Workers' Compensation

Pursuant to Louisiana workers' compensation law, if an employee is injured while at work, or contracts a disease related to employment, the employer must compensate him or her for those injuries.

Workers' compensation claims are different from those filed in personal injury cases. First, workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that an employee does not have to prove that his injury was caused by his employer's negligence. Furthermore, the employee's own negligence cannot be used to deny the claim. Instead, an employee simply needs to show that the injury is work related. Second, under the law, the employee's sole remedy against the employer for work-related injuries is workers' compensation benefits. The employee is not permitted to bring a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering against the employer or co-worker for work-related injuries. The one exception to this rule is if the employer intentionally caused the injury, but this is a rare circumstance.

Although workers' compensation laws are fairly strict, in certain situations when a worker is injured, he or she may file a separate personal injury action against third parties. Examples include where the employee is injured by a defective product or a negligent contractor on the premises. An experienced attorney can evaluate your claim to determine if there is a possible recovery against someone outside of your employment relationship.

The monetary compensation an employee receives is dramatically less in a workers' compensation matter than what is available in a personal injury claim. The injured worker will receive wage loss benefits during the period of disability. These benefits are generally two-thirds of the average earnings of the worker, subject to a statutory cap that is determined by the date of injury. The types of wage loss benefits, or indemnity benefits, including temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and supplemental earnings benefits. The length of time that the injured worker receives these benefits varies under the law.

The employer must pay 100% of the injured workers' work-related medical expenses for the employee's lifetime. This includes expenses like mileage for traveling to the physician, therapy, or pharmacy for work-related medical treatment. However, the injured worker cannot go three years without the employer paying for a medical expense. If so, the employee will lose the right to medical treatment.

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