What Injuries and Illnesses Does Louisiana Workers Compensation Cover?
In the state of Louisiana, workers compensation covers physical injuries that are a result of an on-the-job accident, and covers occupational diseases related to the employment.
An accident is defined by Louisiana law as a sudden, unexpected event that causes “objective findings of an injury.”
Occupational disease is defined by Louisiana law as a disease or illness “characteristic of and peculiar to” a specific position or line of work.
Louisiana workers compensation covers some mental and emotional injuries, but only when these mental and emotional injuries are connected to a serious accident or traumatic event that happened at work.
Additionally, pre-existing conditions are be covered if the condition was aggravated by a work-related accident.
Physical Work Accidents and Injuries
Louisiana law defines a workers compensation accident as "an unexpected or unforeseen actual, identifiable, precipitous event happening suddenly or violently, with or without human fault, and directly producing at the time objective findings of an injury which is more than simply a gradual deterioration or a progressive degeneration."
Therefore, in order to have a workers compensation claim for a work-related accident, an injured employee must have a work-place event that causes “objective findings of an injury.”
However, Louisiana workers compensation does cover some injuries that are caused by repetitive motion. Examples of repetitive motion injuries include lifting, bending, or typing.
Specific Types of Common Work-Related Physical Injuries
Common physical injuries generally covered by Louisiana workers compensation include, but are not limited to:
- Ankle injuries
- Back injuries
- Blood vessel injuries
- Bone injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises and bruising
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chemical burns
- Crushed limbs
- Cuts and lacerations
- Ear injuries and impairment of hearing
- Eye injuries and impairment of vision
- Feet injuries
- Hand injuries
- Head injuries
- Hearing loss or damage
- Heart injuries
- Herniated and slipped disks
- Hip injuries
- Injuries and illnesses caused by toxic exposure to chemicals
- Injuries to extremities
- Joint and orthopedic injuries
- Knee injuries
- Losses of limb
- Muscular injuries
- Neck injuries
- Permanent injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Repetitive use injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Respiratory organ injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Sunstroke in heat prostration
- Tendonitis and tendonosis
- Torn ligaments
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Wrist injuries
Types of Common Work Accidents Producing Physical Injuries
- Animal accidents
- Burn and heat accidents
- Catastrophic work-related accidents
- Cold-exposure accidents
- Construction accidents
- Falling accidents
- Falling from heights accidents
- Falling-object accidents
- Faulty machinery accidents
- Freezing and frostbite accidents
- Hazardous working environment accidents
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Industrial accidents
- In-sufficient training accidents
- Ladder accidents
- Lifting accidents
- Lightning accidents
- Overexertion accidents
- Pile driving and blasting accidents
- Plant and refinery accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Repetitive use injuries
- Safety violation accidents
- Service industry accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Twisting accidents
- Work-related car accidents
- Violent acts
Mental and Emotional Injuries
Louisiana workers compensation covers some mental and emotional injuries, but these injuries need to be connected to a serious accident or traumatic event that happened at work.
Such a covered mental injury could be a mental injury that was caused by mental stress, if the mental injury was the result of a sudden, unexpected, and extraordinary stress related to the employment. Or the mental injury could be a mental injury caused by physical injury.
Either way, the mental injury or illness must be diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist.
So essentially, there are two types of mental stress claims: (1) mental injury caused solely by mental stress, and (2) mental injury caused by a physical injury or trauma. Each of these are governed by different rules under Louisiana workers compensation.
However, the Louisiana Supreme Court has clearly held that mental stress and trauma cases are compensable, even without physical injuries or objective symptoms, so long as the cause was stress arising out of employment related issues.
Specific Types of Covered Mental and Emotional InjuriesLouisiana workers compensation generally covered the following mental and emotional injuries:
- Anxiety disorders caused by stressful work environments
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Various mental and emotional disability conditions
Occupational Diseases and Illnesses
Louisiana workers compensation covers some worker-related diseases or illnesses, commonly referred to as occupational disease or occupational illnesses.
Louisiana law defines a workers compensation occupational disease as a disease or illness which is due to causes and conditions characteristic of and peculiar to the particular trade, occupation, process, or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disease.
Therefore, in order to have a workers compensation claim for an occupational disease, you must have a disease or illness “characteristic of and peculiar to” a specific position or line of work.
Louisiana workers compensation covers certain occupational disease including injuries due to work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. Louisiana workers compensation also covers an occupational disease or illness that is the direct result of exposure to hazardous or toxic materials in the workplace, which is particularly important to those working in Louisiana's oil and gas or chemical and petrochemical industries.
Unfortunately, Louisiana workers compensation does not cover other types of occupational disease, such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis of any type, mental illness, and heart-related or perivascular disease. However, even though these diseases may be excluded from workers comp, they may still have a big impact on the severity of an work-related injury, as well as the time needed to return to work because of an injury.
Also, any occupational disease contracted by an employee while performing work for a particular employer in which he has been engaged for less than twelve months shall be presumed not to have been contracted in the course of and arising out of such employment. However, this presumption can be overcome, though doing so will likely happen during court proceedings.
Specific Types of Covered Occupational Diseases (Common Occupational Diseases)
Louisiana workers compensation generally have covered the following occupational diseases:
- Black lung
- Bright's disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Caisson disease
- Diabetic neuritis
- Diseases resulting from contact with poisonous substances
- Diseases resulting from contact with chemicals
- Hearing loss
- Heat stroke
- Immune system disorders
- Inhalations of gas, fumes or dust
- Injuries from chemicals
- Kidney diseases
- Lung diseases
- Mental and emotional disability
- Multilobar ganglia
- Ovarian cysts
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Ruptured ulcers
- Typhoid fever
- Ulcers abscesses and felons
Fatal Work Accidents