Our Personal Injury FAQ
Why won’t the insurance company pay me what I am owed? If the other driver was at fault, why do I have to pay my own medical bills? Who pays for my rental car after my car was totaled? We answer questions like these and many more in our personal injury FAQs. If your question is not covered here, give us a call.
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What does maximum medical improvement mean in a Jones Act case?
The Jones Act is intended to provide benefits for seamen who have been injured in offshore work-related accidents. However, benefits are not paid indefinitely. Your employer is only liable for your medical care until you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) means that your condition has improved as much as it is expected to. This means that you are either fully recovered and able to return to work or stabilized but left with a permanent disability.
Under the terms of the Jones Act, your employer is only obligated to pay for your medical care until you have reached MMI. In clear-cut injuries such as a broken arm, it is fairly obvious when MMI has occurred. However, in cases such as paralysis or a traumatic brain injury, there can be more of a dispute as to when you have reached MMI. You may wish to continue seeking additional treatment, but your employer may be pushing to declare that you have reached MMI so that the company is no longer obligated to pay benefits.
When you have suffered a debilitating injury that will not allow you to return to work, you may need to receive Social Security disability payments or other government benefits once you are no longer covered for maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act. However, if your injury was the result of employer negligence, you may still be entitled to benefits for loss of future wages under maritime law.
Protecting Your Right to Benefits
It is never in your best interests to let your employer's doctor decide if you have reached MMI. Declaring you have reached MMI too soon will leave you without access to the maintenance and cure benefits necessary to pay for your medical expenses.
Protect your right to compensation under the Jones Act by contacting an attorney with experience in this area of maritime law. Your attorney can work with you to ensure that you receive the maximum possible benefits. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Grady J. Flattmann, Attorneys at Law, LLC.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
Slip and fall accidents are considered a type of premises liability claim. If your injury was caused by the property owner's failure to maintain reasonably safe conditions, you may be able to seek compensation for expenses related to the incident.
Protect Your Rights With These Five Steps
1. Report the Injury
As soon as you fall, you should report the injury to the property owner. If you are injured in a store, restaurant, or another public establishment, report the incident to the manager on duty. Request a written copy of the report for your own records.
2. Seek Medical Attention
You might be tempted to dismiss a bit of soreness or stiffness as a minor inconvenience, but it is important to seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident. Minor symptoms can turn into something more serious. For example, a backache might be a sign of a herniated disc.
3. Keep Detailed Records
Documentation is vital in a slip and fall claim. Write down your account of the incident in as much detail as you can remember while it is still fresh in your mind, including the names of any witnesses who can corroborate your statement. Take photographs of the accident scene if you are able to. Keep your shoes and clothing from the accident in a safe spot in case these items are requested as evidence. Gather copies of medical bills and documentation of other expenses related to the accident.
4. Avoid Speculation
After an accident that may result in a premises liability claim, it is important to avoid speculation as to who is at fault. Don't talk to friends and family about the incident or make social media posts about the incident. Stay calm and limit your communication to a brief report filed with the property owner or manager.
5. Call an Attorney
A slip and fall accident may entitle you to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, insurance companies are typically in no hurry to pay a claim. Protect your rights by contacting an experienced attorney who can advocate for your interests throughout the settlement process. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Grady J. Flattmann, Attorneys at Law, LLC.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Louisiana?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action that allows the loved ones of someone who has been killed due to another party's negligence to seek damages in court. While the settlement funds can't bring back the deceased, it can provide a sense of closure.
Determining Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Under Louisiana law, only certain family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the closest living relative must file the claim. The following is a brief overview:
- If the deceased was married or has children, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person must file the claim.
- If the deceased person was not married or has no children, the surviving parent or parents must file the claim.
- If there is no spouse, children, or parents, the surviving siblings of the deceased person must file the claim.
- If there is no spouse, children, parents, or siblings, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person can file the claim.
- If there are no surviving family members, the estate of the deceased person can bring the claim to court.
