Can You Collect Worker’s Comp After Being Fired?

Can I Be Injured at Work, Then Fired? So, you were injured at work. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be out of commission for a while. Maybe you are even wondering if you can be injured at work, then fired. 

This can be disconcerting for employees: after all, what’s to stop your employer from simply hiring someone to fill your job, rather than wait for you to come back?

You’ve probably heard of things like workers’ compensation, medical leave, etc. If you are wondering exactly what these laws mean and how much protection they award you, our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have been assisting the citizens of Shreveport-Bossier with their workers’ compensation claims for decades. We understand that it is only natural to have concerns about job security when you are unable to work for an extended period of time. 

In this post, we will provide you with critical knowledge behind work injuries, the laws that protect you when you are injured at work and hopefully alleviate some of your fears and concerns. 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

First, it is important you understand exactly what workers’ compensation is. 

Less than a century ago, an injury at work spelled disaster for an employee. If you couldn’t work, you couldn’t earn wages. Coupled with expensive medical care, the result was abject poverty for a lot of families. 

Workers’ compensation exists as a safety net. Louisiana requires nearly all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that when there is a work injury, the injured party receives some compensation while they are unable to work. This includes medical bills, lost wages, etc. 

Can Filing for Workers’ Compensation Get Me Fired?

An injured worker may wonder if they can be injured at work, then fired. After all, why would a company pay a worker who is sitting at home recovering from an injury when they could be paying someone else to work?

The answer is a little tricky. Louisiana is an “at-will” employment state, meaning either you or your employer can end your employment at any time, without warning. This is still the case even after you sustain a work injury. 

Think of it this way: even though you are at home recuperating from an injury, your employer is still paying you as if you were any other employee. They reserve the right to include you in any layoffs or systematic downsizing. So, technically, you can be injured at work, then fired.

You do have one extra layer of protection, though it seems like a technicality: you cannot be fired solely for receiving workers’ compensation benefits. 

If you suspect you have been injured at work then fired solely for receiving workers’ compensation, it is important you contact an attorney immediately. Proving that you were fired because you filed for workers’ compensation is frequently difficult, but is nearly impossible without a thorough and experienced workers’ compensation attorney. More on this later.

Can I Be Fired After Returning to Work With Restrictions?

Your doctor is the one who will tell you when it is safe to return to work. Before you are fully recovered, they can release you back to work with restrictions. Most likely, your doctor will give you a list of activities you should avoid at work for the time being. 

Like we discussed earlier, even if you are back at work with restrictions, you are still subject to layoffs or downsizing. However, if you are not fully recovered, your former employer will have to continue paying workers’ compensation benefits until your doctor clears you to return to work fully recovered.

Even if you returned to work with restrictions and your workers’ compensation benefits cease, if your employer fires you, your benefits will be reinstated. 

Can You Collect Workers Comp After Being Fired?

So, yes, you can be injured at work, then fired. You can even be injured at work, return to work with restrictions, and then be fired. But once your employer has fired you, what happens to your workers’ compensation benefits? Do they evaporate along with your job?

As we mentioned above, Louisiana requires employers to continue paying workers’ compensation benefits even if they fire or lay you off. According to the law, it doesn’t matter whether you are currently employed: if you get hurt at your job, you will receive workers’ compensation as long as your doctor agrees you are unable to work. 

When your doctor clears you to go back to work with no restrictions, your workers’ compensation benefits will cease, and if your employer fired or laid you off, you will be responsible for finding new employment.

Taking Legal Action After You Were Injured At Work Then Fired

In a nutshell: you can be fired in Louisiana at any time for any reason, and you can certainly be injured at work, then fired, but you will receive workers’ compensation benefits until you are recovered regardless of your employment status.

However, your employer cannot fire you just because you were injured and filed for workers’ compensation benefits. 

If you can prove that you were injured at work then fired for no reason other than your injury, there is cause for legal action. Gordon & Gordon’s attorneys can provide you with advice as well as help you take your unlawful termination lawsuit to court. 

If you sue an employer for wrongful termination, there are multiple ways you can receive compensation: you can ask for a settlement for punitive damages, or you could regain your position. An attorney can give you an estimate as to what you may be entitled to, as well as if you have a genuine case for wrongful termination in the first place. 

Call Gordon & Gordon

If you’ve been injured at your job and are wondering how to move forward, or for more information about workers’ compensation law, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP, or send us a message with some information about your case. 

You can make an appointment to see one of our attorneys at any of our locations, including Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield.     

im at fault in a car accident

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident?

What happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?  When you’re in a car accident, who is at fault is one of the first questions the police try to answer. It’s also one of the first questions we ask ourselves: what if I’m at fault in a car accident?

Fault isn’t always immediately evident. When cars collide while merging, for example, or for a collision that happens in a parking lot, fault is difficult to determine. 

At Gordon & Gordon, we know that the time following a car accident is fraught with worry, especially if you believe you were at fault. But what exactly does being at fault mean?

