The Bayou State: A Great Place To Work

The workplace accident rate in Louisiana dropped to its lowest rate in fourteen years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Only the District of Columbia had a lower workplace accident rate than Louisiana’s 1.9 per 100 full-time workers. That figure is almost half the national average, and Louisiana has been below the national average since recordkeeping began. Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Executive Director Ava Dejoie remarked that the encouraging numbers are but another step in the ongoing effort “to continually improve safety until we reach zero incidents.” In terms of specific sectors, workplace accidents declined almost all across the board, including real estate (0.9 decrease), retail trade (0.6), professional services (0.5), and management (0.4).

Based on this development, the National Council of Compensation Insurance recommended a 9.8 percent workers’ compensation insurance rate decrease for 2017.

Covered Injuries

Factory owners coined the term “workplace accidents” in the early 1900s as a way to shift the blame for job injuries away from their dangerous factories and onto injured workers. Now, thanks to workers’ compensation laws, responsibility is irrelevant, because injured workers do not have to prove fault for trauma injuries from:

  • Falls: Injured workers lose more time due to falls than any other kind of injury.
  • Electrocutions: Many construction workers cannot tell the difference between a dead wire and a live one; in other cases, well-meaning workers might try to fix equipment before the power is shut off.
  • Struck By: Falling objects are a hazard almost everywhere, and especially at busy construction sites.
  • Caught Between: This category includes workplace accidents which involve workers caught between moving objects and workers pinned under collapsing structures.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that the “fatal four” are responsible for more than 60 percent of fatal workplace accidents.

Workers’ compensation also covers occupational diseases, such as hearing loss, joint pain, and repetitive stress disorder. The eggshell skull rule normally applies in these cases, so for example, if William Worker already has back problems and his construction worker job makes these problems worse, his entire injury is normally compensable.

Compensation Available for Workplace Accidents

Injured workers who suffer a temporary disability usually receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they fully recover from their injuries and successfully complete physical rehabilitation; workers’ compensation also pays all these medical bills and any other out-of-pocket costs, such as prescription drugs and medical devices. Injured workers who are permanently disabled usually receive lump-sum payouts based on the severity of the workplace accident.

In some cases, injured workers may sue outside workers’ compensation, and obtain additional damages. For example, if William’s boss recklessly put him in a dangerous situation, his boss may be liable for William’s noneconomic damages, such as his pain and suffering.

Workplace safety is intentional and not accidental, because employers have an obligation to provide safe work environments. For a free consultation with Lee Hoffoss or another experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. Home and hospital visits are available.