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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  • 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!

    9 Mistakes That Can Disable Your Social Security Disability Claim Book Offer If you're preparing to apply for Social Security disability or appeal a claim denial, I've written a book 9 Mistakes that Can Disable Your Social Security Disability Claim.   This is a helpful and informative guide that will guide you through some of the common mistakes and errors that lead to unfavorable Social Security Disability decisions.  Don't make a costly mistake that could cause you to lose the benefits that you need to survive! I'd love to send you a copy.  Just click here to receive your free copy of my book 9 Mistakes That Can Disable Your Social Security Disability Claim.

  • 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.

  • Is the settlement offer from the insurance company fair?

    When you are injured in an automobile crash or car accident, sometimes the insurance company will make you an offer to settle your claim.  You wonder – is the offer fair?

    The simple truth is – there is no way to answer this without knowing much more about your case.  Some things that you need to consider before YOU DECIDE if the offer is fair include the following:

    1. Is this settlement offer fair?Your financial loss. 
      • How much are your medical bills? What about in the future?
      • How much will you have to pay to repair your car?
      • Did you suffer other property damage?
      • How much have you lost in income or potential income because of your injuries?
      • What about other financial losses – like fringe benefits?
    2. The extent of the injury. 
      • Will you get better?  Is that certain? 
      • What long-term medical treatment and therapy is needed?
      • Do you have to purchase medical supplies, such as a walker or a wheelchair?
      • How has your life been impacted – housework, hobbies, events?
    3. The emotional impact. 
      • Did you suffer any emotional impacts – anxiety, depression, PTSD?
      • Have you had to seek counseling?
      • How have your relationships been impacted?

    These are just a few areas that You need to explore before you decide if your offer is fair.  There are others. 

    If you need help evaluating whether you were offered a fair settlement from an attorney, Louisiana Disabling Injury and Louisiana Personal Injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois at Louisiana Disability Law can look at the specifics of your case to help you decide what is fair in your Louisiana personal injury lawsuit. Contact us for a FREE NO OBLIGATION conversation about your insurance offer – (985) 240-9773.

    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.

  • What does 'DSM-5' or 'DSM-V' refer to when discussing Social Security Disability for Mental Disorders?

    What is DSM-V? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the most recent update to the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) classification and diagnostic tool. The DSM is the universal authority for psychiatric diagnoses. Treatment recommendations are often determined by DSM classifications. In most respects DSM-5 is not greatly changed from DSM-IV-TR but there are some notable changes including dropping Asperger syndrome as a distinct classification; loss of subtype classifications for variant forms of schizophrenia; dropping the "bereavement exclusion" for depressive disorders; a revised treatment and naming of gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria, and removing the A2 criterion for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because its requirement for specific emotional reactions to trauma did not apply to combat veterans and first responders with PTSD.

    If you or someone you love have a mental disability and are fighting for Social Security disability benefits, give us a call at Louisiana Disability Law.  We have the experience to guide you through this difficult process.

  • I was in a car accident. Will I get reimbursed for my rental car?

    Your day was ruined because some inconsiderate and inattentive driver crashed into your vehicle.  Your car now needs extensive repairs.  You need transportation to work so while your car is being fixed. You need a rental.

    WILL YOU GET REIMBURSED FOR THE RENTAL CAR?

    If you have rental insurance under your own auto insurance policy, your insurance company will likely reimburse you on the rental bill, up to the maximum rental policy limit. Take a look at your declarations page to see what this is.  You can also call your agent for assistance. If the accident was not your fault, it will not raise your insurance premiums if you go through your insurance. Your insurance will seek reimbursement from the other driver's insurance company for whatever your insurance company pays out.

    If you don't have rental insurance under your policy, but the other driver was at fault and he/she has liability insurance, then the other driver's insurance company should reimburse you on a rental car. Sometimes the insurance company does a "direct billing," meaning you don’t get charged and the bill goes straight to the insurance company.  Other times (more likely), you will have to pay for the rental on your own credit card and then get reimbursed for the amount.

