Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ Compensation Claims Attorney Serving all of Louisiana, Including Covington and New Orleans
Injured at Work and Not Sure What to Do Next?
For those of us working in an office, getting hurt at work isn’t something we really think about.
Sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t exactly scream “Danger!” But accidents can and do occur — whether it’s:
- slipping and twisting your ankle
- reaching for something on a shelf and an object falls and hits your head
- any other unexpected event that causes injury or harm
In Louisiana, much of the economy depends on the industries of:
- oil and natural gas
- chemical and petrochemical manufacturing
- commercial fishing
If you find yourself in one of these occupations, you are all too familiar with the dangers faced on a daily basis. In addition to serious injury, you may be exposed to hazardous or toxic chemicals that could result in chronic illness.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or illness resulting from job-related activities, you’re probably worried about how you will pay your medical bills or retrieve lost wages for the amount of time you’ve been out of work.
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act of Louisiana, you are entitled to receive medical, income replacement, mileage and vocational rehabilitation benefits while you are out of work.
At Wanko Law Firm, we understand the financial stress you are experiencing and want to help you get back on your feet and back to work as soon as possible. We will review your claim and develop a plan of action to make sure you receive the maximum amount of benefits you are eligible for. Contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim: What You Need to Know
If you were hurt at work or have become ill, you should immediately report the accident to your employer, even if you think you can work through it.
If it has been longer than 30 days, contact Wanko Law Firm to see if the law will make any exceptions pertaining to your claim.
Once you inform your employer of your injury or illness, they should complete a form called a “First Report of Injury” and provide it to their insurer. The insurer will then submit the form to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Make sure to ask your employer for a copy of this form so you have a documented record of the date the injury occurred and when you reported it.
Seek medical attention right away. Your employer may insist that you visit the company doctor, but you are entitled to see a physician of your choosing at the employer’s expense.
The caveat is that your physician must have approval from the employer/ insurance carrier to continue treatment beyond $750 worth of care (unless it is for an emergency).
There may come a time when your employer will require you to be examined by a company doctor. If you fail to submit to any reasonable examination, your compensation payments may be temporarily suspended until you do so.
If your physician and employer’s physician disagree about your medical treatment, you may be entitled to an Independent Medical Examination. Wanko Law Firm can help you navigate through this process.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Unfortunately, you cannot directly sue your employer for a workplace injury, but they are required by law to give you workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are considering a third party claim, you could sue in tort for negligence against someone unrelated to the employer. For instance, if you are a delivery driver and were hit by another vehicle during your delivery route, then you can sue the person at fault for the accident for:
- lost wages
- medical costs
- pain and suffering
What Kinds of Benefits Am I Eligible For?
In Louisiana, most workers are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act on their first day of work. Whether you are a part-time, full-time, or seasonal employee, you are eligible to receive these benefits in the event of injury or illness.
Four Primary Types of Benefits:
1.) Indemnity Benefits — these are lost wages you recover due to your inability to work. You will not receive full pay, but rather 2/3 of what your average weekly wage was four weeks prior to the accident (excluding the week of the accident).
Your weekly payments should be 66% of your average weekly wage and subject to a maximum comp rate. Currently, the weekly cap on all indemnity benefits is $630.00 per week in the state of Louisiana.
*To calculate comp rate: Multiply your average weekly wage by .667
Check the workers’ compensation indemnity table to see if you are being paid correctly.
2.) Medical Benefits: your coverage includes any treatment related to your injury including:
- prescription medications
- physical therapy
- and more
Various Types of Medical Benefits:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): If you are unable to work due to a temporary medical condition, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the duration of your time off.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): If your injury is so debilitating that it prevents you from ever working again, you would receive 2/3 of your pre-injury weekly wage, or a lump-sum payout. In many cases, you will also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB): If you are unable to return to work and earn less than 90 percent of your average weekly wage prior to the injury, you will be paid 2/3 of your earnings differential.
Permanent partial disability (PPD): If you have lost the use of or have suffered an amputation of a body part but are still able to perform some work tasks, you will most likely be awarded 2/3 of the average weekly wage prior to injury. This will be contingent on the percentage of determined disability.
Death benefits: If you have lost a loved one as the result of an injury or illness they suffered on the job, you may claim death benefits within two years of the deceased’s last treatment related to the injury.
3.) Mileage Reimbursement: You will be compensated for the cost of the mileage traveling to and from medical appointments, obtaining any medications, etc.
4.) Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: The insurance company will offer retraining services to either help you reclaim your previous position or find a new job. In most cases, you will be put in touch with a vocational rehabilitation specialist who will identify jobs within your area that are a match with your skills and physical ability.
Be aware that when the insurance company sees that you are eligible to return to work, they will start to reduce or even terminate your benefits.
More often than not, the jobs recommended to you are not very reliable. You may discover that they require more experience than what you have, or have physical demands that would be too hard on you.
As you undergo the process of finding a job, make sure you document every aspect of your search, including:
- printing out job applications you submitted
- noting who you’ve spoken to
- the date/time of any interviews you’ve participated in
Despite your eagerness to get back into the workforce, don’t feel pressured to take an ill-suited job just to avoid the reduction or termination of your benefits. Make sure to consult with one of our attorneys if you feel as if you are being taken advantage of.
When you need someone who understands workers’ compensation law and who is dedicated to providing you with compassionate support and sound legal advice, call the Wanko Law Firm, LLC.
We are available now to assist you: (985) 893-6530.