New Orleans Car Accident Lawyers
Are you considering hiring a New Orleans car accident attorney? If so, consider hiring our team of former insurance company attorneys who are dedicated to maximizing your financial recovery.
If you are not ready to hire an attorney, that is okay. We hope this page answers any questions that you have so you can decide what to do next.
Table of Contents
- Do you have a good car accident case?
- Louisiana car accident statistics
- What to do if you are in an accident?
- Car Accident FAQs
- What claims do you have following a car accident?
- How long do I have to file a claim?
- How much does a lawyer cost?
- Whose insurance company will pay my claim.
- Can I recover money for my medical bills?
- Can I recover money for lost wages?
- What if I am permanently unable to work?
- Can I receive disability benefits after a car accident?
- What types of damages can be recovered?
- Am I entitled to have my vehicle repaired or replaced?
- Am I entitled to a rental car?
- What happens if you have a car note?
- Does my health insurance company have a lien on my recovery?
- You should follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations
- Can you help me find a doctor?
- What if I was involved in a hit-and-run accident or hit by an uninsured motorist?
- What if the other driver is underinsured?
- Louisiana Auto Accident Laws
- DUI Accidents in Louisiana
- How Can We Help?
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR ACCIDENT CASE?
Insurance companies view you as a liability on a balance sheet. To them, you are not a person who deserves compassion and respect. Instead, your auto accident represents a risk that will reduce the insurance company’s profits. Insurance companies also know that you will likely not push back and hire an attorney when you have been treated unfairly. Because of this, insurance companies often get away with paying people less than they need to recover from an accident.
There are many personal injury attorneys that you can choose from. Our edge is the fact that we used to represent insurance companies before starting a practice to help people like you. Our experience allows us to understand what it will take to get the insurance company to pay up.
LOUISIANA CAR ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Louisiana is statistically one of the most dangerous states to operate a motor vehicle in.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
Each accident is different. However, here is a list of some standard dos and don’ts that are always helpful to keep in mind.
- Move your car to safety: Your personal safety following an accident is most important. If possible, move your car to a safe place and then gather information.
- Call a first responder: Following an accident, you should contact the authorities so the police can investigate the scene and create a report.
- Exchange Information: It is important to get all important information from the other driver. You should take a photo of the other driver’s license plate, driver’s license, and insurance information.
- Never Admit to Fault: The littlest statement you make at the accident scene can be taken out of context and sink your case. You should never admit to fault even if you believe you may be responsible.
- Take Pictures of the Accident Scene: Immediately following an accident you should take photos of the vehicles, accident scene, and
- Get Medical Treatment: If you are in pain following an accident you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Seeking treatment for your injuries will help prove your case if contested by the insurance company.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage: Understanding what is in your insurance policy is important following your accident. This will help when you make your claim with the insurance company.
- Make a Claim: You should make a claim with both your insurance company and the at-fault insurance company to begin the claim process.
- Do Not Give a Statement: The other driver’s insurance company may ask to take your statement. You are not legally required to give a statement. There is no benefit to providing a recorded statement.
- Understand Your Rights: Read further to find out about your rights. This will help you navigate the claim process with confidence and understand when you may need to hire an attorney.
CAR ACCIDENT FAQS
What claims do you have following a car accident?
Each accident is unique, and you may have several different types of civil claims depending on the specific facts of your accident.
Common personal injury claims include negligence, intentional conduct, and product defects.
Negligence is the most common claim in car accident cases. To prove a claim you need to establish four separate elements:
Duty: You need to show that the other motorist owed a duty to you. Broadly speaking, the duty to operate a vehicle in a reasonable manner and in compliance with applicable rules and ordinances.
Breach of Duty: You next must prove that the other driver somehow breached the duty that was owed by not operating a motor vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.
Causation: You next need to prove that the other driver’s breach of duty caused the accident and your damages.
Damages: You must prove that your damages were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If the court finds that the other driver was negligent you can recover damages caused by the accident. These typically include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In rare cases, such as where the other drive was driving under the influence, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the other driver for engaging in reckless conduct to deter bad conduct in the future.
Sometimes a car accident was caused because there was a defect with an automobile. For example, an accident was caused due to a problem with the braking system or accelerator. In these cases, the manufacturer of the vehicle or supplier of a component part may be included as a defendant in the lawsuit.
If you have questions about your claim, our attorneys are more than happy to speak with you.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The prescription period (also referred to as statute of limitations) is the time to file a lawsuit. In Louisiana, the time to file a lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit is one-year from the date of the accident. You have two-years to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. It is important that you do not miss the deadline to a file a lawsuit.
