If you are injured on the job, one of your primary concerns is likely finding competent medical care. Under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers can select one physician of any specialty without their employer’s approval. What happens if your employer refuses to pay for your selected physician?
Marvin Ray Scott brought a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, Packaging Corporation of America (“PCA.”) Scott claimed he had lost his hearing because of his work at the Boise Paper Mill in DeRidder, Louisiana. Scott then filed a motion to have an expedited hearing under La. R.S. 23:1121. Scott claimed PCA had not authorized his initial visit to his selected physician. PCA responded, claiming Scott had improperly used summary proceedings because he was not just trying to get approval for his selected physician, but he was also seeking attorney’s fees and penalties. At the hearing, the workers’ compensation judge ruled in favor of Scott and ordered PCA to pay Scott’s relevant medical bills and pay separate penalties and attorney’s fees, totaling $7,000. PCA filed an appeal.
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act sets forth rights and remedies for injured workers. Under La. R.S. 23:1121, an employee is permitted to select one physician of any specialty without their employer’s approval. If the employer denies that, the employee is entitled to an expedited proceeding. Under La. R.S. 23:1201(F), the employer can also be required to pay penalties and attorneys’ fees if it does not comply with its statutory obligations to an injured worker.