Personal Injury Law FAQ

When you’ve been injured and are left in pain or suffering and unable to work, a lot of questions start to form about what you can do to make sure your future is secure. Read our FAQ section to get the answers that you need about cases like yours right now.

  • Page 1
  • How Much Can I Get for a Bulging Disc Injury After a Car Accident?

    So What Exactly is a Bulging Disc?

    To a radiologist, a bulging disc is very different than a herniated disc.

    A bulging disc is when a portion of the disc extends beyond where it should be but has not ruptured.

    Some bulging disc injuries are more likely to cause nerve root impingements and can be just as painful if not more than a herniated disc in many cases.

    A herniated disc is a disc in your spine that has ruptured. 

    Bulging discs are often caused by aging, but can also be caused or aggravated by trauma, like a car accident.

    How Much Compensation Can I Expect for My Bulging Disc?

    What is a bulging disc claim worth?After a car accident, many of my clients wonder what their bulging disc claim is worth.

    Generally speaking, the main things that impact any injury case’s worth are:

    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;

    What Is the Average Settlement for Bulging Disc Injuries?

    It is difficult to determine average bulging disc settlement figures because most settlements are confidential.

    Because bulging disc injuries are not considered to be as severe as herniated disc injuries, settlements for bulging discs can vary wildly.

    Often, the credibility of the injured plaintiff is what drives the amount of the bulging disc compensation.

    Would I Have Better Results If Took My Bulging Disc Case To A Jury?

    The average bulging disc injury jury verdict is $125,000 with a median of only $30,000.

    There are many variables the jury must consider when reaching their conclusion.

    Symptoms of a Bulging Disc May Not Happen Immediately After the Accident

    If you’ve been involved in an accident, you may not feel the symptoms of a bulging disc right away.

    Even if you are treated in the emergency room after your accident, your bulging disc won't show up on a physical exam or a CT scan.

    An MRI is generally needed to diagnose many back injuries.

    Depending on the severity, symptoms of a bulging disc may range from mild tingling and numbness to moderate or severe pain.

    Most people have problems in the lower back and experience pain in the buttocks, thighs, and feet.

    Bulging discs can put pressure on the sciatic nerve or compress the nerves that control the bladder.

    It is very important for your health and your injury claim that you follow all of the medical advice given to you.

    Treatments can include steroid injections, physical therapy, and in some cases endoscopic spine surgery.

    Taking the Next Step Towards Finding Out How Much Your Bulging Disc is Worth

    If you’ve been in an accident and are experiencing some of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, don’t hesitate to call Loyd Bourgeois and the LJBLegal team!

    You need the advice of an experienced accident attorney to ensure that you get a fair settlement from the insurance company.

    You probably don't like the idea of filing a lawsuit. Most people don't.

    However, you owe it to yourself and your family to receive fair compensation for your injuries.

    And the fact of the matter is that the insurance company holds all of the cards.

    Our team will walk with you every step of the way. No gimmicks.

    We will work with your doctors to get a full understanding of your injury and limitations.

    We know that this is a stressful time for you so we take on the burden of tracking down medical records and forms.

    Right now, you don’t just need an injury lawyer. You need a trusted advocate and confidant – someone whose only interest is your best interest.

  • How Much is my Herniated Disc Case Worth?

    What Exactly is a Herniated Disc or Ruptured Disc?

    Basically, a herniated disc is a disc in your spine that has ruptured.

    Discs are the cushions that separate the vertebrae and protect the spine.

    A disc becomes herniated when the outside of the disc (the annulus) is cracked and the inner part of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) leaks its jelly-like center and irritates the surrounding nerves.

    Herniated discs are usually associated with trauma, such as a car accident while bulging discs are more often associated with aging.

    For this reason, juries tend to award herniated disc injuries more favorably than they do bulging disc injuries, though bulging discs can also be caused or aggravated by trauma.

    How Much Compensation Can I Expect for My Herniated Disc?

    If you’ve been in an auto accident and have suffered from a herniated disc, you may be wondering what your claim is worth.

    Only once you know how much your herniated disc claim is worth can you negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement for your injury.

    Disc herniations are painful, permanent injuries that require a substantial settlement value due to the seriousness of the injury. That being said, coming up with an injury case evaluation is difficult.What is a Herniated Disk Claim Worth?

    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;

    What Is the Average Settlement for Herniated Disc Injuries?

    It is difficult to determine average herniated disc settlement figures because most settlements are confidential and the data is not readily available.

    If liability is not an issue, most disc herniation cases with surgeries settle above $50,000, occasionally going north of $100,000, and cases without surgeries tend to be below $50,000.

    Because there are so many variables involved (surgery/no surgery, insurance coverage of at-fault driver, etc.), herniated disc claims can settle for as high as $1,000,000 or as low as $1,000. It really all depends on the facts of the case.

    Would I Have Better Results If Took My Herniated Disc Case To A Jury?

    The median jury verdict for a herniated disc case is $75,000 with an average of $350,000.

    This means that a few disc herniation cases are awarded very high jury verdicts, but most are under $100,000.

    Only about 5% of these cases ever see jury verdicts over $1 million. 

    There are many variables the jury must consider when reaching their conclusion.

    Symptoms of a Herniated Disc May Not Happen Overnight

    If you’ve been involved in an accident, you may not feel the symptoms of a herniated disc right away.

    Even if you are treated in the emergency room after your accident, your herniated disc won't show up on a physical exam.

    You probably won’t get diagnosed with a herniated disc because emergency rooms generally use a CT scan and those types of injuries are usually found on an MRI.

    Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, although they can also occur in the neck. Signs and symptoms depend on where the disc is situated and whether the disc is pressing on a nerve.

    The most commonly reported symptoms are sudden and intense pain in the lower region of the back, numbness in the legs, debilitating pain in the hips, leg pain, and muscle weakness.

    It is very important for your health and your injury claim that you follow all medical advice.

    Taking the Next Step Towards Finding Out How Much Your Herniated Disc is Worth

    If you’ve been in an accident and are experiencing some of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with a herniated or ruptured disc, don’t hesitate to call our law firm!

    You need legal advice to ensure that you get a fair settlement from the insurance company.

    You have been injured and there’s no shame in getting reimbursed for lost wages and trying to get back what the accident took away from you. Our team will walk with you every step of the way. No gimmicks.

    We set ourselves apart by taking the time to actually listen and go the extra mile.

    Our team is experienced in handling herniated disc cases. We will work with your doctors to get a full understanding of your injury and limitations. We know that this is a stressful time for you so we take on the burden of tracking down medical records and forms.

    Right now, you don’t just need an injury lawyer. You need a trusted advocate and confidant – someone whose only interest is your best interest.

  • What Kind of Settlement Can I Expect for a Torn ACL?

    How Much is a Torn ACL Worth?

    Like all other injuries, there is no set standard amount when it comes to an injured ACL. The amount of your settlement will depend on the severity of your injury and the events that led to you being injured.

    An experienced personal injury attorney will work with your doctors to fully understand the extent of your injury and will fight with the insurance company to make sure that your settlement amount is fair and is enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    Can you tear your ACL in a Car Accident?

    An ACL injury is a sprain or tear in the anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL). The ACL is a small structure, less than 1.5 inches long and .5 inches wide, and is one of the major ligaments in your knee. Its job is to stabilize the knee and prevent the knee from buckling.

    Though commonly considered a sports’ injury, ACL tears often occur in car accidents and slip, trip, and fall accidents. When the knee is moving and then suddenly stops, pivots, or changes direction, an ACL tear can happen.

    If you were in a car accident or other accident and experience the following symptoms, you may have a torn ACL.

    • Hearing a loud pop or feeling a popping sensation in the knee
    • Severe pain
    • Swelling in the knee
    • Instability, or the inability for you to put weight on your knee

    How Much Should I Settle For an ACL Knee Injury?

    What is My Torn ACL Injury Worth After an Accident in Louisiana?If you were in a car accident and suffered a torn ACL, you may have a good personal injury case. Unfortunately, there is no set amount, but two main factors in determining a settlement value are how severe is your injury, and how likely is it that the jury will find the defendant liable if the case does go to trial.

    Some damages, like medical bills, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity are easier to predict because they are based on the amount that the victim has paid or lost and/or will continue to pay or lose. Knee surgery verdicts and settlements will most likely be higher than those that only required some physical therapy.

    Other damages like pain and suffering are more difficult to determine and are based on the severity of the torn ACL injury and the injury’s contribution to the victim’s loss of quality of life. For example, if an accident victim was very physically active – enjoying sports and other outdoor activities – and suffered a disabling ACL injury, their damages based on “loss of quality of life” will likely be higher than if the victim had been relatively sedentary prior to the injury.

