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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  • What happens if a defective GPS causes an accident?

    Relying too heavily on a Global Positioning System (GPS) device or smartphone app to provide directions can have a serious downside. GPS information may not always be accurate, which means you could be placing yourself or others at risk of a car accident. Car accidents caused by a GPS

    How Your GPS Can Lead To A Car Accident

    A GPS is a network of satellites that can calculate your location by transmitting signals to a receiver and using a process known as trilateration to determine where you are using at least three satellites in the network. The military has been using GPS technology since 1960, but GPS devices weren't available to the general public until 2000 and didn't become widespread until the last decade.

    GPS devices and navigation apps typically have disclaimers that indicate the data they provide may be imperfect. It is vital that drivers pay close attention to road signs and their surroundings to avoid an accident.

    Some examples of how a GPS can cause an accident with incorrect or outdated navigation information include:

    • Being instructed to turn the wrong way down a one-way road
    • Being instructed to drive off a demolished bridge
    • Being instructed to drive into a river
    • Being instructed to drive into a construction zone
    • Using a GPS as a pedestrian and being told to walk onto a highway

    It may seem that reasonable people would not follow directions that put them in peril, but many people have more confidence in a machine than in their own navigation skills. Others don't realize they've made a mistake until it's too late.

    GPS use can also cause accidents by contributing to distracted driving behavior. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that programming a GPS while driving is just as risky as texting while driving—which increases your crash risk by up to 23 times.

    Liability For Car Accidents Involving GPS

    The law is murky surrounding liability for car accidents involving a faulty GPS. The current legal system is based on the notion that drivers bear primary responsibility for crashes, but the widespread use of GPS is changing the standard of what counts as reasonable behavior on the part of a driver.

    In most cases, manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their product is safe and works as intended. However, claiming a specific duty on the part of the GPS mapmaker would open up the door to nearly unlimited liability. Additionally, there is some debate on whether GPS units constitute a product or service. If a GPS is a service, product liability law doesn't apply.

    Holding manufacturers liable for a faulty GPS can be difficult because it can be argued that disregarding the visual cues associated with the road in front of you is equivalent to a misuse of the product and, thus, voids the warranty.

    States such as Louisiana use a comparative fault system to determine responsibility for crashes. Many experts believe that this approach may become common in cases where faulty GPS data contributed to the accident. In a comparative fault scenario, the GPS manufacturer would be partially responsible for providing incorrect data, and the driver would be responsible for a percentage of the damages based on his inattention to his surroundings.

    Receiving Compensation For Your Injuries

    If you've been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses. Damages you can recover include:

    • Emergency medical care and any necessary follow-up appointments
    • Anticipated future medical costs, if you've been left permanently disabled
    • Lost wages from the time you were unable to work due to your injuries
    • Loss of future earning potential related to a permanent disability

    The best way to protect your right to compensation following a car accident is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help you determine who may be financially responsible for your injuries, accurately assess the value of your claim, gather evidence to support your case, line up applicable expert witnesses, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Is choking a sign of nursing home neglect?

    The National Safety Council reports that choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death, with over half of all victims being more than 74 years of age. Countless other cases result in permanent cognitive impairment. Choking and nursing home neglect

    If your loved one has suffered a choking-related accident in a nursing home, this may be considered a form of nursing home neglect. As such, compensation may be available.

    Risk Factors for Choking Among Nursing Home Residents

    To some extent, it's normal for people to have trouble swallowing food as they age. This is due to the continued wear and tear associated with daily use of the throat muscles. However, a number of other conditions can also cause problems with choking while eating, including:

    • Dementia
    • Alzheimer's Disease
    • Parkinson's Disease
    • Muscular Dystrophy
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Lou Gehrig's Disease
    • Stroke
    • Cancer-associated radiation treatment

    Having dentures or being diagnosed with dysphagia (the medical term for difficulty swallowing) also increases the risk of choking in nursing home residents.

    Choking-Related Injuries

    Choking is dangerous because it affects the flow of air to the lungs. Choking can be partial or complete, with someone who is partially choking having limited air flow and someone who is completely choking receiving no oxygen at all.

    A choking episode that is quickly treated may result in no permanent harm. However, if the brain goes just two minutes without enough oxygen, permanent brain damage can result. In three minutes without treatment, choking can be fatal.

