Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Louisiana
How Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Defined in Louisiana?
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, workers’ compensation is a legal remedy that gives employees who are injured on the job certain benefits. The benefits can include medical care for the injury, indemnity wage benefits, vocational rehabilitation services, or even death benefits.
Every employer, unless exempted by state law, is responsible for the cost of medical care and the payment of wage benefits to employees who are injured at work. While this may seem like a burdensome cost, protecting your most valuable business asset — your employees — is a worthwhile investment in your business.
What Are the Legal Requirements Regarding Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Louisiana?
In the state of Louisiana, business owners are required to either have workers’ compensation insurance or to be approved by the state to self-insure.
Most employees in Louisiana are covered from the day they start employment. Employees who are covered under workers’ comp include full-time, part-time, seasonal, and minors. The law does contain some limited exceptions. These exceptions include:
- Domestic employees
- Most real estate salespersons
- Uncompensated officers and directors of certain non-profit organizations
- Public officials
- Most volunteer workers
Even if you are not required to have workers’ comp coverage under state law, it is never a bad idea to consider how you can best protect yourself and your business from the potentially devastating costs of major workplace accidents.
Do Independent Contractors Have Workers’ Comp in Louisiana?
Generally, independent contractors or sole proprietors with no employees do not need workers’ comp coverage. Subcontractors and certain independent contractors may be considered employees — as a result, they may require workers’ compensation coverage, depending on the kind of work they are performing.
What Are the Penalties in Louisiana for Not Having Workers’ Comp Insurance Coverage?
As with many other legal requirements for businesses, like paying taxes and being licensed, there are penalties for not abiding by the laws in Louisiana when it comes to workers’ comp. Employers in the state of Louisiana who do not have proof of workers’ comp when they are legally required to can be fined up to $250 per employee for the business’s first violation followed by $500 per employee for each additional violation — up to $10,000 total.
In addition to financial penalties, employers who fail to provide workers’ comp coverage to employees or provide false information to the Louisiana Workforce Commission can be charged with criminal violations or be forced to stop doing business completely until the regulations regarding workers’ comp are met.
Sometimes, violations are not intentional, but the penalties can be the same. Reaching out to an insurance provider like Cerity for support can help your business avoid being underinsured.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Louisiana?
In the event of a workplace accident or illness, Louisiana workers’ comp insurance provides both healthcare compensation and payments for lost wages.
When an employee is unable to work for more than one week due to a workplace illness or injury, a worker is able to receive compensation for the lost wages, which are temporary disability benefits. In order to receive these benefits, an employee’s doctor must certify that the employee is not able to work.
Lost time benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s monthly income and are determined by the employee’s earnings the month before the individual gets sick or is injured in the workplace. This benefit only lasts while the employee’s doctor is actively treating them and certifies their workplace disability.
If the employee is unable to return to work full-time — or can only do modified work and as a result they will permanently earn less than they did — the employee may be eligible for additional benefits, which will be two-thirds of the difference in their earnings.
Permanent workers’ comp benefits refer to a scenario in which an employee’s doctor finds that the employee’s condition is stationary, or not expected to improve any further. In this case, the doctor will determine whether the employee has a permanent disability. If the employee does, the doctor will assign the worker a percentage of disability.
States use an employee’s permanent disability rating to determine the amount of compensation they can receive as compensation for a permanent impairment due to a workplace injury or occupational illness.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered By Workers’ Comp in Louisiana?
Louisiana state law determines what types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp insurance, but there are general guidelines that can help you understand what kinds of incidents do — and do not — typically qualify for a workers’ comp claim.
- No intentional self-harm
- No harm that results from drug use, alcohol use, or fighting
- Injuries must fall within the “course and scope” of employment. =
- Long-term occupational injuries or illnesses, such as back strain from repetitive motion or an illness from exposure to toxic chemicals.
What Are Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, death benefits are available to the surviving dependents of workers who pass away as a result of an on-the-job injury or illness. In order to be eligible for death benefits, the surviving family of the deceased worker would most likely meet one of the following conditions:
- Spouse must be living with the worker at the time of their passing — unmarried partners are ineligible unless they are receiving benefits on behalf of children
- Children must either be living with the worker at the time of their passing, be under age 18, or — if an adult — still be dependent of the employee
- Children under the age of 23 who are full-time students
The amount of compensation surviving family members receive as a result of death benefits in Louisiana depends on their status and how many of the worker’s children they are supporting. In addition to financial benefits, the state of Louisiana’s death benefits offers up to $8,500 for funeral and burial expenses.
How Do Workers’ Comp Settlements Work in Louisiana?
Settlements are mutually beneficial agreements made between an injured worker, their employer, and the insurance company that provides the workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ comp settlements may be paid in lump sums and cover expenses like medical coverage, disability, and lost wages. Once a settlement has been agreed upon, injured workers are bound not to make any additional claims regarding the injury or illness related to the settlement.
What Are the Statutes of Limitations Regarding Workers’ Comp in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, injured or ill employees are required to file a workers’ compensation claim within one year from the date of injury or one year from the date that their illness or disability was diagnosed but no longer than two years following the date of the accident or injury.
Claims not meeting the statute of limitations may be denied.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Louisiana?
According to information provided by the National Academy of Social Insurance, the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Louisiana is around $1.44 for every $100 that an employer spends on their usual payroll.
However, even though these are average costs, you should know that the cost of insurance premiums can vary for every business especially by industry and occupation. The more hazardous your industry — like construction, oil and gas, or maritime — the more risk your employees face on a daily basis.
Workers’ comp costs are calculated using a variety of factors, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what your costs will be unless you get a quote.
Many factors unique to your business will contribute to your exact insurance premiums.
Some of these factors include:
- The location of your business
- The size of your business and the number of employees
- The industry in which your business operates
- The type of service your business provides
- The annual payroll costs of your business
If you are in the market for workers’ comp insurance, but you’d like to lower your premiums, there may be some proactive steps you can take.
Workplace safety is extremely important to insurance providers. So, if your business takes precautionary steps to have safety protocols, training, and processes in place to keep employees safe, you might be able to see lower premiums.
How Can I Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance for My Employees in Louisiana?
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, businesses may obtain workers’ compensation insurance in one of the following ways:
- Obtaining a workers’ compensation insurance policy through a private insurer authorized to operate in the State of Louisiana.
- By making an application to the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Workers’ Compensation to become an approved Self-Insured employer.
- By obtaining membership in an approved Group Self-Insurance Fund
Self-insurance, whether individually or via a group fund, is typically not a great choice for most businesses, especially small businesses, as self-insurance requires businesses to have the financial capacity to pay for any workers’ comp damages out of pocket, without filing through an insurer.
More often than not, the cost of insurance premiums are much lower than the costs related to paying for claims out of pocket. Not to mention, small businesses can often claim the cost of a workers’ comp policy as a tax deduction, and who doesn’t love the sound of that?
Finding a workers’ comp policy for your Louisiana-based business can be stress-free with the right provider. At Cerity, we aim to help Louisiana business owners like you find comprehensive insurance coverage without the hassle. Our faster, more affordable approach to workers’ comp uses proprietary tools and modern technology to ensure our clients get quick quotes — without phone calls or paperwork.
Check our free online quote tool to get a quote for your business and see how easy it is to get workers’ compensation coverage to protect your business.