New Orleans Workers’ Compensation
The Law Firm of Shawn M. Murray has been representing people who have been injured while working in and around New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington, Lacombe, Slidell, Hammond, Bogalusa, Houma and Baton Rouge since 1999. Formerly located in Slidell, the firm moved to Mandeville a few years ago and is now located just a block from the Causeway Bridge at 450 N. Causeway Boulevard. Mr. Murray also meets with clients at the Galleria in Metairie, and he will gladly travel to you if you are unable to travel.
Shawn Murray will get you the medical attention you need, and the money you deserve, as quickly as possible. Call him at (985) 624-9393 right now to discuss your case, or send him an e-mail using the contact form.
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Law Explained by Attorney Shawn Murray
The Workers’ Compensation law resulted from a compromise which was struck many years ago between employers and employees. The concern was that the overall relationship between employers and their employees would suffer if employees were constantly filing suit for personal injuries which they sustained on the job, and that this would, in turn, harm business as a whole. Consequently, some trade-offs were made, and Workers’ Compensation became the “exclusive remedy” available, under most circumstances, to a person injured on the job.
The primary trade-off is that employees gave up some of the damages which they would otherwise be entitled to under Personal Injury law (also called “Tort” law), for example, recovery for “pain and suffering” and “loss of enjoyment of life”. In exchange, employers agreed that negligence would not be at issue, i.e. an employee who is totally at fault for causing an accident could still recover Workers’ Compensation benefits from their employer or their employer’s insurance company.
The only exception to the Exclusive Remedy rule mentioned above is the extremely rare situation where an employer is deemed by a court to be responsible for an “intentional act” which resulted in injury or death to their employee. In that case the employee can then sue their employer for full tort damages. However, to rise to such a level, the courts have determined that the injury must have been “substantially certain” to occur based on the employer’s actions. Consequently, not even “wanton or reckless” conduct on the part of an employer is sufficient. Although there are exceptions to every rule, putting an employee in dangerous situations, regularly and without safety equipment, typically will not rise to the level of being an intentional act which would entitle the injured worker to sue their employer for personal injury damages.
The rights of injured workers vary greatly from one state to another. In Louisiana, an injured worker is generally entitled to:
1) His or her choice of treating physician in any area or specialty of medicine
2) Reasonable and necessary medical testing, treatment and medications
3) Lost wage (“indemnity”) benefits when unable to earn at least 90% of pre-injury wages
4) Vocational rehabilitation counseling services if unable to earn 100% of pre-injury wages
5) A lump sum payment for permanent partial disability under certain circumstances
6) Mileage reimbursement or transportation for medical or vocational travel
7) Penalties and attorney’s fees, under certain circumstances, when denied any of the above
What To Do If You Are Injured On The Job
If you have been injured by some sudden, identifiable event while working, chances are that you have a viable Workers’ Compensation claim. The “accident” causing the injuries can be something as routine as a maintenance man twisting his knee while climbing down from a ladder or an administrative assistant injuring her back while moving a desk. Most injuries which occur suddenly, as a result of an “identifiable, precipitous” event while an employee is doing their job, will qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
For example, injuries which happen on a lunch break or while “horse playing” can qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits if the accident occurred on the employer’s premises or on the job site. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents which result in injury can qualify for benefits under certain circumstances, for instance, if the employee was driving a company vehicle or running an errand for the employer. Finally, certain “developmental” injuries which result from a person’s employment, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are also covered by the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.
The law additionally provides that, if a work-related injury “aggravates, accelerates, or combines with” a pre-existing disease or injury, and results in disability or death, it will qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Thus, if you are not experiencing any symptoms from a pre-existing injury, and a sudden incident/accident on the job causes you to begin having pain and/or other symptoms, chances are good that you have a viable Workers’ Compensation claim.
Get Attorney Advice – What are your rights?
- To choose your treating physician in any area or specialty of medicine
- To reasonable and necessary medical testing, treatment and medications
- To receive lost wage benefits when you are unable to work or when you have suffered a loss of earning capacity
- To receive mileage reimbursement (or have transportation provided) for necessary medical and vocational travel
- To be awarded penalties and attorney’s fees, under certain circumstances, when denied any of the above
Get a Lawyer – What do you need to do to protect your rights?
- Report your accident to a supervisor at the first opportunity
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Provide a complete and accurate medical history to every physician that you use
- Follow your doctor’s instructions
- Keep track of all miles traveled for medical treatment, testing, and prescriptions
- If you have any questions regarding whether or not you have a viable workers’ compensation claim, and/or whether you are receiving all of the benefits to which you are entitled, please give me a call: (985) 624-9393.