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.

  • Page 1
  • Are bedsores evidence of nursing home abuse?

    Bedsores are preventable, which means that a nursing home resident who is experiencing bedsores is not being properly cared for. In this case, filing a nursing home abuse claim may be an appropriate course of action.  Bedsores and nursing home abuse

    About Bedsores

    Bedsores are most often caused by constant pressure on the skin, which occurs if a person is left to lie in bed all day or sit in a chair for extended periods of time. However, shearing motions and friction from inappropriate transfer techniques can also create bedsores. Bedsores are sometimes known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers.

    Bedsores from being in a wheelchair often appear on the buttocks, back of the legs, back of the arms, spine, or shoulder blades. Bedsores from being confined to a bed can occur on the back of the head, outside of the ears, shoulders, lower back, hips, knees, heels, or ankles.

    Complications Associated With Bedsores

    Bedsores can cause serious complications. For example:

    • Joint and bone infections can damage cartilage and surrounding tissues, severely restricting range of movement.
    • Sepsis is a reaction to a bacterial infection that can cause organ failure and septic shock.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma can develop in a patient suffering from chronic bedsores.
    • Cellulitis makes the skin red, hot, painful, and tender due to an inflammation of connective tissues.
    • Meningitis can be a complication of cellulitis from bedsores.

    Although some nursing home residents can make a full recovery from bedsores, complications may be fatal in someone who already has poor overall physical health.

    Preventing Bedsores

    To prevent bedsores, nursing home caregivers are asked to take the following steps:

    • Have residents change position once every 15 minutes in a wheelchair or once every two hours in a bed.
    • Encourage residents to get regular exercise that's appropriate for their physical limitations.
    • Promote good nutrition, as a balanced diet allows the body to better fight the development of bedsores.
    • Inspect skin daily for the signs of bedsores, seeking prompt treatment when needed.

    A facility that is not taking these approved precautionary measures may be mistreating or neglecting residents in other ways. For example, problems with choking on food or repeated UTIs are also considered indications of negligence.

    Options for Handling Nursing Home Abuse

    If your loved one is experiencing bedsores due to poor quality nursing care, you should report your concerns to the facility administrator. By law, the administrative office of the nursing home must investigate your complaint and file a report to the state authorities.

    If you don't believe your complaint is being taken seriously, you should contact adult protective services or the office of aging in your area. At this time, it is also appropriate to retain the services of an attorney to initiate a nursing home abuse claim.

    Seeking Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

    A nursing home abuse claim is a civil proceeding that includes compensation for the following damages:

    • Medical treatment such as antibiotics and a hospital stay to address complications of bedsores
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Mental pain and suffering
    • Punitive damages, if the nursing home is found to have engaged in a severe pattern of neglect

    In assessing the value of the claim, several different factors will be considered. This includes the resident’s overall physical health, the severity of the bedsores, whether the facility has a past history of neglect, and if an investigative agency's findings support the claim for negligence.

    The majority of nursing home abuse cases are settled out of court, with attorneys for both sides working together to negotiate settlement terms.

    If the nursing home resident receives Medicaid or Medicare benefits to cover the cost of care, these programs will have a lien on a percentage of any funds recovered in the claim.

    Schedule a Free Consultation

    Nursing home abuse claims often present challenging legal issues, but the experienced attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can advocate for your needs throughout the process. Contact us online for call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review at one of our six convenient office locations.

     

  • Do I have a wrongful death claim if my college student has died during a hazing ritual?

    College is supposed to be a time of growth and exploration, but hazing rituals can cut a young person's promising future short. If you've lost a family member due to a hazing-related accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

    A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury case that alleges a person's death was caused by the defendant's negligence. Hazing often qualifies as negligence due to the risky acts that are involved.  Wrongful death and college hazing

    About Hazing

    Hazing is sometimes a part of the ritual young people undergo to join a fraternity or sorority. Athletes on some sports teams may also take part in hazing.

    Hazing is often dismissed as just a harmless series of pranks designed to foster a sense of community within the group. However, hazing can have serious consequences. For example:

    • Physical injuries can occur from being made to run laps, do pushups, or perform other exercises to excess.
    • Physical injuries can occur from beatings administered by other members of the group.
    • Adverse mental health consequences can occur from sleep deprivation and exposure to continued verbal abuse.
    • Frostbite or heat exhaustion can occur from being outside too long during extreme temperatures.
    • Alcohol poisoning can occur from being made to participate in dangerous drinking games.
    • Car accidents can occur related to alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, or dangerous stunts such as drag racing.