    Give Your Torn ACL Claim a Fighting Chance!

    After your accident, the insurance company will want you to settle right away, often for the lowest possible amount. That’s why we highly recommend hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced local attorney will be better able to predict what your settlement amount should be by working with your doctors to fully understand the severity of your torn ACL injury and the circumstances involved that led you to be injured.

  • How Much is a Spinal Cord Injury Worth in Louisiana?

    What Is My Spinal Cord Injury Claim Worth?

    The spinal cord, protected by your vertebrae, is a delicate bundle of nerves that forms your central nervous system. It is one of your body’s most important structures and injury to the spinal cord can cause severe pain, paralysis, or death. In the United States, the leading causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents, followed by falls, violence (primarily gunshot wounds), athletic or recreational activities, and medical complications or malpractice.

    Even in the best of circumstances, a spinal cord injury can be a devastating blow. Besides insurmountable medical bills, survivors may deal with ongoing health challenges, such as respiratory difficulties, increased risk of illness, and loss of motor and sensory functions, as well as new financial challenges, and loss of quality of life.

    The Settlement Value of a Spinal Cord Injury Will Depend on Its Type and Location

    Three Main Spinal Cord Regions:

    • Cervical spine  (upper back and neck)
    • Thoracic spine (mid-back)
    • Lumbar spine  (lower back)

    When a vertebra is damaged, it will impact the parts of the body that are below the location of the injury. The amount of compensation you are owed will depend on the location and severity of your spinal cord injury.What Is My Spinal Cord Injury Worth After a Car Accident in Louisiana?

    Common types of spinal cord injuries include:

    2 Types of Spinal Cord Injuries: Complete and Incomplete

    Complete Spinal Cord Injuries:

    The most severe spinal cord injuries are complete spinal cord injuries. These occur when the injury to the spinal cord eliminates the brain’s ability to send signals below the injury site. For example, an injury to the lumbar region can lead to paralysis below the waist while maintaining function in your upper body (paraplegia).

    Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries:

    Though less severe, incomplete spinal cord injuries result from compression or damage being inflicted to the spinal cord that reduces the brain’s ability to send signals below the injury site. Incomplete spinal cord injuries will vary greatly from person to person because of the partially compromised condition of the spinal cord. For some, motor and sensory functions may only be slightly compromised, for others, function may be nearly eliminated.

    How Will My Spinal Cord Injury Settlement be Calculated?

    Your personal injury attorney will push for a settlement so that you receive the compensation you need without spending years in the litigation process.

    The amount of damages you are owed is based on a number of factors such as the location and severity of the injury, cost of medical bills and future care, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and the degree of negligence involved.

    Because spinal cord injuries can be such severe and devastating injuries, settlements tend to significantly larger when compared to other personal injury claims.

    Settlements of several hundred thousand dollars to upwards of 1 million are not uncommon.

    What Types of Compensation Am I Entitled To For Spinal Cord Injury?

    Medical Expenses:

    Due to the fact that spinal cord injuries are so damaging and can require extensive treatment, rehabilitation, and physical therapy, the majority of your settlement will go to covering your medical expenses.

    The amount you receive will be based on the severity of your injury and take into account if your injuries are permanent or if you need lifelong care.

    Be aware that your medical insurance company will be entitled to repayment from your settlement or verdict.  This is called subrogation.

    Pain and Suffering:

    Because spinal cord injuries have a massive impact on your life, a large portion of your settlement will come from emotional, non-financial damages. Chronic pain, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life are all common emotional damages related to spinal cord injuries. In general, the more severe your injury is, the higher your amount of pain and suffering will be.

    Loss of Wages:

    Due to the seriousness of a spinal cord injury, you could be out of work for several months to several years. You may be in the hospital for a long period of time for treatment of your injury and that will likely be followed up by a lengthy recovery period.

    If you can return to work, you will probably have to miss work frequently for doctor's appointments, rehab, and physical therapy treatments.

    If you are unable to ever return to work, you can also claim compensation for loss of future earnings.

    Seek Local Advice Before Signing Anything!

    If you were involved in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, the insurance company or your employer will try to get you to sign paperwork right away. Don’t do it!

    The insurance companies will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount, often before you’ve been properly diagnosed, and your employer may have you sign away your right to compensation.

    The advice of an experienced, local attorney will be an invaluable asset for you at this time.

    They will work with your doctors to make sure your spinal cord injury is properly documented, and that extent of your injury is fully understood.

    They will also deal with the insurance company for you, so that you can avoid the stress and focus on your treatment.

    If your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else's negligence, call us today at 985-240-9773 and tell us how we can help you win your claim.

  • Can I negotiate my own personal injury settlement? And if so, where do I start?

    Sure - you can negotiate your own personal injury claim. There is no law that says you have to hire a lawyer. But, just like you can change your brakes without being a mechanic or install a new roof on your house without being a roofer – some things are best left to the experts. 

    And, unlike hiring a mechanic or a roofer, you don’t have to pay anything upfront to have a personal injury attorney give you legal advice or start working on your case!

    Can I negotiate my own personal injury claim? Where do I start?Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers are paid by receiving a portion of the money they are able to win for you.

    An attorney doesn’t just file personal injury lawsuits, they will do all the frustrating and time-consuming work like dealing with the insurance adjuster for you and collecting the needed medical records.

    Additionally, most lawyers will front the costs of the case (like filing fees, expert costs, deposition costs, etc.) until the case is resolved.

    If you choose to pursue your own case, you will be responsible for all costs, which sometimes run into the thousands of dollars.

    Settling a Personal Injury Claim with an Insurance Company

    Insurance companies are aware that individuals do not have the training or the legal skill necessary to file a lawsuit and try a case to a successful conclusion and as a result will often offer a significantly lower amount of money to someone trying to negotiate their own claim.

    Without the legal skill and training, you may not accurately understand the value of your case or take into account all of your damages.

    Damages for your accident claim include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage costs, and sometimes punitive damages.

    If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you can likely negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company without an attorney:

    1. Does the accident have clear liability?  In other words, is the other person clearly at fault in the car accident or incident?
    2. Did you have minimal injuries and treatment?
    3. Do you have no prior injury history?
    4. Did you have an immediate presentation of injuries?  In other words, did your injuries show up right away?
    5. Were your injuries soft tissue only?
    6. Did you have no gaps in medical treatment?  Did you obtain treatment quickly and consistently? 

    If you answered no to any of those questions, then it's probably in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney before negotiating or accepting a settlement offer.

    If you can answer yes to every one of those questions, then you can most likely negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company without the help of an attorney.  In those cases, an attorney will most likely not be able to obtain enough additional money for you to cover their fee.

    If you want to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company yourself, start by reading all the articles on this blog – we have great advice about insurance adjuster tactics and what documentation you need to prove your case.

    It is important to go into the negotiations with an idea of what your case is worth.

  • What is My Torn Labrum Shoulder Injury Worth?

    How Much is the Average Settlement for a Torn Labrum Claim?

    Like all other personal injuries, there is no set amount for a torn labrum. Labral tears often occur with other shoulder injuries so an experienced personal injury attorney will be best equipped to assess your situation and come up with a fair settlement amount.

    The damages you receive for your shoulder injury will be based on the extent of your injury, any loss of quality of life, and the circumstances which led to you being injured.

    Depending on the severity of your injury, a torn labrum can settlement amount can be anywhere between several thousand to up to a hundred thousand dollars. Some of the damages that will be factored in to your settlement amount include:

    • Medical bills
    • Rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Lost wages
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Emotional pain and suffering
    • Future medical bills
    • Future lost wages

    An experienced personal injury attorney will work with your doctors to get a full understanding of the extent of your labral tear and how that injury has affected your quality of life.

    Your lawyer will come up with a settlement amount that covers your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any medical bills and lost wages that you may accrue in the future.

    What is a Labral Tear Shoulder Injury?

    The labrum stabilizes the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder by keeping the ball (humeral head) in the socket (scapula). The shallow, socket-like opening of the shoulder where the labrum is located is called the glenoid. Shoulder labrum tears can happen anywhere around the glenoid socket.

    If you experience pain or swelling of the shoulder after an accident, you should visit a doctor or ER right away.

    3 Main Types of Labral Tears:

    • SLAP or Lesion Tear:
      • Superior Labrum, Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tears occur when the tear is above the middle of the glenoid and means “front to back”. This injury is common with anyone who uses a lot of overhead motions (think tennis, basketball, or baseball players).
    • Bankart Tear:
      • Common is young people with dislocated shoulders, this injury occurs when there is damage to the lower half of the glenoid socket.
    • Posterior Labrum Tear:
      • Rare; occurring in only 5 to 10 percent of all shoulder injuries. Happen when injuries are to the back of the shoulder joint.

    Symptoms of Labral Tear Shoulder Injuries:

    A torn shoulder labrum often occurs with other shoulder injuries. If you were in an accident and dislocated your shoulder, have rotator cuff tears or injuries, have a torn bicep, or another shoulder problem, you may have a torn labrum as well.

    Torn labrums often occur along with injuries to the shoulder socket and/or upper arm bone, muscles, and tendons.

    These injuries are very painful and symptoms include decreased range of motion, loss of strength, pain while doing daily activities, shoulder instability, and feelings of catching, locking, popping, or grinding.

    Don’t Get Ripped Off by the Insurance Company!

    After your accident, the insurance companies will want you to settle right away and usually for the lowest amount. Don’t do this! Shoulder injuries aren’t always diagnosed immediately after an accident. If you settle with the insurance company, you will lose the ability to seek further damages.What is My Torn Labrum Worth?

    If you injured your shoulder in a car accident, fall, or because of someone else’s negligence, you probably have a good personal injury case. You may feel like your injury may not be serious enough or that you are not the type of person to sue, we understand, but there is no shame in recovering the money for medical bills, lost wages, and property that were taken from you.

    An experienced local attorney will work with your doctors to get a full understanding of the severity of your injury and get you a settlement amount that is fair and covers all your damages.

  • How Much Compensation Can I Expect for a Concussion Injury?

    How Much is My Concussion Settlement Worth?

    The value of your concussion settlement will vary greatly depending on the severity of your injury.

    Like all personal injuries, putting a dollar amount on your injury is difficult because each case and injury is unique.

    If you have suffered a concussion in an accident or because of someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the particulars of concussion injury cases and concussion settlement values.

    Is a Concussion a Serious Injury?

    A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and should not be taken lightly.

    Concussions are caused when the head hits a hard surface and the brain strikes the inside of the skull.

    The blow to the head is not what causes the concussion; it’s the reverberation of the brain inside the skull. This can cause chemical changes in the brain and damage brain cells.

    Concussions are not limited to football/nfl players and contact sports; they frequently occur in car accidents and slips, trips, and falls.

    The symptoms can be relatively subtle and not show up immediately after an accident. They can also be hard to self-diagnose.

    Concussions can cause lasting cognitive impairment, including memory loss, personality changes, loss of concentration, and attention span.

    How Do You Prove You Have a Concussion?

    The symptoms of a concussion can range from mild and barely noticeable to extreme.

    If you experience any of the following symptoms in the days, weeks, or months after an accident, seek medical help right away. (The signs and symptoms of a concussion are not limited to this list.)

    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Pressure (feeling like you’re wearing a hat that is too tight)
    • Blacking Out/Loss of Consciousness (even if it’s only for a few seconds)
    • Confusion/ Disorientation
    • Looking Dazed/ Feeling “Foggy”
    • Ringing in the Ears
    • Memory Loss
    • Nausea/ Vomiting
    • Poor Balance/ Lack of Coordination
    • Slurred Speech
    • Sensitivity to Noise and Light
    • Seizures

    Your doctor may want to order imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan to check for brain swelling or bruising or bleeding of the brain.

    If, after seeking medical treatment, these symptoms do not improve, you or the accident victim may be suffering from another traumatic brain injury (TBI) called post-concussion syndrome.

    One of the best ways to keep track of your symptoms is to log them daily.

    Our Injury Victim’s Diary will make it easy for you to record your accident and keep track of your injuries and symptoms. By writing everything down, it will be easier for your personal injury attorney to prove loss of quality of life when seeking damages.

    How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Concussion?

    If you or a loved one have suffered from a concussion in an accident or from someone else’s negligence you may be entitled to damages.

    Because each case is so unique, there is no set amount when it comes to personal injury cases.What is my Concussion Injury Worth?

    While a concussion is usually thought of as a mild traumatic brain injury, the results can in some cases be severe.

    The amount of damages you receive will be based on the severity of your injury, degree of impairment, and the circumstances involved that led to you being injured. Some of the factors that your personal injury attorney will examine to determine your settlement amount will be:

    • Medical Bills
    • Lost Wages
    • Loss of Future Earnings
    • Property Damage
    • Physical Pain and Suffering
    • Emotional Pain and Suffering

    Can You Sue For a Concussion?

