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PERSONAL INJURY BLOG

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3 Ways to Get Injury Compensation Without Suing

Injury Compensation Without SuingIf you have been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, you will be facing hospital and doctor’s bills, the cost of medication, and ongoing therapy treatments. You will be hurt, unable to work and in a great deal of pain.

So what should you do? Should you sue the person who caused you to be injured?

For most minor injuries, suing is the last resort. Typically suing is only considered when negotiations fail and other methods, such as arbitration and mediation, have been exhausted.

An experienced attorney can sit down with you and go over your options. Your main 3 injury compensation options are as follows:

1. Settle Through the Claims Process

The claims process begins when you suffer an injury and/or damage to property due to another’s negligence. To recover losses, you can pursue the at-fault party who will, in most cases, have their insurance company handle the matter.

After the insurance company has been notified, it will allocate the case to an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will then get in touch with you to negotiate a settlement. If you and the insurance adjuster can reach a settlement, a lawsuit will not be necessary.

A negotiated insurance settlement is usually the best option since it avoids an expensive and time-consuming trial. Even if you are not completely happy with the amount of compensation you are offered, before you turn down any insurance settlement, you should consider the time and expense needed to sue for compensation.

An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in negotiations and advise you whether or not the settlement offer is fair.

2. File a Lawsuit for Initial Injury Compensation

A personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit are two different processes. A  personal injury claim involves negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If all goes well, this will result in an insurance settlement that you are satisfied with.

A personal injury lawsuit is typically filed with the court when it becomes clear that you and the insurance company can’t agree on a fair settlement. This can occur if the insurance company does not believe their client is liable for your injuries, or does not agree with the severity of your injuries or the amount of money you are asking for.

Filing a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean that you will go to court. It simply means that your attorney starts the litigation process. This is often enough to convince an insurance company to offer you a settlement that you can accept.

3. Mediation or Arbitration

During the litigation process, you may be able to resolve your case through mediation or arbitration. Mediation and arbitration are popular ways to settle disputes without going to trial. Both can be set up quickly and take less time than going to court. Furthermore, the associated costs are much lower, making them excellent alternatives to suing.

During mediation, a neutral third party called a mediator meets with the parties, analyzes the case, and attempts to bring them together to reach a resolution. In this respect, the mediator serves as both an evaluator and a facilitator.

With arbitration, both parties agree on a neutral third party (the arbiter) who hears evidence and arguments from both sides and renders a decision. Arbitration can be either binding or non-binding. If binding, the parties must abide by the arbiter’s decision, unless irregularities can be proven. If non-binding, either party may continue on with a lawsuit.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

In any case, injury compensation without suing will require you to be fully prepared to go to court. This means having all of your evidence and witnesses ready.

Being thoroughly prepared to go to court, while being flexible and willing to explore alternatives, is the best way to achieve a favorable outcome for your injury case.

For help with pursuing compensation for your injury or for more information, contact an experienced injury attorney today.

 

What Are The First Steps In a Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Nebraska workers’ compensation

The Nebraska workers’ compensation system was designed to make filing a claim for a work-related injury easy and efficient.

This article explains the first steps that must be taken in a Nebraska workers’ compensation claim.

Pursuing a Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Claim

First things first, call 911. You may not feel the full effect of your injury for hours or days later. So, be sure to get yourself fully checked out by a doctor.

After seeking medical attention, you should take the following step to pursue a workers’ compensation claim:

1. Identify Witnesses

A witness can be pretty much anyone––a fellow worker, a delivery driver or somebody making a visit to your place of employment. If they do not work with you, you may never see them again. So, get their contact details and ask them exactly what they saw.

2. Take Pictures of the Accident Site

Take pictures of the accident site and everything that could have caused your accident, such as a slippery surface or a stack of boxes that may have fallen on you. Take pictures of any cuts, scrapes, bruises or other injuries you have sustained. Your smartphone is an excellent tool for this.

3. Report the Accident to Your Supervisor

Don’t procrastinate. The longer it takes you to report the injury to your supervisor, the more inclined your employer or its insurance company will be to deny or minimize your claim.

4 . Obtain a Claim Form

Your employer has to provide you with a claim form. Be sure you get one and fill it out thoroughly. Procrastination can lead to delays in medical treatment and wage replacement benefits. In the event that your employer wants to fill out the form for you, request to fill out the form yourself, or be sure that you agree with what your employer writes down before you sign the completed form.

