History of the Louisiana Workers’ Comp Act

Posted on March 5, 2015

In 1912 the Louisiana Legislature directed Governor Luther Hall to appoint a commission of five members to consider possible shortcomings in the law of industrial accidents in this state. The commission included both manufacturing interests and labor organizations. The members undertook careful investigation of the problem.

Public hearings were held. Experts in the area of workers’ compensation legislation from other jurisdictions were consulted. In 1914 the commission submitted a detailed report to the Louisiana Legislature.  The commission recommended that the needs of this state would be most effectively addressed with a workers’ compensation act.

The statute which the commission drafted and recommended was adopted almost verbatim by the legislature in 1914 and persisted until 1975 without fundamental change. The legislative adjustments between 1914 and 1975 usually affected the amount of compensation to be allowed, or the various listed disabilities, or other minor corrections based upon experience.

The most significant changes in 1975 were the definitions of total and partial disability. The previous definition of total disability was the inability “to do work of any reasonable character.” The new definition of total disability was the inability to “engage in any gainful occupation for wages.” The definition of partial disability was changed from “partial disability to do work of any reasonable character,” to “partial disability…to perform the duties in which he was customarily engaged when injured.”

In the years since 1975, more changes have been made to the act, most significantly in 1983, 1988, 1989, and thereafter.  Changes continue to be made up to the present time, and we track these changes, in an effort to benefit our clients.