    Choking Prevention and Treatment

    A nursing home is legally responsible for providing a safe environment for residents who are unable to properly care for themselves. When a senior is known to be at risk for choking, preventative measures must be taken to minimize the danger.

    The risk of choking can be reduced in the following ways:

    • Providing close supervision during mealtime or assistance with feeding
    • Serving food that is soft and easy to swallow
    • Making sure food is cut into very small pieces
    • Changing a senior's position to reduce the risk of choking
    • Implementing a pureed diet
    • Initiating a feeding tube

    When someone is coughing forcefully after eating, encouraging continued coughing is often enough to stop an episode of choking. However, when the person is unable to cough, speak, or breathe, immediate attention is necessary. The Heimlich maneuver can be performed until the food is expelled. If the person becomes unresponsive, he should be lowered to the ground for CPR.

    Proving Nursing Home Neglect

    Although some cases of choking-related injuries do qualify as tragic accidents, many are due to negligence. Untrained, inattentive, or overworked staff may fail to provide the necessary supervision and precautionary measures required by law.

    To prove that choking is related to nursing home neglect, you must establish the following:

    • The nursing home owed the senior a duty of care.
    • The nursing home breached the duty of care to the senior by doing something it shouldn't have done or failing to take basic safety precautions to prevent choking.
    • The senior suffered harm as a result of this breach of duty.

    Evidence used in a nursing home neglect case may include medical records, testimony from staff, testimony from family members, expert witnesses, and/or surveillance video.

    Types of Compensation Available

    A nursing home neglect case can include compensation for the cost of medical treatment related to the incident, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental pain and suffering. If the choking incident results in a fatality, a wrongful death suit can be filed to seek compensation for medical expenses up to the time of death, funeral and burial costs, and loss of companionship. When the conduct forming the basis of the suit shows extreme negligence, punitive damages may also be awarded.

    Seeking Legal Representation

    Nursing home neglect cases can be quite complex, which means that skilled legal representation is a must. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are committed to helping Louisiana residents receive justice for a loved one who has been harmed as the result of nursing home neglect. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • Who pays for my car accident injuries?

    If you've been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the method of compensation may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Paying for car accident injuries

    At-Fault Driver's Automobile Insurance

    The at-fault driver should carry liability insurance to compensate you for your accident-related expenses. However, many Louisiana residents only carry the minimum coverage required by the state. This includes:

    • $15,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of a single person
    • $25,000 in insurance coverage for property damage, including damage to vehicles
    • $30,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of multiple people in a single auto accident

    As you might expect, serious car accident injuries can easily exceed these policy limits. If you've suffered burns, internal bleeding, or organ damage, your related expenses can be substantial.

    At-Fault Driver's Personal Assets

    If a driver has insufficient insurance coverage, you can attempt to collect damages by suing the driver personally. This option is most feasible when the at-fault driver has property, investments, or other assets that you can use as a source of funds for the settlement. However, unless the driver is extremely wealthy, you may end up waiting several years for your funds. Payments in these types of cases are most often made in installments.

    Your Own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    Your own insurance can be used to help bridge the gap between the driver's coverage and your actual damages. Louisiana law requires all drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage unless they’ve specifically waived this option in writing, so the vast majority of drivers within the state are covered.

    UM or UIM policies are typically issued at the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000. However, different limits can be requested.

    UM or UIM coverage applies to all vehicle occupants. This means, if you're injured as a passenger in someone else's vehicle, the driver's UM or UIM coverage can be used to pay for your injuries.

    Your Own MedPay Coverage

    MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, or PIP, is a type of auto insurance that can be used to pay for accident-related medical expenses regardless of fault. This includes emergency care, surgery, follow-up visits, medication, physical therapy, and other related costs. It alleviates the burden of being asked to pay for expenses out of pocket while a personal injury claim is still pending, since many people have health insurance plans with high deductibles or those that specifically exclude car accidents from coverage.

    If it's later determined that someone else is responsible for your expenses, your insurer will try to collect reimbursement for the benefits they've paid. The legal term for this is subrogation.

    Employer Liability

    Car accidents that occur while you're working are compensated under workers' compensation, regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident. However, accidents occurring during your commute or on your lunch break are generally not covered.

    Manufacturer Liability

    If an accident was caused by vehicle failure such as faulty brakes, airbags, or power steering, the manufacturer may be held liable for accident-related expenses. These types of cases rely heavily on experts to establish the true cause of the accident.

    Governmental Liability

    Governmental liability for auto accidents is rare but can be a factor if an accident is caused by poorly maintained roads. This would include potholes, missing signage, broken guardrails, uneven shoulders, or visual obstructions due to improper trimming of nearby trees or bushes. In these cases, the agency responsible for the roads may be liable for your expenses.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    Whenever you're having difficulty finding sources of compensation for accident-related expenses, retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney is highly recommended. Your attorney can gather documentation of your expenses, line up relevant expert testimony, and advise on the most feasible sources of funding for your settlement.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What should I do after an accident caused by a tailgating driver?

    Tailgating is often cited as a top factor in auto accidents, with experts estimating that as many as one-third of all car crashes involve tailgating as a contributing factor. Accidents caused by tailgating

    About Tailgating

    Following distances are a vital part of safe driving because stopping requires that you consider the combined effects of perception distance, reaction distance, and braking distance. The Louisiana DMV recommends using the "three second" rule to help you maintain a safe following distance. Choose an object in front of you such as a tree or road sign. When the vehicle in front of you passes this landmark, start counting seconds. If it takes less than three seconds for you to reach the same landmark, you're following too closely and should adjust your speed accordingly.

    Tailgating is the term most often used to described following another vehicle too closely. In a literal sense, a driver is riding the tail of the vehicle in front of him. Tailgating can occur for a number of different reasons but is often attributed to driver inexperience, impatience, or distraction. Tailgating is also linked to road rage and aggressive driving, since following too closely is seen as a way to intimidate or frighten other drivers.

    Injuries Associated With Tailgating Accidents

    Tailgating is extremely dangerous because a driver doesn't have adequate space to stop if the vehicle in front of him slows down or brakes suddenly. When a tailgating driver rear ends a vehicle, he is almost always determined to be at fault for the accident.

    Common injuries associated with tailgating accidents include:

    • Whiplash
    • Concussion
    • Facial cuts and lacerations
    • Seat-belt related injuries to the neck and chest
    • Sprains and strains
    • Back and spinal cord injuries

    Signs of injury may not be immediately obvious, due to the adrenaline rush the body receives after a trauma. Even if you feel fine after an accident, it is best to be evaluated by a medical professional as a precautionary measure.

    What to Do After an Accident

    Steps to take after an auto accident include:

    • Provide basic first aid for those who are injured, but don't move anyone who is unconscious or complaining of neck or back pain unless an immediate hazard requires intervention. Moving someone with these symptoms can inadvertently create more serious injuries.
    • Call the police for assistance, providing a description of your location as well as any injuries requiring medical care.
    • Exchange insurance information with the other driver and contact information with any witnesses.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene, if you have your cell phone or a camera handy. Make notes to help you remember key details.
    • Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

    One thing you should never do after an auto accident is speculate as to who is responsible. Even if you think you were speeding or somehow contributed to the accident, do not admit fault. It's best to simply stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police or your insurance company.

    How to Protect Your Legal Rights

    Filing a personal injury claim protects your right to compensation for accident-related expenses. These can include:

    • Medical care such as emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and follow-up appointments
    • Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident has left you permanently disabled
    • Lost wages while you were unable to work during your recovery period
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled as the result of your injuries
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    Since personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, there are no up-front costs associated with retaining legal representation.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What does causation mean in a medical malpractice claim?

    Establishing causation is a key element in a successful medical malpractice case, since the legal definition of malpractice requires a link between fault and injury. If you can't prove that your injuries or damages are the result of a healthcare provider's negligence, you won't be eligible for compensation. Medical malpractice causation

    Cause in Fact or Actual Cause

    Cause in fact or actual cause is a type of causation in which the plaintiff's injuries are viewed as a foreseeable result of the defendant's actions. This is sometimes called the "but for" test: the patient would not have been injured but for the healthcare provider's malpractice.

    Proving cause in fact or actual cause is often difficult. For example, the elderly, children, and people with compromised immune systems are more at risk for hospital acquired infections than other people. Even if all members of their healthcare team take reasonable precautions to prevent infection, patients may still become ill. Or, if the infection occurs less than 48 hours after being admitted to the hospital, it may be due to a completely unrelated cause.

    Proximate Cause

    Proximate cause considers whether it's possible that other factors may have contributed to the plaintiff's injury. Proximate cause may become a factor in a malpractice claim when the patient suffers from a serious illness that could have worsened even if the doctor or healthcare provider had followed standard medical practices to the letter.

    For example, proximate cause might be an issue in a malpractice claim if you're seeking compensation for a delayed cancer diagnosis or a mistake in the administration of chemotherapy drugs. It's not enough to simply prove that the provider made a mistake in handling your medical care. You must demonstrate that this mistake affected the outcome of your case. If your cancer was already advanced or of a difficult type to treat, the defendant may argue that deviations from care can't be linked to your current condition.

    Res Ipsa Loquitur

    The legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur, which comes from a Latin phrase meaning “the thing speaks for itself,” applies when a patient's injury is one that wouldn't normally occur without negligence. For example, if a patient suffers injuries from having a surgical tool or sponge left inside after a procedure was performed, this type of error would not have happened if proper protocols were followed.

    Proving Causation With Expert Witnesses

    Proving causation in a medical malpractice case can be quite complicated. Typically, you'll need to have several expert witnesses testify on your behalf. These experts should have training in a medical specialty related to your condition and be able to offer insight into diagnosis, treatment, and how errors would affect patient outcomes. If you were treated by a team of providers, experts may be needed to establish that the defendant is the provider who made the mistake constituting the basis of your claim.

    The Value of Experienced Legal Representation

    Winning a malpractice case requires you to successfully prove that the defendant, while acting in a professional capacity as a healthcare provider, caused injury or other damages to you as the result of violating the medical standard of care for treating your condition. If you can prove these elements, you'll be awarded compensation for:

    • The cost of medical care related to the malpractice injury, as well as any applicable future medical needs
    • Lost wages during your recovery and any applicable loss of future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering

    Malpractice cases are generally settled out of court, but insurance companies are known for being more interested in protecting their bottom line than in offering adequate compensation. To protect your right to a fair settlement, hiring a skilled medical malpractice attorney is a must.

    The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are dedicated to assisting Louisiana residents who've been the victims of medical malpractice obtain the compensation they're legally entitled to receive. Call to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

     

  • What determines the standard of care for medical malpractice claims?

    In a malpractice case, establishing the standard of care is a crucial part of proving negligence. For a doctor or care provider to be negligent, he must have deviated from the expected action of a reasonable professional in his position.  Standard of care in malpractice claims

    Defining the Standard of Care

    The standard of care refers to the actions that should have been taken by a provider in the defendant's field of expertise, given the patient's symptoms at the time of treatment. The standard of care is sometimes referred to as the customary practices of the average physician.

    Some examples of conduct that would be consistent with the standard of care include:

    • Checking for potential drug interactions before prescribing a new medication
    • Discontinuing medication if the patient reports dangerous side effects
    • Obtaining informed consent for a risky experimental treatment
    • Taking precautions to prevent falls in patients who complain of dizziness or fainting spells
    • Ordering an MRI or a CT scan to check for bruising or bleeding in the brain after a patient reports symptoms that could indicate a concussion
    • Ordering a biopsy of a suspicious mole or skin growth
    • Following up on abnormal lab test results
    • Monitoring a surgical wound for signs of infection throughout the recovery period
    • Referring a patient who expresses thoughts of self-harm or suicide for a full psychiatric evaluation
    • Referring a patient to a different care provider if the patient's condition is outside the doctor’s area of professional expertise

    In a malpractice case, expert testimony is used to establish the standard of care. This means, doctors or care providers practicing in the same specialty will testify as to what tests should have been ordered, how a procedure should have been performed, or how complications should have been addressed. In cases where there is a difference of opinion among members of the medical community, several different experts will likely be called to testify on both sides.

    Accounting for Complications in Standard Medical Treatment

    When determining if you have a valid malpractice case, it's important to keep in mind that the term standard of care recognizes that even a well-trained doctor or care provider who does everything by the book can't guarantee a perfect outcome. Complications and poor outcomes are sometimes unavoidable given the limitations of modern medicine. A case only qualifies as malpractice if the defendant's action or lack of action is the cause of the plaintiff's condition.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    To receive compensation in a malpractice case, you must establish the following four key elements:

    • The defendant owed you a duty of care while acting in a professional capacity as a healthcare provider.
    • The defendant violated the standard of care when treating your condition.
    • You have suffered an injury resulting in compensable expenses.
    • Your injury was caused by the defendant's violation of the standard of care.

