Don’t Let Past Medical Expenses Ruin Your Future

Putting your accident-related bills in the rear-view mirror

Secure compensation for your medical expenses with an experienced attorneyAfter an accident, it can be difficult to put the pieces together and move on with your life. Even if you’re not facing a permanent injury or disability, you may be staring down the barrel of thousands of dollars in medical bills that you have no way of paying. Fortunately, there’s hope: It may be possible to secure compensation for these expenses and reduce your long-term debts.

Negotiating With Your Insurance Company

If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident for which you were wholly or partially not at fault, you’ll most likely negotiate a settlement with your insurance company. If another driver was involved in the accident, you may end up negotiating with their insurance company as well. Regardless, insurance settlements typically involve payment for medical bills.

To ensure that you’re fairly compensated for these expenses, you’ll need to meticulously document and produce all bills that can be traced back to your accident. Depending on the nature of your injuries and the time elapsed between the accident and settlement dates, it’s possible that some of these costs will apply to care for long-term or chronic injuries.

Watch Out for Medical Insurance Liens

It’s important to note that you can’t compel auto insurance companies or other drivers to cover the cost of your medical bills on an ongoing basis. Instead, you’ll either pay out of pocket in anticipation of your settlement or use your existing health insurance policy to cover the costs. If your health insurance provider is involved with the payment of your post-accident medical bills, it may place a lien on a portion of any future settlement with your auto insurance company or counterparty. If this occurs, you’ll be legally required to cover that lien by forfeiting the equivalent part of your settlement.

On the bright side, this means that you won’t be beholden to your health insurance company for past medical bills. However, you may need to use your settlement funds to cover the cost of copays, coinsurance, and other medical expenses for long-term treatment of your accident-related injuries.

Work With a Trusted Accident and Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA

Regardless of how your accident occurred or what sort of long-term injuries it caused, it’s critical for you to address the problem head-on. If you’re dealing with crippling medical bills that threaten to plague you long after your injuries have healed, your next move should be to contact a trusted attorney with years of experience in this area of the law. To learn more about what we can do for you, visit our website or fill out our online contact form.

What You Should Know Before Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

Are you entitled to receive life-changing government benefits?

You’re probably aware of some popular government programs that provide much-needed assistance for those who need help paying for essential items and services. If you’re a working-age individual and find yourself unable to engage in productive employment on a long-term basis, there’s a little-known but increasingly popular program that could provide you with life-changing benefits and support: Social Security Disability (SSD). However, it’s not a cinch to qualify. Before you apply, you’ll need to make sure you have a convincing case.

General Information About Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

According to the Social Security Administration, SSD benefits typically go out to individuals who are unable to work for a year or longer due to a disability. Benefits are disbursed as monthly cash payments. Although they typically continue without interruption until the recipient is deemed able to return to work, the Social Security Administration provides a number of “work incentives” that may gently nudge recipients back into the labor force or provide material assistance for those trying to find a suitable job. If you’re approaching retirement age, you should be aware that SSD benefits typically convert to standard Social Security retirement benefits upon crossing this threshold.

Have You Worked Long Enough?

One of the major considerations for anyone who wishes to apply for SSD is his or her previous work history. The Social Security Administration uses “work credits” to measure past work. In 2015, one work credit is equal to $1,220 in earnings. Although the exact number of credits required to qualify for SSD varies by age and other factors, you generally need to have earned at least 40 credits over the course of your career and at least 20 credits in the 10 years prior to the date on which you became disabled.

You must also be able to prove that your physical condition renders you unable to do the work that you performed in your most recent job and that you also can’t perform reasonable “replacement” work.

Common Conditions That May Earn SSD

Conditions that automatically qualify you for SSD or entitle you to expedited claims processing may include:

• ALS
• Pancreatic cancer
• Chronic heart failure
• Peripheral arterial disease
• Schizophrenia and other personality disorders
• Certain forms of substance addiction

Work With a Trusted Disability Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA

Are you thinking about filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits? You shouldn’t jump into the fray without a trusted partner. Before you begin your case, we invite you to visit our website or contact us online to learn more about how to maximize your chances for success and secure the benefits to which you’re entitled.

