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      RS 23:1036     


§1036.  Volunteer firefighters

A.  It is hereby declared by the Legislature of Louisiana that the fire prevention and suppression services provided by volunteer fire companies are vital to the protection of the safety of the citizens of the state.  This Section is intended to present the state fire marshal with a means by which he shall provide workers' compensation coverage to volunteer members of fire companies.  The remedies provided herein shall constitute the exclusive remedy of the volunteer member against the fire company as provided in R.S. 23:1032.

B.  The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to claims brought under this Section to the extent that such provisions do not conflict with this Section.

C.(1)  The state fire marshal shall obtain workers' compensation insurance for volunteer members, as defined herein, who participate in the normal functions of the fire company.  Nothing shall prohibit the state fire marshal from obtaining an insurance policy to provide coverage for a single fire company or multiple fire companies.

(2)  A person covered under this Subsection is entitled to medical benefits pursuant to R.S. 23:1203, which benefits shall not be subject to a copayment, deductible, or any other method to shift the cost of compensable medical care to the injured volunteer member.

(3)  Any member who is not carried on the membership list of the organization as of the date of the member's injury shall not be entitled to the benefits of this Section.

(4)  The fire chief shall by written affidavit attest to the fact that the injury to the volunteer member occurred while the volunteer member was in the line of duty.

D.  As used in this Section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms shall be given the meaning ascribed to them in this Subsection:

(1)  "Fire company" means any organization established to provide fire prevention and suppression services for the general public.

(2)  "Normal functions" means any response to, participation in, or departure from an incident scene, training, meetings, performance of equipment maintenance, or participation in organization functions as authorized by the chief of the fire company.

(3)  Repealed by Acts 2009, No. 304, §3, July 1, 2009.

(4)  "Volunteer members" means individuals who are carried on the membership list of the organization as active participants in the normal functions of the organization and who receive nominal or no remuneration for their services.

E.  Medical benefits payable under this Section shall be paid within sixty days after the fire company, its insurer, or third-party administrator receives written notice thereof.  If the volunteer member or his representative knows or reasonably should know that the fire company's coverage is administered or underwritten by an insurance carrier or third-party administrator, then the sixty-day payment period begins when written notice is received by the carrier or third-party administrator.

F, G.  Repealed by Acts 2009, No. 304, §3, eff. July 1, 2009.

H.  For injury causing death within two years after the last treatment resulting from the accident, there shall be paid reasonable expenses of burial of the volunteer member, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars.

I.  In addition to all other defenses available under other provisions of the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act, a fire company may assert any of the following as defenses to a claim for benefits under this Section:

(1)  The presumption under R.S. 33:2581 relating to the development of heart and lung disease during fire service shall not be available to volunteer members claiming benefits under this Section.

(2)  No fire company or its insurer shall be liable for benefits under this Section for injuries occurring within the course of, or arising out of, the volunteer member's other employment.

(3)  No benefits shall be payable under this Section for a volunteer member's injury during his participation in a parade or other activity unless his participation is authorized by the chief of the fire company.

J.  Repealed by Acts 2009, No. 304, §3, eff. July 1, 2009.

K.  Any written notice contemplated or required to be made to warrant any award of attorney fees or penalties must be received by the insurance carrier or third party administrator for the fire company when the volunteer member knows or reasonably should know that the coverage provided by the fire company under this Section is administered or underwritten by a carrier or third party administrator, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

L.  A fire company shall provide upon request and within a reasonable time period documents, materials, or other information to the state fire marshal in order to effectuate the provisions of this Section.

M.  The state fire marshal is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, R.S. 49:950 et seq.,  necessary to administer the provisions of this Section.

Acts 1997, No. 1047, §1, eff. July 11, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 234, §1, eff. June 11, 1999; Acts 2009, No. 304, §§2, 3, eff. July 1, 2009; Acts 2014, No. 259, §1.

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