Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation is beneficial for businesses because it covers employee illnesses and workplace injuries, protects businesses from lawsuits, and keeps businesses compliant with state regulations. Employees benefit from workers’ comp coverage by having a portion of lost wages covered, or replaced, while they are hurt or sick and unable to work. It also pays for medical costs they might incur as a result of the sickness or injury.
Who Is Covered
Louisiana workers’ compensation laws require most employers to have this coverage, even if they only have one employee. Louisiana employers are required to carry workers’ compensation if they have one or more employees, whether full or part time, whose payroll is at least $3,000.00 annually. Employers that only hire independent contractors and those businesses only hiring a few part time employees are still required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This law can also apply to workers that are full-time, part-time, minors, and seasonal employees.
Every business is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Sole proprietors that do not have any employees are not required to carry this insurance. There are several other exceptions to workers’ compensation coverage requirements. Some workers’ compensation exemptions include:
- Employees of a private residential homeowner
- Musicians and performers who provide services outlined on a performance contract
- Real estate brokers or salesmen licensed to do business in the state of Louisiana
- Employees of a private unincorporated farm
- Crop Duster crews
- Any land man performing exploration, development, production or mineral transportation services
- Employees covered by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and Jones Act
- Members of airplane crews involved in dusting or spraying operations
- Uncompensated officers and members of a board of directors for nonprofit organizations
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover
In Louisiana, a compensable injury is defined as a personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. Louisiana’s Revised Statute Section 23 defines an accident as “an unexpected or unforeseen actual, identifiable,a precipitous event happening suddenly or violently, with or without human fault, and directly producing at the time objective findings of an injury which is more than simply a gradual deterioration or progressive degeneration.” The statute also states that certain occupational diseases can be compensated. Louisiana’s workers compensation can help pay for:
- Accidents and injuries
- Lost wages, also known as indemnity benefits
- Disability benefits
- Ongoing care
- Funeral costs
- Repetitive stress injuries
Filing A Claim
If you are injured on the job, it is best to let your employer know as soon after the accident as possible, but employees must report an injury within thirty days of having actual knowledge of the injury in order to be compensated. Employers then have 10 days to notify the Office of Workers Compensation of the employee’s claim. Once a claim is filed with the insurance company, they will notify the state.
Starting a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After an accident or death, employees or their families may file either a Form 1008 or a Petition to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you fill out your Form 1008 or create and advise you as to what is required to be in your Petition. Next, a mediation conference would happen between all the parties, and if an agreement can be reached without litigation, the claim does not need to go any further. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the defendant will be served the Form 1008 or Petition and litigation of the claim will continue. After this point, there is a lot of back and forth between the victim and their employer regarding payments. A lawyer will handle the technical paperwork that needs to be done and everything that needs to be prepared for a trial.
Ending a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Some workers’ compensation cases have to go to trial if there are disputed facts about how or why the accident happened, but the majority of these cases end in settlements. Going to trial for a workers’ compensation case can be risky as an employee, because there are many defenses that that employer can raise. An employer may successfully argue that an employee did not follow proper procedure, intentionally harmed themselves, or was under some kind of influence when the accident happened. Settlements help avoid the possibility that an employee will walk away with nothing after their accident. A settlement is a lump sum payment or compromise settlement in exchange for full and final discharge and release of the employer, his insurer, or both from liability. In Louisiana, a settlement may be appropriate:
- Upon agreement between the parties, including the insurer’s duty to obtain the employer’s consent.
- When it can be demonstrated that a lump sum payment is clearly in the best interests of the parties.
- Upon the expiration of six months after termination of temporary total disability.
A personal injury attorney can help you get the best settlement for your injuries and expenses. Once a settlement is reached, depending on the specifics of the settlement and the employee’s injuries, the employee will receive their compensation and return back to work. Additionally, all compensable medical expenses incurred prior to the date of the settlement shall be paid by the employer unless the terms of the settlement specifically provide otherwise. A worker out on temporary total disability can usually collect up to two-thirds of their average wages for the term of the disability or one hundred weeks for injuries that are considered permanent partial disabilities. However, if the injury is completely disabling they can receive up to 520 weeks of supplemental earning benefits or may choose a lump sum settlement.
Our attorneys at Cueria Law LLC have valuable experience with these types of claims. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident on the job, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. The laws and procedures involved in these cases are complicated and plenty. Call our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at the Cueria Law Firm for a free consultation today!
Our attorneys have helped hundreds of injury victims get the fair compensation they deserve so they can get back to their lives and their families. Call Cueria Law Firm at (504)-688-7658 today!