Accessing your Louisiana workers' compensation benefits can involve a great deal of paperwork, as well as learning many terms you might be unfamiliar with. Keep this glossary handy to help you understand the process of resolving your claim.
Glossary of Louisiana Workers' Compensation Terms
Alternative work. Alternative work is work that your employer offers that meets your current work restrictions, pays at least 85% of your wages at the time you were injured, lasts at least 12 months, and is within a reasonable commute from the area where you lived at the time of your injury.
Application for adjudication of claim. Also known as Form 1008 or a disputed claim for compensation, the form indicates you disagree with the state review of benefits. Your employer will be notified of the Form 1008 filing and given 15 days to respond. If no agreement is reached, the case proceeds to courtroom litigation.
Catastrophic injury. The Louisiana Workforce Commission considers paraplegia, quadriplegia, or the total loss of hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes, or one hand and one foot as a catastrophic injury eligible for a one-time lump sum payment.
Death benefits. Death benefits are paid to the surviving family members to cover burial expenses, as well the financial loss of the deceased person's wages.
Future earning capacity. This is a multiplier based on the average percentage loss of future wages caused by the injury. The most serious injuries receive the highest multiplier number, thus granting a higher disability rating and a higher workers' compensation payout.
Indemnity benefits. The term indemnity benefits is used to refer to workers' compensation benefits that compensate an injured employee for a portion of his lost wages.
Independent contractor. An independent contractor works with minimal supervision, provides his own tools and supplies, works on a specific project that is temporary in nature, and typically works with more than one business at a time. Since independent contractors are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits, employers will sometimes misclassify workers to avoid paying claims.
Independent medical examination. When there are opposing medical opinions about a worker's condition or ability to return to work, the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration will appoint an independent medical examiner to review medical records or meet with the injured worker.
Lien. Liens are claims issued against workers' compensation benefits for money that is owed related to the case. Typically, the claim is from a healthcare provider or insurance company for the cost of medical treatment.
Maximum medical improvement (MMI). The point at which a worker has either fully recovered or his disabling condition has stabilized enough to accurately predict his future medical needs and ability to return to work.
Modified work. Modified work means that an employee performs the same job he had before but with a slightly modified work environment to accommodate injury-related restrictions.
Supplemental earnings benefits (SEB). An employee who returns to work but is earning less than 90% of previous wages can receive supplemental earnings benefits that are two-thirds of the difference between pre-injury wages and what he is able to earn in the current position.
Temporary total disability benefits (TTD). Temporary total disability benefits provide two-thirds of a Louisiana worker's average weekly wage at the time of injury, adjusted according to yearly minimum and maximum levels. The benefits are paid weekly until the worker is unable to return to some type of work or has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Permanent total disability (PTD). If an employee is found unable to hold any type of gainful employment, regardless of whether the position matches his education, training, and skills, he can receive weekly payments at the temporary total disability rate for as long as the disability continues.
Vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation services try to help injured workers return to their previous employment, make modifications to perform their job, or find another job that is suitable to existing skills. Retraining or on-the-job training may be offered if deemed appropriate.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Working with an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help protect your right to benefits after a work-related injury. The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault helps injured Louisiana residents receive the compensation they need to protect their financial futures. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 today for a free, no-obligation case review.