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Workers' Compensation / Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Injuries

If you were injured or developed an illness while on the job in Louisiana, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits cover the medical bills of an employee when their medical condition results from their work or work environment. In addition to bills for consultations, surgery, and physical therapy, workers’ compensation also covers lost wages and vocational rehabilitation.

When an employee becomes injured on the job or develops an illness, they may have to take time away from work, especially if their work is labor-intensive or requires them to be on their feet for extended periods. Workers’ compensation includes different wage loss benefits for being temporarily or permanently away from work.

These include Permanent Total Disability, Temporary Total Disability, and Permanent Partial Disability. Victims of workplace injuries or illnesses may also qualify for Supplemental Earnings if they return to work but are unable to receive the same earnings that they received before their injury or illness.

Although workers’ compensation covers the entirety of victims’ medical bills, it only covers ⅔ of lost wages, meaning that if you made $1000 a week before your injury, you would only qualify for around $666.67. If you receive Supplemental Earnings, you qualify for ⅔ of the difference between your pre-injury or pre-illness earnings and what you currently earn. For example, if you received $1000 before your injury or illness and now only earn $500 because of your injury or illness, you would qualify for ⅔ of $500, which is around $333.33.

In addition to wage loss benefits, workers’ compensation also covers vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a program in which victims of workplace injuries or illnesses who are unable to return to their previous work receive vocational guidance and job training.

Workers’ compensation insurance companies typically want employees who receive wage loss benefits to undergo vocational rehabilitation so they no longer receive benefits. If you go through vocational rehabilitation and begin working a job where you make less money because of your injury or illness, you may still qualify for Supplemental Earnings.

Workers’ compensation is vital for injured and ill employees who may struggle with paying their medical bills or need time away from work to recover. Unfortunately, many employees are denied the full compensation they deserve for their workplace injury or illness. Employers and insurance companies often attempt to underpay, deny, and cut off workers’ compensation benefits. They may even refer an injured or ill employee to a workers’ compensation doctor who will then try to downplay the severity of their condition to save the insurance company money.

If your workers’ compensation was unfairly denied, underpaid, or ended prematurely, you need workers’ compensation legal experts at your side fighting for your claim. Additionally, if you lost a loved one due to a workplace injury or illness, you need workers’ compensation lawyers to help you receive workers’ compensation death benefits.

For Louisiana workers’ compensation attorneys you can count on, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. Our lawyers specialize in workers’ compensation, and they have years of experience fighting for injured and ill employees in Louisiana. Call our New Orleans office at 504-302-4131 or schedule a free case evaluation by clicking here.

In addition to providing expert workers’ compensation legal support, we also feature helpful resources on our site regarding workers’ compensation and what injuries and illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation.

Neck and Back Injuries

In Louisiana, neck and back injuries are exceedingly common in the workplace. Many labor-intensive jobs and office jobs have a high risk of neck and back injuries. Although these injuries often occur from a sudden injury, you may develop neck and back problems from repetitive movements, and you may be unaware of your injuries until you begin experiencing symptoms. If you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms, you need to seek medical assistance:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty standing straight, bending, or twisting
  • Trouble balancing
  • Trouble walking
  • Extreme back pain or pressure
  • Impaired breathing
  • Incoordination
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Limited range of motion
  • Hand, finger, feet, or toe numbness or tingling
  • Pain or discomfort when moving
  • Lack of bladder or bowel control
  • Lack of movement
  • Loss of sensation in hands, fingers, feet, or toes
  • Trouble with sexual functions
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain or discomfort when remaining stationary
  • Paralysis
  • Stinging sensations
  • Weakness in part of your body

Any one of these symptoms may indicate a minor or severe neck or back injury. Often, these symptoms occur days or even weeks after experiencing a workplace accident. You need to seek medical attention and file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after experiencing a workplace accident.

Experiencing the previously mentioned symptoms may indicate that you’re suffering from:

  • Cervical dislocations
  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle strains
  • Whiplash
  • Fractures
  • Nerve impingement
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Sprains

Your neck and back are connected, so people often suffer multiple neck and/or back injuries after a workplace accident.