    Yes, you can sue for a concussion, but you should never try to represent yourself in court or reach a settlement on your own. If your head injury occurred in an accident, the insurance companies will try to get you to settle right away.

    By doing this, you are taking a risk of getting significantly less than what you may be entitled to because the symptoms of a concussion can take several days to several weeks to show up.

    For tips on avoiding common mistakes following an accident, get our free book "Quick Guide to Louisiana Accident and Injury Claims".

    Concussion cases can be complicated and you’ll need the help of an experienced local attorney. Your personal injury attorney will work with your doctors to determine the severity of your concussion injury and make sure that the amount of your settlement will be enough to cover your medical bills and future expenses.

    The best way to determine if you have a case worth pursuing is to call our office at (985) 240-9773. We will discuss your case and help you determine the next plan of action.

  • How much is my burn injury claim worth in Louisiana?

    If You Have A Burn Injury Caused By Someone Else’s Negligence, You May Be Owed Compensation.

    Obviously, there is no one kind of burn injury case. Burn injuries can happen in a variety of ways, including workplace injuries, faulty consumer products, arson, or another intentional burning, and any kind of accident caused by negligence.

    In addition to car accidents, several industries in the New Orleans area job market are vulnerable to the risk of burn injury, particularly in fields where people have to handle hot or caustic items, are exposed to chemicals and gases, are exposed to steam or open flame, or have to work with molten metals or materials.

    Chemical manufacturing facilities, oil refineries, nuclear power plants, welding, and the food industry are just a few of those local professions where burn injuries are unfortunate hazards of the occupation. Though each of those industries has its own set of safety standards, accidents can and do happen.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Classifies Burns Into 3 Categories:

    • First-Degree Burns: Burns only affecting the top layer of skin, causes swelling and redness.
    • Second-Degree Burns: Burns that damage the top two layers of skin, causes blisters, swelling, and deep redness.
    • Third-Degree Burns: The most severe type of burn, these penetrate the entire thickness of the skin and can permanently damage tissue. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.

    How Much Is My Burn Claim Worth?

    There is no way to estimate the average settlement value for a burn injury claim because the amount a victim may receive after a burn depends on the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding their case.What is my Burn Injury Claim Worth?

    Burn injuries are regarded similarly to other personal injury claims and as with any personal injury, it’s difficult to determine an accurate settlement amount.

    However, because burn injuries can be extraordinarily more painful and lead to severe, permanent disfigurement, burn injuries tend to be awarded more favorably.

    The biggest factors are the location and severity of the injury and the degree of negligence involved.

    Besides being painful, second and third-degree burns often involve the joints and nerves and, in addition to scarring, can cause permanent damage and a limited range of movement.

    If caustic chemical substances get into one’s eyes or are inhaled, that person may experience temporary or permanent vision loss or may have difficulty eating or trouble breathing.

    Typically, second-degree burns can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to heal and third-degree burns can take up to several months to over a year.

    Healing time will vary and be dependent on several factors such as the extent and location of the injury, age and health of the victim, and the nature of the cause of the burn.

    Another consideration is what type of medical treatment was needed, for example, skin grafts.

    How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Burn Injury?

    Both sides will negotiate based on what they believe the plaintiff will be awarded at trial.

    Settlements will be based on the defendant’s degree of liability so knowing how and where the injury occurred is important.

    For example, if a plaintiff was burned by an accident at work that may or may not have been preventable, the perceived value of the case will be much lower than if the accident was caused by the employer’s failure to follow safety regulations.

    The lower the perceived value, the lower the settlement amount will be.

    As a side note, a workplace injury that does not involve employer negligence will usually only be paid out by the workers’ compensation carrier.

    It must be noted that just because you suffered a second or third-degree injury doesn’t mean you are automatically eligible for compensation.

    First, you must show that you were owed a duty of care by the negligent party and that your injury was caused when they breached this duty.

    Examples of this breach of duty are failure to follow set safety standards, knowledge of unsafe working conditions or broken equipment, or disregarding traffic laws.

    The amount of compensation you are owed will depend on the location, type, and nature of the burn and the amount of negligence.

