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How to determine if you are eligible for workers' compensation

Throughout the United States, including Louisiana, workers are protected from workplace hazards through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The administration sets and enforces safety guidelines that employers must adhere to in an effort to assure a safe working environment for their employees. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, and injuries and illnesses still occur to thousands of workers in America each year. To offset the financial burdens associated with an injury, state laws require that employees who become injured or sick at work receive workers' compensation.

For temporary injuries or illnesses, workers' compensation payments are made to cover medical costs, lost wages, and costs for retraining when returning to work. In addition, it is designed to compensate for workers who receive permanent injuries and even aid families of workers who are killed at their workplace. Typically, the payments cover 67 percent of a workers' average wage (two-thirds) with a cap as to how much in benefits a worker can receive.

While almost all injuries or illnesses that take place while at work are covered by workers' compensation regardless of fault, there are a few exceptions. If it can be determined that a worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury, benefits may be denied. In addition, if a worker was in violation of company policy, broke a law, or if the injuries were self-inflicted, workers' compensation may be denied.

If you believe you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits and are having difficulties with your employer, you may want to speak with a legal professional familiar with employment law to determine whether you qualify and to take the next step in receiving the compensation you deserve.

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