If you have recently been hurt on the job, you may have questions about your legal right to seek benefits under the Louisiana workers’ compensation system. People who have suffered work-related injuries should consult a personal injury attorney about their situation. Since strict filing deadlines apply to workers’ compensation claims, it is important to seek counsel as soon as possible after an accident rather than take a “wait and see” approach, hoping that the insurance company will offer a fair settlement. The Lafayette workers’ compensation attorneys at Broussard & David have many years of experience handling these claims, and we will be glad to talk to you about your case at no initial charge.Understanding the Workers’ Compensation Process
Under Louisiana law, workers’ compensation claims are administered through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) rather than through the court system. An employee who suffers a job-related injury or illness is entitled to seek payment for all reasonably and necessarily incurred expenses related to their injury, including physician fees, hospital charges, pharmacy bills, and travel expenses to and from doctors’ offices. Injured workers may also be entitled to wage benefits and compensation for any permanent disability caused by the work injury. In cases in which an employee dies due to an on-the-job accident, their survivors may be entitled to death benefits.
You may assume that workers’ compensation claims are governed by the same principles of negligence as other injury and wrongful death cases. This is not the case. Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program, under which employers are required to provide wage and medical benefits to workers who have been harmed in the course of their employment. In cases governed by the workers’ compensation law, an employee does not need to prove that the employer was negligent in causing the injury but only that the injury happened in the course of employment. (Cases brought under the Jones Act or the Longshoreman’s Act for work injuries at sea may have different rules, as may claims under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for railroad workers’ injuries.)
State workers’ compensation laws are a trade-off, under which an employee presumably has a more direct route to benefits than in a traditional negligence lawsuit. In exchange, the employer typically pays out less in benefits than it would have needed to pay had a jury awarded damages in a personal injury claim.
Unfortunately, not every workers’ compensation claim goes smoothly. An employer or its insurance company may deny that an employee was hurt at work or may argue that timely notice of the accident was not given by the worker. Because of this, it is vitally important for a person who is hurt on the job to give timely notice and to make sure that a written report is filed. The report should document all of the important facts, such as the date and time of the accident and the names of any witnesses who saw the accident. An injured employee should also seek medical treatment promptly after an accident. Under Louisiana law, injured workers have a right to see their own doctors for medical care, although the employer or insurance company may try to pressure the employee into seeing a company doctor instead.Seek Assistance with Your Workers’ Compensation Case from a Lafayette Attorney
Even in an undisputed workers’ compensation case, there may be numerous negotiable issues that the insurance company will try to “lowball” if the worker does not have a professional representative advocating for them. At Broussard & David, our Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyers understand that injured employees are at a significant disadvantage with respect to insurance companies and employers who regularly deal in these matters. Our experienced lawyers provide aggressive representation. Give us a call at (888) 337-2323 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We represent residents of Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, New Iberia, Eunice, Lake Charles, and Alexandria, as well as other communities in Lafayette, Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, St. Landry, Calcasieu, and Rapides Parishes. Our firm is also available to people who need a car accident attorney or assistance with any other personal injury or wrongful death case.