In the state of Louisiana, employees are protected from the time their employment contract is perfected. Employees are entitled to benefits whether full-time, part-time, or contractual as long as they are performing substantial labor for an employer. Volunteer workers of non-profit organizations and the government are exempted, however. If you are unsure of your eligibility, talk to one of our lawyers or simply give us a call.
Basically, this is made possible because of our laws that compel employers to have workers’ compensation insurance or to be approved to insure their employees themselves. If you have a good reason to believe that this insurance is not made available to you by your employer or you are made to pay for your own insurance, then we have a problem here. Since it is the responsibility of employers, non-compliance would result to a violation.
Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA)
OWCA was created under the Louisiana Department of Labor in 1982 to administer and implement the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Their office investigates fraud, monitors compliance and resolves disputes. As discussed above, if an employer does not comply, you can call 1-800-201-3362 and you will be directed to the Fraud and Compliance section of OWCA.
It is also in your best interest to call a lawyer first. You can have your lawyer call OWCA or you may report to OWCA for investigation and contact a lawyer so that you may be able to discuss your case and how you can proceed to avail of the benefits you are entitled to. Should you really hire a lawyer? It is definitely in your best interest to do so (hyperlink to Hiring a lawyer post).
Coverage of Benefits
The Workers’ Compensation Act covers all injuries incurred at work, physical or mental. It can be either from accidents or occupational diseases.
Accidents, as how the state of Louisiana would define it, are unexpected and unforeseen actual events. They are clearly identifiable and happened with or without human fault.
Occupational diseases, on the other hand, covers only the diseases that are due to causes characteristic of and peculiar to the nature of your work and industry. A link must be proven.
As long as there is preponderance of evidence which a good lawyer can help you establish to solidify your claim, you can be entitled to benefits which can be in the form of weekly or monthly payments depending on your circumstances and the insurance availed by your employer. You can also be entitled to Supplemental Earnings Benefits subject to the amount that will be determined by OWCA.
If the injury is classified as “catastrophic”—such as the loss of limbs, for example, you can be awarded payment for damages of usually $50,000 in addition to the other benefits you may avail.
Also, pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act in Louisiana, dependents are entitled to benefits if the employee dies within two years of illness due to accidents and/or diseases suffered because of employment. If the said employee does not have dependents, his surviving parents shall be awarded one-time payment. The burial expenses of the employee shall also be covered.
Social Security Disability Benefits
Employers may provide disability plans or retirement benefits. If this is the case, then workers’ compensation indemnity benefits may be reduced accordingly. It depends on the unique circumstances of the parties. It’s important to also take note that you cannot be awarded workers’ compensation benefits and retirement benefits at the same time.
Keep in mind that when you file a claim to OWCA, you can get denied and you don’t want that. You want to make sure that your request for benefits is granted and technical expertise of lawyers can help increase your chances of getting approved. It can be quite a challenge because you can expect your employer and the company’s insurance company to make sure that their payouts are kept at a minimum. At Workers’ Compensation LLC, our lawyers have been helping employees for decades with much success.
We have tried to make everything simple by giving you a general idea of benefits under Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. This may still sound complicated with all the rules and exemptions, though. This is precisely the reason why it is important to call a lawyer to make sure that you know your most advantageous position and your best interests shall be catered. Each case is different and there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. A lawyer can help you present your case clearly to OWCA so you can be granted what you deserve.