws exist, other remedies may still be available to an injured party. For example, if the injury was also a result of the actions of a third-party, a hurt worker may seek additional benefits which cannot be recovered from an employer such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have questions regarding an injury you or a loved one received while on the job, contact Baton Rouge workers’ compensation attorney J. Price McNamara for a free initial consultation.

J. Price McNamara, aContact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, represents clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. To speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580. You may also contact us through our website.