Painkillers and workers’ compensation in Louisiana

| Jul 31, 2015 | Workers' Compensation |

In recent years, prescription drug abuse has become a widespread health issue due the increased availability of opioids. This has created a liability issue for employers when workers are prescribed painkillers after suffering an injury at work. A report from the National Safety Council found 15 cases between 2009 to 2015 where an employer was sued after an employeewas given prescription medication following an injury.

According to the report, workers who are given prescription drugs are more likely to become addicted to them. Courts have ruled that addiction to prescription drugs or death due to an overdose could be considered compensable under the law. Some experts say that employers should follow a series of guidelines to help reduce their liability when providing workers with prescription drugs.

These recommendations include creating strict guidelines for all workers before they are given a prescription medication. Employers should also create a screening process to reduce the odds that a worker with depression or a history of substance abuse is given a potentially addicting substance. Finally, employers can educate their workers about the risk associated with taking opioids.

Employees who are hurt or get sick on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, the families of those who are killed on the job may also be entitled to benefits. An attorney may be able to review a case to determine if a worker is entitled to temporary or permanent disability benefits. Temporary benefits typically help an injured worker cover medical bills and living expenses until he or she can return to work. Permanent benefits might be granted if a worker cannot return to work at all.