Differing accident dates don't foil claim but block penalties
Case name: Pitre v. Buddy's Seafood, No. 2011 CA 0175 (La. Ct. App. 08/16/12).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that an oysterman's claim for benefits was timely, and he was not entitled to penalties and attorney's fees.
What it means: In Louisiana, a worker who suffers a work-related injury that immediately manifests itself but only later develops into a disability must file a claim within one year from the development of the disability.
Summary: An oysterman for a seafood company alleged that he pulled his back picking up a sack of oysters. The oysterman gave different accident dates. The company argued that the oysterman failed to timely file his claim for benefits. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the oysterman sustained a work-related accident, and his claim was not barred. Also, the oysterman was not entitled to penalties or attorney's fees.
The court explained that a worker who suffers a work-related injury that immediately manifests itself but only later develops into a disability must file a claim within one year from the development of the disability.
The Office of Workers' Compensation Administration found that the oysterman's injury did not develop into a disability until after the work incident. He filed his claim within two years of the date of the accident and one year from the time the disability developed, so his claim was timely.
The court found that the oysterman was not entitled to penalties or attorney's fees. He provided different dates as to when his accident occurred. There was also contradictory evidence as to when the accident was reported to the company. The company's challenge to his claim was not frivolous.
A dissenting judge opined that penalties were warranted for the company's failure to timely investigate and report the incident, timely pay for the oysterman's medical treatment, and timely approve his choice of physician.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 1, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications