Louisiana Workers’ Compensation is an insurance policy that generally provides:
- up to 2/3 of your average weekly wage while you are physically unable to work due to an injury on the job, called Temporary Total Disability, (TTD), and
- all of your medical expenses related to your job injury. The average weekly wage is based upon your earnings for the 4 full weeks before the accident for most hourly workers. Temporary Total Disability benefits are payable either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how your wages were paid. In order to be entitled to TTD benefits, you must be at a no-work status for at least one week. You are not entitled to your first week’s payment of TTD until you have been at a no-work status for at least two weeks. Your first payment of TTD benefits is owed on the fourteenth day after your employer becomes aware of your injury.
If your doctor releases you back to work with restrictions, the law provides for a wage-loss benefit, called Supplemental Earnings Benefits, (SEB). This benefit is two-thirds of the difference between what you were earning before the accident (your Average Weekly Wage) and what you are able to earn after the doctor releases you with restrictions unless your employer or another employer offers you a job within your restrictions at 90% or more of your pre-injury wages. SEB is payable for a maximum of 520 weeks including the time for which other indemnity benefits were paid.
As a rule, if your doctor releases you to work with restrictions, the employer/insurer will appoint a vocational counselor to conduct a labor market survey to determine your post-injury wage earning capacity. The vocational counselor typically uses your doctor’s written restrictions, and in some cases, a functional capacity evaluation (examination by a physical therapist to determine your ability to perform certain physical functions), to locate jobs within your geographical area (30 miles) which are actually available within your restrictions.
Louisiana workers’ compensation laws provide other benefits as well under certain circumstances such as cash penalties, attorney fees, and benefits for loss of all or part of a finger, toe, hand, arm, foot, leg, or eye.
You are allowed to choose one doctor in each specialty, paid for by the employer or their insurer, to treat your injuries. However, the employer/insurer can require you to be examined periodically by their doctor.
Claims for indemnity benefits (TTD ands SEB) and for medical benefits have different time periods within which they must be filed or else they prescribe (that is, your rights are lost due to the passage of time).
It has been our policy to not deduct any attorneys fees from our client’s weekly or bi-weekly indemnity benefits until we are able to obtain a suitable settlement on behalf of our injured client. If we cannot reach a suitable settlement for you, then you owe us nothing for our efforts.
Because the law governing the rights owed to an injured worker and the time periods for filing claims is complex, please contact Schoenfeld Law Firm for advice in seeking Louisiana State Workers’ Compensation benefits.