    Even though hazing is formally banned on most college campuses, there are multiple instances of hazing-related injuries and fatal accidents each year.

    Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim

    In most cases of a hazing-related death, the parents of the deceased student must be the ones to file the claim. However, other family members may be eligible to file in the following certain circumstances:

    • If the student's parents are deceased, his/her siblings must file the wrongful death claim.
    • If the student's parents are deceased and there are no siblings, the surviving grandparents must file the claim.
    • If the student was married, his/her spouse must file the wrongful death claim.
    • If the student had a child, the child's guardian must file the claim on his/her behalf.

    If the parents of the deceased student abandoned him/her during childhood, they are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Legally, parental abandonment is treated as though the parent is deceased and thus not available to file the claim.

    No matter who must file the claim, Louisiana's statute of limitations requires that the wrongful death suit be filed within one year. If you wait too long to file, you lose your right to compensation.

    Liability for Hazing-Related Deaths

    A wrongful death claim related to hazing may seek damages from:

    • The college or university where the hazing took place
    • The fraternity, sorority, or organization the participants were members of
    • The individuals who took part in the hazing incident

    Criminal charges related to the hazing incident such as charges for alcohol offenses can be used to support your claim. However, since a wrongful death suit is a type of civil action, you can still file even if no one was criminally charged in the hazing death.

    Types of Damages

    A wrongful death claim can include the following damages:

    • Medical expenses before death
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • Loss of future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering in the deceased person's final moments
    • Loss of the deceased person’s companionship and support

    In hazing cases, loss of future earning potential is likely to be the largest part of the settlement. Even though a student may not have been working at the time of death, he/she was presumably training for a professional career. Compensation would be based on the average life expectancy and earning potential of someone with a similar academic major and like performance. Expert testimony is typically needed to establish the value of the deceased person's future earning potential.

    How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to advocating for the needs of those who've lost a loved one due to the negligence of others. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • Do I have a wrongful death claim if my child died from playing with an unsecured firearm?

    Gun violence is tragic in any circumstance, but a child's death due to an unsecured firearm is heartbreaking. If your child was fatally wounded after gaining access to an unsecured firearm, you may have the basis of a valid wrongful death claim. Children and unsecured firearms

    About Firearm-Related Wrongful Death Claims

    Children do not understand the risks involved in handling a firearm. A very young child may associate guns with what he has seen in cartoons and not realize the consequences of a shooting.

    A child who is old enough to understand that guns are dangerous may not fully understand how to safely use a gun. Firearms require special knowledge and training to operate. Accidental shootings involving guns the shooter didn't realize were loaded often occur when preteens or teens gain access to an unsecured weapon.

    Gunshot wounds are classified as grazing injuries, penetrating injuries, or perforating injuries. A bullet that strikes a person but doesn't break the skin is called a grazing injury. A bullet that becomes lodged inside the body after penetrating the skin is called a penetrating injury. A bullet that enters and exits the body at two different points is called a perforating injury. Both penetrating and perforating wounds can be fatal.

    Wrongful death cases are a type of personal injury lawsuit alleging that a person's death was caused by the negligence of the defendant. Children can't be held responsible for their actions to the extent that an adult would be, but someone who doesn't take steps to store guns away from curious children can be held liable for a death that results.

    Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim

    In Louisiana, a wrongful death claim must be filed within one year. The parents of the child must file the claim in most cases. However, parents who are considered to have abandoned their children are not eligible to file. Parental abandonment is treated as though the parent is deceased for the purpose of filing a wrongful death claim.

    If a child's parent is not eligible to file a claim, the surviving siblings must file. If there are no siblings, the claim must be filed by the grandparents.

    Liability for Firearm-Related Deaths

    There are a number of different parties who might be legally responsible for a child's wrongful death from an unsecured firearm:

    • The owners of the home where the child was killed
    • The owner of the unsecured firearm
    • The owners of the business, if the child was killed at a daycare center or other public establishment
    • The parents or guardians of the underage shooter, if the incident involved more than one child

    Criminal Charges and Civil Cases

    In many cases involving the shooting of a child, criminal charges are filed. Any criminal charges related to the incident can be used to support your claim that the defendant was negligent.

    However, it is important to remember that a wrongful death claim is a type of civil action. This means, you can still pursue a case even if no one was criminally charged in the child's death.

    Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Settlement

    No amount of money can ever replace a child's life, but legal action can provide families with a sense of closure regarding the incident. A wrongful death settlement for a child's firearm-related death can include:

    • Medical expenses incurred before death
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • Loss of the child's future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering in the deceased child's final moments
    • Loss of the child's personal care, companionship, and support

    Punitive damages are not awarded in all wrongful death cases, but they can sometimes be included if the circumstances involve especially severe cases of reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter future misbehavior.

    The Value of Skilled Representation

    In any wrongful death claim, it's vital that you work with an experienced attorney who is familiar with Louisiana's personal injury laws. Your attorney will gather evidence to support your claim of negligence, find applicable expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, and work to negotiate the highest possible settlement.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to advocating for the needs of those who've lost a child due to the negligence of others. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • If I’m injured while riding my bicycle, who pays for my damages?

    If you are injured in a bicycle accident, the first step in recovering damages is determining who is at fault. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek damages from multiple parties.  Paying for damages after a bike accident

    Accidents Caused by a Negligent Driver

    If the driver who caused your accident is cited with an offense such as texting while driving, speeding, running a red light, or driving under the influence, you'll have a fairly clear-cut case for negligence when you file a personal injury claim.

    When an accident is caused by a negligent driver, the driver is the person who is financially responsible in the majority of cases. However, if the driver was driving a vehicle that belonged to a third-party, you may have a claim against the vehicle owner. For example, if a driver hits you while he is making deliveries for his employer, you would likely seek damages from the employer because companies are legally responsible for the actions of their workers. Another common example of a third-party claim in a vehicle accident involves negligent entrustment, where someone knowingly allows an unlicensed or unsafe driver to operate his vehicle.

    Accidents Caused by Multiple Parties

    When more than one party is responsible for the accident, you can file a claim against everyone involved to seek damages in accordance with their assigned percentage of fault. The same rule applies if you are partially at fault for the accident. You can still seek to recover damages, but your settlement is reduced by your assigned percentage of fault to reflect your own liability for your injuries.

    Accidents Caused by Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers

    Although liability insurance is required by law, there are still many drivers in Louisiana who do not carry the mandated coverage. Thousands more have only the legal minimum, which may not be adequate if you've been left with serious injuries. If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your own auto policy's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage or Med-Pay coverage may be used to pay for some of your expenses.

    Accidents Caused by Hazardous Road Conditions

    If your bike accident was caused by potholes, cracked pavement, damaged signs, or other evidence of poorly maintained roads, the city or state agency responsible for maintaining the road may be liable for your injuries. In this type of case, it's vital that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are special rules that must be followed when seeking damages from a government agency.

    Accidents Caused by Defective Bicycle Equipment

    Sometimes bike accidents can be the result of equipment on the bike that isn't working properly. For example, your front brake cables may fail and prevent you from stopping in time to prevent an accident. When this happens, you can file a claim against the manufacturer to seek compensation for your resulting accident expenses.

    Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Bike Accident Settlement

    In your personal injury claim, you can seek to be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages. These includes:

    • Medical expenses immediately following the accident
    • Future medical needs, if your injuries have left you with a permanent disability
    • Lost wages from the time you were recovering
    • Loss of future earning potential related to your bike accident injuries
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    Expert testimony will be needed to support your claim for damages if your injuries have left you permanently disabled. Life care planning experts can help estimate the cost of your future medical needs, while economic loss experts can assign a value to the lost future earning potential caused by your disability.

    Protecting Your Right to a Fair Settlement

    Personal injury law is quite complex, and insurance companies are often in no hurry to provide a settlement. The best way to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to move forward with your life is to enlist the services of an experienced attorney. The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can advocate for your needs throughout the process of resolving your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • If I have motorcycle insurance, why hire a lawyer after my accident?

    After sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by another party's negligence, it's in your best interests to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Your insurance may cover some of your losses, but a personal injury claim against the at-fault party is the best way to protect your financial future. When you need a motorcycle attorney

    Let You Focus Fully on Your Recovery

    Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), neck injury and back injuries, and spinal injury. These conditions require extensive rehabilitation and therapy. You may also be struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health symptoms related to the trauma of the accident.

    When you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, he can handle the communication with the insurance company on your behalf. This allows you to direct your full attention on following your doctor's treatment plan.

    Advocate for Your Interests

    Insurance companies are focused on making a profit. Whether or not your settlement adequately compensates you for all of your accident-related expenses is of no concern to them. Without an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer on your side, you risk being offered a settlement that's far too low to pay for all your necessary expenses.

    Caution Against Common Mistakes

    Personal injury law is complex, which means you can accidentally damage your case without knowing it. Consulting a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you avoid the most common mistakes such as allowing your statement to be recorded or signing papers you don't fully understand.

    Negotiate a Lower Percentage of Fault

    Louisiana's comparative fault system allows you to still collect damages in a personal injury claim even if you're partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. However, your settlement is reduced by your percentage of fault.

    If you're partially at fault for the accident, a lawyer's negotiation skills are essential to protecting your right to a fair settlement. There is no set formula that is used to determine fault percentage in a personal injury claim, so your lawyer can increase your compensation by arguing on your behalf for a lower percentage of fault.

    A lawyer's negotiation skills will be particularly helpful if you weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the motorcycle accident. Being in violation of the state's mandatory helmet law will cause the defendant's attorney to argue that you're partially at fault for your injuries, but your lawyer may be able to argue that helmet use is irrelevant because a helmet wouldn't have prevented your injuries.

    Document Your Expenses

    Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you document the reimbursable damages in your case. These include:

    • Medical expenses and disability related to future medical needs
    • Lost wages and loss of future earning potential related to your motorcycle accident disability
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    Expenses you've already incurred can be documented with bills, invoices, and pay stubs, but future expenses will require your lawyer to locate expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf. These experts can help to estimate your future medical expenses, as well as the value of any lost future earning potential.

    Prove Necessary Elements of Your Case

    To receive compensation for your accident-related expenses, you must be able to establish negligence. Your motorcycle lawyer can help you establish the four necessary elements of a successful claim:

    • Duty of care. The other party had a duty to act in a way that reduced the risk of injury to himself and others.
    • Breach of duty. The other party did not live up to expectations for safe behavior while driving.
    • Damages. You suffered injuries and other related damages.
    • Causation. Your damages are the result of the defendant's negligence in causing the accident.

    Contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience assisting Louisiana residents in obtaining the compensation they need to move forward with their lives after suffering motorcycle accident injuries. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations throughout the state.

     

  • Can I seek compensation for dental damages related to my car accident?

    Dental injuries are often an overlooked part of a car accident personal injury claim, even though damage to the teeth can cause severe pain and difficulty eating or speaking. If you've suffered dental injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Dental damage in a car accident

    How Dental Injuries Occur

    In a car accident, dental injuries typically happen when the head or mouth is struck by or strikes an object or portion of the vehicle. This is called a direct injury. Indirect injuries can occur when the mouth closes abruptly and the force causes the teeth in the lower jaw to be crushed by the upper teeth. This is most common in a rear end collision.

    Dental injuries are often accompanied by a concussion, whiplash, or other head and neck injury. Some examples of dental problems caused by a car accident may include:

    • Fractured teeth. Depending on the severity of the facture, a broken tooth may have damage to the enamel, dentin, and pulp layers. Minor fractures can be fixed with cosmetic bonding, but more serious damage may require a root canal and extraction.
    • Avulsed tooth. A tooth can be knocked out of the socket by the force of impact. An avulsed tooth can sometimes be saved but only if treatment is received promptly. Otherwise, veneers or implants will be needed.
    • Tooth luxation. This injury occurs when a tooth is loosened but not knocked all the way out. With tooth luxation, the tooth can be wiggled forward, backward, and sideways. A dentist will need to inspect the mouth for additional damage and push the tooth back into position.

    If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your mouth after a car accident, it's vital that you get a dental exam as soon as possible.

    Types of Damages

    A claim for dental injuries can include the following damages:  

    • The cost of dental care necessary to correct the problem
    • Anticipated future dental expenses, since many dental bridges, dentures, and implants need to be replaced periodically
    • Lost wages, if you had to take time off work to deal with your dental needs
    • Pain and suffering

    Due to the cost of anticipated future dental expenses, dental damage claims tend to be highest for younger people who will be expected to require more replacement work over the course of their lifetime.

    Proving Damages

    An X-ray is the most common way to prove damages in this type of personal injury claim. X-rays can show the injury to your teeth and give an indication of what must be done to correct the problem. Comparing X-rays from after the accident with X-rays from a previous dental appointment can establish that your injuries are the result of the car accident and not a preexisting problem.

    Taking extensive photos of your teeth before and after any corrective work is also recommended. Since the majority of your work will likely be completed before you reach a settlement, photos help the court visualize the full extent of your injuries.

    Expert testimony is used in many types of personal injury claims involving ongoing medical expenses. If your dental injuries will result in the need for future replacement work, expert testimony can help accurately estimate this cost.

    Cases Involving Partially at-Fault Drivers

    If you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can still file a claim to seek compensation for your dental damages. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you were determined to be 25% at fault for the accident, you'll receive 75% of the amount you would have been entitled to if the other driver was 100% at fault.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    In any personal injury case, the best way to ensure your right to a fair settlement is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are focused on maintaining their profits, not providing you with the compensation you need to adequately pay for your dental damage. A skilled attorney can assess the worth of your case, line up the necessary evidence, and negotiate on your behalf for the highest possible settlement.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping injured Louisiana residents resolve their car accident personal injury claims. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review at one of our six convenient office locations.

     

  • How are future medical costs calculated when a car accident leaves me permanently disabled?

    Injuries suffered in a serious auto accident can create a significant financial burden, especially when you've been left with a disability that requires ongoing care. Obtaining an accurate estimate of future medical costs is essential to ensure a fair personal injury settlement. Calculating future medical expenses

    Including Future Medical Expenses in a Settlement

    Some examples of car accident injuries that may result in the need for ongoing medical care include:

    Some of the various forms of medical costs you may need to consider include:

    • Surgery
    • Lab tests
    • Follow-up visits
    • Prescription medication
    • Rehabilitation and therapy
    • Special medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, and prosthetics
    • Need for home healthcare or placement in a nursing facility
    • Transportation costs related to seeking medical care from specialists who may not live near you
    • Modifications to the home environment for handicapped accessibility
    • Need for counseling to deal with the emotional trauma associated with your injuries

    Loss of future earning potential and pain and suffering compensation will also be higher in cases involving seriously disabling injuries. However, these categories of damages are calculated separately.

    Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement

    A personal injury claim should only be settled after you've reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This is the point at which your condition has stabilized enough that your healthcare provider can make a reasonable prediction about your future medical needs.

    The time necessary to reach MMI can vary, with some victims requiring a year or more to have their condition stabilize. However, it's important not to rush to a quick judgement. When you've suffered a serious injury, unforeseen complications can occur early in the healing process.

    Calculating the Cost of Future Medical Care

    The cost of medical care is increasing at a rapid rate, and for many middle-class families, healthcare costs are growing faster than wages. For this reason, anticipated future medical expenses should be estimated by several different experts. Some factors to be considered include:

    • The extent of your injury
    • Your future prognosis
    • Treatment goals you've already established
    • Your age
    • Your general health before the accident
    • Trends in healthcare inflation related to your geographic area and your specific injury

    There are two general approaches to calculating future medical needs: total lifestyle and additional expenses. A total lifestyle approach looks at all related costs to maintain a quality of life that is near what you enjoyed before the accident, while an additional expenses approach is focused more on specific costs related to your injuries. A total lifestyle approach is used when the injury has affected your ability to live independently such as when you've suffered a serious brain injury or paralysis.

    To support your claim for damages, you'll need testimony from healthcare providers experienced in the treatment of patients with injuries that are similar to yours, as well as life care planning experts who are experienced in calculating the cost of specific procedures given current inflation rates. A life care planning expert will estimate expenses in several different categories, then calculate a discount rate to bring the future trajectory of medical costs to the appropriate present value.

    If you were partially at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. This is intended to reflect your own financial liability for your future medical costs.

    Importance of Obtaining Legal Representation

    When a personal injury claim involves injuries that will require ongoing medical care, it's important not to rush to a quick settlement. Once you've accepted a settlement, you're not allowed to ask for additional funds if your treatment needs turn out to be more expensive than you've expected.

    An experienced personal injury attorney will conduct the research necessary to adequately assess the worth of your case, line up relevant expert testimony, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. This allows you to direct your attention to meeting the treatment goals outlined by your healthcare provider.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to advocating for the needs of Louisiana residents who've been left with permanent disabilities as the result of another driver's negligence. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • What are the rules for firing employees who are on workers' compensation?

