Lake Charles Workers Compensation Lawyer

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Lake Charles Workers Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation is an important safety net for injured workers and their families. Most employees are covered by workers’ comp laws, which are enforced by The Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) and the Louisiana Workforce Commission. These organizations, along with a Lake Charles workers’ comp lawyer, can aid disputes regarding injuries (or death) that occur while performing occupational responsibilities.

Recovering After a Work Injury With Experienced Lake Charles Attorneys

Even a minor workplace injury can require several weeks of recovery, costly medical bills, and lost income during this time. More severe injuries can cost significantly more and permanently alter your way of living. These losses should be compensated. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to recover fair compensation from your employer’s insurance provider, even when you have a good faith claim. Your Lake Charles workers’ comp lawyer is an essential ally in negotiating the most compensation in your claim.

If your injury isn’t fairly compensated, the experienced injury lawyers at the Cox Law Firm are here to help. Our Louisiana legal team has more than 135 years of combined experience. We’re proud to serve the residents of Lake Charles and nearby communities in southwest Louisiana.

Types of Workplace Injuries

Employers have a responsibility to keep a safe workplace, but some hazards and dangers are unavoidable. Any job can have potential dangers, but certain types of work, such as industrial work, construction work, and maritime jobs, have a higher risk of injury and danger. Some of the common causes of workplace accidents include:

  • Heavy machinery and motor vehicle accidents and malfunctions. If employees are improperly trained, or maintenance is not done on dangerous machines, they can cause severe harm to the employees who use them or nearby employees.
  • Repetitive motion injuries. Employees who engage in the same motions all day, such as assembly line workers or typists, may suffer developmental injuries. These can be covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Falling objects and falls. Objects falling from shelves, scaffolding, and other high locations can cause brain, head, and spine trauma. Slips and falls can also result in severe injuries, especially if it is from an extreme height.
  • Overexertion. This is common in many types of work, especially those with manual labor and in high-heat environments. Employees must be trained properly and provided with the necessary equipment to avoid injuries from exhaustion and overwork.
  • Developmental illnesses from toxic exposure. Some forms of employment expose employees to toxic materials and chemicals. This should be avoided through personal protection and clear instructions on how to handle these substances. Without effective safety measures, employees can develop illnesses in the lungs and other internal organs.

When you are injured at work, you can likely recover compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, civil claims may also be available to you.

What Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ Compensation covers mental and physical injuries resulting from an accident or occupational disease as well as work-related fatalities.

According to the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, an accident is defined as an unforeseen event that occurs suddenly or violently with or without human fault. The event must produce an actual injury, illness, or result in death. Illness or disease must result from the conditions produced and/or maintained by the occupation.

According to The Louisiana Workforce Commission, common workplace injuries include sprains, strains, and muscle tears to the upper extremities caused by falls, slips, and trips. In 2019, 119 Louisiana workers were killed performing their work duties, with over 5,000 work-related fatalities nationwide. Transportation accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in Louisiana followed by violence and chemical exposure.

What Expenses Are Covered Under Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ Compensation is available to those who are injured on the job.

However, workers may be eligible to collect benefits if they’re performing work-related duties outside a specified workplace. Workers’ compensation payments may include money for:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages (temporary total disability benefits)
  • Permanent Disability
  • Catastrophic Injury Benefits
  • Job Training & Education
  • Death Benefits (survivor benefits for dependent family members)

There are, however, instances when a workplace injury is not covered by workers’ compensation. For example, workers who are drunk or under the influence of drugs during their scheduled work period are exempt from collecting benefits. Workers who injure themselves on purpose or participate in “horseplay” at the time of injury may also be exempt. Employees who initiate a physical altercation with another are typically not able to collect compensation.

Louisiana workers’ compensation law pays disability benefits for both temporary and permanent injuries. In most cases, benefits equal two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. For permanent, total disability, benefits may be paid for life.

How Do I File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Louisiana?

Not all workers’ compensation claims require legal representation. However, it’s wise to know how the process works to hold employers accountable and to ensure any work-related illness, injury, or death is compensated equitably.

To file a workers’ compensation claim, specific steps must be taken and completed properly:

  • First, the injury must be reported to the employer within 30 days of discovery.
  • Next, the employer submits a First Report of Injury form to its insurance company. Your employer has 10 days to submit this form.
  • The employer’s insurance company notifies OWCA who will determine eligibility and what benefits are available. This process often involves reviewing medical records, analyzing work history and wages, and requesting a medical examination.
  • Finally, the employer’s insurance company determines the claim. If the claim is approved, benefit payments will soon follow. If the claim is denied, the employee will receive prompt written notice by mail.
  • If a claim is denied, injured workers have the right to appeal the decision. Injured workers can do this by filing a Disputed Claim for Compensation form with the OWCA.

Injured workers often need an experienced workers’ comp attorney to stand by them and insist that proper compensation is made. If you have been injured at your place of work and have been denied compensation, we urge you to contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Cox Law Firm. We also help seriously injured workers file for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Defending the Rights of Healthcare Providers

The Cox Law Firm also advocates for the rights of healthcare providers.

Workers’ Compensation cases don’t just impact injured workers; they also impact providers who struggle to collect payment from insurance companies. Standing up for underpaid medical services has become an important practice area for our Lake Charles firm. If your practice, hospital, or clinic is having difficulty obtaining reimbursement for workers’ comp cases from an insurance company, you need an experienced worker’s compensation attorney to handle your case.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Work-Related Injuries in Louisiana?

For Louisiana workers’ compensation claims, you have one year from the date of the injury to file your claim. Failing to file for compensation during this time will bar you from recovering medical costs or portions of your income. It’s important to work with an attorney as soon as possible following a workplace injury. If you wait too long, important evidence may be lost, such as witness statements, medical documentation, or CCTV footage.

If it is too close to the deadline, you may have a hard time finding an attorney to take your claim. Talking with an attorney sooner means that they have time to investigate and gather evidence, allowing them to build the strongest claim possible prior to filing it.

There are some situations where the deadline for a workers’ compensation claim is extended. For example, if you have suffered from a developmental illness or a repetitive motion injury that has taken time to show itself, you could still file a claim within a year of discovering the injury or from when you should have discovered it. Discuss your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you are still eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

The Cox Law Firm: Protecting Injured Workers in Calcasieu Parish

With the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, injured workers and their families can focus on recovery and avoid financial strain. Even if you don’t think you can afford a lawyer, give us a call to discuss every legal option. Call the Cox Law Firm at 337-436-6611 to schedule a FREE case consultation to get started now.

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