Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that will provide wages and compensation for other expenses to any employee who is hurt in the course of their duties and is rendered unable to work. Workers’ compensation can help injured workers pay their medical bills for short or long-term impairments or replace lost wages. Nearly all employers in Louisiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
To take advantage of these benefits, there are several steps injured workers must take in order to obtain benefits.
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a set time during which a certain legal action must be taken, or the legal action is invalid. Though the term is most commonly used in the context of a crime, it applies to legal actions other than criminal charges as well.
Workers’ compensation laws require an injured employee or their family to file for worker’s compensation benefits within a certain period of time, referred to as the workers’ compensation statute of limitations. In the majority of states, the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is roughly within one year of the date of injury.
However, in Louisiana, there is a somewhat more important deadline than the official workers’ compensation statute of limitations: notification of your employer. In Louisiana, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days, though the earlier you report it, the better. Insurance companies will be less skeptical of workers’ compensation claims that are reported to the employer immediately. Not to mention that the sooner you report your injury, the sooner your workers’ compensation benefits can begin.
Once you give notice to your employer, they should complete a form called a “First Report of Injury”. They will provide this form to their insurer, who will submit it to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. You will also receive a copy of this form.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive in Louisiana?
Generally, workers’ compensation benefits will cover reasonable and necessary medical treatment that is related to the work injury. This includes the cost of doctors’ visits, hospital bills, prescriptions, and prosthetic devices. Depending on the type of injury, you could also be eligible for temporary disability payments or a permanent disability reward.
If you are temporarily disabled and not able to work, you can be compensated for your lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits. You can receive these benefits until your doctor deems that you have reached maximum medical improvement; in other words, your condition is not expected to improve any further. At that point, you will need to return to work, or possibly receive permanent disability benefits if you are still unable to work.
You can also earn some supplemental wages if your injury necessitates that you work part-time or go on light-duty, so long as you are earning less than 90% of your normal wages. These benefits are available for a maximum of 520 weeks. After that, you also have the choice of either going back to work if you are able or attempting to obtain permanent disability. Filing a claim within the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is necessary to obtain temporary disability benefits.
If your doctor finds you to be totally and permanently disabled, your temporary disability can be extended for as long as the disability continues. Workers are considered totally disabled if they are unable to earn any wages in any job.
These types of workers’ compensation benefits are typically awarded to workers with completely debilitating injuries such as loss of limbs or loss of the use of a limb.
Like with temporary disability benefits, partial permanent disability benefits are available if the permanent disability renders the worker unable to earn at least 90% of their normal wages. Filing a claim within the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is necessary to obtain permanent disability benefits.
Gordon & Gordon Will Fight For Injured Employees
Obviously, determining which employees are entitled to what benefits can be difficult and complicated. The time after a work-related injury can be filled with distress for both the injured employees and their families, and squabbling with insurance companies may be the last thing on their minds.
Gordon & Gordon will take on this battle for you, and fight to have your claim recognized. They are dedicated to protecting the Shreveport, Bossier, and Mansfield areas when a person is injured in their workplace.
Though the Louisiana workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system designed to ensure everyone gets the benefits they need, there are several things that could go wrong. For instance, an employer may forget to file a claim with their insurer within the appropriate worker’s compensation statute of limitations, even if they themselves were notified appropriately. It is best to contact an attorney like Gordon & Gordon immediately after being injured at work.
What Do I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
There are several reasons part of or all of your workers’ compensation claim may be denied, including but not limited to reporting your injury outside of the workers’ compensation statute of limitations. However, even if you adhere to the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, there are other reasons your claim can be denied, such as if the injury is not deemed to be work-related.
If there is a problem with your workers’ compensation claim whether it is related to the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, you have the right to a hearing with a workers’ compensation judge in Louisiana. If you disagree with the judge’s decision during this hearing, you can appeal it with the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Contact the Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Gordon & Gordon!
During both your hearing and any appeals you may need to file to get your appropriate compensation, you will benefit immensely from the advice and counsel of an experienced and thorough attorney.
Gordon & Gordon has been helping employees in the Shreveport area receive the compensation they deserve for a combined thirty years. Because of the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, it is important to act quickly when you have been injured in the workplace. Gordon & Gordon is prepared to personally handle your case; call or email today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.