Should I settle my insurance claim?

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim?

Settlement Secrets Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know

Do you find yourself asking “Should I settle my insurance claim?”

When you make a personal injury claim, you’ll eventually negotiate with the other party’s insurance company. Even if you end up filing a lawsuit, negotiations will be ongoing. Your case may reach a resolution out of court at any time. 

Presenting the insurance company with a strong demand letter with plenty of evidence in your favor is important. In this case, negotiations might only take a few phone calls. This is one reason it is essential to have an attorney from the beginning of your personal injury process. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon put together a few tips that will help you get the best settlement possible in Louisiana. We also discuss why it may or may not be in your best interest to settle your case, and some tips for negotiations. 

How to Negotiate a Settlement in Louisiana: The Negotiation Process

Every personal injury claim is different. This means that the negotiation process can vary widely. Sometimes all it takes is a few phone calls.

However, the average settlement negotiation tends to be a bit more complex. Negotiations take place between your attorney and the other party’s insurance adjuster. Both sides will make points about the strengths and weaknesses of your claims. 

Consider this scenario. Your attorney points out there are eyewitness accounts confirming the other person was responsible for your injury. Obviously this evidence would be in your favor. The insurance adjuster should accept your attorney’s settlement demand. The insurance company might come back and say that another person might have been equally responsible for your injury. This might be a weakness in your claim and might mean you and your attorney should accept a lower settlement amount. Your attorney then proposes a number a big higher than the counter-offer but still lower than the original offer. 

This process continues until both parties arrive at a figure everyone is sufficiently happy with. The final number will probably be lower than what your attorney first offered. But it should at the very least be higher than what the insurance adjuster first offered.

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim? 

This depends entirely on your specific case. The easiest way to know if you should settle is to ask a Gordon & Gordon personal injury attorney

Settling is usually in the best interest of both parties. The alternative to settling an insurance claim is to take your case to trial. Keep in mind that trials are unpredictable. They may drag on for months and even years. 

Take the advice of your personal injury attorney. The rare case in which you should go to trial is if you have strong evidence and the insurance company refuses to negotiate. 

How to Negotiate A Settlement in Louisiana: Quick Tips From A Shreveport Bossier Attorney 

There are a few practices you can employ to put your claim in the best possible position during negotiations. Here are some of these tips from a Manassas personal injury attorney. 

Have A Settlement Amount in Mind

Figure out the minimum amount of money you’re willing to accept. 

As part of your personal injury settlement demand letter, you and your attorney at Gordon & Gordon will help you determine how much your claim is worth. Working within the range of that number, you and your attorney will decide the smallest amount of money you would be willing to accept. The number in your demand letter is the amount of money you want, but it helps to keep your bottom line in mind during negotiations. Don’t share any of this information with the insurance adjuster. If they catch wind of your willingness to accept less money, they won’t budge later on. 

Don’t be too stubborn about the figure you have in mind. If an insurance adjuster points out that some key weaknesses in your claim you hadn’t considered before, it might be wise to review your minimum amount. If the adjuster begins by offering an amount near your minimum, you should move your figure upward. 

What is a Reservation of Rights Letter?

Sometimes an insurance company will send you something called a reservation of rights letter. Don’t let this intimidate you. 

This simply means the insurance company is investigating your claim. They reserve their right not to pay you if the other party’s policy doesn’t cover your accident.

This just means the insurance company is trying to protect itself. It prevents you from claiming that the policy covers your accident simply because the company opened negotiations with you. 

Don’t Jump At The First Offer

Insurance adjusters almost always offer an extremely low amount for the first offer to see if you will accept the fast cash. Their main goal is not to help you. It’s to save the insurance company money. This is why it’s important to have an attorney.

If the offer is reasonable but just a bit low, you should counter with a slightly higher number, but still less than your original demand. This shows the adjuster that you are being reasonable too. 

Make the Adjuster Justify A Low Offer 

Ask the adjuster you’re working with for specific reasons they made such a low offer. It’s possible they just made the low offer to call your bluff and see if you know how much your claim is really worth. 

Just because they made an offer that is unreasonably low doesn’t mean you should lower your original offer. Instead, ask them to explain why they are offering so little. 

Write them a response and answer to each of their points. See if they will budge after that. If the adjuster is being reasonable, you should be able to reach a fair settlement with them. 

Emphasize Emotional Points

Don’t shy away from talking about emotional factors. Although facts are necessary, strong emotional claims help too.

If your injury prevented you from taking care of your child, talk about your child’s suffering. You can’t put a real price on pain and suffering. But emphasizing your emotional pain can go a long way in getting insurance companies to bring a reasonable offer to the table. 

Put the Settlement in Writing 

Once you and the insurance adjuster finally reach an agreement, confirm it with a letter. This will be addressed to the insurance adjuster. It can be short and sweet. Simply name the amount you agreed to, the injuries involved and the date you expect to receive the settlement money

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim? Call Gordon & Gordon!

The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon are experienced in working with insurance companies to get you the best results possible for your settlement. If you’ve been injured and don’t want to have to face the insurance companies alone, contact us for a free consultation. 

personal injury claims process

10 Steps for the Personal Injury Claims Process

Anyone who’s been in a car accident knows: the stress and trauma take a toll. The steps you take in the following minutes and hours might make or break your health and wallet. You must ensure you do everything the law requires you to do. We’ve put together a 10 step process of a personal injury claims process. Use this to prepare yourself if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being involved in an auto accident.

What are the 10 Steps for the Personal Injury Claims Process?

  1. Check for Injuries After an Accident
  2. Document Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case
  3. File a Claim with your Insurance Company
  4. Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Auto Accident Attorney for your Case
  5. Determine the Severity of Your Personal Injury
  6. Demand a Settlement
  7. Case Settles or a Lawsuit Is Filed
  8. Discovery
  9. Mediation
  10. Trial 

1. Check for Injuries After an Auto Accident

Make sure that you stop your car in a safe place. Do not leave the scene of the accident. This is a crime. Check yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 to get medical help for anyone with injuries.  According to Louisiana law, drivers involved in an auto accident must report the accident to the police if any injury or death occurs, or if there is over $500 in property damage. Many insurance companies also require you to call the police after an auto accident. Check with your policy to find out the terms and conditions.

After the shock of an accident, you may not realize you have suffered a serious head, neck, back, or organ injury. Just because you can’t see an injury or think you only received minor cuts and scrapes, it is still best to have a medical professional evaluate you. Listen to the advice of a medical professional. 

