The events leading up to a serious bus crash that killed two people and injured dozens are coming into sharper focus, and as a result, some victims are turning to workers’ compensation to obtain money that will help them recover from their injuries.
Several St. John’s Parish Fire Services Operations officers were injured, and 37-year-old Firefighter Spencer Chauvin was killed, when a runaway bus collided with a disabled vehicle. That bus was filled with flood relief workers, and about a half dozen of them plan to file workers’ compensation claims as well.
Although the employer’s identity is clear as far as the firefighters are concerned, investigators are still working on identifying the relief workers’ employer. Apparently, these individuals may or may not have been in the country legally. It seems that Wallace Rush Schmidt Inc. recruited local day laborers to work for Servpro and perform flood restoration work. Kristina’s Transportation owned the bus, but it is unclear what professional relationship, if any, the company had with the bus driver.
That driver was an undocumented immigrant from Honduras who had no commercial drivers’ license. Denis Amaya Rodriguez had evidently been involved in bus crashes before, and some state lawmakers are asking questions about the entire affair.
About a hundred years ago, labor groups negotiated with management representatives to devise a plan to address the rising number of workplace injuries brought on by the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Essentially, workers agreed to trade time for money. They gave up their right to sue in negligence court and obtain compensation for noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering, in exchange for a no-fault insurance system that compensates injured victims for their economic losses, like medical bills.
In many jurisdictions, the so-called “Grand Bargain” is no longer an even exchange, because workers’ compensation benefits have been reduced so dramatically in recent years. As a matter of fact, workers in several states – including Florida and Oklahoma – have challenged the system in court, claiming that it is no longer a legitimate alternative to a tort system.
However, that is not the case in Louisiana, where benefits are usually a bit more generous. For example, the average workers’ compensation payment for medical bills in the Bayou State is 430 percent higher than the comparable Medicare rate. However, victims must act fast to claim their share of benefits, because there are very strict time deadlines in these cases and administrative law judges almost never grant extensions or mulligans.
Benefits exist to help those injured on the job get back to work and back to life. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.