Answers to Our Frequently Asked Questions

When you are involved in an accident or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice or abuse, you may not even know the right questions to ask at first. Browse our collection of frequently asked questions to see what others have asked and read our answers to learn all you can about your case.

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  • Can I receive both workers' compensation and unemployment benefits at the same time?

    If you're unable to work after suffering an on-the-job injury, it makes sense to see what type of compensation you're entitled to receive. However, it's important to note that most Louisiana residents can't legally collect workers' compensation benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time. Receiving both unemployment and workers' comp benefits

    About Workers' Compensation Benefits

    Workers' compensation benefits provide financial support to employees who suffer on-the-job injuries. Benefits pay for medical care related to the injury as well as replacement of a portion of the lost wages.

    Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for injured Louisiana workers are paid at a rate that is two-thirds of their average weekly wage but subject to minimum and maximum rates that change each year. As of September 1, 2017, the minimum benefit is $174 per week, and the maximum benefit is $653 per week.

    There is no limit on the length of time you can receive TTD benefits. However, payments end when you are able to return to work or have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

    About Unemployment Benefits

    Unemployment benefits are intended to provide support if you've involuntarily lost your job or are involuntarily working reduced hours through no fault of your own. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be actively looking for work from at least three different employers each week and able to accept a position when it is offered.

    Unemployment benefits are awarded regardless of financial need, but the amount you receive is based on your work history and past earnings. The current minimum benefit payment in Louisiana is $10 per week, while the maximum payment is $247 per week. Claimants can receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks, as long as they continue to look for work. However, in times where there are very high unemployment rates throughout the state, claimants may gain special access to additional weeks of benefit payments.

    The Relationship Between Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Benefits

    Unemployment benefits provide substantially less support than workers' compensation benefits because unemployed workers with no physical limitations are expected to find new jobs as soon as possible. Injured workers receive higher benefits because their medical condition limits their ability to work. They're not expected to look for work because they typically already have a position to return to when they've recovered from their injury.

    Receiving Both Unemployment and Workers' Compensation Benefits

    In most cases, you cannot receive both unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time. 

    If you are unable to work because of an on-the-job injury, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits because your injury makes you medically unfit for work. Additionally, your current employer is holding your job until you are able to return to work.

    Attempting to receive both unemployment and workers' compensation benefits when you are not eligible is considered fraud. You will likely be subjected to potential criminal and/or civil penalties.

    One of the questions asked each week when applicants report their work search is "Did you receive or apply for workers' compensation during this week?" This question is specifically asked to identify cases of potential fraud.

    The only way it may be possible to receive both unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits is if you are currently receiving permanent partial disability (PPD) payments under the workers' compensation program. PPD benefits are awarded for serious injuries such as amputations, disfigurement, and permanent hearing loss. If you're receiving PPD benefits and actively looking for new work that is better suited to your physical limitations, you may be eligible for both types of assistance.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    State laws regarding unemployment and workers' comp can be complicated, which is why working with an attorney is often the best way to protect your right to compensation. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team is dedicated to helping Louisiana workers access the benefits they need to recover from on-the-job injuries. To learn more about how we can help with your claim, contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • What are my legal rights if my loved one died of dehydration in a nursing home?

    Dehydration is a common problem among nursing home residents, since many serious illnesses can interfere with person's natural desire to stay hydrated. However, nursing home staff members have a legal obligation to monitor residents for signs of dehydration and to take action before serious harm results.

    If your loved one died in a nursing home due to dehydration, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the facility. Dehydration and nursing home wrongful deaths

    Signs of Dehydration

    Studies estimate that at least 31% of nursing home residents suffer from some form of dehydration, which makes watching for signs of inadequate fluid intake a vital part of basic care a facility must provide.

    Common signs of mild dehydration in a nursing home resident include:

    • Expressions of thirst
    • A sticky or dry mouth
    • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and frequent headaches
    • Dry, papery skin

    Signs of moderate dehydration include:

    • Decrease in urine output
    • Decrease in urine frequency
    • Dark yellow urine
    • Inability to sweat
    • Low blood pressure
    • Rapid pulse

    Signs of severe dehydration include:

    • Sunken eyes
    • High fever
    • Fainting
    • Confusion and irritability
    • Fast breathing
    • Loss of consciousness

    When dehydration is not treated promptly, it can cause seizures, kidney failure, brain swelling, and coma. These complications are often fatal in elderly individuals who are already in poor physical health.

