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      RS 23:1310.3     

  

§1310.3. Initiation of claims; voluntary mediation; procedure

            A. A claim for benefits, the controversion of entitlement to benefits, or other relief under the Workers' Compensation Act shall be initiated by the filing of the appropriate form with the office of workers' compensation administration. Mailing, facsimile transmission, or electronic transmission of the form and payment of the filing fee within five days of any such mailing or transmission constitutes the initiation of a claim under R.S. 23:1209.

            B. Upon receipt of the form, the assistant secretary shall assign the matter to a district. Upon receipt of the form, a district office shall effect service of process on any named defendant in any manner provided by law or by certified mail. All subsequent pleadings requiring service shall also be served in any manner provided by law or by certified mail. A defendant shall file an answer within fifteen days of service of the form or within a delay for answering granted by the workers' compensation judge not to exceed an additional ten days.

            C. The filing of the answer shall be deemed timely when the answer is mailed, transmitted by facsimile, or electronic transmission on or before the day on which said delays run. If the answer is received by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission on or before the first legal day following the expiration of the due date, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the answer was timely filed. In all cases where the presumption does not apply, the timeliness of the mailing or transmittal shall be shown by an official United States postmark, official receipt of certificate from the United States Postal Service, facsimile transmission confirmation, or electronic receipt confirmation made at the time of transmission which indicates the date thereof.

            D.(1) Upon joint request of the parties, or upon order of the presiding workers' compensation judge, all parties shall engage the services of either of the following:

            (a) A Louisiana Workforce Commission, office of workers' compensation administration mediator, and such mediation shall be held in the district office in which the selected mediator is assigned.

            (b) A private mediator, and such mediation shall be held at a location mutually agreeable to the parties.

            (2) The selection of the mediator shall be by mutual agreement of the parties.

            (3) Each party shall provide a representative, in person or via telephone, to participate in the mediation conference, who has been provided with authority to enter into negotiations in a good faith effort to resolve the issue in dispute. The attorneys for the parties may participate in the mediation conference via telephone by mutual consent of the parties.

            (4) Within five days of the conclusion of the mediation conference, the parties shall certify to the court, via United States mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission, that a mediation conference has occurred and the results thereof.

            (5) Nothing shall prohibit the parties from requesting a mediation conference prior to the filing of a disputed claim for compensation; however, neither the request nor participation in the mediation conference shall interrupt the running of prescription.

            E. If any party fails to appear at a mediation conference ordered by the judge or requested by the parties after proper notice, the workers' compensation judge upon request of a party may fine the delinquent party an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars, which shall be payable to the Office of Workers' Compensation Administrative Fund. In addition, the workers' compensation judge may assess against the party failing to attend costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by any other party in connection with the conference. The penalties provided for in this Subsection shall be assessed by the workers' compensation judge only after a contradictory hearing which shall be held prior to the hearing on the merits of the dispute.

            F. Except as otherwise provided by R.S. 23:1101(B), 1361, and 1378(E), the workers' compensation judge shall be vested with original, exclusive jurisdiction over all claims or disputes arising out of this Chapter, including but not limited to workers' compensation insurance coverage disputes, group self-insurance indemnity contract disputes, employer demands for recovery for overpayment of benefits, the determination and recognition of employer credits as provided for in this Chapter, and cross-claims between employers or workers' compensation insurers or self-insurance group funds for indemnification or contribution, concursus proceedings pursuant to Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Articles 4651 et seq. concerning entitlement to workers' compensation benefits, payment for medical treatment, or attorney fees arising out of an injury subject to this Chapter.

            G.(1) Any party challenging the constitutionality of any provision of this Chapter shall specially plead such an allegation in the original petition, an exception, written motion, or answer, which shall state with particularity the grounds for such an allegation.

            (2) Within thirty days of the filing of any pleading raising the issue of unconstitutionality, the party making such an allegation must file a petition in a state district court of proper jurisdiction for purposes of adjudicating the claim of unconstitutionality. Such filing shall be given priority in hearing such claim not more than ten days from being presented to the district court.

            (3) Failure to follow the procedures set forth in this Section shall bar any claim as to the unconstitutionality of any provision of this Chapter on appeal.

            Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 26, §1; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 892, §1; Acts 1992, No. 760, §1; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 94, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 1084, §1; Acts 2004, No. 341, §1, eff. June 18, 2004; Acts 2005, No. 257, §1; Acts 2006, No. 48, §1, eff. May 16, 2006; Acts 2010, No. 53, §1; Acts 2018, No. 612, §7, eff. July 1, 2020; Acts 2018, 2nd E.S., No. 12, §1, eff. June 12, 2018; Acts 2019, No. 404, §1, eff. July 1, 2020.



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