Well, that depends entirely on your insurance and the circumstances of your accident.

In this post, our attorneys will give you an in-depth guide on determining fault, what it means for you, and answer the question: what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?

How Do You Determine Fault in a Car Accident?

Louisiana is what is known as a “tort state”. This means that one driver or the other will be at fault in an accident, and their insurance will be responsible for the other driver’s damages. 

Insurance adjusters determine who was at fault in the accident. These insurance companies will gather information about the wreck and the events surrounding it, look at witness statements, and, based on their findings, decide which insurance company will have to pay up.

Sometimes it’s cut-and-dry: for instance, in Louisiana, if you rear-end someone you are automatically at fault. Insurance companies can use police-issued citations as evidence of fault as well. 

Other times, your insurance may determine you are “partially at fault” and agree to some percentage of the damages. For instance, if you are merging onto the interstate while another driver is exiting and you collide, you may both be at fault. Your insurance company can agree to 70% of the damages while the other driver’s insurance covers the remaining 30%. This is often what happens in multi-car accidents where fault is impossible to determine.

Determining fault is unique for every car accident. If you are at fault, the amount of money your insurance pays depends on the policy you have.  

Liability in Car Accidents

So you were at fault in a car accident. Maybe you were distracted by your phone, maybe you were just unlucky. Either way, since Louisiana is a tort state, you and your insurance company are now liable for any damages.

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Vehicle Damages

When you’re at fault for a car accident, the other driver may submit a claim to their insurance company for damages to their car. Though their insurance company will cover these damages, they will then look to your insurance company for reimbursement. 

The most likely outcome is, again, that your insurance premiums will go up when your policy renews. 

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Crash Injuries

If you are at fault in a car accident in which someone was injured, you and your insurance may be liable to pay them even more damages. You can be responsible for their medical bills or lost wages during recovery, for instance. 

However, for a routine insurance claim, they cannot ask for more than your policy covers, or your insurance adjuster will simply not reply. It doesn’t matter how much their claim is theoretically worth. Even if their damages total more than $200,000 if your liability insurance only covers $100,000, they can only get $100,000 out of your insurance.

In order to get more money out of you, the other driver will have to bring a personal injury lawsuit.  

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Personal Injury Lawsuit 

When people wonder “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?” this is the worst-case scenario. This is the case even in no-fault states, where the law allows those who have been injured in a crash to bring personal injury lawsuits against at-fault drivers. If you are involved in a collision in which someone was injured, you become vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit, no matter your location or the circumstances. At that point, you need legal counsel. 

Car insurance companies will happily sell you as much liability insurance as you can stomach to protect you from this type of claim. However, unless you can afford an astronomical amount of liability coverage, your policy will not cover a catastrophic injury claim.

For example, if you have $150,000 of liability insurance and you are sued for $500,000 in a personal injury lawsuit, you are personally liable for that $350,000 if you lose.

In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, the injured driver must prove that their injuries were a direct result of their collision with you. They must also prove that the collision was a direct result of your negligence.

In this situation, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. They can help negotiate damages to a reasonable amount between you and the other driver. However, hiring legal counsel when you are already faced with a lawsuit. If you are in a serious car accident, it is always advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible; if you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side from the beginning, they can help guide you through the insurance and legal process more easily than you would be able to navigate it on your own. 

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident? Call Gordon & Gordon!

If you or a loved one is currently involved in the fallout of an accident, and you’re wondering “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?” contact Gordon & Gordon. Our personal injury attorneys have been helping the people of Shreveport-Bossier for decades, and we can help you too. 

Give us a call at 318.716.HELP, or send us a message about your case. You can make an appointment for a consultation at any of our convenient locations in Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield. Don’t just sit around wondering “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?”; call Gordon & Gordon for compassionate legal counsel and peace of mind. 

 

sued after a car accident

Can I Be Sued After a Car Accident?

Can I be sued after a car accident? In the state of Louisiana, the short answer is: probably.

However, it’s more complicated than that. Anyone can sue anyone for anything, but the question is whether or not another driver can sue you successfully after a car accident. 

Generally, any time after you are involved in a car accident litigation may result. Being sued for a car accident is never fun, so it’s important for you to be informed, and to hire experienced personal injury attorneys in case of a lawsuit. 

Here is a look at the circumstances surrounding personal injury lawsuits after a car accident from personal injury attorneys Gordon & Gordon.

When Can I Be Sued For A Car Accident?

If you are driving a car and cause an accident, you could potentially be sued by the other driver or their passengers. 

Louisiana is what is known as a tort state, meaning the insurance of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the fees and expenses of the other driver. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, this could mean the at-fault driver’s insurance could be responsible for:

  • Medical bills
  • Auto damage
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering 

Fault is determined in any number of ways: the police have methods of determining fault at the scene, such as tire marks, witness statements, or the location and positioning of the accident. When you are being sued for a car accident, it will be the responsibility of the plaintiff and their legal team to prove you were at fault for the accident. 

