Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Being involved in an accident on land or at sea in Louisiana can leave you with many questions about your legal rights and options. Browse Scott Vicknair, LLC’s online FAQs section for answers to some of the most common queries we receive.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When someone is injured or neglected by a medical professional, they should contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis, IN as soon as possible to seek wise counsel, legal representation, and accountability.

Where can medical malpractice take place? Medical malpractice can take place anywhere medical professionals are and work. Hospitals, outpatient treatment centers, nursing homes, and residential homes are places where medical malpractice has been reported.

Are doctors the only ones who can injure, harm, or neglect their patients? Unfortunately no, medical professionals of all kinds can mistreat their patients. For example, hospital staff, nurses, therapists, doctors, surgeons, and paramedics are all able and capable of harming their patients.

Are medical professionals under a code of ethics or held to accountability? Yes, when doctors for example are ready to practice medicine, they take an oath swearing to do no harm to their patients. Accountability is important in the medical field as it protects patients and their care providers.

What happens if a victim chooses not to report their medical abuse or neglect? If a victim does not report medical malpractice, other innocent lives may be negatively affected, as the medical professional may continue their misconduct with other patients.

What should a patient do if they feel as though they have experienced medical malpractice? The patient should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible if they suspect neglect or harm has occurred. Experienced attorneys such as those at Ward & Ward Law Firm can counsel clients as to whether or not they have a medical malpractice case worth pursuing. The legal process can seem overwhelming and confusing for some. Thankfully, lawyers are there to help every step of the way, supporting their clients and answering any and all questions they may have. Whether the medical malpractice case settles outside of court, or an official lawsuit leads to court, a wise attorney will guide their client, supporting their needs, and fight for the best outcome available.

Medical malpractice can take place in any age group. Unfortunately, some choose to neglect or prey upon the elderly community because they believe they are the least likely to report medical malpractice. If neglect or abuse is occurring in an elderly person’s home they may feel hesitant to report it since they may fear losing their only care provider or housing situation. Safety is of the utmost importance to medical malpractice lawyers, and they will ensure that their clients are well taken care of, and placed in safe, nurturing environments as soon as possible. If you think a loved one is experiencing medical malpractice of any kind, contact an attorney today. Don’t let neglect, misdiagnosis, surgical error, or prescription mishap prevent you from pursuing accountability, justice, and compensation.

Every insurance policy is a bit different, but there are certain expectations every insurer must meet after an accident. In the state of Louisiana, every insurance policy must meet the minimum coverage requirements, which includes $15,000 in liability for one person, and $30,000 for multiple people, as well as $25,000 in property damage.

When a driver invests in this minimum coverage plan or additional coverage, he or she trusts that, when needed, their policy will cover the necessary costs. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies honor their legal requirement to act in good faith. Learn more about what you may legally expect from your insurance company in order to determine whether or not you are the victim of insurance bad faith.

All insurers are required to act in good faith, me aning they must make a reasonable effort to settle all claims and to do so in a timely manner. In some cases, companies may act in bad faith by attempting to prolong the claims process, looking for an out, which puts more stress and financial strain on the person filing the claim. By law, bad faith is acting in a way that is “arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause,” which some insurance companies may do to avoid paying for damages.

A company may act in bad faith by:

  • Misrepresenting the facts related to the coverage specified in a person’s policy
  • Failing to honor settlement deadlines within 30 days after an agreement was made
  • Denying coverage for a reason the insurer knowingly altered without notice, consent, or knowledge of the insured party
  • Misleading a claimant as to when the legal actions may begin
  • Failure to properly compensate anyone insured by the contract within 60 days of receiving proof of loss from the claimant
  • Denying claims when the denial is illogical or unreasonable

It is not illegal for the insurance company to refuse a claim, so long as that refusal is justified and does not go against the policy. However, if a company commits any of the acts lawfully defined as “bad faith,” the company did not fulfill their obligation to act honestly and fairly. Fortunately, there are legal repercussions for insurers who fail to handle claims justly.

If your insurer unfairly holds you responsible for your accident or provides you with inadequate settlement fees, you may be able to take legal action. At Scott Vicknair, LLC our attorneys can review your current situation to determine how your insurer acted in bad faith, and we will guide you through the best legal options. Contact Scott Vicknair, LLC for legal representation after your car accident.

Slipping and falling is more dangerous than you might think. Such an accident can lead to more than just an embarrassing moment and a sore body. Falls are actually the leading cause of accidental death for seniors, and they account for more than eight million hospital emergency room visits each year. Likewise, slipping and falling can be caused by inattention on the part of the injured person or caused by the negligence of the person who created the circumstances leading to the accident in the first place.

People who have been severely injured by a slip and fall accident wonder whether or not they can sue the person or company responsible for their misfortune. In a personal injury case, people need to be able to prove the person who owned or maintained the premises in which they were harmed failed in their duty to keep people safe.

However, there is no exact way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for your injuries. Each case depends on whether the property owner acted carefully or negligently and whether or not you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the condition that caused your fall.

In general, the slip and fall is someone else’s fault if the owner of a property fostered a “dangerous condition” and knew it was a dangerous condition. A dangerous condition must present an unreasonable risk to a person on the property, and it must have been a condition the injured party should not have anticipated under the circumstances. You must also be able to establish the following:

  • The owner/possessor created the situation
  • The owner/possessor knew the condition existed and negligently failed to correct it
  • The condition existed for such a length of time that the owner/possessor should have discovered and fixed it prior to the incident

If you think you were harmed by the negligence of another person, talk to one of our New Orleans premises liability attorneys about your case. Contact us at (504) 500-1111 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today!

What Is Estate Planning?

A deceased person’s estate is their assets and liabilities that they leave behind when they pass away. Estate planning is when you look at all your options for documenting your assets and liabilities, and you arrange for the management of your estate. When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can prepare your legacy, protect the financial health of those you leave behind, and give yourself peace of mind.

What Is a Succession?

In the state of Louisiana, the term “succession” is used to refer to a legal process of passing ownership from a decedent (the person who passed away) to their beneficiaries, legatees, or heirs, and settling their estate. First, the process starts with addressing any outstanding debts of the decedent, identifying assets, and finally, distributing those assets.

There are a variety of succession proceedings, and it can be difficult to navigate alone, especially in an emotionally difficult time. If you have been left the responsibility of handling a loved one’s affairs after their passing, contact our experienced New Orleans estate and probate attorney to schedule a free consultation by calling (504) 500-1111.

What Is the Difference Between a Succession and Probate?

Louisiana law is rooted in Spanish and French civil law codes, therefore different terminology is often used for varying legal concepts. In other states, a succession is called a probate. A probate and succession are essentially the same process.

What If the Deceased Person Did Not Leave a Last Will & Testament?

When a decedent does have a Last Will & Testament to be presented to the court, it is referred to as a “testate succession.”.In a testate succession, an executor is approved by the court to handle the proceedings. However, when a decedent does not have a Last Will & Testament, it is referred to as an “intestate succession.” In an intestate succession, an administrator is approved by the court to handle the proceedings. If there was no Will left behind, Louisiana law states who automatically inherits from the decedent and who to change the title to the decedent’s assets over to. It is crucial to consider seeking professional legal advice from an experienced Estate and Probate attorney to help you through the legal process.

Call (504) 500-1111 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our experienced New Orleans Estate and Probate attorneys. For more information about how we can serve you, check out our page on Estate & Succession.

One of the services that we offer here at Scott Vicknair, LLC is writing legal letters. Different types of letters that our experienced attorneys write on a regular basis include advice letters, response letters, demand letters, appeal letters, cease and desist letters, complaint letters and more. One of the most commonly asked questions that our attorneys get is, do I need an attorney to write a demand letter?

When considering whether to use a professionally drafted legal letter written by an experienced attorney, it is helpful to know all the components of a legal letter. We have compiled a short list of basic “Do’s and Don’ts” of Legal Writing. Below is a detailed guideline about how to write a legal demand letter and the benefits of hiring an attorney to write a demand letter on your behalf.

How do I write my own legal demand letter?

  • Introduction. Identify that you are writing a demand letter. Include your name and the company or person’s name (the recipient). Write a summary of the situation.
  • Background.Give context to the situation. Who is involved? Where and when did the unwanted actions occur? For how long did it happen?
  • Facts. Give only the cold hard facts. Do not give any false information. Your letter may be read in court as evidence, so do not say anything in writing that would hurt your case.
  • Claim for damages. List out your rights and how you believe the recipient violated those rights. Explain why the other party’s behavior is unlawful and how it affected you negatively. Detail how you have been harmed by their behavior (emotionally, physically, financially).
  • Demand. Specify the amount you are seeking to recover or the behavior you want to change to remedy the dispute.
  • Conclusion. Set a specific deadline of 60 days from the date that you send the letter to get a response before moving forward with filing a lawsuit. Make sure to include what legal action you plan to take if they do not reply to the letter. Summarize your expectations and make it very clear that you may file a lawsuit if a remedy cannot be achieved informally.

The tone should be respectful but firm. The header needs to include the method of delivery, the date, the recipient’s name and address. Your writing style should be formal, clear, organized, specific and concise.

It seems so simple, I can just do it myself…
…are many famous last words.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney to Write a Demand Letter

An experienced attorney can improve the efficacy of your letter in multiple ways:

  • The third-party involvement creates a sense of urgency and importance.
  • The opposing party will take it seriously on legal letterhead.
  • An attorney can help you identify what evidence you need to include.
  • An attorney knows best how to handle disputes.
  • An attorney will write an effective and persuasive letter.
  • You may not be satisfied, and further action may be required.

If the opposing party does not comply, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you prepare for the next step. If you need to write and send a demand letter, call (504) 500-1111 or message to schedule a free consultation with one of our New Orleans attorneys.

We hear it time and time again. Someone was involved in a car accident, did not get an experienced personal injury attorney, and they settled for less than their case was truly worth. At Scott Vicknair, LLC, we want to max imize the value of your damages in any potential settlement and/or jury verdict. Car accidents can cause a wide array of problems for you in your life and change the course of your life forever. Both minor and serious injuries should be treated and cared for by the at fault driver’s insurance.

Although each case will be different, there are key factors that consistently play into maximizing the value of your settlement and/or potential jury verdict after a car accident injury.

  • Consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who is not afraid to fight. Talk to an attorney before you talk to your insurance company. Moreover, choose an attorney who has relevant courtroom experience, because insurance companies and adjusters know which lawyers are more likely to settle and which are more likely to fight in court. Our initial consultations are complimentary. Our personal injury lawyers can review and help move your case forward. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to recover a fair settlement for you and ensure that you are not settling for less than you deserve.
  • Put your documents all in one place before you give them to your attorney. Documents you will want to put in one file for your attorney include: your medical records, your bills, work time that was lost, police report, pictures, any notes from the doctors and other helpful evidence. Maintain these records all in one file folder and keep a copy for yourself. Save your bills, receipts, and any paperwork related to the car accident.
  • File a lawsuit as soon as practicable. Time is of the essence because you only have a limited amount of time after the car accident to file a lawsuit. The prescriptive period, commonly known as the statute of limitations, is typically one to two years after the date of your car accident depending on the claims and insurance companies involved. Hiring an attorney puts the pressure on the insurance company and they will take you seriously if they see that you have an attorney. The likelihood of the insurance company taking advantage of your inexperience in the value and damages you can claim in your case decreases greatly if you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. If you suspect that the other party may have been under the influence, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
  • Go to the doctor. Go to the doctor to ensure you document your injuries and that you get on a treatment plan which can help get you as close as possible to medical maximum recovery. In addition to physical injuries, emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and potentially lost wages count as damages caused by the car accident, so seek out counseling or a psychiatrist to help treat your emotional health if you believe that is necessary. Some car accident victims can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of a car accident. Stay consistent with your treatment and follow the doctors’ orders.
  • Review your insurance policy, so you know what they are supposed to cover. Policy coverage varies in a car accident based upon whether you are making claims for injuries in a car accident against another driver’s liability policy or your own uninsured motorist policy. Additionally, property damage coverage varies based upon the insurance policy which is applicable to the car accident. An experienced attorney can help navigate the various insurance policies and coverage related to your car accident injuries.
  • Know your injuries. Some symptoms may not arise until weeks after the car accident. Therefore, it is important to stay tuned to what is happening with your body. Even if it does not hurt, that does not mean it is not injured. Make sure to be thoroughly checked by a doctor immediately after the accident.
  • Know your damages. Damages are the types of compensation you may be able to receive in a settlement from your car accident injury. Here is a non-exhaustive list of compensation you may be entitled to based on expenses incurred: cost of hiring a car service, cost of renting a car, cost of fixing your car, cost of hiring an in-home worker (housekeeper, nurse, etc.), loss of income, loss of consortium, loss of business, cost for counseling, pain and suffering for your injuries, and cost of medical treatment.
  • Take pictures of your car, of the scene, and of any visible injuries. Make sure you get pictures from various angles, as well as taking both up close and big picture photos. Be sure to include all the cars that were involved in the accident.
  • Keep a journal of your injuries and emotional damage. Maintain a daily log of your emotions, appetite, physical pain, activities that you were not able to do, etc. This will be helpful when you go visit the doctor. Also, if you do end up going to court, a daily log can help you recount the details of your injuries to a jury. If you had any sort of physical or emotional symptoms that you would not have had otherwise, record it in a diary so that you can support your claim for damages in court.
  • Allow an experienced attorney to talk to your adjuster on your behalf. Although insurance companies promise loyalty and sell you on the idea that they are looking out for your best interest, they make profit off not giving people what they truly deserve by underpaying claims. You should make sure the adjuster knows how serious your injuries are. Do not let the adjuster pressure you into settling. The adjuster might try to get you to admit fault and agree to making a statement that could later be used against you. The best way to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by an insurance company is to have an experienced attorney in your corner.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, call or message our New Orleans personal injury attorneys at (504) 500-1111 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Are you a construction worker who has not been paid for a construction project on which you worked? If so, you may want to see how you can file a construction lien.

One of the worst things to happen is not getting paid for the hard work you’ve done. This is unfortunately very true for the many men and women who work in the construction field. Because of the nature of construction work, contractors usually do not get paid until after the job is finished. Oftentimes, construction workers find themselves without their owed money. This leaves many independent contractors out of income, time, and supplies.

If you have not been paid for your work on a construction project, call one of our experienced Louisiana construction attorneys now at (504) 500-1111.

Life can be unpredictable, that’s why we always recommended that our clients plan ahead and complete the proper estate planning documents before their own passing or the passing of a loved one; however, many of our clients are people who suddenly find themselves managing and inheriting property that has been passed down several generations.

In most cases, the property has simply changed names at the Tax Assessor’s Office without any succession or legal proceedings transferring the title as required by law. If you find yourself in charge of taking care of the estate of a loved one, there are several important steps to take before you can successfully sell their real estate or property.

Open a Succession: In Louisiana, the term “succession” is used to refer to the legal process of passing ownership from a Decedent (the person who passed away) to their beneficiaries, legatees, or heirs, and closing out their estate.

There are several different types of successions in Louisiana: Small Successions, Simple Possessions, and Successions Under Administration.

Some successions involve a Last Will and Testament, which is called a “testate” succession, and a succession without a Last Will and Testament is called an “intestate” succession.

Each estate is different, and each type of succession applies to each various type of estate. At Scott Vicknair, LLC, our Succession Attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and ready to assist you every step of the way in whatever type of succession your loved one’s estate requires.

Transfer any titles from the Decedent to the Heirs or Legatees: The title of any property, real estate or otherwise, must change to the heirs and legatees of the Decedent for there to be a sale of the property.

Most Successions simply place the heirs or legatees of the Decedent in possession of the Decedent’s property. If there is to be a sale of the property, though, the property must be transferred out of the Decedent’s name and to the parties participating in the sale. This sometimes involves title work and land records transfers, all of which we handle here for you at Scott Vicknair, LLC.

Patience: While most successions can be handled within a relatively short amount of time, there is always a chance that you may run into complications with the estate or uncooperative family members. Everything takes time when a sale of property is involved, and sometimes depending on the type of succession, the court requires certain formalities before a sale can even be started.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you seek the counsel of an experienced Succession Attorney.

Proceed with the Sale: Once the heirs or legatees are placed into possession of the property or the court has approved a sale, the sale of the property may proceed!

Close the Succession: Once the sale is completed, you can close the succession.

