workers compensation law in louisiana
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 who was 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", "loss of enjoyment of life" and "loss of consortium." 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. Putting an employee in a dangerous situation, over and over again and without safety equipment, still does not rise to the level necessary to qualify as an intentional act.
Workers Compensation Laws vary from state to state
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 (called "indemnity") benefits when he or she is unable to work
4) Mileage reimbursement or transportation for medical or vocational travel
5) Penalties and attorney's fees, under certain circumstances, when denied any of the above
The Law Firm of Shawn M. Murray
450 N. Causeway
Mandeville, Louisiana 70448
office: (985) 624-9393
fax: (985) 624-9319