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 are the most common types of medical malpractice?

    Although the majority of people who seek medical care receive the appropriate treatment and experience no complications, medical malpractice continues to be a significant public health issue. The most common types of medical malpractice are errors in diagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, and pregnancy or childbirth errors. Types of medical malpractice

    Errors in Diagnosis

    Obtaining an accurate diagnosis for a patient isn't always an easy task. Many medical conditions can have symptoms that overlap or that aren't always present in every patient. Poorly trained doctors or providers who don’t order the appropriate diagnostic tests can cause harm to patients by providing an incorrect diagnosis.

    The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:

    • Infection
    • Heart attack
    • Heart disease 
    • Blood clot
    • Tumors or masses inside the body

    Diagnosis errors are usually caught at a later date, often when the patient doesn't respond to the prescribed treatment or seeks a second option. The length of delay in obtaining a correct diagnosis plays a key role in determining the patient's eligibility for compensation, since longer delays are more likely to limit a patient's options for treatment.

    Medication Errors

    Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever before, so it's not surprising that medication errors are a common form of medical malpractice. Examples of this type of error include:

    • Giving a patient the wrong medication
    • Failing to dispense the appropriate medication at the correct time
    • Giving an incorrect dosage
    • Failing to notice a harmful drug interaction

    Surgical Errors

    Surgical errors that may constitute the basis of a malpractice claim include:

    • Performing the wrong operation
    • Performing an unneeded operation
    • Failing to obtain informed consent before the procedure
    • Damaging a nerve during surgery
    • Failing to control bleeding
    • Leaving medical sponges or surgical instruments inside the patient
    • Giving the patient an incorrect dose of anesthesia
    • Failing to move the patient periodically during surgery to avoid putting too much pressure on certain parts of the body
    • Giving the patient an infection by failing to follow proper sanitation procedures
    • Knowingly using defective equipment

    Surgical errors can occur even during routine procedures. However, spinal surgery and gastrointestinal surgery are associated with the highest numbers of surgical errors.

    Pregnancy and Childbirth Errors

    Although modern medicine has made pregnancy and childbirth fairly safe, there are many complications that can occur during this time. When a doctor isn't mindful of potential complications, both the mother and her child can suffer harm. Examples of pregnancy and childbirth related malpractice include:

    • Misdiagnosis of placental abnormalities
    • Failure to monitor or recognize the signs of gestational diabetes
    • Failure to stop an excessively long labor
    • Surgical errors during a C-section delivery
    • Nerve injuries to the baby during delivery

    Next to general surgeons, OB/GYN physicians have the highest number of malpractice claims per year.

    Proving a Malpractice Case

    Experiencing a bad outcome is not proof of medical malpractice. To win your malpractice claim, you must establish the following four key elements:

    • Duty. The healthcare provider had a duty of care or doctor/patient relationship with you.
    • Breach of Duty. The provider failed to deliver care that is consistent with recognized medical treatment standards for your condition.
    • Damages. Your condition worsened or you experienced other medical complications.
    • Causation. Your damages are directly related to the provider's conduct and not attributed to some other cause.

    A malpractice settlement typically includes funds for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Cases involving disabled children often result in the highest settlements, due to the anticipated cost of their future medical needs.

    Since malpractice law is so complex, retaining legal representation is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected. Your attorney can line up the necessary documentation about your injury, locate relevant expert testimony, and negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. In many cases, a malpractice attorney will be able to settle the case without the time and expense of a court trial.

    The experienced attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are committed to helping Louisiana residents who've been the victims of medical negligence receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • Can I still receive compensation if my injuries don't appear immediately?

    If you feel fine immediately after a car accident, it might be tempting to simply brush off the incident as bad luck and continue with your day. However, many symptoms of injury may not appear until a later date. It's important to be evaluated by a medical professional as a precautionary measure. Delayed injuries and your car accident claim

    Late Physical Effects of a Car Accident

    When the body is faced with any sudden and unexpected event, a rush of adrenaline is released. This can temporarily mask symptoms that could indicate an injury. But in the days or weeks following a car accident, you might notice symptoms such as:

    • Headaches
    • Neck and shoulder pain
    • Back pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Muscle stiffness
    • Slowed reflexes
    • Limited range of motion
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Visual disturbances
    • Confusion and disorientation
    • Numbness or tingling in limbs

    These symptoms may seem minor on their own, but they may not heal with rest and the passage of time. After a car accident, experiencing one or more of these symptoms could indicate complications such as a concussion, whiplash, back injury, or a blood clot.

    Keep in mind that while car accident injuries are most often associated with high speed collisions, even a seemingly minor parking lot accident can potentially create problems.

    Late Emotional Effects of a Car Accident

    A car accident can cause emotional trauma as well as physical injuries. In the days or weeks that follow the accident, you might experience:

    • Trouble sleeping
    • Nightmares
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Angry outbursts
    • Sudden crying
    • Flashbacks to the accident itself

    In addition to physical symptoms, a concussion can cause emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A condition that is most commonly associated with military service, PTSD can appear after exposure to any trauma. Women, children, and people with a family history of mental disorders are most vulnerable to developing PTSD after an auto accident.

    Seeking Medical Care After a Car Accident

    After any car accident, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel fine at first, your doctor may notice abnormal test results that indicate a problem. You also want to create a paper trail in case you experience additional symptoms at a later date, so the other driver's insurance company can't argue that your injuries were caused by something else.

    In the days and weeks following the accident, be alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you notice anything unusual, return to your doctor for a follow-up visit. Your symptoms may turn out to be nothing, but it's always better to address any issue early on.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    A personal injury claim can include compensation for a variety of accident-related expenses, including:

    • Medical care, including anticipated future medical expenses if you're left permanently disabled
    • Loss of wages, including applicable loss of future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering, including the emotional trauma of the accident

    You can receive compensation even if you're partially at fault for the accident, although your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.  For example, if you were normally eligible to receive $200,000 and determined to be 50% at fault for the accident, you'd only receive $100,000 as compensation for the other driver's liability for your injuries.

    Retaining legal representation is the best way to ensure that your case proceeds in a timely fashion. Your attorney can communicate with the other driver's insurance company, collect documentation to verify the extent of your injuries, and line up any applicable expert witnesses to testify 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.

     

  • What is Med Pay coverage, and do I really need it?

    Most people purchase car insurance based on price alone, but there are some important differences in coverage that you should be aware of. One type of supplemental coverage you should consider adding to your policy is MedPay coverage. MedPay is not a legally required type of auto insurance, but it can offer some important benefits if you're ever involved in a car accident as either a driver or passenger. Choosing MedPay coverage

    About MedPay Coverage

    MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, or PIP, is intended to pay for the cost of medical care after an accident regardless of fault. This includes expenses such as:

    • Ambulance fees
    • Emergency room visits
    • X-rays and diagnostic tests
    • Surgery
    • Physical therapy
    • Professional nursing services and care
    • Medication
    • Crutches
    • Wheelchairs
    • Dental procedures  

    MedPay coverage follows the policyholder, which means you're still covered if you get into an accident while riding as a passenger in a friend's vehicle, walking, biking, or using public transportation. Other members of your household receive the same protection from your MedPay coverage. However, MedPay will not apply if you're injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident that should be covered under workers' compensation law.

    MedPay vs. Health Insurance

    If you already have health insurance, you might wonder whether MedPay is worth the added expense. Although this is a question that's hard to answer because each policy is different, most insurance agents agree that MedPay offers benefits to everyone except those with no deductible or copay platinum level plans.

    Some health insurance policies specifically exclude injuries from car accidents, while others come with high deductibles and/or copays that can be a financial burden when an accident has left you unable to work. In either of these cases, MedPay coverage would be a good investment.

    Although terms will vary from policy to policy, MedPay coverage is typically intended to supplement your existing health insurance. Coverage limits are relatively low, but it's an inexpensive way to add peace of mind knowing that you'll be able to handle immediate medical expenses after an accident.

    When You're a Passenger in Someone Else's Vehicle

    If you're injured as a passenger in another person's vehicle, the vehicle owner may have MedPay benefits that can be used to pay for your medical care. If the owner doesn't know whether he has MedPay coverage, this information can be found on the declarations page of the policy.

    Since MedPay provides coverage regardless of who is at fault, using the driver's MedPay benefits to pay for your emergency medical needs can give you some financial breathing room to decide how to proceed with your claim.

    Paying Back MedPay Benefits

    If MedPay is used to pay for your accident-related medical expenses and it's later determined that the other driver was at fault for the accident, your insurer will want to collect reimbursement from the other driver's insurance. The legal term for this is subrogation. However, if your medical expenses exceed the at-fault driver's coverage limits, you do not have to repay the difference due to Louisiana's "make whole" doctrine.

    After a car accident, MedPay coverage can be used to alleviate some of the immediate financial concerns associated with your injuries. However, you may also want to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for:

    • Medical expenses, including those that MedPay has already covered, as well as any anticipated future medical expenses
    • Loss of wages during your recovery, including applicable loss of future earnings if you've been left permanently disabled from the accident
    • Pain and suffering, including the physical and emotional effects of the accident

    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.

     

  • How do I obtain workers' compensation benefits after a heavy lifting injury?

    Injuries related to heavy lifting are a primary cause of workers' compensation claims and can affect workers in a wide range of industries. If you've been injured in a heavy lifting accident, it's vital that you understand your right to compensation.

    Who Is Vulnerable to Heavy Lifting Accidents?

    Lifting injuries can occur in almost every type of occupation. Construction workers often sustain lifting injuries while transporting building materials. Nurses and other healthcare professionals may be hurt trying to lift or reposition immobilized patients. A daycare worker might be injured while pushing a stroller or lifting a child up to wash his hands. A cook might be injured grabbing ingredients from a pantry shelf. Accidents involving heavy lifting

    Some of the noted risk factors for heavy lifting injuries include:

    • Carrying an object in a way that creates uneven pressure on the spine such as in one hand, on one shoulder, or under one arm
    • Not taking adequate rest breaks
    • Holding items for a long period of time
    • Working in extreme heat or cold, which can induce fatigue

    How Much Weight Is Considered Too Heavy for a Worker?

    Obviously, people have different levels of physical strength. However, for the purpose of discussing employment-related injury, heavy lifting is defined as a single person lifting an object weighing more than 50 pounds.

    A single person should be able to lift an object that weighs less than this amount if it meets all of the following criteria:

    • No twisting motion is needed to lift.
    • It's at waist height and directly in front of the person doing the lifting.
    • It's within seven inches from the front of the person's body.
    • The load won’t shift after it's lifted.
    • There's a handle on the object.

    When an object doesn't meet these criteria, it's recommended that the weight be decreased into several trips or mechanical assistance such as a moving dolly be used for transport. Alternatively, two people could work together to lift the object.

    The Most Common Types of Heavy Lifting Injuries

    Heavy lifting injuries can vary in severity but may include:

    Most injuries are diagnosed by listening to a patient's description of symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and looking at the results of diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or an ultrasound.

    Physical therapy, braces, and pain-relieving medications may be recommended. Surgery can be required if the pain persists for an extended period of time.

    Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim

    Most part-time, full-time, seasonal, and temporary workers are covered by workers’ compensation benefits from the first day of their employment. If you've been injured, you should report the incident to a supervisor immediately. Although the law allows you 30 days to report your injury, it's best to file the necessary paperwork as soon as possible. This helps ensure that evidence linking your injury to your place of employment is preserved.

    Your notice to your employer should be a written statement outlining the time, date, circumstances, and specific symptoms related to the incident. It should be signed, and you'll want to make a copy for your own records.

    Your employer must send a First Report of Injury (LWC-WCIA-1) to its insurance company within 10 days from the time you provide notice of your injury. This form officially begins your claim, which may include medical treatment benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, catastrophic injury benefits, and/or vocational assistance.

    You are not required to retain an attorney to receive workers' compensation benefits. However, if you are having difficulty accessing your benefits in a timely fashion, an attorney can advocate for your needs and help ensure you receive the compensation necessary to recover from your injuries.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s experienced legal team is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents access their workers' compensation benefits. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • After a work injury, what happens if I can't return to my old job?

    In the best-case scenario, you receive Louisiana workers' compensation benefits during a short recovery period and then return to work in your old position. However, some types of injuries make it difficult or impossible to handle your previous responsibilities. In these cases, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits through the workers' compensation program.  When you need vocational rehabilitation services

    Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

    For the purpose of workers' compensation, returning to work is considered one of the following:

    • Returning to your previous position
    • Returning to a modified version of your previous position
    • Returning to a related occupation suited to your education and marketable skills

    If these options are not possible, a vocational rehabilitation counselor can help you seek on–the-job training, as well as a minimum amount of retraining or support with self-employment. What vocational training involves will depend on your injury, previous position, and past education.

    Labor Market Surveys

    A labor market survey is based on the results of a functional capacity evaluation. This is a test administered by a physical therapist who looks at what parts of a job would be difficult for you to perform given the state of your injuries. Some of the specific tasks you're evaluated on include your ability to stand, climb, lift weights, and carry boxes.

    Your labor market survey will be prepared by a vocational expert hired by the insurance company. The survey should contain one or more jobs that appear to be compatible with your physical limitations, past education, and current skills as described in your functional capacity evaluation. Locally available jobs must be given priority when compared to positions in a statewide job pool.

    It is important to remember that vocational rehabilitation doesn't necessarily have to involve finding an injured worker another job. You can apply for the jobs listed in your labor market survey, but the state can consider vocational rehabilitation accomplished even if you don't find a position within the specified timeframe for receiving benefits. Job placement is not legally required, as long as they've established your wage-earning capacity.

    Receiving Additional Training

    Vocational rehabilitation is designed to return a worker to employment as soon as possible. You will not be offered retraining opportunities if it is determined that there are suitable jobs already available to you. Retraining is only an option when your injuries have made it impossible to return to your previous employment, and there are no other jobs available that match your education and skill level.

    Workers injured on the job who are determined to be eligible for vocational rehab training services can typically receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, with an additional 26-week extension allowed in select cases. However, a request for vocational retraining must be filed within two years from the end date of temporary total disability as determined by the treating physician.

    In most cases, retraining programs are provided within the state. If a program requires temporary residence away from the worker's home, the employer or workers' compensation insurer must pay reasonable costs for board, lodging, or travel.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    If your employer won't respond to your request for vocational rehabilitation services or you do not feel as though the services being provided are meeting your needs, you can file a dispute with the state workers’ compensation court. In this case, you'll qualify for an expedited hearing on the matter.

    Legal representation isn't required to receive workers' compensation benefits, but having an experienced attorney to advocate for your interests can be valuable when you're experiencing difficulty gaining approval for the appropriate vocational rehabilitation services or if you don’t believe the results of your labor market survey accurately reflect your employment prospects.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents access their workers' compensation benefits. We've worked with both part-time and full-time employees, including those with seriously disabling injuries, in a wide range of industries. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • How is my average weekly wage calculated for my workers' compensation benefits?

    Knowing your average weekly wage is a crucial part of calculating how much you can expect to receive in workers' compensation benefits.

    Figuring Your Gross Wages

    For the purpose of workers' compensation claims, the term gross wages is used to refer to the total amount of your pay before deductions—Social Security, state and federal income tax, retirement plans, and health insurance. Taxable fringe benefits such as the payment of some business expenses should also be included in your gross wages.

    As a general rule of thumb, gross wages include any type of compensation you're supposed to pay income taxes on or that is transferred into a pre-tax account each pay period.

    Calculating Four Weeks of Wages

    Workers' compensation weekly wage calculation

    Your average weekly wage for your workers' compensation benefits is calculated using gross pay from the four full weeks before you were injured.

    For a full-time employee, four weeks may be more than four calendar weeks if any of the following apply:

    • You were required by your employer to work a reduced schedule.
    • You were laid off for all or part of a week.
    • You took a full or partial vacation week.
    • You were off work due to a holiday.

    For most claims, you should not count the week that your accident happened. If you were not able to continue working immediately after your injury, this week does not represent a full week of earnings.

    Workers’ compensation benefits generally begin on your first day of employment. If you were hurt at work before you have four weeks of earnings in your new position, your benefits will be calculated based on your expected earnings for a four-week time period.

    Special Rules for Workers With Two or More Jobs

    In today's economy, many workers are forced to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. If you have more than one employer at the time of your injury, the state will calculate your average weekly wage based on the hourly rate you earned at the job where you suffered the injury. This hourly rate will be multiplied by the total hours you worked in both jobs, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

    If you were injured at your lower paying job or regularly work more than 40 hours per week between all of your jobs, this method of calculating your average weekly wage will result in reduced benefit eligibility.

    Average Weekly Wage for Salaried and Seasonal Employees

    If you're paid a salary, calculating your average weekly wage can be done with one of the following calculations:

    • (Monthly salary x 12) divided by 52 weeks in a year
    • Annual salary divided by 52 weeks in a year

    A seasonal worker is someone who regularly works less than 44 weeks per year. This includes workers in professions such as road construction and landscaping as well as those who work in seasonal hospitality positions at pools, amusement parks, and other tourist attractions.

    A seasonal worker's average weekly wage is figured by dividing annual earnings by 52 weeks in a year.

    Benefit Cap for High Earners

    Injured workers employed in high paying professions may not receive benefits based on their entire average weekly wage. The state caps the maximum benefit amount based on an average weekly wage of $876. If your actual earnings are more than this, you'll only receive benefits based on the $876 wage rate.

    How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim

    Louisiana law allows workers 30 days to report an injury to their supervisor, but it’s best to file the necessary paperwork as soon as possible. Once you make a report to your employer, the company must send a First Report of Injury (LWC-WCIA-1) to the insurance company within 10 days. This step officially begins your worker's compensation claim, including medical treatment and income replacement benefits.

    Although you are not required to retain an attorney to receive workers' compensation benefits, an attorney can help communicate with the insurer and advocate for higher benefits in situations where your average weekly wage is called into question. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to learn more.

     

  • What is oncology malpractice, and how can I pursue a case against my oncologist?

    Oncologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Most focus on one subtype of cancer such as pediatric oncology or gynecological oncology. Like other types of healthcare providers, oncologists can be sued for malpractice if they fail to follow the accepted standards for patient care. Pursuing an oncology malpractice claim

    Elements of a Successful Malpractice Case

    If you believe your oncologist is guilty of malpractice, you must prove four separate elements to win your case:

    • Duty. This is established simply by proving you had a doctor-patient relationship with the oncologist you are accusing of malpractice.
    • Breach of Duty. When a doctor fails to abide by the appropriate standard of medical care, he is considered negligent. Determining the appropriate standard of care for your type of cancer will likely require testimony from several medical experts who can provide specific examples of mistakes your oncologist made.
    • Causation. To win a malpractice claim, you must prove that your oncologist's breach of duty caused you harm. This might include requiring additional procedures to correct the mistake or limiting your future treatment options due to a delay in diagnosis.
    • Damages. The term damages is used to refer to harm you’ve suffered as the result of the oncologist’s conduct. This can be physical pain, psychological trauma, or added medical costs.

    A Bad Outcome Isn’t Necessarily Malpractice

    Cancer treatment requires evaluating many different variables, and patients don’t always respond as desired. Even if you’ve received a poor prognosis, this doesn’t necessarily mean your oncologist is guilty of malpractice.

