Shreveport Workers' Compensation Attorney
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Workers injured on the job are entitled to medical care paid by the employer or the employer's workers' compensation insurance company. The employee is responsible for reporting the accident to the employer and the insurance company.
Since every accident reported will affect the employer's record with the insurance company, some employers are not cooperative in providing an injured worker. In the case of a fatal accident, surviving family members with the insurance company's information so a claim can be filed. Some injured workers find that after reporting an accident, the insurance company unfairly denies worker's compensation benefits. A Shreveport personal injury attorney at our firm is experienced in assisting those who have been injured to overcome these obstacles.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
On the job injuries may occur in a truck accident while making a delivery or a car accident while running an errand for the boss. Construction accidents can mean temporary or permanent disability from a fall or other serious mishap. Oil field accidents or explosions can cause severe burn injuries, brain injury, and other catastrophic injuries.
Any person injured in a work-related accident is entitled to certain benefits which include:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary disability
- Supplemental earnings benefits
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Death benefits
How Much Do You Get for Workers’ Comp?
The Louisiana workers’ compensation system provides several different types of benefits to injured workers. These include medical benefits, wage replacement benefits, and supplemental earnings benefits. Below, we go over each of these benefits in detail.
If you are a covered employee who is injured on the job in Louisiana, workers’ compensation will cover the full cost of all of your medical expenses. This includes the cost of initial emergency treatment (if applicable), diagnostic services, hospital/ambulance fees, surgeries, rehabilitation, medications, medical equipment/devices, and more. As of January 1, 2020, workers’ compensation in Louisiana will also cover your mileage costs (transportation costs if you need to drive yourself to the doctor) at a rate of 58 cents per mile.
Wage Replacement Benefits
There are two types of wage replacement benefits:
- Temporary disability benefits kick in after the first week of missed work; you are not paid for the first seven days you are unable to work unless you are unable to work for at least 14 days. Temporary disability benefits in Louisiana equal two thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a weekly maximum amount set each year. As of September 2019 (and effective until August 2020), the weekly cap on temporary disability benefits in Louisiana is $688 per week. Additionally, the current minimum weekly amount is $183. According to the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA), the average weekly wage in the state is $916.85; a person who makes this amount can recover up to $611.23 per week. Temporary disability benefits are paid until a person reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) or until the person is able to return to work (as determined by their treating physician).
- Permanent disability benefits are paid once a person reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) and their doctor evaluates them for permanent impairment. Only if you are determined to have a permanent disability are you eligible for permanent disability benefits. If your doctor determines that you are permanently and totally disabled, meaning you cannot work at all, you will continue receiving wage replacement benefits at the same rate as your temporary disability benefits for as long as you are impaired. If you sustain certain injuries—including the loss of specific body parts, serious disfigurement, hearing loss, or debilitating respiratory, urinary, or gastrointestinal impairment—you may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. These equal two thirds your average weekly wage for a specific time period determined by the state’s schedule and your impairment rating (given to you by your doctor). You may also be eligible for an additional, one-time settlement of $50,000 if you suffer a catastrophic injury.
Supplemental Earnings Benefits
If you are able to return to work after your injury but earn less than 90% of your normal average weekly wages, you may qualify for supplemental earnings benefits in Louisiana. Supplemental earnings benefits equal two thirds the difference between what you earned before you were injured and what you earn now. Supplemental earnings benefits are available even if you work at a different job than the one where you were injured. In Louisiana, you can collect supplemental earnings benefits for no more than 520 weeks.
Aside from the above-mentioned benefits, you may also be entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits. These include vocational rehabilitation if you cannot return to your pre-injury job and need job training or placement services; death benefits if your spouse, parent, or someone else you were legally dependent on died as a result of a work-related injury; and funeral expenses of up to $8,500 if your family member died due to their injuries.
Filing a Claim for Just Compensation
Depending upon the circumstances of your or your loved one's accident you may be entitled to additional compensation. In which case a skilled workers' compensation lawyer can review your case for additional sources of compensation while ensuring that you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled. An investigation may find that equipment malfunctions because of faulty design or incorrect or inadequate manufacturer's instructions actually caused the accident.
This could mean a claim for damages could be brought against the responsible entity. Temporary or permanent disability can cause financial hardship for a family even with workers' compensation benefits. Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers has a reputation for careful investigation to ensure an injured client is fully compensated.
Call for a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at our firm.