Have You Been Injured on the Job?
Accidents can occur at any time, although unfortunately many occur during work hours. When you are injured during work hours, it can become confusing to determine what route to take. Should you go through Louisiana’s workers’ compensation? Do you or your company qualify for workers’ compensation? Should you file a personal injury action instead? It is therefore important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your workplace accident. The Louisiana limitations period for bringing a claim is only one year, and the clock starts ticking the day of your injury.
Louisiana is known for many things, from its Cajun culture to its fresh seafood. In recent years, it has also become known for its bustling oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, along with this surge in employment for many Louisiana citizens, there has also been an increased possibility of workplace injuries. The oil and gas industry is an inherently dangerous career choice, depending on the company and the specific job you are tasked with. While companies spend a lot of time training their employees, not every employee understands how to operate heavy machinery, which can be a liability for companies and a danger to other workers.
General Benefits Included in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Louisiana Workforce Commission, a subset of the Department of labor, is in charge of the workers’ compensation department. Workers’ compensation benefits can include:
- Medical care and expenses
- Wage benefits
- Rehabilitation services
- Death benefits
Most employees in Louisiana are covered by workers’ compensation. Even contractors and part-time workers may be considered full employees in unique situations. Employers in the state are required to have workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure.
Important Timelines in Workers’ Compensation Cases
Bringing a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace accident is often step one in the process. This initial claim must be brought within 10 days of an injury. The employer must then submit the report to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA). The OWCA will review the claim and will resolve any disputes if the employer contests the claim.
If your employer denies your claim, you still have the opportunity to dispute the claim by filing the Disputed Claim for Compensation, leading to a court proceeding with the state of Louisiana. However, this process may take up to a year to settle. You may contact an attorney at any time during your workers’ compensation process for assistance in settling the claim.
It is important to keep in mind that you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer is not under an obligation to keep your job for you while you recover from your injury. If the workers’ compensation claim or settlement does not seem to cover your immediate and future expenses, you are free to bring a claim outside workers’ compensation. However, it is important to determine whether a settlement with the OWCA could impact a personal injury claim.
Contact Jones & Hill – Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have questions regarding a workplace injury and are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Jones & Hill. Our attorneys serve the Oakdale, Oberlin, Lake Charles and Alexandria areas, and have years of experience in handling workers’ compensation settlements and claims.