Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that most employers are required to carry in the event that one of their employees is injured on the job. In the event that you and your employer reach a settlement or your claim goes to trial, there are certain benefits you may be entitled to under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. These benefits include; medical expenses, death benefits, and disability benefits.
In order to obtain these benefits, Louisiana workers’ compensation law lays out some requirements for each type of benefit. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate these requirements and make sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries.
Medical expenses are a large portion of what any employee is hoping to recover in a workers’ compensation lawsuit, considering the price of healthcare. After an injury, it is expected that an employee will seek medical treatment. Depending on the injury, the employee is entitled to select one treating physician in any field or specialty. If that physician does not work out, the employee shall obtain prior consent from the employer or his workers’ compensation carrier for a change of treating physician within that same field or specialty.
More complicated injuries or ones that develop over time can make it more difficult to determine what type of physician is necessary to treat the employee’s injuries. Because of this, employees are not required to obtain approval for a change to a treating physician in another field or specialty. Employees are also required to submit to medical examinations by the employer’s choice of physicians. Having independent evaluations done of the employee’s condition helps both sides determine what might be proper damages for the individual that was injured.
Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation cases end in death rather than an injury. When this occurs, the surviving spouse and/or dependents of an employee may file a workers’ compensation claim on the employee’s behalf. These benefits can be owed to the employee’s dependents for injury causing death within two years after the last treatment resulting from the accident. These benefits are slightly more complicated to evaluate than medical expenses, because they depend on if the dependents were partially or fully dependent on the employee. Once that is determined, the amount will be based on the amount contributed by the employee to such dependents in the year prior to their death and the earnings of the deceased at the time of the accident. If an employee leaves no legal dependents, then their parents will be compensated. An employee’s surviving parents may be entitled to seventy-five thousand dollars each in a lump sum, which shall constitute the sole and exclusive compensation in such cases.
Many times workers’ compensation accidents can cause serious injuries that result in permanent or temporary disabilities. This results in lost wages and medical expenses. Louisiana recognizes four types of disability benefits that are recoverable:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits
- Supplemental Earnings Benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
With each of these types of disability benefits, the employee gets a percentage of their wages for the duration of the disability. Temporary total disability benefits are awarded to employees with injuries such that the employee cannot engage in any self-employment or occupation for wages, whether or not the same or a similar occupation as that in which the employee was customarily engaged when injured, and whether or not an occupation for which the employee at the time of injury was particularly fitted by reason of education, training, or experience. This type of benefit basically comes into play when your injuries are severe enough that you temporarily cannot work at all in any capacity.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent Total Disability Benefits come into play under the same circumstances as temporary total disability benefits, except with this type of injury the employee can never work again in any capacity. Compensation for permanent total disability shall be awarded only if the employee proves by clear and convincing evidence, unaided by any presumption of disability, that the employee is physically unable to engage in any employment or self employment, regardless of the nature or character of the employment or self-employment. Since this is a longer duration of a disability, there has to be clear evidence that the employee cannot support themselves through other means of employment.
Supplemental Earnings and Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Supplemental earnings benefits are awarded when an employee has suffered a compensable injury and as a result is unable to earn wages equal to ninety-percent or more of their wages at the time of injury. Permanent partial disability provides specific awards to employees for anatomical loss of use or amputation of various body parts. This type of disability includes:
- Serious or permanent disfigurement.
- Permanent hearing loss solely due to a single traumatic accident.
- Where the usefulness of the physical function of the respiratory system is seriously and permanently impaired.
- Where the usefulness of the physical function of the Gastrointestinal system is seriously and permanently impaired.
- Where the usefulness of the physical function of the genito-urinary system is seriously and permanently impaired.
- Any case of injury that does not fall within the other provisions.
Additionally, for these injuries the injured employee may only recover for up to a period of one hundred weeks. The type of benefits you are entitled to will also determine how much and for how long you can be compensated for your workplace injury. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney working for you to ensure you are properly compensated by your employer.
When Do You Get Your Benefits?
It is nice to know that you will be compensated for your injuries, but with pressing medical bills and an inability to work the more important question is when will you be compensated. The first installment of compensation payable for Temporary Total Disability, Permanent Total Disability, or Death are due on the fourteenth (14th) day after the employer or insurer has knowledge of the injury or death. Supplemental Earnings Benefits are due on the fourteenth (14th ) day after the employer or insurer has knowledge of the compensable supplemental earnings benefits. Permanent Partial Disability benefits are due on the thirtieth (30th ) day after the employer or insurer receives a medical report giving notice of the permanent partial disability on which date all such compensation then due shall be paid. Medical benefits must be paid within sixty (60) days after the employer or insurer receives written notice thereof. These are all statutory requirements that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you ensure are met to get you compensated for your injuries.
Get In Touch
Our attorneys at Cueria Law LLC have valuable experience with these types of claims. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident on the job, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. The laws and procedures involved in these cases are complicated and plenty. Call our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at the Cueria Law Firm for a free consultation today!