Get Answers to Your Benefits Questions in Our Disability FAQ

Dealing with the process of applying for and receiving disability benefits, whether it’s through the Social Security Administration (SSA), your employer, or a private insurer, can be a challenge, and many people are left with questions about what they can do to get the help they need. At the law offices of Loyd J. Bourgeois, we understand how hard it can be to get the answers you need. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers dealing with personal injury, disability benefits, claims, and appeals and the related law in Louisiana.

The following are some FAQs that I receive as a Louisiana attorney. They may answer some of the questions you have regarding your Social Security Disability appeal, your long-term disability insurance denial, or your personal injury claim. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the legal team of Louisiana Disability Law, Loyd J Bourgeois at 985-240-9773.

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  • Who should pay my medical bills after I'm injured in a wreck?

    I'm Louisiana injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois. Here to answer a frequently asked question that we get here in our office.

    "Who pays the medical bills after you've been injured in an auto accident?"

    Often times, this is the most pressing question we get from clients. They're facing medical treatment and bills. They don't know exactly how to get them paid for. They don't want to have collections calling them. They don't really know what to do.

    Our advice in this situation is pretty simple. If you have medical insurance through your employer or through your spouse, you want to use that medical insurance to pay for your medical treatment. Now at the end of the day, they may have a claim against any recovery you get. 

    But in the short term, it is best to get the treatment that you need for your injuries through your medical insurance provider. Now you may ask, "Why? I thought the other party was responsible for paying for my medical bills." And, you would be right.

    But, the other party or insurance company will not pay for your medical bills as you incur them. They will basically wait until the case is fully resolved. Whether that be through a settlement or a judgment, to pay all the medical bills at one time, in one lump sum along with paying you for any pain and suffering. So, you may have to go years without any recovery from the other responsible party. During that time you're going to need treatment. So you should use your own insurance company to pay for your medical treatment. That will include Medicare or Medicaid if you have that as well. Now, some people do purchase medical payments or med pay coverage through their own auto insurance, and if you do have that you can submit your bills through them to be reimbursed. Again, it probably won't be on an as you incur them basis right away, but you'll be able to get it reimbursed sooner. But they too may have a claim against any future recovery you may get as result of your injury.

    But, I hope this answers your question about who pays for your medical bills after your auto accident. I'm Louisiana disability and personal injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois. I trust you found this answer helpful. If you're looking for more answers to frequently asked questions, take a look out the information on our website.  If you're looking for help, do not hesitate to give us a call at 985-240-9773.  Our team is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after an injury.

  • Why is it important to call the police after an accident?

    If you don’t report your car accident, you risk your insurance company denying coverage, and you risk not being able to file a claim for damages against another at-fault party without a police report. You have to report your car accident to both your insurance company and the police if you want to protect your rights to recover compensation.

    Do I need to call the police for a minor car accident?

    Should I call the police after a minor car accident?You have a legal obligation to report accidents to your insurer under the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy. If you do not report your accident to your insurer, they may deny coverage for your accident.

    As for reporting your car accident to the police, accidents involving an injury, death, a hit-and-run, an intoxicated driver, or property damage more than $500 must be reported immediately to law enforcement.  If you don’t call the police and have them fill out a report documenting the accident and gathering facts, then it’s your word against the other driver’s word. This makes your claim difficult and can cause significant problems in any case. 

    Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury ClaimsI've written a book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims. This is a helpful and informative guide that will lead you through some of the common mistakes that can wreck your personal injury claim.  Discover why you may not even need an attorney! Get answers to your questions about recorded statements, paying medical bills, getting your vehicle repaired, negotiating a settlement, and much more! Don't make a costly mistake that could cause you to accept a settlement that is too small to cover your medical bills and lost wages! You need to read this before you talk to an attorney or insurance adjuster.  I'd love to send you a copy. Just click here to receive your free copy of my book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims.

  • Why do you need so much medical information from me?

    Sometimes we are asked, “Why do you want all this information about my medical history?”

    Whether you have a disability claim or personal injury claim, your medical history will be important to your case. It is also important for us in understanding what is going on with you and how you are impacted.

    So when we sit down and talk, and we are asking you about a medical history that is 5 or 10 years long, or in some cases longer, it is important you be truthful, upfront and honest with us! This history can be very important in your case.

    Importance of Medical History for a Personal Injury Claim

    The history is going to be especially important in a personal injury case if you fail to disclose all your prior injuries. If you tell an insurance company or insurance defense counsel you have never been injured before, and they go back and get medical records from 15 or 20 years ago and see you got treatment for 5 or 6 weeks (or few months) for some back problems, they will use that against you!

    Importance of Medical History for a Disability Claim

    In your disability case, the medical history is important so we can show a progression of a disease. If the condition is something that you have been dealing with for a long time, we can use your history to show multiple trials of treatment.

    It's very important when you sit down with your attorney to be open and honest with them and remember everything you can about your medical history including prior injuries, chronic conditions, all of the prior medical treatment you received, the facilities you went to for treatment. These things are very important. They are important to us, and they are going to be important to you and your case.

    Trust me, if I didn't have to get all this information - I wouldn't get it! But, I know the medical history is going to be very important so we like to get it up front and go through it and be very thorough with you. This is why your medical history is important and this is why your attorney is going to be asking you for the information.

    I'm Loyd Bourgeois, Louisiana personal injury and disability attorney. I look forward to hearing from you. Give us a call right here at 985-240-9773. We're glad to answer your questions and help you through the disability or personal injury process.

     

  • What Should I Do If My Vehicle’s Airbag Deploys?

    Airbags, used in conjunction with seat belts, have become essential safety tools for motorists.  Front driver and passenger airbags have been required equipment in U.S. manufactured cars since 1998.  Today, there are vehicles which feature more than ten different airbags – some, with airbags right in the seat belt itself. The NHTSA estimated that in 2012 alone over 2,200 lives were saved because of airbags. 

    How Does An Airbag Work?

    What should you do if your airbag deploys?Airbags are lightweight, fabric structures designed to protect a driver or passenger by inflating before a person contacts something hard inside the vehicle – such as the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, door panel, etc.  When a vehicle is in a collision, a signal is sent from the airbag’s electronic control unit to its inflator.  The inflator then triggers a chemical reaction, producing a gas which inflates the airbag. On average, it takes only about 20 to 30 milliseconds for a driver’s side airbag to inflate.  The gas used to inflate the airbag is like rocket booster fuel.

    What to Do If Your Vehicle’s Airbag Deploys?

    What should you do if your airbag deploys in a crash?If your airbag deploys during a collision, chances are the impact was sufficient to cause a disabling personal injury.

    1. The first thing you should do is call 9-1-1 and stabilize any serious problems.  If necessary, seek medical attention
    2. In some vehicles, when the airbag inflates, the engine automatically shuts off.  This is to prevent any fires from possible fuel leaks.  If your vehicle does not automatically kill, turn off the engine.
    3. If the airbags have deployed, the car should NOT be driven.  You need to obtain an alternative way home or the medical care. 

    After the Collision 

    Do NOT drive the vehicle again until your car is inspected by a mechanic.  Your vehicle should be inspected to determine the extent of the damage.  You should take pictures of the vehicle’s damage in case it is needed later.  I also recommend writing down as much as you remember about the circumstances of the accident as soon as possible after the collision.  This helps you not forget important aspects of the situation.  You should also follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations regarding treatment for any injuries that you received.

    If you or someone you love was in an accident in Louisiana and suffered a disabling personal injury that required hospitalization and missed work, give us a call at 985-240-9773.  We have the experience to guide you through this difficult process and advise you on both the injury aspects of your claim and the disability aspects of your claim.

    Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury ClaimsI've written a book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims. This is a helpful and informative guide that will lead you through some of the common mistakes that can wreck your personal injury claim.  Discover why you may not even need an attorney! Get answers to your questions about recorded statements, paying medical bills, getting your vehicle repaired, negotiating a settlement, and much more! Don't make a costly mistake that could cause you to accept a settlement that is too small to cover your medical bills and lost wages! You need to read this before you talk to an attorney or insurance adjuster.  I'd love to send you a copy. Just click here to receive your free copy of my book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims.

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Why does pain sometimes start a few days following a car wreck?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois, and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Why does pain sometimes start a few days following a car wreck?

    The Insight with Dr. Brien

    One of the major factors that cause this effect is the body releases what we call endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers. When the body releases them you are not feeling much of anything. You are trying to function throughout -- your brain is trying to function, your body is trying to function, and you really just don't feel pain. This natural painkiller is working. A lot of times it takes hours or days for those endorphins to calm down. One thing I can kind of relate that to is when people exercise - they'll go exercise and they won't be sore until two or three days later. It is the same thing after an accident. So, I utilize that example with my patients in trying to compare those two together to help them understand why they are not in pain right away.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

  • What Will Happen to my Social Security Disability if the Government Shuts Down?

    With the government shutting down twice in under a month in early 2018, many New Orleans-area Social Security Disability claimants and recipients are wondering how a government shutdown affects them and their benefits, application, and/or hearing.

    WILL I STILL RECEIVE MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    Social Security and Government ShutdownWhat happens to Social Security Disability during a government shutdown?

    When the government shut down in 1995 and again in 2013, all Social Security payments continued to be sent out on time. This included Social Security Disability.

    During the 1995 shutdown, which lasted about a month, the Social Security Administration mailed checks throughout the shutdown. Social Security was able to continue mailing benefits due to the fact that doesn’t need Congress to authorize funds for it each year. Instead, Social Security benefits are considered mandatory spending and are paid from the program’s trust fund, and therefore, the agency has the funds to continue paying benefits. In 1995, Social Security maintained enough employees to continue mailing checks without delay.

    Since payments are now direct deposited and/or loaded onto debit cards, Social Security continued processing payments during the 2013 shut down with fewer employees than were needed to mail benefit checks during the 1995 shutdowns.

    WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SCHEDULED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HEARING IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    Most likely, hearing offices will continue to hold Social Security Disability and SSI hearings if a shutdown occurs. During the 2013 government shutdown, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) still held previously scheduled hearings, but staffing was limited to Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), medical experts, vocational experts, and security personnel. New hearings were not scheduled.  Lack of support personnel caused delays in exhibiting files and decisions were not written during the shutdown.  So, if a claimant was waiting for an already scheduled hearing, it in most cases proceeded and was decided.  But, the writing of the decision did not take place, so if benefits were granted, there was a further delay before benefits were paid since the decision was not actually formally written until the shutdown ended.

    WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPLICATION IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?

    During the Clinton-era shutdown, new Social Security claims were not being processed because the agency furloughed 61,415 employees. As the shutdown wore on, the agency adjusted its plan and recalled workers to start processing new claims. Whether new claims are processed at all or with a delay due to fewer workers will depend on how many employees the SSA decides to maintain and how many they decide to furlough.

    The SSA’s 2013 government shutdown contingency plan stated that new and pending Social Security applications would continue to be processed as well as requests for appeals. However, because these functions are carried out by the state Disability Determination Offices, each state will decide whether to continue these operations or stop them.  The most likely scenario is that applications will be processed but with some delay. The delay will be dependent on how many employees are retained and how long the shutdown lasts.

    The Takeaway

    Whenever a threat of a shutdown looms, I monitor the situation checking Social Security's contingency plan often.  If the government shuts down again, I will be in touch with all of my current clients to advise them on how this situation will affect them depending upon the current status of their claim.  

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Is it possible for an injury to initially go undiagnosed after a wreck?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Is it possible for my injury to go undiagnosed immediately after a car wreck?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien

    We are going to take them through a series of examinations to get our examination findings, but it is not uncommon for some injuries not to show up initially. You know, sometimes even a fracture initially will not show up a lot of times. So what you will see a lot of times where the patient has to go back in to get an x-ray in an area. This also happens with soft tissue injuries. They will take some time to show up. In each case, there are certain red flags we look for and there are certain things that show up right away. But, there are certain things that don't. In a general soft tissue, sprain/strain type case, a lot of times you won't see radicular or radiating symptoms down the arms or legs. So, you treat those symptoms as soft tissue sprains/strains. Then, as the weeks go by, sometimes those symptoms will start to show up. The patient will come in and say “I'm starting to really feel some numbness or tingling in my arms or legs.” We will then start evaluating and finding out - is there an underlying cause of this. That's when we will send them out for an MRI (which is a radiograph) and it shows the soft tissue. With the MRI, you will find those disc herniation disc problems. Then, you have to kind of change your course care there.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: What is the relationship between pain and inflammation?

    This is Saint Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois and I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on Loyd’s Legal Insights...

    Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Mitchell Brien, chiropractor, at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana. We are getting some insight from his perspective on some the frequently encountered issues he sees with his personal injury patients. I hope you join us and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    What is the relationship between pain and inflammation?