    If you're seeking workers' compensation benefits, you may be wondering if this will affect your employment. Although employers aren't allowed to fire you simply because you've filed for workers' compensation, you can still be legally terminated under certain circumstances.  Being fired while on workers' comp

    Retaliatory Termination

    Retaliatory termination means that your employer has fired you as punishment for seeking workers' compensation benefits. Retaliatory termination is illegal under Louisiana law. Your workers' compensation benefits are a legal entitlement for any workplace injury, even if your own inexperience or carelessness caused the accident.

    If you are the victim of a retaliation, you can file a wrongful discharge lawsuit against your employer. However, you must file your claim within one year of the retaliatory action. A wrongful discharge suit can allow you to recover up to one year's worth of lost wages.

    Valid Reasons for Termination

    Most workers in Louisiana are classified as at-will employees, which means they can quit or be terminated at any time. Some examples of valid reasons your position could be terminated as an at-will employee include:

    • There were previous issues with poor performance before your injury.
    • You violated an established company policy, such as mishandling confidential information.
    • You engaged in misconduct, such as theft or failing a workplace drug screening.
    • The company is having financial problems and needs to cut staff.
    • The company is being restructured and your position is being eliminated.

    If you belong to a labor union, there may be a collective bargaining agreement that specifically outlines the reasons you can be terminated.

    If you're a contract employee, you can only be terminated for the reasons listed in your contract. For example, it's common for workers to have a clause in their contract saying they can be terminated if they're unable to work for an extended period of type—such as three to six months. In this case, the employer generally has a legal reason to terminate the contract even if the worker isn't able to return to work due to an injury.

    Termination Related to Work Restrictions

    Some types of injuries will come with permanent work restrictions. If you have permanent restrictions, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires your employer to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to continue your employment. Examples might include allowing you extra breaks or having an ergonomic workstation that limits the time spent sitting or standing.

    If your restrictions prevent you from performing your job entirely, you can be terminated. For example, if your job involves a great deal of heavy lifting and you can no longer lift more than 10 pounds, there is no way to reasonably accommodate your needs. In this case, your termination would make you eligible for vocational retraining and permanent disability payments.

    What to Do After a Termination

    If you are fired after seeking workers' compensation benefits, you should:

    • Inquire about the specific reasons for your termination. 
    • Ask who made the decision to fire you.
    • Request to review your personnel file.
    • Negotiate for the highest possible severance package, including continuation of medical and dental benefits.
    • Confirm all promises regarding your severance package in writing.
    • Decline any offer that you resign instead of being terminated

    It is understandable to be angry about a termination, but it's important to keep calm. Do not act on any negative impulses regarding your employer. Verbal outbursts, physical aggression, or damage caused to company property will only limit your options for legal action against the company.

    How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    Being fired after filing a workers' compensation claim isn't necessarily illegal, but a termination that occurs shortly after your injury should be viewed with suspicion. If you believe you've been fired in retaliation for accessing your legally entitled workers' compensation benefits, it's in your best interests to consult an experienced attorney immediately.

    Please call the experienced legal team of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review. Appointments are available at one of six locations throughout the state. You can also contact us online and we will be certain to be in contact.

     

  • Why are building code violations important in a slip and fall claim?

    If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident related to a facility's poor maintenance, proof of building code violations can be used to support your claim for damages. Building codes as evidence in a slip and fall

    Building Code Violations as Evidence in a Slip and Fall Claim

    Winning a slip and fall claim requires proving four elements:

    • Duty. The defendant was required to provide a reasonably safe environment.
    • Breach of duty. The defendant created a safety hazard.
    • Causation. The breach of duty caused your slip and fall accident.
    • Damages. The slip and fall resulted in injury-related expenses.

    Building code violations, assuming they are related to the circumstances that caused your injury, are valuable evidence in a slip and fall claim because they provide proof that the defendant failed to provide a reasonably safe environment for visitors to the property. They can also be used to refute accusations that your own carelessness contributed to your injury.

    Examples of building code violations that could lead you to slip and fall include:

    • Stairs with missing or defective handrails
    • Broken or uneven staircases
    • Steps that are too high
    • Steps that are too deep
    • Blocked or improperly marked exit doors
    • Improper handicapped access

    Learning About Code Violations for a Specific Property

    Building codes regulate how buildings are constructed in the name of protecting public safety. They address issues such as building design and durability, as well as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They also designate that buildings must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, have emergency escape routes, and hold to practices that reduce the risk of occupant injury.