    Malpractice requires specific deviations from the accepted standard of care for cancer treatment. Examples of errors that could form the basis of a malpractice claim include:

    • Failing to diagnose cancer
    • Misdiagnosing cancer as another less serious condition
    • Mistaking a benign tumor for a malignant tumor
    • Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
    • Failing to monitor the success of a treatment with the appropriate lab results
    • Misinterpreting the results of diagnostic tests such as a CT or PET scan
    • Failing to perform comprehensive cancer surgery or obtaining clean margins during surgery
    • Neglecting to make arrangements for appropriate follow-up care
    • Failing to obtain informed consent for treatment

    Proving Causation Depends on Your Type of Cancer

    To win a malpractice claim, you must be able to establish that the oncologist’s conduct caused you to suffer harm. An error that is quickly corrected or doesn't affect your overall prognosis doesn't rise to the legal standard for malpractice.

    However, some types of cancer are much more treatable than others. For example, pancreatic, liver, lung, and esophageal cancer all have fairly high mortality rates. Many patients who receive the best possible medical care may still not survive. In these cases, an oncologist's liability for a delay in diagnosis or mistreatment is substantially less that it would be for a patient diagnosed with a more treatable type of cancer.

    For highly treatable types of cancer such as prostate, thyroid, or skin cancer, liability may depend on how advanced the cancer is. An error that occurs before a tumor has had a chance to grow or spread to other organs is less likely to affect the overall prognosis than one occurring when treatment options are more limited.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    In most cases, Louisiana law requires a malpractice claim to be filed within one year of the action forming the basis of the suit. If the error isn't discovered immediately, the deadline is extended to three years after the action that constitutes the malpractice claim. If a malpractice claim involves a child diagnosed with cancer, a parent or legal guardian must file the claim on his behalf. When a cancer patient has passed away, it's possible for a spouse, adult child, or parent to file a wrongful death malpractice claim.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered harm due to oncology malpractice receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us online or call 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • What is psychiatric malpractice, and how do I pursue a case?

    Psychiatrists play a vital role in helping patients who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. However, when they cause harm by failing to provide appropriate care, they can be found liable for malpractice. Pursuing a case of psychiatric malpractice

    Types of Errors That Could Constitute Psychiatric Malpractice

    The relationship between a patient and psychiatrist depends on a number of factors, including subjective ideas of personal comfort. Simply not liking your psychiatrist or believing that seeing another provider for your therapy would be more effective doesn't make your psychiatrist guilty of malpractice. The legal definition of malpractice requires your psychiatrist to provide substandard care that deviates from widely established guidelines from respected professional groups such as the American Psychiatric Association.

    Some examples of conduct that could form the basis of a malpractice claim include:

    • Neglecting to perform a suicide risk assessment for a depressed patient
    • Diagnosing improperly
    • Making medication errors
    • Ignoring signs of serious side effects with mood altering medication
    • Creating false memories of abuse or trauma
    • Neglecting to make arrangements for appropriate follow-up care
    • Starting treatment before obtaining informed consent
    • Sharing private patient information without consent
    • Taking advantage of a patient's trust by beginning an inappropriate sexual relationship

    Types Of Compensation You Can Receive

    A psychiatric malpractice claim can involve many different types of compensation. For example:

    • Cost of medical care such as emergency room care following a suicide attempt due to improperly prescribed medication
    • Loss of wages or future earning capacity, if the psychiatrist's conduct has limited your ability to earn a living
    • Pain and suffering

    Louisiana limits compensation in medical malpractice cases to $500,000, but this cap doesn't apply to medical expenses. Settlement amounts of over $100,000 are paid from the state's Patient Compensation Fund.

    Building a Malpractice Case Against Your Psychiatrist

    The following four separate elements must be proven in any malpractice claim:

    • Duty. To be guilty of malpractice, the psychiatrist must have owed you a duty of care. This is proven by establishing evidence of a doctor-patient relationship through bills for past sessions or records of your appointment times.
    • Breach of Duty. The term breach of duty refers to deviations from the accepted standard of care for a specific condition. In a malpractice case, several different experts may be called to testify as to what the best course of treatment would have been given the unique circumstances surrounding your case.
    • Causation. A malpractice case requires that your psychiatrist’s conduct caused you direct physical or mental harm. In cases where an error was quickly discovered or the psychiatrist's actions didn't affect your overall prognosis, no malpractice has been committed.
    • Damages. Damages are the specific harm you've suffered as a result of your psychiatrist’s conduct. Wages and medical expenses are called economic damages because they have a cost that can be verified with documentation. Pain and suffering is a category of non-economic damages.