Louisiana requires that all drivers have auto liability insurance. However, if for any reason you don’t have liability insurance, or if you are driving a car with insurance that you are not named on, you may be personally responsible for paying the fees and expenses of the other driver if they file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against you.

If you find yourself in this situation and you do not have the financial means to pay out of pocket, the injured party has multiple ways to collect the money. For example, they could garnish your wages. 

Gordon & Gordon understand that the time immediately following a car accident is incredibly stressful, especially if you are being sued for a car accident. Having handled many personal injury lawsuits, Gordon & Gordon are dedicated to helping the people of Shreveport-Bossier defend themselves. 

Being Sued For A Car Accident: Can I Lose My Home?

A personal injury or property damage lawsuit following a car accident is just like any other lawsuit. You may be found liable for damages to the other party, some of which your insurance may pay. 

However, insurance policies have limits: for instance, let’s say your car insurance has a $50,000 bodily injury limit and a $10,000 property damage limit, and while texting and driving you crash into a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist’s medical bills total $60,000, and his $13,000 motorcycle is completely totaled.

That’s $73,000 in damages at the least, and your insurance will only pay $60,000 of it at the most. You will likely be responsible for the other $13,000. Again, if you do not have the financial means to pay this out of pocket, your assets could potentially be in danger, including your home.  

Being Sued For A Car Accident: No Play, No Pay

There is another set of circumstances that influences lawsuits following a car accident. Louisiana is somewhat unique in this respect; only 9 other states have this policy. It is referred to as no play, no pay. 

In these states, if you do not have insurance and are injured in an accident, you may have limited ability to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver. The point of view in Louisiana and other states that have this law is that if the person in question could not come up with the compensation if they had been at fault, they have no right to claim benefits when the situation is reversed. 

Therefore if you are in Louisiana and are being sued for a car accident by someone who does not have any injuries, you probably don’t have much to worry about. However, it is always advisable to ask the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney when you are being sued for a car accident. 

Being Sued For A Car Accident: The Importance of Insurance

Though insurance companies are often vilified, they play a large part in personal injury or property damage lawsuits following car accidents. 

In Louisiana, it is absolutely essential that you have auto liability insurance, or that you are named on the auto liability insurance for the car that you drive most often. Having auto liability insurance is not just important for when you are at fault for an accident, but due to the No Play, No Pay law in Louisiana, not having insurance can affect you even if you were not at fault for the accident. 

This is not to mention all the potential fines the state could levy against you for driving without insurance. They could also potentially suspend your license if you are a repeat offender, or take away your license altogether.

Do I Need A Lawyer If I’m Being Sued For A Car Accident?

If your personal injury lawsuit goes to trial, it is crucial for you to have a thorough and experienced personal injury attorney, because proving fault, or the lack thereof, during a lawsuit following a car accident is a notoriously tricky business. 

Any car accident is an extremely fact-centric case. A good personal injury attorney will conduct their own investigation into who is at fault in your car accident and potentially help to negotiate an amount for damages that is reasonable both for you and for the other party. 

Call Gordon & Gordon!

Gordon & Gordon have been dedicated to helping the people of North Louisiana for a combined 30 years. If you are being sued for a car accident, call Gordon & Gordon at 318-716-HELP or send us an email here

 

can i sue my employer for emotional distress

Can I Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress?

Have you ever wanted to sue someone at work?

In an ideal world, we would get along perfectly well with all of our coworkers all the time, but that isn’t always feasible. When you’re dealing with a coworker’s outrageous behavior, it can negatively affect your work performance and overall morale. If your manager isn’t taking you seriously, you may be wondering if there is anywhere else you can turn.

Here’s the good news: in the state of Louisiana, you can turn to the courts.

If you are experiencing intentional or negligent emotional distress at work, you could potentially have the ability to bring a personal injury claim against your employer to recover damages. However, the area of this law is especially complex and requires an experienced and thorough personal injury attorney if you are considering suing your employer for emotional distress.

Suing Employer for Emotional Distress: Proving Your Claim

Before you file a lawsuit, it’s important to understand the two types of emotional distress that the law recognizes. 

Emotional distress is either negligently or intentionally inflicted in the eyes of the law. The difference is based on the state of mind of the entity inflicting the harmful act; in this case, that would be the employer. 

Each form of emotional distress requires proof that certain things did or did not occur. Here is a basic breakdown of each form of emotional distress:

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)

If you suffer from emotional distress caused by someone’s negligent conduct, you may be able to recover damages for NIED.

A successful claim of this type will prove the following:

  • Defendant (the employer) engaged in negligent conduct or a willful violation of a statutory duty
  • Plaintiff suffered serious emotional distress 
  • Defendant’s negligent conduct or willful violation of statutory standards was a cause of the serious emotional distress

So, in a nutshell: you have to prove that your employer had a legal duty to use reasonable care to avoid causing you emotional distress. You must also prove that they ignored this duty to use reasonable care, and that it caused you significant emotional distress.

This type of claim can be brought by the person harmed by the negligent conduct, or by any bystanders who witnessed it. 

For example: if there is a poorly-maintained piece of equipment at your workplace and you get hurt while using it, you can sue your employer for emotional distress.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

This type of emotional distress is sometimes called the “tort of outrage” because it is based on extreme or outrageous behavior.

Courts will generally require proof of four elements for an IIED claim to be successful:

  • The employer or his agent acted intentionally or recklessly
  • The employer or agent’s conduct was extreme and outrageous
  • The employer or agent’s caused the employee mental distress
  • The emotional distress was severe 

The operational definition of extreme or outrageous behavior is ever-changing, so IIED can be difficult to prove when you are suing your employer for emotional distress. The behavior must be a bit more than insults, threats, or annoyances, even if you feel those insults and annoyances are extreme or outrageous.

For instance, if your employer were to obtain an old mugshot of you and show it to your coworkers, that does not necessarily constitute outrageous behavior. 

On the other hand, the courts do not require an extreme response from the plaintiff to prove emotional distress. Anything that a reasonable person would be unable to cope with is considered to be extreme or outrageous can qualify as emotional distress, whether or not the plaintiff themselves managed to cope.

Suing Employer for Emotional Distress: Acts of an Employee

The law will hold employers responsible for the actions of their employees when the conduct that caused the emotional distress is within the scope of the employee’s job or if the employer consented to the conduct. 

For example, if the security staff of a store wrongfully accuses a shopper of theft over the intercom, the employer can be held responsible for the actions of that employee. 

Employers are found liable for employees’ actions through a process legally known as ratification. Proof of the following facts is usually required when suing an employer for emotional distress over the acts of an employee:

  • The employer had actual knowledge of the specific conduct
  • The employer knew the conduct was harmful
  • The employer failed to take adequate steps to remedy the situation 

For the most part, between two coworkers in the workplace, emotional distress is usually paired with other harmful conduct such as sexual harassment. For example, an employer can be held accountable for their employees’ actions, and also be held responsible for IIED, if they ignore multiple complaints from an employee of sexual harassment from a manager. 

Suing Employer for Emotional Distress: Damages 

Can you put a price on emotional distress?

Generally, the damages awarded when suing an employer for emotional distress, whether it be IIED or NIED, will be proportional to the distress that was inflicted. 

Factors that influence the amount of damages that will be awarded include:

  • How outrageous the behavior was (or lack there of)
  • The amount of harm you suffered
  • Whether the emotional distress is ongoing 

These are matters to be determined by a judge, or by a jury, should your case go to trial. 

Need to Sue Your Employer for Emotional Distress? Gordon and Gordon Can Help.

Suing an employer for emotional distress, whether the employer is your employer or not, is an extremely complex area of the law. 

No matter the circumstances, proving emotional distress is very fact centered and also very difficult to prove, as its effects are not always visible as they would be with physical injury. It’s easy to prove you have a broken arm: proving you’ve suffered emotionally is more difficult. However, emotional distress caused by an employer is a real injury, and those who have suffered it deserve to be compensated. 

If you have suffered emotional distress at the hands of your employer, please contact Gordon & Gordon law firm at 318-617-HELP to discuss your case. 

 

statute of limitations for workers compensation

The Statute of Limitations for Workplace Injuries

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that will provide wages and compensation for other expenses to any employee who is hurt in the course of their duties and is rendered unable to work. Workers’ compensation can help injured workers pay their medical bills for short or long-term impairments or replace lost wages. Nearly all employers in Louisiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. 

To take advantage of these benefits, there are several steps injured workers must take in order to obtain benefits.

Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a set time during which a certain legal action must be taken, or the legal action is invalid. Though the term is most commonly used in the context of a crime, it applies to legal actions other than criminal charges as well. 

Workers’ compensation laws require an injured employee or their family to file for worker’s compensation benefits within a certain period of time, referred to as the workers’ compensation statute of limitations. In the majority of states, the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is roughly within one year of the date of injury. 

However, in Louisiana, there is a somewhat more important deadline than the official workers’ compensation statute of limitations: notification of your employer. In Louisiana, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days, though the earlier you report it, the better. Insurance companies will be less skeptical of workers’ compensation claims that are reported to the employer immediately. Not to mention that the sooner you report your injury, the sooner your workers’ compensation benefits can begin. 

Once you give notice to your employer, they should complete a form called a “First Report of Injury”. They will provide this form to their insurer, who will submit it to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. You will also receive a copy of this form. 

What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive in Louisiana?

Generally, workers’ compensation benefits will cover reasonable and necessary medical treatment that is related to the work injury. This includes the cost of doctors’ visits, hospital bills, prescriptions, and prosthetic devices. Depending on the type of injury, you could also be eligible for temporary disability payments or a permanent disability reward. 

Temporary Disability 

If you are temporarily disabled and not able to work, you can be compensated for your lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits. You can receive these benefits until your doctor deems that you have reached maximum medical improvement; in other words, your condition is not expected to improve any further. At that point, you will need to return to work, or possibly receive permanent disability benefits if you are still unable to work. 

