If you were injured in the workplace, you might have many questions about your future. You may be experiencing damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses, which might be coming directly out of your pocket while you are unable to work. If you have been injured in Lake Charles, Louisiana, you may even be considering filing a workers’ compensation claim.
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, a Lake Charles workers’ compensation lawyer understands the struggles you might be going through after a workplace injury. We also realize that you may be trying to juggle your attention between getting treatments for your injuries and supporting your loved ones.
According to the Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) §23:1301, you have 30 days from the day of your accident to report an injury to your employer. Trying to navigate the workers’ compensation process during this time may be overwhelming for you. If you need legal assistance, our law firm is here to help.
You Must Follow Certain Steps to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Following a workplace injury in Lake Charles, Louisiana, applicants must complete certain steps to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you do not file your claim correctly, you might delay the claims process and risk having your claim denied. If your claim gets denied, you may need to file an appeal to continue seeking benefits.
If you would like to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, you should do the following steps:
Notify Your Employer
The first step to earning workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana is to notify your employer of the injury or illness within 30 days. You may report your injury to a supervisor or a person of authority. If you do not notify your employer within 30 days, you may be unable to claim benefits.
Your notice to your employer may be in the form of a written document. The notice should include:
- Your personal contact information
- Details regarding your injury (e.g., the time, date, and location where the injury occurred)
- How you suffered the injury
- Where the injury affected you, whether physically or mentally
Submit a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) explains that employers have 10 days after being notified of your workplace injury to file a report of your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
A local Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) will then receive this information from your employer’s insurance company and decide your claim. The LWC provides a listing of OWCA locations.
Afterward, your employer’s insurer will either approve or deny the claim once the OWCA has ruled on it.
Receive Medical Treatment
By seeking medical treatment, you can strengthen your claim with evidence that proves you suffered an injury. You may visit your physician when seeking treatment for your work-related injuries. If there are varying medical opinions, the OWCA may bring in an independent medical examiner to review your injuries.
Handle a Potential Dispute
After the OWCA reviews your evidence and medical documentation, your claim for workers’ compensation might still get denied. If so, you may file an appeal for your medical damages and lost wages. Once your appeal documents have been submitted, you may either negotiate a settlement to earn benefits or have a judge determine the outcome of your claim.
For a free legal consultation with a workers' compensation lawyer serving Lake Charles, call (337) 777-7777
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation in Lake Charles?
There are many misconceptions surrounding eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits after an accident in Lake Charles. For example, many injury victims believe they must work full-time hours to qualify for benefits. Others are under the impression that they must have been employed with the company for a minimum of 90 days before being eligible.
On the contrary, from the first day of your employment, your employer may be required to provide you with workers’ compensation protection coverage whether you are a part-time or full-time employee. The vast majority of businesses and companies in Lake Charles and across Louisiana are required to provide their employees with workers’ compensation coverage.
Failure to do so can result in penalties including sanctions. Generally, as long as your injuries were within the scope of your employment, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, just because you meet the eligibility requirements does not mean the insurance company is going to settle your claim fairly.
Lake Charles Workers' Compensation Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
What Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Consist of?
After suffering a work injury, you may be wondering what benefits you could collect to help you get through this difficult time in your life. Fortunately, Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits include compensation for the following:
- Disability benefits amounting up to 75% of your average weekly earnings
- Full coverage of your medical expenses as they relate to your work injury
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits if you are unable to return to work in your current industry
- Death benefits for surviving family members of individuals who passed away due to fatal work injuries
Generally, you can collect workers’ compensation benefits until you heal from your injuries and are able to return to work. However, depending on the type of injury you sustained, there may be a maximum number of weeks allowable for you to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
You can find out more about which workers’ compensation benefits you should be entitled to and how long you can expect to collect them when you contact your attorney for help.
What to Do if Your Lake Charles Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied
Workers’ compensation claims in Lake Charles are far more common than you might think. Insurance companies do not like to pay out on claims, as it costs them money. However, some of the more common reasons insurance companies give for workers’ comp claim denials include:
- Failure to provide necessary medical documentation
- Lack of supporting documents
- Failure to follow your company’s code of conduct
- Self-infliction of injuries
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
These are just a few of the more common reasons why insurance companies deny claims. Some are valid, but others are denied in bad faith. Your attorney can step in and address the denial on your behalf.
We may be able to reverse the denial by providing the insurance company with the information they need to approve your claim. However, if the insurance company remains steadfast in their decision to deny your claim, we may need to bring your case to court to maximize your compensation and hold the liable party accountable.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
You May Be Eligible to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may be eligible to receive several types of benefits after sustaining a workplace injury in Louisiana. If you suffered from an injury or illness at work, the LWC states, “You may be entitled to receive medical care for the injury or illness, disability compensation for a portion of your lost wages, rehabilitation services, and, in the event of your death, benefits payable to your survivors.”
Additionally, your case may warrant a personal injury lawsuit if a third party was negligent in causing your injury or illness at the workplace. Recoverable damages from a personal injury lawsuit may include:
- Current and future medical bills
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Future missed wages
- Limited earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
If you or a loved one in Lake Charles was injured at work, you may hire a Lake Charles workers’ compensation lawyer to protect your rights. Your lawyer can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process through its completion, whether it ends with a settlement or a judgment.
Additionally, a lawyer may help you determine your appropriate legal recourse actions, such as if you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an employer or a third party.
Your Condition May Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
A variety of injuries and illnesses may occur at work and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits may be awarded for:
- Unexpected or unforeseen accident injuries
- Mental injuries
- Injuries or illnesses that developed over time
Unexpected injuries can occur in many ways, such as from a slip and fall. Mental injuries may develop from being overworked and having excessive stress from your employment. You may also experience mental injuries that have stemmed from a physical condition that occurred at work. Finally, injuries or illnesses that slowly develop throughout your employment may result from exposure to toxins or from repeatedly performing physical tasks.
Work With a Lake Charles Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to File Your Claim
When looking to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana, turn to Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers to guide you through the process. The sooner you act, the sooner our law firm can begin building a claim for you. We want to help you fight for the compensation you may be entitled to receive.
Begin a free consultation with a team representative today.