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

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

    About Vacation Slip and Fall Accidents

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

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

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

    Liability for Injuries

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

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

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

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

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

    How to Protect Your Right to Compensation

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

    File an accident report.

    Typically, the manager or site security staff can file a report of the incident. Ask for a copy for your records.

    Seek treatment for injuries.

    Getting an evaluation of any pain and discomfort clearly links your injuries to the slip and fall accident. Ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged from the hospital or urgent care clinic.

    Photograph the accident scene.

    Have someone from your traveling group take photos of the scene where the accident occurred.

    Get witness names and contact information.

    After taking photos, your friend or family member should speak to any witnesses and get their contact information in case their testimony is needed at a later date.

    Document what you were wearing.

    Make note of what you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your shoes. Tears, rips, or blood splatters on your clothing can support your claim as to the severity of your injuries. You can also use clothing to establish that inappropriate footwear was not the cause of your fall.

    Contact an attorney.

    When you're injured while traveling, you'll want to speak with a local attorney familiar with Louisiana law. The state has a one-year statute of limitations for filing slip and fall personal injury claims, so you should begin searching for representation immediately.

    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.

     

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

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

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

    Common Sources of Asbestos Exposure

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

    You might have been exposed to asbestos:

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

    About Post-Accident Drug or Alcohol Screenings

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

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

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

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

    Collecting Benefits After a Failed Drug or Alcohol Test

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

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

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

    Failing a Return-to-Work Drug Test

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

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

    Have You Been Injured On The Job In Louisiana?

    If you've been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

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

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

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

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

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

    Types of Available Compensation

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

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

    Seeking Legal Assistance

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

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

     

  • Why does my lawyer need my personal information?

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

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

    Personal Information Your Lawyer Needs to Know

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

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

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

    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.

     

  • If my family member was killed in a pedestrian accident, what are my legal options?

    Losing a family member in a pedestrian accident can be emotionally devastating. Although taking legal action won't bring your loved one back, the funds from a wrongful death settlement can help alleviate some of the financial strain you may experience as a result of the incident. Wrongful death pedestrian accidents

    About Wrongful Death Claims for Pedestrian Accidents

    Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than the occupants of passenger vehicles to be killed in a car crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has a pedestrian fatality every 1.6 hours. Fatal accidents are most likely to occur at night, in urban areas, or in non-intersection locations. Victims are most often children or adults over the age of 65.

    A wrongful death action alleges that a person has died due to the fault of another. Winning the case requires you to establish the following:

    • The defendant owed the deceased person a duty of care.
    • The defendant breached that duty of care.
    • The breach of duty caused the death.
    • The death caused the damages you want to recover.

    In a pedestrian accident case, you typically must present evidence that the driver who struck and killed the pedestrian was operating his vehicle in a negligent and careless manner. This could include:

    • Speeding
    • Running a red light
    • Texting and driving
    • Drunk driving
    • Driving despite a medical condition that impairs reflexes and coordination

    Witness testimony, photos, accident reconstructions, and medical records are some of the types of evidence that might be presented. Expert testimony related to specific aspects of the case may also be required.

    It is important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action. This means, the only penalty the defendant faces is monetary in nature. However, some pedestrian accidents may involve both criminal and civil charges. In these cases, evidence from the criminal case can be used to support the civil wrongful death claim.

    Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim

    Only certain family members can file a wrongful death claim after a fatal accident. Louisiana law states:

    • If the deceased was married, the surviving spouse or children must file the claim.
    • If the deceased was unmarried and not a parent, his surviving parents must file the claim.
    • If there is no spouse, child, or parent to file, the surviving siblings of the deceased person can initiate the claim.
    • If there is no surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person can file the claim.
    • If there are no surviving family members, the deceased person's estate can bring the claim to court.

    People related by adoption have the same legal rights as those related by blood or marriage. However, if a parent abandoned the deceased person during childhood, that parent forfeits the right to file a claim.

    Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim

    A wrongful death claim includes damages for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include:

    • Medical expenses related to the deceased person's fatal injury
    • Reasonable funeral and burial costs
    • Lost wages and benefits
    • Value of lost household services
    • Bills for damaged property (if applicable)

    Non-economic damages are those which can't be proven by producing a receipt or bill. This includes:

    • Pain and suffering in the deceased person's final moments
    • The family's loss of care, companionship, guidance, and emotional support as the result of the deceased person's death
    • Punitive damages, which are rarely awarded but are intended solely to punish the defendant

    Since wrongful death claims are based on the person's anticipated life expectancy, it's important to note that settlements are higher when the deceased person is a child or young adult. 

    How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    There is a one-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim under Louisiana law. However, it's best to contact an attorney immediately. Evidence can be lost as time passes, so taking prompt legal action ensures that you have the highest possible chance of a fair settlement.

    Has Your Loved One Died Due To The Negligence Of Others?

    If your loved one died due to someone else's negligence you need to speak with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Does OSHA regulate asbestos exposure for workers?

    Today, the answer is yes. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates asbestos exposure for workers. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Asbestos regulations

    U.S. Asbestos Regulations 

    The first OSHA regulations concerning workers’ use of asbestos went into effect in 1971. These regulations were revised throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and into the 1990s. Today, the agency regulates asbestos for the construction industry, shipyard industry, and general industry.

    The regulation of asbestos in these industries specifies that no employee shall be exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos that exceeds 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air as an eight hour time weighted average or an airborne concentration of asbestos that exceeds 1.0 fiber per cubic centimeter of air as averaged over a sampling period of 30 minutes.

    While the specific requirements vary, the regulations also require:

    • Assessment and testing for the presence of asbestos
    • Ongoing monitoring to determine the level of asbestos
    • Hazard communications and warnings
    • Employee training
    • Medical surveillance
    • Records regarding asbestos exposure kept for at least 30 years

    Asbestos Regulations Can’t Prevent All Asbestos Injuries

    The United States regulates, but does not prohibit, the use of asbestos, and there is no known minimum threshold that asbestos exposure is considered safe. Additionally, even with regulations in place, you may still be at risk of asbestos exposure that is above the regulated amount.

    You are particularly at risk of serious health consequences of asbestos exposure if you worked in or lived with someone who worked in an asbestos-related industry in the 1980s or earlier. These health consequences, including mesothelioma, often do not appear for decades, and you may just now be experiencing symptoms of this serious cancer.

    If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related health condition, it is important to learn more about your legal rights. Please contact our experienced asbestos injury lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation. If you choose us to represent you, we will work on a contingency fee basis. That means, you won’t be charged any upfront fees for our services, and our fee will be an agreed on percentage of your settlement. Don’t spend another day wondering if you have a case or if you should take action. Get the reliable answers you need by contacting us online or calling us directly at 318.588.6303 today.

     

  • How can a nursing home abuse lawyer help my elderly relative?

    If your elderly relative has been the victim of physical abuse, medication theft, financial exploitation, or other forms of nursing home abuse, hiring an attorney can be very beneficial.  Attorneys for nursing home help

    6 Ways a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help

    Every case is different, but there are 6 ways a nursing home lawyer can help you get justice for your loved one.

    1. Interpret the Law. Nursing homes have a legal duty of care to provide a safe environment for residents, but what this means isn't always clearly spelled out. For example, there is no specific staffing level requirement for nursing homes even though understaffing increases the risk of resident injury. A lawyer can review requirements for facilities and develop a case that best demonstrates how the nursing home's conduct meets the standard of negligence. If appropriate, a lawyer can also build a case for awarding punitive damages as part of the settlement.
    2. Document the Damages. Nursing home abuse can provoke intense reactions in the friends and family of the victim, but emotional responses aren't considered evidence in a court of law. A skilled lawyer can help document the damages your loved one has suffered, including obtaining expert witnesses to testify about specific aspects of the case. This maximizes eligibility for compensation.
    3. Handle the Effects of Financial Abuse. Often, financial exploitation is an overlooked type of nursing home abuse. If your loved one was defrauded in an investment or insurance scam or someone with power of attorney mismanaged assets, a nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to recover the affected property or assets.
    4. Allow You to Focus on Your Loved One's Recovery. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you need to be able to devote your attention to her mental and physical well-being. Having a skilled lawyer to handle the case ensures that you can receive a fair settlement without taking time away from your loved one's care.
    5. Persuade the Nursing Home to Do the Right Thing. Although there are many caring and compassionate people who work in nursing homes, it's important to keep in mind that a nursing home is ultimately a business. The goal is to make a profit, which means keeping expenses down by minimizing damages and refusing to admit liability for the harm your loved one has suffered.
    6. Protect the Rights of Other Vulnerable Seniors. Nursing home abuse often goes unreported, so it's important to think of the vulnerable seniors who are in the same position as your loved one but don't have the support necessary to take legal action. By retaining a nursing home abuse lawyer, you may be able to inspire the changes necessary to protect the rights of other residents and prevent similar injustices from occurring in the future.

