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Understanding workers' compensation and who is covered

Sometimes the most basic aspects of an issue are glossed over. This does not make them any less important. Workers' compensation benefits are one such issue. Understanding what workers' compensation is and who is covered by it is vital for when Louisiana workers have a situation that requires use of these benefits.

Workers' compensation is a legal solution for an employee to receive various benefits after suffering workplace injuries, being diagnosed with an occupational disease, and if there is subsequent loss of wages. There are multiple benefits that are provided through workers' compensation. The employer is obligated to provide them and, unless the employer is exempted, must pay for medical treatment and cover wage benefits. This is paid by the employer or through an insurer.

When employees begin work, most are covered by workers' compensation insurance. It can be any kind of worker - full-time, part-time, seasonal, minors. In certain circumstances, a subcontractor or an independent contractor can also be perceived as an employee if they are working full-time in the trade the employer works in or are doing substantial manual labor. There are exemptions for domestic workers, real estate salespeople, volunteers and others.

Employers must have workers' compensation insurance or have approval to self-insure. Workers who believe that the employer does not have either of these can contact the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration. After the injury that leads to lost time at work that goes beyond one week or death of a worker, the employer is required to fill out a form within 10 days and the insurance provider will send the report to the OWCA. There is a penalty for an employer who does not do this.

It is not unusual for workers to be injured or become ill due to their work. What they might not realize is that they may be entitled to certain benefits under the law. For any issue with workers' compensation, a legal professional in all aspects of the laws surrounding it can be helpful. That is the first call that can be made by a person who was injured or suffered any other medical problem from their work.

Source: laworks.net, "FAQs -- Workers' Compensation 2,3," accessed on July 11, 2017

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