If the loved one who has passed was your spouse, you may not be able to stay in your home if the property was purchased by your spouse prior to your marriage or the property was inherited by your spouse. In Louisiana, without the proper estate planning, the surviving spouse does not automatically inherit the deceased spouse’s property. To avoid such a predicament, seek the counsel of an estate planning attorney in advance.

Contact our New Orleans Succession Attorneys today by calling (504) 500-1111 for a complimentary consultation for all your Estate Planning and Succession needs!

The American Dream is culminated in the idea of being your own boss. Whether you are considering quitting your job to start your dream career, or you just want to spend some extra time on a passion project, here are some reasons you should consider filing for an LLC.

What Is an LLC?

LLC stands for limited liability company. An LLC is a juridical entity which allows an individual to avoid personal liability for their business affairs. By developing your product or business through an LLC, you can ensure that you personally will not be held liable in a lawsuit for claims that arise in business transactions. Our business lawyers routinely represent companies and advise them on certain matters throughout business operations to minimize their liabilities.

Why File an LLC?

Whether you are going into business by yourself or with business partners, an LLC can not only provide protection from personal liability, but also provide a structure for your business that a standard partnership or solo proprietorship may not have.

What Is the Difference Between an LLC and a Corporation?

For one thing, LLCs are innately designed for smaller businesses. Additionally, corporations are owned not by the members, but by shareholders. An LLC provides you as the creator and member with full ownership over your product or business. Furthermore, an LLC is generally cheaper to form. As a new business, you want to minimize costs in any way you can.

How Do I Form an LLC?

Forming an LLC is relatively straightforward in Louisiana. First, you need to name your LLC, then you need to nominate a registered agent. A registered agent is a person who agrees to send and receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC. This can be anyone who resides in the state where you are filing. Next you will need to file your articles of organization. These forms can be found on website for the Secretary of State in Louisiana. It costs $100. Finally, you may want to draft an operating agreement. Our business attorneys routinely draft operating agreements for clients which consider what happens in certain situations, such as a member’s death, a member’s desire to withdraw, etc. An operating agreement can serve as a type of contract between you and your partners. This will provide more clarity on the expectations you each have on one another.

For more questions on forming and maintaining your business, call or message our New Orleans business attorneys at (504) 500-1111 for a free, no obligation consultation.

As a potential plaintiff in a slip and fall case, there are likely thousands of questions that you have. Below we have answered a few of the most common that people have.

What must I prove as the Plaintiff?

As a plaintiff, you bear the burden of proof by a preponderance of evidence. This is a legal term that simply means “more likely than not.” Typically, the most common theory of liability in a slip and fall claim is that the owner of the property knew or should have known of a dangerous condition that led to your injury. In other words, you as the plaintiff must prove that more likely than not, the owner knew of a dangerous condition, should have known of the dangerous condition, or caused the dangerous condition that lead to the slip and fall.

Who do I sue in a slip and fall?

This is entirely based on where the incident took place. If the fall occurred in someone’s home, then you would sue the homeowner. If you fell in a business, then the business owner would be who the suit was filed against. And if the incident occurred on a sidewalk or some sort of government-owned or operated location, then your local municipality would potentially be liable.

What do I do if I don’t want to sue someone personally?

This happens frequently. People do not want to sue someone personally when a slip and fall occurs at a home. However, it is pertinent to remember that you are not suing the individual but their homeowner’s insurance, which typically has personal liability coverage that would cover damages in these types of claims. Your friend’s insurance will cover any lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering without having a direct impact on your friend and hopefully your relationship.

I’m worried about attorney fees. What sort of fee will I be expected to make?

Typically, as a plaintiff, you will not have to pay anything upfront. The only time that you will have to pay is if you win. If you are victorious in your suit, then your attorney will take a percentage of your settlement.

What are the benefits of speaking with an attorney?

Speaking with an attorney is the most important preliminary step to determine the validity and weaknesses of your case. An experienced attorney will be able to assist you in filing your claim as well as creating a game plan for you to ensure you receive the maximum benefit.

If you think you were harmed by the negligence of another person, talk to one of our New Orleans personal injury attorneys about your case.

Contact us at (504) 500-1111 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today!

Scott Vicknair, LLC

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