Most often, accident victims will file a claim with the at-fault’s representative insurance company. However, there are many instances in Louisiana and throughout the United States where the victim will need to seek compensation directly from the other party. Regardless of how you will seek repayment, you can be assured of one thing: the team you are seeking compensation from will be attempting to settle your case for as little as possible. Whether or not someone is injured, it steps to take. Your top priority should be your health, but many victims try to push through their pain and suffering to keep their income steady and to avoid the possibility of crippling debt from medical bills. The sooner you connect with our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers, the sooner you can make sense of your situation and get a better idea of what the future may hold for your case. The Louisiana State Legislature’s revised statutes provide a legal pathway for comprehensive compensation for a range of damages that go beyond the most obvious things like wages and bills and include things like the emotional and physiological impacts that a personal injury victim must also endure. Personal injury lawyers spend their careers focusing on recovering these damages for their clients, and the team at our Baton Rouge office has the case history to show it.
Many people believe that hiring a Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer is beyond their financial means — especially as their bills are mounting and they continue to feel the impact of lost wages — but this could not be further from the truth. Our Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm operates on contingency fees, which means that your personal injury attorney will collect a predetermined percent of your final award. You are not responsible for any out-of-pocket costs, and you will not pay a dollar if your personal injury attorneys don’t win. A proven and aggressive team of Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers is within your reach, as is the settlement you are rightfully entitled to.
Read more below to get a better understanding of Louisiana personal injury law, and contact our firm as soon as possible to get started on your case today.
Understanding the Necessary Factors of Louisiana Personal Injuries
In order to understand how personal injury cases work, it is important to break down the key factors that must be present in an accident for a victim to seek compensation. These high-level elements of a personal injury case can sometimes be confusing to apply to your own situation, so contact us today to connect with a personal injury lawyer near you.
1. The At-Fault Party Owed the Victim a Duty of Care
First, what is a duty of care? According to the Legal Information Institute, a duty of care is “the expectation that an individual must act in the same manner as a reasonably prudent person in their position would.” Depending on the activity you are engaged in, this could be the expectation not to assault someone in public or the expectation to use reasonable care while driving your vehicle to avoid an accident. As you can imagine, the duty of care will vary greatly depending on the nature of an individual’s activities.
2. The Defendant Failed To Uphold Their Duty of Care
When a driver exceeds the legal blood alcohol concentration before getting behind the wheel, or a pharmacist fills the wrong prescription for a patient, these are both failures of their respective duties of care. However, the failure alone does not open up a civil case, although they may need to work with a criminal defense team if they are charged with a crime. A criminal case does not, however, invalidate a civil case; there are many instances of civil and criminal cases for the same event, and may even end in different verdicts due to the different burdens of proof in criminal and civil courts.
3. The Failure Caused an Accident
If a drunk driver makes it home without incident or is arrested for DUI without causing a crash, there is no personal injury. Likewise, if a pharmacist prescribes the wrong medication, but there are no adverse side effects, there may not be damages or injuries for anyone to seek compensation for. If, however, the drunk driver causes an accident or the medication causes injuries, this will open the door to seeking compensatory damages.
4. This Accident Caused Measurable Damages
Legally, “damages” are not limited to physical injuries, although these are typically the best indicator that the injured party has suffered measurably. When you file a claim with an insurance company, they will try to focus on the most obvious damages like your medical expenses and lost wages, but an experienced Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer knows the wide range of damages that victims are entitled to and will work to account for all of them during their investigation and settlement negotiations.
Proving Fault After a Personal Injury
Before you can reasonably move forward with an injury claim with the insurance company, you will first need to establish the matter of fault: who caused the accident? In some instances, such as a medical injury where you could not have possibly contributed to the error, this can be a fairly straightforward process. In other instances, a personal injury attorney will need to work hard to ensure that their clients do not accept liability for anything they did not contribute. Louisiana uses a law known as “comparative fault,” which states that “If a person suffers injury, death, or loss as the result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of another person or persons, the amount of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.”
This is a valuable tool when you are partially responsible for the accident because you are not barred from seeking financial relief, but insurance companies use this law in order to reduce the amount they pay out by trying to pin as much fault on the victim as possible. This is especially common after a car accident or truck accident when the exact cause may be somewhat vague or uncertain. Your personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure that you do not accept any fault you are not responsible for.
Calculating Damages After a Baton Rouge, Louisiana Personal Injury
Once the matter of fault has been established, the next step is to calculate the many damages victims will encounter. Whether the situation is a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice issue, or other personal injury case, attorneys spend a substantial amount of their time investigating the damages their clients have suffered to make sure they are compensated fairly. Civil cases seek compensatory damage after accidents, although there is another category called “punitive damages” awarded in rare instances and only by a judge or jury. These damages are meant to punish the defendant, not precisely compensate the victim. So a personal injury attorney will not include these types of damages in their negotiations or lawsuit filing.
Compensatory damages are sub-divided into two distinct parts, discussed below:
Economic damages are the basis of your Baton Rouge claim and seek compensation for damages that have measurable dollar values. This includes things like medical bills, lost wages, and any services or assistance that you may need to hire in order to assist you with your daily tasks during the recovery process. These damages are paid on a 1:1 basis, meaning there is no “extra” amount you can seek under this category. Most often, your insurance company will recover the money they have paid out through your coverage before the rest is distributed between your personal injury lawyers and yourself.
While these damages are easier to measure because of their numerical values, it can be challenging to identify ALL economic damages after a Baton Rouge car accident or other personal injury. Your injury lawyers will be able to go through all aspects of your life to track down each financial impact that the accident has had to ensure that you do not take on the financial burden of someone else’s dangerous behaviors.
Non-economic damages are much more complicated to calculate, because these damages do not have measurable dollar values. In many cases, they do not have simple ways to quantify at all. These damages include things like the degree of physical pain and suffering you have endured for each injury, any decrease to your enjoyment of life, fear and depression following a traumatic event like a car accident, and the loss of companionship in the event of the wrongful death of a loved one. As you can imagine, it is difficult to measure something as abstract as “depression” or “pain and suffering,” but Louisiana law allows for a number of tools that will do just that.
Negotiating a Settlement
Once these damages are calculated, the next step will be negotiating a settlement with the insurance companies or the at-fault party’s attorneys. Commonly, the calculations that your attorney has reached will be far higher than the offer from the insurance entity, meaning that careful negotiation will be required to reach an agreement that works for you without needing a lawsuit or trial. That said, your attorney will be prepared to file a lawsuit in the Louisiana courts if necessary and fight for the maximum damages you are entitled to under the law.
Our Practice Areas
The following practice areas are just a few high-level examples of the types of injuries our Baton Rouge law firm and attorneys represent. Whether you see your specific situation listed below, contact us today for your free consultation and case evaluation with a lawyer. Whether you want to visit our Baton Rouge office, do a video call with an attorney, or discuss your situation over the phone, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers are here to accommodate you. We are dedicated to serving Baton Rouge injury victims in ways that help them focus on their recovery while we fight for maximum compensation for the damages suffered from their avoidable accident.
After a car accident, you will need to go through an insurance claim to recover many personal injury damages. Typically, insurance companies will focus on things like damage to your car and your prominent medical bills. You deserve more than this, and your Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer will work to ensure that you get what you are entitled to as you work with our law firm.
A motorcycle crash typically causes much more harm to a rider than a car accident, even at a similar speed, simply because a motorcycle offers no structural protection. Your Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer will need to ensure that these extra injuries are correctly quantified and accounted for.
Your Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer will be able to help you understand the specific complexities of truck accidents, but the most important thing to recognize is that commercial insurance companies typically have much higher policy limits and many more details that must be addressed by an experienced lawyer before reaching a settlement agreement.
Slip and Fall Injuries
When you enter someone else’s property, whether in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or anywhere else in Louisiana, you have every right under the law to expect that they have taken the necessary precautions to provide you with a safe, hazard-free visit (provided you are there legally). Premises liability cases come in many forms, but one of the most common is a slip, trip, and fall injury where a victim slips on a wet or slick surface.
When licensed medical professionals provide care and treatment to their clients, they are expected to act in a reasonable and prudent manner to keep their clients from being injured in avoidable ways. This does not mean that a doctor must guarantee a recovery from existing issues but does require that they provide care that is established and accepted in the greater medical community. Your lawyer will work to prove their fault.
If a victim is fatally injured, the case is handled similarly to any other personal injury case, but the damages are awarded to the family members and dependents left behind. In addition, there are a range of damages that the surviving loved ones can seek, such as the loss of long-term financial support of the deceased. Our law firm is here to help you through this challenging time, and working with a compassionate lawyer can give you the space you need to focus on your family.
Workers’ compensation claims are not handled in the same manner as personal injury cases because workers’ comp functions as a “no-fault” insurance policy for both the employer AND employee. If a worker is injured on a job site or while performing work-related tasks, economic damages are paid out without accounting for fault and block an employee from suing their employer (in most instances). Your lawyer will be able to explore the range of possibilities to identify the best path forward.
Contact Our Baton Rouge Personal Injury Law Firm For a Free Consultation Today
Whether your injury took place in Baton Rouge, LA 70808, New Orleans, or other areas in Louisiana, you can rest assured that there is an attorney at our firm who is ready to take your case. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin fighting for the money you rightfully deserve after suffering unnecessarily because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence.