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Lake Charles Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Blog

Tragic hotel site collapse shows dangers of construction jobs

The tragic collapse of a hotel under construction in New Orleans recently has renewed attention on the hazards faced by workers every day in Louisiana's construction industry.

At least two workers were killed and more than a dozen more were injured when the Hard Rock Hotel under construction partially collapsed. Days after the disaster, city officials said one body had not yet been recovered from the wreckage, and there was still one worker missing and unaccounted for. Two large cranes on the construction site were damaged in the collapse and remained unstable, hindering search efforts.

State study: Number of traffic fatalities stayed flat in 2018

For decades, Louisiana's maritime job market has been, if you will pardon the pun, fueled by the petrochemical industry. But in recent years the market has been growing for renewable sources of energy, such as wind power. Will this mean a decline in maritime jobs? Not necessarily.

In fact, offshore wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular, and these require maritime workers. Offshore wind farms consist of large wind turbines that stand atop platforms in the ocean. By placing these turbines offshore, developers can avoid some of the hassles and expenses that come with building the devices on land. However, building offshore also comes with many legal issues and financial risks.

Intoxication and workers' compensation

The Supreme Court of Louisiana recently ruled in favor of an injured worker in a case that illustrates some important points in the state's workers' compensation law.

The case involved a worker who was injured on the job. His employer had him submit to a drug test the next day and denied his workers' compensation claim based on the result, arguing that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The worker argued that the drug test was not verified or confirmed. A judge for the Office of Workers' Compensation agreed with the worker, and the high court upheld that decision.

Surgical errors are just part of the story in medical malpractice

The medical malpractice cases that receive the most news coverage tend to be the most dramatic, typically ones involving surgical error. These cases can be horrifying and tragic, but sometimes the focus on these dramatic stories overshadows the public's awareness of other types of medical malpractice, such as those involving faulty or delayed diagnosis, or bad prescriptions.

Many human errors that lead to patient injury happen outside the operating room. Some of these errors are committed by doctors, others by nurses and other personnel at hospitals and other health care facilities.

Sleepy, cranky drivers contribute to rise in road rage

Are you getting enough sleep? If so, you are one of the shrinking group of people who are not chronically fatigued. However, just because you are sleeping enough does not mean that you do not have to worry about other people's sleep patterns. Being tired does not just make people cranky, it also makes drivers angry. All of those angry drivers are making road rage a bigger problem.

Angry drivers and road rage are not new. Many drivers in Louisiana have probably experienced moments where they felt annoyed or frustrated with other drivers' behavior. Unfortunately, too few people realize just how dangerous this behavior is, and it is getting worse.

A closer look at medical benefits

Louisiana's workers' compensation system is designed to help workers get the medical treatment they need after they are injured on the job, and to help them cope with the loss of income they experience while they are recovering and unable to return to work. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy for injured workers to get through the system and get the benefits they need in a timely manner.

Workers can select one doctor of their choice in each specialty for treatment of their work-related injury. The worker's employer, or the employer's insurance provider, must pay for all approved, necessary expenses associated with this medical treatment, as well as reasonable and necessary travel expenses.

State study: Number of traffic fatalities stayed flat in 2018

One good piece of news in the Louisiana Traffic Records Data Report for 2018 is that the number of traffic fatalities did not rise from its 2017 level. One piece of bad news: It stayed exactly the same.

According to the report, published by Louisiana State University's Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety, there were 771 traffic accident deaths in Louisiana in 2018, exactly the same number as in 2017. That comes out to about 1.54 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, making Louisiana's traffic fatality rates higher than the national average. The traffic fatality rate for the entire United States in 2017 was 1.16 per 100 million miles traveled.

Is a riverboat worker a "seaman" under the Jones Act?

There is a patchwork of laws designed to help Louisiana workers after they are injured on the job. Most workers on land rely on workers' compensation. Many workers on the Gulf can rely on the Jones Act. Some dockworkers rely on the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. Which legal procedure you must follow depends on how your job is legally classified.

A recent decision by the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit shook up some of these classifications.

$7.2 million verdict in wrongful death case

A Louisiana court recently ruled in favor of the family of a worker who was killed when a truck tire exploded while he was trying to inflate it. The court ordered Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to pay the man's family and his employer a total of $7.2 million.

The man was an employee of Plaquemines Parish. According to a news report, the man was inflating a tire on a garbage truck when the tire exploded, causing him severe internal injuries. He died 28 days later.

Workers' compensation and disability benefits

The Louisiana workers' compensation system provides benefits for workers after they have been injured on the job, so that they can pay for their medical care and have income while they are recovering.

However, workers' compensation limits the dollar amount workers may receive in benefits. Generally, they receive only about two-thirds of their usual take-home pay, although there are many variables involved. Workers' compensation benefits are usually limited by time, as well.

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