Recently, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal addressed whether an injured worker could recover workers’ compensation benefits from defendants if they were statutory employers, and whether he was entitled to permanent partial disability due to the loss of his fingers in anaccident. In this case, Johan Fernandez worked as a carpenter and suffered serious injuries when he was cutting plywood while on a lift 25-30 feet in the air. As he cut and reached the end of the plywood, the other end of the board hit the wall and changed the angle such that he cut through himself. He suffered injuries to his left hand, including the loss of his little finger and ring finger.
The Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third Circuit recently reviewed a case involving allegations that an injured worker fraudulently and willfully misrepresented facts to obtain benefits. The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act provides for the payment of medical benefits to workers injured in the course and scope of their employment. However, willful misrepresentations forfeit claims for benefits. Karen Weems worked in the shipping department of GE Oil and Gas (GE) when she was involved in a workplace accident. On January 14, 2014, while using a nail gun to build a shipping crate, Ms. Weems injured her neck. Defendants GE and Electric Insurance Company accepted Ms. Weems’ claim for workers’ compensation benefits and paid her $19,467.15 in medical benefits and $22,717.46 in indemnity benefits. Later, Ms. Weems complained she suffered a lower back injury due to the workplace accident. GE contested this and denied her claim for her back injury. Ms. Weems filed a 1008 Claim form.
Injured workers collecting Louisiana Workers Compensation indemnity payments may find they are laid off by their employer of injury and, as a result, may lose their health insurance coverage. Now, with the Affordable Care Act, the injured worker receiving weekly or monthly indemnity payments may find he or she is eligible for Affordable Care Act subsidies, making health insurance, relatively speaking, more affordable. The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) calculates eligibility for subsidies based upon family income. Generally speaking, Louisiana Workers Compensation indemnity payments are not considered taxable income, therefore they would not be considered as income in the calculation for ACA subsidy eligibility. Also, the ACA has a Special Enrollment period https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/ for injured workers losing their job. Alternatively, if the injured worker does not qualify for an ACA subsidy, he or she may want to see if his or her spouse, partner, or other family member, may be able to provide access to an affordable health insurance policy. Also, Medicaid may be an option http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/subhome/1 as well as Medicare https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dapproval4.html. If you have questions about a work related injury, call me, a Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer, at 866-558-9151, or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines so don’t delay.
Job injury lawyers know their clients often suffer from stress associated with loss of income and dealing with claims adjusters, from weight gain do to the loss of a physically demanding job that ordinarily kept them in work hardened shape and from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and depression. Walking in nature may be a solution to some of these problems. Often times, treating physicians will recommend walking as a form of low impact aerobics activity for low back pain and other incapacitating injuries. The benefits of walking may include weight control, decreased stress on the spine, reduced reliance on pain medication due to increased endorphin production and elevated mood. Military Contractors hurt overseas, injured ship fitters and deckhands and other injured Louisiana workers, may want to avoid busy urban center streets in New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Baton Rouge and Lafayette to do their physician prescribe walking therapy. According to recent study cited by the New York Times, volunteers who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic. A second study found that participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment. According to the Gregory Bratman, the Stanford graduate student who helped perform the studies, […]