Workers' Compensation

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TL;DR

  • Workers’ compensation is an insurance program employers are required to have that provides financial assistance to employees who sustain work-related injuries.
  • If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive pay for work you have not been able to perform, as well as for any medical bills incurred during this time; however, you typically waive the right to sue your employers for further compensation due to the illness or injury.
  • Unless you work as an independent contractor, most employees are covered under workers’ compensation, whether they are full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal.
  • Illnesses and injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation include: repetitive motion injuries (employees who perform the same motions on a frequent and regular basis); occupational illnesses (employees who acquire a disease from the workplace or is exposed to something that causes an industrial illness); and mental, psychological or emotional stress injuries (employees who acquire work-related, stress-induced health problems or illnesses).
  • Conditions that are typically not covered under workers’ compensation include: psychiatric-related injuries or diseases; injuries caused by negligent behavior; self-inflicted injuries that were avoidable; injuries from participating in criminal activity; injuries that occur due to commuting to and from your workplace.
  • To be eligible to file for workers’ compensation: your employer must be legally required to carry workers’ compensation coverage; the illness or injury you suffered has to occur due to your work-related duties and responsibilities; and you must be listed as an employee of record with your employer.
  • In Louisiana, there four different types of workers’ compensation benefits you may receive: Permanent Partial Disability Benefits, Supplemental Earning Benefits, Permanent Total Disability Benefits and Temporary Total Disability Benefits.

 

Obtaining financial assistance through workers’ compensation for injuries sustained on the job or illnesses caused by working conditions can be much more complicated than you may anticipate—especially if you’re unfamiliar with this process.

Backed by our extensive knowledge and experience with workers’ compensation cases, we’ve compiled answers to our clients’ most commonly asked questions and concerns.

Is There Financial Help Available?

You may qualify for workers’ compensation if you were injured or became ill while performing your duties as an employee, depending on certain factors regarding the incident. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program employers are required to have that provides financial assistance to employees who sustain work-related injuries. If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive pay for work you have not been able to perform, as well as for any medical bills incurred during this time.

However, in exchange for this financial help, employees typically waive their right to sue their employers for further compensation due to the illness or injury, except for a few rare exceptions.

Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Most employees are covered under workers’ compensation, whether they are full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal. However, you are not eligible to receive benefits if you work as an independent contractor. Some temporary workers or commissioned sales personnel can be classified as either employees or independent contractors, depending on their employer.

If you think your employer is intentionally trying to avoid paying workers’ compensation by listing you as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee, consider speaking to an experienced attorney who is familiar with workers’ compensation claims.

What Types of Injuries and Illnesses are Covered?

There are many work-related incidents, accidents and illnesses that are covered by workers’ compensation, but there are some unique cases where an injury may not be covered. Illnesses and injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation include:

Repetitive Motion Injury: These are the most common workplace injuries due to the many employees who need to perform the same motions on a frequent and regular basis. This injury may also be referred to as Repeated Motion Injuries (RMIs), Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) or Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs). The most well-known and common injury of this nature is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is a painful injury that affects the hands, wrists and forearms due to repetitive motions—such as typing on a keyboard.

Occupational Illnesses: If an employee acquires a disease from the workplace or is exposed to something that causes an industrial illness related to their working conditions, they would be eligible for benefits.

Mental, Psychological or Emotional Stress Injuries: These types of injuries are now covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Work-related stress can cause many illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and other serious health concerns. However, because it is much harder to prove that your stress-induced health problems were work-related, these claims are not as common even though they are related to a great deal of physicians visits.

What Types of Injuries and Illnesses are not Covered?

The following conditions are typically not covered under workers’ compensation:

  • Psychiatric-related injuries or diseases
  • Injuries caused by negligent behavior, such as fighting
  • Self-inflicted injuries that were avoidable
  • Injuries from participating in criminal activity, such as those sustained while working under influence of drugs or alcohol or while disobeying company rules
  • Injuries that occur due to commuting to and from your workplace — also known as the “Coming and Going Rule”

Are You Eligible to Receive Benefits?

To be eligible to file for workers’ compensation, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Your employer must be legally required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Most employers must have this coverage for their eligible employees under the plan, but some companies are exempt and may decide not to cover you.
  • The illness or injury you suffered has to occur due to your work-related duties and responsibilities.
  • You must be listed as an employee of record with your employer. Independent contractors and freelance workers are not eligible.

While most qualified injuries or illnesses occur at the actual workplace, some happen while driving a company-owned vehicle or while at other locations. If the employee was performing their work connected to the job, they will be covered under workers’ compensation.

What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Available?

In Louisiana, there four different types of workers’ compensation benefits you may receive:

    • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: recipients of PPD can receive up to 100 weeks of benefits, even if they return to work and could qualify for the other types of benefits. It is not required to wait the 100 weeks to return to work. You are able to return once you’ve completed the recovery process with no complications.
    • Supplemental Earning Benefits: If a worker has been injured and because of the injury their annual salary is less than 90 percent of their salary before the accident, the worker may qualify for these benefits. These benefits should equal two-thirds of the difference between what was earned prior to the accident and what is currently being earned.
    • Permanent Total Disability Benefits: These benefits are given to workers whose injuries prevent them from ever working again. In this case, the worker will receive benefits for the rest of their life unless they are somehow able to return to work. A doctor’s and rehabilitation expert’s opinion is needed to agree on the severity of the injury.

 

  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits: With TTD, recipients are totally disabled but can return to work after making a full recovery. These benefits equal two-thirds of a worker’s wages at the time of the injury. There’s no limit to the amount of time you can receive TTD, but it is expected from your employer that you return to work once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.

 

Filing for workers’ compensation can be a complex, confusing process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your workers’ compensation claim, contact our office and we’ll be more than happy to assist in any way.

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