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Baton Rouge Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workers' Memorial Day is Friday

Ceremony and safety reminder Apr. 28 in Baton Rouge

More than 4,000 American workers die on the job each year - about 10 work-related deaths every day - and another 4 million employees are injured or become sick at work. In Louisiana alone there are about 25 work-related fatalities each year.

Workers' Memorial Day is held on Friday, April 28 to honor those fallen workers and refocus workplace safety efforts to spare other families from similar tragedy. A remembrance ceremony will be held 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. 

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Do "gig" workers qualify for workers' comp?

Temp workers and part-timers are covered, but independent contractors are not

Nearly all Louisiana employers must provide workers' compensation insurance. But a growing number of jobs do not fit the traditional employer-employee paradigm. Freelancers and people who piece together a living from "gigs" such as dog sitting or driving an Uber car are generally not covered by workers' comp.

What happens when gig workers are injured while working? Do temp agencies provide workers' compensation? You may need a lawyer to answer those questions and assert your rights.

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New medical guidelines on back pain say stay active

This could be bad news for workers' comp back injury claims

The epidemic of opioid addiction has caused the medical community to re-think how lower back pain is treated. Rather than prescribing narcotics and bed rest, a growing number of physicians now advise patients to stay active and forego painkillers.

This "grin and bear it" approach represents a major change in the treatment of back ailments. It could also lead to serious conflicts in workers' compensation claims. Employees with disabling back injuries may be denied medical treatment or forced back to work.

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Can "illegal aliens" get workers' comp?

State law protects anyone injured on the job.

There is much talk these days of building walls and deporting people. Much resentment of immigrants and "foreigners." Especially those living in the U.S. without government permission.

This is a scary time for undocumented workers. Especially for an "illegal" worker who is injured on the job. Reporting an accident to the employer, asserting legal rights or even going to the hospital risks calling attention to the worker's immigration status.

The law is clear in Louisiana. Undocumented employees are covered by workers' compensation. You have the right to medical care and lost wages. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, it is wise to talk to a workers' compensation lawyer.

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Drunk drivers contributed to heavy 2016 death toll

Who pays damages when an intoxicated person causes a crash?

From police shootings and terrorist attacks to opioid overdoses and beloved celebrities, the headlines of 2016 have been a steady roll call of untimely and tragic deaths. Lost in that mix is an alarming increase in drunk driving deaths across the U.S.

After years of decline, drunk driving fatalities rose in 2015. The trend is projected to be even worse in the final tally for 2016. Experts aren't sure why this epidemic is occurring. The more important question is who can be held responsible.

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Many taxi, Uber and Lyft cars have unfixed recall problems

Are you hiring a ride in a four-wheeled time bomb?

Millions of cars on American roads are subject to recall for various defects - serious safety issues that the owners have not had fixed.

An independent investigation found that drivers for hire have a much higher rate of unfixed recall notices. As many as 1 in 3 taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft cars are driving around with potentially dangerous defects. Air bags. Steering columns. Engine problems. By comparison, about 1 in 5 private vehicles have outstanding recalls.

Unrepaired defects may increase the chances of a crash or the severity of injuries. It also creates potential legal issues in the event of a car accident. The cab driver and employer could be negligent. Both drivers could be at fault, one for careless operation and one for driving an unfit vehicle. And what is the automaker's liability if the owner failed to have a recalled vehicle serviced?

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Louisiana is one of the Top 5 worst places to be a pedestrian

What would make our state safer for walkers?

Louisiana is one of the top five most dangerous states for pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We have one of the highest rates of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles.

Nationwide, pedestrian deaths have been rising steadily for a decade, and jumped an alarming 10 percent in 2015. In Louisiana, more than 100 pedestrians die each year - an average to two people struck and killed by cars every day.

Why so many pedestrian fatalities in Louisiana? What would make our streets safer for walkers?PedestrianCrash(2).jpg

The Top 10 Safety Violations Cited By OSHA

We've made progress, but we can do better.
Work-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. are about one-third of what they were in 1970, thanks largely to OSHA and state safety programs. Despite great progress, an average of 13 American workers still die on the job every day and hundreds more suffer disabling injuries. So many of these accidents are completely preventable.

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We can do better than this. We can be vigilant to the dangers and demand that employers adhere to the law.

Here is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) list of the 10 most frequent safety violations across the U.S. in 2015:

Can I sue my employer instead of filing a workers' comp claim?

Only in rare circumstances. In most cases, a Louisiana employee cannot bring a lawsuit against a co-worker, supervisor, the owner or the company itself. This is the trade-off of workers' compensation.EyeInjury(2).jpg

But hold on. While your employer could have immunity, you might have a lawsuit against a third party who is not in your chain of employment. An attorney who handles both workers' compensation and personal injury claims can explore your full remedies.

Can I be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim?

TerminatedWoman.jpgYour rights as an injured worker are protected.

Under Louisiana and federal law, you cannot be fired for getting injured on the job or for filing a workers' compensation claim.

In reality, some employers discourage workers from filing claims or retaliate when they do. Rather than blatantly firing a worker for seeking workers' comp, employers may fabricate some other justification -- a bad performance review, an alleged violation of company policy, a layoff for "business reasons."