5. Contact an Experienced Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ compensation law has its own vocabulary. The documents for your claim will include lots of terminology that you may not be familiar with.

In addition, there will be many other things that must be taken into consideration and various deadlines that must be met.

Insurance providers, take advantage of this complexity because it creates confusion and allows them to deny, delay or minimize your workers’ compensation benefits.

For this reason, you may want to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you navigate the pitfalls of the workers’ compensation system.

A good workers’ compensation attorney will make sure that you get the medical care you need to recover and return to work as soon as possible.

Contact an Experienced Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

There is a lot that can go wrong when filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, a competent workers’ compensation lawyer can help you receive the benefits you need to recover both physically and financially.

Each case is different and every injured worker’s situation is unique. So, allow our experienced Nebraska workers’ compensation lawyers to evaluate your case free of charge. Call us today at 308-532-1963 to schedule an appointment or simply ask Nebraska Workers’ Comp Lawyer Jay Elliott a question about your case.

 

5 Important Questions to Ask a Car Accident Lawyer

 

Car accident lawyer North Platte, NebraskaThousands of people are injured in car accidents every day and many lose their lives. Injuries sustained in a car accident can be severe, life-changing and leave you with a mountain of medical bills. So, it is extremely important that you hire the right lawyer to handle your case––one who can recover every bit of compensation you’re entitled to receive. Here are 5 of the most important questions you should ask every potential car accident lawyer:

1. Do You Have Trial Experience as a Car Accident Lawyer?

This question is by far the most important question to ask any car accident lawyer before you hire them. This is because, if you can’t reach a settlement with the insurance company, you may need to go to trial in order to recover the compensation you deserve. When this is the case, you want a lawyer who has tried cases frequently and knows what it takes to win.

Attorneys who frequently go trial (and win) have more leverage with insurance companies. Especially, those who have had cases that have gone to the jury and have won.

If the insurance company knows that your attorney is not afraid to go to court and that he or she has a record of success at trial, they will be more likely to settle with you for a fair amount.

There are many car accident attorneys who have never been to trial, and if so, very seldom. So, ask the attorney how many times they have been to trial, how many of those cases were decided by jury, and what his or her success rate is in these cases.

2. Can You Offer Me Help Being Treated for My Injuries?

Ask if they law firm can refer you to healthcare professionals who can help you get better? Also, ask if they will help you deal with any insurance denials? In other words, if your insurance company denies you ongoing treatment, will they help you get more treatment if it is needed.

Medical treatment is very expensive, but getting the treatment you need to recover from your injuries is extremely important. So, you need to know how much help the law firm can provide you with if and when you need it.

3. Who Will Handle My Case?

If you hire a larger law firm, and unless your case is really big, it will probably be handled by a junior lawyer. This isn’t necessarily bad, but you want to know this before you hire the firm.

You also want to know who at the law firm you will be in contact with on a regular basis––a paralegal, legal assistant, associate lawyer, or the lawyer you are interviewing with? It is important to know who your contact person will be for the duration of your case.

4. Do You Regularly Handle Cases Like Mine?

Ideally, you want to hire a lawyer whose main focus is car accident cases like yours. However, you can’t expect a lawyer to only handle car accidents cases.

Ask what other practices areas the lawyer handles? What percentage of his cases have to do with car accidents? Some lawyers may dabble in car accident cases but really focus on other areas of law. However, you want a lawyer whose main focus is at least personal injury law, including car accidents cases. But, under no circumstances should you hire a lawyer who simply dabbles in car accident cases.

5. How Much Will I Have to Pay You to Handle My Case?

Most lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay if they recover money on your behalf. Ask what percentage of that recovery they take?

Percentages can range quite a bit from firm to firm. But, don’t choose a lawyer simply because he or she takes the lowest percentage. A good lawyer who can get you the best results may be well worth the extra percentage.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will win your case. So, what happens if your case is unsuccessful––will you owe any money? Particularly, will you owe any disbursements if the case is unsuccessful.

Disbursements are expenses that the law firm incurs to investigate and advance your case. If your case is unsuccessful, will you have to reimburse the law firm for these costs?

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, damage to your car, pain and suffering, and more.

