Workplace accidents are common in Louisiana and busy cities like Baton Rouge. Of course, not even the best workers' comp lawyer can predict where the next workplace accident will take place. However, statistics show that a job-related accident will take place on an almost daily basis, and someone will be seeking referrals for the best lawyers for workers' comp related injuries. If you have sustained an injury on the job, contact the Baton Rouge workers' compensation lawyers at A.L.L. Law Firm to speak to an experienced accident lawyer for a FREE case evaluation.
It is important that their victims know their rights and fight for them. Even if it means turning against their own employer. A Baton Rouge workers comp attorney can help them. Unfortunately, few Baton Rouge workers are aware of their rights. Many accept their employers’ actions without even considering to seek legal assistance. They worry they would waste money for nothing or they may upset their employer and get fired. The best lawyers for workers compensation are familiar with workers concerns and needs, not to mention the ramifications of a job injury. At A.L.L. Law Firm we have experience dealing with workers comp claims and are sensitive to all of the decision making factors that our clients must consider.
Through our 100% risk-free case review, we provide our clients with the knowledge and advice they need to make informed decisions. Our clients obtain the information they need and find out what their options are. This is done so the client makes the best decision for their case. Here is what every worker in Louisiana should know about workers’ compensation.
Basic Workers' Compensation Facts
What is Workers' Compensation and the Benefits It Offers
All employees in Louisiana who incur workplace injuries are entitled to certain benefits. Depending on the specifics of their injuries and on the skills of their workers' comp lawyer, these benefits can include any or all of the following:
- Medical care for their injuries
- Indemnity wage benefits
- Access to vocational rehabilitation benefits
These benefits fall under the obligation of the employer. With few exceptions, Louisiana employers must carry workers' compensation insurance. If they do, their insurer will be the one covering the mentioned benefits. If they do not, the employer is responsible for covering them. When they refuse, the employee has the right to request the assistance of a workers comp attorney.
Who Can Benefit from Workers Compensation
Workers compensation covers most Louisiana employees. This includes minors, seasonal, or part-time personnel. Even some contractors and subcontractors performing mostly manual labor or pursuing their employer’s business, trade, or occupation. The only exceptions to the rule are:
- Domestic employees
- Real estate salespersons
- Uncompensated personnel of some non-profit organizations
- Public officials
- Volunteers in most fields.
Employers who do not acquire workers compensation from third parties need approval for self-insurance. Employees who suspect their employers do not carry workers’ compensation or whose employer advises them to purchase or pay for their own insurance policy should consider consulting a Baton Rouge workers’ compensation lawyer. They may also report their employer to the Fraud & Compliance Division of the Office of Workers Compensation Administration.
Contact a Workers' Compensation Attorney Before Your Deadline
First, employees have the obligation to report any work-related injuries to their employer. If their injuries are so severe that they prevent them from reporting, a work colleague, supervisor, relative, or workers comp lawyer can do it for them.
The deadline for employee reports is usually 30 days. Those who fail to report their injury within 30 days will most likely lose their right to compensation. Employers have to report the injury to their insurer within ten days of receiving notification about it. For the report, they should use Form LWC-WC IA-1, namely the First Report of Injury or Illness.
In turn, the insurer should report the injury to the Office of Workers Compensation Administration. Employers and insurers who fail to report workplace injuries will be penalized for it. When the employer or their insurer refuses to report the injury, the employee or their workers' comp attorney can do it
If the injury disables the employee for a period of no more than two weeks, the employee should receive compensation after the first week. If their disability lasts more than two weeks, the compensation should cover the first week as well. The employee should receive it after the first two weeks have passed.
Types of Injuries Covered by Louisiana Workers Compensation
Since there is no exhaustive list of injuries and affections that qualify for workers compensation in Louisiana, the best way to find out whether a particular injury or affliction qualifies is to consult a Baton Rouge workers' compensation lawyer.
As the attorney can confirm, most physical and mental injuries arising from occupational diseases or workplace accidents qualify. However, in case of mental injuries, the applicant or their workmans' comp lawyer will have to prove that they are the result of a physical injury or sudden, unusual stress related to one's employment.
Workers Compensation Calculation Principles
One way of assessing the value of the workers’ compensation benefits an employee can receive is to call A.L.L. Law Firm and have us calculate them for you during your free case evaluation. For those who wish to take matters into their own hands, knowing the basic principles may help.
