Workers Compensation: What Is it and Who Does it Affect?

Usually, if you get hurt in an accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if you’re hurt in a car crash, you can pursue the other driver for damages. Or if you slip and fall at a grocery store, you can sue the owners for a premises liability claim. It works in a completely different way if you get hurt on the job. One of the hardest things our Baton Rouge work injury lawyers have to explain to their clients is why they can’t sue their employer in court.

A lot of people think it’s unfair that they must pursue their employer through workers compensation. The truth is that the laws in Louisiana are specifically written to protect employers. If business owners had to defend a lawsuit every time an employee gets hurt, they’d go bankrupt in no time. Instead, they are required to carry workers comp insurance. This insurance is meant to cover any medical bills you experience as a result of your workplace accident. In addition, it covers the weekly benefits you receive while you’re waiting to return to work.

The workers compensation system in Louisiana is similar to that of most other states. In order to qualify for workers comp benefits, you must meet certain criteria. If your claim is approved, you’ll receive free medical care and weekly replacement wages. If, however, your claim is denied, you’ll need the help of a Baton Rouge personal injury attorney.

Who Oversees Workers Compensation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?

In Louisiana, workers compensation is overseen by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. This is the same commission that oversees most work-related issues. If you get hurt at work, you’re required to notify your employer immediately. If you do this and don’t hear anything about your workers comp claim, you can contact the Commission directly. If your Baton Rouge work injury lawyer finds out your employer never filed your claim, they can petition the Commission on your behalf.

There’s nothing stopping you from filing your own workers compensation claim. If your claim is denied, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is the agency you’ll contact to file an appeal. Their website is very helpful and can answer a lot of your workers compensation questions. Since every case is unique, the Commission includes all sorts of helpful resources online. This way, if you don’t have an attorney, you can still find out how to protect your legal rights.

What Are the Criteria One Must Meet to Collect Workers Comp Benefits?

In order to qualify for workers compensation benefits in Baton Rouge, you must meet certain criteria. These are the same requirements most states have in place. These requirements include the following:

  • Your accident must take place on company property. If you work remotely or on the road, then you just have to show that you were operating within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury.
  • You must report your injury right away. While you have thirty days under Louisiana law to report your injury, you should never wait this long. Let your manager or Human Resources Director know about your injury as soon as possible.
  • You must be willing to submit to a drug test prior to receiving medical treatment.
  • You’re required to be treated by a state-approved doctor.
  • You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident.
  • You must comply with your doctor’s course of treatment.
  • You must not work while out on workers compensation.
  • You must return to work when your doctor determines you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.

As long as you meet these criteria, your workers compensation claim should be approved. There are times, however, when your claim is denied. If this is the case, you should reach out to a Baton Rouge personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Do You Have Options if Your Claim Isn’t Approved?

If your workers compensation claim is denied, you have options. The first thing your Baton Rouge work injury lawyer can do is file an appeal on your behalf. If this isn’t successful, you can always file a lawsuit against your employer. This is a last resort. Ideally, your attorney will be able to negotiate payment of your claim with the insurance company. Sometimes, this works simply because it’ll cost the insurance company a lot of money to fight your claim. The last thing your employer wants to do is spend a ton of money, especially if your claim isn’t for that much money.

If you do end up filing a workers compensation lawsuit, you can expect one of a few things to happen. If your injuries are serious, you may be able to settle your claim for a lump sum. If this is the case, your settlement amount will depend on the body part that you injured. Some body parts are worth more than others. For example, a back injury is worth a lot more than a wrist injury. If the insurance company isn’t interested in a lump sum settlement, you may be able to get them to agree to weekly benefits, paid out over a period of time. This isn’t always ideal. You don’t want to be entangled in the case any longer than you have to. You’re better off settling for a lump sum. This way, you can move on and find a job somewhere that appreciate you.

Contact a Seasoned Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorney Right Away

If you get injured at work and your injuries are not covered by workers compensation, you should give us a call. You have no idea whether you’ll succeed on an appeal. At least if you have a Baton Rouge injury lawyer, they can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They can also help with your appeal.

The best thing to do is to call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. You can sit down with a seasoned attorney who’s handled dozens of cases just like yours. They know how the workers compensation process works. They also know what it takes to get you the benefits you deserve. Give us a call right away and we can set up a date and time for you to come in and chat with one of our Baton Rouge work injury lawyers.