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I have four primary goals that I work hard to achieve for every person that I represent in a Workers' Compensation claim:

First, we need to do everything possible to obtain the correct diagnosis and medical treatment for your injury. Our goal should be to aggressively pursue your medical treatment until you reach "maximum medical improvement." In other words, we need to insist upon high quality medical care and we need to help you get that care while you are still covered by Workers' Compensation insurance.

Workers' Compensation Insurance companies often refuse to pay for test, medical treatment and medication. In fact, they often just ignore the requests and never reply, despite your doctors' repeated calls and letters. Their refusal to authorize medical treatment is the most frequent reason people call us for help with their claim. It doesn't have to be that way. Louisiana law contains a procedure that requires Workers' Compensation insurance companies to promptly respond to your doctor's request for testing and treatment, often within less than a week.

Secondly, we want you to receive Workers' Compensation income benefits, on time and in the correct amount, during the entire time that you're unable to return to fulltime work. Your Workers' Compensation benefits may be underpaid without you ever realizing you've been shortchanged. Some companies will aggressively reduce or terminate your benefits with no explanation and only a tenuous legal basis.

Workers' Compensation cases are frequently hotly disputed. Your employer may deny that your accident happened or they may claim that your medical condition is not covered by the Workers'' Compensation laws. In a highly contested case where you're not receiving benefits, we need to prepare your claim and bring it to trial as quickly as possible.

But in most cases, our goal is to obtain 100% of the benefits that you should receive at the time that you should receive them. And we want to keep those benefits coming in on a regular schedule until you settle your claim or return to work (or both).

Our next goal should be to help you qualify for Social Security Disability as soon as possible if you have a significant injury that will keep you out of work for at least twelve months. While it's true that qualifying for Social Security Disability can make it more complex to negotiate the settlement of your Louisiana Workers' Compensation claim, applying for Social Security Disability while you are still receiving Workers' Compensation can allow you to recover tens-of-thousands of dollars in benefits that you wouldn't otherwise receive.

I frequently see people who have lost years of Social Security Disability benefits simply because they failed to file the right forms at the right time. In fact, your right to apply for Social Security Disability completely expires if you don't apply within the right time frame. While you're out of work and receiving Workers' Compensation benefits, your time for applying for Social Security Disability is gradually slipping away.

It's a travesty to pay thousands of dollars of payroll taxes into the Social Security system and then be denied Disability benefits because you waited too long to apply. While not everyone who receives Workers' Compensation benefits will qualify for Social Security Disability, it's usually a mistake to wait until your Workers' Compensation claim is over before you file your Social Security Disability application.

Finally, we want to obtain the largest settlement or Judgment that the law allows. And there are many things that we can do to make certain that you are fully compensated in the settlement or Judgment of your claim.

We need to verify that your doctors understand the impact of signing the insurance company's forms authorizing you to return to work. Many people have told me that their doctor signed the forms releasing them to work while telling them: "You need to be retrained for a light duty job." That's a great idea! But it hardly ever happens in a Louisiana Workers' Compensation claim.

We need to be prepared to challenge the Labor Market Survey prepared by the insurance company's Vocational Expert. We often find that taking the depositions of the potential employers shows that the particular claimant was not at all suitable for the particular job, or that the employer was merely “accepting applications to keep on file for when they do need to hire somebody.” It's been my experience that Labor Market Surveys often cannot withstand much scrutiny.

Most importantly, we need to formulate a plan that pays for your future medical treatment, provides you with a fair and just lump-sum settlement and allows you to receive the maximum benefits you qualify for from other sources (such as Social Security Disability) after you've settled your Workers' Compensation claim.



David Buie, Louisiana Workers Compensation Attorney and Social Security Disability Attorney, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1400, New Orleans, LA 70131, (800) 851-9405 / Fax: (866) 702-5297 Representing claimants in:
Alexandria Baton Rouge Bossier City Covington Gretna
Hammond Harahan Harvey Houma Kenner Lafayette Lake Charles
Laplace Marrero Metairie Monroe New Iberia New Orleans
Opelousas Ruston Shreveport Slidell Terrytown

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