    What You Need to Know

    Before searching for a lawyer to handle a nursing home abuse case, there are a few things you should know:

    • This area of the law is quite complex, so it's important to choose someone with specific experience in obtaining compensation for the victims of nursing home abuse.
    • You must act quickly. There is a one-year statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases in the state of Louisiana.
    • If your loved one suffers from dementia or a cognitive impairment that prevents her from understanding the legal process, you may be able to file the lawsuit on her behalf.
    • If your loved one has passed away, you should contact a lawyer to file the claim on behalf of her estate.
    • When a nursing home resident receives Medicaid or Medicare benefits to cover the cost of care, these programs will have a lien on a percentage of any funds recovered in the claim.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's dedicated legal team is committed to serving the needs of Louisiana residents who've suffered harm due to nursing home abuse. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Is financial exploitation a type of nursing home abuse?

    When most people think of nursing home abuse, they imagine a resident who is being neglected or physically assaulted. However, financial exploitation can be just as harmful.  Financial abuse in nursing homes

    Seniors Make Easy Targets for Financial Scams

    The elderly are considered prime targets for unsavory individuals looking for a quick payday. Roughly 70% of the wealth in the United States is owned by people over the age of 50, which means that seniors have substantially greater savings than younger individuals. Seniors are also more likely to lack an understanding of modern technology, which means they are less likely to use real-time methods of monitoring their assets.

    Forms of Financial Abuse

    Financial abuse includes a wide range of actions intended to misappropriate the victim's income or assets. For example:

    • Forging checks to purchase items for personal use
    • Forging signatures on titles or deeds
    • Stealing jewelry, cash, or other valuables
    • Using deception to obtain power of attorney
    • Engaging in investment or insurance scams
    • Engaging in identity theft

    Financial abuse is most often perpetrated by someone the victim is close to. In cases involving nursing home residents, this might include:

    • Family members 
    • Close friends
    • Nursing home staff members
    • Other nursing home residents
    • Lawyers
    • Bankers
    • Accountants

    The perpetrators of financial abuse are often dealing with substance abuse, mental illness, personal debt, or recent stress. However, this is no excuse for taking advantage of a senior's trust.

    Uncovering Financial Abuse

    Despite the effects financial abuse can have on a senior's quality of life, financial exploitation of nursing home residents often goes unreported. In fact, the National Adult Protective Services Association estimates that just 1 in 44 cases of elder abuse involving financial exploitation is reported to the proper authorities. Reasons for this include:

    • The victim suffers from mental illness or cognitive impairment.
    • The victim trusts the person committing the abuse.
    • The victim is embarrassed or ashamed of being victimized.
    • The victim still cares about the perpetrator and does not wish to see him punished.
    • The victim is simply unaware of what has happened.

    Uncovering financial abuse of your loved one may take some detective work. Signs to watch for include:

    • Out of the ordinary transactions on bank statements
    • Overdue bills
    • Missing checks
    • Missing possessions
    • Transactions a senior is unaware of or can't explain
    • Inflated charges for routine services such as maintenance on a property the senior still owns
    • Abrupt changes made to a senior's will
    • Additional names added to a bank account signature card
    • Lack of basic provisions for daily living such as toiletries or appropriate clothing
    • Reluctance to talk about financial matters that were once considered routine
    • Isolation from friends and family

    Financial abuse often occurs alongside verbal abuse, physical abuse, medication theft, or neglect. However, it is important to keep in mind that a resident can be a victim of financial abuse even if no other types of nursing home abuse have occurred.