Lots of people choose not to call the police after an accident because at first, it seemed like there were only minor damages or injuries. But often, property damage and injuries arise later. Failure to document an accident with a police report may make it harder to get compensation for your damages later on. 

2. Document Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case

If you can, we recommend that you take photos of the:

  • vehicles
  • license plates
  • surroundings
  • nearby traffic controls
  • any visible injuries

Write down the:

  • driver’s name
  • address
  • phone number
  • license plate number 
  • the vehicle owner’s name

If there were any witnesses, you should also collect their names and contact information. Try to limit conversation with other parties. Do not admit fault or assign blame. In order to aid your memory, write down as many details as possible as soon as you can. It is easy to forget important details in the aftermath, but the more information you have, the easier your case will be. 

3. File a Claim with your Insurance Company

Most insurance companies require you to report the accident very soon after the crash.

Your insurance company might ask you to provide a statement. We do not recommend this. Keep in mind that YOU pay your insurance company. They technically work for you, and you don’t owe them anything.

Your attorney should help you with the personal injury claim process, not your insurance company.

It is best to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an auto accident. Then your attorney can advise you how to approach your insurance company. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon provide free initial consultations. It will cost you nothing to double check with an attorney. This could end up saving you thousands later on.

Even though your insurance company is supposed to be on your side, they might try to diminish your accident and injuries to avoid paying for your damages.Insurance companies always do everything in their power to maximize their profits. They do this by limiting their payments to you as much as possible. 

In most cases, your insurance company is best equipped to help you get your vehicle fixed or pay for a total loss. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, your insurance company can help you get back on the road, as long as you have collision coverage under your policy. After that, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from the insurance company of the driver at fault.

4. Free Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Auto Accident Attorney 

In many cases, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will contact you. They might ask you to provide a written or recorded statement. It is not in your best interest to do so. They might also offer you a small amount of money and ask you to sign a release. Again, it is not in your best interest to do so. 

In our many years as Louisiana personal injury auto accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon, we often advise clients to contact insurance companies as little as possible and never to accept fast cash. Your injuries might last longer than you thought they would. When you sign a release, you will not be able to reopen your claim. Never accept settlements or sign any documents without legal counsel. 

The Louisiana attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have a long history of representing anyone that has suffered a personal injury. Hiring us for your case will help ensure your insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you during the the personal injury claim process. Our attorneys can help you manage the numerous calls you receive from insurance adjusters. We can fight against low settlement offers from insurance companies. 

Scheduling a consultation with one of our attorneys after your personal injury from an auto accident will be free. We only receive compensation for our legal services if we help you recover damages. 

5. Determine the Severity of Your Personal Injury

Once you’ve reached this stage in the process of the personal injury claim process, your legal team will lead you going forward. Our personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon conduct further investigation into the accident. We follow up with you regularly regarding your medical treatment. We also order your medical bills and records as you continue treatment.

Sometimes your pain or injury might not go away. If this happens, we contact your doctor and get a report to submit along with any treatment records. This step can often take a long time because it depends on how you are feeling. Before you consider accepting any offer from an insurance company, you need to have a clear idea of how you’re feeling. 

6. Demand a Settlement

After your injuries have stabilized, we usually demand the insurance to offer a settlement. A settlement is a sum of money an insurance company offers to resolve a dispute with you, the accident victim. 

The insurance company will make the first offer. In almost all cases, the first settlement offer is extremely low. It is often an almost laughable amount. They want to see if you’re willing to accept fast cash now rather than wait for a bigger payout later on.

Insurance companies know that many victims don’t understand how quickly medical bills can pile up. They try to make an offer quickly before accident victims have the chance to consult a lawyer. Don’t let the insurance company do this to you. 

7. Case Settles or a Lawsuit Is Filed

After receiving settlement offers from insurance adjusters, you get the chance to decide whether you want to settle your case or file a lawsuit. Many clients are afraid of going to trial and say that they would prefer to settle. Insurance companies know this too well and offer low settlement amounts.

At this stage of the personal injury claim process, your attorney at Gordon & Gordon will provide guidance. We can tell you whether the offer from the insurance company is fair and whether it makes sense to continue with a lawsuit. 

During this part of the personal injury claim process, your attorney will provide guidance on whether the offer from the insurance company is fair and whether it makes sense to continue with a lawsuit.

There are pros and cons for settling and going to court. The experienced Louisiana personal injury auto accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will advise you on which option is best for you. 

8. Discovery

In the event you decide not to accept the settlement offer and file a lawsuit, the case begins a discovery period. Discovery means that your personal injury attorney at Gordon & Gordon get to find out more information about the other side. The other side will also learn more about you. Both sides are permitted to request documents, pictures and depositions. 

Attorneys have the chance to ask questions of involved parties during a personal injury deposition. These people could include police officers, witnesses, treating doctors, or anyone else who might provide evidence in the case of the trial. 

Once this process is complete, the court usually orders mediation prior to the start of a trial.

9. Mediation

Mediation is the final, informal alternative to going to trial during a personal injury claims process. In a mediation, a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between both sides. The goal is to promote a resolution of the disputes before a trial. The mediator gets to lead the discussion but does not get to make decisions about the case. During a trial, the judge has the ultimate power and influence over the outcome of the case. 

10. Trial 

In the event a mediation is unsuccessful, the case goes to trial. If you’re in a busy Parish, a trial might take a year to start after filing. As long as you filed your personal injury lawsuit claim within a year of the accident, you’re in the clear.

The injured person needs to prove that the other driver was negligent during a trial. He or she must also show how much money the jury should award in damages. The court asks the jury to decide if you were negligent and if your negligence caused your own injuries. Once everyone testifies, the jury decides on a final verdict. 

Fault and liability are determined by the “pure comparative negligence” standard in Louisiana. This means that each driver involved in an auto accident is responsible for their own share of the liability or fault in the accident. 

If you were injured or sustained property damage from an accident and you were partly at fault, you can still recover some damages. The exact amount of compensation you recover depends on how much you contributed to the accident. 

Let the Personal Injury Attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Handle the Personal Claims Process For You

If you were the victim of a personal injury due to another person’s negligence in a car accident, you have nothing to fear with the help of Gordon & Gordon Law Firm. Our clients can tell you about the great results we produce for our clients. If you have a personal injury case and want to speak to a personal injury attorney, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We know how to help you navigate the personal injury claims process.

report a car accident

How to Report a Car Accident

While no one wants to find themselves in a situation involving a car accident, knowing how to report damages and get the most out of any potential insurance claims can take away many potential pitfalls and headaches.  The information below serves as a guide for individuals who find themselves looking for guidance when it comes to how to report a car accident and the various aspects of a complete, correct report.  

How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?

Whenever involved in a car accident in the state of Louisiana, an individual has an obligation to stop at the scene.  Once the condition of each person involved has been verified, exchanging information with the other involved parties is the next step.  Then, calling local police and notifying them of the accident should follow.

In the event that any parties find themselves injured as a result of the crash, contacting medical personnel and providing aid if possible should be among the first tasks completed.

Once an initial assessment of the scene ends and all individuals are safe and accounted for, any vehicles involved in the accident should be removed from traffic.  This should take place only if safely moving the vehicles is possible.

If the accident occurs within an incorporated city or town, the driver must report the accident to the local police department.  For accidents that occur outside of incorporated cities and towns, drivers must report accidents to the nearest state police station or sheriff’s office.  In both scenarios, a driver must make a report “immediately, by the quickest means of communication.” 

Do I Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?

When determining whether or not to notify the police of a car accident, following Louisiana State Statutes serves as best practice.  Accidents involving injury, death, intoxicated drivers, hit-and-runs, or property damages totaling more than $500 must be reported to law enforcement immediately.

State statute section 32-398 also states that “the driver of any vehicle involved in a an accident resulting in injury or death to any person, or total property damage to an apparent extent of $100 or more must also send a written report of the accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections 24 hours after the crash.” 

If an individual fails to report a car accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections within 24 hours, they face a fine of up to $100 or imprisonment for up to 60 days, or both.

What Information Should I Report After a Car Accident?

In order for a thorough accounting of the incident to take place, the following items should be reported at minimum:

  • Names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of all driver involved
  • Any insurance information relevant to all drivers involved
  • Vehicle license plate numbers and registration numbers for any vehicles involved or damaged during the car accident.
  • Details surrounding the accident.  These items include weather conditions, road conditions, time, specific geographic location of accident, lighting conditions, and anything else that could have contributed to the cause of the accident.

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit Related To My Car Accident?

When considering filing a lawsuit related to a car accident, Louisiana places a one-year statute of limitations on any claim related to “injury or vehicle damage by driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist after a traffic accident.”

The timing mechanism for this statute of limitations begins on the date of the car accident.

Claims filed outside of this timeframe run the risk of a procedural dismissal.

Should I Take Photos of the Car Accident?

When filing a claim with insurance, the incident documentation plays a key role in how to report a car accident.  Police reports will contain a great deal of detail regarding the car accident. As much factual information provided to the insurance company will bolster your claim.  Scene photos, vehicle pictures, and surrounding street signs also provide additional context when determining the insurance claim validity.

Giving the insurance company or agent as much detail as possible can influence the determination of compensation.  Weather conditions, the other driver’s demeanor, and surrounding traffic signals/signs paint a clear picture for insurance companies.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

The State of Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance.  Those coverage minimums include:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, and
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.

These amounts for coverage are used to pay for bills related to medical treatment, damage to property, and any other associated costs to individuals involved or injured in a car accident.  The amount allocated to each party falls under the coverage limits.  Additional coverage protects against costs associated with serious injuries or damage

In the event that coverage limits do not pay for the associated bills, individuals at fault are personally responsible for remaining balances.  Any additional coverage helps offset these unwanted expenses. 

Liability coverage also covers family members or friends behind the wheel, as well as damage following rental car accidents.

The coverages listed above do not apply to the driver’s own damages or injuries.  Additional coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, serve the purposes of filling these gaps.  Collision coverage pays for repairs/replacements to damaged vehicles.  Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you have an accident with an individual without insurance.  This insurance coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents.   

Louisiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Louisiana imposes fines on drivers found driving without insurance.  These fines can run upwards of $1000.  Driving privilege suspensions also commonly take place.  In some cases, vehicle impounding, the registration revocation, and license plates cancellation occurs.

Louisiana also has a “No Pay, No Play” law that prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting damages following an accident.  These amounts include the first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injury damages.

Wondering How to Report a Car Accident?  Need Help With a Personal Injury Claim?

If you have been in a car accident and aren’t sure of where to turn, contact the Gordon & Gordon. Speak with us today for a free consultation.  Get a trusted attorney on your side, fighting for your rights. Fair compensation can ease the burden of dealing with insurance companies and get you back on track where you belong.  Call us today at (318) 716-HELP or contact us through our website.

rear-end settlement

Rear-end Settlement

If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, you are not alone.  Around 33% of all highway accidents are rear-end collisions. In Louisiana alone, more than 50,000 rear-end crashes occurred in 2019.  If you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident or want knowledge in case of an accident or potential rear-end settlement, here’s what to know.

How Do Rear-end Collisions Happen?

Careless or inattentive drivers commonly result in rear-end collisions.  Many people fit this category, such as drunk drivers, drivers on cell phones, or individuals attempting to multitask while driving.

Rear-end collisions and accidents can happen suddenly and without warning.  The consequences are far-reaching and carry with them serious legal ramifications.

Am I Automatically At Fault If I Rear-End Someone?

Following existing legislation, a rear-ending driver carries the presumption of fault.  According to Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81, the driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to maintain a “reasonable and prudent” distance from the vehicle being followed.  The statute goes on to state that drivers must have “due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon.”  This means you shouldn’t drive at unnecessary speeds.  The condition of the road is also noted as a factor to consider.  

In basic terms, drivers should pay attention to the vehicles ahead of them. They also must leave proper amounts of distance for safely stopping without collisions.

Under the following conditions, a driver can avoid fault for a rear-end accident by being able to prove:

  1. The vehicle was being driven under control
  2. The lead vehicle was closely observed
  3. A safe distance for the circumstances was followed

Instances of drivers in rear-end accidents avoiding fault do occur.  These instances include drivers rear-ending someone after another driver crosses into the lane, leaving drivers nowhere to avoid a collision. Drivers may claim the leading vehicle stopped short, had no brake lights, or slowed down for no apparent reason. 

Another example of drivers avoiding fault for rear-end accidents comes from instances where another driver enters the highway unsafely.  This can occur when entering from a private path or the shoulder.  By appearing in front of someone suddenly and not allowing for maintenance of safe distance, the rear-ending driver escapes fault.

When Am I At Fault For A Rear-End Accident?

Following motorists generally bear the majority of blame for rear-end car accidents.  This rule finds its basis on the principle that the following motorist fails to responsibly maintain close watch of the preceding vehicle.  Another reason for fault occurs when the following driver fails to allow for sufficient space to stop.

Left-turning motorists involved in collisions occurring across the center-line receive the presumption of fault for accidents. The driver must offer evidence showing freedom from negligence to avoid liability. 

