Workplace accidents can happen anywhere. Some injuries are predictable and minor, and others are unexpected and devastating. But no matter how or where a workplace injury occurs, employers are obligated to help employees get the medical care they need to return to work as soon as possible. If you’re an employer in Lake Charles, Louisiana, you are required to purchase insurance coverage that compensates workers who are injured on the job. An independent insurance agent in Lake Charles can help you obtain quotes for workers’ compensation coverage, and can help you be sure that you are complying with the state laws.
Is Workers’ Compensation Required in Lake Charles, LA?
Lake Charles employers with one or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Louisiana workers’ compensation policies must cover all employees on their first full day of employment. This includes full-time, part-time, seasonal, and minor employees. If you hire subcontractors or independent contractors, they might be considered employees who must be covered by your workers’ compensation policy.
Sole proprietors or corporate officers who own at least 10% of the company can choose to exclude themselves from Louisiana workers’ compensation coverage. Certain types of employees are exempt from coverage under a Louisiana workers’ compensation policy. Some examples include domestic employees, real estate agents, uncompensated officers of certain nonprofits, and musicians and other performers.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Lake Charles?
Every state sets its own workers’ compensation rates, so the location of your business plays a big role in how much you will pay for coverage. High-risk employers typically have higher workers’ compensation premiums than those in less-hazardous industries. In addition to the occupational risks your employees face, your Louisiana workers’ compensation premiums are also based on how many employees you have, your annual payroll, and your history of workers’ compensation claims.
The Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) partners with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to set rates. Each occupation is associated with a classification code, and each class code is assigned a base rate that is recommended by the NCCI and approved by the state. Here are three of the most prevalent industries in Lake Charles, and a sample average annual workers’ compensation premium based on a business with a $100,000 payroll:
- Healthcare: $2,190
- Accommodation & Food Services: $1,210
- Construction: $9,250
If you file a lot of workers’ compensation claims, you can expect your rates to increase every year. If your rates are already high because you are in a dangerous industry like construction, it’s imperative for your financial survival that you keep your workers’ compensation costs under control. You can do this by making safety a top priority in your workplace and working hard to reduce the number of accidents and injuries. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best coverage and price for your industry. Your agent can also help you implement safety and risk management programs that will help you control your workers’ compensation costs over time.
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Lake Charles Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers Employee Medical Expenses
The goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to help workers recover and return to work as soon as possible. Injured Lake Charles workers are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care related to the work-related injury or illness. Benefits also include mileage reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation for workers who are unable to return to their previous job.
Lake Charles Workers’ Compensation Insurance Includes Wage Replacement Benefits
Let’s say an employee at a Lake Charles grocery store slips, falls, and breaks her arm while stocking shelves. In all likelihood that employee would be temporarily unable to do her job. Would the employee have to go without pay for the missed days? The answer is, fortunately, no. Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance helps injured workers recoup a portion of their lost wages if they are unable to work during their recovery period. Benefits are paid for temporary disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability.
The benefit amount an employee receives is based on the length and severity of the disability and whether the employee is able to return to work completely, partially, or to a different position that offers less pay. A one-time payment of $50,000 may also be available if the employee’s injury is determined to be catastrophic (e.g., it results in paraplegia, quadriplegia, or the loss of two limbs).
Death or Survivor Benefits Under Lake Charles Workers’ Compensation Insurance
While rare, work-related fatalities sometimes occur in Lake Charles. Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance offers death benefits to help ease the financial burden for the deceased worker’s surviving family members. A worker’s spouse, children, or other dependents can receive weekly death benefits when the worker passes away due to a work injury. What’s more, the family can receive up to $8,500 in funeral and burial expenses for a deceased employee.
What Happens When Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Disputed?
Any Louisiana workers’ compensation claims that are in dispute can be reported first to the employer’s insurance company. If the dispute cannot be resolved, either party can request a mediation conference with a mediator from the Office of Workers’ Compensation. These mediators are licensed attorneys who are trained to mediate disputes in accordance with Louisiana workers’ compensation laws. Claim disputes that are not resolved by the mediator may be filed with the OWCA district office and may be referred to a Workers’ Compensation Judge for resolution.
Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Lake Charles
To learn more about Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws and obtain coverage, contact a local independent insurance agent. Your agent can help you find the best coverage for your industry and can help you find ways to keep your workplace safe and accident-free.
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