    If you can prove these elements, you're entitled to compensation for the following expenses:

    • Medical care related to the malpractice injury
    • Anticipated future medical needs, if your injury has left you permanently disabled
    • Loss of wages from the time you were unable to work due to your injury
    • Loss of future earning potential, if your injury has left you permanently disabled
    • Pain and suffering

    If the malpractice resulted in a patient's death, eligible family members can file a malpractice claim seeking compensation for medical expenses up to the time of death, funeral and burial costs, loss of the decedent's future earnings, and loss of future companionship with their loved one.

    Although the vast majority of malpractice cases are settled out of court, insurance companies are typically more interested in protecting their bottom line than in providing injured patients with adequate compensation. To protect your rights, hiring a skilled medical malpractice attorney is essential.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've been the victims of medical malpractice receive the maximum compensation they're entitled to under the law. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.

     

  • How does comparative negligence affect a slip and fall claim?

    If you sustain injuries in any type of slip and fall accident, can may be left with significant expenses. However, if you're determined to be partially at fault for your injuries, your ability to recover damages will be limited. Comparative negligence in slip and falls

    Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

    A property owner isn't automatically considered liable for your slip and fall injuries. To receive damages in a slip and fall case, you must establish the following:

    • The property owner had a duty to provide reasonably safe conditions.
    • The property owner failed to provide reasonably safe conditions.
    • The property owner's actions or lack of action caused your injuries.
    • Your injuries resulted in a financial loss.

    Examples of cases where a property owner would likely be found liable for your resulting injuries include:

    • Failing to post warnings about slippery floors or other safety hazards
    • Using excessive amounts of wax or floor polish, or applying these materials unevenly
    • Neglecting property maintenance such as leaving cracked tiles or loose carpeting as a tripping hazard
    • Using inadequate lighting that makes it hard to see hazardous areas
    • Leaving debris on stairs
    • Missing or broken handrails
    • Violating building codes related to tripping hazards

    Types of Compensation Awarded

    If you can satisfactorily meet the burden of proof, you're entitled to receive compensation for the following accident-related damages:

    • Medical expenses such as emergency care, surgery, hospital stays, medication, and physical therapy 
    • Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident left you permanently disabled
    • Lost wages from the time you were unable to work during your recovery
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    You must provide appropriate documentation for the damages you're seeking. This includes medical bills and copies of pay stubs, as well as applicable statements from experts to estimate the value of future medical expenses and loss of future earning potential. Pain and suffering compensation is most often calculated as a multiplier of your medical expenses, so that serious or permanently disabling injuries receive the highest compensation.

    How Comparative Negligence Affects a Claim

    Comparative negligence is a method of determining how each party's actions contributed to a specific event. In a slip and fall case, comparative negligence can be an issue if the other party believes your own carelessness was the cause of your injuries.

    You might be considered partially at fault for your injuries in a slip and fall case if:

    • You were texting while walking.
    • You were jumping, running, or skipping.
    • You were engaged in horseplay with another person.
    • You ignoring posted warning signs stating that the floor was wet or slippery.
    • You jumped over a barrier intended to keep people away from a specific area due to hazardous conditions.
    • You failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury such as using a handrail when going down stairs.

    If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 25% at fault and would otherwise have received $100,00, you'd only receive $75,000.

    The Value of Experienced Legal Representation

    Obtaining legal representation is always recommended in a slip and fall case, but it becomes vital when comparative negligence questions are raised. Since there is no one set formula used to determine comparative fault, having an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf can often result in a lower fault percentage assigned to your case. A lower fault percentage can significantly increase your settlement offer, especially when your case involves serious or permanently disabling injuries.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Slip And Fall?

    If you've been hurt in a slip and fall you need to speak with an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Who is liable for injuries caused when a police chase leads to an accident?

    A police chase may be exciting to watch on television, but being an innocent bystander during a chase can be extremely frightening. If you've suffered injuries as the result of a chase, consulting an attorney is the best way to determine how to protect your right to compensation. When you're hurt in a police chase

    Potential Liability of Chased Suspect

    In most cases, the chased suspect is liable for a bystander's injuries because all drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. When a suspect is speeding, swerving, failing to stop at traffic lights, or engaged in other reckless behavior associated with a police chase, he's neglecting to fulfill this duty.