The prescription period does not begin to run against a minor until he or she turns 18 years old or obtains majority. It also does not run against interdicts in Louisiana Product Liability Act actions involving a claim of permanent disability.
Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure art. 3492 provides the one-year prescription period for delictual (negligence) actions for damages.
How much does a lawyer cost?
Personal injury attorneys primarily take on cases on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee agreement means that the lawyer will handle all costs for handling your case and will receive a percentage of the recovery at the conclusion of the case. The lawyer is not entitled to a fee if there is not recovery. In addition, at the conclusion of the case, the lawyer will deduct certain case costs such as filing fees, deposition fees, and expert fees.
Do not hesitate to ask our lawyers about any questions you have about contingency fee agreements. We understand that hiring an attorney is a rare event for many people and we are more than happy to answer your questions.
Whose insurance company will pay my claim.
Louisiana is an “at fault” car accident state. This means the insurance company for the at fault driver is responsible for paying damages. This is different from “no fault” states where your insurance company has to pay a certain amount of damages irrespective of fault.
Because Louisiana is an “at fault” state it places a lot of importance on (1) the other driver having adequate insurance and (2) you having underinsured or underinsured (UM) coverage to pay for additional damages owed to you.
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to gather the information to show the other driver was at fault.
Can I recover money for my medical bills?
You can recover medical expenses and bills as damages from the at-fault driver. In serious cases, the other driver may not have enough insurance to cover your medical expenses. If that is your case, you may need to look to your UM coverage, health insurance, and recovering money from the other driver’s personal assets to make you whole.
If you have questions about your medical bills or medical treatment, our attorneys are more than happy to speak with you.
After an accident, it is important that you get the medical help that you need. Immediately following the accident, you should call 911 to report the accident. Be sure to inform the operator if you need medical assistance and fully describe the extent of your injuries.
Can I recover money for lost wages?
Similar to medical expenses, you can also recover money for wages and income lost as a result of the accident.
You will need to prove that your injuries were severe enough to prevent you from working your regular job. You will also need to prove the amount of wages you would have earned had you not been injured. For salaried workers, this may not have been all that difficult. For workers who do not have a steady paycheck, you will need to prove what you would have likely earned during the time your missed from work.
What if I am unable to work when my case settles?
In some cases, the worker will still be unable to work when their case settles. In these cases, we will look to the client’s doctor’s opinion about when he or she will be able to return to work to determine an acceptable amount for future lost wages.
Sometimes, a client will be permanently unable to return to their regular job due to their injuries. These cases are more complicated and may require the assistance of an economist and vocational expert to prove future lost earnings.
Can I recover disability benefits after a car accident?
In some cases, you can recover disability benefits following a car accident. There are several types of disability benefits. You are probably aware of Social Security disability benefits. In addition, you should check to see if your employer provides you with short-term or long-term disability benefits.
Our attorneys handle all sorts of disability claims and can assist you through the disability application process.
What types of damages can I recover?
People injured in a car accident may be able to recover several different types of damages.
Our attorneys are more than happy to walk you through the damages you may be able to recover from your accident.
Am I entitled to have my vehicle repaired or replaced?
The at-fault driver’s insurance should pay for you to repair your vehicle. In the event your car has been totaled, you should receive the fair market value to replace it.
Insurance companies often want to deny or underpay property damage claims. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to pay for property damage, you should consult with an attorney and seek to recover repair costs from your own insurance company. In some cases, you may have a viable bad faith claim for wrongful refusal to pay a claim.
Am I entitled to a rental car?
Not all insurance policies provide coverage for a rental car. You will need a lawyer to review the other driver’s insurance policy to see if there is rental car coverage.
If the at-fault driver does not have rental car coverage, your own policy may provide rental car coverage.
What happens if you have a car note?
A car note is an independent obligation separate from your property damage claim. The value of your property damage claim is not based on the amount you owe. Rather, it is based on the market value of the automobile prior to the accident. If, following an accident, your car is totaled and paid out based on the value of the vehicle, you may still have to pay any outstanding amounts owed on a car note.
Sadly, your loss payment may not be enough to pay the entire amount of your car note.
If you are concerned that your settlement may not be enough to cover your expenses, contact us to discuss your claim.
Does my health insurance company have a lien on my recovery?
This is a difficult question that depends on the specifics of your claim. In many cases, you will need to reimburse your health insurance company for at least a portion of what was paid. This is also the case for medical expenses paid by government programs such as Medicare.
If you are concerned about a medical lien, a lawyer can help you understand your options.
You should follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations
Following your physician’s recommendations is important in a personal injury case. Ignoring or not complying with your doctor’s recommendations can significantly harm your personal injury case. In some situations, such as when you have been recommended an aggressive form of surgery, you may want to get a second opinion. Many doctors will provide you with a few treatment options when you have a condition that requires surgery. Even then, it is important that you comply with treatment recommendations.
Can you help me find a doctor?
Some clients come to us with health complaints that have not been fully diagnosed. In these situations, we may recommend a medical provider to evaluate or treat you.
What if I was involved in a hit-and-run or hit by an uninsured driver.
In Louisiana, your insurance company must provide you the opportunity to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage is meant to provide coverage for things like hit and run accidents or when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. If you do not have UM coverage, your only claim is against the driver who hit you.
We recommend that all motorist in Louisiana purchase UM coverage. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists and UM coverage fills in the coverage gap left by uninsured motorists.
What if the other driver does not have enough insurance to pay your damages?
UM coverage also provides coverage for underinsured motorists. Louisiana has one of the lowest minimal coverage requirements in the nation: $15,000.00 liability and $25,000.00 property damage. In many accidents, your damages will exceed the minimal coverage amounts. When that is the case, UM coverage can help fully compensate you for your damages.
GATHERING INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT
At the accident scene, take as many photographs as you can. This includes photographs of the vehicles, license plates, intersections, skid marks, insurance cards, and anything else that may be relevant.
You should also be sure to obtain the contact information of the other driver, passengers, and witnesses to the accident.
If a police officer arrives to the scene, you should be sure to provide as much information as possible and attempt to gather information from the police officer.
LOUISIANA AUTO ACCIDENT LAWS
Louisiana Is an At Fault State
Louisiana is an “at fault” state for auto insurance claims. This means that the insurance company for the party responsible for causing the accident is legally responsible for the other person’s damages.
One issue we often deal with is if there is a dispute over who was at fault. In these situations, your insurance company should pay your damages up to the coverage in your policy.
Negligence in a Car Accident
To recover damages from a motor vehicle accident you need to prove that another driver somehow negligently cased both the accident and your damages. To win a negligence claim you need to prove four different factors:
The doctrine of comparative fault applies in all personal injury cases in Louisiana. This means that a plaintiff’s award will be reduced or offset by the amount of that he or she was negligent. In most cases, it will be up to a jury to determine the percentage that the plaintiff was at fault.
Some accidents occur because a motorist was in violation of a law, rule, or ordinance. When there happens, the legal doctrine of negligence per se may apply. This permits the court and jury to presume that the defendant in a case was negligent.
Louisiana’s No Pay No Play Law
A Louisiana resident is legally required to maintain auto insurance. The minimal amount of liability insurance required in Louisiana is presently $15,000.00 for bodily injury with $30,000.00 for cases involving multiple claimants. Louisiana also requires a person to have a minimum of $25,000.00 in coverage for property damage.
If a person without insurance is involved in an accident, Louisiana’s No Pay No Play law does not allow he or she to recover the first $15,000.00 in damages for bodily injury or the first $25,000.00 in property damage.
DUI ACCIDENTS IN LOUISIANA
Louisiana is a festive place with lots of celebrations. As a result, the rate of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities involving someone under the influence of alcohol is much higher than the national average.
In Louisiana, the victims of drunk drivers are permitted to recover punitive or exemplary damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to allow the court or jury to financially punish someone for their bad conduct. Punitive damages are paid in addition to all other types of damages including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.4 provides the standard to permit someone to recover punitive damages. It states that ““in addition to general and special damages, exemplary damages may be awarded upon proof that the injuries on which the action is based were caused by a wanton and reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others by a defendant whose intoxication while operating a motor vehicle was a cause in fact of the resulting injuries.”
To recover punitive damages, you do not have to prove that the other driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle. Instead, you only need to show that he or she was intoxicated to the point where they did not have full control of their faculties.
In many cases, first responders at the scene of the accident will be able to tell if one of the motorists is under the influence of alcohol. If you observe one of the motorists slurring their speech or acting erratically, you should be sure to inform a first responder.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Prior to starting this firm, our attorneys handled hundreds of personal injury cases for insurance companies. This experience allows us to understand our opponent’s playbook and helps us understand what it will take to maximize your recovery. It is our goal to maximize each client’s recovery and provide the personal and professional service each client deserves.
If you have been involved in an accident, we are available 24/7 for your telephone call. We will walk you through the claim process and help you get on a path to recovery.