Left-turning motorists must make sure, before turning, that they can turn without danger.  They must also yield to oncoming traffic.  

In instances of motorists turning at intersections with green arrows, drivers can show freedom from negligence.  This happens by proving green arrow illumination at the time of the turn.

A motorist in an accident should never assume that they are at-fault for accidents without proper examination of the situation.

Auto insurers of tailing or left-turning motorists try to avoid paying for property damage and injuries.  They refuse to acknowledge or attempt to refute these well-established presumptions. 

Prior to dealing with insurance companies, communicate with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney for assistance.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

Louisiana requires the following :

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $25,000
  • Medical payments: The minimum legal requirement – $1,000
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

What are the typical injuries from a rear-end car accident? Do They Influence A Rear-end Settlement?

During a rear-end collision, injuries range from minor bruising and superficial cuts up to paralysis or even death.

Frequently neck and back injuries occur due to whiplash.  Whiplash typically occurs when a vehicle strikes an unmoving car from behind.  This causes the head to snap backward, then forward violently.  Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain and stiffness, and back pain.

Another common injury as a result of rear-end collisions comes with long-lasting effects.  Traumatic Brain Injuries can occur as a result of violent blows or jolts to the head.  Traumatic Brain Injuries can result in permanent brain damage and loss of many basic physical capabilities.

Considered perhaps the most identifiable injury associated with rear-end collisions — broken bones — can occur to any part of the body and often require intensive therapy for full recovery.

Only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose the injuries sustained in a vehicular collision.

Based on the extent of injuries, the settlement can grow quickly.

How Much Will a Rear-end Settlement Be?

While the amount for a rear-end settlement varies, the level of compensation depends on the scope and severity of the accident.  Factors influencing rear-end settlement amounts include:

  • Extent of serious injuries
  • The severity of the accident
  • Effects on the victim’s ability to work
  • The effects of injuries on family members
  • How quickly, if ever, the victim can heal from the injuries
  • Specialty medical care or treatments
  • Assignment of fault
  • If the victim had proper seat belt etiquette

Seasoned attorneys at Gordon & Gordon can work with you to assess the circumstances of the case and deliver an estimate of the potential worth of your case.

Need Help With Your Rear-End Settlement?  Contact Gordon & Gordon Today!

If you find yourself or someone you know in a situation where assistance with a rear-end settlement is needed, don’t hesitate to speak with the experienced team at Gordon & Gordon.  Call us today at (318) 716-HELP or leave us a message through our website to schedule your free case consultation.

how much can someone sue for a car accident

Can Someone Sue You For A Car Accident?

Each year, an estimated 37,000 people die in car accidents.  An additional 2.35 million sustain injuries.  While some accidents are truly unavoidable, a large number occur through another driver’s negligence, leading to personal injury claims.  In many instances, the question “Can someone sue you for a car accident?” arises.  The following information serves to help explain the processes associated with car accident lawsuits.

Being Sued for a Car Accident?: Personal Injury Victims

Regarding car accidents, people usually end up suing for negligence.  Negligence is often the basis of a personal injury claim. This means that a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care considering the specific circumstances occurred. This is typically what people need to determine when asking “can someone sue me for a car accident?”

For example, negligence means Driver 1 fails to use reasonable care, causing Driver 2 harm. Driver 2 can then file a lawsuit alleging Driver 1’s negligence. Examples of legal grounds for negligence include failure to comply with driving laws, texting while driving, and failure to keep a safe distance.

Insurance companies use many methods when determining the value of personal injury claims.  Basis for the amount of damages someone sues for is what the other party lost.  This includes monetary losses and emotional damages. Compensation for the medical bills provided, as well as lost wages, and possibly some amount of compensation for pain and suffering factor into the size of the claim.

 Pain and suffering refers to physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident.  It also includes the injuries caused by the car accident. “Pain and suffering” is a subjective term, leaving a great deal up to interpretation.  When the accident is minor, pain and suffering is especially difficult to prove.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

The State of Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance.  Those coverage minimums include:

  • Bodily Injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $15,000
  • Total Bodily Injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $30,000
  • Property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $25,000

Medical treatment, damage to property, and other costs to individuals involved in accidents are paid for by these coverages.  The amount typically allocated to individuals falls within coverage limits.  In the event additional costs, additional coverage covers the balance.

If coverage limits do not pay the entirety of associated bills, at-fault individuals hold responsibility for remaining balances.  Any extra coverage helps offset these unwanted expenses. 

Liability coverage also covers family members or friends behind the wheel, as well as damage following rental car accidents.

The coverages listed above do not apply to the driver’s own damages or injuries.  Additional coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, serve the purposes of filling these gaps.  Collision coverage pays for repairs/replacements to damaged vehicles.  

Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you have an accident with an individual without insurance.  This insurance coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents.  

Keep in mind insurance coverage requirements when deciding how much to carry. 

Louisiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance in Louisiana comes with the imposing of fines.  Fines for driving without insurance can reach up to $1000.   Other penalties include the suspension of driving privileges and license plate cancellation..  It is not uncommon in some cases for vehicle impounding or registration revocation to occur.

A “No Pay, No Play” law  prohibits uninsured Louisiana drivers from collecting damages following an accident.  The first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injury damages fall into these amounts.

Can I Be Sued For A Car Accident If There Is No Injury?

You can be sued for a car accident even if there is no injury.  Claims filed can attempt to recover damages as result of property damage and emotional distress.

What Determines Fault For A Car Accident in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, each driver in an accident is responsible for the relative liability or percentage of fault.  This is known as a “pure comparative negligence” standard. 

Someone injured or dealing with property damage can still recover damages even if they were still partially at fault for the cause of the accident.  Your level of compensation is reduced by the amount or percentage of fault you are assigned.

For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages from an accident and the court determines that you were 40% at fault for the accident and the defendant was 60% liable, the defendant will be responsible for paying you $6,000 in damages.

Defendants can use pure comparative negligence standards for calculating damages as a defense argument. In cases dealing with accidents involving multiple defendants and vehicles, pure comparative negligence is especially relevant.

Can Someone Sue Me For A Car Accident If There Isn’t a Police Report?

The short answer is yes.  Someone can sue you without a completed and filed police report.  Ideally, police file a written account of the accident. The possibility of a situation where the police do not come to the scene always remains.  A lack of a police report isn’t a get out of jail free card, so to speak.  You may file a claim with or without an official police report.  

Keep in mind, police reports serve as official documentation of the incident.  Without one, the burden of proof weighs more heavily on the other information presented in the claim.

How Much Can Someone Sue For A Car Accident?

Louisiana does not place a limit on the amount of damages plaintiffs can recover from at-fault defendants following motor-vehicle accidents. Claims brought in small claims court are an exception to this.  Small claims court claims must fall below the $3,000 threshold.

Insurance providers for the at-fault parties will typically pay claims up to the limitations of the policies.  

Injured parties can file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties for recovery of any remaining damages. The amount of the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff’s fault percentage of causing or contributing to the accident. 

Generally, policy limits tend to dictate the amount that claims settle for.  Additional amounts rarely get assigned outside of the policy coverage.  Instances of additional damages usually only occur in cases with easily-liquidated assets in the defendant’s possession.

Despite this fact, it is probably in an individual’s best interest to ensure that they have some form of counsel when facing a personal injury claim.

What To Do if Someone Sues You For a Car Accident?

The benefits of consulting with a personal injury lawyer after your involvement in a car accident far outweigh the limited savings associated with self-representation.  A trained, experienced attorney can work with insurance companies and protect your interests as a client.  The seasoned team at Gordon & Gordon have the skills to handle these issues.  They also have a track record of delivering results for their clients when faced with legal uncertainty.

Involved In A Car Accident? Contact Gordon & Gordon, Personal Injury Attorneys

If you find yourself being sued as a result of a car accident, contact Gordon & Gordon today.  Our trained professionals will provide a free case consultation and help you determine the best course of action.  Protect your rights.  Call Gordon & Gordon at (318) 716-HELP or visit us at our website.

non-injury car accident

What To Do After A Non-injury Car Accident

Each year, an average of 6 million car accidents occur within the United States. Roughly 3 million of those accidents involve injuries.  Out of those 6 million accidents, 72% result in some form of property damage.  That’s almost 12,000 car accidents each day involving property damage.  With numbers that high, it can be surprising to find out that the process for handling a non-injury car accident is unclear.

What to do after a non-injury car accident

With this guide, you’ll have the ability to make sound decisions and take constructive courses of action should you ever find yourself in a non-injury car accident.

What is a non-injury car accident?

A non-injury car accident is an accident in which there are no physical injuries to either party involved.  There can still be property damage during an accident and still be considered “non-injury.”

What is the first thing I should do after a non-injury car accident?

After a car accident, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re putting yourself in an advantageous position.  The first thing you should do whenever involved in a car accident is check yourself and passengers for their condition.  Once you’ve assessed that, your next immediate goal should be to get to a safe area.  If the vehicle isn’t damaged and can operate safely, it should be moved to the side of the road.  

Should I call the police if my accident was minor?

Even with no damage or injury involved, attorneys recommend that you report an accident to the police.  This serves as an official report. It also bolsters the record of events in the likelihood the incident makes its way to courtroom proceedings.  

Under Louisiana law, if the accident results in any injury or damage to property in excess of $500, local law enforcement must be identified by the “quickest means of communication.”  Louisiana State Police must also be notified if the accident occurred on a state highway.

If the accident results in injury or damage to property in excess of $100, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections requires you to file a written report within 24 hours.

Where can I get a copy of the accident report?

You can search the Louisiana State Police website for a copy of the accident report.  In order to search for the crash report you must have the name of the driver involved in the crash (first and last name), parish that the crash occurred in, and crash date.

Are negligence and liability the same thing in car accidents?

Negligence is a legal theory used to define behavior considered careless or thoughtless in nature.  Injury or harm to another person may have occurred as a result of the negligent behavior.  An individual can be considered negligent because they failed to do something, such as yielding for a pedestrian, or because they did something that they should not, i.e. speeding or rolling past a stop sign.  Drivers are under the responsibility to exercise care and caution to prevent injury to others that they may encounter while driving.

Liability is the determination of what the responsible party “at fault” must owe in order to compensate the other party for their negligence.

Common causes of car accidents

Countless factors cause car accidents.  Some of the most common causes include:

Distracted driving

According to the American Automobile Association, upwards of 50% of motor vehicle crashes can be related to distracted driving.  Texting and cell phone usage is the primary concern in these instances.  In a recent study of 100 million cell phone users, up to 85% admitted to using their cell phone while driving.  Studies have also shown that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident by 400%.

Driving under the influence

Roughly one-third of all fatal car accidents in the United States happen as a result of someone driving while under the influence.  Even if someone isn’t considered over the legal limit, crashes are still frequent.  1,878 people were killed in 2018 in alcohol-related crashes where the drivers had lower alcohol levels (BACs .01-.07).

Speeding

Speeding, regardless of the reason, is a huge contributor to the total number of car accidents in the country.  This is not limited to driving faster than the posted speed limit, but also includes driving too fast for the weather or road conditions.

Bad Weather Conditions

Inclement Weather has a major effect on traffic patterns and the ability for many people to effectively operate their vehicle.  

Fatigue

Whenever a driver is tired, their ability to remain alert and practice safe driving techniques is hindered.  

Aggressive driving

Aggressive driving plays a contributing factor in over half of all car accidents throughout the country.  The following items fall into the category considered “aggressive driving”:

  • Following improperly
  • Improper or erratic lane changing
  • Illegal driving on road shoulder, in ditch, or on sidewalk or median
  • Passing where prohibited
  • Failing to yield right of way
  • Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them
  • Failing to signal
  • Racing
  • Making an improper turn

Can I sue after a non-injury car accident?

Even if do not find yourself injured, you can still pursue compensation for damages and expenses related to a car accident.

What non-injury damages can I recover?

You can recover damages for car repairs or other expenses related to the car accident.

How much is a car accident settlement?

The typical settlement depends on the facts of the case and the degree to which the insurance companies and other negligent parties are willing to reach a settlement.  The proper representation determines the size and scope of any settlement you reach.

Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident?

In order to fully protect yourself and ensure you receive the amount of compensation, hiring a lawyer to assist you in your car accident case remains almost always worth it in the long run.  Attempting to navigate the legal process alone can add stress and confusion to what is by its very nature a disruptive and taxing experience.  A proven attorney can help ease that burden.

When should I call an attorney after an accident?

Once the necessary reporting to the insurance companies and authorities has taken place, contacting an attorney as soon as possible is a good idea.  Having a professional involved that is experienced in handling accident claims can prevent any unforeseen complications.

Benefits of hiring an non-injury car accident attorney

Hiring a trusted attorney can help you with your accident case in many ways.  Whether it is dealing with the insurance companies, proving the other parties’ liability, building a strong, evidence-based case, or appropriately valuing your claim, a lawyer can take a lot of the guesswork out of the experience for you and help you protect your rights.