An employee’s compensation rate will depend on their average weekly wage. Employees with permanent total disabilities, temporary partial disabilities, or temporary total disabilities will receive 66 and 2/3% of their average wages.
Those whose injuries are so severe that they prevent them from earning wager greater than 10% of the wages they used to earn before the accident should receive supplemental earning benefits representing 66 and 2/3% of the difference between their average wage when they incurred the injury and their average wage after the injury.
Workers’ compensation benefits are only payable for a period of up to 520 weeks. For those whose workplace injuries result in permanent partial disability, the compensation they receive depends on the type of disability or loss they incur.
For example, the permanent partial disability compensation for losing a thumb amounts to 66 and 2/3% the employee’s wages. This is over a period of 50 weeks. Employees who incur catastrophic injuries may qualify for a one-time payment of $50,000.
Once they have recovered, Baton Rouge employees wishing to return to work may find their job already occupied, as Louisiana laws do not require employers to keep their jobs available. They do, however, prohibit retaliation, so employers cannot fire employees simply because the employee filed a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers' Comp Attorneys can Help with Death Benefits
If an employee dies, their surviving heirs may recover burial expenses of up to $8,500, besides other compensation types. In order to make sure it happens and make the process as straightforward as possible, they too should consider working with a workers compensation lawyer.
Unfortunately, not all employers and their insurers approve the employees’ workers’ compensation claim. That is why the outcome of cases depends on the experience and commitment of the workers comp attorney.
When to Hire a Workmans Comp Attorney
Employees whose compensation claims are denied have the right to file a Disputed Claim for Compensation. It is basically a proceeding of administrative law. Unfortunately, it can take half a year or even more. Those who wish to obtain faster results should always turn to a Baton Rouge workers' compensation lawyer for help.
Their attorney will not only take all the necessary steps to protect their interests and obtain the benefits their client deserves, but they will know what to do in every situation, saving their client time, effort, and peace of mind.
A Workers Comp Lawyer can Request Medical Documentation for Your Case
While employees in other states have to choose their treating physician or specialist from a panel of doctors provided by their insurer, this does not happen in Louisiana. Employees have the right to see their doctor of choice in any medical field that can provide the treatment they need for their work-related injury.
Needless to say, the employers or the insurer will cover the costs of medical care. They will also cover any travel cost the employee may incur in order to treat their injury. However, non-emergency services whose costs exceed $750 are subject to the employer’s approval or that of their insurer. When employees or the workman's comp attorney representing them submit an adequately supported request for treatment and do not receive the decision of the employer within five days, they can interpret the lack of response as a tacit denial. This gives them the right to submit the request to the medical director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration.
If the employer or their insurer assess that the documentation provided is insufficient or unclear, they can request additional clarifications from the employee’s healthcare provider using Form LWC-WC-1010A.
This will give the employee’s healthcare provider or their workers’ comp lawyer 10 days to answer the employer’s request and provide the necessary documentation or clarifications. If they fail to meet the ten days deadline, their lack of response will qualify as a tacit withdrawal of the treatment request.
Call the A.L.L. Law Firm Immediately if your Workers Comp Request is Denied
When the employer denies a request and the employee’s workers’ comp lawyer decides to request a review of the case by the OWCA Medical Director, they have to file Form LWC-WC 1009 within 15 days from receiving the employer’s denial or from the date when their lack of response qualifies as tacit denial.
The list of forms the parties may have to submit, or exchange is much more complex. Considering that the employee undergoes treatment during the period when these forms have to be filled in and submitted, and they could be in pain or under huge stress, working with a Baton Rouge workers' compensation lawyer is the most convenient alternative.
It is important to note that if the employer and the employee disagree on the necessary medical treatment and the Medical Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration has a hard time discerning the truth, the OWCA Medical Director has the right to request the claimant to undergo an independent medical examination. The employer or their insurer will be responsible for covering the cost of the examination.
Further Workers’ Compensation Rules and Stipulations
- Employers have 30 days from receiving notice of a work-related injury to start paying medical benefits to their employees. If the medical service provider does not use electronic billing, the term can be extended to 60 days
- In order to recover their out-of-pocket expenses, employees or their workmans’ comp attorney have to provide the employer or insurer with an itemized expenses list and corresponding receipts and bills.
- Employees who encounter issues with their workers’ compensation claims should try to sort things out with their employer or their employer’s insurer before requesting a conference with a mediator from the Office of Workers’ Compensation.
- Usually, employees who have a knowledgeable and reputed workers compensation lawyer defending their interests have higher chances of receiving the benefits they deserve fast and without issues from their employer or the employer's insurer.
- Workers’ compensation benefits are subject to strict application deadlines. Generally, the deadline for filing medical benefit claims is of one year from the date of the injury.
- For Supplemental Earnings Benefits, claims can be filed within three years from the last indemnity benefits payment. Occupational disease claims require filing within one year from diagnosis or acknowledgment.
- When it is in their best interest, the parties can negotiate and reach a settlement. Under the settlement, the employer will pay the employee a lump sum. Sometimes, this is done so the employee will give up all rights and demands.
If Your Position was Filled After a Job Injury a Workmans' Comp Attorney Can Help
Although employers are not obliged to keep the employee's job vacant, they cannot fire them either. Sometimes, when an employee wishes to return to work the position is no longer vacant, and their qualifications do not allow them to occupy a position with a similar payment level. The employee or their workers' comp accident lawyer can request the employer to provide or pay for vocational rehabilitation services.
There are many more stipulations and laws regulating workers’ compensation in Louisiana. The best way to understand laws applicable to a particular case is to consult a Baton Rouge workers compensation lawyer.
Depending on when they take the case, the lawyer's services can bring about numerous benefits for the employee. Here is a brief overview of the most important benefits at stake.
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Baton Rouge Workers' Compensation Lawyer
1. The Workers' Compensation Injury Attorney Will Provide All the Information and Advice Their Client Needs
Most of the times, employees who incur injuries on the job are so worried about their future, are dealing with extreme pain, and under so much pressure, that they have no idea what their rights are and how to go about protecting them.
No Up Front Fees.No Out-of-Pocket Costs.
A preliminary consultation with a workers compensation lawyer can help them obtain all the answers and information they need. At A.L.L. Law Firm, the first consultation is free, so injured employees will not pay anything, no matter if they decide to hire legal services or they choose to take their chances on their own.
2. Help Meeting Deadlines and Fulfilling the Necessary Formalities
Caught up with their treatment and their recovery, many employees fail to meet the deadlines for reporting accidents, filing treatment requests, or claiming medical and indemnity benefits. Any delays can cost them serious money, so it is better to rely on a knowledgeable workman’s comp lawyer than to risk losing money.
The help of the workers' comp lawyer is extremely valuable. Especially since obtaining the above-described benefits often involves filing dozens of forms and supporting them with evidence. An experienced workers comp lawyer will know exactly what forms are necessary. They know when to file them in order to secure the desired outcome for their client.
3. Representation, Negotiations, and Settlements
Employees defending their interests on their own will almost always get into arguments with the employer over coverage. This will make it difficult, if not impossible for them to return to work once they have recovered. Moreover, being directly involved in the case, the employee will have a hard time evaluating settlement offers. The employee may not understand their claim's true value or how to negotiate better terms for themselves.
All of this is part of the everyday routine for a workers compensation lawyer. The attorney will use their knowledge and skills to maintain an amicable relationship with the employer. Additionally, they will negotiate the best settlement possible on behalf of their client. The employee will not only receive more money, but they are more likely to be able to return to work when ready.
Hire A.L.L. Law Firm to Handle Your Workmans' Comp Claim
When seeking the best workmans' comp lawyer, victims should seek out an attorney who at least offers clients all the above benefits. A.L.L. Law Firm provides Baton Rouge employees access to the information. Most importantly, the advice they need is free with our 100% risk-free case evaluations.
We also accept contingency payments, allowing our clients to receive the money they deserve first, and only later pay the fee for obtaining them. With A.L.L. Law Firm as your workers' compensation lawyer, employees can save time, money, and effort, and obtain the benefits they are entitled to under Louisiana laws with minimum hassle.
You too can benefit from the experience and skills of A.L.L. Law Firm. Call the office now or use the online contact form to schedule a FREE private consultation from an experienced workers' comp attorney today! You will receive information, advice, and support with all workers’ compensation formalities. You will gain the peace of mind having a dedicated Baton Rouge workers' compensation lawyer defend your interests. All of this while you focus on your recovery.