How to Bite Back After Being Bitten by a Dog

Fight to get your life back on track after an injury

Dog bites can sometimes require serious medical attentionHave you ever been bitten by a dog? We’re not talking about a playful nip in the yard. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer dog bites serious enough to warrant serious medical attention. In many cases, recovery from these injuries can take quite a while and be fraught with difficulty. To ensure that you don’t wind up with lasting financial or physical problems, it’s important to spring into action after your incident.

Collect All Pertinent Evidence

Any dog bite case should begin with the comprehensive collection and analysis of all pertinent evidence. It’s important to speak with an attorney to ensure that you collect the evidence in the proper manner and don’t miss anything that could bolster your case. Relevant items might include:

• Injury photos taken immediately after the incident
• Medical documentation and bills that support your claim
• Photographs of the scene of the incident
• Testimony from bystanders and witnesses

Once you’ve gathered all the appropriate evidence, you’ll need to confer with your attorney and set about drafting your demand letter. This important document indicates to the owner of the dog that you intend to file a lawsuit. It also lays out your case, including any evidence against the owner, the injuries that you sustained, and the financial, physical and emotional hardship that resulted from the attack.

Document All Your Medical Bills, Wages, and Other Financial Obligations

Gathering evidence and writing your demand letter are just the first steps in an involved process. Before you file your lawsuit, you’ll need to calculate the exact cost of the attack:

• Medical treatment received in the immediate aftermath
• Treatment for long-term injuries or disabilities that can be traced to the bite
• Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
• Any costs related to a disability, including lost wages, and terminated or truncated employment

Exhaustively documenting these costs ensures that you’ll be properly reimbursed for your medical bills and other expenses.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney Who Knows Dog Bites in Baton Rouge, LA

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in the recent past, it might not be too late to do something about your case. We’re standing ready to assist you with whatever you need to ensure that you receive just compensation for your injuries and get your life back on track. To learn more about what we can do for you in the aftermath of a serious dog bite injury, call us or fill out the online contact form at your convenience.

How to Avoid Being Taken Advantage of by an Automotive Insurance Agency

Staying healthy and solvent after an accident

Do you know what to expect when dealing with automotive insurance companies?The response that you mount in the aftermath of a car crash could make a big difference in how things play out in the coming months. Although it’s important to file a claim with your insurance company and cooperate with the agency as the process plays itself out, it’s just as critical not to take what your insurer says at face value.

Are Auto Insurance Companies Really Looking Out for Your Interests?

Before you enter into claim negotiations with your insurance company, you should understand one basic fact: Your insurer is looking out for its own interests as well as your own. As such, the adjusters with whom you deal with will be keen to issue the lowest possible payout in your case, even if the circumstances demand that you receive a fairer settlement. This doesn’t mean that insurance companies are evil or malicious. Like other businesses, they’re simply concerned about their bottom lines.

What to Expect From Your Insurance Company

Before your negotiation begins, you need to prepare adequately. This includes:

• Coming to the table with a settlement figure in mind
• Presenting all the evidence in a fair, clear-eyed manner
• Not accepting the insurance company’s first offer unless it closely aligns with yours
• Ensure that your negotiating opponent can justify any offers that he or she makes
• Emphasize the pain and suffering involved in your ordeal

Understand the True Costs of Your Accident

Being prepared for your negotiation requires a firm understanding of the true costs of your accident. To acquire this understanding, it’s important to track and quantify expenses like:

• Automotive repair bills and/or the replacement cost of your totaled vehicle
• Any medical bills that you accumulate as a direct result of your injury
• Medical bills that result from long-term or recurring injuries
• Any lost wages or time missed from work
• The financial impact of a partial or total permanent disability that impacts your ability to work
• Physical pain and emotional suffering that can be traced to the accident

Find an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA

If you’ve experienced an auto accident in the recent past, we fervently hope for your full and speedy recovery. If you’ve suffered a serious financial loss or injury as a result of the incident, however, you may be entitled to compensation for your troubles. Our experienced, highly professional team stands ready to provide the compassionate, aggressive assistance that you deserve. To learn more about how we can help, call us or fill out the online contact form on our website.

Just What Is a Loss of Consortium Claim?

When is TMI admissible in court?

Serious legal matters can often be uncomfortable to discuss in polite company. Nowhere is this more true than in an area of tort law known as “loss of consortium.” Although such claims are fairly common, you might not be able to talk to your grandmother about them with a straight face. If someone you love has suffered a potentially life-changing injury, however, you’ll want to know more about loss of consortium.

What Is a Loss of Consortium Claim?

A loss of consortium claim typically arises after an accident or injury that makes it difficult or impossible for a person to provide the same level of service or care for his or her loved ones. Such injuries typically include partial or total paralysis, loss of limbs, or other body parts and trauma or illness that results in permanent incontinence.

In many cases, loss of consortium is limited to the permanent or long-term interruption of sexual intimacy between romantic partners. However, it can apply more broadly and include elements of non-sexual care. Due to their complexity and intimate nature, loss of consortium claims are outlined and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

Is It Limited to Spouses?

Most loss of consortium claims revolve around changes in the relationships between spouses. However, they may also be brought by individuals whose relationships with parents or children have been affected by a serious injury. For instance, an elderly parent who can no longer rely on a child to provide medical care and support may be able to sue for loss of consortium.

Limitations of Loss of Consortium Claims

Some limitations apply to this area of the law:

• Valid marriages and relationships: Divorced spouses can’t bring loss of consortium claims that involve their former partners.

• Legal parent-child relationships: If a parent or child is suing for loss of consortium, he or she must be able to prove a legal or blood relationship with the pertinent individual.

• Same-sex relationships: Some states may not permit loss of consortium claims that involve same-sex partnerships.

• Insurance limitations: Loss of consortium awards may be limited to the pertinent insurance policy’s award cap.

• Disclosure of personal information: These claims often involve detailed discussions of intimate aspects of one’s relationship and physical health, so they’re not advisable for those who are unwilling to make such issues a matter of public record.

Find a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer in Baton Rouge, LA

If you’re thinking about filing a loss of consortium claim, you need to understand the legal and personal implications of your case. At The Lucky Law Firm, we’re happy to walk our clients through the ins and outs of this process and ensure that their case reaches a fair and equitable conclusion. To learn more about how we can help with your legal fight, visit our website or fill out our online contact form.

5 Things Insurance Adjusters Don’t Want You to Know

And how to make sure you’re getting a fair deal

Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company—or doing any business with them at all, for that matter—can be a stressful experience. After all, insurance companies are in business to make money. They’re committed to negotiating the most favorable deals possible for their bottom line. Fortunately, knowledge is power. If you know how to approach an insurance adjuster and other insurance company employees, you could come out ahead. Here are five things they don’t want you to know:

1. Representations Made by Agents May Be Binding

If the agent who sold you a policy makes a particularly favorable claim about its coverages or financial terms, you may be able to hold him or her to it during settlement negotiations. In most cases, representations made by sales agents are binding: The insurance company can’t get out of making good on them by claiming that the agent was lying.

2. They Might Not Calculate Replacement Value Fairly

Insurance companies use a lot of tricks to lowball replacement value figures for totaled cars. For instance, they may look at a range of resale values for the communities surrounding your hometown and present you with the lowest one. You can counter this by presenting your own set of numbers and proving that your car was well maintained throughout its life.

3. Repaired Vehicles Can Have a Lower Value

A similar tactic involves arbitrarily reducing the “book value” of cars that have had major repairs. While this is understandable in cases of fire or water damage, it may not be appropriate with run-of-the-mill repairs due to normal wear and tear.

4. Ambiguities Generally Work in the Policyholder’s Favor

If a clause in your policy is unclear, a mediator or judge is likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. It’s rare to find an egregiously erroneous clause in a policy, but the results can be favorable.

5. They Actually Do Want to Settle

This might be the granddaddy of insurance company secrets. Even for powerful, wealthy corporations, going to court requires time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere. Even if it says otherwise, always remember that your insurance company wants to reach a settlement with you.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA

This is America, so you can’t fault insurance companies for trying to make a buck. However, you also can’t roll over and play by their rules. At The Lucky Law Firm, we’re proud to represent the working folks of Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas as they fight to secure fair settlements with their insurance companies. To learn more about how we can help you with your claim, visit our website or fill out our online contact form.

Don’t Take Injuries After a Car Crash Without Compensation

How can you protect your rights after an injury?

Have you ever been in a car accident? Do you remember the awful, disorienting feeling that you experienced immediately afterwards? Were you unsure whether you had even sustained an injury due to disorientation, shock or the rush of adrenaline?

Plenty of folks have been in this unfortunate situation. Regardless of the circumstances that surround an automobile accident, it’s critical for those who suffer an injury to take steps to secure compensation.

Pursuing Compensation Through Legal Means

If you’re injured in an auto accident and require medical treatment, you’ll need to pursue a legal claim against the other driver or his or her insurance company. Since this process can take some time, it’s important that you or your insurance company pay your medical bills in the meantime. The defendant in the case may argue for an unacceptably low judgment or settlement, so it’s also critical to remain firm and negotiate a figure that covers your direct medical expenses as well as ongoing treatment and other bills. The figure should be sufficient to cover non-medical expenses, including lost wages.

Does the Other Driver Have to Pay My Medical Bills?

It’s important to note that folks who are injured in auto accidents aren’t always entitled to direct compensation for their medical bills. Instead, these expenses are typically bundled up in any settlement or judgment amount. If you have ongoing medical expenses due to your accident, these will typically be included in the settlement or judgment amount as well. It’s quite rare for a defendant in an auto injury case to be required to pay individual medical bills as they come due.

Getting Compensation for Disabilities Caused by an Auto Accident

If your accident results in a long-term or permanent disability, you may be entitled to disability payments through the Social Security Administration. There’s a fairly high burden of proof necessary to obtain such benefits, so it’s important to work with an experienced attorney throughout the process.

Work With an Experienced, Trustworthy Lawyer in Baton Rouge

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t know where to turn for support. The entire experience can be overwhelming, and any injuries that you’ve sustained are likely to make matters worse. Fortunately, we’ve helped plenty of good people through the trying, confusing period that follows a serious automobile accident. We’d be proud to do the same for you. To learn more about your legal rights, visit us online or fill out our online contact form.

Can’t Work Due to an Automobile Accident? Here’s What to Do

Learn how to secure lost wages and disability payments

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how traumatizing the experience can be. Accidents that cause injuries can have numerous complications, including months of lost wages, wildly expensive medical bills and long-term or even permanent injuries that affect your quality of life and ability to work. Although you’ll have plenty to do in the wake of an accident, securing lost wages and disability payments should be top priorities.

Who Is Eligible to Receive Lost Wages After an Auto Accident?

While the protocols for recovering lost wages can vary from state to state, there are some broad guidelines that apply to folks in Louisiana. If you’re injured in the course of your job duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation for any time lost due to your injury. This typically covers a fixed proportion of your wages: You won’t earn your full salary, but a significant amount of your wages will be covered. However, weekly awards may be capped for higher-wage employees.

Pursuing a Lost Wages Claim

If your insurance company has a provision that covers lost wages up to a certain dollar figure or proportion, you should always file a claim with them first. If this isn’t sufficient, however, you’ll need to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. This may demand legal action that begs the assistance of a trained attorney.

To ensure that you receive the compensation to which you’re entitled, you’ll need to keep close track of the hours you miss at work. This will require a written letter from your superiors and may necessitate an independent investigation by the other driver’s insurance company as well.

What About Disability Payments?

If you experience a serious injury that results in a long-term or permanent disability, you may be entitled to disability payments through SSI. To qualify, you must be able to prove that your condition will persist or has persisted for at least 12 months. This requires extensive medical documentation and the assistance of a legal professional. Fortunately, it doesn’t require you to sue the other driver or his/her insurance company.

Work With a Trusted Auto Accident Attorney in Baton Rouge

In the perfect world, no one would have to go through the pain and suffering associated with a serious car accident. If we never had to work with another client who experienced a serious injury due to the negligence or aggression of another driver, we’d be perfectly content. Unfortunately, accidents happen. To learn more about how you can fight for your rights and secure just compensation in the wake of such an incident, give us a call at (866) 9-LUCKY-1 or fill out our online contact form.