How Long Does It Take to Settle a Workers’ Comp Claim in Louisiana?
Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides they’re going to get hurt at work. Sure, some people do intentionally fall at work to get compensation. But for the most part, workplace accidents are just that – accidents.
Most people only have a vague idea of how workers’ comp works in Louisiana. They know they get medical care and benefits, but they don’t really understand how much. They’re also not sure how long the process takes.
This is why it’s a good idea to retain a workers’ comp attorney. He understands the law in Louisiana. He’s also handled dozens of workers’ comp cases and knows what to look out for.
If you get injured on the job, you’ll be entitled to two things: medical treatment and replacement wages. As long as you qualify for benefits, you should start receiving them within a couple weeks of your accident.
How Do You Qualify For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You don’t automatically qualify for benefits. In order to receive coverage for your medical care and replacement wages, you need to meet certain criteria. These criteria include:
- You were on the clock at the time of your injuries
- You got hurt while on the job
- There was no influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace injuries
- You were operating within the scope of your employment
- The accident was reported to your manager or Human Resources
- You are treated by a company approved doctor
- You comply with all of your employer’s policies regarding work related injuries
If you do all of these things, you should receive your benefits. But, what are these benefits? And, what happens if your claim is denied? Your workers’ comp attorney can explain all of this. But let’s take a brief look at them here.
How Much are Workers’ Comp Benefits in Louisiana?
Workers’ comp benefits vary from state to state. In Louisiana, you’ll receive the following once your claim is approved:
- The first 7 days are not covered
- You’ll receive ⅔ of your normal weekly wages up to $657 per week
- If you return to work and earn less than 90% of your usual wages, you’ll continue to receive ⅔ of the difference between what you normally earn and what you’re currently earning
- These benefits will continue until you’re cleared to return to work
For example, if you typically make about $400 per week, your benefits will be about $270 per week. You should get these weekly benefits until you return to work.
You’re also entitled to medical treatment until you fully recover from your injuries. As long as you go to a company approved doctor, this care should be covered under workers’ comp. If, however, you try to go to your own doctor, your medical treatment will not be covered. Talk to your lawyer before you attempt to receive care from anyone other than the company approved doctor.
What If Your Claim is Denied?
Not all workers’ comp claims are approved. There are lots of reasons why your claim could be denied. If this happens, you need to do the following:
- Request a hearing before a workers’ comp judge – you must do this in writing
- File a Disputed Claim for Medical Benefits if your medical treatment has been denied as well
- The insurance company has 14 days to respond
- You’ll have the option of going to voluntary mediation to try to resolve your claim
- If mediation doesn’t resolve the dispute, you’ll attend a workers’ comp hearing
If your claim is still denied, your workers’ comp attorney will have to file a lawsuit on your behalf. He’ll file this suit against your employer and their insurance company. This doesn’t mean your case won’t settle. In fact, most workers’ comp lawsuits do settle. But it takes a lot longer to get your money than it would if your claim was approved in the first place.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Louisiana
If you get injured while at work, you need to call a workers’ comp attorney in Baton Rouge right away. You have no idea if your claim is going to be approved or denied, and you can’t risk losing your benefits. You need a lawyer to stay on top of your claim and make sure it’s handled properly from day one.
Call and schedule your initial consultation today. It’s absolutely free and you won’t pay a dime until you settle your case.