You can also earn some supplemental wages if your injury necessitates that you work part-time or go on light-duty, so long as you are earning less than 90% of your normal wages. These benefits are available for a maximum of 520 weeks. After that, you also have the choice of either going back to work if you are able or attempting to obtain permanent disability. Filing a claim within the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is necessary to obtain temporary disability benefits. 

Permanent Disability

If your doctor finds you to be totally and permanently disabled, your temporary disability can be extended for as long as the disability continues. Workers are considered totally disabled if they are unable to earn any wages in any job. 

These types of workers’ compensation benefits are typically awarded to workers with completely debilitating injuries such as loss of limbs or loss of the use of a limb.

Like with temporary disability benefits, partial permanent disability benefits are available if the permanent disability renders the worker unable to earn at least 90% of their normal wages. Filing a claim within the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is necessary to obtain permanent disability benefits. 

Gordon & Gordon Will Fight For Injured Employees

Obviously, determining which employees are entitled to what benefits can be difficult and complicated. The time after a work-related injury can be filled with distress for both the injured employees and their families, and squabbling with insurance companies may be the last thing on their minds.

Gordon & Gordon will take on this battle for you, and fight to have your claim recognized. They are dedicated to protecting the Shreveport, Bossier, and Mansfield areas when a person is injured in their workplace. 

Though the Louisiana workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system designed to ensure everyone gets the benefits they need, there are several things that could go wrong. For instance, an employer may forget to file a claim with their insurer within the appropriate worker’s compensation statute of limitations, even if they themselves were notified appropriately. It is best to contact an attorney like Gordon & Gordon immediately after being injured at work.

What Do I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?

There are several reasons part of or all of your workers’ compensation claim may be denied, including but not limited to reporting your injury outside of the workers’ compensation statute of limitations. However, even if you adhere to the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, there are other reasons your claim can be denied, such as if the injury is not deemed to be work-related.

If there is a problem with your workers’ compensation claim whether it is related to the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, you have the right to a hearing with a workers’ compensation judge in Louisiana. If you disagree with the judge’s decision during this hearing, you can appeal it with the Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Contact the Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Gordon & Gordon!

During both your hearing and any appeals you may need to file to get your appropriate compensation, you will benefit immensely from the advice and counsel of an experienced and thorough attorney. 

Gordon & Gordon has been helping employees in the Shreveport area receive the compensation they deserve for a combined thirty years. Because of the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, it is important to act quickly when you have been injured in the workplace. Gordon & Gordon is prepared to personally handle your case; call or email today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

Call Gordon & Gordon 24/7 at 318-716-HELP.  You can also fill out a quick online form to schedule a free consultation! 

hit and run louisiana

Hit and Run in Louisiana: Personal and Criminal Attorney

It didn’t happen on purpose, but when your vehicle collided with another vehicle or person or other property (including a pet), you are required by Louisiana vehicle code RS 14:100 to stop and provide certain information. And if a person was injured, you are required to provide reasonable aid to them. Though it was tempting to leave the scene of an accident—or perhaps you panicked and weren’t thinking straight—, especially if you thought there were no witnesses, the consequences of a hit-and-run accident are severe. Whatever the reason you left an accident scene, you may face stiff fines, suspension or loss of your driver’s license, criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment

Hit And Run Louisiana Vehicle Code Law—Statute RS 14:100

Louisiana Vehicle Code RS 14:100 defines hit-and-run as follows:

“Hit and run driving is the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing an accident, to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident, to give his identity, and to render reasonable aid.” 

Also, if you’ve struck an empty, parked car, you are required by law to provide a written notice placed conspicuously on the vehicle with a description of what happened and your name and contact information. This is still considered a hit and run in Louisiana. 

If you collided with other property or hit a pet (the latter is considered “property”), and you can’t locate an owner, you must notify the local police or Louisiana Highway Patrol depending upon where the accident occurred.

A driver must perform all these legal requirements regardless of how or why the accident happened. 

Hit-And-Run Law Defined: Leaving the Scene of an Accident

There are two types of hit-and-run crimes in Louisiana—accidents involving only damage to property and accidents that caused injury or death

Hit and Run Penalty, Louisiana

  • Where there is no death or serious bodily injury a driver shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
  • When there is evidence that a vehicle operator consumed alcohol, used drugs or a controlled substance prior to the accident, they may be fined up to $500, jailed for not less than ten days and no more than six months.
  • When death or serious bodily injury was caused, and a driver knew or should have known that it did, they will be fined up to $5,000 and maybe imprisoned with or without hard labor for up to ten years.
  • A combination of the above conditions may result in imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years with or without hard labor. 

Hit and Run Criminal and Personal Injury Attorney

If you fled from an accident and may face charges and/or a civil lawsuit, it is imperative you seek attorney representation for any instance of a hit and run. Just because a person has been cited or charged with a hit-and-run accident, doesn’t mean there is a defense against possible consequences.

