When you are doing a job to provide for yourself or your family, an injury that disrupts your ability to work can be physically, financially, and emotionally devastating. In Baton Rouge alone, there are more than 52,000 people working in construction, nearly 70,000 people working in trade, transportation, and utilities, and nearly 30,000 working in manufacturing. Luckily for these and other workers across industries and throughout the state, the Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Act provides financial relief for qualifying injuries.
What is workers’ compensation in Louisiana?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance fund used to pay wages and replace benefits for employees who have been injured on the job. The trade off, however, is that in accepting the benefit, the employee waives the right to sue the employer over the injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits are different from state to state. In Louisiana, they cover both physical and mental injuries caused by accidents or occupational diseases. One caveat is that the mental injuries must be caused by either a physical injury or by a sudden extreme stress brought on by the employment.
Understanding injuries under Louisiana workers’ compensation laws
An “accident”, under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, is an actual and identifiable event that is:
- Unexpected or unforeseen;
- Occurring suddenly or violently;
- With or without human fault; and
- A direct cause of an injury that is more significant than simple age-related degeneration.
An “occupational disease” under the Act is one caused by some condition or feature that is inherent to the sufferer’s particular line of of work or employment which exposes the employee to the disease.
It does not matter whether the employer, employee or someone else was at fault in causing the injury so long as it happened in the course and scope of the employee’s employment. An employee may be ineligible to receive workers’ compensation if the injury was caused by “horseplay”, his own intoxication, his own willful intention to hurt himself or others, or other activities that were taken to help the employer’s work.
Common workplace injuries
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks the annual incidence of workplace injuries. According to recent reports, the most commonly reported workplace injuries in 2015 included:
- Sprains, strains, and tears (making up 37 percent of the reported cases and typically requiring 10 days away from work)
- Cuts, lacerations, or punctures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Even when these and other injuries are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, there may be a dispute as to the amount of disability they cause. These types of mixed legal/medical issues can be complicated but important. Workers’ compensation lawyers take all the factors into account to ensure injured workers present their best case for full compensation.
Ask a work injury lawyer
When you suffer an injury at work, it can lead to a lot of uncertainty. The best way to deal with that uncertainty is to seek out a qualified and experienced Louisiana workers comp lawyer. At the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we understand the workers’ compensation laws and process. We can help you through it while fighting for maximum compensation. Call our offices in Baton Rouge or Lafayette.
Additional Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Resources:
- Louisiana Workforce Commission, Rights and Responsibilities for Workers’ Compensation FAQs, http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp#answer_2
- Justia, 2006 Louisiana Laws – Title 23 – Labor and worker’s compensation, http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2006/7/7.html