Statutorily, a claimant seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits must have been injured in an accident.
Louisiana jurisprudence may define an accident to refer to many things. I could include a person tripping, machine malfunction, and more. Essentially an accident is an unexpected event that injures the employee while they are in the course and scope of their employment. This results in quite a broad spectrum of situations.
In Louisiana, an accident is not considered an unexpected event that results from “horseplay”. Because of this, an employer may allege horseplay as their defense.
Additionally, employers may have a reasonable defense if they have a published drug and alcohol screening program in place. If a screening program is in place and an injured person is required to give a sample that turns out to be positive for substances mentioned in the written program. In that case, there may be a rebuttal or defense that arises concerning the claim of a worker’s intoxication. This can be difficult for attorneys to overcome, but it is possible.
Workers’ Compensation will not cover an injury when it arises from traveling to and from work. If a person is not “on the clock” and traveling to and from home, lunch, etc., the injuries sustained from any accident that may occur will not result in a valid Workers’ Comp claim.
What Happens If The Employee Is Partially At Fault For The Incident That Causes The Injury?
If an employee is partially at fault for an incident that causes injury, they are still eligible for Workers’ Compensation coverage.
This practice dates back to the Industrial Revolution called “The Great Compromise”. It originated from cases in which people were injured in plants and factories and sued their employer for faulty equipment or negligence of other people. The problem became that these suits were often unsuccessful because employees were commonly blackmailed or would receive unfair trials due to uncooperative and untruthful coworkers who were afraid of losing their job.
All of these people who were getting hurt and could not successfully sue their employers for damages became wards of the state. This burden on government resources started the Great Compromise.
The Great Compromise promised that if a person were to be injured in the course and scope of their employment, they could no longer sue their employer for general damages (such as pain and suffering). Instead, even if the accident is the employee’s fault, they would be eligible to receive 66.66% of their average weekly wage, up to a statutory maximum.
In the state of Louisiana today, this statutory maximum is a payment of $710. This means that even if 66.66% of a person’s wages equaled a higher amount, they would not receive compensation for any more than $710 weekly.
How do you figure out a person’s average weekly wage? The state provides formulas that apply to the last four full pay periods. However, for people that are on different pay schedules, there are alternative ways provided by the statutes of the state to assess their Average Weekly Wage (AWW).
For more information on Workers’ Compensation Law In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (337) 289-0626 today.
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