    Seeking Legal Representation For Your Malpractice Claim

    Louisiana law typically requires you to file a malpractice claim within one year of the medical treatment that forms the basis of the suit. In cases where a care provider's error isn't immediately discovered, the deadline is extended to three years.

    Most psychiatric malpractice suits involve the patient bringing the legal action, but sometimes another party is needed to begin the case. When an adult patient is determined to be not competent to bring legal action due to a mental disability or impairment, a third-party guardian can file on his behalf. Parents or legal guardians must file suits on behalf of children under 18, since minors have no legal standing in a court of law. In a malpractice case involving a patient who committed suicide, the wrongful death action is brought by the deceased person's next of kin—such as a spouse, adult child, or parent.

    Since malpractice cases involve multiple complex issues, having access to skilled legal representation is a must. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered harm due to psychiatric malpractice receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us online or call us at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation. 

     

  • What happens if an excluded driver gets into a car accident?

    Typically, a car insurance policy covers the policyholder and those members of the household who are old enough to drive or those who've been specifically added to the policy by name. Many policies also have provisions for permissive use of borrowed vehicles, although this type of coverage may come with a higher deductible and/or more limited benefits.  Excluded drivers and auto accidents

    Excluded drivers are named individuals who are specially not covered by an insurance policy. Often, this is because they're considered high risk due to a DUI or a poor driving record. Excluding a driver from coverage isn't allowed by all insurers, but many will permit it to save the policyholder money or to prevent the entire household from being uninsurable.

    Compensation For Accidents Caused by Excluded Drivers

    When a person is named as an excluded driver for a specific vehicle but operates it anyway, this is legally the same as driving without insurance. If a car accident occurs, the policy will not pay for damages caused by the excluded driver.

    Drivers or passengers who are injured by another person's negligence are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When no insurance coverage is available, they can attempt to collect from either the at-fault driver or the vehicle owner's personal assets.

    If the at-fault driver or vehicle owner is without the means to provide compensation, your only other option is to use your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM or UIM coverage). Louisiana law requires all car insurance policies sold in the state to come with this type of coverage, although you can specifically request to have it waived. Most policies are issued with the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000. However, some drivers who want to provide additional peace of mind choose higher coverage limits.

    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 it mean to be an excluded driver on a car insurance policy?

    Excluded drivers are not covered by an insurance policy in the event of an accident. If you've recently been in an auto accident, verifying that the other driver has valid insurance coverage is a key step in processing your personal injury claim.  Car insurance and excluded drivers

    About Excluded Drivers

    Generally, excluded drivers are those who fall into the high-risk category. Often, these drivers would cost too much to insure, and the policyholder excluded them to save money. Or, a driver may be excluded in order to prevent the policy from being canceled all together.

    Common reasons why drivers may be excluded include:

    • Teen student drivers who aren't allowed by parents to drive yet
    • Too many speeding tickets
    • Recent DUI
    • No license or suspended license
    • Too many past accident claims

    Not all insurance carriers allow the exclusion of drivers as a cost-saving measure. Policies and procedures vary widely among auto insurers.

    How Exclusions Affect Insurance Coverage

    Anyone named as an excluded driver on an auto policy should never operate the vehicle on that policy. This is legally the same as driving without insurance.

    If the excluded driver causes an accident, the insurance policy will not pay for damages. Medical coverage may still be available, but liability and property damage will not be offered.

    In a situation where an excluded driver is at fault for an auto accident, both the vehicle owner and the driver can be held personally liable for accident-related expenses.

    Receiving Compensation For Accidents Involving Excluded Drivers

    If you're involved in a car accident cause by another driver's negligence, you're entitled to compensation for accident-related medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. However, pursuing a claim against someone listed as an excluded driver may prove difficult without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

    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.