What to Expect: Workers’ Compensation Claims

by Dudley DeBosier | June 19th, 2019

If you are injured on the job or become ill due to conditions at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees to help cover the costs of medical treatment, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and lost wages due to a work-related injury. Firing an employee for filing a claim or otherwise discouraging an employee from filing a claim is illegal.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim is not the same as suing your employer. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, you are not required to prove negligence, only that your injury was acquired on the job. If you become injured on the job, you must inform your employer and your employer’s insurer of your injury in a timely manner. Once a claim has been accepted you have three additional years in which to assert a claim for additional medical benefits, or one year if you do not.

Be prepared to explain how the injury occurred, provide the date and time of day of the injury, and the names of any witnesses. In non-emergency situations, you may be required to submit to an evaluation for the injury from a doctor of your employer’s choice.

What We Can Do to Help

Most workers’ compensation claims are denied because the employer is put on notice of the injury too late or without sufficient information, but hiring an attorney to help with your workers’ compensation claim can help you maximize your chances of approval. When you work with the Louisiana workers’ compensation attorneys at Dudley DeBosier, we’ll do everything we can to ensure your claim is approved. This includes completing all necessary paperwork, meeting all deadlines, compiling evidence to support your claim, and calculating your lost wage claim and level of disability.

Your employer may try to dispute your version of events or claim your injury was due to a pre-existing condition. If you choose us to handle your claim, we’ll do everything we can to protect your rights. If your claim is denied, our attorneys can work to resolve your case through mediation or bring it before a workers’ compensation judge in an official court hearing.

After an On-the-Job Injury, Call Dudley DeBosier!

If you or someone you love was injured or became disabled while on the job, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are ready to help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.

Disputing a Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Claim

by Dudley DeBosier | February 28th, 2019

Most employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees in the event of a work-related injury or illness. Unfortunately, for many Louisianians injured on the job, it’s not as simple as filing a claim and getting compensation to help pay medical bills and support their families. Valid workers’ compensation claims are often denied, leaving hard-working people like you wondering how they will pay their bills.

If you or a loved one suffered a work-related injury or illness and your workers’ compensation claim was denied, don’t give up—you have the right to appeal the denial. Read below to learn more about the three possible steps you may take to appeal your Louisiana workers’ comp claim denial.

Voluntary Mediation in a Louisiana Workers’ Comp Claim

Mediation is a process where an attorney works with both parties to agree on a solution. When it comes to workers’ compensation appeals in Louisiana, both parties must agree to take this step. This explains why the process is referred to as voluntary mediation.

The voluntary mediation process is informal and takes place outside of a courtroom. If no resolution is reached, you still have options.

Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Appeal Hearing

If your employer does not agree to mediation, or if you failed to reach a resolution, you still may be able to get the benefits you deserve. After filling out the proper state paperwork, you will be granted a workers’ compensation court hearing. Like voluntary mediation, this step allows both sides to tell their story. However, a hearing is presided over by a judge rather than an attorney, and takes place in a courtroom setting.

After both sides state their case, the judge will decide the case and issue a decision within 30 days.

Appealing a Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Claim in Federal Court

If your benefits are denied at the hearing level, you can appeal that denial, too. However, unlike previous steps that involve the State of Louisiana, further appeals are decided at the federal level by the Circuit Appellate Court.

Dudley DeBosier Wants to Help You Get Your Benefits

Getting the Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits you deserve isn’t always a straightforward process. From ensuring you fill out claims paperwork accurately and completely to dealing with your employer and their insurance company, Dudley DeBosier is here to answer your questions and fight for your benefits.

We offer free, no-obligation consultations, and we don’t charge for our services unless you get money for your claim—that’s our No Fee Guarantee®. Call or contact us online to get started now.

3 Reasons Workers’ Compensation Claims Get Denied

by Dudley DeBosier | February 1st, 2019

4 Ways to Protect Yourself After a Work Injury

by Dudley DeBosier | June 18th, 2018

You count on your paychecks to support yourself and your family. But when a work-related illness or injury keeps you out of work for weeks, months, or even years, finding a way to pay your medical bills while still providing for your family can feel stressful and defeating. Fortunately, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to help cover medical treatment and lost wages.

If you get hurt while working or suspect your medical condition may be caused by your work conditions, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Dudley DeBosier want to help. It’s our goal to help you get all of the benefits you’re owed.

Here are 4 steps you can take after you’re injured at work to increase your chances of filing a successful workers’ compensation claim:

Report the injury to your employer.

As soon as you’re able, report the accident and injury to your supervisor. Be specific when describing the incident and include details like when and where it occurred, the names of any witnesses, and the events leading up to the accident. Take photos of the scene if you can. Once you report this information to your employer, you can fill out an incident report to document the injury.

Get medical attention.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Not only will this protect your health, it can also help protect your rights to compensation. Seeing a doctor shortly after the incident creates a record of the date and helps to solidify that the injury is work-related. Tell the doctor about your injury, how it happened, and if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions.

