Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance can allow an employee who is injured on the job – or their surviving family members if they are killed – to receive financial benefits for costs and damages, such as medical care, lost wage reimbursement, disability compensation, and vocational rehabilitation services.
The personal injury lawyer who represents you may also guide you in calculating the types and amounts of your recoverable damages, which may include:
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Most employers in Lafayette are required to provide this coverage to all employees regardless of their employment status. A Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can evaluate your claim and help you pursue compensation.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation In Lafayette, Louisiana ?
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWCC), most employees qualify for workers’ compensation if they get injured on the job. Qualifying employees may include:
- Full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Seasonal workers
Subcontractors and some independent contractors may qualify for workers’ compensation if their work furthered their employer’s pursuit of business or if they performed “substantial manual labor.” However, certain limitations exist for independent contractors regarding workers’ compensation, so you can have a lawyer from our firm confirm whether you qualify to recover benefits.
How do I Claim Workers’ Compensation?
All employers in Louisiana, except those that fall under statutory exceptions, must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets injured while working, per RS § 1020.1.
To claim workers’ compensation, you must first alert your employer about your workplace injury. You can also report your injury to the LWCC by filling out a First Report of Injury (FROI) form. Once you have reported the claim, this will initiate the claims process, and an LWCC claims service agent will respond to your injury report.
Can Surviving Families Claim Workers’ Compensation?
Yes. If an employee passed away because of a workplace accident, their surviving spouse and/or children (or other dependents) may claim workers’ compensation benefits on their behalf.
Qualifying widows/widowers and surviving children may claim a portion of their loved one’s average weekly earnings, which can vary based on family size. Our legal team can review your case to determine whether you qualify to receive benefits and whether you have other legal options to demand compensation.
How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help Build Your Claim
The workers’ compensation process can get confusing if you have never filed a claim before, which can put you at risk of having your claim denied on a technicality or lack of information. To help you build your claim, you can hire a workers’ compensation lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers. Our legal team serves clients in Lafayette and other cities in Louisiana, so we understand which laws may pertain to your case.
Some of our services for workers’ compensation cases include:
- Retrieving evidence that proves your accident occurred at the workplace or during work hours and verifies other claims in your report
- Filling out paperwork and submitting your claim within appropriate deadlines
- Communicating with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer on your behalf
- Providing other information to prove the severity of your injury, such as medical records
- Attending hearings to petition for your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits
- Appealing a denial on your claim if necessary
If you have other questions about the claims process, our legal team is available for counsel.
When Is Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Necessary in a Workers’ Compensation Case?
Although workers’ compensation is designed to provide injured employees with the compensation necessary to recover from their injuries, it has the dual purpose of protecting employers from personal injury lawsuits. However, in certain situations, filing a lawsuit might be necessary.
Furthermore, if an employer fails to carry coverage, an employee may be eligible to collect compensation through civil action with the help of a personal injury lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers.
Compensatory Damages Differ for Lawsuits
Workers’ compensation generally covers your medical bills and a portion of your wages. However, with a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover additional compensation for the following types of damages:
- Property damage, which includes costs to fix or replace any of your property that was damaged in your work-related accident
- Permanent disability, including loss of bodily function, vision, or hearing
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Current and future income loss (full wages and benefits)
- Reduced earning potential
- Diminished quality of life
- Psychological trauma
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
Other damages not listed here may also pertain to your case. For example, families filing wrongful death actions may qualify to receive compensation for funeral expenses, loss of consortium, medical debts, and other emotional losses related to losing their loved one. We aim to be sensitive to your situation and estimate a value for your case that is fair to you and your family.
Our team can discuss other compensatory damages you may pursue in a free consultation.
The Statute of Limitations Applies to Personal Injury Cases
Per CC § 3492, plaintiffs must file their personal injury lawsuits against a liable party within one year of the date of injury. Failure to meet this deadline can subject you to having your case dismissed.
However, other factors may toll or extend the statutory deadline attached to your case, such as whether your work-related accident involves a government entity. Our personal injury team will review your case and explain how long you have to file your lawsuit.
Employees Can Sue Employers for Gross Negligence in Severe Cases
Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer when you get into a work-related accident, as you are meant to navigate the workers’ compensation system. However, in Louisiana, you can sue your employer if they force you to work in unsafe working conditions. This is considered gross negligence, which holds your employer liable for injuries and damages you suffer.
You May Also Qualify to Sue Third Parties Who Contributed to the Accident
If another party contributed to your work-related accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. These parties may include:
- Another employee who contributed to the cause of the accident
- A manufacturer of faulty equipment or machinery
- A maintenance company for faulty equipment or machinery
- A government entity
- A third party, such as another vehicle driver in a car accident
If multiple liable parties exist in your case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit while also pursuing workers’ compensation through your employer’s insurer.
Workers’ Compensation Has Limitations on What Employees Can Collect
For those planning on filing a claim with or without a workers’ compensation attorney, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
Unlike with a personal injury lawsuit, an employee who was injured on the job does not have to prove fault to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, once a worker accepts workers’ compensation insurance, they are not eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Periodic payments or lump-sum settlements may be insufficient to cover all present and future costs of recovery. For example, workers’ compensation normally reimburses an injured employee with only two-thirds of their weekly salary, which may not be enough to cover day-to-day expenses in addition to medical bills.
Workers’ compensation claims can be disputed or denied for several reasons. For instance, an employer could argue that an injury did not occur on the job.
Additionally, the LWCC requires injured employees to adhere to strict requirements and filing deadlines. Failure to do so could result in denied claims or delayed payments.
Specifically, a workers’ compensation claim in Lafayette may be denied if the injury was allegedly caused by:
- Willful intent to harm self or others
- Unprovoked physical altercation
Employees who are dealing with a denied claim are not without options for legal recourse. However, the appeals process for having your workers’ compensation case reviewed again could take six to nine months.
What Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance covers various illnesses and injuries that occur in the workplace. Covered conditions may fall under the following categories:
- Injuries that develop over time: Employees who perform the same physical task every day or are exposed to toxic substances may develop repetitive motion injuries or occupational illnesses over time.
- Sudden accident injuries: Unexpected events can cause severe injuries and death.
- Stress-related injuries: Workers’ compensation covers mental injuries that result from sudden, unexpected stress in the work environment, although these injuries may be more difficult to prove and typically require substantial evidence.
A Lafayette Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help With Your Claim
Workers’ compensation insurance may be able to help you provide for your loved ones as you recover from your work-related injuries. However, employees who enter the workers’ compensation process without a legal advocate may be exposed to delays, denials, and disputes.
Whether you need assistance navigating the complexity of filing a claim, have questions about an existing claim, or want to hear about your rights to a lawsuit, a Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers has the resources to show you what your options are. Call (337) 282-9205 today to schedule a consultation.