Do You Need a New Orleans Workers Compensation Lawyer?
If you work in Louisiana and were injured on the job, you may apply for workers’ compensation, which employers are required by law to give. Workers’ safety laws in Louisiana protect employees from various state and federal regulations that aim to keep workplaces safe and hazard-free.
People spend the vast majority of their lives at work. Many people enjoy rewarding careers where they are not only able to provide for their families. This can also gain a sense of fulfillment. However, being on the job that much increases the chances of workplace injuries. In
Job-related injuries can be devastating for a number of reasons. If an injury occurred at work, it is going to be difficult enough having to deal with both the physical and emotional pain of a personal injury or a life-altering condition. You may also find that your health insurance does not cover all of your medical bills and lost wages. This is where the workers’ compensation insurance benefits can help.
At The Mahone Firm, we believe that no one should have to face difficulties and stress alone after a workplace injury. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, call us at (504) 564-7342 for free legal advice with an experienced workers compensation attorney.
How Do Louisiana Work Injuries Happen?
People who work in industries that utilize heavy equipment (such as construction and manufacturing) are certainly more likely to be injured on the job and receive serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or worse. The work that they do tends to be more dangerous, and the consequences of accidents are far direr. But, work injuries are by no means limited to these jobs. They can happen with any occupation.
It does not matter if you are a dishwasher at a restaurant, a salesman with a company, a secretary in an office, or a security guard. There are potential hazards that can cause a work accident or personal injury for you every day you go to work.
On the job, accidents can be caused by many things, such as defective equipment, poorly maintained conditions, improperly trained co-workers, or employers cutting corners concerning employee safety. Anything from slipping at your office to pulling your back lifting something on the job can be valid grounds for a workers compensation claim.
Determining the exact cause of a workplace accident can be difficult. But whatever the cause, work injuries can be severe and can lead to temporary or permanent disability.
Injured workers may suffer broken bones, back and neck injuries, burns, or occupational diseases. These injuries can lead workers to be out of a job for months or even years at a time if they are ever able to get back to doing what they were doing before they got hurt.
Louisiana Work Accident Rates Continue to Decline
Most folks, particularly those in Louisiana, enjoy a safe work environment. Louisiana workers should be especially encouraged because Louisiana has one of the safest work environments in the country. In fact, Louisiana’s work accident rates have continued to decline in recent years, even while injury rates around the country remain steady.
However, even with a safer workplace, accidents can and do, in fact, still happen in New Orleans and all around Louisiana.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, you probably have no idea what to do next or what rights you have. Consulting with a New Orleans workers compensation lawyer for a free consultation should be one of your first steps.
To help you along the way, here are answers to several questions that injured New Orleans, La workers may have following an accident on the job.
Do I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for My Accident?
If you are hurt on the job while working in the State of Louisiana, you will generally be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are, of course, reasons why a worker’s compensation claim might be denied (such as failing a drug test), but you will usually receive compensation benefits and medical benefits if you are hurt on the job.
Which Workers Compensation Benefits Do I Get for My Accident in Louisiana?
This depends on the nature of the work that you were performing at the time of your accident. If you were employed in the State of Louisiana not working for the federal government, you will likely get benefits under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. If you are a federal employee, you will receive benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (also called “FECA”).
If, on the other hand, you work in the maritime industry as a seaman, you will receive maintenance and cure benefits, which are similar to workers’ compensation benefits but a little bit different. Lastly, if you are employed in the maritime/offshore industry but do not qualify as a seaman, you will likely receive benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (also called the “LHWCA”).
Can You Sue Your Employer in Louisiana?
As a general rule, you are barred from bringing a claim against your employer and are instead limited to a Louisiana workers compensation claim. Under some circumstances, however, you can, in fact, sue your employer for an accident at work in Louisiana, but these situations are minimal.
Employees hurt in a work accident can turn to The Mahone Firm. Discuss your case with New Orleans workers compensation lawyer Mike Mahone today at (504) 564-7342 for free legal advice.
You Can Sue Your Employer for Intentional Torts in Louisiana
For example, you can sue your employer if you are intentionally injured on the job that resulted in a personal injury. The simplest example of this is a battery where a co-employee punches you. This gets trickier because some actions are so reckless that somebody getting hurt is considered “substantially certain” to occur. The latter covers a wide range of ground, from hazardous equipment to reckless company policies.
You Can Sue Your Employer for Negligence in Louisiana Under Certain Circumstances
In addition to intentional torts, there are some situations where you can sue your employer for negligence in Louisiana. Specifically, railroad workers and seaman can sue their employers for negligence that causes injuries. There are specific federal laws that allow for these claims, even though bringing such a claim against your employer would seemingly be barred by Louisiana law.
What’s the Difference Between a New Orleans Workers Compensation Case and a Tort Case?
There are several differences between workers compensation cases and tort cases in Louisiana. Still, the most important two differences are with respect to what you need to do to prove your case and what you receive for proving your case.
Differences in Proof Between Workers Compensation Cases and Tort Cases
The first key difference between the worker’s comp cases and negligence cases is in what you are required to show to win. For a workers compensation lawsuit, you are only required to show that you had an on-the-job accident and you now need medical treatment and/or are unable to work.
In a negligence case, on the other hand, you have to prove that you suffered an accident, the accident was caused by somebody else, the person who caused the accident was negligence, and you have now suffered damages as a result of it. The insurance company will also inevitably try to argue that the accident was partially the injured workers’ fault or was the fault of somebody else. These arguments generally do not matter in a worker’s compensation case once you establish that your accident or personal injury happened at work.
In short, there is a lot more required to be shown to be compensated in negligence than is required in a Louisiana workers comp case.
Differences in Recovery Between a New Orleans, LA Workers Comp Case, and a Tort Case
The downside to it being easier to prove your entitlement to workers comp benefits is that your recovery is more limited than in a tort case. In a typical Louisiana tort case, you will seek a wide variety of damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, emotional distress, past and future lost wages, and past and future medical expenses.
A workers compensation case provides a far more limited recovery. In a Louisiana workers compensation claim, you are only entitled to two-thirds (⅔) of your average weekly wages, capped at a specific amount, for the time you are unable to work and have your accident-related medical bills paid.
The other workers comp system discussed earlier (FECA and the LHWCA) are similar, with maintenance and cure being the most different in that you do not recover your last wages. Under maintenance and cure, you get your medical bills paid (the “cure”), and you get a daily rate to cover your living expenses (the “maintenance”).
The worker’s comp systems do not allow for recovery of some cost items but limit the lost wages recovery and do not allow for an award of “general damages” (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish). This can lead to a very harsh result for workers who have their lives ruined over an accident and only have workers compensation as a means of recovering.
Navigating Injured Workers Through Their Workers Compensation Claim
Many employers treat employees fairly and make sure that they are well taken care of if they are hurt in a work accident, but this is not always the case. Sometimes employers deny valid claims, or employees may not fully understand their rights against their employers or negligent third parties.
If you or a loved one has suffered workplace injuries, The Mahone Firm is here to help you through this challenging and confusing workers comp claim process. Call (504) 564-7342 to speak to a New Orleans workers compensation lawyer for a free consultation today.
There is no charge for a confidential case evaluation with New Orleans personal injury law firm, The Mahone Firm. You can also check out this in-depth discussion of Louisiana worker’s compensation laws for additional guidance.