Many workers in New Orleans never apply for workers’ compensation benefits when their job-related injury is their fault. They assume workers’ compensation will not cover a work-related injury they sustained because of their own negligence or carelessness. However, workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to injured employees, regardless of fault. The only questions are whether the injury was work-related and whether the injured employee incurred medical bills and/or lost wages. To help workers in New Orleans better understand their right to compensation for work-related injuries, the New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyers at Dudley DeBosier offer the following information.
What is Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana?
Workers’ compensation is like an insurance scheme covering part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees injured on official duty. The injuries covered by workers’ compensation include bone injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, occupational illness, repetitive stress injuries, muscular injuries, and hearing loss.
Though every employee is entitled to compensation, the law excludes:
- Employees working in a private residential property
- Real estate brokers
- NGO’s board of directors
- Employees covered by other similar schemes like the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)
When an employee gets sick or suffers an occupational disease, workers’ compensation covers their medical and rehabilitation costs. Furthermore, workers’ compensation provides the financial support needed to help injured, sick, or disabled workers live decently.
Note that workers’ compensation does not just cover you while in the workplace. But it also protects you when commuting between two workplaces, working from home, or undertaking training away from your usual place of work.
What is the “Tradeoff” in Louisiana Workers’ Compensation?
Typically, Louisiana’s workers’ compensation is meant to eliminate legal battles between the employee and employer in the event of an accident. Therefore, to reach a mutual consensus, the employee and the employer must give up some rights to get some privileges in return.
The following are some common things the beneficiary and employer should be prepared to forgo and receive during the settlement.
What the Employee Gets
The employee receives compensation for medical bills, disability, and lost wages, even if they were at fault. The benefits save the resources employees would have spent proving they were not at fault.
What the Employee Gives Up
To get the no-fault benefits, the employee loses the right to claim more compensation for their pain and suffering. The insurer only provides compensation for lost wages, medical care, and rehabilitation costs.
What the Employer Gets
In a workplace injury, the employer gets one significant benefit — a guarantee that the injured or ailing employee will not sue the employer for additional benefits outside what workers’ compensation offers.
What the Employer Gives Up
The most significant thing an employer gives up is paying the premiums for workers’ compensation as stipulated. The insurance scheme is what covers the costs of lost wages, medical bills, and rehabilitation in the event of a workplace injury.
The Most Common Reasons Workers’ Compensation is Denied
While every employee is entitled to workers’ compensation, there are a couple of instances where the insurance provider denies a claim. Some of the denials commonly noted by workers’ compensation lawyers in New Orleans include:
- Mismatched Expectations
When an accident occurs in the workplace, the employee notifies the employer of the incident. In response, the employer verifies the incident and files a claim on behalf of the employee. A mismatch occurs when the employer feels like the employee’s injury or disease is not work-related, an issue that could lead to rejection.
- Company Policy Issues
Various insurance companies have a set of rules defining injuries and diseases that can be regarded as work-related. So, if an employee’s injury does not fit the boundaries of ‘work-related’ accidents, the insurance provider rejects the claim.
- Pre Existing Injury or Illness
A preexisting injury or illness on the same part of the body as a workplace injury lays the ground for claim rejection. Insurers could claim that an injury sustained in the workplace is a complication of the preexisting condition.
- Drug or Alcohol Issues
Our New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyers rank drug and alcohol issues among the top reasons insurers and employers reject workers’ compensation claims. The providers of workers’ compensation regard such injuries as intentional.
How Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in New Orleans can Help
While workers’ compensation is designed to settle injury liabilities without inviting unnecessary lawsuits, that is not always the case. For instance, the employer can claim that the accident is not work-related, leading to denial.
If this is the case, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who handles workers’ compensation claims. They can negotiate for fair compensation on your behalf or file a lawsuit if the insurer denies your claim unjustifiably. Here are ways in which New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyers help:
- Determine if You Qualify for Compensation
Our New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyers have handled several cases related to injuries sustained in the workplace. As such, they understand those that deserve compensation and those that do not. With such knowledge, the attorneys will ensure that the employer or insurer does not take advantage of your inexperience to reject your claim.
- File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Properly
With the help of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer, New Orleans workers can file a claim properly. These lawyers have knowledge of all the details required to help you receive all the benefits you deserve.
- File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf
If the insurance provider rejects your claim or gives an unreasonably low compensation, your workers’ compensation lawyers can file a lawsuit to help you receive the most reasonable settlement.
- Identify Other Benefits For Which You Qualify
Workers’ compensation is not the only benefit you qualify for when you get workplace injuries. But you can get more benefits like unemployment benefits and disability benefits. Your lawyer will help you file for the extra benefits.
Get a Free Consultation with a New Orleans Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you were at fault. However, claiming the settlements can, at times, be frustrating. The insurance provider can undercompensate or reject the claim, and the employer might allege that your injury resulted from willful negligence.
Let our New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyers handle your case while you focus on recovering. They will review the incident, negotiate with the insurance provider, or file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Contact Dudley DeBosier to schedule a free consultation, and to learn more about how we can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim.
This material was reviewed by Chad Lederman at the New Orleans Dudley DeBosier office.
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