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Workers' compensation claim cannot be altered, says Appeals Court

A recent Louisiana incident involving a worker on an oil production platform has made it all the way to the Appeals Court. A worker who was hurt while working filed a workers' compensation claim after he apparently injured his knee. He had originally filed for benefits, but later wanted to change his claim.

The man had been working offshore on a rig when his right knee reportedly popped. He was placed on light duty for five months when he was terminated. It was not immediately clear whether he was terminated because he could no longer carry out the duties for which he was hired, or if there were extenuating circumstances.

According to the man's claim, he continued to experience pain in his right knee even after he was no longer working. Doctors ended up performing orthopedic surgery in an attempt to remedy the situation. It was at that point that the man filed for benefits, which were granted, but it was not until several years later that he filed for permanent disability, submitting proof from two different doctors that there was 25 percent permanent partial disability in both knees.

Though the modification was approved, the man's previous employer appealed the decision. Their claim was that the information from the man's doctors had been available at the original hearing. They also claimed that nothing had taken place since the hearing to necessitate a modification in the original motion.

The man is likely still experiencing pain he suffered from the injury he sustained while on the job. Under Louisiana law, he is entitled to workers' compensation for such injuries, but the Appeals Court has determined that he is not due permanent disability. Other residents who experience injuries on the job may need assistance in pursuing all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: The Louisiana Record, Appeals Court affirms Benefits Review Board's decision in offshore permanent disability benefits case, Eliza Walker, Dec. 27, 2013

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