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Workplace Injuries in Louisiana: Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Employee

Posted in Workers Compensation,Workplace Injuries on July 16, 2023

In February 2023, a court jury in Louisiana  granted in excess of $27 million to the relatives of an offshore employee who tragically lost his life in a 2018 accident while working on an oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. During the court proceedings, the legal representatives for the family claimed the company permitted hazardous work for its contractors. The company had insisted that Jackson and his colleagues utilize their personal rope to maneuver hefty piping, despite the contractors’ protests and requests for more appropriate equipment. Unfortunately, the rope was unable to support the weight and broke, resulting in a section of the pipe dropping onto the employee, inflicting lethal injuries.

An Overview of Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect employees who experience workplace injuries. If an injury happens while performing work duties, the law generally requires employers to provide compensation. This could cover medical expenses, replacement income, costs for retraining, compensation for permanent injuries, and even survivor benefits in case of fatal accidents. It’s important to note that the system works on a no-fault basis. This means that an employee can receive benefits irrespective of who is at fault for the injury. However, there are certain requirements and timelines an employee must meet to avail these benefits, and the workers’ compensation laws may not cover all types of injuries.

Know Your Rights: What Entitlements Do You Have After a Workplace Injury?

When an employee suffers a workplace injury in Louisiana, they have several rights under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Primarily the right to medical care for their injury, which includes hospital services, doctor visits, prescriptions, and even travel expenses for medical appointments. Secondly, possible rights to monetary compensation to cover lost wages if unable to work because of an injury. This generally equates to a percentage of their regular wages. If an employee’s work-related injury results in long-term disability or specific loss like loss of a limb, they may be entitled to additional compensation. However, the specific entitlements may vary based on the nature and severity of the injury.

The Role of the Employer: Their Responsibilities in Your Workplace Injury

Employers in Louisiana have significant responsibilities when it comes to addressing workplace injuries. Initially, their duty is to ensure prompt medical care for the injured employee. They are also obligated to inform their workers’ compensation insurance carrier about the incident in a timely manner. Once informed, the employer should provide the necessary paperwork and guidance to help the employee start their workers’ compensation claim. Employers must maintain a supportive work environment during an employee’s recovery period, meaning they can’t terminate or demote an employee simply because they’ve suffered an injury. Moreover, the law bars employers from retaliating against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. Overall, employers play a vital role in handling workplace injuries responsibly.

The Claim Process: Navigating Your Way Through Workers’ Compensation

Starting the workers’ compensation claim process involves several steps. First, an employee should report the injury to their employer as soon as possible. The employer then informs their insurance carrier, and the employee is given the necessary forms to fill out. The employee’s completed forms are sent to the insurance carrier and the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Once the claim is received, the insurance company investigates and makes a decision. If approved, the employee starts receiving benefits. In case of denial, the employee has the right to ask for a review of the decision. Throughout this process, the employee should keep all documents and records related to the claim and the injury.

What To Do Immediately Following a Workplace Injury

After a workplace injury, an employee’s initial step should be to seek medical attention, ensuring their health is prioritized. If the injury isn’t an emergency, the employer might direct the employee to a specific healthcare provider. Next the employee should report the injury to their supervisor or employer as quickly as possible. This report should detail the incident, including how, when, and where it happened. The employee should also note any witnesses to the accident. It’s essential for employees to keep copies of all reports, medical records, and any correspondence related to the injury.

How to Report a Workplace Injury in Louisiana

Reporting a workplace injury in Louisiana requires some specific steps. The employee should inform their supervisor or employer about the injury as quickly as possible, preferably in writing. The report should clearly describe the incident, including details like when, where, and how the injury occurred, as well as any people who witnessed the event. After the employer is informed, they’re responsible for notifying their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. In addition, the employee should also report the injury to the Louisiana Workforce Commission by completing and submitting a form LDOL-WC-1008. Remember, thorough documentation is key for a successful claim, so employees should keep copies of all forms and reports they submit.

 Challenging a Workers’ Compensation Decision: Steps to Appeal

If an employee in Louisiana disagrees with the decision made on their workers’ compensation claim, they have the option to challenge it. The first step is to request a review by the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration. This request should include the reasons why the employee thinks the decision was wrong. If the decision remains unfavorable, the employee can then bring the case to a workers’ compensation judge. It’s important to adhere to all deadlines throughout the process. While appealing a decision, it’s helpful to keep all documents and evidence that support the claim, as they can be used to demonstrate the validity of the employee’s position.

The Intersection of Personal Injury Law and Workers’ Compensation

Workplace Injuries

Workers’ compensation and personal injury law intersect in unique ways. Workers’ compensation is a specific system designed to compensate employees for workplace injuries, regardless of who is at fault. It typically covers medical costs and a portion of lost wages. Personal injury law, on the other hand, is based on the concept of negligence. If an employee is injured due to someone else’s negligence, they may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. This could be relevant in the workplace if, for example, a third-party contractor or faulty equipment caused the injury. While workers’ compensation benefits are limited, a successful personal injury claim can potentially cover full lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

If you have suffered a workplace injury, contact us or call (504) 500-5000 today for a free consultation.