Workers’ compensation covers the costs related to injuries at work so companies and employees can avoid costly lawsuits. Like most injury claims, there are deadlines you must meet for reporting and filing to have a valid claim to compensation.
The statute of limitations (deadlines) for workers’ compensation in Louisiana is complex because there are so many variables and types of compensation. However, if you miss these deadlines then you will lose the right to make a claim.
Starting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Louisiana
The first deadline is the reporting deadline. You have to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of when it happened or you can lose the right to file for compensation at all. Think of it as a police report for a workplace accident. Read the rules on your rights and responsibilities so you don’t sink your claim before you start.
The accident report will show evidence of a problem to any regulatory agencies and will give the employer what they need to start the workers’ compensation process. Timely reporting can also keep other employees from getting injured from the same cause.
If you need to file a claim over what happened to you, the deadlines vary depending on what kind of benefits you’re seeking and if you’ve received workers’ compensation benefits before.
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Your Deadline for File for Medical Benefits Related to Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana
In general, you have one year from the date of your accident to file for medical benefits. If you have received payment from the insurer in the past for your injury, you have three years from the date of the last workers’ compensation payment to get more benefits.
This deadline resets each time the insurance company gives you a payment for medical benefits. You can keep getting medical payments for the same injury this way as long as you can document it and keep filing within the three-year deadline.
Your Deadline for Lost Wage Benefits in Louisiana
You’re also owed compensation for lost wages under the workers’ compensation. If no lost wages benefits have been paid yet, the deadline to file is one year just like with medical benefits. Lost wages benefits are also known as Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEBs).
If your case qualifies for temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability, then you have one year to file from when you last received benefits. These are known as TTD, PPD, and PTD and are considered lost wage benefits.
The deadlines for filing for these changes depend on which benefits you’re seeking and what you have received in the past. Here is a brief breakdown of the rules:
- Nothing paid yet: 1-year deadline for lost wage benefits
- Seeking TTD, PPD, or PTD?: 1 year from the last payment of workers’ compensation benefits of any kind.
- Seeking SEBs and you have received TTD, PPD, or PTD?: Three years from the date of the last workers’ compensation payment.
- Seeking SEBs after only receiving SEBs?: Two years from the date of the last SEBs payment if you did not receive SEBs for 13 consecutive weeks during the two-year period.
How the Developing Injury Rule Works
Some employees like to work despite injury until they physically can’t work anymore. This is called a “developing injury” in Louisiana law.
If you have an injury like this that doesn’t immediately cause disability, you have one year to file from when the injury made you unable to work, but no more than three years from the date of the incident that caused the problem before you breach the statute of limitations.
You may also be entitled to Temporary Total Disability for a time period no longer than six months depending on when you file in that timeframe. If you receive this benefit, it resets the other lost wage benefit deadlines.
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Filing a Claim for Occupational Diseases in Louisiana
There are also injuries that develop over a long time from doing the same work over and over, or by being exposed to a dangerous environment. These are called occupational diseases. The deadlines for filing a claim, in this case, is within one year of whichever of these happens last:
- You have reason to believe your disease is related to your job.
- You’re disabled from working because of the disease.
- The disease disappears.
The same deadlines apply in workers’ compensation claims where the worker has died. Death claims must be filed within one year of the death of the employee or within one year when the dependents of the employee have evidence to believe the death was because of an occupational disease.
Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Workers’ Compensation Cases
If you decide to file a lawsuit against your employer or the insurer, that will reset the deadlines. The rules for which parties get a reset depend on the circumstances of your lawsuit, so you should contact your lawyer about the implications.
There are also exceptions when your employer offers an invalid compromise agreement, pays your settlement through fraud, or when your employer tricks you into delaying your workers’ compensation claim. If the injured party is a minor child or a mentally incompetent person, there are additional exceptions.
Finally, if you file a claim and then fail to follow through on the claim, you have a five-year deadline before the claim is considered abandoned. If you do this, you will not be able to get any further compensation for that injury.
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