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New Orleans Workers Compensation Insurance: What to Know

For nearly all employers in New Orleans workers compensation insurance is required to protect employees if they are hurt while working. New Orleans employers should have a thorough understanding of what workers comp is, what is and isn’t covered, and how the nuances of this specialized insurance can affect your business and your employees.

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

a graphic showing how New Orleans workers compensation works

Workers comp, or workers’ compensation, is a type of insurance coverage that protects your employees if they are hurt while working. Workers comp provides a source of income for the employee in the event that they can no longer perform their duties or will be temporarily out of work due to an injury on the job. It also covers the costs of medical expenses associated with that particular injury, including the expense of ongoing care or, in the event of an employee’s death, the funeral costs.

All full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees must be covered by New Orleans workers compensation insurance and that coverage must begin on an employee’s first day of employment. Contractors and subcontractors may be eligible for this coverage and considered employees if they perform substantial manual labor in the pursuit of their employer’s business. These benefits must be provided to employees through private insurance, or they must self-insure. 

Louisiana’s workers compensation laws may exempt a few types of employees from workers’ comp coverage, including real estate agents, public officials, and officers of nonprofit organizations. Employers do not need to cover volunteer workers, and in Louisiana, musicians typically do not benefit from a business’s workers’ comp plan.

New Orleans workers compensation benefits are available for mental and physical illness or injury that occur during the course of employment, no matter who is at fault.

The Department of Labor provides a full list of the type of expenses that workers comp covers.

Benefits Available Through New Orleans Workers Compensation Insurance 

The ultimate goal of workers compensation insurance is to help employees recover and return to work as soon as possible. New Orleans workers compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to an injury or illness that was sustained on the job. 

There are, however, a few instances where an employee would not be covered by workers comp:

  • Injuries that happen before or after an employee is at work
  • Injuries that happen due to mishandling of materials or when employees fail to follow safety procedures or engage in fighting while at work
  • Injuries caused by employees on themselves
  • Injuries that happen while the employee is under the influence or violating company policy or doing an illegal act
  • Stress or mental health injuries as a result of work

Injured workers are entitled to have their medical expenses reimbursed for injuries and illnesses that are work-related. Most medical care for injured or unwell employees can take place over a short amount of time until the worker has recovered enough to return to work. Sometimes, it becomes necessary for the employee’s care to continue for a much longer period of time, and the employer’s policy should cover that.

Other benefits that are afforded to employees who become sick or injured at the workplace include mileage reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation, in the event that workers are unable to return to their previous job, and need training for their new position.

New Orleans workers are entitled to recoup a portion of their lost wages if injury or illness prevents them from returning to work. The amount of benefits that an employee receives depends on the degree and duration of their injury, illness, or inability to to return to the workplace. If an injured employee is able to partially return to work, or return to work in a different position that offers less pay, that worker is still eligible to receive benefits.

If the employee’s injury is determined to be catastrophic—resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, or the loss of multiple limbs—a larger, one-time payment may be available to that worker.

If a workplace accident results in the death of an employee, New Orleans workers compensation insurance provides death or survivor benefits to ease the financial burden on the family of the employee. The spouse, children, and other dependents may receive weekly benefits if an employee passes away due to an injury sustained at the workplace. There is also the potential benefit of funds to cover funeral and burial expenses for the deceased employee.

What If a Workers Compensation Claim Is Disputed

Any New Orleans workers compensation claims that are disputed are first reported to the employer’s insurance company. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the worker and the employer may request a hearing before a mediator from the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC). These mediators are attorneys who are trained to make decisions in accordance with Louisiana laws governing workers’ compensation.

If a mediator cannot resolve the dispute, the claim may be filed with the OWCA district office and then referred to a judge. If either party disagrees with the judge’s ruling, they may file an appeal with the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Canal HR Can Help with Workers Compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance is governed by complex laws and regulations that can be difficult to navigate. Canal HR is a PEO dedicated to providing premier service for New Orleans employers and employees. We review and maintain OSHA compliance, and in the event of an injury, we completely handle the process of filing a workers comp claim.

Canal HR can help you learn more about New Orleans workers compensation laws, and can help you purchase the right policy to protect your business and your employees. Additionally, we lower employers’ costs for insurance and benefits by handling administration, including human resources, and payroll taxes.

Contact us today to set up your free consultation, and we can personalize a plan to best suit your company’s needs.