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 Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer can aid disputes regarding injuries (or death) that occur while performing occupational responsibilities.
If your injury isn’t fairly compensated, the experienced injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson 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.
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 particular occupation.
Generally speaking, 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 and 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 to 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.
Aggressive Representation for Louisiana Workers & Healthcare Providers
According to The Louisiana Workforce Commission, common workplace injuries include sprains, strains, and tears to the upper extremities caused by falls, slips, and trips.
In 2016, 95 Louisiana workers were killed performing their work duties. Transportation accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in Louisiana followed by workplace violence and chemical exposure.
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 Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson.
We also help seriously injured workers file for Social Security Disability Insurance.
Defending the Rights of Health Care Providers
Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson 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 providers has become an important practice area for our Lake Charles injury firm. If your practice, hospital, or clinic is having difficulty obtaining reimbursement for workers’ comp cases, drop us an email, or call us at 337-240-9349.
Experience You Can Trust
The circumstances surrounding a work-related injury or illness can leave many in the gray area of the law. But with the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, injured workers, and their families can focus on recovery and avoid financial strain.
We take worker injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until your case gets settled. Even if you don’t think you can afford a lawyer, give us a call to discuss every legal option.