Call Gordon and Gordon today

While a non-injury accident may seem like a minor disruption, there are possibile potholes that a qualified, experienced attorney can help you avoid.  Contact the offices of Gordon and Gordon today for a consultation and see how they can help you on the road to recovery. Call 318-617-HELP for a free consultation.

WORK ACCIDENTS LAWYERS

Work Accidents Lawyers

Each day, millions of Americans leave their homes for work. When they arrive, they have the right to operate within a safe environment free of unnecessary hazards.  Despite the regulations and best intentions of employers, workplace accidents are still common. According to the most recent report for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were roughly 2.8 million non-fatal work accidents in the United States. Out of these work accidents, employees spent a median number of 8 days away from work for recovery.

Regardless of the severity of any work-related injury, employees are entitled to receive the appropriate care and compensation.  This is typically covered in some form by workers’ compensation insurance. There are occasions where workers’ compensation falls short and does not cover the full extent of lost wages or earning potential. In those cases, the pursuit of a claim against the responsible negligent party may be appropriate. Work accidents lawyers are invaluable in these cases.

What are some common causes of work accidents?

Common causes for injury within the workplace, the three most common types of injuries are sprains/strains/tears, soreness/pain, or cuts/lacerations. While these types of injuries can initially appear minor, there are instances where symptoms do not develop immediately and instead show reason for concern at a later date. Most commonly, workplace injuries occur within the construction, manufacturing, transportation, maintenance, and service industries.

Work accidents can happen for any number of reasons, but typically the causes trace back in some way to:

  • Inadequate training
  • insufficient staffing
  • improper or insufficient safety gear
  • Poorly maintained equipment or machinery
  • OSHA violations
  • Falling objects
  • Chemical or hazardous material exposure

What are my rights if I get injured at work?

You have a legal right to file a workers compensation claim with your employer whenever injured on the job. This also depends on if they are carrying workers’ compensation insurance, which most employers in high-risk industries do. In addition to the workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to file a work accident or injury lawsuit against someone involved with your injury, such as the business owner, contractor, or another employee.

Who is at fault for a workplace injury?

There are several factors that go into determining who is ultimately at fault for a workplace injury, but prior to any incident your employer has a duty of care to foster a safe environment for you to carry out the required duties of your job. Often when an employer is negligent in providing a safe environment through subpar hiring practices, poor training, inadequate training, they can be found at fault for the resulting injuries following their negligence.

Who is liable for work accidents?

When determining the party at fault for a workplace injury or workplace accident, many factors can be at play.  The employers themselves can be the responsible party.  A third-party designer or manufacturer may share the blame for the accident. Even another person faces liability if shown to have exercised negligence leading to the injury. In these cases, a third-party claim is filed outside of the normal workers’ compensation arena and instead settled in civil courts on the state or federal level. 

What should I do if I get injured at work?

If you are in the unfortunate situation of experiencing an injury while on the job, you should stop working immediately and report the injury to a supervisor.  You may also need to seek medical treatment based on the accident or injury. You are not under any obligation to give a formal written statement to your employer without first speaking with a work accidents lawyer.

Once you are able, you should document the events surrounding the accident in as much detail as possible. A strong written account of the event while it is still fresh can be beneficial during any future claims or litigation. Taking pictures of the worksite and any relevant surroundings is also a good idea. You want to help paint the clearest picture possible. It is important to find any information pointing to the root cause of the injury and determine who is ultimately at fault for the injury.

How long do I have to report a workplace injury?

In the state of Louisiana, you have a statute of limitations of one year to file a workers’ compensation claim.  You must report the initial workp[lace accident or injury to your employer immediately.

Do I have to see a doctor that my employer chooses?

Your employer has the right to designate a physician for you after your workplace injury.

When should I hire a work accidents lawyer?

Utilizing the expertise of an experienced workplace accident attorney can prove to be critical in protecting your worker’s rights. Obtaining quality representation at the outset of the process is an excellent first step in protecting your best interests. The attorneys at Gordon and Gordon are here to help you ensure that the compensation for your injuries is fair.

Do I have to leave my job if I hire a workplace accident lawyer?

You are under no legal obligation to leave your place of employment.  

How much does a workplace accident lawyer cost?

While the cost of litigation depends on many factors, hiring a skilled work accidents lawyer should not cost you anything.  At Gordon and Gordon, workers’ compensation and injury claims are taken on a contingency fee basis.

Will hiring an work accidents lawyer affect my workers’ compensation benefits?

It is possible you are required to pay some of your workers’ compensation benefits back if you receive a settlement.  Any settlement could also affect your SSD benefits.  This is something to discuss with the attorneys at Gordon and Gordon.

Contact Gordon and Gordon today if you or someone you know has suffered a workplace injury

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an injury or accident within the workplace, please contact the work accidents lawyers at Gordon and Gordon. Call us at 318-716-HELP or send us an email.  Our firm accepts inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer

25 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer

When an employee has sustained an injury at work, often they find themselves mired in the endless bureaucracy of worker’s compensation. The process can be complicated, and many workers might be reluctant to push too hard for compensation. We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask worker’s comp lawyer from the start.

For these reasons, you should speak with a worker’s comp lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining an injury. A worker’s comp attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve, and also help you if something goes wrong with your claim. 

However, knowing what to discuss with your lawyer can be difficult. In this post, worker’s comp attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will give you possible questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers.

To begin with, there are a few categories you should ask the worker’s comp attorney about. You should ask about:

  • The lawyer’s practice
  • Your worker’s comp claim
  • Filing a claim outside of worker’s comp
  • The claims process
  • Your next steps

We’re going to talk about five possible questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers in each of the five categories.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer About His or Her Practice

These are five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about their practice.

Do You Handle Work Injury Claims?

Obviously, you need to know if they handle your type of case. In addition, you need to make sure they have significant experience with work injury claims. After all, your health and long-term well-being is on the line. 

How Many Work Injury Claims Have You Handled?

Again, you need to know exactly how much experience an attorney has with your type of claim. 

Remember that it is possible the lawyer will not have an exact count. That’s definitely okay. What you need to know is if the lawyer has enough experience to be intimately familiar with work injury claims. 

What is Your Success Rate in Worker’s Compensation?

Your lawyer will probably not be able to provide an exact number of worker’s comp cases they’ve handled. But providing you with their success rate in worker’s comp cases should be easy enough. This rate should be very high, ideally 90 percent or so.

Will I Work Directly With You During My Case?

Many work injury law firms have teams of paralegals and case managers who handle most of the work on a case. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you still want to be able to talk to your attorney when you have questions.

