When you hear the term “workers’ compensation,” you may think these benefits only apply to high-risk job settings.
Factory workers, manufacturing plants, construction sites, and so on. However, that’s not always the case. Employees who suffer injuries in an office setting are entitled to workers’ comp, too.
If you’re suffering from an injury from your work or from an accident that occurred at your place of work, the workplace injuries attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at 337-436-6611 today or fill out a contact form online.
To help you learn more about workers’ comp, common office injuries, and eligibility requirements for compensation, we’ve put together this blog below.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides financial benefits to employees who suffer from job-related medical conditions or injuries at work. Workers’ compensation is also commonly called “workman’s comp,” or “workman’s compensation.”
Since workers’ comp is a state-mandated program, every state has its own unique laws. Louisiana’s contact information for the Office of Workers’ Compensation can be found on the Department of Labor’s website.
Workers’ compensation helps cover medical costs, lost wages, and ongoing care. Generally, workers’ comp benefits may be paid to an employee regardless of who was at fault.
What Conditions Might Be Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs)
Carpal tunnel syndrome, which leads to pain and numbness or tingling in the wrist or hand, is a common type of repetitive stress injury among office workers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is estimated to affect 1 to 5 percent of the adult population.
It’s typically covered under workers’ comp as a work-related RSI or repetitive motion injury (RMI). Another similar condition is tendinitis, pain and swelling of tendons such as the wrist or elbow.
Slip and falls
Slip and falls can occur anywhere, not just “dangerous” work environments like warehouses or construction sites. In an office, you might slip and fall on a floor wet from rain or snow, a damaged carpet, or uneven flooring.
Stress can take a toll on people physically and mentally. However, illnesses caused by on-the-job emotional stress can be harder to prove as work-related. And some states have certain restrictions or require stronger evidence that emotional stress caused physical injury or illness.
In Louisiana, workers’ compensation covers heart conditions only if “clear and convincing evidence” proves that “extraordinary and unusual” physical work stress caused it. Emotional work stress is not recognized.
Does workers’ compensation cover COVID-19? It depends on state law as well as your unique situation. Before the coronavirus pandemic, workers’ comp did not usually cover common illnesses like the cold or flu. The COVID-19 pandemic changed those circumstances, making some jobs more hazardous for employees.
As of August 2020, 14 states took action to extend workers’ comp coverage to include the coronavirus as a work-related illness. Six of those states enacted legislation. Louisiana’s legislation that addressed workers’ comp coverage for all essential workers failed to pass.
What isn’t covered
Workers’ compensation laws do contain some exemptions. In Louisiana, domestic employees, most real estate salespersons, unpaid officers and directors of certain nonprofits, and public officials are specifically exempted, as well as most volunteer workers.
Generally, workers’ comp also doesn’t cover injuries that are self-inflicted, or injuries caused by fighting or horsing around at work.
Injuries sustained while under the influence, committing a crime, or while violating company policies are generally not covered either.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Workers’ Comp?
There are four basic eligibility requirements you must meet to receive workers’ comp benefits.
You must be covered by your employer.
You must be an employee.
If you’re considered an employee by your employer, you’re generally covered. Freelancers, consultants, or gig workers are considered “independent contractors,” so they aren’t entitled to workers’ comp or other employee benefits.
Your illness or injury must be work-related.
Workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses, if they are job-related, regardless of fault. They don’t specifically have to occur at the office, either. If you become injured while on a work trip or at a social function for your job, you’re covered.
You must report and file before the deadlines.
To receive workers’ comp benefits, you have to report your injury and file a claim before the deadline. Report your accident or illness immediately to your employer within 30 days to remain eligible for benefits. In Louisiana, you generally have one year from the date of the incident to file a claim with the state agency, though your employer may do it for you.
How a Workplace Injury Attorney Can Help
Determining eligibility, gathering evidence, and filing a claim can be a complicated and long process. If you or a loved one is seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana, the experienced attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help you with your claim.
Our attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson will study your case, guide you through the claims process, and work hard to fight for your employee rights. To schedule a free consultation, call our Lake Charles office at 337-436-6611 today. You can also fill out a contact form online and like and follow our Facebook page.