If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury, you may be able to obtain disability benefits and have reasonable and necessary medical care covered. However, the process can be time-consuming and complicated. Having an experienced lawyer by your side could help you obtain the benefits you need.
Galloway Jefcoat’s licensed Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyers have a proven track record of recovering benefits for injured workers. This includes $176,000 for a worker who suffered a back injury and $168,000 for another Lafayette workers’ comp case.
Over more than two decades, our firm has obtained millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. Partners Rusty Galloway and John Jefcoat have personally handled thousands of injury cases and are members of the Louisiana Bar Association and the American Association for Justice.
An initial consultation comes at no cost or obligation. There are no upfront fees to retain our services. We do not get paid unless you get paid, so there is no risk to you.
Call to learn if you have a valid claim today: (337) 984-8020
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana?
Most employees are covered by Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system. This includes full-time, part-time and seasonal employees who are injured on the job.
There are some exceptions that exist: Domestic employees, most real estate salespersons, officers and directors of certain non-profit organizations that are not compensated for their work and public officials are not eligible for benefits.
Employees may be covered if they suffer an injury that arises out of and occurs within the scope of employment. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so it does not matter who caused the injury. Even if you made a mistake at work that resulted in your injury, you may still be able to receive benefits.
However, you will not be eligible for benefits if you willfully intended to injure yourself or others or you were intoxicated at the time of your injury. You will also not be able to receive benefits if you were the aggressor in an unprovoked physical altercation or a participant in horseplay.
What About Occupational Diseases?
An occupational disease is a disease or disability that is a result of conditions specific to your job. For instance, if you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel, you must be able to connect this disability to the conditions of your employment and prove that it was not caused outside of the workplace.
Are Preexisting Injuries Covered?
If you have a preexisting injury or illness that has been aggravated or accelerated by your employment, you may be able to receive benefits. You will need to establish that your work environment aggravated the condition, and it was not caused by something else. Your work environment must have played an active role in your condition’s deterioration.
A reputable Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyer is ready to meet with you to discuss your eligibility for benefits. A consultation is completely free. We do not charge any upfront fees in these legal matters.
Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation
Independent contractors and subcontractors are generally not considered employees and therefore ineligible for workers’ comp. However, certain independent contractors may be if they are involved in the pursuit of an employer’s trade, business or occupation, or perform substantial manual labor.
Employer misclassification of their employees as independent contractors happens more often than you may realize. Employers do this to avoid the cost of workers’ compensation insurance and other benefits for employees.
If you believe that this has happened to you, it is in your best interest to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney in Lafayette as soon as possible. We are ready to determine if you were misclassified as an independent contractor or if it was done intentionally to reduce labor costs.
Free case review 24/7. Ph: (337) 984-8020
What If I Am Injured Offsite?
Injuries that occur while traveling to and from work are typically not covered by Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system. However, if you were participating in a work-related activity offsite, such as a business trip, you may be covered if you did not deviate from the business purpose of your trip.
If the primary purpose of an event or situation is social or recreational, an injury will not be covered. In any case, this is a complex issue that requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Benefits Available for Injured Workers
For more than 25 years, our legal team has helped many injured workers obtain the benefits they need. Under Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act, these benefits could include:
Your employer must pay for all approved reasonable and necessary medical care to treat a work-related injury or illness. You are eligible for medical benefits for as long as you need them for your injury, including:
- Hospital or emergency room visits
- Doctors’ appointments
- Surgical procedures
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy sessions
- MRIs, X-rays and lab tests
Workers’ compensation may also help cover travel costs to obtain treatment. It is important to note, however, that non-emergency medical services that total over $750 must first be pre-approved by your employer or his or her workers’ compensation insurer. This includes non-emergency hospitalization.
Can I Select My Treating Doctor?
You have the right to select one treating doctor in any field or specialty. Once this selection has been made, however, you cannot change doctors. You will need to obtain approval for a change from your employer or his or her workers’ compensation insurer.
Indemnity benefits are the benefits injured workers may recover to make up for their lost wages due to a work-related injury. These benefits may be referred to as disability benefits. If your injury prevents you from returning to work for more than seven calendar days, you may be eligible for these benefits.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – These benefits are available if your injury does not allow you to work temporarily. If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, TTD benefits are equal to 66 and two-thirds of your average weekly wage. This is subject to minimum and maximum compensation rates set forth by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA).
- Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEBs) – These benefits are available if you can go back to work, but your injury prevents you from earning at least 90 percent of your pre-injury wages. SEBs are calculated at two-thirds of the difference between what you earned before and what you are now capable of earning. You may be able to receive these benefits for up to 520 weeks.
- Catastrophic Injuries – If your injury is considered catastrophic, you may be eligible for a one-time payment of $50,000. Covered catastrophic injuries include:
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Total anatomical loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs or eyes
- Total anatomical loss of a hand, foot or a combination of any two
- Death Benefits – When a worker passes away within two years from his or her last treatment for an injury or illness, the surviving spouse and/or dependent children could receive weekly indemnity benefits. If there are no surviving dependents, the surviving parents may each be eligible for a one-time payment of $75,000. Up to $8,500 in burial costs may also be covered.
What If I Cannot Go Back to My Old Job?
You may qualify for vocational rehabilitation. These services help injured workers identify and locate job opportunities that match their work skills, education level and training. The goal is to get you back to work as soon as possible after your injury with a minimum amount of retraining.
Our Lafayette workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to discuss other benefits that may be available to you, especially if your injury is severe or you suffered a permanent or disfiguring injury.
We are well-versed in state and federal workers’ compensation laws and understand how to build a strong case for compensation.
Have questions? We have answers. Call: (337) 984-8020
Reporting a Work-Related Injury
You must report an injury to your employer within 30 days of it occurring. However, it is best to inform your employer soon as you can to get the claims process started. If you wait too long, your employer or his or her insurer may question whether your injury was work-related and your claim may be denied.
Once you have reported the injury, your employer has 10 days to report this information to his or her insurer using Form LWC-WC IA-1 (First Report of Injury or Illness). The insurer will then submit the report to the OWCA who will review the case to determine eligibility before investigating your claim.
Workers’ comp claims for medical benefits and indemnity benefits must generally be filed within one year from the date of the accident causing the injury. Claims for occupational diseases must also be filed within one year from the date you knew or had a reasonable belief that the disease was work-related.
Can I File a Dispute If My Claim Was Denied?
The short answer is yes. You have the right to file Form LWC-WC-1008 (Disputed Claim for Compensation) to initiate your appeal. Unless your employer and/or his or her insurer is willing to reach a settlement agreement, you will have to prepare for a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge.
This process can be complicated and take six to nine months or longer if the case is appealed. That is why you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Lafayette on your side. If you have a valid claim, we are ready to help appeal this decision on your behalf if it resulted in the insurer:
- Completely denying your claim
- Paying you less than you need
- Failing to pay you on time
- Refusing to cover some or all your medical treatment
- Rejecting payment of your eligible expenses
Our firm has many years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims and knows what it takes to overturn a denial. We are prepared to guide you every step of the way.
Call a Lafayette Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Need legal help after a work-related injury?
Our lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat are here to help you pursue benefits for your injury or illness. We offer a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation to review the details of your claim. There are no fees to take on a case and no fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Our Lafayette office at 1925 Dulles Drive is about 15 minutes from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration in Lafayette.
Galloway Jefcoat. Experience you can trust. Ph: (337) 984-8020