Louisiana Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If an employee becomes injured or disabled due to a work-related incident, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation indemnity (wage loss) benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so workers are eligible without needing to prove fault after the incident. Once the injured worker files for workers’ comp, they can receive two types of benefits to help cover their expenses and losses: Medical benefits and Indemnity (wage replacement) benefits.
There are five different types of disability indemnity benefits that a worker can receive depending on the nature of their injury or disability. If a worker’s injury or disability leaves them temporarily unable to work, they will be eligible to receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits.
Though medical benefits through workers’ compensation help employees cover all necessary medical expenses related to their injury, disability benefits, such as TTD, will only cover a portion of the employee’s lost wages. Indemnity benefits are complex and it can be challenging to understand and calculate the benefits you are entitled to. Working with an experienced attorney in these situations can ensure that you receive the full amount of benefits that you are owed.
The Louisiana 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, firefighters, and first responders injured on the job. Learn more about Louisiana indemnity benefits and TTD below, and contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC if you have any questions.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary Total Disability Benefits are a type of wage loss benefit available to workers who have been injured and temporarily disabled in work-related accidents. These benefits help injured workers cover a portion of their lost wages while they are out of work and recovering. The type of disability benefits you are eligible for will depend on the severity of the injury.
A worker who is only temporarily but fully disabled and unable to perform their job can receive TTD benefits until their physician permits them to return to work. These benefits will be paid to the injured employee weekly until they have recovered and their doctor permits them to start working again.
However, if an injured worker is not fully disabled and their treating physician determines that they can still perform at least some of their work duties, they may not be eligible to receive TTD benefits. Instead, they may be eligible for Supplemental Earning benefits.
An injured and disabled worker may only receive one type of disability benefit at a time, but they can switch the type of benefits they receive if their situation changes. For example, if a worker is fully disabled but only temporarily unable to work, they will receive TTD benefits; however, if their injury improves and they can return to work at some capacity, they may be able to switch to Supplemental Earning benefits.
Another example would be a worker who is initially eligible for TTD benefits and plans to return to work eventually, but their injury worsens, and they become permanently disabled. In this situation, they could potentially become eligible to switch to Permanent Total or Permanent Partial Disability benefits.
Who is Eligible for Temporary Total Disability Benefits?
An injured worker is eligible for TTD benefits only if their inability to return to work is temporary. To receive these benefits, you must first file a workers’ compensation claim and have it approved. From there, you will seek medical treatment so your doctor can determine the extent of your injury. You must have clear and objective evidence from your doctor and medical records showing that you are temporarily unable to perform any work duties while you recover.
Evidence and information that the court may use to determine eligibility for Temporary Total Disability benefits can include:
- Medical documents
- Physician statements
- Work history
- The worker’s age
- The worker’s physical capacity
- The severity of the worker’s condition and their functional limitations
The court may also accept witness testimonies when they’re not contradicted by other evidence.
Although those applying for Temporary Total Disability Benefits need to prove that they’re unable to work, Louisiana workers’ compensation cases are designed to favor the worker. What this means is that courts are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to the employee rather than the employer or insurance company.
Payment of Temporary Total Disability Benefits in Louisiana
Generally, the amount of benefits an injured worker can receive under TTD is equal to 66 ⅔% of the average weekly wage they were making before the incident. They will receive the full amount of these benefits weekly while eligible for TTD benefits. However, the total amount overall can vary depending on the maximum limit set by the state for the date that the injury occurred. The wording and specifics can vary for indemnity benefits from state to state, but in most states, the worker will receive their first check once they have been disabled and out of work for two whole weeks (14 days).
According to Louisiana Rev Stat 23:1221(1), the legislature on payment of Temporary Total Disability benefits are as follows:
- “For any injury producing temporary total disability of an employee to engage in any self-employment or occupation for wages, whether or not the same or a similar occupation as that in which the employee was customarily engaged when injured, and whether or not an occupation for which the employee at the time of injury was particularly fitted by reason of education, training, or experience, sixty-six and two-thirds percent of wages during the period of such disability.”
- “For purposes of Subparagraph (1)(a) of this Paragraph, compensation for temporary disability shall not be awarded if the employee is engaged in any employment or self-employment regardless of the nature or character of the employment or self-employment including but not limited to any and all odd-lot employment, sheltered employment, or employment while working in any pain.”
- “For purposes of Subparagraph (1)(a) of this Paragraph, whenever the employee is not engaged in any employment or self-employment as described in Subparagraph (1)(b) of this Paragraph, compensation for temporary total disability shall be awarded only if the employee proves by clear and convincing evidence, unaided by any presumption of disability, that the employee is physically unable to engage in any employment or self-employment, regardless of the nature or character of the employment or self-employment, including but not limited to any and all odd-lot employment, sheltered employment, or employment while working in any pain, notwithstanding the location or availability of any such employment or self-employment.”
- “An award of benefits based on temporary total disability shall cease when the physical condition of the employee has resolved itself to the point that a reasonably reliable determination of the extent of disability of the employee may be made and the employee’s physical condition has improved to the point that continued, regular treatment by a physician is not required.”
How Long Do Temporary Total Disability Benefits Last?
Depending on the weekly state limits, an injured worker can generally collect TTD benefits until one of the following situations occurs:
- You have recovered from your injuries or reached maximum medical improvement, and your doctor has determined that you are well enough to return to work. If the employee is able to work under light-duty restrictions, meaning they’re temporarily or permanently performing tasks less physically or mentally demanding than their pre-injury work, they’re considered to be able to earn wages and no longer qualify for TTD benefits.
- Your injury has worsened, and your doctor has determined that you are not expected to improve or improve as well as they initially thought. In this case, you are no longer eligible for TTD benefits but may be able to switch to another type of benefit.
In Louisiana, as long as the injured worker remains disabled and unable to work temporarily, there is no weekly limit on the amount of TTD benefits they can receive. Because there are no limitations on TTD benefits, cases are often reopened or re-examined if there’s evidence of a change in conditions. The change in conditions could be a change in the worker’s physical abilities or a shift in the labor market since that may impact the injured person’s ability to return to work.
An Experienced Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
Dealing with a temporary total disability due to a workplace injury can be traumatizing. Injured workers that experience a severe injury and are temporarily disabled often struggle with emotional anguish in addition to dealing with the financial burden of being unable to work for some time.
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 TTD benefits promptly and fully-paid, including appealing claim denials if necessary.