Adopted family members have the same rights as those who are related to the deceased person by blood or marriage. However, a parent who abandoned the deceased person during his or her childhood years is not permitted to file a claim. For the purpose of a wrongful death suit, parental abandonment is treated as if the parent is deceased.
Statute of Limitations
In a wrongful death claim, time is of the essence. The claim must be filed within one year of the deceased person's death or you lose the ability to collect damages.
Filing your claim in a timely matter is also important because valuable evidence can be lost if you wait to take legal action. For example, witnesses may be more difficult to locate or have trouble remembering key facts if several months have passed.
A wrongful death claim is separate from any criminal charges filed that relate to the death. However, the evidence in a criminal case may help establish negligence in a wrongful death claim.
How Flattmann Law Can Help
In any wrongful death claim, having a skilled personal injury attorney who can advocate for your interests throughout the process is essential to receiving a fair settlement. To learn more, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Grady J. Flattmann, Attorneys at Law, LLC.
How long does it take to settle a car accident case in Louisiana?
After suffering car accident injuries caused by another driver's negligence, it's understandable to be concerned about resolving your personal injury claim as soon as possible. However, rushing to settle your case is not always in your best interests.
Factors Affecting Your Car Accident Settlement
Most car accident cases settle out of court, with the majority receiving settlement offers within 18 months.
A number of factors affect how long it takes to settle a car accident claim in Louisiana. The following is a brief overview:
- The extent of your injuries. It is advisable to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement to settle your case, which takes longer for more serious injuries.
- Whether you have been left permanently disabled. If your injuries have left you with a disability that will require ongoing medical care or affect your ability to return to work, your case will become significantly more complex.
- Liability issues. If one driver is clearly at fault for the accident, a case can be resolved fairly quickly. If liability is not obvious or more than one driver is at fault, the case may take longer to settle.
- Your willingness to accept an offer. Your case ends as soon as you accept an offer from the insurance company. Offers made early in the process are often lower than what you are legally entitled to receive. Some people accept a lowball offer because they are worried about finances or they are eager to put the matter behind them.
The Value of Experienced Legal Representation
Before you accept any car accident settlement offer, it is important to discuss the terms of the settlement with your attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you evaluate the worth of your case to determine if the settlement provides adequate compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Once you have accepted a car accident settlement, you are not allowed to ask for more money at a later date. This means it is vital that you have someone available to advocate for your interests throughout the settlement process. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Grady J. Flattmann, Attorneys at Law, LLC.
If I file a lawsuit, does that mean I have to appear in court?
Not necessarily. Even if you file a lawsuit, the other party may still settle with you at any time during the process, without the need for a trial. However, when we file a lawsuit, we prepare for trial.
Does the other person's insurance company have to pay my medical bills?
The other person's insurance company is not obligated to pay your medical bills directly to the provider. However, the bill is part of your claim against them moving forward. If you have a maritime case, your employer may be responsible for paying your ongoing medical bills.
I'm worried about losing my job as a result of a car wreck. What should I do?
Your lost wages, time you miss to go to the doctor, and inability to continue working form part of your claim against the at-fault party. It is important to document any time you miss from work. While we can't control your employer's actions, we can provide them with information from your doctor concerning your limitations. If you have short-term or long-term disability insurance, we can help you navigate through the process of filing a claim. Each person's situation is unique. We can help you through this process.
Should I speak to the insurance adjuster calling me after an accident?
We do not recommend that our clients speak directly with the adjuster for the other party's insurance company following an accident. Insurance adjusters are typically trained to ask you questions which the insurance company may use against you later.
Why Choose Grady J. Flattmann, Attorneys at Law, LLC?
Speak with an attorney, every time. Our clients know what's going on in their case, from start to finish. Our clients are given the respect and dignity they deserve. Competence, Diligence, Communication, Professionalism.
Do I have a deadline for filing a claim for my personal injury case?
In Louisiana, an individual has one (1) year from the date of injury or damage within which to file suit against the responsible parties in a personal injury case. If a claim is not fully resolved before that time, a lawsuit must be filed in order to preserve the claims of the injured party.