Workers Comp v. Injured on Duty (IOD)

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If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, you are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits.  In return for being entitled to these benefits, an injured worker is barred from suing his or her employer for a work related injury in most cases.  The benefits include such things as weekly wages, medical bills, and mileage to and from medical appointments.  Every course and scope injury is a workers’ compensation injury regardless of the circumstances.

The idea of an Injured on Duty (IOD) injury exists in the Civil Service Commission Rules for the City of New Orleans.  It may or may not exist in the rules of other civil service boards or commissions.

With regard to wages only:

In any workers’ compensation injury (including IOD), the amount you are paid by workers’ compensation is computed by averaging four weeks of pay and then multiplying the weekly pay by 2/3.  For example, if you earn $800/week then your workers’ compensation wage benefit is $800×2/3, or $533.33.  Next, that amount is compared to the statutorily provided maximum (La. R.S. 23:1202).  The maximum amount changes every year on September 1 based on average wages in Louisiana.  As of September 1, 2013, the maximum amount is $619.00.  Please note that the maximum that applies to you is the maximum that existed at the time of the injury.

In my example, the $533.33/week is less than the $619.00 max, so the workers’ compensation benefit would be $533.33 per week.  If 2/3 of your weekly salary would be over $619, the workers’ compensation wage benefit would be $619.00.

So, if your weekly wage is $800.00 and workers’ compensation is paying $533.33, the NOPD will use sick leave to make up the $266.67 difference.  If you run out of leave, the injured employee will be carried LWOP, continuing to receive the workers’ compensation benefit but not the difference.

It is important to note that workers’ compensation benefits are tax-free.  However, any other income provided by the NOPD is not tax-free and will be taxed at the normal rate.

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INJURED ON DUTY

New Orleans Civil Service Rule VIII, Section 2.9 provides that if a commissioned police officer is injured while (1) actively engaged in police training, (2) responding to an emergency call, (3) or in the process of pursuing, apprehending, arresting, transporting, or booking a suspect, “such employee may be granted sick leave with pay which will not diminish his or her ordinary sick leave accumulation, simultaneously with the benefit provisions of the State of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation statutes, provided such leave is recommended by the Superintendent of Police and is requested of and approved by the Director of Personnel of the Department of Civil Service.”  A similar benefit is provided to police recruits injured while actively engaged in training at the Academy.

In other words, if you are a commissioned officer and you are injured while actively engaged in police training, responding to an emergency call, or in the process of pursuing, apprehending, arresting, transporting, or booking a suspect, the City will pay the difference between the workers’ compensation benefit (as described above) with sick leave that does not draw from the injured officer’s accumulated sick leave.

This extra benefit authorized by the Civil Service Rules can last for up to 365 calendar days.  It should be noted that the benefit for recruits in the Academy allows for up to 60 days of sick leave which does not diminish the recruits accumulated sick leave.  The 60 days provision only applies to recruits in the Academy.

In practice, an officer is required to notify their employer of an injury within 24 hours.  It is always the best plan to notify the employer as soon as an injury is sustained.  An injured officer’s supervisor is responsible for completing a first report on injury.  That document is forwarded up to the Management Services Bureau.  In order for the injury to be classified as IOD, it has to be received by the Civil Service Department within thirty (30) days of the injury (Civil Service Rule VIII, Sec. 2.9(c)).

Injury claim

If you are injured on the job, be sure to be aware of your status with NOPD.  If you believe that your injury should have been classified as IOD and was not, bring it to our attention.

Russel Phillibert

FOP CCL2

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