Answers to Our Frequently Asked Questions

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

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  • Can I choose my own doctor to treat my work-related injury?

    When you're recovering from a workplace injury, having a doctor you trust is essential. For this reason, Louisiana's workers' compensation law allows injured workers flexibility in selecting a healthcare provider to oversee their treatment. Choosing your own doctor for a work-related injury

    Choosing a Doctor to Treat Your Workplace Injury

    Every state has different rules regarding the choice of doctors for treating a workplace injury. For minor injuries, Louisiana workers' compensation law allows you to choose your own treating doctor and to switch from one specialty to another without needing prior approval from your employer or insurer. This means that you could seek initial care from your regular family doctor and be referred to a specialist without needing approval.

    If your injuries are expected to exceed $750 of care, however, your doctor must obtain approval from the workers' compensation insurer to continue treatment unless the treatment is classified as a medical emergency. The insurer is not allowed to withhold consent for treatment without probable cause such as a dispute over whether your injuries are actually work related.

    If you receive bills for your medical care related to a workplace injury, they should be forwarded to your employer or your employer's workers' compensation insurer. Do not submit medical bills directly to the Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration, as this will only delay payment of the claim.

    Receiving Initial Care From Your Employer’s Doctor

    Some larger employers have a doctor on call to treat injured workers. If you received initial medical care from your employer's doctor, you do not have to continue treatment with this provider. The law allows you to switch to your own doctor, if desired.

    Your employer may also provide you with a list of approved doctors to choose from before you begin medical treatment. These doctors will have an established relationship with the insurer and experience in treating the most common workplace injuries. You may choose to see a healthcare provider on this list for your own convenience, but you are not legally required to do so.

    If Your Request to Choose Your Own Doctor Is Denied

    If your employer denies your request to choose your own doctor to handle your workplace injury, you will want to have your attorney request a hearing before a workers' compensation judge to resolve the issue.

    If you are unhappy with the quality of care you received from your first-choice provider, you must obtain prior approval from the workers' compensation insurer before switching to another doctor in the same specialty. No approval is needed if the second doctor practices in a different specialty.

    Medical Examinations Requested by Your Employer

    Your employer has the option to request that you be examined by a doctor chosen by the company. If you fail to agree to this exam, your payments may be temporarily suspended.

    If your doctor and your employer's doctor don't agree regarding the severity of your condition or the proper course of treatment, you may be entitled to an Independent Medical Examination (IME). An IME can be requested by completing Form LWC-WC 1015 and forwarding it to the Medical Services Section of the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    Workers' compensation law can be quite complex, and the process of settling your claim can seem overwhelming when you're focused on recovering from your work-related injury. Retaining an experienced workers' compensation attorney to advocate on your behalf can ensure that your case is resolved promptly and that you receive the maximum possible benefits under the law.

    If you do not retain an attorney, the workers’ compensation insurance adjuster is typically the party who is making decisions and administering the claim. Since the insurance adjuster’s loyalty is to his employer, these decisions may not truly be in your best interest.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s legal team is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've sustained on-the-job injuries resolve their workers' compensation claims. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • How can I maximize my workers’ compensation claim?

    Workers' compensation benefits are intended to alleviate some of the strain workers feel when they've been injured on the job. There are specific formulas used to set benefit levels, but you can still take advantage of a few simple tips to maximize your available workers' compensation benefits.  Increasing your workers' comp benefits

    1. Establish a Solid Paper Trail

    Workers' compensation benefits have strict documentation requirements, so it's vital that you provide a paper trail to support your case. Report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. Fill out all required paperwork completely and honestly.

    When you're receiving medical treatment, keep records of expenses for gas, parking, and lodging, so you can be reimbursed at a later date. If your injuries are severe, it can also be helpful to keep an informal journal outlining your symptoms throughout the recovery process.

    2. Follow Your Doctor's Orders

    Workers' compensation benefits can be denied if the insurer thinks you're faking or exaggerating the severity of your injuries. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep all recommended medical appointments and precisely follow your doctor's treatment plan.

    3. Don't Settle Your Claim Any Earlier Than Necessary

    Workers' compensation insurers are well aware that many adults don't have sufficient emergency savings. They will often attempt to string you along until you're forced to settle the claim to pay your outstanding bills.

    You can increase the value of your benefits by not rushing to settle your case. Use money from savings, sell unwanted items, have your spouse pick up extra hours, or temporarily borrow money from family and friends.

    4. Seek Legal Representation as Soon as Possible

    Although you don't technically need an attorney to receive workers' compensation benefits, enlisting the services of a skilled attorney ensures that you have someone to advocate for your needs throughout the process. An attorney who is familiar with Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws can negotiate for the highest possible benefits on your behalf.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault 's experienced legal team is committed to assisting injured workers in accessing their benefits. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • Are part-time employees eligible for workers’ compensation?

    Workers’ compensation pays for the cost of medical care and lost wages when you've suffered an on-the-job injury. These benefits must be provided by your employer regardless of your employment status, which means that a part-time worker typically is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers' compensation for part-time employees

    Determining Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

    Louisiana law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage even if they have only one employee. The law makes no distinction between full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. For example, a teenager working part time at a fast food restaurant maintains the same eligibility as an adult working full time in a factory. However, employees of a private residence or a private unincorporated farm may be exempt depending on the specific duties they perform.

    You'll receive the same level of medical coverage regardless of your working status. In the case of a permanently disabling injury, all workers have the same eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services. The number of hours you typically work per week only affects your eligibility for income replacement benefits, since this type of workers' compensation coverage is calculated based on your earnings.

    Eligibility for workers' compensation benefits begins on your first day of employment. This means, you should receive benefits even if you are injured during your initial training period. Your income replacement benefits will simply be calculated based on the expected earnings for the position.

    Seeking Workers' Compensation Benefits

    After suffering a work-related injury, you should report the incident to your supervisor immediately. Establishing a formal record of your injury is the first step to receiving benefits.

    Your employer is not legally required to hold your job for you following a workplace injury, but Louisiana law prevents employers from firing a worker solely because he filed a workers' compensation claim.

    Since workers' compensation laws are quite complex, it is advisable to retain the services of an attorney who is experienced in advocating for the needs of injured workers. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to assisting Louisiana residents in accessing their available workers' compensation benefits. Please call to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.

     

  • How do aftermarket parts affect my car insurance claim?

    Although attending to your medical needs should be your first priority after an auto accident, you'll definitely want to make sure any necessary repairs are made to your vehicle in a timely fashion. There are several factors to consider as you're having your vehicle repaired, but one that is often overlooked is the difference between aftermarket parts and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Using aftermarket parts for your car repair

    What Are Aftermarket Parts?

    An aftermarket part is any vehicle part that comes from a source other than the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts can be:

    • Replacements for parts damaged through normal wear and tear
    • Replacements for parts damaged in a collision
    • Parts used to customize the vehicle's appearance
    • Parts used to customize the vehicle's performance

    When you have your vehicle repaired at a car dealership, you can be assured that you're getting OEM parts. If you take your car to an independent repair shop, there is a 75% to 80% chance the parts used will be aftermarket parts unless you request otherwise.

    The largest source of aftermarket parts in the United States is found online at sites such as Amazon and eBay Motors.

    What Type of Parts Are Best for Vehicle Repairs?

    Aftermarket parts are popular because they tend to be more affordable and easier to locate than OEM parts. However, there are a number of reasons why you may want to stick to OEM parts for your vehicle repairs following an auto accident:

    • The source, condition, and durability of non-OEM parts are often unknown, which can create a safety hazard when you're back on the road. In some cases, you may be at a higher risk of being involved in an auto accident due to the use of aftermarket parts.
    • Your vehicle warranty may be voided if you use aftermarket, salvage, or reconditioned parts.
    • If you plan to sell the vehicle at a later date, the use of non-OEM parts will decrease its value because of poor quality structural integrity, finish, fit, and appearance. The effect of aftermarket parts on resale value is most pronounced when your vehicle is a newer or luxury automobile.

    What Will the Insurance Company Pay for?

    Car insurance policies are designed to help drivers repair their vehicles to "like kind and quality” condition. If you're seeking repairs for an accident caused by another driver's negligence, you have a right to request that only OEM parts be used on your vehicle. If you're seeking repairs for an accident that was your fault, your insurance company may only be willing to pay for aftermarket parts when making the necessary repairs. However, you should be able to pay the difference in price if you wish to have OEM parts used instead.

    Louisiana law states that insurers who wish to use non-OEM aftermarket parts to repair your motor vehicle must provide written notice of the type of parts being used. When non-OEM parts are used, a repair estimate must identify each part and provide a disclosure that reads, "This estimate has been prepared based on the use of crash parts supplied by a source other than the manufacturer of your motor vehicle. Warranties applicable to these replacement parts are provided by the manufacturer or distributor of these parts rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle." When aftermarket parts are used, the parts must have the logo or name of the manufacturer on a sticker or inscription in an area that's clearly visible after installation.

    If you're having trouble getting your vehicle repairs made in a timely fashion, retaining an experienced attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf is a smart move. Insurance companies are primarily interested in saving money, so it's important to have someone on your side who is committed to seeing that your vehicle is repaired in a satisfactory manner.

    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 does uninsured motorist coverage work in Louisiana?

    Although the law requires drivers to have valid liability coverage, the truth is that many Louisiana motorists are uninsured. Some can't get insurance because they're driving without a license, while others may be making the choice to forgo coverage in favor of handling other expenses.

    When you're in a car accident caused by a uninsured motorist or a driver with insufficient insurance coverage, your own auto policy can be used to seek reimbursement for accident-related expenses.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UM or UIM coverage, pays for your medical care and other expenses when you're involved in an accident caused by someone who does not have valid auto insurance or when the driver responsible for the accident has insurance that doesn't sufficiently cover your expenses. Benefits may apply in a hit-and-run accident if a witness can verify the circumstances of the incident. Accidents with uninsured drivers

    Louisiana law requires all auto insurance policies sold within the state to come with UM or UIM coverage, unless the policyholder has specifically waived this coverage in writing. This means that the vast majority of drivers do have an avenue for collecting damages when they've been hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Policies are typically issued at the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000, unless different limits are requested by the driver.

    If you are seeking benefits, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurer's investigation of the accident. You'll be asked to provide an account of the events, proof the other driver had no insurance or insufficient insurance, and contact info for any witnesses. You'll also be asked for verification of your medical expenses and lost wages. You should be honest when providing this information, but avoid speculating about the circumstances of the accident or the severity of your injuries.

    If you had passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident, your UM or UIM coverage also applies to their accident-related expenses.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Economic-Only Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist economic-only coverage provides the same basic benefits as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, with the exception of only covering the actual cost of injuries to you and any passengers. With this type of coverage, you can't be awarded benefits for pain and suffering related to the accident. In a personal injury claim, pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages because they don't have a cost that can be verified with any documentation.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage can be purchased to help pay for repairs to your vehicle if the damage is caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. There is a $250 deductible. In most cases, the maximum benefit is $25,000 or the actual cash value of your vehicle. However, you may purchase a policy with a higher recovery limit if you believe this is appropriate given the value of your vehicle.

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage isn't available if you already have a policy that includes collision insurance. It's not necessary in this case because it provides coverage already included under collision insurance.

    How Can I Protect My Legal Rights?

    Your insurance agent can answer any general questions you might have about the types of damages covered in your policy and the applicable deductibles. However, you should keep in mind that an insurance agent's job is to keep costs down for his employer. Your insurance agent isn't necessarily concerned with helping you receive a settlement that adequately meets your accident-related expenses.

    If you're trying to collect benefits, hiring skilled legal representation is strongly recommended. A personal injury attorney can handle all communication with your insurance company and present your claim in a way that maximizes your available compensation. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost 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 testimony can expert witnesses provide in my personal injury case?

    Many types of evidence can be submitted in a personal injury case, but expert testimony is often crucial in establishing liability for the damages you've suffered from an auto accident. Expert witnesses are typically selected based on advanced education, specialized training, and professional experience working in a specific field. Expert witnesses in personal injury cases

    Accident Reconstruction Experts

    Accident reconstruction experts are the most common type of experts called to testify in a personal injury case. Since drivers are encouraged to avoid making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of fault, an accident reconstruction expert uses engineering principles to determine how the incident happened and what was the most likely cause of the collision. They consider factors such as the size and weight of the vehicles involved, the condition of the road, the extent of vehicle damage, and reports from law enforcement officers to create a timeline of events.

    Human Factors Experts

    The trauma of being involved in an auto accident often affects memory and perception of the events that led up to the collision. When drivers are unable to remember what they did or how much reaction time they had to prevent a crash, a human factors expert may be called to testify.

    This type of personal injury expert can testify as to what a driver should have perceived in relation to the limitations of weather, vision angles, and lighting conditions. The testimony of a human factors expert is crucial in establishing the difference between negligence and simple human error.

    Medical Experts

    Doctors who specialize in the treatment of a specific condition such as nerve damage or a TBI may be called on to provide evidence regarding the extent of your injuries, your future medical needs, and the likely cause of your condition. A qualified medical expert doesn't need to be the doctor who treated you personally, as long as he is given the appropriate access to your medical records.

    Pain and suffering compensation is difficult to assess in personal injury cases, but a doctor who specializes in the treatment of chronic pain can build a strong case by testifying as to the extent of your discomfort and how it affects your daily activities.

    Life Care Planning Experts

    In a personal injury case involving permanently disabling injuries, a large part of the settlement will be applied toward the injured person's future medical needs. A life care planning expert can testify as to what those needs might be and how much they might be expected to cost given the current rate of healthcare inflation.

    Economic Loss Experts

    When injuries from an accident are expected to affect your ability to return to work, an economic loss expert can help quantify the value of your lost wages. The expert may provide an estimate of future earnings given your past earnings history and the potential for future salary increases in the position you held at the time of the accident. If you are undergoing training for a new position, the expert might testify as to your likelihood of securing a new position and what the anticipated difference in wages will be.

    Vocational Experts

    Vocational specialists provide testimony focusing on what types of positions you might be able to obtain given your physical health and current level of education. They assess factors such as transferable skills, resources for retraining, and the local job market to determine your overall employability.

    Product Liability Experts

    Manufacturers, engineers, or design specialists may be called as experts if your case involves an accident where a defect such as poorly designed tires, faulty brakes, or airbag failure contributed to the incident.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    When the facts surrounding your accident are in dispute, legal representation is essential. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for your needs and ensure that you receive the highest possible settlement. If appropriate, your attorney can line up any experts who may be able to support your case.

    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 does informed consent affect a medical malpractice claim?

    Since certain types of medical care carry the risk of serious side effects, healthcare providers are often required to obtain informed consent before proceeding with a treatment plan. If consent is not obtained and the patient suffers harm as a result, the doctor can be held liable for medical malpractice.

    What Is Informed Consent?

    Medical MalpracticeBefore a patient begins treatment for a serious illness such as cancer, his healthcare providers are required to obtain informed consent. This means, the patient must agree to the treatment after receiving all of the information necessary to make an educated decision.

    The process of obtaining informed consent requires the following multiple steps:

    1. The doctor tells the patient about the risks and benefits of the treatment. He may also suggest websites or provide pamphlets the patient can use to learn more about the proposed course of treatment.
    2. The doctor explains the risks and benefits of alternative treatments, as well as the option of receiving no medical treatment at all.
    3. The doctor answers any questions the patient has.
    4. The patient discusses the treatment options with family, friends, or other trusted advisors.
    5. The patient shares his decision with the doctor and signs a form authorizing treatment to begin or a form indicating that the treatment is being refused.

    A doctor can't simply ask the patient to sign a consent form without going through the other steps of this process. Without providing all of the information, the patient's consent is not valid.

    If you've determined that you do not wish to receive the treatment that your healthcare provider recommends, you may be asked to sign an informed refusal reform. Your signature on this document indicates that you've considered the risks and benefits of the treatment and have opted not to follow your provider's medical advice.

    When Is Informed Consent Not Required?

    Informed consent is not required in every circumstance, including:

    • If it’s an emergency situation. For example, if medical professionals are treating life-threatening injuries sustained in an auto accident, informed consent is not required.  Emergency room care providers are expected to do whatever their training suggests is necessary to save the patient.
    • If the patient is emotionally fragile. Doctors can provide vague information about risks to patients who are considered so emotionally fragile that they would likely refuse needed treatment. However, the doctor must be able to demonstrate a clear reason for not disclosing the risks.
    • If a second medical problem is found. If a patient has already agreed to a surgical procedure and the doctor finds a second problem that can be fixed during the course of the first operation, informed consent is not required for the additional procedure.

    When a Patient Cannot Give Consent

    If the patient is unable to give consent because he is physically and/or mentally incapacitated, someone must give consent on his behalf. In most cases, this is a spouse or other family member. However, court-appointed guardians may also be used to provide consent for treatment.

    Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to give consent for treatment, even in the case of a teen who fully understands the risks and benefits of a procedure. A parent or legal guardian must provide consent on his behalf.

    How Does This Relate to Medical Malpractice?

    A doctor can be sued for medical malpractice if informed consent is not obtained when required, and the patient would not have agreed to the treatment if he had been fully aware of the risk. However, patients can only sue for the malpractice if they suffered actual harm due to the doctor's conduct. This means you have no malpractice case if your doctor failed to obtain informed consent for a surgery that carried the risk of paralysis or nerve damage unless you experienced one or both of these complications.

    If you have a claim for medical malpractice, you can seek damages for the cost of medical care related to the doctor's conduct, any applicable lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with your injuries. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents who've been harmed by a healthcare provider's negligence receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

     

  • I’ve received calls from a company that will loan me money right now against a settlement I might receive in the future. Is this a good deal?

    When you're experiencing financial difficulty due to unpaid medical bills and time off work following a car accident, a personal injury settlement loan may seem like the perfect solution to your troubles. However, companies that claim to offer an immediate solution to your financial worries may not have your best interests at heart. Personal injury settlement loans

    About Personal Injury Settlement Loans

    Personal injury settlement loans, sometimes called lawsuit advance loans or advance settlement funding, will loan you money based on the anticipated size of your personal injury claim and how likely it is that you'll eventually win your case. Only promising cases with a high likelihood of a successful settlement will qualify.

    There are no credit checks involved in a personal injury settlement loan application, so funds are available much more quickly than with alternative financing. In many cases, you can receive your money in just one week.

    If you accept a loan, your agreement with the funding company gives them a legally enforceable lien against your recovery. If that happens, your attorney will have no option other than honoring the lien at the time of the settlement of the case.

    If your settlement ends up being lower than anticipated, you may be able to negotiate lower fees with the loan company. If you lose your case, you don't have to repay the loan.

    Potential Problems

    Personal injury settlement loans can be risky for a number of reasons, including:

    • A lack of regulation means it can be difficult to find a reputable lender without taking the time to conduct extensive background research.
    • A loan often comes with a hefty application fee and administrative costs that aren't mentioned in the original sales pitch.
    • The interest rates on these types of loans are often very high, since they are not federally regulated. A recent survey of companies offering personal injury settlement loans found that interest rates ranged from 30% to 120%. This means, a credit card or personal loan would be a more affordable option in terms of reducing interest fees.
    • The interest on the loan may continue to accrue until the claim is resolved. If your personal injury case takes years to reach a settlement, which isn't uncommon in cases involving very serious injuries and/or liability disputes, the interest could exceed the principal of the original loan. Due to a lack of regulation, companies can charge a flat annual rate or a per-month interest fee.
    • The interest that continues to accrue at a very high rate may cause you to feel pressured to settle your case prematurely to be able to repay the loan.
    • Your privacy may be compromised by an agreement that requires the loan financing company to gain access to privileged attorney-client communications or work product.

    Alternatives to Personal Injury Settlement Loans

    Although there are some circumstances in which a personal injury settlement loan may be the best option, it's typically better to investigate other sources of alleviating the financial strain related to your case. Credit cards, a home equity loan, borrowed money from friends or relatives, or selling unneeded assets are some of the potential options to consider.

    Being an active participant in building your case will help speed up the process of settling your personal injury claim. Here are some ways to help your attorney build the strongest possible case:

    • Answer calls from your attorney promptly, so there are no unnecessary delays in working on your case.
    • Follow all treatment recommendations from your healthcare provider, including any restrictions in returning to work or engaging in vigorous physical activity.
    • Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, as well as your other accident-related expenses.
    • Don't talk to an insurance adjuster without your attorney present.
    • Don't speculate on fault for the accident or the severity of your injuries, as seemingly innocent conversations can be used by the defense to avoid liability.

    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.

     

  • After signing a release of claims, I now need more money. Can I get it?

    When you're injured in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, you may be approached by the insurance company with a settlement offer a few weeks after the incident. Making the decision to sign this release of claims is not one that should be taken lightly. Once you've accepted the offer, you're not allowed to request more money if your accident-related expenses are higher than anticipated.

    About the Release of Claims

    A release of claims is a form that you must sign to formally accept a settlement offer compensating you for accident-related injuries. It releases the responsible party from any future liability for your injuries.

    It's never a good idea to sign a release of claims early in the process. Once you've signed away your right to future litigation, you'll be left with no options for future recourse if you realize you've made a mistake.

    The Severity of Car Accident Injuries Can Be Hard to Predict

    The primary reason you shouldn't sign a release of claims soon after an accident is that injuries that initially seems to be quite minor may very well turn out to be more serious than you expected.

    For example, a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs after a blow to the head. Most people with a concussion make a full recovery, but a small number end up with a complex disorder known as post-concussion syndrome that causes ongoing issues with headaches, dizziness, and cognitive difficulties. This can cause you to have extended absences from work or to have difficulty with daily tasks such as driving and caring for your children.