For more information about hit-and-run accidents, you don’t have to wait for office hours. Call Gordon & Gordon 24/7 at 318-716-HELP, or schedule a consultation at any of their conveniently located Shreveport, Mansfield, or Bossier City offices! 

 

Wrongful Death Cases in Lousiana

When a loved one dies under any circumstances, you’re naturally consumed with sorrow, and your heart is broken. As you grieve, you struggle to come to terms with the surreal, indisputable fact that you’ll never see your loved one again. Any death is sad, but when the unexpected loss is because of another’s negligence, recklessness, carelessness or malicious misconduct and disregard for human life, you likely also yearn for justice. The wrongdoer should be held accountable, and Louisiana’s wrongful death laws governing monetary damages can ensure they are. 

Wrongful Death Cases

As you cope with your sorrow, you may feel overwhelmed by the practicalities of paying for a funeral and what you face economically if your loved one provided you and your family with income critical for your survival. Not only do Louisiana’s laws provide for income and other financial losses and expenses if the harming person or entity is found civilly liable for your loved one’s death, but it also may provide compensation for emotional pain and loss of your loved one’s companionship, shared home responsibilities and care of any of the decedent’s minor children. If the wrongdoer demonstrated egregious, wanton disregard for your loved one’s life, they may also be subject to punitive damages.

Compensable damages in a wrongful death claim may include both economic or “special” and non-economic “general” losses. 

Special or Actual Economic Damages for Wrongful Death Suits in Louisiana

  • Medical expenses including ambulance transportation, hospitalization, physician care and other costs related to the injury or illness.
  • Funeral service, burial expenses or cremation costs.
  • Wages and remunerative benefits the deceased would have generated.
  • Cost of replaced household services.
  • Damaged property bills or replacement expenses.

General or Non-Economic Damages  for Wrongful Death Case in Louisiana

  • For the pain and suffering the deceased person experienced because of the injury or illness.
  • Loss of companionship, child-rearing, family guidance and emotional support.
  • Bereaved emotional distress and anguish.

Punitive Damages for Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana

When your loved one’s death is proven to have been caused by egregious malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct or gross negligence by another, a Louisiana civil court may also award punitive monetary damages separate from economic and non-economic damages. 

Wrongful Death Settlements

Gordon & Gordon’s experienced attorneys will pursue the justice your loved one deserves when you put your financial burdens and concerns in their capable hands. As they pursue your wrongful death claim, perhaps you’ll have some respite from pragmatic concerns, which may allow you space and time to properly grieve.

Gordon & Gordon is dedicated to protecting the Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield communities when a person is seriously injured or a loved one has died because of another’s negligence and recklessness. 

Who’s Entitled To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Under Louisiana law, if you are the spouse, child(ren), parent(s), qualifying domestic partner, dependent step-child(ren) or other qualifying family members of a person who was killed because of the negligence, recklessness or malicious conduct of another, you are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Though you may think you can put off filing a claim, the more time that passes after a wrongful death, the greater the likelihood that evidence may be lost or destroyed, witness’ memories may fade, and other important factors may be damaged.

Gordon and Gordon, Wrongful Death Litigation Experts in Shreveport, Bossier and Mansfield

While filing a wrongful death lawsuit isn’t foremost on your mind while you’re reeling from your loved one’s death, Gordon & Gordon strongly advises you to act as quickly as possible. The one-year statute of limitations’ deadline in Louisiana for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is strict and inflexible. 

To learn more about whether the death of your loved one can be civilly pursued in a wrongful death lawsuit, there’s no need to wait until regular office hours. Call Gordon & Gordon 24/7 at 318-716-HELP. You can also fill out a quick online form to schedule a free consultation!

are personal injury damages taxable

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in Louisiana?

Unfortunately, you were seriously injured because of the recklessness and/or negligence of a person or entity. While we know that no amount of money has made what you’ve suffered a positive experience, at least one good thing came out of it—you received a financial settlement to cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages (and pain and suffering if applicable).

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?

 However, because you were compensated for your injury, you may now wonder whether the money you received is considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In most cases, any money you acquired because of a successful personal injury settlement cannot be taxed. Generally, this means that the IRS doesn’t take anything from the monetary damages you were awarded for medical bills, lost income and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Federal tax law excludes damages received because of injuries or illnesses from a taxpayer’s gross income.

However, there are many IRS loopholes, exceptions and exclusions that could make a part of your settlement or jury award taxable.

How The IRS Decides if Your Personal Injury Settlement is Taxable?

Depending upon the complexity of your personal injury case, it’s challenging to know is your personal injury settlement taxable? What the IRS taxes on personal injury settlements is based on the United States’ and Louisiana’s definitions of earned income. When the injuring party paid you (the injured person), for expenses related to your medical care, emotional distress and lost wages, the IRS considers this form of financial restitution to fall under compensatory damages, not income. Therefore, the amount of compensatory recovery you were awarded will not be taxed.

