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How to Prepare for a Workers’ Compensation Consultation with an Attorney

Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball, some good, some not so good.  One of these may be an injury at work.  Should you become injured at work, it is extremely important for you to learn what your rights are immediately.  Without a working knowledge of your rights related to a workers’ compensation injury, you may inadvertently waive some of those rights, causing you to receive much less than you are entitled to.  A consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is your best option.  Most, including our office, provide a free initial consultation to evaluate your case and provide you with information related to your claim.  But, how do you prepare for such a meeting?  Below is a list of information and documentation that you should have at the ready when meeting with an attorney regarding a workers’ compensation injury:

  1. The date, time, and circumstances of your on the job accident. It is important to determine if your accident occurred within the “course and scope” of your employment with your employer;
  2. Names and contact information for any and all witnesses;
  3. Names and contact information for your employer. Names and contact information for your supervisors;
  4. Is your employer a subcontractor for another business?
  5. Any documentation and information regarding when you first reported the accident/injury to your employer. Who did you report the accident to? When did you report the accident? Were any forms filled out?;
  6. Name, address, and telephone number for any adjuster and workers’ compensation insurance carrier for your employer. If you have been assigned a claim number, this number is important.  Bring with you any and all letters or other documents which may contain this information;
  7. Any and all treatment which you have undergone and any diagnoses that have been made. All medical records for this treatment should be brought with you to your initial consultation;
  8. Has any medical provider addressed whether or not you can return to work? Any documentation regarding your ability to return to work, with or without restrictions is crucial to your claim;
  9. Has a medical provider addressed whether or not your injury is related to the accident at work? In some situations, this may be obvious (i.e. a fall from a ladder resulting in a back injury), however, some are not so clear;
  10. How are you feeling now? Are you still having pain or has your injury resolved?;
  11. The name of any attorneys with which you have already consulted regarding this accident/injury and the result of that consultation; and
  12. Bring with you any and all forms that you may have filled out since reporting the accident to the employer and/or insurer. It is very important to NOT sign any documents until you have met with a workers’ compensation attorney.  These documents may waive some very important rights you have under Louisiana workers’ compensation law.  However, if you have signed any documents since the on the job accident, bring copies with you to your meeting with the attorney.

There are many more questions to be answered and issues to be discussed in that first meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney, but an experienced attorney, such as Kristen Stanley-Wallace, will guide the conversation to make sure that all of these questions are answered and discussed.  Meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney is not something to fear.  Should this attorney take your case they should be the client’s most trusted ally.

Gestational Surrogacy Contracts – New Louisiana Law

Prior to August 1, 2016, couples who were unable to have children had very few to no options when it came to the topic of surrogacy.  Any surrogacy or “gestational carrier” contracts were unenforceable in Louisiana prior to August 1, 2016.  Enter HB1102.  HB1102’s stated purpose is “to regulate gestational surrogacy agreements” and the legislature found “that it is desirable to assure that the intended parents of every child born through the use of assisted reproductive technology be legal and biological parents of the child.”  This bill, which was signed into law as Act No. 494 with an effective date of August 1, 2016, restricts enforceable gestational surrogacy agreements to those in which a married couple engages a gestational surrogate and the married couple also must use their “own gametes” (i.e. sperm and egg). Thus, under the terms of this new legislation, same sex couples do not fall within the definition of those married couples who can legally engage a gestational surrogate.  The legislation states that “compelling state interests justify provisions for filiation to be recognized by a court upon proof that the child is genetically related to both parents.”  This legislation further makes clear that contracts regarding “genetic gestational carriers” (defined as the process by which a woman attempts to carry and give birth to a child using her own egg and then agrees to relinquish custody and all rights to that child) is an absolute nullity.

Act No. 494 provides a myriad of requirements for such a contract to be legally enforceable.  Some examples of these requirements include that the contract must be in writing, signed by the gestational carrier, and her spouse if she is married, and both of the intended parents.  The gestational carrier must be between the ages of 25 and 35, must have already given birth to at least one child, must agree to reasonable medical evaluation and treatment during the pregnancy, must have undergone at least two counseling sessions, and agree to a post-birth counseling session.  The intended parents must agree and recognize that the gestational surrogate has the sole authority to make medical decisions during the term of the pregnancy as if she was a woman carrying her own biological child.  Further, the intended parents must agree to accept custody and assume full parental rights to the child, regardless of any impairment, agree to be recognized as the legal parents of the child, among other requirements.  Further, either the gestational carrier (and her spouse if she is married) or the intended parents, may seek judicial approval of the gestational carrier contract prior to the utero embryo transfer.

While this new act offers new options for some married couples, opponents of the act criticize its limited scope, not only for non-heterosexual couples, but also for some heterosexual couples, such as those with no viable gametes.  To review the entirety of Act No. 494, please see:  http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1011810.

LASC Rules that Employers May Only be Sued Under Workers’ Compensation for Employee’s Hearing Loss

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In an opinion issued by the Louisiana Supreme Court yesterday, the court found that gradual noise induced hearing loss caused by occupational exposure to hazardous noise levels is a personal injury by accident or an occupational disease, or both, under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.  Read more

My Ex Won’t Abide by a Lawful Judgment… Now What?

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I recently posted about the process to change an existing Louisiana custody and/or child support judgment.  Another post-judgment issue may be that the Louisiana judgment that you have is exactly what you need…BUT the opposing party knowingly refuses to adhere to it.  Read more

Issue No. 1 of SWL’s Quarterly Newsletter On Its Way to Clients

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It is important to me that my clients and former clients are kept up to date, Read more

Changing a Prior Custody or Child Support Order… Is it Possible?

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Whether you spent months and lots of tears to obtain your first judgment, or you were one of the lucky ones who was able to come to an agreement with your former spouse or partner, sometimes that first judgment doesn’t stand the test of time.  Read more

How to Prepare for A Consultation – Family Law

divorceFor those of you who have been fortunate enough not to have met with an attorney regarding a legal issue, congratulations – you are one of the very few. However, it is more likely that during your lifetime, and maybe several times during your lifetime, you will need the guidance of an attorney to get you through a tough time.  Read more

Kristen Stanley-Wallace Named East St. Tammany Chamber Member of the Month

December Member of the Month

Kristen Stanley-Wallace was recently honored with the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Member of the Month Award for December 2014. Read more

Grand Opening Celebration

10750139_10205247215250125_6442280497850621370_oOn November 21, 2014, Stanley-Wallace Law, LLC held its official Grand Opening celebration Read more

Wills for Heroes Event Was Successful

will 2 Local attorneys, notaries, and volunteers participated in the Wills for Heroes Event on October 4, 2014.  The Louisiana State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division hosted the event for St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 and Slidell Police Department first responders. Read more