    Whiplash is another common car accident injury that can create unexpected complications. You may recover fully, or you may experience chronic pain for several months or even years. You may require physical therapy and ongoing prescription medications, in addition to added time away from work.

    Even if you feel fine and expect to soon return to your daily routine, it's not advisable to accept a settlement offer until your care providers are positive you've reached what's known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means you've either recovered fully or have reached the point where your condition is stable and doctors can reasonably predict the scope of any future treatment that will be required.

    Pain and Suffering Damages Are Often Undervalued

    After an auto accident, it's fairly easy to calculate your lost wages and medical bills. However, a personal injury claim also includes compensation for pain and suffering. This category of non-economic damages refers to both the physical pain of your injuries as well as the emotional trauma of being involved in the accident.

    Pain and suffering damages are generally calculated using a multiplier of your medical expenses, based on the severity of your injury. In many cases, this compensation can amount to thousands of dollars. If you're offered a settlement soon after the accident, it's a safe bet that the insurance company is trying to save money by offering less than what your injuries are truly worth. 

    Legal Representation Is More Affordable Than You Think

    Another common reason why people sign a release of claims soon after an accident is that they assume they can't afford a lawyer to negotiate a higher settlement. However, this simply isn't true.

    Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they receive a percentage of your settlement in exchange for their services. There is no upfront cost for legal representation, which means you won't be forced to pay hefty legal bills when you're already struggling to make ends meet while recovering from your injuries. 

    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.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents receive fair and timely personal injury settlements.

     

  • What types of damages can an attorney help me recover in a product liability lawsuit?

    Thousands of consumers are injured across the United States each year due to defective, dangerous products, including medical devices, personal care items, and children's toys. These individuals are entitled to compensation under their state's product liability laws. Product liability

    About Product Liability Law

    Product liability is an area of law that deals with the responsibility for damages caused by defective and/or dangerous products. It is based on state laws regarding negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. In Louisiana, product liability claims are prosecuted under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

    Liability for damages can rest with any party involved in the distribution of the product, including the manufacturer, manufacturer of component parts, assembler, wholesaler, or retail store. The responsible party is determined based on the specific nature of the claim, including:

    • Defective design claims suggesting that the concept of the product itself is flawed
    • Manufacturing defect claims stating that an error in the manufacturing process created the danger
    • Marketing claims arguing that consumers weren't adequately informed of the product's risks due to misleading or inaccurate ad campaigns

    To win a claim under the Louisiana Products Liability Act, you must be able to prove the following:

    • The product had a dangerous design, composition, or construction.
    • There was an unreasonably dangerous aspect of the product that could cause harm during a reasonably anticipated use.
    • The unreasonably dangerous aspect existed when the product was sold or was the result of a reasonably anticipated modification of the product.

    Types of Damages in a Product Liability Claim

    When you file a product liability suit, you can seek reimbursement for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages refer to expenses that can be verified with receipts or bills from service providers. Possible categories of economic damages include:

    • Medical expenses. If you've been injured by a defective product, you can seek compensation for all costs related to your medical care. This includes emergency room care, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, and prescription medications. If applicable, the cost of any future medical care may also be included in your claim.
    • Loss of wages. You're entitled to compensation for any time you missed at work due to your injury, as well as any applicable loss of future earning potential due to your injuries.
    • Property loss. If the defective product damaged your home, automobile, or other property, you're entitled to the cost of repairs or replacement.
    • Cost of disability. If the defective product left you permanently disabled, you can seek reimbursement for the cost of accommodating your disability through modifications to your home or vehicle or hiring household help to perform tasks you are no longer able to do independently.

    Non-economic damages, sometimes called non-monetary damages or general damages, refer to intangible losses with no easily verifiable dollar value. Categories of non-economic damages include:

    • Pain and suffering. You're entitled to compensation for both the physical pain of your injuries as well as the emotional suffering you've incurred as the result of the defective product.
    • Loss of consortium. If you're married, you may be able to claim damages to compensate for the negative effect of your injuries on your relationship with your spouse. Loss of consortium damages are intended to reimburse for factors such as difficulty with sexual relations, no longer being able to have children, being unable to assist with household chores, and being a less attentive partner due to the emotional strain of your injuries.

    Seeking Legal Representation

    If you're interested in pursuing a product liability claim, experienced legal representation is a must. The companies involved in product liability lawsuits typically have access to teams of attorneys working to represent their interests, so it's vital that you have someone to advocate for your needs throughout the process.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents settle their product liability cases. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.