    Preventing Financial Abuse

    Preventing financial abuse of an elderly loved one can be difficult, but the following measures are often viewed as good safety precautions:

    • Set up automatic bill pay for living expenses.
    • Use direct deposit for checks.
    • Visit your loved one regularly to watch for changes in mood or behavior that could indicate a problem.
    • Carefully review qualifications of anyone providing nursing care.
    • Consider hiring a geriatric care manager to oversee the complete care of your loved one, including managing his finances.

    Seeking Legal Assistance

    If you believe your loved one has been a victim of financial exploitation or other forms of nursing home abuse, contact an attorney immediately. A skilled attorney can help determine what forms of abuse have occurred and decide the best way to proceed. For example, if someone has fraudulently obtained power of attorney, your attorney can help revoke the power of attorney and take steps to make sure that a senior's assets and savings are returned. Punitive damages may even be awarded in some circumstances.

    The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to protecting the interests of Louisiana's vulnerable seniors. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Can a brain injury cause PTSD?

    The relationship between brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is complex. Since PTSD is a mental health disorder, it's not caused by a brain injury. However, the two conditions can cause overlapping symptoms and create complexities in the treatment process. Brain injuries and PTSD

    Symptoms of a Brain Injury

    The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) vary in each individual but can include:

    • Trouble with memory and concentration
    • Sensitivity to light and sound
    • Severe fatigue
    • Headaches and dizziness
    • Vision problems
    • Loss of coordination and balance
    • Slurred speech
    • Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
    • Agitation, aggressiveness, or combative behavior
    • Personality changes
    • Poor judgment

    Brain injuries are diagnosed with a neurological examination and imaging tests such as a CAT scan, an MRI, or a PET scan.

    Developing PTSD After a Brain Injury

    Although brain injuries don't cause PTSD, it's possible to develop the condition after any traumatic event. Memories of the accident that caused the brain injury, as well as the emotional trauma associated with the injury, can trigger PTSD symptoms that complicate the rehabilitation process.

    The risk of developing PTSD after an accident causing a brain injury is higher in people with a past history of a mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression. People who are socially isolated and lack a strong support post-accident support system also face a higher risk.

    Symptoms of PTSD after a brain injury can include:

    • Feeling depressed
    • Feeling guilt and shame
    • Feeling anxious and jittery
    • Having unwanted memories of the accident that caused the brain injury
    • Avoiding people or places that remind you of the accident that caused the brain injury
    • Having trouble connecting to friends and family
    • Feeling emotionally numb
    • Finding it difficult to relax because you're always on the lookout for potential threats or dangers to yourself and others

    To some extent, experiencing these symptoms immediately after involvement in a traumatic event is entirely normal. To qualify as PTSD, symptoms must persist for more than a month and cause significant problems in the ability to complete everyday activities or maintain relationships with others.

    Treatment for Brain Injuries

    Mild forms of TBIs are generally treated with rest and close monitoring of symptoms. Patients are urged to avoid physically strenuous or cognitively taxing activities to give the brain time to heal.

    In more serious forms of brain injury, medication may be given to control seizures or reduce pressure in the brain. Surgery may be performed to control bleeding in the brain or repair a fractured skull.

    Someone with a serious TBI will require ongoing rehabilitation to relearn basic skills. This can include learning how to perform tasks such as walking, talking, and self-feeding. The patient's care team will include a neuropsychologist who evaluates cognitive impairment and performance, provides psychotherapy, and develops treatment plans to help the patient manage behaviors and learn effective coping strategies.
    Treatment for PTSD

    PTSD is treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), either in the form of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE). CPT helps individuals better understand how the triggering event has affected their thoughts and feelings. PE consists of slowly exposing PTSD sufferers to situations or events that trigger symptoms until they are able to react in a more controlled fashion.

    Medications can't cure PTSD, but they can be used to manage specific symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can minimize symptoms of depression, while Prazosin can control nightmares.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    If you've suffered a TBI and are experiencing symptoms of PTSD after an accident caused by another party's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you're partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can receive compensation that is proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team advocates for injured Louisiana residents throughout the process of resolving their personal injury claims. To learn more, please contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 for a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.