Workers who sustain serious injuries from on-the-job accidents have access to several sources of money to help them cover their medical expenses and lost income. Filing a claim for workers’ compensation is usually the first step, but the amount offered by workers’ compensation is not always enough, especially if the injuries are so serious that the injured worker will never be able to perform manual labor again. Some injured plaintiffs sue their employers or even other parties whose negligence allegedly caused the accident, for example, a contracting company whose poor workmanship on the building where the accident happened. Some workers in Louisiana have their medical expenses covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA); this fact can make lawsuits involving their work injuries more complicated. Every case is unique, so contact a Louisiana maritime injury lawyer if you have been injured and are considering filing a lawsuit.
The Collateral Source Rule and Work Injury Lawsuits
The collateral source rule is a doctrine in personal injury law that says that evidence about other sources of funds the plaintiff has obtained or can obtain to pay for medical bills is not admissible in court. In other words, the defendant cannot get out of paying its obligations just because it can prove that some of plaintiff’s medical expenses were paid from some other source. The only possible exception is if the defendant paid for that source of benefits the plaintiff received; if not, the defendant does not get any reduction and has to pay the full medical bills even if the collateral source paid for some or all of those medical expenses. Louisiana case law shows that the courts sometimes do not apply the collateral source rule.
Details of the DePerrodil Case
The plaintiff, Robert DePerrodil, traveling by crew boat from Venice, Louisiana to an offshore site as part of his work as a petroleum industry consultant. As the boat was on its way back to shore, it hit a large wave, causing DePerrodil to lose his balance and fall on the floor of the wheelhouse, injuring his back. DePerrodil’s medical bills were in the amount of $186,080, but the employer’s worker’s compensation insurer was only obligated to pay $57,385, which it paid. DePerrodil sued the owner and operator of the crew boat, Bozovic Marine; the district court awarded the full amount of the medical expenses in the amount of $186,080. However, the appellate court reduced the medical expense damages to the $57,385 actually paid by the Longshore Worker’s Compensation insurer. Thus, in effect, the Collateral Source Rule did not apply.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim and Consult a Lawyer
If you get injured in an incident offshore at your job, you should file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. Also, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to determine whether or not you can claim and recover more than payment for your medical bills and the amount of money your employer or worker’s compensation insurer will pay for your lost income while disabled from working. A maritime injury lawyer can help you figure out if you have a case against your employer, the owner and/or operator of the vessel where you were injured, or any other party.
Contact Patrick Yancey About Maritime Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages for maritime injuries. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to discuss your case.