The employer’s guide to Louisiana workers’ comp insurance
Employers in Louisiana are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance for each employee. This insurance policy covers employees’ medical expenses if they are injured on the job.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission established the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) in 1983 to administer the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act requirements. The OWCA has exclusive jurisdiction to resolve workers’ compensation disputes. And it upholds a fair and equitable framework for the benefit of employers, employees, and the general public.
1) Who is required to have workers’ comp insurance in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, every employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance or be approved for self-insurance. In addition, any full-time or part-time employee must be insured, including seasonal workers and minors.
The few exemptions in Louisiana workers’ compensation laws include domestic employees, specific musicians and entertainers, real estate agents, some volunteers at nonprofit organizations, some public officials, and those protected by federal regulations, like railroad workers.
Do I need workers’ compensation insurance in Louisiana if I’m self-employed?
Sole proprietors and independent contractors who own a business with no employees do not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It’s also true for partnerships with 2 owners and no employees.
Because of the high cost of medical expenses, sole proprietors working in high-risk professions may consider purchasing workers’ compensation coverage even if it is not required by law.
Do I need workers’ comp for Louisiana subcontractors?
Generally, the answer is no. However, if you employ uninsured contractors or subcontractors to work for your business, you may need to offer coverage. The state also has an online test to evaluate if a contractor is considered an employee and whether you must supply workers’ compensation coverage.
Do I need workers’ comp for independent contractors in Louisiana?
Louisiana workers’ compensation laws typically allow business owners to employ independent contractors without coverage. And independent contractors themselves usually don’t need workers’ comp coverage.
I’m an out-of-state employer. Do I need workers’ comp in Louisiana?
If an out-of-state company operates in Louisiana and has workers in its home state, the owner must give coverage that complies with the state’s regulations, and the insurance must extend protection within Louisiana’s borders.
2) What happens if I don’t get workers’ comp in Louisiana?
The State of Louisiana can fine employers that fail to provide workers’ compensation insurance up to $250 per employee for first-time violations and $500 per employee for subsequent violations, with a $10,000 maximum per violation.
An employer may also be prosecuted with a criminal offense and face jail time if they willfully skip providing workers’ compensation insurance or submit false information to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which regulates workers’ compensation insurance.
In addition, the company might be issued an injunction, forcing it to cease operations until the proper workers’ compensation coverage is secured.
3) How do I get workers’ comp in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, there are 2 common paths to secure workers’ compensation insurance:
- The traditional way: Find a broker, fill out a slew of paper forms, supply salary information and other supporting documentation, and then wait for a quote. This process could take a few weeks, so diving right in is wise.
- The digital way: Get a business insurance quote in about 5 minutes. Everything is online. Everything is easy.
4) What is the cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the estimated employer rate for workers’ compensation is $1.49 per $100 of insured payroll. Your workers’ comp cost is determined by a variety of criteria, including:
- Payroll: This is, without a doubt, the most critical component. The larger your payroll, the more you’ll have to pay for workers’ compensation.
- Industry: Some occupations are riskier than others (for example, driving a dump truck versus working in an office), so you’ll have to pay a larger percentage of your payroll to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for such jobs.
- Location: Some areas have a higher number of lawsuits than others.
- Safety Record: This is excellent news for responsible employers. Suppose your business has been in operation for some time without recording a single injury claim. In that case, your insurance company will take note—and a better safety record could mean a reduced rate.
- Other factors: After reviewing your payroll, industry, location, and safety record, your insurer will most likely adjust your premium depending on some relatively minor considerations—this is known as the schedule rating. In addition, the insurer will make modifications depending on any particular hazards connected with your business, the usage of safety equipment by your organization, your safety training program, and your overall outlook toward safety.
5) What are the workers’ compensation insurance limits in Louisiana?
The good news is that you won’t have to worry about limits since the Louisiana workers’ compensation laws determine all coverages. Additionally, when you get a workers’ compensation estimate, your rate will be computed automatically based on your payroll and other factors. There is nothing you need to worry about or calculate.
Actually, your insurance company’s potential payment is theoretically unlimited. For example, suppose an employee is permanently disabled because of a workplace accident. In that scenario, an insurance company may pay the worker’s disability compensation for the rest of their life.
6) So, what does workers’ comp cover in Louisiana?
Workers’ compensation insurance pays the cost of medical treatment after an employee sustains a work-related injury or contracts an occupational disease. Also, it provides partial lost wages, also called indemnity benefits, while the injured employee recovers.
