Louisiana & Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been injured on the job, you have a right to claim worker’s compensation benefits. All states, including Louisiana and Mississippi, have laws in place to protect workers. Unfortunately, insurance companies and even employers will sometimes look for ways to deny a claim or at the very least, reduce the amount owed, to avoid having to pay so much money every time an employee is injured. Due to these backhanded attempts, it is often necessary to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.
The Louisiana & Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC help injured workers get the benefits they are entitled to after an on-the-job injury. Our lawyers represent ironworkers, construction workers, truck drivers, general laborers, and firefighters and first responders who have been injured on the job. Learn more about Louisiana and Mississippi workers’ compensation below, and contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC if you’ve been injured in a workplace accident.
Understanding Louisiana and Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ Compensation laws are considered a no-fault system, meaning that injured workers have a right to file a work comp claim and receive benefits without the need to prove fault. These laws are in place to protect both employees and their employers. It protects employers by keeping them from getting sued, and it protects employees by providing them medical and wage benefits if they become ill or injured on the job.
Unlike compensation for other types of personal injury claims that cover damages such as pain and suffering, workers’ comp benefits only cover medical expenses and loss of wages. It does, however, cover both short and long-term needs. For example, it covers any upfront medical costs as well as any treatments, therapy, or rehabilitation needed down the road as a result of the illness or injury. Additionally, wage benefits cover both loss of income right after the incident occurs as well as future loss of income if the injury affects your earning capacity and ability to return to work in the following months or even years.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
In all states, most employees have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the exact laws can vary from state to state.
All employers with one or more employees in the state of Louisiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect themselves and their employees. Employees both full-time and part-time are eligible as long as they earn a minimum of $3,000 annually. However, there are some types of workers who are not eligible, such as:
- Undocumented aliens
- Domestic employees
- Licensed real estate agents
- Directors of certain non-profit organizations
- Airplane crews while performing dusting and spraying procedures
- Workers performing mining-related services
Employers with five or more employees in the state of Mississippi must have workers’ compensation coverage. If they have fewer than five, they may still provide coverage voluntarily, but it is not required. Unlike Louisiana, Mississippi does not require a minimum salary for workers to be eligible for benefits. They do have certain types of workers that are not eligible, however, similar to laws in Louisiana. Such employees include:
- Independent contractors
- Farm laborers
- Non-profit employees
- Domestic laborers
- Employees of religious organizations
- Cultural organization employees
Additionally, transportation workers, maritime workers, and federal employees are not eligible for state compensation benefits as they have their own private workers’ comp systems.
What Types of Accidents and Injuries Are Covered?
Mississippi and Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits cover any injury or illnesses that result from work done on the job. This includes all work-related occupational illnesses and disease, as opposed to only traumatic accidents such as ladder falls or machinery malfunctions. A work-related death is also compensable with workers’ comp benefits. At Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC, our Louisiana and Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers handle a variety of different types of claims for injured workers. While any number of illnesses and injuries can result from work-related incidents, some of the more common ones we see include:
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- First responder illnesses, such as cancer or heart and lung diseases
Most work-related injuries or illnesses are very obviously a result of work performed while on the job, but this is one of the main areas that workers’ comp insurers will try to dispute. This is why it is extremely beneficial to work with a workers’ comp attorney. We know the ways that insurers will try to get out of paying benefits and can help guide you through the process to ensure you are awarded the full amount of benefits that you deserve.
What Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana and Mississippi?
The two main types of workers’ comp benefits available to both Louisiana and Mississippi employees include medical expenses and wage replacement:
Medical benefits – Workers’ compensation is designed to help pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to a work injury. These payments may include doctor and hospital bills, prescription medications, and medical supplies such as crutches, wheelchairs, or prostheses. Healthcare providers should bill the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and leave you out of the loop. You are also entitled to mileage reimbursement for traveling to and from your doctor’s appointments.
Wage replacement – If you are unable to work, you can receive two-thirds of your regular wages, subject to a maximum weekly amount. You should be able to receive these benefits for as long as necessary until your doctor certifies you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you can work part-time or on a light-duty assignment that pays less than 90% of your normal wages, you can receive supplemental earning benefits. These benefits amount to two-thirds of the difference between your regular and reduced wages, subject to the weekly maximum.
Other wage loss benefits are available to those who are permanently disabled. If you are totally and permanently disabled, meaning you can’t work in any job, you can receive two-thirds of your regular wages (subject to the weekly maximum) for the entire length of your disability. Permanent total disability benefits are only available for the most severely debilitating injuries, such as the loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or eyes.
At Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC, our Louisiana and Mississippi workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with every stage of the workers’ compensation process, including what to do if your claim is denied. Navigating the Louisiana workers’ comp system on your own can be frustrating at best and unsuccessful at its worst; let our legal professionals take on this task for you and see that you get the benefits you need and deserve. Workers’ compensation is all we do.
Filing a Louisiana and Mississippi Workers Compensation Claim
Your employer should have information about how to file a claim posted somewhere in the workplace, but it may also be included in something like an employee handbook along with other workplace rules and guidelines. The information posted should inform you about who to notify in case of a workplace accident, injury, or illness. In many cases, the information provided will make it seem like all you have to do is make a call, and the rest is taken care of for you. Unfortunately, this information is very basic and there is often more to it. These basic posters are often designed to purposely leave out useful information in the hopes that employees will improperly file a claim and miss important steps that are required to be approved for benefits.
If you want to take the stress and worry off your shoulders so you can focus on getting better without struggling to get the benefits you need, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC. We help injured workers in Jackson, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana, and are specifically dedicated to handling workers’ compensation cases. Our professional team can advise and represent you at every stage of the workers’ compensation process, helping you get your benefits fully paid sooner rather than later.
What if My Employer Denies My Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana and Mississippi?
Most workers assume that if they are injured on the job, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will kick in and cover their medical expenses and lost wages. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. There are several reasons a claim could get denied, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to benefits. What it does mean, though, is that you may have to fight to get those benefits.
An Experienced Louisiana and Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
Knowing what the law requires is one thing; standing up to the insurance carrier when they deny your claim or cut off your benefits prematurely is another. Our professional, dedicated team has years of experience practicing exclusively in the area of workers’ compensation law. We’ll take on the task of making sure you get your benefits promptly and fully paid, including appealing claim denials if necessary.
For help with a Louisiana or Mississippi workers’ compensation claim, contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC for a free consultation.