What Defines Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Case for Taxes?

To understand this facet of personal injury, it’s helpful to know the legal definition of compensatory damages. When a person is injured because of another’s recklessness and/or negligence and succeeds in winning an insurance claim or civil court lawsuit, they are reimbursed or compensated for their expenses, costs and suffering related to the specific physical and emotional harm they’ve endured. When a loved one (who meets certain criteria) died because of a person or entities’ conduct, compensatory damages also may be awarded to family members in wrongful death claims. In that case, wrongful death compensation is also non-taxable. 

On the other hand, if a court orders a defendant to pay for your pain and suffering, because pain and suffering compensation is not considered compensatory, you’ll have to pay taxes on that amount.

Are Pain and Suffering Damages Taxable?

Because punitive damages paid to the injured person are intended to punish the defendant for their reckless and/or negligent conduct, such monies are not considered compensatory, whereas those for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages are. 

The IRS looks at monetary recovery for pain and suffering much differently than for compensatory damages. When a judge orders a defendant to pay pain and suffering damages—which is extremely rare and occurs only when their conduct was extraordinarily egregious— this recovery is considered non-compensatory and will be taxed as income. Under IRS laws, money paid for pain and suffering is identified on your tax return as “other income.”

Personal Injury Settlement Taxes: Plans Matter

If you won a substantial, high-value financial recovery for your injuries or the loss of a loved one and invested that money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (EFTs), money market accounts or real estate and you were paid interest, dividends or capital gains, interest, dividends or capital gains earnings are taxable.

While it’s better than not making money on your principal dollar amount, the IRS wants its cut of your investment or bank account earnings known as “interest income” or “capital gains.” 

If you’re injured in an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about taxes, and at Gordon & Gordon Law, we’ll provide the legal representation you need and guidance on what your settlement may be subjected to when filing a tax return.

Contact Gordon and Gordon for Personal Injury Settlement Tax Questions 

For expert, caring and respectful personal injury assistance in one of our Shreveport, Mansfield or Bossier City offices, call 318-716-HELP (318-716-4357). Or if you prefer, send us a message on our notepad, and someone from our office will be in touch with you promptly.

is illness a personal injury

Is Illness a Personal Injury In Louisiana?

Louisiana Attorney Represents Victims Made Sick By Another’s Recklessness Or Negligence

Illness or Personal Injury

Do you suspect you’re ill because of contaminated food, exposure to a toxic environment, defective products, or dangerous medications? Do you think the conditions surrounding your illness were caused by someone else? Did you know that if your illness is the fault of another, you may be entitled to financial recovery through a personal injury claim and/or civil court lawsuit? 

It’s true. 

When you’ve been made ill because of recklessness or negligence of another person or entity because of contaminated food, exposure to a toxic environment, defective products or a medical provider’s error, you may win a substantial monetary settlement. In such cases, you’ll be up against a powerful insurance company whose goal is to deny your claim. And if you can’t settle with the insurance company, you may be forced to pursue financial damages through a civil court lawsuit. 

If you hope to recover your fair financial damages—whether through the injuring party’s insurance or litigation—you need a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney who’ll guide you through the complex, confusing claims process and court proceedings.

To determine what constitutes an illness caused by recklessness or negligence of another, the following are scenarios that may fall under the auspices of Louisiana laws toward a compensatory personal injury claim:

Personal Injury Illness: Contaminated Food

While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that an estimated 48 million cases of food borne illnesses occur annually—the equivalent of making 1 in 6 Americans sick each year. And these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths yearly. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized food contamination as a global challenge. 

The cause of such illnesses is contaminated or mislabeled food. When the business selling and/or serving the food has not exercised reasonable care in production, processing, distribution, preparation and handling, they may be held liable for a “defective” food product. 

The following describes the various ways food can become contaminated:

Biological contamination of food can result in food poisoning from bacteria in food such as salmonella, E.coli, listeria, hepatitis, norovirus, botulism, clostridium perfringens, shigellosis, campylobacter or cryptosporidium. In some cases, the symptoms may subside within a few days, but in more severe contamination, a person may develop serious, long-lasting illnesses and could even die. 

Physical contamination of food occurs when a foreign object such as plastic, glass, metal and other items that are introduced during production. When a person bites into a hard or sharp object, they may suffer severe injuries to the inside of their mouth or teeth. If the object is ingested, it may cause issues such as a perforated intestine which could lead to life-threatening medical issues. 

Chemical contamination occurs when dangerous chemical substances are introduced into food from pesticides and other toxic substances. 

Injury Illness: Toxic Environment

Though you may be sure your illness has been caused by a toxic environment, these types of personal injury cases are complex because you may have gotten sick many months or even years after the exposure. And proving your illness was caused by the toxin is challenging.

Examples of toxic exposure may include but are not limited to the following factors: 

Waste and chemical dumping into drinking and groundwater or soil. 

Release of noxious gases or toxins into the air. 

Breathing black mold and other types of mold. 

Asbestos inhalation. 

Lead paint dust. 

▪Pesticides

Cleaning products

Lead based cosmetics

Dryer sheets, room odor masking sprays, perfumes. 

If you believe you’re seriously ill because of a person or entity’s reckless or negligent conduct, it’s vital that you speak to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney before the one-year Louisiana statute of limitations’ deadline expires.

Illness Related Personal Injury Compensation

The compensation you may justly deserve depends on various factors that an experienced personal injury attorney can discuss with you. 

Monetary damages may include:

Medical expenses generated because of your illness such as for hospitalization, surgery, medicine, physical therapy/rehabilitation, and psychological services.

Lost wages because the illness prevented you from working for any period, as well as future earnings that will be lost.

Pain and suffering to compensate for the non-monetary damages you’ve suffered because of the illness such as depression, insomnia, grief, worry, anguish, inconvenience, loss of companionship or consortium and diminished quality of life.

A Qualified Gordon & Gordon Personal Injury Attorney Can Review Your Case And Create A Solid Strategy To Hold Those Who Caused Your Illness Accountable

Should the defendant’s party’s insurance company not want to settle fairly with you, a civil court lawsuit should commence. To pursue a lawsuit requires timely document filing, writing complex motions and interrogatories, courtroom hearings and presentations to a judge and/or jury. 

Illness is a Personal Injury in Louisiana

As your personal injury law firm, we’ll collect the facts about your case and determine how we can help. If your case qualifies, as our client, we’ll provide you with superior legal representation with the intention of winning the financial compensation you deserve. 

For expert, caring and respectful personal injury assistance, call 318-716-HELP (318-716-4357), Ark-La-Tex’s premier personal injury law firm Gordon & Gordon Law. The initial no-obligation consultation is free in one of our Shreveport, Mansfield or Bossier City offices. As your personal injury law firm, we’ll never charge you a cent up-front because we work on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid when you get paid. Or if you feel more comfortable, send us a message on our notepad, and someone from our office will be in touch with you promptly. And if you can’t come to us, we’ll visit you at home or at a hospital or rehabilitation center.

gordon and gordon workers compensation exemptions

Workers Comp Exemption for Louisiana

The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s (LWC) Department of Labor requires nearly all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but there are some notable exemptions. If you believe you are entitled to workers’ compensation in Louisiana, you will need to ensure that your employer is not exempt by Louisiana law from carrying workers’ compensation insurance.

What is a Worker’s Compensation Exemption in Louisiana?

Almost all employers in Louisiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance; money that can be paid out to an employee injured on the job. However, the following employers are exempt from carrying this insurance, and their employees are not covered if they are injured on the job:

  • Real estate brokers or sales agents licensed in Louisiana.
  • Employees of a private residential household.
  • Employees of a private unincorporated farm.
  • Musicians and entertainers with performance contracts.
  • Employees working in railroads or on trains while engaged in interstate or foreign trade.
  • Airplane crews working in dusting or spraying operations.
  • Mineral exploration, development and transportation “landmen.”
  • Employees covered by the Federal Employees Liability Act, the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act , and the Jones Act.

Therefore, if you are injured on the job and your employer is included in the above, you will unfortunately not be entitled to any workers’ compensation. 

Why Are Some Employers Granted Exemptions to Workers’ Compensation?

Oftentimes, employers will be exempt from carrying workers’ compensation due to the size of their business, or the number of employees their business has. For example, in Louisiana, if the only employee of a company is its owner, the owner would not be required to take out workers’ compensation insurance on themselves. Some independent contractors may be required to carry insurance, and any employers that hire them would not be required to carry workers’ compensation on those independent contractors. 

Am I Entitled to Workers Compensation in Louisiana?

If you’ve been seriously injured on the job in any but the above occupations, you are entitled by the Department of Labor law to have your medical expenses, lost income (past, present and future), rehabilitation costs, vocational retraining if necessary and possibly more.

Gordon and Gordon workers’ compensation lawyers have 60 years of combined experience providing vigilant, dedicated assistance to injured employees in the Shreveport area and beyond. 

As your workers’ compensation attorney team, we will fight with your employer’s insurance company to acquire the medical care and financial compensation you are legally entitled to. With extensive experience handling thousands of Shreveport workers’ compensation cases, we understand your situation, care about your well-being, and will persistently and aggressively battle for your rights as an injured employee. 

While you focus on recovery, Gordon and Gordon will handle all insurance negotiations on your behalf, document your injuries, expenses and lost income and file all the necessary complex forms in a deadline intensive manner so you don’t have to worry or be stressed by the confusing, arduous process. With respect and compassion, we’ll work with you through every step so you’re assured your case is being handled effectively and fairly.

Contact Gordon and Gordon for Worker’s Compensation Claims

Call us today at 318.617.HELP to schedule your free, no-obligation meeting in our conveniently located Shreveport office to discuss your unique situation and so we can answer any questions you may have. Or if you prefer, send us a confidential note on our contact form.

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