    Seeking Compensation for Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering for Burns

    In addition to being compensated for medical bills and lost wages, a liable defendant may also be responsible for both your physical and emotional pain and suffering.

    What that means is that they may be responsible to not only compensate you for the physical pain the burn caused and may continue to cause but also any emotional pain that a disfiguring burn has caused you to suffer or will suffer in the future.

    The amount of damages for physical pain and suffering will depend on the extent and nature of the disfigurement.

    Seeking Punitive Damages for Negligence for Burn Injuries

    Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and can be awarded to a burn victim if it is proven that the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence.

    One example of gross negligence would be a product manufacturer failing to conduct safety testing on a product that frequently comes into contact with an open flame, like an oven mitt.

    Another example of this is being burned with a hot liquid, like in the infamous McDonald's coffee burn injury lawsuit.

    Though punitive damages for gross negligence are harder to predict, the threat of punitive damages will generally make a defendant more likely to settle the case at a higher amount.

    If You’ve Suffered A Burn Injury, Seek Advice Before Signing Anything!

    If you’ve suffered a burn injury, be wary of your employer or insurance company trying to get you to sign paperwork right away.

    The insurance company may want to settle your burn injury for the lowest amount before you’ve even been properly diagnosed, and your employer may want you to sign away your rights to compensation.

    You’ve suffered a painful injury and there’s no shame in getting reimbursed for your medical bills and lost wages.

    An experienced, local personal injury attorney will be able to assess your case and point you in the right direction.

  • What is subrogation?

    Subrogation is the substitution of one person or group for another with respect to a debt or insurance claim accompanied by the transfer of any associated rights and duties.

    Subrogation typically arises in property insurance claims and health insurance claims.

    Health Insurance Subrogation

    Your health insurance (including Medicare/Medicaid) will want reimbursement for the money it paid for your treatment. 

    This has to come from any money that you recover.  However, you or your personal injury attorney may be able to negotiate with them how much you payback.  It often depends on your insurance contract.

    Subrogation Health Insurance Example

    As a result of the same automobile crash, you are injured. When you go to the doctor, you present your health insurance card to receive treatment for your injuries.What is subrogation?

    The total cost for medical treatment in your case is more than $150,000.

    Because the crash was caused by someone else, your healthcare carrier is subrogated to your rights against the offending driver for the amount of medical expenses it paid (more than $150,000).

    That means if you recover money from the other party or their insurance carrier, $150,000 must be repaid from that money to your health insurance company.  (Suddenly, those big amounts that are flashed on the "Get a Check" commercials don't seem quite as large!)

    Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Subrogation

    Another often forgotten subrogation claim - any short-term or long-term disability company that paid you (like AFLAC or CIGNA or sometimes your own employer) for missed time from work.

    They are entitled to recover that money from any money that you receive from a settlement.

    Your Own Insurance Company Subrogation

    If you have MedPay coverage and filed a claim, your auto insurance company may want reimbursement when you recover from another party.

    Also, if your car insurer pays for your property damage repair or replacement while awaiting payment from the other party, they will be entitled to that money that you recover from the at-fault party.

    Car Insurance Subrogation Example

    You are involved in a car crash that damages your brand new truck.  The damage costs $25,000 to repair.  You file a claim to get your truck repaired quickly.

    Your carrier is now subrogated to your right to sue the other party and/or their insurance carrier for the $25,000 that it paid to you and will seek reimbursement.

    The Takeway

    When considering a settlement offer, take into account the subrogation process and all of the money that may be owed or subrogated to other parties.

    You need to ensure that an offer covers all of your expenses and any amount of money that may be owed to other parties.

  • What is a 'tort'?

    A tort is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to a civil legal liability. 

    One example of a tort is a car crash. The other driver may not have intended to hit you but due to either inattention or failure to obey highway laws or some other reason, they may have crashed into you infringing your right to the roadway. This is a negligent tort.

    Another example is if someone punches you - a battery. This is an intentional tort.

    What are the 3 types of torts?

    The three main types of torts are negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts.

    What is an example of a tort?

    Negligent Tort

    Examples of negligence torts include – automobile accidents, professional malpractice (medical, legal, accounting, engineering, etc.), dog bites, bicycle collisions, etc. Generally, any situation where another person or entity may have caused or contributed to any injury.

    Strict Liability Tort

    Examples of strict liability include claims like product liability, vaccine injury and premises liability.What is a tort?

