The injured employee was employed with a drug company as Vice President of Sales when he was injured while working in a warehouse in St. Rose, Louisiana, in the months following Hurricane Katrina.
The injured employee hurt his neck while catching a box of respiratory vials dropped to him by a co-worker.
The employee proceeded to seek medical treatment for these injuries, and after an MRI was performed and X-rays taken, the employee was diagnosed with a Definite C6 radiculopathy with moderate to large C5-6 herniated disc.
The employee’s treating physician, a neurosurgeon, recommended an anterior diskectomy fusion of C5-6 but required that the employee needed to first reduce his blood pressure before surgery.
Nonetheless, the workers compensation insurance company outright denied the employee’s entire claim – including lost wages and medical bills – and instead asserted that the employee was not in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident, because he was a Vice President of Sales, not a warehouse worker.
However, New Orleans Legal asserted successfully that Louisiana law holds that a worker’s testimony alone may be sufficient to discharge his burden of proof, provided two elements are satisfied: (1) no other evidence discredits or casts serious doubt upon the worker’s version of the incident; and (2) the worker’s testimony is corroborated by the circumstances following the alleged incident, and corroboration of the worker’s testimony may be provided by the testimony of fellow workers, spouses or friends.
The injured employee also asserted a strong demand for penalties and attorney’s fees, due to the fact that the workers compensation insurance company’s outright denial due to the course and scope of employment was arbitrary and capricious.
Though a Disputed Claim for Compensation (Form 1008) was filed, and litigation ensued, once the thorough depositions of the employee, the employee’s co-workers, and the neurosurgeon were performed, and sworn discovery responses submitted by the employee, the workers compensation insurance company agreed to settlement negotiations.
This injured employee did not receive any compensation from the workers compensation insurance company prior to his full and final settlement of $150,000.