What do you know about Louisiana workers’ compensation? What about Louisiana workers’ compensation settlements? Many people aren’t sure where to start when it comes to filing a Louisiana workers’ compensation claim and aren’t sure what to expect when it comes to reaching a settlement. It would be much easier if there were a chart that explained everything you need to know about your Louisiana workers’ compensation case. Here, our Shreveport workers’ comp lawyers at Gordon & Gordon will provide you with information similar to a Louisiana Workers’ Comp Settlement chart while answering all your questions and debunking some myths about Louisiana worker’s compensation.
What is Louisiana Workers’ Compensation?
So, you got hurt at work in Louisiana. You’re stuck at home because of your injury. You’ve got some medical bills and no way to pay them. You might hear “Louisiana workers’ compensation” and balk because you don’t want to lay blame on your employer, go to court, or get fired for filing a claim.
Fortunately, all these things are pretty rare in actual worker’s compensation claims. If you get hurt at your job and can’t work because of it, you can get certain benefits from your employer and their worker’s compensation insurer under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.
If you’re concerned about getting fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim, don’t be. Your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Doing so would be known as workers’ comp retaliation, and it is highly illegal. If you are let go for another reason entirely, you can still collect workers’ comp after being fired.
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Insurers
Before we talk about what kinds of benefits you can get from your employer, let’s talk about their insurer. Louisiana law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with few exceptions. (See Workers’ Compensation Excemption.) Employers must purchase this insurance through an insurance company. You will need the name of this insurance company to file your claim.
There are cases where an employer might make it difficult to discover the name of their insurance carrier. In these cases, you may need a Louisiana workers’ comp attorney. Usually, a letter from your attorney will be enough to get the insurance carrier’s name.
If you don’t want to involve an attorney just yet, you can check the Louisiana Department of Labor’s website. Just click on the “Workers’ Compensation Coverage Verification” link in the bottom left corner.
What Benefits Can I Get From Louisiana Workers’ Compensation?
There are a variety of things your employer may be responsible for. Below is a list of the Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits you may receive:
Indemnity Benefits for Lost Wages
In most cases, this will typically be about ⅔ of your average weekly wage. There are a few different kinds of indemnity benefits, including temporary total disability, supplemental earnings, permanent partial disability, and more. Your workers’ compensation attorney can explain each of these indemnity benefits to you in more detail.
However, the ⅔ rule does not apply if you are a high-earner. There is a cap on indemnity benefits. In 2021, that maximum was about $743 per week. Even if you have a six or seven-figure salary, you can only receive the maximum weekly payment. The state reviews these limits every year.
Your employer will be responsible for all of your accident-related medical bills. This includes both present and future medical treatment and medical expenses relating to the injury. You will need the insurer’s permission for medical treatment totaling more than $750 unless it is emergency treatment.
Choice of Physician
The injured employee can choose one physician in any field or specialty. But if you change specialists, you need permission from the insurer. For instance, if your injury is a knee injury, you have the right to choose your own orthopedic surgeon. Should you want to change orthopedic surgeons, you need permission from your workers’ compensation insurance company first.
However, you do not need permission to choose your own physician in other specialties. Let’s say you’ve chosen your orthopedic surgeon, but you also need an ENT for an accident-related injury. In this case, you do not need the insurer’s permission to also choose an ENT.
It is important to remember, though, that your employer can ask you to undergo an examination by one of their preferred doctors at any time.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
Vocational rehabilitation benefits allow an injured worker assistance in finding and training for a new job. Take, for example, the many residents of Louisiana that work in the oil field. If one of these workers sustains an oil rig injury that is severe enough, they may not be able to return to their previous duties in the oilfield, meaning there may not be an alternative job available with their employer. In this case, the employer must assist the employee in finding a new job.
You may need to do a fair bit of driving to get the services, medications, or prosthetics that you need after a workplace injury. You may even need to do some flying. The good news is that your employer is responsible for paying those expenses, so long as they are reasonable, necessary, and directly related to your injury.
Wrongful Death Benefits
Obviously, this is a worst-case scenario. But in the case of a death, the employer is still responsible for benefits to the decedent’s loved ones called wrongful death benefits in Louisiana. The employer may be responsible for funeral costs, compensation for the decedent’s lost income, and any medical bills incurred before the death.
How Much Can I Get in a Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
There’s no surefire way to tell how much money you might get in a Louisiana workers’ compensation settlement, or for how long you might get it. In some cases, you may receive a one-time lump sum payment. In others, you will be paid benefits over a certain period of time, sometimes even for the remainder of your life. Overall, there are quite a few factors the settlement will hinge on. The most important factor is maintaining your benefits. It is always easier to maintain the benefits you are already getting rather than regaining benefits once you lose them.
You never need to settle your claim to continue receiving benefits. Neither does the employer and their insurer. You can’t force the employer to pay your future indemnities and medical bills; that can only happen through the agreement of the two parties.
A few things an attorney might consider during a Louisiana workers’ compensation settlement case are:
- What type of indemnity benefits is the employee receiving?
- Is the employer paying all the benefits?
- When was the last payment?
- Has the accident-related medical condition stabilized?
- What are the doctor’s recommendations for future medical treatment?
- Is the employer paying the correct comp rate?
- What, at the end of the day, does the injured employee plan to do?
These are all things you and your attorney will need to consider during negotiations for your Louisiana worker’s compensation benefits.
Contact Shreveport’s Top Workers’ Comp Attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with their Louisiana worker’s compensation settlement, reach out to the top workers’ comp and personal injury attorneys of Shreveport at Gordon and Gordon Law Firm today. You can call us at 318-716-HELP or you can leave us a message via our online intake form to arrange a consultation at any of our law offices in Mansfield, Bossier City, and Shreveport, Louisiana.