Wage Replacement for Injured Workers in Louisiana
Most families live from paycheck to paycheck. In fact, about two-thirds of families have less than $1,000 in savings. Many of these families have little or no savings at all. So, even a temporary wage disruption is often devastating. That’s especially true if the affected wage-earner accounts for all or most of the family’s monthly income.
If a workplace injury caused the income disruption, workers’ compensation replaces lost wages. Although this compensation is available, insurance companies do not simply give it away. So, unless you have a solid New Orleans workers’ compensation attorney, there is a good chance that you might have to settle your claim for less than it is worth, and less than what your family truly needs.
Types of Benefits
Even a relatively minor injury, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, could mean several weeks off work. Most people do not want to use their PTO for illnesses they cannot control. A major workplace injury, like cancer, might mean the victim is never able to work again, or at least never able to earn a living again.
Because there are so many kinds of injuries, there are several kinds of workers’ compensation wage replacement benefits.
- Permanent Total Disability: A few sudden trauma injuries or creeping occupational diseases are so severe that the victims are permanently and totally disabled. These victims usually receive a lump-sum payout as compensation for future lost wages.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Typically, PPD victims have job-related injuries which never fully heal, such as the permanent loss of motion in an injured shoulder. Generally, these victims are also entitled to lump sum payouts, depending on the nature of the disability.
- Temporary Total Disability: Almost all injured workers begin in this category. They are unable to work as they recover from their injury or illness. So, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of the TTD.
- Temporary Partial Disability: Many TTD victims “graduate” to the TPD category. As their conditions improve, they are able to work, but must reduce their hours or responsibilities. So, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new AWW.
Calculating the Average Weekly Wage is not always easy. Most people change jobs frequently. So, salary history might be misleading. Additionally, the AWW includes more than regular cash compensation. It also includes irregular compensation, like overtime, performance bonuses, and housing allowance.
What to Expect
Generally, the wage replacement benefit is retroactive to the date the claim was filed. That’s an important feature, because very few of these claims are resolved immediately.
Typically, a Claims Examiner reviews the medical bills and a few other facts and decides if the insurance company will pay the claim. Most Claims Examiners deny most claims, at least in part. They hope victims will become frustrated and either drop their claims or settle them for pennies on the dollar.
So, most claims proceed to an Administrative Law Judge review. ALR hearings are a lot like trials. Attorneys can make legal arguments, introduce evidence, and otherwise fully advocate for their clients. So, at this point, many claims settle on victim-friendly terms. Most insurance companies do not want to risk an ALR hearing against an experienced attorney.
Rely on an Experienced Attorney
Injured workers are entitled to long-term wage replacement. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in New Orleans, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Louisiana and Mississippi.