How Often Do You Take Cases to a Hearing or Trial?

If you have a worker’s comp claim, your goal is to settle. However, you do want to be sure your attorney is ready to go to court if necessary. 

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Your Claim 

Here are five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about your specific claim.

Do I Qualify for Worker’s Compensation Benefits?

This might seem obvious, but it’s always best to be sure. There are some pretty tight deadlines associated with worker’s comp that your lawyer can help you be aware of.

Do I Qualify for Medical and Disability Benefits, or Just Medical?

In most states, you need to miss a certain number of workdays before you file for disability. But even if you don’t miss a lot of work, you may still qualify for medical benefits.

Can I Sue My Employer? (Or, Do I Have to Sue My Employer?)

Filing for worker’s comp does not involve a lawsuit. But if you can’t file a worker’s comp claim, a lawsuit maybe your best option.

How Long Do I Have to File My Worker’s Comp Claim?

In Louisiana, you have one year to file a worker’s comp claim. But you must report the injury to your employer immediately after it occurs.

Are You Required to See an Approved Doctor (or “Company Doctor”)?

Yes. Your employer can choose the doctor you see after your injury.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Filing a Claim Outside of Worker’s Comp

Do I Have A Personal Injury Claim?

Outside of your worker’s comp claim, you may also have a personal injury claim against a third party. 

Who is Liable for the Costs of My Work Injury?

If not your employer, there are a multitude of people who may be responsible for your work injury. There may be a third party contractor or coworker who is liable. 

What Damages Am I Entitled to Recover For My Work Injury?

Worker’s compensation covers medical expenses and some of your lost wages. Personal injury claims include damages for all your injury-related costs, including pain and suffering.

Am I Entitled to Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Possibly. This depends on the specifics of your case. 

Will Filing A Personal Injury or Social Security Claim Impact My Worker’s Comp Benefits?

If you receive a personal injury settlement, you may have to pay back some of your worker’s comp benefits. Your worker’s comp benefits may impact your SSD eligibility. This is definitely an important issue to talk over with our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About the Process

These are 5 questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about the process.

How Long Will It Take to Recover Benefits and/or Just Compensation?

There’s no way to know definitively. But at Gordon & Gordon, we can provide you with general timelines.

How Will I Know When To Settle My Claim?

There’s no right time to settle. Our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will have the knowledge to determine when it’s best to settle your case.

Should I Accept A Lump Sum Workers’ Comp Settlement?

In many cases, yes. But in some cases, no. If you have an SSD claim, for instance, receiving a large lump sum could impact your eligibility. 

What Should I Do While My Case is Pending?

Our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will provide you with instructions on what to do while waiting on your case.

What Shouldn’t I Do While My Case Is Pending?

Similarly, we will be sure to tell you what to avoid. 

5 Questions To Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Your Next Steps

Read on for five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about your next steps.

How Much Will It Cost To Hire You?

It should cost you nothing to hire a work injury lawyer. At Gordon & Gordon, we work on a contingency fee basis.

Will You Deal With My Employer and Their Insurance Company Directly?

Some parts of the case will still involve you. However, your lawyer should handle most of the communication with your employer and their insurance company. At Gordon & Gordon, we handle the bulk of this communication.

How Can I Contact You If I Have Questions?

We have 24/7 hour availability at Gordon & Gordon. Your lawyer should have something similar, or give you some quick method of contacting them.

What Information Do You Need From Me?

With a good lawyer, you will not need to ask. They will tell you what they need from you. 

What Should I Do Now?

An experienced worker’s comp lawyer like our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will have this information readily available. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon With Questions For Worker’s Comp Lawyers

The worker’s comp process can be stressful and exhausting. If you need help with worker’s compensation in Northwest Louisiana, contact our team at Gordon & Gordon by calling 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

AVERAGE WORKERS COMP SETTLEMENT FOR BACK INJURY

Average Workers Comp Settlement for Back Injury Claims

Do you know what the average workers comp settlement for back injury is?

Back injuries are some of the most common work injuries, especially for jobs with high volumes of manual labor. We get a lot of questions about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims.

If you have a back injury in Louisiana, the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims is probably only one in a long list of questions. Back injuries can be devastating, especially if they permanently affect your ability to work. 

Getting a worker’s comp attorney as soon as possible is crucial. In this post, worker’s comp attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will talk about the average workers comp settlement for back injury. We’ll answer some questions about back injury claims, and how a worker’s comp attorney can help.

What is a Worker’s Comp Settlement?

Some people can be confused on exactly what it means to accept a lump sum settlement in a worker’s comp claim. 

The idea behind worker’s comp is that you would not have sustained the injury without being in the course of your duties at work. Because of this, your employer’s worker’s comp insurance will help you support yourself and your family while you are out with your injury. 

With many worker’s comp claims, your employer’s worker’s comp insurance will pay you a weekly amount until you’re ready to return to work in some capacity. This amount will help cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

That’s simplifying it quite a lot; things can become complicated when worker’s injuries are very severe. Things can also become complicated if the worker can return to work, but must transition to a different job that pays less, or with fewer hours. 

When you accept a lump sum settlement, you accept a single, large payment rather than multiple smaller weekly payments. 

Insurance companies may offer this option if they think they will pay out less in a single lump sum now rather than continuing weekly payments. After all, it is an insurance companies job to take in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. 

It’s always best to consult with an attorney before accepting a settlement to ensure it is what’s best for your situation.  

What is the Average Workers Comp Settlement For Back Injury Claims?

The first thing you should know about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims is that there isn’t a specific number, in any case. Every case and every claim is going to be different. 

Settlements depend on a few different factors. Like we mentioned earlier, insurance companies are businesses just like anything else. It is their job to take in more money than they are putting out. An insurance company will evaluate your claim, and if they believe that paying you a certain amount of money now will save them more money in the long run, they will offer a settlement. 

This is why it’s so important to consult with a worker’s comp attorney who can help you negotiate your settlement. 

In the end, offering and accepting a worker’s comp settlement is a financial decision on both ends. It has to make sense for both the insurance company and for the employee in question. 

Below, we’ll talk about a few things you should consider when evaluating the settlement the insurance company is offering you. 

What Should I Consider Before Accepting a Workers Comp Settlement?

Back injuries can be very serious, and can affect us for the rest of our lives. There is no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, so it’s difficult to give you a threshold at which you should or shouldn’t accept a claim.

What we can tell you are the things you should be sure to consider when you are evaluating a settlement. 