It’s always critical to have the best medical evaluation possible to determine the severity of your injuries. Your employer may pressure you to see the workers’ compensation doctor, but they don’t always have your best interest at heart. Workers’ compensation doctors often declare that injuries are not severe so that insurance companies can avoid paying for expensive treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Rather than visiting your workers’ compensation doctor, consider seeing your primary care physician.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are incredibly common in workplace accidents, and they can lead to a lifetime of expensive medical bills and treatments. If you suffer from a head injury in a workplace accident, you could suffer from a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, employees don’t always realize when they’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms often occur days or weeks after the initial accident. If you hit your head, you need to be on the lookout for these symptoms of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Clear fluids come out of your ears or nose
  • Confusion
  • Balance issues
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Spinning Sensations
  • Arm and/or leg weakness or numbness
  • Trouble waking up
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Persistent headaches
  • Pupil dilation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Seizures

Traumatic brain injuries often occur when a person’s head is hit or is pushed suddenly. These injuries are either open, meaning the skull was penetrated by the force of the injury, or closed, meaning that the person suffered from a brain injury without the impact breaking open the skull. Closed traumatic brain injuries are often more serious than open because the brain absorbs more of the sudden impact, and this injury often results in the tearing or bruising of brain tissue and/or blood vessels. Those who suffer from closed traumatic brain injuries are at high risk for brain bleeding or swelling leading to blood clots, coma, and even death.

The overall severity of a victim’s brain injuries is typically indicated by whether they lost consciousness, how long they were unconscious, if they suffer from memory loss, and how responsive they were after the injury. Medical professionals typically use CT scans and CAT scans to diagnose the severity of traumatic brain injuries.

If the traumatic brain injury was mild, the victim of a workplace injury may have suffered from a concussion, which is known in the medical community as a mild traumatic brain injury. Although these injuries are less severe than standard traumatic brain injuries, they’re often more challenging to diagnose and may not appear on a CT scan.

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to serious side effects and may permanently disable the person who suffered from the workplace injury.

Shoulder, Hip, and Knee Injuries

Shoulder, hip, and knee injuries are incredibly common in industries such as construction, manufacturing, warehousing, and other professions that involve repetitive movements, carrying heavy objects or equipment, and other physical tasks. Some common shoulder, hip, and knee injuries include fractures, sprains, muscle strains, torn knee ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, and torn meniscus.

Shoulder, hip, and knee injuries often require surgery, and they sometimes require joint replacements. You’ll likely need time away from work so that you can make a full recovery or reach your maximum medical recovery, so you must receive the full wage loss benefits to which you’re entitled.

Workers’ compensation insurance companies often try to make the case that shoulder, hip, and knee injuries were pre-existing conditions rather than solely sustained at work.

Can I Recover Compensation if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition in Louisiana?

Even if you have a pre-existing condition related to your injury or illness, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation. If you can prove a causal link between your job and your condition or the aggravation of your condition, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills and lost wages.

Will I Receive Workers’ Compensation If I Was At Fault For My Injury?

Even if you were partially or fully at fault for your injury, you’ll still qualify for workers’ compensation as long as your condition was caused by your work. Additionally, you do not need to prove that another person was at fault in order to receive benefits because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.

Although there’s no issue if you were at fault for your injury, you do need to prove that there was a link between your work and your condition. It takes more than just being at work to recover workers’ compensation. For example, if you become injured because you were roughhousing with another employee, you likely wouldn’t be able to recover workers’ compensation because the injury had nothing to do with your work.

Your injury or illness must be work-related. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that your condition is work-related if, “an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.”

There are also situations in which you won’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you were under the influence, self-inflicted the injury, broke company policies, or committed a crime, you’ll likely be unable to recover benefits.

Occupational Illnesses

Occupational illnesses occur when an event or exposure to something leads to a condition or aggravates a pre-existing condition. People often develop conditions from prolonged exposure to harmful substances, such as asbestos, coal, or hazardous chemicals.

Like with workplace injuries, you need to be able to prove that your condition occurred or was made worse because of your work. Unfortunately, this means that more common conditions are often not compensated for because it’s difficult to prove that there was a causal link. If you develop heart disease, you may try to make the case that your work environment contributed to your condition, but heart disease is known as an “ordinary disease,” meaning there could be a variety of factors leading to the development of the condition.

In Louisiana, first responders often receive workers’ compensation for “ordinary diseases,” such as high blood pressure, hernias, and heart disease because people recognize that they’re stressful and dangerous jobs.

Contact a Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you developed a condition in the workplace, you need expert legal support to assist you with your claim. Employers and insurance companies often look for reasons to deny or underpay your claim, and they may cut off wage loss benefits prematurely. Different injuries and illnesses can be costly to treat, and you may never be able to make your pre-injury or pre-illness wages. You shouldn’t be forced to worry about your finances while you recover—you need workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical bills and time away from work.

For expert workers’ compensation support in Louisiana, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. Our attorneys specialize in workers’ compensation, and we have years of experience helping Louisianans receive the workers’ compensation they deserved. Call our office at 504-302-4131, or schedule a free case evaluation by clicking here.

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