The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act serves to protect employees and employers alike. Employers in the State of Louisiana are required to have insurance to cover its employees for any injuries that may occur from an accident at work. In exchange for this requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance, an employer is protected from the risk that an employee will file a civil lawsuit against it because of an injury at work. It gives the employee security that if in case he or she suffers an injury or illness at work, insurance will be available to take care of them.
The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act covers most forms of injury, whether physical or mental, as long as it is caused by an accident to the employee that occurred in the course and scope of his or her employment, or qualifies as an occupational disease. Most injuries must be proven to have occurred within the course and scope of employment by a preponderance of the evidence.
The State of Louisiana, through the Louisiana Workforce Commission (formerly the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration), is the administrative body in charge of implementing the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. It resolves disputes about workers’ compensation benefits between employees and employers, or the employer’s insurer. There are ten workers’ compensation courts in the State of Louisiana: Monroe, Shreveport, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Covington, Harvey, and New Orleans. Where a case should be filed can depend on n where the injured employee resides, where the employer is located, and where the accident occurred.
Litigating a workers’ compensation case usually begins when a Disputed Claim for Compensation (Form LWC-WC-1008) is filed with the appropriate court. Depending on the state of the claim and the issue(s) in dispute, there may be preliminary steps that must be taken before the 1008 can be filed.
The Legislature makes changes to the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act every year, and lawyers are using these changes to their clients’ advantage in the courtroom. Employers, and employees, are required to follow certain steps when an accident takes place. Failing to follow these steps can result on one having an advantage over the other if a dispute over the injured employee’s right to workers’ compensation benefits were to arise.
It is important to consult an attorney when you have been injured at work in order to understand your rights and your employer’s obligations.
Remember, speaking to a lawyer soon after an accident and injury occurs at work does not mean that you are suing, or will be suing, your employer. At Workers’ Compensation, L.L.C., we have represented injured workers for years without ever filing suit or taking their employer to court. Speak to a lawyer to understand your rights and the obligations of your employer and its insurance company.
In addition to claims under the Louisiana Worker’ Compensation Act, the attorneys at Workers’ Compensation, L.L.C., also represent injured workers whose claims fall under the following laws:
Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law that provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.
Defense Base Act
The Defense Base Act covers the following employment activities: (1) Work for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States, including those in U.S. Territories and possessions; (2) Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the United States; (3) Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, which among other things provides for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the United States; and (4) Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Services, e.g. the United Service Organizations (USO).
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act covers employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the exploration and development of natural resources, for example, off-shore oil drilling rigs.
Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA)
The Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act covers civilian employees of nonappropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces (for example, military base exchanges and morale, welfare, and recreational facilities).