If you suffer an injury on the job in Louisiana, you may have access to certain benefits under the state's workers' compensation program. However, you may have many questions about how the program works and what your rights and responsibilities are under the law.
Because many workers do not expect to suffer an on-the-job injury, it often happens that employees lack the knowledge about how workers' compensation functions. This can lead to making mistakes that negatively affect your ability to collect benefits or recover lost wages and pay for medical bills. Here are some tips for what to avoid when you become injured on the job in Louisiana.
Mistake 1: Not reporting your injury
Sometimes, workers decide not to report an injury for fear of retaliation or losing their job. However, state law protects employees who sustain an injury during the course of their work. Employers must carry workers' compensation insurance, and they must report injuries within 10 days to the state Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA). If you fail to report your injury, you may jeopardize your chances of receiving benefits.
Mistake 2: Not hiring an attorney for fear of costs
Workers' compensation claims can be complicated and difficult to resolve, especially in cases of serious injury where you are no longer able to perform your job. There are workers' compensation attorneys who assist their clients in moving through this process, but many people avoid seeking the help of an attorney because they fear the high costs. However, this is a mistake because many attorneys will assist you on a contingency basis. This means you pay no money unless you settle your claim, in which case the attorney takes his or her fee from the settlement amount.
Mistake 3: Not documenting details about your injury
It is critical that you keep accurate records of everything pertaining to your workplace injury. That includes medical records, billing statements and any other written or digital record pertaining to your on-the-job injury. Keeping accurate and detailed records can help your attorney build an effective strategy to settle your workers' compensation claim.
If you avoid these three mistakes, you will already be well on your way to recovering the compensation you need to pay medical bills and recover lost wages. If you have any doubts about how to proceed in a workers' compensation case, turn to a qualified attorney who can guide you through the process.