First of all, you should consider future medical treatments. Medical treatments could include physical therapy, injections, and prescription medications. Some workers with back injuries may need surgery like a discectomy or spinal fusion. These treatments aren’t cheap. You should consider whether you think you will need these treatments when you’re looking at a possible settlement. 

You should also think about the wage loss. Wage loss benefits encompass 80% of an employee’s after-tax weekly wage. Insurance companies will pay weekly checks indefinitely, but they can offset this amount starting at age 65. Think about what your weekly wage loss check will be for the duration of your recovery, and make sure the settlement you accept takes care of your wage losses. 

Watch out for IME Doctors 

There is no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, but there are plenty of ways you may possibly get less than you deserve.

When you sustain an injury at work in Louisiana, your employer’s insurance company gets to pick the doctor you see. This is an independent medical exam, or IME doctor. 

Some IME doctors may tell you that your back injuries are merely the result of aging. This is especially true if your diagnosis is a herniated disc, disc protrusion, or a pinched nerve. 

It’s also important to remember that preexisting conditions are not a basis for a dispute. Just because you had back trouble before the work injury doesn’t mean the work injury did not contribute to your inability to work. If the work injury changes your underlying pathology, you are eligible for a workers comp settlement. 

How Do I Maximize Settlement Value?

Though there is still no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, there are things you can do maximize your settlement value. 

An experienced attorney can maximize the value of a settlement by using medical opinions to prove how long the employee will be unable to work. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon

If you have questions about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through the entire process of your claim, and help ensure you get the benefits you deserve. You can also leave us a message on our website.

WORKERS COMPENSATION RETALIATION

Worker’s Comp Retaliation

When they sustain an injury on the job, many workers may worry about worker’s compensation retaliation.

But what is worker’s comp retaliation? Is there any legal recourse when you experience it?

When you are applying for worker’s compensation, the best course of action is to simply know your rights as a worker. In this post, worker’s compensation attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will try to answer all your questions about worker’s comp retaliation. We will talk about situations where workers may apply for worker’s comp, as well as what to do if you believe you are experiencing worker’s comp retaliation. 

What is Workers Compensation?

Before we delve too much into worker’s compensation retaliation, let’s have a quick refresher course on exactly what worker’s compensation is.

Put simply, a worker may apply for worker’s compensation when they sustain an injury on the job. This money can help the worker pay their bills until they can return to their job. The amount of money the worker receives will vary depending on the type of injury and its extent. 

The state of Louisiana requires nearly all employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance policy pays out money to the workers who sustain injuries on the job. 

However, many employers will do whatever they can to avoid claims on their worker’s comp insurance. Thus, the process for applying for worker’s comp can be fraught with complications. One of the biggest complications workers fear when applying for worker’s comp is worker’s compensation retaliation.

What is Worker’s Compensation Retaliation?

Retaliation is when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in a protected activity.

Worker’s comp retaliation occurs when an employer punishes a worker for applying for worker’s comp. Sometimes, retaliation can occur when an employee even attempts to file a worker’s compensation claim. 

The most common and concerning form of retaliation is termination. But worker’s comp retaliation can take other forms: a demotion, a pay cut, or unwarranted discipline may qualify. However, these are much more difficult to prove. The vast majority of worker’s compensation retaliation claims in Louisiana involve wrongful termination. 

In Louisiana, the law prohibits employers from firing an employee for filing a worker’s compensation claim. State law guarantees the rights of injured workers to medical care and lost wages. 

Louisiana law also prohibits employers from denying employment to someone because they have made a worker’s compensation claim in the past. 

How Do I Prove Worker’s Compensation Retaliation?

If you suspect an employer is engaging in worker’s compensation retaliation, you can take them to court. If you win, you can recover whatever amount of money the employer would have paid you, if not for the retaliation. The court will determine this amount from the job’s one-year salary, plus any reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs. 

However, proving a worker’s comp retaliation claim isn’t always easy. If the court decides a worker’s claim is purposely frivolous or false, there could be consequences. The court could hold a worker responsible for damages to the employer. 

Workers in Louisiana must bring their worker’s comp retaliation claims in a district court, not a worker’s compensation court. This is because worker’s comp retaliation claims that involve termination fall under Louisiana’s wrongful termination laws. 

What Do I Need to Prove in Court?

In order to win a worker’s compensation retaliation claim, you have to prove that your employer took unfair action against you due to your worker’s compensation claim. The employee must present either:

  • Direct evidence that the assertion of the worker’s compensation claim was the reason for the termination; or
  • Circumstantial evidence that is sufficient to establish more probably than not that the reason for the discharge was the assertion of the worker’s compensation claim

There is a statute of limitations for worker’s comp retaliation. An employee must file a lawsuit within a year of the retaliatory action, or they cannot file a lawsuit at all. 

Can My Employer Fire Me Because I’m Receiving Worker’s Comp?

As we mentioned earlier, no. Your employer cannot fire you because you are receiving worker’s comp. 

That does not mean your employer cannot fire you while you are receiving worker’s comp. Sustaining an injury at work, unfortunately, does not protect you from termination. If, for example, your company goes through a round of layoffs while you are on worker’s compensation, your employer can lay you off or terminate you. As long as they don’t fire you because you are on worker’s compensation, it may not be worker’s compensation retaliation in the court’s eyes.

In addition, Louisiana does not prohibit employers from terminating employees who can no longer perform their job functions. If a physician finds that a worker can no longer perform their job functions due to their injury, an employer can fire that employee. 

What Are Valid Reasons for Termination in Louisiana Worker’s Compensation?

There are valid reasons for an employer to terminate an employee on worker’s compensation. We’ve already talked about a few of them: if the employee cannot perform their job functions due to the injury, there is no wrongful termination. 

Remember, if a court believes your wrongful termination suit is purposely frivolous, there could be monetary consequences.

In addition to the inability to perform job functions, an employer may provide other valid reasons for terminating an employee. If an employer can prove any of these, a worker is unlikely to win their claim. Some valid reasons for termination include:

  • The employee has failed to complete their job duties before the injury 
  • The employee demonstrated poor performance before the injury
  • The employer is terminating a contract employee for reasons related to the contract
  • The employee is part of a labor union, and the reason for termination is in the union’s collective bargaining agreement 
  • Violation of company policy 
  • Failing a drug test or other criminal activity 
  • The employer needs to cut down the number of employees for financial reasons

Contact Gordon & Gordon

It is always confusing and upsetting to sustain an injury that prevents you from working. It is even more so if your employer terminates you during this period.If you believe you may be suffering worker’s comp retaliation in Northwest Louisiana, contact Gordon & Gordon by calling 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

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