Louisiana Court Of Appeals Holds That Unlawfully Employed Teenager Is Not Entitled To Additional Workers’ Compensation Benefits
A Louisiana teenager who was only 14 years old at the time of a terrible workplace injury has been handed down disappointing news this month from the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jose Moran was unlawfully employed at the young age of only 14 years old when he suffered a severe burn injury to his body while on the job. Despite the fact that such work likely violates child labor laws, the Louisiana appeals court held that Mr. Moran was not entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits because he failed to make several required showings in his case that would have entitled him to Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits. The case demonstrates the complexity of workers’ compensation laws and the strict application of workers’ compensation eligibility criteria to injured workers’ cases, even when equitable issues are on the table, such as unlawful child labor.
The Workplace Injury and Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
The accident that led to Mr. Moran’s injury occurred when he was moving a hot pot of cooking oil down a stairwell in the course of his work for his employer, the Jacques-Imo Café. Mr. Moran fell while transporting the hot oil, resulting in second and third-degree burns to his body. Initially, Mr. Moran was granted 100 weeks of temporary disability workers’ compensation benefits. He also alleged that he had been injured due to the employer not following child labor laws.
In addition to the 100 weeks of temporary disability, Mr. Moran’s mother filed for additional Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits, including a $50,000 lump sum payment. The dispute in the case was whether Mr. Moran was entitled to these benefits, considering several eligibility factors. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals found that Mr. Moran was not entitled to the lump-sum workers’ compensation payment for several reasons. First, the court held that Mr. Moran did not prove that he was disabled from work as a result of the workplace accident. Secondly, the court held that Mr. Moran did not meet his burden to show that he would be unable to earn 90% or more of his earnings pre-injury. The appeals court agreed with the trial court that Mr. Moran, even with his injuries, could still earn his pre-injury wage of $10.00 per hour, that he only had burns over 36% of his body, and that the burns were a combination of second and third-degree burn injuries. The Louisiana workers’ compensation laws require that the body be covered 40% or more by third-degree burns in order for a worker to be eligible for the lump-sum payment.
Help with Your Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Case
If you have been injured on the job in Louisiana, contact the skilled and experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe. The Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe offer a free and confidential consultation to learn about your case and to see if they can help you get important workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe today and speak to a lawyer for free.