    However, a chased suspect's insurance policy is likely to fight any claim resulting from chase-related injuries. It's becoming more common for insurance policies to have language that specifically prohibits coverage for "damages caused by intentional and criminal acts." Even though Louisiana law generally favors protecting injured persons, this provision is considered acceptable because of a long-standing tradition of rulings "prohibiting persons from insuring themselves against their own intentional or criminal acts."

    When the insurance company refuses to pay for your car accident related expenses, you can attempt to collect from the driver's personal assets. However, a criminal suspect may not have any viable assets. In this case, you'd turn to your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as a last resort.

    Potential Liability of Police Officers

    Because of the unique nature of their jobs, police officers are given broad authority to carry out their duties. This grants them legal protections not afforded to an ordinary motorist.

    To reduce the risk of injury during a police chase, officers are required to undergo high-performance training that simulates various road and highway conditions encountered during a chase. This allows officers to master skills such as high-speed cornering or driving a car that's skidding out of control.

    Despite law enforcement’s authority and special training, an officer's conduct isn’t always justified. Before continuing on a chase, police officers are supposed to consider a number of factors and make an educated decision regarding the most responsible course of action:

    • Nature of the suspect's offense
    • If there are safer alternatives available
    • Weather conditions that would affect the case
    • Traffic and road conditions
    • Potential risk the chase poses to the public
    • Danger the suspect poses to the community

    If an officer initiates a chase for a low-level offense when a safer alternative was available, he may be found liable for injuries. However, if the chase was necessary to apprehend a murderer or someone who posed a serious safety risk, the officer's conduct would be more likely viewed as justifiable.

    If a police officer is found to be liable for your injuries, you won't collect damages from the officer personally; rather, the city or agency employing the officer would be responsible for his actions. Keep in mind that a chase involving a suspect determined to be a serious safety threat may involve officers from several different law enforcement organizations. 

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    If you've been injured in a police chase, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's experienced personal injury attorneys can help you decide how to best seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. During your free, no-obligation initial consultation, you should provide a detailed account of the accident. This includes the following details:

    • The date, time, and location of the chase
    • The direction you were traveling or where you were standing
    • When you first noticed the chased suspect and the police car
    • The actions you took to avoid the vehicles or get out of the way
    • Who hit you or your vehicle
    • Your immediate symptoms of injury
    • Any witnesses to the accident

    If you decide to proceed after the initial consultation, your case will be accepted on a contingency fee basis. This means there will be no upfront cost for legal representation.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What damages can I recover in a motorcycle accident case?

    Motorcycle accidents can result in serious or life-threatening injuries, creating a significant financial burden. However, if your accident was caused by another party's negligence, you may be able recover some of your accident-related expenses by filing a personal injury claim. Compensation after a motorcycle accident

    Medical Expenses

    Medical expenses from a motorcycle accident include all of the care involved in treating your injuries, including:

    • Ambulance transportation
    • Emergency room visit
    • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRIs
    • Surgery
    • Painkillers
    • Crutches or other assistive devices
    • Physical therapy
    • Follow-up care

    Medical expenses can be documented by providing copies of billing statements received from the hospital or your insurance company.

    Estimated Future Medical Needs

    If the motorcycle accident has left you with a permanent disability, you may be facing substantial future medical costs. The estimated cost of your care, as documented by your doctor and other relevant experts, can be included in your claim.

    Lost Income

    Lost income includes all of the time you were unable to work during your recovery. Time missed after you returned to work to attend follow-up doctor visits can also be included. You can document this loss by showing pay stubs or proof of sick leave or vacation pay used during this time period.

    If your injuries have left you unable to return to work, working only part-time, or working in a lower paying occupation, you can seek damages for loss of future earning potential. Since it's difficult to calculate the loss of hypothetical future wages, you'll need an economic loss or vocational expert to testify on your behalf.

    When you're self-employed, lost income includes lost earnings from the time you were unable to work as well as lost profit, loss of future business opportunities, and loss of goodwill. Your attorney will advise you on the best way to document these losses.

    Pain and Suffering

    Pain and suffering compensation is intended to compensate you for both the physical pain and emotional trauma associated with your injuries. This includes symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and flashbacks—which may be associated with PTSD related to your accident.

    Since pain and suffering doesn't have a readily associated dollar value, it's most often calculated using a multiplier of your medical expenses. Exact procedures vary, but it's typical to use a multiplier between 1 and 5—with permanently disabling injuries receiving the highest multipliers.

    Punitive Damages

    Punitive damages are intended solely to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are relatively rare in personal injury claims but can be an option to pursue when the at-fault driver was particularly reckless in causing an accident that resulted in very serious injury.

    There's a common misperception that bikers are careless with their own personal safety, but studies indicate motorists are actually responsible for the majority of collisions. When your injuries are caused by someone who doesn't respect the rights of bikers on the road, punitive damages may be appropriate. For example, a drunk driver or overly aggressive  motorist might be held liable for punitive damages if the accident resulted in lifelong disability for the motorcyclist.

    Fault and Your Eligibility for Compensation

    If you were determined to be partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, this does not prohibit you from filing a personal injury claim. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    The best way to protect your right to compensation following a serious motorcycle accident is to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies place top priority on protecting their bottom line, which means they're reluctant to settle claims for what they're truly worth.

    Your attorney can maximize the size of your settlement by handling communication with the other driver's insurance company, collecting documentation to support the extent of your injuries, and contacting any applicable expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Motorcycle Accident?

    If you or a family member has been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What factors determine how much a nursing home neglect case is worth?

    Although no two nursing home abuse cases are exactly alike and the specific terms of a settlement are generally confidential, there are a number of general guidelines you can use when deciding what level of compensation to expect from your claim. Nursing home abuse and restricted visitation

    Proving Nursing Home Abuse

    No one wants to see a loved one suffer in a facility they trusted to provide appropriate care. However, the law has strict requirements for how to prove a case of nursing home abuse. You must establish three key elements:

    • Duty of care. The nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident, based on the terms of the facility contract.
    • Breach of duty. The nursing home failed to follow widely accepted standards for resident care.
    • Damages. The resident suffered physical and/or emotional harm due to the nursing home's failure to provide appropriate care.

    Since nursing home residents are unable to care for themselves due to physical and/or cognitive disabilities, an abuse claim is generally initiated by a relative who serves as the resident's legal guardian. Proving damages can be done using several different types of evidence. For example:

    • Photographs of bruises, cuts, or other injuries
    • Notes detailing conversations with staff or the resident
    • Testimony from family members or people close to the resident
    • Medical records

    Types of Damages Awarded in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

    When you file a claim against a nursing home for the physical, verbal, and/or sexual abuse of a loved one, you're allowed to seek damages for the harm the resident has suffered. This includes compensation for:

    • Physical pain and suffering related to injuries
    • Mental pain and suffering, including depression, anxiety, and feeling unsafe in the care facility
    • Cost of necessary medical treatment related to the abuse

    Factors Affecting the Nursing Home Abuse Compensation

    The vast majority of nursing home abuse cases are settled out of court when attorneys for each side come to a mutually agreeable settlement. Factors that are considered include:

    • Age of the injured resident. Cases involving younger and relatively healthier residents tend to settle for larger amounts than those involving older residents with complex medical issues.
    • Severity of the injury. Serious injuries resulting in limitations that affect the resident's quality of life will generate higher settlements than those that are considered relatively minor.
    • Track record of the facility. A facility that has had a pattern of poor care for residents may be more eager to settle than one that considers your case an isolated incident.
    • Investigative agency findings. When incidents are investigated by state or federal agencies, this can entice a facility to offer a higher settlement, even when the findings are technically considered inadmissible.

    Deciding Whether to Accept a Settlement

    A settlement is by definition a compromise between two parties. This means that neither side is left completely satisfied. If you're trying to evaluate whether an offer is fair, you will need to weigh the dollar amount of the settlement against the expense and overhead associated with a trial. In addition, settling can have personal benefits if you're worried about protecting the privacy of your loved one or placing family members through the emotional stress associated with court appearances and depositions.

    How Medicaid and Medicare Affect Settlements

    In the United States, the majority of nursing home residents receive Medicaid or Medicare benefits to pay for their care. As you're evaluating a settlement offer, keep in mind that any program used to pay for your loved one's nursing home care will be entitled to a percentage of funds recovered in a lawsuit.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    Since nursing home abuse claims can present challenging legal issues, it's important to enlist the assistance of an attorney who can advocate for your needs throughout the process. The experienced attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are dedicated to helping Louisiana residents protect their right to compensation in nursing home neglect cases. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.