You’ve probably heard the term workers’ compensation before, and it’s likely you have a general idea of what it is: Payment — lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation, etc. — for workers who are injured on the job. As simple as that sounds, it’s not. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, and the policies are much more complicated than other laws that relate to injuries sustained outside of the workplace.
Who qualifies for workers’ compensation in Louisiana?
Most employees in Louisiana are covered from the day they start employment. This includes full-time, part-time or seasonal workers, as well as minors. Subcontractors and certain independent contractors may be considered employees if they are involved in the pursuit of the employer’s trade, business or occupation or if they are performing substantial manual labor.
The law does contain some limited exemptions, including:
- Domestic employees
- Most real estate salespersons
- Uncompensated officers and directors of certain non-profit organizations
- Public officials are specifically exempted.
- Most volunteer workers would not be entitled to benefits.
Who is responsible for paying workers’ compensation in Louisiana?
Every employer, unless exempted by state law, is responsible for the medical care and the payment of indemnity wage benefits to any employee who is injured while in the course and scope of his or her employment, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance or to be approved to self-insure. If any employee has reason to believe that his or her employer is not covered or if the employer requires an employee to pay for or purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy, your employer could be in violation of state law. You should contact a workers’ compensation attorney if this happens, and also report it to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) Fraud & Compliance section.
Once a job-related injury is reported to an employer — an injury that results in either death or more than a week’s worth of lost wages — the employer must report the injury to their insurer by filling our a particular form, called the First Report of Injury or Illness form. From there, the insurer will send the injury report to the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration, a division of the state Department of Labor. If an employer fails to report the injury, the business owner is subject to a hefty fine.
Do you need a lawyer for your workers’ compensation claim?
Your decision to hire a lawyer depends on the level of injury you sustained and how cooperative your employer is being with your claim. The process is supposed to be designed in a way that’s easy for the injured employee to navigate, but that’s not always the case. If you don’t feel you are getting all the information and support you need after an on-the-job injury, that’s where an experienced workers’ compensation attorney could really bolster your case.
If you or someone you love has been injured on the job and has questions about a Louisiana workers’ compensation claim, contact Stanley-Wallace Law today.