    The Insight with Dr. Brien

    As we age we are all going to have that degenerative effect in our in our soft tissues-- the discs and whatnot that start to dehydrate. This is not a pain-producing event a lot of times. You know there are a lot of people walking around with degenerative disc but don't have pain and never realize it.  They never get treated for it because they never have pain.  Then you introduce a trauma into that area and what happens is the inflammatory response occurs. That is when the pain comes on - the inflammation creates pain, not the degeneration. So when these tissues are disrupted or are brought into a hyperflexion/hyperextension zone, there are what we call micro-tears, or little tears in those soft tissues.  This causes an inflammatory response where there is swelling and redness. Fluid develops in those in those soft tissues. This creates the pain.

    So there you have it - some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in St. Charles Parish.

    Remember if you are hurt in a car crash here in St. Charles Parish, or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim give me a call 985-240-9773. Injury consultations are free and we will take care of you from right here in our Luling, Louisiana office on the River Road.

    Dr. Mitchell Brien: What is the relationship between pain and inflammation

  • What if there is much more damage to the vehicle that caused the accident than to your own car? How can that affect your case?

    Some jurors in accident cases believe in the myth that property damage equals injury. This means that jurors likely will believe that unless your vehicle sustained substantial property damage, you were not injured. Ironically, this commonly-held belief is refuted entirely by the body of medical and scientific evidence that has been developed over years regarding accidents and injuries.

    What if there's more damage to the at fault car in an accident?For example, in a rear-end collision where a car “rear ends” a truck that has a trailer hitch, often most of the property damage will be on the car that rear-ended the truck. This is why it is so important in these types of cases that your attorney promptly hires an expert to examine your vehicle to collect evidence that can be used to explain to the jury why one car has much more property damage the other.

    Our firm is working on a case where there was significant property damage to the car that rear-ended our client’s truck. However, the truck has minimal property damage because the car rear-ended our client’s truck right on the trailer hitch. The trailer hitch is attached directly to the frame of the vehicle so damage was far less to the truck than to the car who struck the truck.  The fact that the at-fault car had more damage than the truck does not mean that the at-fault party doesn't owe my client for his personal injury or for the property damage to his truck.  It is important in these cases to retain an experienced River Parishes Personal Injury attorney that can retain the right experts to help prove your claim and counter the jury's bias.  If you were injured in an accident where the other car received more damage than yours, give us a call at 985-240-9773 to discuss your specific situation.  Or you can use our contact form and someone from our office will be in touch with you shortly.  

    Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury ClaimsI've written a book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims. This is a helpful and informative guide that will lead you through some of the common mistakes that can wreck your personal injury claim.  Discover why you may not even need an attorney! Get answers to your questions about recorded statements, paying medical bills, getting your vehicle repaired, negotiating a settlement, and much more! Don't make a costly mistake that could cause you to accept a settlement that is too small to cover your medical bills and lost wages! You need to read this before you talk to an attorney or insurance adjuster.  I'd love to send you a copy. Just click here to receive your free copy of my book Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims.

  • Loyd's Legal Insights: Should I go to the emergency room after a car accident?

    I am St. Charles Parish injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois.  I am here to help you get the answer to this question and more today on this installment of Loyd’s Legal Insights.  Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with local chiropractor Dr. Mitchell Brien at his office on Highway 90 in Luling, Louisiana.  We wanted to get some insight from his perspective on some of the frequently encountered issues he sees in his personal injury patients.  I hope you will join us as we sit down with Dr. Mitchell Brien and learn more about the chiropractic process in personal injury claims.

    Should I go to the emergency room after a wreck?

    The Insight from Dr. Brien:

    Every case is different.  If someone has severe abrasions or something, they're going to go to the ER.  For those who are not really feeling a lot of pain, in my opinion, it's always a good idea to go ahead and get it evaluated by someone who specializes in those types of injuries because some of those things don't show up for days or even a week sometimes. Some people's pain tolerance is much different so you want to make sure you get it evaluated and get those injuries at least looked at initially. There may not be any injury in there. You know some accidents don't have an injury, but it's a good idea to get a professional to look at that.

    So there you have it – some simple truth from a proven medical leader right here in Luling. Remember if you are hurt in car crash here in St. Charles Parish or if you are looking for a local St. Charles Parish attorney to represent you in your injury claim –

    Give me a call at 985-240-9773.

    Injury consultations are free.  And, we will take care of you from our Luling office – right here on the River Road.