Workplace injury and illness occur in every industry. If you experience an accident or exposure at work, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits that cover medical bills and other costs.

Every Louisiana employee should understand the state laws regarding workers’ compensation.

Reporting your injury

You must report a work injury to your employer as soon as it happens. You may lose your right to seek benefits if you do not make a report within 30 days of the injury or work-related illness diagnosis.

The company has approximately one week after receiving notice to report your injury to its workers’ compensation insurance provider.

Seeking medical care

You must receive treatment from a doctor chosen by your employer or the insurance company. The doctor will not bill you for your treatment. The bills will go to your employer’s insurance policy.

Understanding benefit amounts

In addition to medical coverage, you may receive disability benefits. These payments start after you miss seven days of work because of the illness or injury. The biweekly payment will equal 66 2/3 of your average weekly paycheck. Workers’ comp disability payments are not taxable.

Temporary total and/or temporary partial disability payments continue for 520 weeks. If you cannot return to work at that time, you may receive permanent disability. If you receive Social Security benefits and workers’ compensation payments, the total payments cannot exceed 90% of your average weekly paycheck.

You can also access vocational training as part of your benefits. These programs are available for workers who cannot perform the tasks they used to do.

Recognizing retaliation

Louisiana state law prohibits your employer from firing you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This law calls this type of action “retaliation.” If the company lets you go, decreases your wages or gives you a demotion because of your injury or illness, you can seek legal recourse.