Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workers Compensation Insurance

A workplace injury can interfere with the victim’s life both physically and economically. As the injured employee physically recovers, medical bills can pile up while there is no income coming in. Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system is designed to relieve this burden and help workers get back on their feet.

The workers’ compensation process can seem a bit confusing because it involves both legal and medical issues. A work injury lawyer knows the way through the issues that can come up and is especially important in cases involving serious injuries.

The Bart Bernard Law Firm is dedicated to serving injury victims in Louisiana. If a workplace injury has interfered with your ability to earn a living, call us today to set up a consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney.

What Is Workers Compensation?

Workers compensation, formerly often referred to as workman’s comp, is a type of state-mandated no-fault insurance program available to employees. A couple of key concepts are “no-fault” and “employees”.

What does “no-fault insurance system” mean? Unlike in a typical personal injury case, an injured employee does not need to prove that the employer or any other party was at fault for the injury. In exchange for not having to meet this hurdle for recovery, the employee usually does not have the right to sue the employer even if the employer ultimately was at fault.

Workers compensation is only available to employees, so independent contractors are not usually eligible. Contractors cannot usually draw on workman’s comp if injured on the job, though there are exceptions when they are engaged in certain types of trade or manual labor.

Most common work-related injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common workplace injuries are:

  • Overexertion or other bodily reaction
  • Falls, slips, or trips
  • Sprains and strains

The BLS also broke down the areas of workplace injury and found that more than 1/3 involve injury to the back. About 12% are shoulder injuries and another 12% are knee injuries. Ankle injuries make up about 9%.

Workers compensation FAQ

Injured workers often have a lot of questions that a workmans comp attorney can be the best person to answer. Some of the more common are addressed here.

Who pays for workers compensation benefits?

How long do you have to be out of work to get workman’s comp?

There is no minimum length of time off work or minimum expense incurred before an injured employee qualifies for worker’s compensation. Instead, the level of the disability that the illness or injury presents are determining factors.

How long can you be out on workers comp?

A worker who suffers a temporary disability can receive weekly payments until a doctor has found him or her to have reached maximum medical improvement – a point where the improvement has leveled off. For a permanent disability, the benefits may continue as long as the disability does.

Does workers’ compensation cover just my medical bills?

Worker’s compensation payments cover more than just medical bills, but only for work-related injuries or sickness. It can also provide payments for:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – for injuries that prevent the employee from working at all right now, but they may recover later
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – a lump sum for permanent disabilities that do not seriously interrupt the employee’s ability to work; PPD can apply after return to work following TTD
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – a lump sum for an injury that prevents employees from working at all and from which they will not recover
  • Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB) – available if the employee returns to work after TTD but is unable to earn at least 90% of pre-injury wages
  • Catastrophic injury – a one-time payment of $50,000 for a serious injury resulting in loss of limb or paraplegia
  • Death benefits for surviving family members

An injured worker can only receive one of these types of benefits at a time but a workers’ compensation attorney can assist in determining which benefit is right for you at which time.

Is every workplace injury covered by workers’ comp?

Any injury or illness suffered in the course of employment is considered a covered workplace injury. In contrast, injuries that occur when taking a lunch break or otherwise not acting to further the employer’s purpose fall outside the coverage of workers’ comp.

How long do you have to file a workers comp claim in Louisiana?

Workplace injuries must be reported to the employer within 30 days, though sooner is better. Not only is a more immediate report going to be viewed as more reliable, but the date of the report begins the countdown to the first payment.

What is the first step I should take if I am injured while at work?

Workplace injuries must be reported to the employer within 30 days, though sooner is better. Not only is a more immediate report going to be viewed as more reliable, but the date of the report begins the countdown to the first payment.

Do I need a workers compensation lawyer?

An injured worker is not required to have a workmans comp lawyer during the process but working with one can be very beneficial. An attorney is especially important if your claim involves disabilities that may involve other types of reimbursement, like Social Security Disability, or a potential lawsuit against another party, such as a product liability claim against a manufacturer of a defective product that caused the injury.

What a workers comp lawyer can do for you

An experienced lawyer can help you maximize your claim by ensuring the workers compensation insurance carrier performs the correct calculations and takes all of the necessary factors into account. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with the appeals process and is not afraid to challenge incorrect findings to make sure the injured worker is fairly compensated.

With the Bart Bernard Law Firm, you do not need to guess on your own; we understand the worker’s compensation process and can help you reach maximum recovery. Call (337) 989-BART for a free case review.

Workers compensation lawsuit resources

  1. Louisiana Workforce Commission, Frequently Asked Questions From Employees and Employers about Rights and Responsibilities in Workers’ Compensation, http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp#answer_6
  2. Louisiana Workforce Commission, Rights and Responsibilities for Worker’s Compensation, http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp
  3. Louisiana Workforce Commission, Medical Guidelines, http://www.laworks.net/WorkersComp/OWC_MedicalGuidelines.asp
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