With limited exceptions, all employees in Louisiana are entitled to certain benefits if they suffer workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation is designed to recompense workers for their losses and help them return to work as soon as possible. Workers can access medical benefits, disability benefits, indemnity wage benefits, and vocational rehabilitation if necessary. If you’re new to the workforce or you need a refresher on how workers’ comp works, this article will help.
Types of Benefits Offered Under the Workers’ Compensation System
Medical benefits are perhaps the most common type of compensation offered. If you were hurt at work or while doing a job-related task, you should be eligible for medical benefits. You can also be reimbursed for the mileage you used to travel to and from doctor’s appointments. In cases where you can’t return to your previous job, you should get help in finding a new job. Also, when workers lose their lives because of a workplace injury or illness, their dependents can receive death benefits. Survivors can also get financial assistance with funeral and burial expenses.
There are several other categories of benefits available to workers who suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses.
Temporary Disability Benefits
In Louisiana, workers who have to miss more than seven days of work are eligible for temporary disability benefits. However, you don’t get paid for the first seven days unless your injuries force you to miss more than 14 days.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
After a worker’s medical treatment is complete, the doctor evaluates them again. If they are found to be permanently and totally disabled, they will continue to get weekly payments. They’re paid at the rate of their temporary total disability rate for as long as their situation remains the same. To receive permanent total disability benefits, you must be unable to do any type of work at all.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Workers who physically lose certain body parts are entitled to compensation. They get two-thirds of their average weekly wages for a period determined by a schedule. The loss of the arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes or ears is covered under permanent partial disability benefits.
Workers can also get two-thirds of their average weekly wage for:
- serious disfigurement
- permanent loss of hearing
- serious limitations of the gastrointestinal, respiratory or genitourinary systems
Louisiana also provides workers with a one-time benefit of $50,000 for catastrophic injuries. These include paralysis of both legs and the complete physical loss of both hands, arms, feet, or legs. Working with a Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer will help to ensure you get the benefits to which you’re entitled.
Supplemental Earnings Benefits
Sometimes employees can return to work, but they are unable to function in their previous role. Those who earn less than 90 percent of their regular wages can get supplemental earning benefits. This helps to ensure they are not too severely disadvantaged.
How Benefits Are Calculated
Your rate of compensation will be based on your average weekly wages. These are calculated by working out your average pay for the last four weeks just before your injury. If you suffered injuries in the middle of a pay period, the previous week is used to calculate four full weeks. The Louisiana Workers’ Comp Corporation calculates full-time employee’s wages based on a 40-hour week. LWCC factors in overtime, commissions, and other taxable payments.
Employees who suffer a permanent total disability, temporary partial disability or temporary total disability receive 66 and 2/3 percent of their average wages. Meanwhile, supplemental earnings benefits are calculated at 66 and 2/3 percent of the difference between wages before and after injury. Workers can receive supplemental benefits until:
- they can return to full duty
- they’re earning pre-injury wages
- they’ve hit the maximum of 520 weeks for which workers’ compensation benefits can be paid
Workers who suffer permanent partial disability are compensated according to the type of loss they experienced. For example, losing a thumb results in a payment of 66 and 2/3 of your average wages for 50 weeks.
Meanwhile, when an employee dies, their survivors can get up to $8,500 in burial expenses in addition to other types of compensation.
Contact Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today!
Whether you’ve suffered a workplace injury or lost a loved one, you need to work with competent workers’ comp lawyers in Louisiana. Even though the benefits may be easy to understand, they are not always easy to access. The employer’s workers comp insurer may deny your claim or offer you inadequate compensation. When you work with a lawyer, you give yourself a fighting chance at getting the benefits you need a deserve. Contact Louisiana Injury Lawyers today to schedule a consultation.