    Building inspectors rely on code books, which are public record and available at your local town hall, city planning department, or records building. In some cases, building codes may also be online. Typically, local building codes are designed to follow the International Building Code (IBC) standard.

    In addition to learning of problems via a building inspection, code violations can also come about as the result of complaints from tenants, visitors, and others who have conducted business on the property.

    Both citations and convictions for building code violations can be used as evidence in a slip and fall case, although a conviction will be the most beneficial. The building code department and/or local municipal court can provide updates related to specific violations. 

    Supporting Evidence

    Although building code violations can be excellent evidence in a slip and fall claim, they are not enough to build your case on their own. Ideally, you want to provide photos of the accident scene, as well as testimony from witnesses to the accident or others who knew about the unsafe conditions that caused your slip and fall. If you were injured in an establishment monitored with surveillance cameras, this footage can also be used to support your claim.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    Personal injury claims related to slip and fall accidents can include compensation for several types of damages:

    • Medical expenses. This includes emergency care and any necessary follow-up visits, as well as the cost of anticipated future medical needs related to your injuries
    • Lost wages. You can seek reimbursement for lost wages while you were recovering from your injuries, as well as loss of future earning potential.
    • Pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering compensation is intended to reimburse you for both the physical pain and emotional trauma related to the incident.

    The best way to protect your right to compensation after a slip and fall accident is to retain the services of a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney with experience in slip and fall claims can help you assess the value of your case, gather evidence of building code violations to support your claim for damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

    The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered slip and fall injuries resolve their personal injury claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost to protect your right to compensation. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • What do I need to prove to have a successful motorcycle accident case?

    Motorcycle accidents often involve serious and permanently disabling injuries, which is why it's vital that you protect your right to compensation by filing a personal injury claim within Louisiana's one-year statute of limitations. Filing promptly will allow you ample time to gather the necessary evidence to support your case. Winning a motorcycle accident claim

    Elements of a Personal Injury Case

    Any successful personal injury claim rests on your ability to prove negligence. Legally, negligence refers to failing to exercise a duty of care that meets the standards of a reasonable person. In terms of a motorcycle accident, negligence would involve actions such as speeding, running a stop sign, failing to signal a turn, distracted driving, or drunk driving.

    As the plaintiff, you must establish the following four elements.

    • Duty of care. The defendant had a duty to act in a way that reduces the risk of injury to himself and others.
    • Breach of duty. The defendant did not live up to expectations for safe behavior.
    • Damages. You suffered specific injuries and other related expenses.
    • Causation. Your damages are the result of the defendant's actions and not attributable to some other cause.

    Comparative Fault

    Louisiana uses a comparative fault system to assign responsibility for personal injury expenses. If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, you can still collect damages. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    One common way in which motorcyclists are determined to be partially at fault is by not wearing a helmet. Since helmets are legally required and proven to reduce the risk of head injuries, you will likely to be found partially at fault if you weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. However, if you suffered no neck or head injuries despite your lack of a helmet, your failure to wear a helmet will be considered legally irrelevant.

    Available Damages

    Your damages in a motorcycle accident personal injury case can include compensation for:

    • Medical expenses, including emergency room care
    • Future medical needs, if your motorcycle injuries have left you with a permanent disability
    • Lost wages from the time you were recovering
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    Value of Expert Testimony

    Expert testimony is valuable in any personal injury case but can prove particularly important in a motorcycle accident claim. Experts are people with advanced training and specialized experience who can submit testimony to support various aspects of your claim. For example:

    • Accident reconstruction to prove fault
    • Medical experts to prove your injuries were caused by the accident
    • Life care planning experts to estimate anticipated future medical costs
    • Economic loss experts to estimate anticipated lost income due to a disability that prevents you from returning to work

    Insurance Policy Limits

    In most cases, the size of your motorcycle accident settlement is limited by the available insurance. While jury verdicts can and do exceed the limits of insurance policies, collecting is often impossible if the defendant has no other assets. However, Louisiana law requires all drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM or UIM) unless they waive this option in writing. Therefore, your own insurance coverage may be able to provide additional reimbursement.

    Protecting Your Rights

    Motorcycle cases can be challenging because of the mistaken belief that riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous. When motorcyclists are perceived as being careless with their personal safety, it becomes more difficult for them to get the compensation they deserve.

    The best way to protect your right to a fair settlement is to enlist the services of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can advocate for your needs throughout the process of resolving your claim. The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered motorcycle accident injuries receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.