workers_construction_worker_work-1-scaledUnfortunately, accidents at the workplace are not uncommon occurrences. What happens, however, when you are injured while traveling? Will you still receive workers’ compensation if you are not physically on the jobsite? The answers to these questions will depend on the facts of the case and whether you were acting within the scope of your employment. The following Caddo Parish case outlines this predicament.  

It is undisputed that Mitchell Stringer was hired at Hand Construction, LLC, sometime after September 30, 2014, and that he was asked to attend a meeting at the company office by John Provost, Vice President for the company, in early October. However, the parties disagree on whether Stringer was terminated at the meeting, as testified by Provost and Adam Hubble, CEO for the company, or was told there would not be any more work for him, but that he would receive two weeks’ severance pay, as testified by Stringer. Stringer’s final paycheck included the date “October 9, 2015.” He was issued a check with “severance” in the ledger for the week ending in October 16, 2015. 

It was also disputed as to whether or not the parties agreed that Stringer would fly to North Dakota to retrieve his vehicle and the company’s GPS equipment. Regardless, on October 8, 2015, Stringer flew to North Dakota to obtain his vehicle and company equipment. Two days later, while traveling from North Dakota to Louisiana, Stringer was involved and injured in a motor vehicle accident in Arkansas.

language_script_mongolian_design-scaledIn the legal world, every word holds significance. Clarity and precision are of the utmost priority because even the slightest bit of ambiguity can have dire consequences. This is a truth that Terry Gotch would later find out after he filed suit against Scooby’s ASAP Towing LLC following a vehicular accident in Louisiana.

On February 8th, 2013, Joseph DeRousselle was backing out of a driveway and almost hit the car Terry Gotch was a passenger in. The driver took evasive maneuvers, which led to the vehicle leaving the road and crashing into a ditch. Gotch was injured as a result of the accident. At the time of the accident, DeRousselle was an employee of Scooby’s ASAP Towing. Gotch then filed a lawsuit against Scooby’s ASAP Towing, claiming vicarious liability of the employer for DeRousselle’s negligence. A judgment was made following a jury trial in favor of Scooby’s ASAP Towing, absolving them of any negligence, and Gotch’s claim was disregarded.

Gotch, understandably unhappy with the verdict, orally moved for a mistrial. This motion was denied a short time later following a hearing. Still unsatisfied, Gotch filed an appeal on October 23rd, 2017. A written judgement was issued; however, it was insufficient in that it lacked decretal language.

car_driving_driving_car-scaledBuckle up your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride through the twists and turns of Bosley’s Driving School saga! Meet Mr. Bosley, the daring entrepreneur behind this driving school extravaganza, with locations in the charming towns of Donaldsonville and Gonzales, Louisiana. Now, picture this: Mr. Bosley is on a mission to teach the art of driving, but not just any driving – he dreams of offering the elusive 38-hour driver’s education course. But, oh, the drama unfolds when his dreams clash with the stern rules and regulations of the Louisiana driver’s education system. Despite a denial that would make even the bravest soul reconsider, Mr. Bosley and his team continued their quest, issuing certificates left and right. Little did they know, the authorities were hot on their tail, leading to a showdown of epic proportions. Fast forward to courtroom battles, administrative hearings, and a rollercoaster of legal twists that could rival any Hollywood blockbuster. Will Mr. Bosley’s driving school dreams come crashing to a halt, or will he find a way to steer his way out of this legal maze? Strap in and find out!

Mr. Bosley owns and runs Bosley’s Driving School for drivers’ education classes. The driving school has two locations—one in Donaldsonville and the other in Gonzales, Louisiana. The Donaldsonville location was licensed to teach 6 hours of classroom instruction, while the Gonzales location was licensed to teach the full 14-hour driver’s education course. Neither location was licensed to teach the 38-hour course. Louisiana offers two types of driver’s education courses: (1) A 14-hour course for individuals over eighteen, which requires 6 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, and (2) a 38-hour course for individuals under eighteen, which requires 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind -the -wheel driving. La. R.S. 32:402. 1.

In October 2012, Bosley applied for permission to instruct the 38-hour driver’s ed course. On December 10, 2012, Bosley was notified via email that their application was denied because they needed to meet the curriculum requirements. Regardless of this denial, Bosley continued to issue certificates of completion of the 38-hour course to several students. When the State learned of this, they sent Bosley an order to cease further operations as a driving school and third-party tester in Louisiana. On March 27, 2014, the State notified Bosley that because he was providing students with the 38-hour driver’s education course despite needing to be licensed, his licenses to teach the 6-hour and the 14-hour courses were rescinded. Bosley filed an appeal and requested a hearing. 

alzheimer_s_man_portrait_0-scaledEmployees are often exposed to stressful situations while at work, whether from unhelpful coworkers or understaffing. Under what circumstances are resulting mental injuries entitled to workers’ compensation? 

Diedre Emerson worked for Willis Knighton Medical Center as a certified nurse assistant on the cancer floor. One day, she arrived at work for her regular night shift. She found the prior shift had not completed a lot of their work, so she would have to do additional work. When she learned this, she became upset and mad. She said this was more of the same old behavior.