Workers’ compensation policies typically include employer’s liability insurance, which pays for attorney fees and other legal expenses if an employee accuses the employer of causing an injury. However, most workers’ comp policies have an exclusive remedy provision that bans employees from suing their employers if they accept workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana include:
- Medical benefits: The employer (or their insurance company) must pay for any medical treatment needed to help the employee recover from their workplace personal injury or illness, including prescriptions, physical therapy, surgery, and other medical care.
- Mileage reimbursement: Workers’ compensation also covers mileage to and from doctor or other healthcare provider visits.
- Supplemental earning benefits: Injured workers who can work but receive less than 90% of their pre-injury pay qualify for these benefits.
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits: TTD benefits are for an employee who physically cannot engage in work, including employment or self-employment, while recovering from a work-related injury or illness. The weekly TTD benefit is usually two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits: PPD benefits apply to an employee who can still work but at a diminished skill level or efficiency compared to their ability before the injury. As a result, the worker’s earning capacity is reduced. For example, an amputation could qualify an employee for PPD benefits.
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits: PTD benefits pertain to an employee with a severe injury or illness that prevents them from working again (the employee must prove they can no longer work). And PTD benefits also pay the employee two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
- Catastrophic injury benefits: Along with other benefits, Louisiana provides a 1-time $50,000 compensation for certain kinds of catastrophic injuries sustained on the job, such as third-degree burns covering at least 40% of the body, paraplegia, quadriplegia, or complete loss of 2 limbs or both eyes.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Employees are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if they cannot earn what they could before their injury. A qualified vocational counselor will be assigned to assess and assist an employee with job placement or retraining.
- Death benefits: When an employee dies because of a work-related injury or within 2 years of receiving the last treatment for the injury, Louisiana gives death benefits to the deceased employee’s remaining legal dependents. In most cases, these benefits are offered in weekly installments equal to a proportion of the deceased worker’s pre-injury salary. If the employee does not have any legal dependents, their surviving biological and adopted children will together receive a $75,000 lump sum settlement.
- Burial expenses. Louisiana will also pay up to $8,500 in reasonable funeral expenses for a deceased employee.
7) What happens if my employee wants a workers’ comp settlement?
In most circumstances, if a workers’ compensation settlement is made, the insurance company will give the injured employee a lump sum. When a settlement is reached, it includes medical coverage and disability benefits. Additionally, the worker can no longer file claims against the insurance company or the employer relating to the injury or illness.
Suppose a worker is presently receiving workers’ compensation payments. In that case, the employee may request a commutation, so the weekly benefits can be totaled up and discounted to the current value and paid out as a lump sum. Louisiana workers’ compensation claim regulations encourage benefits to be distributed on an ongoing basis instead of a lump sum.
8) What should I do if my Louisiana employee is injured and needs workers’ comp?
Workers’ comp claims in Louisiana must be submitted within 1 year of the injury date or 1 year after disability diagnosis.
Accidents may occur even in the safest work environments. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are the actions you should take immediately after the accident and in the days or weeks that follow.
Make sure your employee gets medical attention
This is your number 1 priority. Call 911 immediately for serious or life-threatening injuries and arrange transportation to the closest Urgent Care for less-severe injuries. Of course, it’s always a challenge to stay calm when accidents happen. Still, level-headed leadership can make a significant difference for your employees and even customers if they’re present.
Let your insurance company know
Call your insurance company and inform them of the situation. Your claims insurance representative may complete the First Report of Injury Form on your behalf and give you copies within 3 business days. However, if they do not, you will be required to complete the form yourself. Either way, the report must be submitted to the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation.
Document the injury
Employers must report injuries using the First Report of Injury or Illness form within 10 days of learning of an injury or illness that results in over 1 week of missed time.
Fill out the First Report of Injury form if you haven’t already and send it to your insurance company and your employee as soon as possible. (While insurers prefer that the injured worker sign the form, you may enter “not available” in their signature field if they cannot do so.)
Communicate throughout the process
You’re responsible for relaying information from your insurance company to your employee (and vice versa). As you go through the various steps, contact your insurance adjuster.
If you have concerns or need a general overview of any part of the process, you can also reach out to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration at 1-800-201-3457 or visit their website.
9) What if I think my employee’s Louisiana workers’ compensation claim isn’t valid?
The Fraud Section of the Louisiana Office of Worker’s Compensation aggressively investigates all workers’ comp fraud allegations. To report potential fraud, you can submit an online form or call the nationwide toll-free hotline at 1-800-201-3362.
Have more questions? Your insurance company has done all of this before
It’s helpful to know that your insurance provider has your back so that you can take care of your employees in the event of an accident. Give them a call if you have any concerns. They’ll make sure you have the support and guidance you need.
Remember that Huckleberry can get you a quote for a Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance policy in minutes, whether you’re in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or any other part of the Pelican State. Everything is online. Everything is easy.