File a claim with your employer’s insurance company.

After you see a doctor, you’ll have a better understanding of your medical expenses and your potential recovery period. Keep this in mind when filing for workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance company is looking to pay you as little money as possible, and they may deny your claim or offer you far less than you deserve for the severity of your injury.

Contact an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation attorney.

If you’ve been denied the benefits you need to support yourself and your family after your workplace injury, contact a lawyer. In some cases, getting approved for workers’ compensation is as simple as filling out an application completely, accurately, and on time. But if you’ve submitted an accurate claim and still don’t receive fair compensation, an attorney may be able to fight for your benefits—even if that means going to trial.

Many circumstances can lead to an on-the-job injury, such as hazardous conditions, poor training, or defective materials. If you suffered a workplace injury or work-related illness, the Louisiana workers’ compensation attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are here for you. Our legal team has pursued compensation on behalf of hundreds of injury victims, and we want to help you, too. Contact us today.

Can I Be Fired For Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

by Trey Dominique | June 23rd, 2016

An injured employee cannot be fired for simply bringing a workers’ compensation claim against his employer. While Louisiana is an “at-will” work state, the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act specifically bars employers from terminating an employee who makes a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

The specific statute, Louisiana Revised Statue 23:1361, is meant “to prevent unjust dismissals and to allow employees to exercise their right to workers’ compensation benefits without fear of retaliatory action by their employers.”[1]

An employee who has been terminated for making a claim may be entitled to civil penalties. The penalty is the amount the person would have earned if he had not been wrongfully terminated. When bringing this type of claim, the Court must decide the actual reason for the termination of employment. The injured employee is required to show, by direct record evidence or by a preponderance of the evidence that the termination of employment was due to the injured employee’s assertion of a claim for benefits.

If you have ever been injured in the workplace and feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, we highly recommend that you speak to an attorney. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (866) 897-8495 or fill out a free initial consultation form.

[1] Hooker v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 38,350 (La. App. 2d Cir., 2004), 870 So. 2d 1131.

5 Myths about Workers’ Compensation

by Scott Sonnier | October 30th, 2015

Debunking common Workers’ Compensation misconceptions:

1. I can be compensated for pain and suffering for a work injury.

Workers’ compensation does not allow for any award for pain and suffering. However, you can be compensated for a permanent partial impairment to many body parts and you may be compensated for any disfiguring scars or the loss of teeth.

2. My employer will have to authorize any treatment that my doctor requests.

Care for injured workers is now governed by Medical Treatment Guidelines that have been promulgated by the State. The process for requesting treatment and appealing any denials of treatment is complex and time sensitive. An attorney can help you through this process.

3. My employer has to hold a job for me after I have been injured.

Your employer is not required to hold your job or to let you return to work with them after your accident by the workers’ compensation laws. Your employer may be required to do so by other laws, such as FMLA, for a period of time. Your employer is prohibited from terminating your employment because you had a work accident.

4. My employer will have to retrain me to do another job if I am unable to return to my prior job after a work accident.

Your employer may identify other jobs that you may be physically capable of performing after your accident, but your employer is not obligated to retrain you to get another job.

5. If I’m hurt at work, my employer will have to pay me workers’ compensation for the rest of my life.

Most injured workers are limited to 520 weeks (ten years) of workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages. It is possible that for a very serious injury you can receive benefits for longer than 520 weeks in some circumstances.

Workers’ Compensation: 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | August 31st, 2015

After suffering an injury on the job, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and understanding what your rights are can be overwhelming.

Here are a few things you should know about the process and your rights:

  1. The insurance carrier that your employer has it’s policy of workers’ compensation coverage through must deem your claim as “compensable” before benefits will be initiated. If your claim is deemed not compensable, you are entitled to a hearing in front of a workers’ compensation judge.
  2. If your doctor gives you restrictions for returning to work such as sedentary, light, or medium duty and your job cannot accommodate the restriction, you will be entitled to 66 ⅔% of your average weekly wage.
  3. If your doctor thinks you are too injured to work at all, you will be paid 66 ⅔% of your average weekly wage. This number has a cap that changes every year.
  4. If your employer does accommodate the restriction but pays you a rate lower than what you were earning pre-injury, you will be entitled to Supplemental Earning Benefits. These benefits are the difference between what your modified job duty pays and 90% of your pre-accident weekly wage. These benefits also have a cap.
  5. The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act gives you the right to choose your own doctor.
  6. In Louisiana, injured workers are entitled to be reimbursed for mileage for trips to doctors appointments, physical therapy appointments, pharmacy visits, and vocational rehabilitation meetings. Reimbursement is currently .51 cents per mile.
  7. You are not allowed to receive workers’ compensation benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time. There is a week for week forfeiture of workers’ compensation benefits when you receive unemployment benefits.
  8. Independent contractors may be entitled to workers’ compensation in some circumstances. For instance, an employee with a job that is categorized as manual labor will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to check with a lawyer to determine if you’re an independent contractor or a regular employee, no matter how your employer classifies your status.