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What should you know about workers' compensation rehabilitation?

When a worker in Louisiana suffers workplace injuries, workers' compensation is a key factor in helping them as they receive treatment, get a percentage of their wages and try to recover and get back to work. For many workers, however, getting back to the same job they did before is not feasible based on their injuries. For those who can do a certain type of work, the injured worker will receive education and/or training to be able to get back to work. Understanding the important points about this process is essential to the injured worker.

An employee will be allowed 26 weeks of education and/or training, plus another 26 weeks if it is determined to be necessary by the hearing officer overseeing the case. Employers or insurance carriers also have the right to continue providing the rehabilitation if they choose to do so. The worker is required to start rehabilitation within two years from the point at which temporary total disability is ended. This will be paid for by the insurer and it includes tools or equipment that is needed, as well as books, tuition and training.

In some cases, if the person will need to reside at a facility or institution separate from their residence, reasonable costs, such as travel, lodging and board, will be paid for by the insurer or carrier. This training will be provided in the state if facilities are available. The worker is expected to complete a rehabilitation program he or she begins. If the worker fails to follow through on the plan or does not accept rehabilitation when the hearing officer declares it to be necessary, there will be a reduction of weekly compensation by 50 percent - including supplemental earnings benefits - for every week during which the worker refuses to participate.

Injured workers who are unable to work or can work but cannot return to their old job will likely be required to take part in various services to provide training and education to find another job. If there is an issue with this or any other aspect of workers' compensation benefits, it is critical to have legal assistance. A law firm that understands all areas of workers' compensation may be able to help.

Source: laworks.net, "Chapter 7. Rehabilitation Services -- 715., 717., 719., 721.," accessed on April 9, 2018

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