Get Answers to Your Legal Questions in Our FAQ

Dealing with a legal issue whether it be applying for and receiving disability benefits, fighting for a personal injury claim, or navigating through a divorce, 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 family law, 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, your personal injury claim, or your Louisiana divorce. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the legal team of Loyd J Bourgeois, LLC at 985-240-9773.

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  • Do I need a Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney to Settle My Case?

    If you were involved in a car crash, industrial accident or another incident, you may be wondering if you need an attorney to settle your claim. 

    Here is my answer – maybe, maybe not.  It depends on the specifics of your case and your injury. 

    In my opinion, some small injury cases do not require a personal injury lawyer. How do you know if your case is a small injury case?  Some things I see in small injury cases: (1) minimal impact; (2) limited or no doctor visits; or (3) no ongoing treatment or limitations after a few weeks. My office usually does not get involved in cases with very minor injuries requiring only a visit or two to the doctor because doing so is usually not cost-effective for you or us.  The amount of damages at issue in these smaller cases is not that much, and after paying an attorney’s fee and your medical expenses, you may be left with very little or nothing. This is simply not fair to you.

    However, for more serious and disabling injuries, accident victims will usually benefit from having an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney represent them. Why?

    An experienced accident and injury attorney is knowledgeable about legal authority and knows how to effectively utilize the court system. In some cases, an insurance company will only make their best offer with a trial date approaching. An experienced personal injury attorney can effectively prepare you and your case for trial, and try your case to a judge or jury if need be.

    And – in 1999, the Insurance Research Council (an insurance industry non-profit) found that injured people who used an attorney received, on average, three and a half times more in settlement money than those who settled without hiring an attorney. This is not just lawyer talk.  The insurance industry’s own data shows how important having an attorney is for injured victims. Ever wonder why the insurance industry hates lawyers – because lawyers hold them accountable for the damages their insured’s cause. 

    So, do you need an attorney to settle your claim?  Maybe not – if your injury is minor and your damages are small.  But, if you have serious or disabling damages, the insurance industry’s own data suggests – you should get an attorney.  You make the decision.

    Louisiana disabling personal injury lawyer Loyd Bourgeois is ready to provide you the assistance you need! Contact us today to schedule a FREE no obligation legal consultation – (985) 240-9773.

  • How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim in St. Charles Parish? How do I file an injury claim in Metairie?

    When you are seriously injured because of a car wreck in the River Parishes, Louisiana, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit. While you should make the decision to contact an attorney to help you with this process, you may want to try handling the case on your own.  Whether you hire an attorney or handle it on your own, there are a number of very important steps that you must take to file your personal injury claim. 

    Steps to Filing a Louisiana Personal Injury Claim

    Filing a lawsuit in Louisiana properly is very important.  If you file incorrectly, your claim can be dismissed and you may never recover from your injury and pain.  Here are a few important things that you need to properly file a lawsuit:

    1. Proper name and correct address of at-fault party or parties;
    2. Proper name and correct address of at-fault party’s insurance company;
    3. Appropriate description of location of collision, incident or action that caused you damages;
    4. Appropriate description of collision, incident or action that caused you damages;
    5. Appropriate description of the damages (special and general) that you suffered due to the collision, incident or action;
    6. Properly drafted complaint/petition for damages (this document gives an overview of the case – it identifies you (plaintiff), the defendant, what happened, and other basic facts.
    7. File the complaint/petition in the proper court and before the case prescribes (or statute of limitations expires);
    8. Pay for the filing fee;
    9. Have the complaint/petition properly served on the defendant(s) at the correct address;
    10. Pay the service fee;
    11. Check to make sure service made properly and within required time frames;
    12. If service not made timely or properly, re-request service and pay additional fee for service;
    13. Make sure defendant(s) answer the suit timely.  If not, take appropriate action to place defendant in default. 
    14. If defendant answers suit timely, begin litigation with defendant. 

    This is a brief and non-exhaustive overview of the beginnings of a personal injury lawsuit.  Your specific case may be different or require additional steps.  In order to hold the insurance company and defendant accountable for your damages, you must complete all steps properly. 

    While this sounds daunting, a qualified Louisiana personal injury attorney can take care of this process and make sure things are done correctly. 

    This is just the beginning.  After these steps, much more extensive information and steps will be required. These steps include discovery (answer questions from the defendant, having our questions answered by the defendant, requesting documents, producing documents, giving depositions, taking depositions, working with experts, etc.), negotiations, trial preparation, and going to trial. By cooperating with your Louisiana personal injury attorney, you will become a team, and by working together you’ll greatly increase the chances of negotiating a fair settlement or winning your personal injury claim in court.

    Contacting A Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney

    After a serious accident, while you are dealing with disabling injuries, large medical bills, car repairs, and insurance companies, having someone work for and with you can mean the world.

    If the prospect of going through just the beginning steps alone seems daunting and you decide you need help, Louisiana disabling personal injury lawyer Loyd Bourgeois is ready to provide you the assistance you need! Contact us today to schedule a FREE no obligation legal consultation – (985) 240-9773.

     

  • What Is My Personal Injury or Car Accident Case Worth?

    There is no simple formula or magic trick to figuring out how much your injury case is worth. If things were that simple - both sides would always agree on the value of a case, injured accident victims would not need to hire a personal injury lawyer, and there would be much fewer lawyers.

    The truth is - injury cases are very subjective and each case too unique to arrive at a simple personal injury compensation formula. The same type of injury may affect one person differently than it affects another. For instance, a guitar player who loses a finger may have a substantial lost income claim if he or she can no longer perform but a cashier with the same injury may have very little or no lost income because having one less finger does not negatively impact job performance.

    Why is so hard to tell what my case is worth?

    How much is my Personal Injury case worth? Ultimately, the value of your personal injury case is what a jury may feel is fair to award or what you are willing to accept. But we never know that figure until the jury reaches a verdict or you decide to accept or reject a settlement offer.

    Making things more complicated - separate juries would likely arrive at different awards even when presented with the same exact evidence. Juries are made up of individual persons, each with different backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies about awarding damages for injuries. Each jury is different. 

    From a settlement perspective – you may accept one amount on one day but a lower or higher amount on a different day.  We simply do not know until we are faced with the decision!

    Generally speaking, your personal injury damages include some or all of the following that impacts the case’s worth:

    1. Past and future medical bills;
    2. Past and future mental and physical pain and suffering;
    3. Past and future loss of enjoyment of life;
    4. Past and future loss of income or earning capacity;
    5. Loss of consortium;

    Agreeing on the value of intangible damage such as mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and disfigurement is difficult. Your results may vary greatly depending on your attorney’s skill and experience, trial presentation, the location of your trial, and how you present.

    While the elements of damages are generally determined by the severity of a victim’s injuries and the resulting impact on your life, other factors also come into play:

    • Your credibility and likeability;
    • Was the defendant’s conduct a simple mistake or reckless behavior;
    • Do you have any portion of fault;
    • Did you have pre-existing injuries to the same areas of the body;
    • Are the injuries permanent;
    • Has your income been affected at all, temporarily or permanently;
    • How much is past medical treatment;
    • Do you need and how much is the cost for future medical treatment; and
    • In which Louisiana parish the case is filed (some parishes are considered more conservative, others more liberal).

    With so many variables affecting the value of a given case, you can see why no two cases are truly alike. Even if the injuries seem identical, other circumstances are not.  Properly evaluating a personal injury case requires the knowledge, experience, intuition, and skill gained through years of involvement in handling them.

    HURT IN A WRECK – GET HELP NOW!

    If you are trying to figure out if you have a reasonable offer, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney in Louisiana who can help you figure it out!  Loyd J. Bourgeois stands ready to help.  Contact us to schedule your FREE legal consultation –  (985) 240-9773.

  • What Does My Personal Injury Attorney Do?

    When you are injured in an automobile accident, industrial incident, or other situation, you might consider hiring a personal injury attorney.  Some of your friends and family, or the insurance company, may tell you that you do not need an attorney.  When you are considering whether to hire an attorney or not, you should understand what a personal injury attorney can do for you.

    While I am unable to speak for all personal injury attorneys, I can generally explain what I do for my own clients. Again each case is different, but a typical personal injury case, prepared properly, will require much or all of the following:

    1. Conduct an initial interview to get acquainted with the client;
    2. Learn the facts of the case;
    3. Learn about the potential defendants;
    4. Learn about my client’s injuries;
    5. Identify treating physicians, witnesses, etc.;
    6. Teach and educate the client about the litigation process in personal injury claims;
    7. Locate and gather all important initial documents and records to support the claim (these will typically include medical records and bills, accident report, past and current employment records and tax returns, among others);
    8. Obtain witness statements;
    9. Obtain physical evidence;
    10. Take or obtain photographs or diagrams of the accident scene;
    11. Investigate to determine who will be the appropriate defendants;
    12. Investigate to determine all potential sources of insurance coverage;
    13. Obtain, read and analyze all applicable insurance policies to determine all available coverage for the client’s damages;
    14. Evaluate client’s own insurance coverage;
    15. Suggest what coverages client may purchase for future protection;
    16. Examine the client’s health insurance, governmental or another benefit plan to determine whether any money they paid for accident-related medical bills must legally be repaid;
    17. If necessary, negotiate the amount to be repaid, if any, from any recovery to health insurers.
    18. Conferences with the client’s treating physicians in order to fully understand the client’s medical diagnosis and prognosis;
    19. Obtain reports or specific statements from client’s doctors on medical causation, diagnosis, and prognosis;
    20. Research, hire and obtain experts needed to support the client’s claim;
    21. Evaluate and research all legal issues that affect the case;
    22. Initiate contact with and periodically discuss with the insurance adjuster the client’s claim;
    23. Ensure insurance company has necessary information to set appropriate reserves;
    24. Discuss and make recommendation to client about settlement amounts based on specific facts of case;
    25. Negotiate with the insurance adjuster to attempt settlement of the claim prior to filing a lawsuit;
    26. Determine all courts where the suit can be filed, and determine which court is best;
    27. Preparing and draft the petition or complaint;
    28. Determine the exact names and addresses of the defendants as well as their agents for service of process, if any, so that the petition or complaint can be properly served.
    29. File and arrange for personal service of the petition or complaint upon the defendants as the law requires.
    30. Prepare, draft and issue written discovery questions including interrogatories, request for production of documents, and requests for admission of facts for the defendants to answer under oath;
    31. Respond to interrogatories, request for production of documents and request for admissions issued by the defendants to the client;
    32. Fully educate and prepare the client for deposition;
    33. Prepare notices of deposition for all witnesses we will depose;
    34. Prepare for and take the depositions of the defendants, independent fact witnesses, insurance company personnel, physicians or other expert witnesses;
    35. Meet with the client’s treating physicians to prepare them for deposition;
    36. Discuss with the client what to expect and otherwise prepare the client for any medical examination to be conducted by the defendants’ medical experts;
    37. Review, analyze and summarize all records, and bills from the client’s treating physicians and other healthcare providers;
    38. Prepare expert witnesses hired for their depositions;
    39. Review and evaluate all expert reports;
    40. File all necessary documents and pleadings in court as required;
    41. Prepare necessary motions for summary judgment;
    42. Prepare and respond to all defense motions;
    43. Prepare and argue any motions on evidence for trial;
    44. Prepare the client, physicians, expert and other witnesses for trial testimony;
    45. Organize and compile all medical records, bills and other written or exhibits for trial;
    46. Prepare enlargements of certain exhibits for display to the jury;
    47. Prepare models, timelines, charts, diagrams or other demonstrative evidence for trial;
    48. Prepare for and attend mediation if the case is mediated;
    49. Prepare and have served subpoenas upon all witnesses to command attendance at trial;
    50. Prepare and conduct for jury selection;
    51. Prepare and give opening statements;
    52. Prepare and take all testimony;
    53. Prepare and argue necessary trial motions;
    54. Prepare and give closing arguments;
    55. Try the case before a judge or jury;
    56. Evaluate the verdict rendered and research any new legal issues that arise during the course of trial;
    57. Draft any post-trial briefs or motions;
    58. Obtain trial transcripts and examine the trial record to determine if an appeal is warranted;
    59. Research and draft all briefs required if an appeal is filed by either side.

    There may be other items necessary in any particular case and some of these items may take multiple steps.  Your personal injury attorney should keep you advised about the progress of your case throughout this process.

    Likewise, you should keep your attorney fully aware of any medical treatment or other developments relating to your injury. You and your attorney should stay on the same page regarding the progress of your case.

     

  • How Do I Prepare For a Deposition?

    When you are seriously injured in a car crash or industrial incident, and you have to file a lawsuit, you will probably have to give a deposition at some point.  What is a deposition?  How do you prepare for a deposition?  What should be on the lookout for in your deposition?How to Prepare for a Deposition

    Your Louisiana attorney is the best source for instructions and information about preparing for your deposition.  In St. Charles Parish, I advise my clients on the ins and outs of the deposition process and what to expect.

    A deposition is a formal legal proceeding where you are sworn to tell the truth and your testimony is taken. It generally occurs at your lawyer’s office or another office, not in court. The deposition is basically a question-and-answer session with attorneys in the case asking you questions and you providing answers. The questions and answers along with all other conversations are transcribed by a court reporter and are sometimes videoed.

    Depositions are usually taken of you, the defendant(s), and other witnesses (including doctors, experts, and others).  The purpose is to obtain sworn statements and information about the case – details of the incident, details of the injury, details of damages, etc.

    How to Prepare For Your Deposition

    You should meet with your injury lawyer well before the deposition for preparation.  Depending on the complexity of your case, the preparation can take anywhere from an hour or two to multiple hours or even days.

    A quick note about dress and behavior.  You should dress appropriately like you are going to court - no T-shirts or shorts, club wear, dirty/torn clothing or hats. This is especially important if the deposition is videoed.  You need to be mindful of your mannerisms, posture and how you conduct yourself.  These non-verbal cues can reveal a lot about you and can impact your credibility.

    Questions to Prepare For Before your Deposition

    When discussing depositions with my St. Charles Parish clients, I often talk about the questions they should expect.  Your Louisiana personal injury attorney should discuss this with you as well.  Some common deposition questions will revolve around the following:

    1. The details of the accident (date, time, where you were going, what you remember, what did you see, what were you doing, etc.)
    2. The details of your injury (when did it start, what treatment you receive, what doctors you see, how you deal with the injury, any prior injury, etc.)
    3. The details of your other financial losses (missed time from work, medical expenses, etc.)
    4. Other areas that have been affected (hobbies, relationships, household activities, etc.)

    How to Respond

    Before your deposition, you should try to think through how to behave and respond.  Prepare yourself mentally to be called a liar, an exaggerator, a malingerer, and someone who is just trying to hit the lawsuit lottery.  Know that the defense counsel will likely try to make you feel this way so that they can get you to say or do things out of character and use it against you.  Regardless of how you are treated, try to remain calm, collected, and let your attorney stick up for you.  Remember these tips:

    • Do not get angry  – Showing any hostility means you’re more likely to get flustered and say something without thinking. The other attorney may try to provoke you into an argument so it’s important to remain calm and control what you say.
    • Do not guess – Don’t answer a question unless you are certain what the attorney means. Ask them to clarify if you don’t completely understand what they are asking. Tell the truth – not what you think the attorney wants to hear!
    • Do not volunteer information – Answer all questions in concise statements, as the more you say, the more likely you are to volunteer potentially damaging information.
    • Do wait for the attorney to finish the question – Take a moment to consider what the attorney just asked you and prepare your answer. Speaking without first thinking raises your risk of saying something you may regret.

    What are common tricks?

    Your New Orleans personal injury lawyer should be familiar with some of the trick questions defense attorneys ask to try to get damaging statements out of witnesses. Trick questions are often misleading or confusing. You should remember you always have the right to ask for clarification before answering. 

    Some typical trick questions you may get at your deposition include:

    • Compound questions – Two questions joined into one.
    • Questions that assume facts that are not true – For example; “Can you describe what happened after the car in front of you hit the brakes?” would be a dangerous question to answer if the car did not, in fact, hit the brakes.
    • Summary questions – Questions that attempt to summarize your previous testimony, often hiding damaging or untrue statements within the key points.
    • Questions asking for exact figures – If the attorney asks for the exact speed you were going or the exact time it was when your accident occurred, answer in estimates, not solid figures unless you can prove the concrete numbers.

    Before you talk to the insurance companies, or submit to a deposition or examination under oath, you need to speak with a Louisiana personal injury attorney.  Loyd J. Bourgeois stands ready to help.  Contact us to schedule your FREE legal consultation – (985) 240-9773.

  • Can I sue the State of Louisiana? Can I sue my parish or city for my injury?

    There is an old saying - “You can’t fight City Hall!” But, what happens if the State of Louisiana or your local parish or city government is responsible for your injury? Can you sue the State of Louisiana?  Can you sue your parish or city/town?

    The short answer is – probably.  However, in some cases, the answer is no, or yes, but don’t expect to ever receive anything. 

    If you are injured as a result of the negligence of a state employee or parish/city/town employee, your claim is subject to special laws found in La R.S. 13:5101, et seq, also known as the “Louisiana Governmental Claims Act.”

    Personal Injury Claims Against Government

    Can I Sue the State of Louisiana?A common claim against a governmental entity is for collisions with emergency vehicles.  For example, you are driving and a police car flies through the intersection you have just legally entered. You hear the siren and see the lights, but you don’t have time to get out of the way before a collision occurs. Another example would be a wreck with your local parish’s public vehicle or if you are walking at a local park and the parish is cutting grass and something flies up and severely injures you.  What if a bad roadway design contributed to your injury?

    The State of Louisiana and your local parish and/or city/town governments are usually bound by the same rules of negligence that apply to all others.  There are some changes depending on circumstances – like for an emergency vehicle responding to a call – but generally, the negligence laws apply.

    Your case may be also subject to certain rules about where your lawsuit can be filed, when it must be filed, how much you can recover, and whether or not you can have a jury determine your damages.

    Contact a St. Charles Parish Personal Injury Lawyer

    As a knowledgeable St. Charles Parish personal injury attorney, I can help you decide if you have a claim against your local parish/city/town or the State of Louisiana and if so, together we can hold them accountable for your damages.  If you feel you may have a personal injury claim against a government entity, contact us today at (985) 240-9773.

     

  • After A Wreck – Should You Go To A Doctor?

    Mark was involved in an accident at Airline Highway and Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan, Louisiana.  He was headed home to Norco from his job in Metairie and was stopped at the right light.  John was not paying attention to the road and was texting.  He did not notice Mark had stopped due to the red light and crashed into the back of Mark’s truck.  Mark felt a little stiff but declined the ambulance.  He went home and then to work the next day, and the next.  He felt stiff but figured it would get better.  Before long, it was two weeks and the stiffness had not gone away.  He decided to go to his doctor then.

    Jennifer was on her way to work in Raceland when she was rear-ended at the red light on Highway 90 and Bayou Gauche Road in Paradis, Louisiana.  Just like Mark, it was the inattentive driving of a teenager trying to text while driving.  Jennifer felt the stiffness in her neck and back immediately. She did not want to go in the ambulance and declined, but she went straight to urgent care after her husband picked her up from the scene. 

    Assuming everything else is equal – type of injury, the length of treatment, lost wages, etc. – who protected themselves better?

    Should you always see a doctor after a wreck?

    A big mistake I see after a car wreck is what is called a delay in treatment. A delay in treatment is failing to see a doctor – any doctor - soon after the wreck. This is a big mistake for two important reasons.

    1. You are putting your health at risk. If you have been in a wreck, you really need to be checked out by a physician. Don’t be John Wayne or your dad – you know, the tough guys who think that they are too tough to be hurt and don't need to see a doctor. A medical doctor, chiropractor or other health care provider is trained to take a history, examine you and treat you if necessary. You will be better off seeing a health care provider and letting that provider confirm you are not injured.
    2. Delaying treatment can reduce the amount of any compensation you are entitled to receive and introduces uncertainty into your claim – were you really hurt by the collision or by some other incident? 

    In understanding the second reason, you should know how insurance companies evaluate claims.  They use sophisticated computer programs to help determine the value of your claim based on information specific to your case.   The insurance adjuster obtains the case-specific information and feeds into the program. The program only works based on the information put into it and based only on this information will generate a settlement dollar amount. Once the program speaks, the adjuster is unlikely to increase the amount significantly.  Because of this, it is very important that the data the insurance company feeds into the software is correct and complete. Delays in treatment are sometimes known to reduce the amount of money the insurance company pays.

    So how does a delay in treatment hurt the case – the date of first treatment is one of the first pieces of data that the insurance company will be feeding into their software. If you have seen a physician within that time frame then you have added what is called a value driver to your score in the insurance company software. There are more and larger value software drivers used in the software but in terms of time, this is the first important value driver that you want to have in your case profile.

    Here's the main takeaway – get checked out, preferably within 72 hours of the collision, to make sure you receive care if you need it and protect yourself in case a personal injury claim needs to be made.

    Often, accident victims don’t realize how injured they are until a day, or even two or three days, after the accident. Sometimes it's weeks before they realize that the lingering pain, stiffness, or soreness that they assumed would go away, hasn't stopped at all. But it is essential to seek medical care as soon as possible, both to determine the level of injury and receive proper treatment, and to strengthen your personal injury case later on. If you wait more than a week to see a doctor, you’ve just told the insurance company that your injury isn’t that bad.

    Not going to a doctor after an accident such a big mistake, that it is number one on my list of 7 Deadly Sins that Can Destroy a Personal Injury Claim

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  • Can I get Social Security Disability benefits for epilepsy?

    Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain. The hallmark symptom of epilepsy is a seizure.  Statistically, 1 in 26 people is diagnosed with epilepsy and each year about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed. with the central nervous system disorder that causes seizures.

    Seizures can cause a range of symptoms, from momentarily staring blankly to loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching. Some seizures can be milder than others, but even minor seizures can be dangerous if they occur during activities like swimming or driving.

    Our Luling office is often contacted to help evaluate disability claims for those with epilepsy.  When we speak with you about your epilepsy disability claim, we will evaluate whether you can meet the Social Security Disability listing for epilepsy or if your epilepsy causes impairments that are not compatible with any work that may be available. 

    To meet the listing for epilepsy, we will need to have a good description from your medical provider of a typical seizure plus one of the following:

    • Generalized tonic-clonic or Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once a month for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment. OR
    • Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once a week for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment. OR
    • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurring at least once every 2 months for at least 4 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment PLUS a marked limitation in one of the following:
      1. Physical functioning; or
      2. Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
      3. Interacting with others; or
      4. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
      5. Adapting or managing oneself.

    OR

    • Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once every 2 weeks for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment PLUS a marked limitation in one of the following:
      1. Physical functioning; or
      2. Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
      3. Interacting with others; or
      4. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
      5. Adapting or managing oneself.

    If your epilepsy is not severe enough to meet these stringent requirements, it may still qualify you for disability benefits.  We will have to work to accurately define how often you have seizures and experience problems with physical functioning; understanding, remembering and applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; or adapting or managing yourself.  Your specific limitations, including any caused by your medications or side-effects, must be taken into account and may be limiting enough to prevent work.

    To help define your limitations, a seizure diary may be helpful.  This can be done by keeping a notebook where you write down the specifics of your seizures such a date, time started, time ended, effects (loss of consciousness, absence seizure, etc.), the cause of the seizure, and how long after the seizure it took you to return to normal functioning. 

    If you have a epilepsy and need help with your Social Security Disability claim, give us a call immediately at 985-240-9773 to see how we can help you prepare the best case possible for you!

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  • What is a soft tissue injury?

    As I was driving the other day on Highway 90 through Boutte and Luling, Louisiana, I saw a St. Charles Parish school bus that had collided with at least one other vehicle.  Fortunately, the school bus looked empty except for the driver. My son was in the truck with me and asked if I thought anyone was hurt. After seeing what looked like the drivers of both vehicles walking around outside their vehicles, I told him that it was hard to tell from looking at someone the full extent of any injury.  I explained that it did not look like any bones were broken but someone may have a “soft tissue” injury.  He asked – what is a “soft tissue injury?” 

    soft tissue injury is the damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, or overuse. Soft tissue injuries can result in pain, swelling, bruising and loss of function.

    Soft tissue injuries are common in motor vehicle crashes and can be very painful.  Soft tissue injuries may occur with or without other more serious injury.  For example, you may have a soft tissue injury along with a herniated disc or just a soft-tissue injury.

    Typically, soft tissue injuries resolve with rest, conservative treatment (like physical therapy or chiropractic care), and/or anti-inflammatory medication.  In some cases, the soft tissue may be severe and take an extended time to heal while in other cases the soft tissue injury heals quickly.

    If you have been in an auto wreck and suffered a disabling soft tissue injury, let our team help you navigate the process.  We excel at fighting back against bullies who want you to accept less than you should!  Call us today at (985) 240-9773.

  • Can I file a lawsuit if I was partly at fault in a car accident?

    In some car crashes or auto accidents, determining who was at fault is easy. But, sometimes in a Louisiana car accident, two or more drivers share responsibility. In these cases, an injured driver may ask – can I file a lawsuit even if I was partly at fault in the collision? 

    Can I file a lawsuit if I was partially at fault for an accident in Louisiana?Some examples of accidents where fault can be spread among multiple people:

    • A speeding car changes lanes on Interstate 310 but collides with a pickup truck traveling without headlights even though it is nighttime;
    • A motorcycle driver “splits the lane” driving between two lanes of traffic and in doing so is hit by a car changing lanes not using its turn signal;
    • An SUV attempts passing a tractor-trailer in a no-passing zone, but the 18-wheeler swerves out of its lane and collides with the SUV.

    Who is at fault in these cases where each party has some responsibility?  What if you were injured?  Can you fight for your damages?

    In Louisiana – the answer is YES because Louisiana is a comparative fault state.  

    What does Comparative Fault mean?

    Simply put - the Comparative Fault rule states that to the extent that someone was responsible for an accident, their damage amounts would be reduced proportionally.

    For example, let’s say you were the driver of that speeding car that collided with the light-less truck in the above example.  At the end of the trial, a jury found you were 40% at fault and the driver of the truck was 60% at fault.  The jury awarded a total of $100,000 for your damages.  To figure out how much you would ultimately receive, you would take the total award ($100,000) and multiply by the fault of the other party (60%), so you would receive $60,000.  You cannot recover for your own fault. 

    How is Your fault determined?

    There is no hard-and-fast formula to figure out how much fault is your and is others.  The percentage of fault is left up to the discretion of the insurance company adjusters (during settlement) or the jury/judge (in trial). 

    In cases where your own fault is an issue, a Louisiana personal injury attorney can help advocate for a fair percentage of responsibility.  You make the decision – will engaging a qualified Louisiana personal injury lawyer help you protect your rights and interests?

    Contacting a Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney

    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.

    Louisiana personal injury and disabling injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois can help you recover damages for medical bills, ongoing medical treatment, property damage, and other accident-related expenses. For a free, no-obligation conversation about your case, call us today at (985) 240-9773.