    I was in a car accident.  Will the insurance company pay for my rental?

    HOW MUCH WILL YOU GET REIMBURSED ON YOUR RENTAL BILL?

    I was in a car accident.  Will the insurance company pay for my rental car?

    You will only get reimbursed for a certain number of days of rental. The exact amount will depend on the extent of damage and how long it takes to repair, or until you receive the total loss check.

    You should only expect to get a rental for a similar type of vehicle as you have.  For example, you will not be fully reimbursed for renting a luxury SUV when your car is economy, no frills, two-door coupe.

    LOSS OF USE

    Even if you don't rent a car, you may be entitled to loss of use payments.  This is a payment to compensate you for the days that you were unable to use your damaged vehicle while it was being repaired or while you were waiting for the total loss payment.

    DIMINISHED VALUE

    When you get your car back from the repair shop, it is not worth the same as before it was damaged.  The value has diminished due to the wreck and repairs.  The at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay for that loss as well. 

    At Louisiana Disability Law, when our auto crash clients with disabling injuries are faced with these issues, we help them for no additional fee.  If you need help following a serious crash, call Louisiana Disability Law at (985) 240-9773.

    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.

  • Am I required to provide my financial information to my Long-Term Disability Insurer?

    Well – it depends. If you are a Louisiana doctor, dentist, small-business owner, accountant, lawyer, or other professional with an individual disability policy, you may.  If you have group long-term disability coverage, your employer probably has already provided the information or minimal information may only be required.

    Am I required to give my financial information to my Long-Term Disability provider? Your policy will include specific information about what you are required to provide.  It is important for you to read your policy thoroughly if you have not already done so.  The policy will have specific provisions concerning information that you are obligated to provide. Some big issues you may run into are discussed below.

    The Financial Documents Are Complex

    If you are a business owner or medical professional with an Individually Owned Disability Policy, the disability insurance company will likely require your financial documents is going to want to go through your finances in great detail. But what will they need?  Your tax return only, or other financial statements like income statements, balance sheets, etc.?

    Simply put, your disability insurance benefits are usually based on your monthly income – so the disability insurer needs to figure that out to pay the benefits.  They will not simply take your word.  Disability Insurers often send broad requests for financial documents and tax returns for the past five years. In some cases, they may want to go back further, and some disability insurers are known for requesting financial audits in certain situations.

    Do You Have To Allow Your Financial Professionals to Speak to the Insurer?

    The disability insurer may also ask you to provide an authorization allowing them to obtain records from your accountant, bookkeeper, tax preparer, or other financial professional.  Again, depending on your policy, this may or may not be necessary.  Generally speaking, however, you are required to cooperate with the insurer’s investigation of your claim.  You may be able to limit what is requested, but that will be policy specific. 

    If you have questions about the types of financial records that your disability insurance company is entitled to receive under your policy, please call our office today at 985-240-9773.

  • Should I consult an attorney before settling for the other driver's policy limit?

    You were injured in an auto crash.  The injury was significant enough for you to miss some work and even required surgery.  The at-fault driver's insurance company has offered you “policy limits.”  You are wondering if you should just take the money or whether you need to talk to an attorney?  After all, why split this much-needed money with an attorney if it is the policy's limit – right?

    SHOULD YOU CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE SETTLING FOR THE OTHER DRIVER'S POLICY LIMIT?

    Should I consult an attorney before settling for the other driver's policy limit?Look, I am not one to tell a responsible adult what they should and should not do.  At the end of the day, it is your choice.  But, before you accept any offer from the at-fault driver, you should consider a few things: 

    1. Do you have actual, confirmed proof that the “’policy limit” offer is actually for policy limits?  What proof do you need?
    2. Did the at-fault driver have any other insurance that may be able to pay for your damages?  What other types of insurances may be available and how do you confirm it? 
    3. Was the at-fault driver working at the time of the accident – even if in their own car?  How do you even check this?
    4. Does the at-fault driver have any other assets that can pay for your damages aside and apart from the insurance?  Are you able to go after them if you agree to this “policy limit” offer?  How do you even investigate a person’s assets? 
    5. Will this “policy limit” settlement affect your ability to recover under your own under-insured motorist coverage?  Did you even know about that?  How do you make that claim?
    6. Is someone else potentially responsible for your damages in excess of the “policy limits?”  For example, what if both the driver and the actual car owner had separate insurance?  Can you recover under both?  How do you know? 
    7. What about your medical expenses?  How do you pay those if the “policy limits” are not enough to cover all the expenses?  Can you negotiate those expenses? 
    8. Why is this insurance company such in a hurry to pay you “policy limits?”  Insurance companies are not in the business of just giving money away – they like to make a nice profit to pay for their television ads.  What are you missing? 

    BOTTOM LINE

    You should make an informed decision about whether to accept the offer or not.  Your decision should only be made after you know all of the facts.  Make sure you have all of the facts.

    If you have suffered disabling injuries in a car wreck and are being pressured to just accept the “policy limits,” call the disabling injury lawyer at Louisiana Disability Law to help you get all of the facts before just accepting.  Call today at (985) 240-9773.

    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.

     

  • Is it important to have a Louisiana Personal Injury lawyer?

    Take a look around you – on television, in the newspaper, in politics - the insurance industry spends plenty of money to wage war against injured victims and their attorneys. The insurance companies have one agenda – pretend they are the good guys with their touching television commercials and propaganda so that they can get you to think they are helping you when you get hurt or injured, and thus keep their costs lower.  

    Is having a Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer Important?

    Insurance companies promote legislation favorable to their profitability and do everything possible to paint the civil justice system as out of control and overrun with fraudulent claims.  Look – the simple truth is there are some claimants and attorneys willing to file frivolous or fraudulent claims. These abusers have made it difficult for legitimate personal injury victims like you to find justice. I agree that these fraudsters must be held accountable.  Their goal is to influence the minds and preconceptions of jurors against accident victims and their personal injury attorneys before they even hear the facts of a given case.

    But what does this mean for you – a legitimate injury victim?

    1. You are the insurance company’s enemy! No matter how legitimate your claim, and no matter how badly you are injured, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible. Period. You are merely a claim on its books, negatively affecting its bottom line, just like a fraudulent claim.
    2. The insurance industry has made you the jury’s enemy as well! No matter how legitimate your claim, and no matter how badly you are injured, the insurance industry’s propaganda campaign has convinced your friends, family, and neighbors that YOU are the reason insurance is so high.  These people will make up your jury at the end of the day.  And, you must prepare for this from the beginning of your case.  You must convince the skeptical that you are seriously injured.  You are the enemy.

    In my experience, insurance companies usually do not offer a fair settlement until you have an approaching actual trial date and prove to them that you are ready, willing and able to competently and effectively present your case at trial.

    But do not lose faith. Despite the insurance industry’s desire, legitimate cases are still won and juries still award just damages to seriously injured victims, like you.

    If you are looking for an attorney who can get it done and is not afraid of taking bold action to help you hold the insurance company accountable, Louisiana Disabling Injury and Louisiana personal injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois at Louisiana Disability Law can look at the specifics of your case to determine the grounds for your Louisiana personal injury lawsuit and help you file your claim. Contact us for a FREE NO OBLIGATION consultation – (985) 240-9773 or use our online contact form.

    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.

     

     

  • What is "pain and suffering"?

    What is pain and suffering?

    "Pain and suffering" describes the physical pain and emotional distress a victim endures as a result of a personal injury accident.  Emotional distress (also called "mental anguish") can include depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and more.

    Pain and suffering is an element of damages that an injured person seeks from the person causing the injury.  Pain and suffering is usually not available in breach of contract cases, disability cases, or property insurance cases.