    Dehydration often occurs in residents who are malnourished, which can cause additional health problems and increase the risk of fatal complications.

    How Dehydration Occurs

    Common causes of dehydration in nursing home residents include:

    • Medical conditions that interfere with the perception of thirst
    • Language barriers or an inability to speak well enough to request fluids
    • Not being offered fluids that meet a patient’s taste preferences such as tea or juice instead of plain water
    • Physical conditions that make it difficult to drink without assistance
    • Lack of easy access to beverages in patient rooms or facility common areas
    • Caretakers who fail to provide the special diet a resident requires
    • Caretakers who insert a feeding tube incorrectly due to inexperience or inattentiveness

    Nursing home staff members have an obligation to monitor the health of residents and to provide the assistance necessary for eating and drinking. If the nursing home fails to meet this obligation due to understaffing or gross neglect, this can be the basis of a wrongful death claim.

    About Wrongful Death Claims

    A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action alleging that someone's death was the fault of another person or corporation. It is separate from any criminal charges related to the death, although evidence from a criminal case can be used to support a claim of negligence in the wrongful death claim.

    Only certain family members can file a wrongful death claim. In cases involving nursing home residents, the surviving spouse or adult children are typically the ones who must file the case. If there is no spouse or adult children, the surviving siblings or the estate of the deceased person must file the claim.

    Damages in a nursing home wrongful death claim include:

    • Medical bills related to the final care of the deceased
    • Applicable pain and suffering from the conduct that caused the wrongful death
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • The family's loss of the deceased person's care and companionship
    • Punitive damages, if the case involves a pattern of severe negligence

    There is a one-year statute of limitations in Louisiana for filing wrongful death claims, so it's important to act quickly if you want to take legal action regarding the death of your elderly family member due to dehydration. The longer you wait to seek legal representation, the more difficult it will be to locate the evidence necessary to win the wrongful death claim.

    The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience handling both nursing home abuse and wrongful death claims. We can locate evidence of negligence, document damages, and negotiate on your behalf for the highest possible settlement.

    Filing a wrongful death claim won't bring your loved one back, but the process can provide a sense of closure and help to ensure that other vulnerable nursing home residents won't be subjected to similar mistreatment. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

     

  • Is patient dumping a form of nursing home abuse?

    Patient dumping is not discussed as often as other forms of nursing home neglect, but it can cause serious harm. This practice can lead to a lack of necessary medical care as well as great psychological trauma. For this reason, victims of patient dumping are entitled to monetary compensation via a nursing home abuse claim.  Nursing home patient dumping

    About Patient Dumping

    Patient dumping is perhaps one of the most disturbing forms of nursing home abuse. Patient dumping occurs when a nursing home gives away a resident's bed while he is receiving hospital care. When the resident is discharged from the hospital and wants to return to the nursing home, he is told there is no bed to return to. The resident's family must then struggle to find a suitable placement, since the resident cannot live independently under any circumstances

    Reasons for Patient Dumping

    Unscrupulous nursing homes are trying to illegally evict residents in order to maximize profit. Patient dumping victims are often those who require the most staff time and the highest levels of care. By illegally evicting these residents, a facility is free to offer beds to new residents who will use fewer company resources.

    Medicaid recipients are also vulnerable to patient dumping due to Medicaid low reimbursement rates. By replacing Medicaid patients with those who can pay for their care with private, long-term care insurance or their own personal resources, the facility is able to maximize profit with a minimal amount of effort.

    Patient Dumping Is Illegal

    Federal law prohibits patient dumping. Under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 42 CFR 483, a nursing home must permit a resident to remain in the facility unless one or more of the following conditions apply:

    • The nursing home is closing its doors and will no longer be in business.
    • The resident's presence is endangering the safety of individuals in the facility.
    • The resident's presence is endangering the health of individuals in the facility.
    • The resident's health has improved to the extent that he no longer needs the services provided by the facility.
    • The resident's condition has changed, and the facility is no longer able to meet his care needs.
    • The resident has failed to pay for his stay at the facility, despite having received reasonable and appropriate notice of the charges.

    If a facility wishes to evict a resident, the reason for eviction must be specifically documented, and the appropriate parties must be contacted to ensure that the resident's future care needs will still be met.

    Relationship to Other Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

    Patient dumping can occur alongside other forms of nursing home abuse, including physical abuse, verbal abuse, medication theft, or understaffing. Talking with your loved one as well as other family members and visitors to the facility can help you determine if there are additional concerns regarding the quality of care that your loved one has received.

    Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

    A nursing home abuse claim is a type of civil proceeding that requests compensation for medical treatment and pain and suffering related to the actions of the care facility. However, if your loved one is currently receiving Medicaid or Medicare benefits, these programs will have a lien on a percentage of any settlement that you recover.

    To have a successful nursing home abuse claim, you must be able to establish the following three key elements:

    Duty Of Nursing Home Care

    Based on the terms of the facility contract, the nursing home had a legal duty to provide care to your loved one.

    Breach Of Nursing Home Duties

    The nursing home failed to provide an acceptable level of care to your loved one.

    Damages In A Nursing Home Neglect Case 

    As a result of the nursing home's actions, your loved one suffered specific damages. This can include the worsening of a pre-existing medical condition or psychological distress due to being illegally evicted from the facility.

    Retaining the services of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney is the best way to protect your loved one's legal rights. The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can locate evidence of negligence, document damages, and negotiate for the highest possible settlement. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • What are my rights after being injured in a motorcycle T-bone collision?

    Motorcycle crashes can result in seriously disabling injuries, especially when the accident is a T-bone collision. If you have recently been in this type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation via a personal injury claim.  T-bone accidents with motorcycles

    Proving Liability for T-Bone Collisions

    T-bone collisions occur when the side of one vehicle is hit by the front of another vehicle. This type of accident can happen when a motorcyclist is driving through an intersection and a car travelling perpendicularly strikes him in the side.

    Motorcycle T-bone accidents have a number of causes and are typically not the fault of the motorcyclist. Often, the other driver is speeding, running a red light, or engaged in distracted driving at the time of the accident. Since motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks, it is easy for inattentive drivers to fail to notice the motorcyclist until it's too late to avoid a collision.

    Evidence used to prove liability may include:

    • Eyewitness testimony
    • Photos of the accident scene
    • Police reports and driver citations
    • Surveillance footage from nearby security cameras
    • Accident reconstructions provided by expert witnesses

    If the accident was caused by a criminal offense such as drunk driving, evidence from the criminal case can be used to support your personal injury claim. Since a personal injury claim is a type of civil litigation, these two cases are considered separate legal matters.

    Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries

    If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation for accident-related damages. These include:

    • Medical expenses, including emergency room care, diagnostic tests, surgery, hospital stays, physical therapy, and prescription medications
    • Future medical expenses, if you've been left with a permanent disability such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury
    • Lost wages for the time you were unable to work due to your injuries
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left with a permanent disability that affects your ability to earn a living
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma related to the accident

    Punitive damages are damages that are intended only to punish the defendant. They are not often awarded in motorcycle accident cases but could be requested if the driver who caused your injuries was exceptionally reckless.

    You can still receive compensation in a personal injury settlement even if you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be proportionately reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle T-bone accident, you will be found partially at fault for your injuries unless you can prove that helmet usage would not have prevented your injury. This is typically accomplished by presenting your medical records and testimony from experts familiar with the type of injury you have suffered.

    Wrongful Death Claims From T-Bone Collisions

    T-bone collisions have a high fatality rate, especially when a motorcyclist is involved. In cases with fatal accidents, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. This is a type of personal injury claim seeking damages for medical expenses up to the time of death, funeral and burial costs, loss of future wages, applicable pain and suffering, and loss of the care and companionship of the deceased.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    Personal injury law can be quite complex, and insurance companies are in no hurry to settle a case. To protect your financial interests, it's best to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can gather evidence to support liability, document your damages, and advocate for the highest possible settlement. Typically, Louisiana law allows one year after the date of the motorcycle accident to file your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team.

     

  • Who’s responsible if I’m injured in a slip and fall accident at the mall?

    Slip and fall accidents at shopping malls are fairly common, but these types of cases can present unique concerns when pursuing personal injury compensation. To protect your right to a fair settlement, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. Slip and fall at the mall

    About Shopping Mall Slip and Fall Accidents

    Slip and fall accidents at malls can have a number of causes. For example:

    • Spilled cleaning chemicals or food
    • Wet floors due to rain or snow
    • Improper lighting
    • Lack of handrails or other building code violations
    • Damaged flooring such as broken tiles or ripped carpet
    • Defects in escalators such as misaligned handrails or broken entry mats
    • Being pushed or shoved by other shoppers at a crowded event such as a Black Friday sale

    Types of injuries victims may suffer include:

    • Concussions and other forms of head injury
    • Neck injury
    • Back injury
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Sprains and strains
    • Broken bones
    • Cuts and scrapes requiring stitches

    Liability For Slip and Fall Injuries

    It does not matter whether you were a paying customer at the time of your accident. If you were lawfully in the mall browsing or visiting with friends, you have the same right to be protected from foreseeable injury as a paying customer.

    Some factors that might affect liability for a mall slip and fall accident include:

    Where The Slip and Fall Accident Occurred

    Accidents inside a store are often the store's responsibility, while accidents in a common area are the mall owner's responsibility.

    Who Contributed To The Hazardous Condition

    If the store created the hazard by not cleaning up a spill or by failing to have crowd control measures in place for a heavily attended event, the store is responsible.

    Knowledge of a Potential Slip and Fall Hazard

    Parties cannot be held liable for a hazard they did not know existed such as a spill that had occurred only moments before your fall.

    Foreseeability of a Slip and Fall Accident

    To be held liable, a party must have been able to reasonably foresee that a condition would result in a high risk of injury to mall patrons.

    In most cases, either the store owner or the mall owner is liable for your injuries. However, a third party could be liable in some circumstances. For example, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the escalator if you fell because of some sort of defect that created a tripping hazard.

    If you were engaged in horseplay, ignored posted warning signs, or failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury, you could be found partially liable for your injuries. You will still be eligible to file a personal injury claim, but your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your responsibility for the incident.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    If you're injured in a slip and fall, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering:

    Report the Slip and Fall Incident Immediately

    As soon as you are injured, the incident should be reported to mall security personnel. You should report the incident even if you believe your injuries are minor, since more serious symptoms could appear at a later date.

    Attend to Your Slip and Fall Injuries

    Mall security officers will have a basic first aid kit and are trained to call 911 if someone is seriously injured. If you are transported to the hospital, ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged.

    Photograph the Scene

    If possible, have someone photograph the scene where the accident occurred. This evidence is particularly useful if your fall was caused by a food spill or other temporary hazard.

    Get Witness Names and Contact Information

    Malls have security cameras in most areas, but witness testimony can present a more accurate picture of how the accident occurred.

    Make Note of What You Were Wearing

    Clothing can often be relevant evidence in a slip and fall claim, especially if the insurance company tries to argue that your long dress or high heels were impractical for the occasion and directly caused your fall.

    Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team can advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation

     

  • What if I'm injured in a slip and fall accident while on vacation in Louisiana?

    Louisiana is a beautiful and diverse state, attracting thousands of visitors each year who want to experience world-class jazz, delicious Cajun food, and the beauty of the historic French Quarter. However, some of these travelers may also experience slip and accidents while on vacation. Slip and falls on vacation

    About Vacation Slip and Fall Accidents

    Examples of some causes of vacation slip and fall accidents include:

    • Ripped carpet or cracked floor tiles in the hotel lobby that create a tripping hazard you don't notice as you're carrying bags to your room
    • Spilled food in a restaurant can cause you to fall
    • Poor lighting can cause you to fall while you're leaving a shopping mall
    • Loose handrails at a museum or other tourist attraction can cause you to lose your balance
    • Insufficient security can cause you to get pushed or shoved and ultimately fall due to crowds at a rowdy public event

    Slip and fall injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes requiring a few stitches to serious back, neck, head, or spinal cord injuries. In addition to ruining your vacation, these accidents can result in significant medical expenses and lost wages. In some cases, you may even be left with a permanent disability requiring ongoing care that affects your ability to earn a living.

    Liability for Injuries

    In general, the owner of the property where you were injured is liable for your expenses if he failed to take precautions to prevent reasonably foreseeable accidents. However, you may also have a third-party claim in some circumstances. For example, the cleaning company that failed to promptly remove a grease spill that caused you to fall or the manufacturer of a faulty escalator that made you trip could be liable for your injuries.

    Under Louisiana law, you may be found partially at fault for your injuries if you acted in a way that showed disregard for your own safety. Examples of situations where comparative negligence  may apply include:

    • You were in an unauthorized area not open to the general public.
    • You disregarded posted warning signs about safety hazards.
    • You were engaged in horseplay with another person at the time of your injury.
    • You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    You can still receive compensation if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    Travelers with physical disabilities such as a visual impairment can't be blamed for their injuries simply because of their disability. If you're visiting a public location, the owner of the facility has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment for all patrons.

    How to Protect Your Right to Compensation

    If you're injured in a slip and fall accident while traveling, there are six steps you must take to protect your rights.

    1. File an accident report. Typically, the manager or site security staff can file a report of the incident. Ask for a copy for your records.
    2. Seek treatment for injuries. Getting an evaluation of any pain and discomfort clearly links your injuries to the slip and fall accident. Ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged from the hospital or urgent care clinic.
    3. Photograph the accident scene. Have someone from your traveling group take photos of the scene where the accident occurred.
    4. Get witness names and contact information. After taking photos, your friend or family member should speak to any witnesses and get their contact information in case their testimony is needed at a later date.
    5. Document what you were wearing. Make note of what you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your shoes. Tears, rips, or blood splatters on your clothing can support your claim as to the severity of your injuries. You can also use clothing to establish that inappropriate footwear was not the cause of your fall.
    6. Contact an attorney. When you're injured while traveling, you'll want to speak with a local attorney familiar with Louisiana law. The state has a one-year statute of limitations for filing slip and fall personal injury claims, so you should begin searching for representation immediately.

    The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault have extensive experience handling slip and fall claims for both travelers and residents. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • How can I tell if I was exposed to asbestos in the past?

    asbestos_exposureAsbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral with the potential to affect nearly anyone in low levels. However, people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have typically suffered significantly high levels of exposure over a long period of time.

    Since asbestos was not regulated in the U.S. until the 1970s, people in areas where asbestos use was common may develop mesothelioma, even if their exposure occurred decades ago.

    Common Sources of Asbestos Exposure

    It's important to determine where your exposure occurred so you can hold that party accountable for your medical treatment and costs of care. In addition, mesothelioma patients who were in contact with asbestos prior to 1980 don't have to repay Medicare for their treatment, allowing them to save more of their settlement funds.

    You might have been exposed to asbestos:

    • At work. Many industries rely on asbestos, found naturally in mines, for its fire-resistant properties, and it's still used to insulate industrial pipes. Shipbuilders, dockworkers, miners, power plant workers, electricians, steel workers, mechanics, plumbers, welders, firefighters, and railroad workers are all particularly at risk.
    • In the military. U.S. Navy veterans and other former members of the armed forces may have been exposed to asbestos during service. In these cases, mesothelioma lawsuits may be filed against the companies that made asbestos products—not the government or military—and victims may qualify for disability and other benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
    • At home. Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials such as insulation and roofing. Anyone living in these homes has the potential for exposure, as well as people renovating or demolishing these structures. Finally, families of workers in trades involving asbestos may have suffered second-hand exposure through contact with contaminated work clothes.

    In order to prove when and where your asbestos exposure occurred, the attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can conduct a thorough investigation of your past employers’ records. Depending on what we find, your former employers may be liable for your medical bills, travel costs, lost income, and pain and suffering.

    Since we represent asbestos injury clients on a contingency fee basis, you won't pay us anything until your case is won.

    To learn more about options, order our free eBook, Mesothelioma and Your Legal RightsContact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Can my workers' compensation claim be denied if I test positive for drugs or alcohol?

    Workers' compensation benefits provide a valuable safety net for employees who are injured on the job. However, if you fail a post-accident drug or alcohol test, collecting benefits will become much more complicated.  Workers' comp and drug testing

    About Post-Accident Drug or Alcohol Screenings

    Workers' compensation is a considered a no-fault system, which means you can still receive benefits even if your own inexperience or carelessness caused your injury. However, the no-fault presumption doesn't apply to drug and alcohol use on the job.

    Many people mistakenly assume that post-accident screenings are only looking for alcohol and illicit drugs. However, you will be considered to have failed the test if you test positive for prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. This includes opioid pain medications such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet.

    For alcohol use, a BAC of 0.08 or more creates the assumption that you were intoxicated. A BAC in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 may be considered with other evidence to determine whether you were intoxicated at the time of the accident.

    Refusing to take a drug or an alcohol test after suffering injuries in a work-related accident creates the presumption that you were intoxicated at the time of the incident.

    Collecting Benefits After a Failed Drug or Alcohol Test

    Emergency treatment will still be provided after a failed drug or alcohol test, but receiving further workers' compensation benefits will become much more difficult. To continue receiving benefits, you'll need to provide that your case falls into one of the limited exemptions.

    Reasons you may still be able to collect benefits in Louisiana despite a failed drug or alcohol test include:

    • There was no written policy prohibiting drug or alcohol use. To use intoxication to avoid paying benefits, the employer needs to prove there was a formal policy banning drug or alcohol use in the workplace and stating consequences such as denial of workers' compensation benefits and termination of employment.
    • The drug and alcohol use policy wasn't communicated to employees. It's not enough to simply make a policy banning drug and alcohol use in the workplace. Employees must receive a copy of the policy, so they know the consequences of failing a drug or an alcohol test.
    • The results are excluded due to a failure to use uniform chain of custody procedures. When the sample isn't handled property, the results are inadmissible. 
    • Your drug or alcohol use was not the cause of the accident. If you fail a drug or an alcohol test, this creates the presumption that your intoxication caused the accident. However, this may not actually be the case. For example, if you were retrieving boxes from a shelf in a warehouse and a fellow employee ran a forklift into the shelf and caused the boxes to fall on top of you, the injuries you received would likely be considered the fault of the forklift driver. In this case, whether or not you were intoxicated is irrelevant.
    • Your employer provided intoxicating substances or encouraged substance use. This defense is rarely used, but Louisiana law exempts intoxication from being used to avoid paying workers' compensation claims if the employee's intoxication is the result of activities in pursuit of the employer's interests or if the employer provided the intoxicating beverage or substance and encouraged its use during work hours.

    Failing a Return-to-Work Drug Test

    Drug tests are often required when you return to work after suffering an on-the-job injury. If you fail this test, your income benefits can be terminated and your claim for Supplemental Earning Benefits will likely be denied. However, your employer will still be required to provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment.

    Louisiana law RS 23:1221 states: "When an injured employee has been released to return to work with or without restrictions, and the employer maintains an established written and promulgated substance abuse policy which requires employer-administered drug testing prior to employment or return to work, upon the employee's failure to meet the requirements of such employer's established policy and inability to qualify for the position for that reason, the obligation for all benefits pursuant to this Chapter, with the sole exception of the obligation to provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment, shall be terminated and the employee shall be subject to the terms and conditions established in the employer's promulgated drug testing policy and program. The provisions of this Subparagraph shall not apply to prescription medication prescribed for the employee in the dosages so prescribed by a physician."

    How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's dedicated attorneys are committed to helping Louisiana workers access the workers' compensation benefits they need after on-the-job injuries. To learn more about how we can help with your claim, contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

     

  • What signs indicate I might be a victim of medical malpractice?

    When you seek medical treatment, you never imagine that your healthcare provider might end up causing you serious harm. However, medical malpractice is much more common than you might expect. In fact, medical errors are said to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. Signs of medical malpractice

    9 Signs That Suggest You're a Victim of Medical Malpractice

    Some cases of medical malpractice are immediately obvious such as having surgery performed on the wrong body part. However, most malpractice cases involve errors that are harder to prove. If you have concerns about the care you've received, the following signs indicate you may have a valid malpractice claim:

    1. The doctor fails to order common diagnostic tests. Every medical condition has a list of specific symptoms and diagnostic tests that should be used to make a correct diagnosis. For example, if a patient has a change in bowel habits, blood in stools, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss, and colon cancer is suspected, a doctor should order a colonoscopy. A doctor who doesn't follow this standard of care may be guilty of malpractice.
    2. Your diagnosis is based solely on the results of one test. Generally speaking, a condition shouldn't be diagnosed based solely on the results of a single test. Results can be incorrectly interpreted or samples can be contaminated. Your doctor should confirm the results with other means before making an assessment.
    3. Your diagnosis is significantly delayed. It's unreasonable to expect your doctor to immediately know what's wrong with you, but alarm bells should go off if it takes several months to find a correct diagnosis. If this delay limits your treatment options, you may have a valid medical malpractice case.
    4. Your condition doesn't improve with treatment. Modern medicine can't work miracles, but a condition that doesn't improve despite ongoing medical care may suggest that your doctor has incorrectly diagnosed you or that appropriate treatment protocols aren't being followed. Both of these errors could constitute a malpractice claim.
    5. You're experiencing many complications. All medical treatment comes with some element of risk, but complications that are unexpected or more serious than anticipated warrant further investigation.
    6. Your healthcare provider doesn't explain treatment or answer your questions. Even though you didn't go to medical school, the doctor should explain your treatment options and answer questions related to your care before any procedures are performed. This is called obtaining informed consent.
    7. Your healthcare provider doesn't follow up. If you don't hear from a physician's office after a diagnosis, procedure, or treatment, this can constitute a form of malpractice. Doctors have a duty to follow up with patients as part of their medical care.
    8. You've received conflicting opinions. Whenever you have doubts about your medical care, it's a good idea to get a second opinion. If the second doctor's opinion is dramatically different, this is a good indication of potential malpractice.
    9. You were told there was a mistake in your care. Most doctors are extremely reluctant to admit liability, but some may inform patients of errors that can't easily be hidden and offer immediate compensation. If this happens, you should consult with an attorney to see if the offer is in line with the harm you have suffered.

    Types of Available Compensation

    A medical malpractice claim should include compensation for the following types of damages:

    • Medical expenses necessary to address the effects of the error such as added surgery or prescription drug costs
    • Future medical expenses, if you've been left permanently disabled due to the error
    • Lost wages from any time you were unable to work due to the error
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you now have a disability that will prevent you from working
    • Pain and suffering

    Seeking Legal Assistance

    Malpractice law can be quite complex, and insurance companies will often offer settlements that are far less than what's appropriate for the harm you've suffered. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can advocate for your interests and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team is committed to protecting Louisiana residents who've been harmed by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Why does my lawyer need my personal information?

    During an initial consultation, a lawyer will ask about the basic details related to your case. This includes when the accident happened, what injuries you suffered, and how your injuries are affecting your daily life.

    Later in the process, he will likely ask for some information that is of a more personal nature. These questions might seem intrusive or irrelevant, but they are a necessary part of building a strong personal injury claim. Providing attorneys with personal information

    Personal Information Your Lawyer Needs to Know

    Your lawyer will ask about a number of issues that might seem embarrassing, but it's vital that you tell the truth. He may ask:

    • About your medical history. Your previous medical history is relevant because your lawyer must be able to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident and not the result of some other factor.
    • About any criminal record. A past criminal history may be used to argue that you are untrustworthy and, thus, either lying or exaggerating about your injuries.
    • About any drug or alcohol abuse. Substance abuse issues are part of your medical history and can also be used to attack your character.
    • About any financial problems. It's understandable to have some financial issues if an injury has affected your ability to work, but being deeply in debt before the accident might cause the insurer to argue you're being dishonest in hopes of a hefty settlement.
    • Divorce. A recent divorce or impending marital separation is significant because an angry spouse may provide testimony that casts you in an unfavorable light.

    It's becoming quite common for insurers to use private investigators or check social media for information that can be used to help them avoid paying a claim. As much as you may want to protect your privacy, sensitive personal information will come out eventually. Being honest upfront gives your lawyer the best chance for damage control.

    How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents take legal action after suffering injuries caused by another person's negligence. Our personal injury lawyers will advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your case, protecting your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.