 

Winter Driving Precautions to Avoid Personal Injury

 

Avoid Injury in winter driving accidentWinter weather can be cold, inconvenient and downright dangerous. It can also present treacherous driving conditions that can be life-threatening, especially for those of us who are required to drive vehicles as a part of our job. Your best defense for dealing with bad weather is to be prepared. A very simple breakdown of being prepared for bad weather is as follows:

Think Ahead

Preparing your car to be driven in winter conditions may take a few extra minutes, but these may very well be the most important minutes of you spend all day.

  • Before you drive off, make sure that your headlights and windshield are clean and free of any snow and ice buildup.
  • Be sure to remove snow from the roof, hood, trunk or rear deck of the vehicle. This will prevent snow from blowing off and onto the following driver and causing a distraction for them.
  • Make sure that your tires are not worn past the tread indicators.

—Tires with no tread, or low tread, cannot effectively navigate snow, sleet, and ice.

—To determine if your tires need to be changed, put a penny between the threads. If Lincoln’s head is visible, your treads are too low.

—If you have bad tires, buy new ones. The cost of new tires will be far less expensive than getting into an accident and having to deal with the consequences.

—Freezing weather can also cause low tire pressure. The combination of low treads and low tire pressure can be extremely dangerous in heavy traffic.

—Bear in mind! Not only should you consider your own safety, but the safety of others as well, whether they are passengers in your vehicle, passengers in another vehicle, pedestrians, or other motorists.

 

  • Make sure that your vehicle is serviced with the proper antifreeze mixture:

—Wiper fluid with additives that melt ice is inexpensive.

—Your car may require a different kind of coolant to keep from freezing. So, when you take your vehicle in for scheduled maintenance, ask the mechanic to check your antifreeze levels and to make sure that you are using the right type.

 

  • Always carry a car safety kit. Having one of these kits in your car can be a saving grace in any event. Your car safety kit should include the following items: A flashlight, snow shovel, extra blankets for you and your passengers, water, food, a first aid kit, jumper cables, salt or sand, road flares
  • If it’s possible, it is also a good idea to add some additional weight over the rear axle of your vehicle for better traction.

 

Be Aware of Winter Driving

  • Know what road conditions that you will be driving in.
  • Be aware that bridges and overpasses become icy before other areas of the road. So, be especially careful when driving on these surfaces.
  • Find out how to brake effectively when you’re driving on ice. This means knowing if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Have a look at your owner’s manual or speak to your mechanic.

 

Be Careful

  • Do whatever you can to improve your visibility. This might mean driving with your headlights on in the daylight.
  • Drive slower in bad weather and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Make sure you have more than enough time to stop abruptly without getting into an accident.
  • You need to be in full control of your vehicle when driving on snow or ice, so avoid using cruise control.

 

To summarize, driving in winter weather can be extremely dangerous. Take action to avoid being injured in an auto accident! If you must drive in bad weather conditions, be prepared and always drive carefully.

Contact An Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced car accident attorney for a free evaluation and to learn if you have case against the person responsible.

 

How Much Injury Experience Should My Attorney Have?

Personal Injury experienceThere are many things to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer. You want an attorney whom you can afford, who believes in the merits of your cases, and above all, who has experience. But what kind of experience matters and how much of it does your personal injury attorney need to have?

What Kinds of Injury Experience Matter?

There are two types of experience you should be looking for when choosing a personal injury attorney:

1) Experience handling personal injury cases
2) Experience at trial

Experience Handling Personal Injury Cases

You don’t want to hire a family law attorney to handle a personal injury case. Nor would you want a personal injury attorney to handle a criminal case. Make sure that you hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases, and specifically, an attorney who has experience in the type of personal injury case that you have.

For example, if you have a medical malpractice case, make sure you hire an attorney who has experience handling medical malpractice cases. If you have an auto accident case, make sure that the attorney is experienced in handling auto accident cases.

Experience at Trial

This really important––you don’t want to hire an attorney who has no experience at trial. You may have to go to trial to get the compensation you deserve. When this is the case, you want an attorney who knows how to handle themselves in court and can give you the best chance of winning.

Even if your case does not go to trial, the mere threat of trial may be sufficient to get the defendant or insurance company to settle with you. If you have an attorney who has successful, trial experience, the insurance company will know this and they will respect your case a little bit better than if your personal injury attorney has only settled cases out of court.

Does Experience Really Matter?

No matter how much experience a personal injury attorney has, he or she cannot guarantee you a win. Also, keep in mind that just because a lawyer is new or inexperienced does not necessarily mean that you should cross them off your list.

More experienced lawyers will often have a more established relationship with defense lawyers, judges and insurance adjusters. However, they might be less accessible and spend less time on your case.  In contrast, newer lawyers may actually be more up to date on the law, spend more time talking with you and keep you better informed of what is happening in your case.

Newer lawyers may also have a more experienced lawyer supervising them if they are in a firm. Furthermore, the firm’s name itself may command the respect of insurance companies and other lawyers, regardless of the experience level of the firm’s individual lawyers.

To conclude, experience should certainly be a factor… but, not the only factor. No matter how experienced a personal injury lawyer is, if you feel uncomfortable with them, you may never achieve a good lawyer-client relationship. So, look for a personal injury attorney whose experience matches your needs and who looks like they could be a good fit for you.

 

 

Judge or Jury: What’s Best for Your Personal Injury Trial?

 

Judge or Jury for personal injury caseIn Nebraska, when you bring a lawsuit against someone, you are entitled to have the trial decided by either a judge or jury. However, many personal injury clients wonder which is better. The answer to this question is somewhat complicated and will largely depend on the following factors:

—The political leaning of the potential jurors where the trial will be held;

—The economic situation of the average juror where the trial will be held;

—Whether either party is well known in the community;

—Whether or not there is a question of who is at fault;

—Whether the case involves a lot intricate legal matters that will be difficult for the jury to understand; and

—Other factors that come into play

A Trial by Judge (Bench trial)

In this situation, the judge will decide whether or not you have proven your case and if so, how much compensation you are entitled to receive. The judge will make this determination after reviewing all of the evidence and deciding upon all of the issues of fact and law.

Issues of fact pertain to the facts surrounding when, where, how, and by whom you were injured. This requires the judge to evaluate all of the evidence, including:

  • Photos and video;
  • Witness testimony;
  • Police records;
  • Bills, estimates, and damage reports; as well as
  • Any other evidence brought into court to show that you are entitled to compensation from the defendant.

In addition to issues of fact, the judge must also decide issues of law, such as, whether a statement or piece of evidence is admissible or not.

Frequently during the trial, an attorney will make objections to a statement or pieces of evidence presented by the other side. These objections will be either sustained or overruled by the judge depending on whether or not he or she believe the evidence being presented is admissible.

A piece of evidence is typically admissible if it does not violate the rules of the court or the defendant’s constitutional rights. If it does either, the evidence will be deemed inadmissible and will not be allowed in court.

A Trial By Jury

With a trial by jury in Nebraska, the judge still decides the issues of law, but a 6 or 12 person jury will decide issues of fact. In other words, the judge will decide which evidence is admissible and, based on that evidence, the jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable to compensate you and to what extent. Most Nebraska personal injury clients choose to have their cases heard by a jury instead of a judge.

Why a Jury Instead of a Judge?

The general census through the legal system is that injury victims stand a much better chance of being fully compensated for their injuries if their case is being heard by a jury. This is not always true, of course. However, many attorneys believe that because judges hear thousands of cases every year, their opinions are often jaded. On the other hand, jury members are more open minded and can, therefore, be persuaded by the attorney’s argument.

That’s being said, each personal injury case is different and you should consult with your personal injury attorney before deciding whether to have your case decided by a judge or jury. An experienced injury attorney will know the specific facts that are important to your case and can help you make a decision that will give you the best possible chance for success.

 

Workers’ Compensation For Anxiety and Emotional Distress In Nebraska

Emotional Distress, Nebraska lawWhen we think of work-related injuries we most often think of an incident in which a worker suffers a physical injury. While that is a fair assumption, many things can go wrong in the workplace that can cause a person to suffer a psychological or emotional injury as well.

In this case, we are not simply talking about being upset about something your boss or coworker might have said to you––we are talking about severe anxiety and emotional distress that are relatively rare but can have long-term life consequences.

What is Anxiety and Emotional Distress as it Relates to the Workplace?

The stress and the burden of financial instability that is placed on you and your family because of a work-related injury, along with the stress that accompanies chronic pain, can lead to anxiety and emotional distress.

It is not uncommon for a person who has suffered a serious injury or who has undergone surgery to become depressed, anxious, or develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Furthermore, first responders such as policemen, firemen, and emergency medical technicians are sometimes confronted with frightening ordeals while on the job, and often witness the results of catastrophic accidents. Undergoing this type of on-the-job stress can also lead to PTSD, depression, mental breakdowns, and the need for psychological care.

Workers’ Compensation for Anxiety and Emotional Distress In Nebraska

In Nebraska, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for mental injuries or mental illness if:

  1. You are an employee who suffers from a mental injury or mental illness that is caused by or associated with a physical work-related injury, or
  1. You are a first responder who is (1) suffering from a mental injury or mental illness unaccompanied by a physical injury, and (2) that is caused by conditions that are extraordinary and unusual when compared to the normal conditions of your particular employment.

Therefore, to receive benefits for anxiety and emotional distress under Nebraska workers’ compensation law, you need to prove that your condition is caused by a physical injury, or that you are a first responder who has been through an extraordinary ordeal.

Difficulty Receiving Workers’ Compensation for Anxiety and Emotional Distress

A psychological injury can be every bit as debilitating as a physical injury. Anxiety and emotional distress can lead to behavioral changes, insomnia, and mental illness which may render you incapable of handling day to day activities.

But, while physical injuries can be proven by x-rays, lab tests, and the physical wound itself, it is often very difficult to identify and diagnose a mental injury such as anxiety or depression. This, unfortunately, means that anxiety and emotional distress can be easily contested by an insurer, leading to either inadequate compensation or no compensation at all.

Furthermore, there are detailed filings, deadlines for submissions, and negotiations involved in a workers’ compensation case that, because of your psychological illness, you may not be well enough to handle.

Contact an Experienced Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

The expertise of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Nebraska is vital to a workers’ compensation claim for anxiety and emotional distress. Failure to seek the services of a competent workers’ compensation lawyer may result in your claim being dismissed or vastly under-compensated, which can exacerbate your psychological problems even further.

A good workers’ compensation lawyer will know how to pursue your claim effectively and can help you get quality medical care for your physical injuries and/or psychological care for your work-related anxiety and emotional distress. For more information, contact a Nebraska workers’ compensation lawyer now for a free consultation.

 

7 Ways to Use Your Smartphone as a Post-Accident Tool

Technology has changed how we respond to events in our lives. This includes how we respond when we have been involved in an auto accident. Today’s mobile phones are equipped with cameras that we can use to gather evidence at the scene of the accident.

Here are 7 ways to use your smartphone to collect information, gather evidence, and preserve your right to compensation:

1. Call 911

The first thing you should do after an accident is to make sure that you and anyone else involved in the accident gets the medical attention they need. Use your smartphone to call the police and emergency medical personnel to the scene of the accident.

2. Take Pictures and/or Video of the Scene of the Accident With Your Smartphone

Once the vehicles are moved and the streets are cleaned, all of the evidence will be gone. Having a picture or a video of how the scene looked immediately after the accident will be a huge advantage to you when you have to present evidence to an insurance company, a judge, or a jury.

3. Take Pictures and/or Video of the Vehicles

Use your smartphone to take pictures or record video evidence of the damage to each vehicle involved in the accident.

4. Record the Others Driver’s Insurance and License information

Use your smartphone to take pictures of the other driver’s information i.e. their name, address, driver’s license, and insurance details.

5. Record Witness Information

Once witnesses leave the scene of the accident, you may not be able to locate them again. So, record their phone numbers, home addresses and perhaps take photos of their driver’s licenses as well. You can also record a video statement from the witnesses if they let you. This way, you can preserve their account of how the accident happened.

6. Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Use your smartphone to take pictures of any visible injuries you have sustained, either while you are still at the scene of the accident or shortly thereafter. Cuts and bruises may heal with time, but pictures will document and preserve them for use as evidence of how bad your injuries were immediately after the accident.

7. Take Your Own Personal Statement

To keep the circumstance that led up to the accident fresh in your mind, you may want to use your smartphone to record audio or video of your own personal statement.

If you are involved in an accident and don’t do these things, you may not have enough information to bring a claim for compensation. Nor will you be able to defend yourself when the other parties involved blame you for the accident. Protect yourself by using your smartphone to preserve evidence and your right to compensation.

For more information about what you should do when involved in an auto accident in Nebraska, call an experienced Nebraska personal injury attorney.

 

Top 9 Workers’ Compensation Law Questions

 

Nebraska Workers' Comp LawThe answers to questions regarding workers’ compensation in Nebraska can be complicated and should be answered on a case-by-case basis by an experienced Nebraska workers’ compensation lawyer. That being said, here is a list of brief answers to the Top 9 workers’ compensation questions.

1. What Benefits am I Eligible for Under Nebraska Workers’ Comp Law?

Workers’ compensation in Nebraska entitles an injured worker to 4 primary benefits:

Medical Expenses – In most cases, you are entitled to have 100% of your medical expenses paid for by workers’ compensation insurance, including mileage to and from your treating physician. However, the care you receive must be necessary and you must follow the rules governing your choice of physician.

Temporary Disability Benefits – If you must take time off from work to recuperate after an injury, you must be paid a percentage of your lost wages for the duration. These benefits are paid weekly and are based on what you were being paid up to the time you were injured.

Permanent Disability Benefits – If after you have recovered from your injuries as much you will, you are left with a residual impairment or some physical limitations, you are entitled to be compensated to the extent that you are impaired. This is in some ways in lieu of being compensated for pain and suffering, which is not compensable under workers compensation insurance in Nebraska.

Vocational Rehabilitative Training – If your injury prevents you from returning to the kind of work you did before you were injured, your employer has a duty to help you get back to work. This can be as simple as identifying another job you can perform within the company, or it can mean sending you to school to learn new skills.

Death Benefits – If an accident at work results in a worker losing his or her life, the worker’s surviving spouse and children may be entitled to receive wrongful death benefits, as well as, funeral expenses.

2. How are Temporary Disability Benefits Calculated?

The process starts by determining your average weekly wage. This is done by averaging out your weekly gross wages for the six months immediately prior to your injury. If you are not able to return to work while recovering from your injury, you are entitled to receive weekly temporary disability benefits in the amount of 2/3 of your average weekly gross wages. However, there is a maximum amount that will be paid per week for these benefits. This maximum changes every year and is currently about $700 per week.

3. Will I Receive Temporary Disability Benefits Immediately?

Temporary Disability Benefits will not be paid until you have missed at least one full week of work. However, if you eventually are off for more than 6 weeks, you may be entitled to be retrospectively compensated for the first week as well.

4. What Are Temporary Partial Disability Benefits?

If once you return to work, you are earning less money than you earned before you were injured, whether it be because the number of hours you can work are restricted or because you are placed on light duty, you may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability benefits in the amount to 2/3 of the difference between your average weekly wage before the injury and the amount you are paid after returning to work on restricted duty.

5. How Long Will I Receive Temporary Disability Benefits?

Under normal circumstance, you should receive temporary disability benefits until you return to work, or until Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the point where your condition has improved as much as it is going to. Once you have reached MMI, your temporary disability benefits will cease, whether you have returned to work or not. At this point, you may be entitled to receive permanent disability benefits.

6. How Are Permanent Disability Benefits Calculated?

Permanent disability benefits are paid in weekly installments with both the amount and duration of these benefits being primarily based on which part of your body was injured and to what extent.

If the injury is to you a hand, arm, leg, finger or toe, you may be entitled to compensation in the amount of 2/3 of your average weekly wages multiplied by an amount predetermined by the workers’ compensation statutes and depending on the actual body part affected.

If the injury is to your back, neck, head, or to your body as whole, calculating permanent disability benefits is a lot more difficult. This is because the calculation must then take into account other factors, such as how the impairment will affect your ability to earn a living and support yourself.

This process is called evaluating your loss of earning capacity and means that the amount of permanent disability benefits payable to each injured person for these injuries will always be different, not only because it involves the unique severity of that person’s injury, but also because it must take into account that person’s unique educational background and work history.

7. Does it Make a Difference Whether I or My Employer Was at Fault For My Accident?

The short answer to this question is no. The workers’ compensation system was originally intended to provide coverage for people who get hurt on the job, regardless of fault. So, unless you were intoxicated or willfully and deliberately negligent in causing your own injury, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits without having to prove that your employer did anything wrong.

On the other hand, if your employer was at fault, you are still only entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits. You don’t get to recover more damages, even if your employer’s fault was significant. This is called the “exclusive remedy provision” of workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy. In other words, it’s the only way to recover damages against your employer for injuries that occur at work.