While working that day, she indicated that she felt something pop in her head but admitted nothing physically happened to cause the pop. After completing her shift, she went to the emergency room. The medical records from the visit did not show she complained about weakness on one side of her body or other neurological symptoms. Her primary complaint was hyperventilation and nervousness. Emerson was subsequently late in calling Willis Knighton to tell them she would not be able to work her shift. She was fired. 

feet_girl_fingers_parts-scaledMedical testimony is an essential part of determining whether an injured worker has a valid claim. What happens if the doctors’ diagnoses conflict and they reach different conclusions about whether an injured worker can return to work?

Maxine Hall worked as a housekeeper for Global Solution Services. While working for Global at a hotel, a door closed on her foot. She went to the emergency room, where a doctor told her she did not have any broken bones. However, another doctor subsequently diagnosed her with a fractured toe. 

Despite receiving medical treatment, Hall continue to suffer from pain in her foot. Hall received workers’ compensation benefits, but the benefits terminated approximately two years after the accident occurred. She then filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation against Global and Illinois National Insurance Company, its insurer. Hall sought to get her benefits reinstated. The Workers’ Compensation Judge dismissed Hall’s claims. Hall filed an appeal. 

driving_camera_in_mirror-scaledIt is common to borrow a car from a family member or friend. If you are unfortunately involved in an accident while driving a borrowed car, who is liable for damages if the accident results from inadequate maintenance? 

While Holly Fontenot was driving a car owned by Patricia Neil and her husband, the parents of Fontenot’s fiancé, she was involved in a single-car accident when she lost control and hit a utility pole. Fontenot had the Neils’ permission to drive their car. There were also two minors in the car with her. 

Fontenot and the mother of the two minor children passengers filed a lawsuit against Safeway Insurance, who insured the Neils’ car. Fontenot claimed the accident occurred because of a lack of maintenance. She claimed the car went off the road because it had a broken tie road, which caused the car’s steering mechanism to fail. 

marriage_rings_wedding_hands-scaledIt is always tragic when a loved one passes away, especially when there are children are involved. Death benefits are part of the workers’ compensation system intended to help the surviving family members when someone passes away as a result of an on-the-job accident. However, with the evolving definition of a family, there can sometimes be complicated legal issues about who is entitled to recover death benefits. This case involves a claim from a supposedly unmarried romantic partner who had a child with the worker who died in an accident at work. 

Travis Chiokai died as a result of an accident at work. When he died, Chiokai was unmarried. However, Chiokai had been in a romantic relationship with Latashia Perez. Perez filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation against Chiokai’s employer, Irby Construction, as well as their insurer, Old Republic. Perez sought death benefits for herself, as well as for her unborn child. Once the child was born, DNA testing was conducted that confirmed the child’s father was Chiokai. The child subsequently received death benefits. 

Irby Construction and its insurer argued Perez should not received benefits under La. R.S. 23:1253, which defines dependents who are entitled to receive death benefits. The statute explicitly states that a concubine, such as Perez, is not entitled to receive death benefits. Irby Construction and its insurer filed an exception of no right or cause of action. The Workers’ Compensation Judge denied the motion. 

coins_currency_investment_insurance_0-scaledIf you are involved in an automobile accident, it can be difficult to navigate insurance claims and coverage. The situation becomes even more complicated when there are multiple insurance policies involved. How is coverage allocated between multiple relevant insurance policies?

Sonya Theriot was unfortunately in an automobile accident in Lafayette, Louisiana. The other driver involved in the accident, Todd Sparks, was working for Thermal Technologies at the time of the accident. He was driving a rental car Thermal Technologies had paid for when he rear-ended Theriot while she was making a right-hand turn. 

Thermal Technologies had a business automobile insurance policy with State Farm, a commercial general liability policy, and an umbrella insurance policy with Owners Insurance. Sparks had a personal automobile insurance policy with Travels Home Insurance Company. Theriot filed a lawsuit against State Farm, Sparks, and Thermal Technologies. She later added Travelers and Owners to the lawsuit. 

car_wrecked_accident_collision-scaledIf you are considering filing a lawsuit, it is essential that you file it in the correct venue. Otherwise, the court may lack authority to hear your claim and will not be able to consider the merits of your case. 

While driving in Terrobonne Parish, Louisiana, Joanna Gilbert had a single car accident on Highway 3011. The accident occurred where the road ended. When she went onto the unpaved pat of the road, she ran off the unpaved area and went into the water. 

Gilbert filed a lawsuit in Iberia Parish, where she lived, against the State of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (“DOTD”). She alleged the car accident had occurred because of DOTD’s negligence, which resulted in her injuries. Gilbert later added her uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance carrier as a defendant. 

photo_old_old_recording_0-scaledWhile workers’ compensation is intended to compensate injured workers, there are a number of procedural requirements with which an injured worker must comply in order for his or her company to cover the medical treatments. This case illustrates the importance of complying with procedural requirements and submitting all required paperwork.

While working for Circle K Stores, Melody Smith went to a Capitol One bank located in Lafayette, Louisiana. Before Smith reached the bank to make the night deposit, she was robbed by a person who crashed his truck into the rear end of Smith’s car and shot at her two times. He then smashed her window and took the deposit bag from her. 

Smith injured her knee, back, and neck in the incident. Circle K paid Smith workers’ compensation benefits following the incident. However, the parties disagreed about treatment for Smith’s injured knee. Smith filed a Form 1008 under La. R.S. 23:1034.2(F)(1) against Circle K, claiming it had failed to pre-authorize her evaluation for her knee injury with her selected physician. 

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