Inconsistent reasons for delay in reporting accident nix claim
Case name: Ardoin v. Firestone Polymers, L.L.C., No. 2010-C-0245 (La. 01/19/11).
The Louisiana Supreme Court held that an analyst was not entitled to benefits because he did not prove that an unwitnessed accident occurred.
What it means: In Louisiana, a worker can prove by his testimony alone that an unwitnessed accident occurred in the course and scope of employment if: 1) no other evidence discredits or casts serious doubt upon the worker's version of the event; and 2) the worker's testimony is corroborated by circumstances following the alleged event.
Summary: A batch lab analyst's position required him to collect samples and test them in a laboratory. He rode a bicycle to a reactor unit, climbed stairs, collected the samples, climbed down the stairs, and rode the bicycle back to the lab. While riding his bicycle to collect a sample, he almost fell. To avoid falling, he threw his right leg down and twisted his knee. He felt pain but continued working. There were no witnesses to the alleged accident. He did not report the incident to his employer until 18 months later. The analyst had surgery. After he returned to work, he began experiencing pain in his right knee, along with pain in his left knee because he was favoring his right knee. The analyst filed a claim for benefits. The Louisiana Supreme Court held that the analyst was not entitled to benefits because he did not prove that the accident occurred.
The court concluded that there was no objective evidence to corroborate the analyst's account of the accident and the facts discredited or cast serious doubt on his claim that a work-related accident occurred. The analyst initially denied having an accident, and he did not report it until 18 months later. He waited to report the accident until his doctor diagnosed a twisting injury. The analyst also gave inconsistent accounts of why he delayed reporting the accident. He said he feared repercussions at work and also said he forgot as a result of the pain. The analyst also said over a year after the alleged accident that he was not sure what caused his knee pain.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 7, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications