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Know Your Workers’ Compensation Rights

By: Cheyenne Moeller Meek

In every state, there are laws that safeguard employees during their work. In Louisiana the workers’ compensation laws are designed to be “no-fault,” implying that if workers suffer injuries and seek benefits, they do not have to establish fault. Consequently, they forfeit their right to sue their employer for the accident.

Although worker’s compensation laws are meant to protect both workers and employers, some insurance providers and employers may try to unjustly deny or reduce the benefits granted to injured parties. This article outlines the coverage protections granted by the law. 

What is Covered?

Any illness or injury that occurs as a result of work done on the job is covered by workers’ compensation, from occupational illness and disease to traumatic accidents and mishaps. Additionally, work-related death is compensable under the benefits. In such cases, spouses, minor children and other dependents may be entitled to death benefits under workers’ compensation laws. 

Some examples of common injuries covered by the law include:

  • Back and spine injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Ear damage
  • Eyes, nose, and jaw injuries
  • Amputations of limbs 
  • Repetitive stress
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Fall or crush injuries 

Some slow-onset injuries or illnesses such as cancer or lung disease may be easy targets for disputes by insurers or employers, but the attorneys at Saunders and Chabert will work to prove causation, so you receive the compensation you deserve.  

Under Workers’ compensation you are entitled to wage and medical benefits. 

If you are unable to work due to an injury suffered on the job, you could receive weekly payments up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. These payments should be ongoing until your doctor states that it is not possible for your medical condition to further improve, or you can return to work. 

If you are permanently disabled from, for example, the loss of limbs or eyes, then you are eligible for permanent wage replacement in the form of weekly or a lump sum payment. If your injury permits you to work hours or positions that pay under 90% of your regular wages, then you can receive supplemental earnings during the time you work in the lower-paying position. 

Medical benefits cover both short- and long-term needs but do not cover damages such as pain and suffering. Coverage includes the following for any given workplace illness or injury:

  • Doctor and hospital bills
  • Medications
  • Medical supplies
  • Treatments
  • Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Travel costs for appointments

Who is Eligible?
Most employees have rights to workers’ compensation, although the details vary from state to state and from situation to situation.

Third-Party Claims
Although workers’ compensation laws prohibit you from suing your employer in the event of an injury, you may sue third parties if you believe they are responsible for the injury and owe you additional compensation. 

Such a third party may include someone unaffiliated with your employer, such as a motorist who crashed into you on your way to work or during work hours. Or the third party may be a contractor brought in for specialty work at your workplace. However, your coworkers employed by your own employer are not considered third parties, and therefore cannot be sued for work-related injuries they may have caused you. 

Because employers and insurance companies may sometimes try to deny worker’s compensation claims, or reduce payout, teaming with an experienced attorney can be the best course of action to navigate the battle. At Saunders and Chabert, we’ll help guide you through the process and fight for your rights, ensuring you receive the full compensation you’re owed.

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