The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal recently addressed an appeal in a maritime injury dispute following an accident that injured a welder working on a floating mat for a construction project. The injured plaintiff in this case was awarded over three million dollars, and liability was imposed upon his employer. At issue on appeal was whether the court properly found he had seaman status under the Jones Act, and whether the award of general damages was an abuse of discretion. Ernest Lee Guidry, the plaintiff, worked as a welder for Tanner Services, LLC, the defendant, for over two years. Mr. Guidry had been assigned a project in Grand Isle and was working in the marine division for this particular project. Three barges and two tugboats were used as “floating docks” for a crane and to prepare for welding. Mr. Guidry spent most of his time on the floating mat, which was a large piece of wood that was much like a raft in the water. A vibrating hammer fell and struck Mr. Guidry while he was welding piles on the floating mat. He endured multiple injuries and underwent several surgeries after the accident, including a crushed foot, the amputation of four fingers, herniated discs, a concussion, post-traumatic stress, and total and permanent disability.
Many of my Louisiana Workers Compensation, Longshore & Harborworker and Defense Base Act clients injure their back or neck on the job. Often they have back or neck pain that their treating physician wants to treat with epidural steroid injections. According to a recent April 23, 2014 warning put out by the Food and Drug Administration, these injections inserted into the spine may cause serious negative consequences, including loss of vision stroke, paralysis and even death. A number of the adverse effects have occurred within 48 hours of the injection. The FDA has not approved injections for back and neck pain. Speak with your healthcare provider if you want to switch to an alternative form of treatment.
Daylight Savings Time, the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less, has been observed since 1895. The practice is the source of much annual anticipation for individuals eager to benefit from longer days and more day lit hours. A study from the American Psychological Association, however, suggests “springing forward” from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time may have some unintended consequences such as disrupted sleep patterns and an increased risk for workplace injury. According to the study’s authors, the hour of sleep lost when Americans set their clocks an hour ahead each spring results in higher rates of workplace accidents caused by sleep loss. The study analyzed accident and time use data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics, concluding that the average person sleeps about 40 minutes less the Sunday night of the time switch resulting in approximately 3.6 more work injuries the following Monday in hazardous occupations such as mining and construction.
If you were hurt on the job and are collecting wage loss benefits, company detectives may be stalking you to try to prove you are malingering. For about $300, Private Investigators (PIs) may mount a Global Position System (GPS) to the underside of your car and follow you throughout the day from their laptop computer. Some GPS devices are powered by the car’s battery and typically placed under the dashboard while other devices are equipped with their own batteries to enable inconspicuous placement on the vehicle’s body. PIs use the GPS device to see if you are working and not reporting your wages or if you are participating in physical activities beyond your work restrictions. Using a GPS in this fashion may have potential criminal stalking and civil privacy implications. For example, California and Texas ban the use of GPS trackers without consent with exceptions for law enforcement and car owners. If you find one of these devices on your vehicle, immediately contact your local police department.