In Lavalais v. Gilchrist Const. Co., LLC, (La. App. 3 Cir. 2/4/15), the Third Circuit extended workers compensation benefits to an employee despite a finding that the employee provided false answers to a routine pre-employment health questionnaire. The Court determined that the employee’s untruthful answers did not directly relate to the injury and therefore did not trigger a forfeiture of workers compensation benefits under La. R.S. 23:1208.1.
Lavalais sustained injuries to his neck, back, and right knee in a car accident while in the employ of Gilchrist. Prior to the accident, Lavalais had suffered college football and accident-related injuries. Despite its finding that the plaintiff has been untruthful, the Court narrowly construed La. R.S. 23:1208.1 and held that Lavalais’ untruthfulness did not trigger forfeiture of benefits because the defendant did not meet its burden to show the prior injuries made re-injury “inevitable” or “very likely to occur.”