You may, however, bring a third party lawsuit against anyone else besides your employer (or a coworker) who may have had something to do with you being injured. By doing so, you may obtain compensation above and beyond that which is available to you under workers’ compensation. But you cannot sue your employer outside of the workers’ compensation system.

8. Do I need a lawyer to handle my Workers compensation claim?

The answer to this question is often yes, but not always. People hire lawyers in workers’ compensation cases for one of two fundamental reasons:

  1. Because their claim has been denied, partially or totally; or
  2. Because they are simply not comfortable handling the claim on their own.

If the fact that you were injured at work is not being disputed, your claim has not been denied, and you feel that you are being treated fairly, you may not need an attorney to assist you. However, if your work injury is being disputed, your claim has been denied, or if you simply don’t feel comfortable handling the claim on your own, you should hire an attorney to assist you.

Above of all, if you are not familiar with the workers’ compensation process and don’t know your way around the system, then you need to decide if it’s worth trying to go it alone and possibly lose out on substantial benefits due to your inexperience when you can hire an attorney who can ensure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits available to you.

9. How Can a Workers Compensation Attorney Help?

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the most out of workers’ compensation insurance. You should never assume that your employer or their insurance company will do this for you. If you have any concerns as to the amount of benefits you are being paid, when these benefits begin, when they cease, or the impairment rating you have been given, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately. Learn more about Jay C. Elliott’s Workers’ Compensation Lawyer services » Or Call Jay Today at 308-532-1963.

Coverage for Car Accidents with an Uninsured Motorist

 

Car Accident uninsured motoristBeing involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist can be extremely stressful. After all, who’s going to pay for your medical bills? Who will pay to get your car repaired? What will you do if your insurance provider won’t cover the claim?

A large number of the motorists on today’s roads are uninsured. Difficult economic times can force consumers to go without necessary insurance coverages, and car insurance is often the first to go.

Recent studies show that almost 13% of the nation’s motorists are uninsured. In some states, as many as 25% of motorists are driving without insurance, and even more are driving with insufficient insurance.

If you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you may be unable to recover the cost of your medical bills, damage to your car, and lost wages. Thus, having uninsured motorist insurance is extremely important.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Explained

Not all states require motorists to carry uninsured motorist insurance. However, many motorists carry it anyway because it provides much-needed protection.

To put it simply, uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is additional car insurance purchased to compensate you and/or your passengers for damages caused by an uninsured motorist.

More precisely, UM insurance pays you if:

  1. Someone else injures you;
  2. They are at fault; and
  3. They have no insurance.

If you have UM insurance, it will cover you, anyone authorized to drive your car, passengers, and sometimes pedestrians for all of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, up to your uninsured coverage limits.

Similarly, underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) will cover damages caused by motorists who do not have sufficient insurance to completely pay for your claim, so it only kicks in if that motorist’s insurance has paid up to its limit and it is still not enough to completely cover your claim.

For instance, suppose you and/or your passengers are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, leaving you with $30,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your car. If you then add on another $30,000 for your pain and suffering, your total claim against that motorist would come to $60,000.

However, if the motorist is only covered for up to $50,000 in damages, his or her insurance would pay you the first $50,000 and your UIM insurance would cover the remaining $10,000, providing that you have bought at least $10,000 in UIM coverage.

Your uninsured/underinsured policy should provide enough coverage to compensate you for all of your losses and enable you to recover physically and financially. So, it is recommended that you purchase at least $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per accident worth of UM/UIM coverage, whenever you can afford it.

Why Carry Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Being involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can result in significant costs that may not be covered under your basic insurance policy. Furthermore, while state laws require all motorists to carry liability insurance, it is estimated that 1 in every 7 motorists on US roads is uninsured.

Moreover, the minimum liability insurance requirement in some states is so low that it is barely enough to cover the costs associated with the typical car accident.

For these reasons, some states require motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage, at least. While uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage should not be considered as a replacement for adequate collision and personal injury coverage, they should be seen as indispensable auto insurance supplements that are relatively inexpensive, considering the amount of protection they offer you.

Talk to Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys

If you or loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the experienced attorneys at Elliott Law Office are ready to help. Contact us online, or call us at 308-532-1963 to schedule a free consultation and to find out how we can assist you. Learn more about our Car Accident Personal Injury Practice »

 

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