Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”)
Lawyers representing injured workers whose claims fall under the Temporary Total Disability section of the Louisiana Workers Compensation Act know that TTD benefits are paid at a weekly rate of 2/3 of the injured worker’s Average Weekly Wage.
Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) benefits are payable for any injury producing temporary total disability of an employee to engage in any employment.
The injured worker must have objective medical evidence to establish by clear and convincing (highly probable) evidence that he or she is unable to engage in any type of employment.
TTD benefits are payable weekly provided the injured worker has an off work slip from his or her treating doctor. Weekly payments begin on the eight calendar day. The check representing their first week of wage loss benefits will be paid once the injured worker has missed a full two weeks with his doctor’s excuse.
Benefits are 2/3 of the injured workers Average Weekly Wage. The weekly rate is capped at a maximum weekly rate for the year of injury.
The Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Act states that TTD benefits “shall cease when the physical condition of the employee has resolved itself to the point that a reasonably reliable determination of the extent of disability of the employee may be made and the employee’s physical condition has improved to the point that continued, regular treatment by a physician is not required.”
SOME CASES THAT DISCUSS TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS:
CLAIMANT AWARDED TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS.
In Gaines v. Home Care Solutions, LLC, claimant Ms. Gaines testified at trial that she repeatedly informed her superior at Home Care, as well as fellow employees, of her ongoing back problems, which she specifically related to the dog-bite accident. Dr. Evans diagnosed Ms. Gaines with a lumbosacral sprain, right buttock strain, and a laceration/contusion of the right lower thigh related to the dog-bite accident and determined that, as a result, she was incapacitated and disabled from working. The medical records of Dr. Helm at Louisiana Health Solutions reflect that Ms. Gaines was determined to be disabled, although no specific restrictions were documented. Dr. Helm’s records of Ms. Gaines notes that on August 21, 2013, Ms. Gaines’ “lower back pain has improved with some therapy,” but “[s]he still has significant pain, in her lower back due to a work related injury that occurred on 4/8/2013.” He noted Ms. Gaines subjective complaints that her back pain is “particularly significant at night.” Home Care failed to present objective evidence to challenge that Ms. Gaines’ back injury rendered her temporarily totally disabled and unable to return to work. Gaines v. Home Care Solutions, LLC, 2015-0895 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/6/16) 192 So.3d 794.
In Alexander v. Autozone, Inc, Ms. Alexander left her position because she could no longer physically tolerate the work, and felt Autozone did not make an effort to accommodate her difficulties. Even though claimant’s treating physician Dr. DeLapp never placed Ms. Alexander on no-work status and only imposed certain restrictions like “light duty”, she was awarded Temporary Total Disability because Dr. DeLapp advised Ms. Alexander to limit activities that would exacerbate her condition, such as heavy lifting and repetitive motion, but the nature of her job required these very activities. Even during the time in which Ms. Alexander did not see Dr. DeLapp, she was forced to wear her brace. Claimant provided sufficient objective medical evidence of her inability to work due to pain. Alexander v. Autozone, Inc., 2004-871 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/8/04), 889 So.2d 3662004.
CLAIMANT NOT AWARDED TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS.
In Sanchez v. Caesar’s Entertainment, Inc, Ms. Sanchez’s initial physician, Dr. Mays, found no basis to restrict her work activity. Sanchez continued to work at the casino for 18 months after the accident until she began to see Dr. Mody in May 2013. Ms. Sanchez did not present any evidence of a significant change in her circumstances from when she met with Dr. Mays, when she met with Dr. Mody and when Dr. Mody deemed her unable to work. She offered no documentation that her attendance at work suffered as a result of her injury. Sanchez did not meet her burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that she is physically unable to engage in any employment. Sanchez v. Caesar’s Entertainment, Inc.
In Baker v. Harrah’s, Drs. Bourgeois, Nutik, and Katz all found Baker to have attained maximum medical improvement, all agreeing on the permanency of her condition. “An award of benefits based on temporary total disability shall cease when the physical condition of the employee has resolved itself to the point that a reasonably reliable determination of the extent of disability of the employee may be made and the employee’s physical condition has improved to the point that continued, regular treatment by a physician is not required.” La. R.S. 23:1221(1)(d). Baker v. Harrah’s, 2015-0229 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/9/16), 190 So.3d 379.
If you need help or have any question about your job injury, call me, a Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer, at 866-558-9151, or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines so don’t delay.