    Intentional Tort

    Examples of intentional torts include things like assault and battery (fighting).

    What about 'Tort Reform'?

    So, when you hear of TORT Reform – think, someone is looking to reform the law because they don’t like being accountable for their own actions and responsibilities. Not surprisingly – most of the Tort Reform advocates and supporters are insurance companies and major business interests. And, instead of changing their behavior, they want to change the law and take away your rights.

    Recently, “Tort Reform” advocates were successful in changing many of Louisiana’s laws to make it more difficult, costly, and burdensome to hold others accountable for their own negligence in an effort to “reduce costs” and “save money.”  Now that they've tasted some victory after years of trying, we can bet they are not done in continuing to take away more of your rights to be made whole.

    And while tort reform “advocates” have many statistics (you know what they say about statistics – “lies, damn lies, and statistics”), here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

    • A Forbes (you know – the business magazine famous for identifying the 400 richest people in the world) contributor once said the devil’s “second greatest trick may be the insurance industry’s success in getting more than half the states to implement tort reform."
    • A 2017 National Institutes of Health study on tort reform in Texas (passed 15 years earlier), found “reforming the malpractice environment has largely insignificant economic implications..”
    • And here's the kicker! After extensive campaigning on the basis of reducing car insurance rates in Louisiana and AFTER the tort reform bill was signed into law, Jeff Albright, head of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana admitted that the law would do nothing to reduce insurance rates.  It was all a "strategy" to help big business at the expense of the consumer. 

    “Strategically, we did something different this year in pressing forward on tort reform,” Albright told the panel meeting on a video conference. “Historically, we’ve talked about tort reform from the perspective of ‘we need to improve the business environment, and tort reform is an important part of improving the business environment.’ We all get that.

    “But it is not really an issue that is going to excite Joe Six-Pack to call their legislator and press for tort reform. And so, the change in strategy was we kind of tied tort reform to automobile insurance this time.”

    Is someone referring to you as "Joe Six-Pack" really looking out for your best interests?

    While everyone can agree that Louisiana’s insurance rates are high and we all would welcome relief, giving up your rights isn’t the way to do it and turns out won’t have an effect on insurance rates at all.

    Look, as a person, a tax-payer, and business owner, I hate the high cost of insurance and litigation first mentality of so many.  But, I see – from the front-lines, every day – the devastating effects “tort reform” has and continues to cause! Consider this:

    • If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence – resulting in you losing a limb or losing life.  What would that be worth?
      • In an auto-accident with an 18-wheeler – it’s worth what the evidence and your community members (jury) say it’s worth.
      • In a medical malpractice action – it’s worth what the evidence and your community members say it’s worth – unless it’s worth more than $500,000 because that is the arbitrary cap on general damages in these cases (which has not changed in almost 30 years)!  Once you add up medical bills, treatment, and lost work, that number isn’t as big as it seems and certainly doesn’t go as far as it did 30 years ago.
    • What about if a company fails to have a policy to check its floor for hazards and you slip and fall in a hazardous substance causing you to require multiple back surgeries?
      • If the slip-and-fall happens at a hospital or casino or even a government building or school, you play by one set of rules and laws.
      • If the slip-and-fall happens at your grocery store, department store, restaurant, or other “merchant”, you play by a completely different set of rules and laws designed to make it virtually impossible to receive compensation for your injuries.
    • And this is most infuriating to me – the advocates of these reforms cannot say with any certainty that by removing your rights, you will actually see a benefit in the form of cheaper costs!!!!

    Current tort-reform advocates want to put a cap on all commercial vehicle accidents at the same level it was set for medical malpractice cases 30 years ago!  They further argue courts are so over-stressed with “frivolous” lawsuits, they cannot operate properly. But, studies indicate civil filings have decreased by almost 50% since 2010 in some states, and tort cases (those primarily filed by individuals against a business or insurance company) only account for about 4% of civil cases!

    It’s not about lawyers “getting rich.” Everyone deserves the right to recover their medical expenses and lost wages after a serious car accident. You should not lose everything you have worked your whole life for just because someone was distracted on the road.

    I encourage all of you to look deeper into any tort reform efforts.  Look specifically at who is funding these efforts (hint: it’s not consumer advocates looking out for your best interests).  And, make your voice heard by calling or writing your state representative and letting them know your stance on these measures designed to take away your rights – often at a time when you need them the most!