After most car accidents in New Orleans, the victim will file a claim with the responsible driver’s auto insurance in order to recover damages for a range of impacts. While accident claims are framed as a legal process for the injured party to seek fair compensation, the reality is more complex than that. Adjusters working on behalf of insurance companies focus most of their efforts on finding the minimum dollar amount necessary to settle a claim, not finding every dollar that a victim is rightfully owed. Working with a car accident attorney is arguably one of the most important steps to take after a car accident (once your immediate medical needs are addressed).
Hurt in a Car Accident?
Motor vehicle accidents are extremely disruptive to the lives of each victim, and the impacts are unique to each individual depending on many different factors such as the extent of their injuries, the financial losses the vehicle accident causes, and more. A victim is entitled to seek compensation for each of these impacts after a Louisiana car wreck, but a legal right does not ensure that they will be awarded all they are owed. In fact, you may recognize fairly early into your accident claim that the adjuster is working aggressively to pay far less than you deserve and encouraging you to settle as quickly as possible.
Partner With a Car Accident Attorney Today
When you are working with a New Orleans car accident lawyer, the adjuster will understand that you are not willing to accept a lowball offer and that you are working with an experienced professional who knows what it takes to get the money you deserve.
Contact Our New Orleans, Louisiana Law Firm For a Free Consultation
One of the most helpful things to do after a New Orleans, LA car accident is to speak with a personal injury attorney about your situation. To make this step as simple and accessible as possible, we offer a free consultation with a car accident lawyer at our law firm. During this consultation, you will be able to discuss the range of details that make your case unique, such as the nature of the crash, the type of injuries you have suffered, the impacts of your injuries, and more.
Get the Advice You Need
Once the car accident lawyer has a better understanding of your situation, they will be able to explain how personal injury cases work and offer specific advice and suggestions about your own circumstances. Call now to start working towards a positive outcome as soon as possible.
If We Don’t Win, You Don’t Pay
One of the main reasons that someone may not hire accident attorneys for a car accident case is that they do not think it is within their financial abilities. As medical expenses keep mounting and lost wages keep increasing, it’s understandable that it can be difficult to think about hiring an experienced professional to help you through your accident claims. This is why our law firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we do not charge anything up front, and will take payment in the form of a percentage of your final award. If we do not win your case, you do not need to pay anything.
We Have You Covered
When you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident such as getting comprehensive medical treatment, trying to manage your missed days of work, juggling calls with insurers, police, doctors, and your employer, AND trying to take the right steps to recover money from your injury claim, you can quickly become overwhelmed.
Speculating about what the future may hold can cause unnecessary and harmful stress to an already difficult situation, and insurance companies use this discomfort as leverage to reach a quick settlement, only for a victim to realize later that they are shouldering a significant amount of the financial burden that the other driver’s dangerous behavior caused.
You Are Not Alone
Help is here. Read more below about the importance of working with a personal injury professional after an auto accident in New Orleans, Louisiana, and contact us immediately to get the support you deserve after a motor vehicle accident.
Why Work With Car Accident Lawyers?
Accident claims are, at first glance, fairly simple to handle: contact the other driver’s insurance company to report your auto accident, connect with an adjuster who will request a variety of information about your cases such as the extent of your medical bills and property damage, and then collect a check for the total before moving on with your life. Easy, right? Think again.
You Deserve More Than The Insurance Company Will Admit
While your medical bills and property damage are both important aspects of car accident cases, they barely scratch the surface of the many damages a victim is owed. However, many of the other damages are difficult to identify, either due to their difficulty to quantify in monetary terms or the simple fact that they are easily overlooked.
Car accident attorneys are highly skilled when it comes to identifying all damages their clients have suffered.
Don’t Miss the Details
When you have a car accident lawyer handling your personal injury claim, you will be shocked at the discrepancy between the offer from the insurance company and the damages that your attorney has calculated. An adjuster handling your case on behalf of the insurance company will be happy to discuss your medical bills and some of your lost income but will be quick to dismiss things like long-term impacts to your earnings as well as the many non-economic damages you are absolutely owed, such as your pain and suffering and the other emotional and psychological impacts that come with car accidents.
Stay Focused and Unswayed
The legal process that follows motor vehicle accidents is both complex and confusing, especially for someone who is unfamiliar with personal injury law. Once you understand that the insurance company is trying to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible, each interaction with the adjuster can cause unnecessary anxiety as you try to ensure that each statement you submit will not be misconstrued or used against you due to legal loopholes that insurance companies excel at exploiting for their own financial goals.
A car accident attorney understands Louisiana injury law how to protect your interests.
Prioritize Your Recovery
When you decide to work hard to recover the money that you rightfully deserve during injury claims, the amount of work you will need to do will increase substantially. To the advantage of the insurance company, this can be exceptionally difficult as you are attempting to recover from significant injuries, juggling disruptions to your work, and working on getting your personal life back to “normal.”
When your New Orleans car accident lawyer is dealing with the administrative details of your case, you can use this time and space to focus on your needs while staying confident about your chances of getting the money you deserve.
Get Answers When You Need Them
After a New Orleans, LA car wreck, trying to interpret legal documents, Louisiana personal injury laws, and how they relate to your own situation can be overwhelming, especially when your financial wellbeing is on the line. Many victims tend to second guess themselves as they try to push forward on their auto accident claim and oftentimes will accept a lower settlement than necessary because of this uncertainty.
Luckily, you can contact our law firm to get answers to your questions, updates about your case, and get the assurance you need to stay on track as our personal injury attorneys fight for the insurance payment you are owed.
Important Factors To Your Settlement in a Louisiana Personal Injury Case
The matter of fault is the first issue that must be resolved after New Orleans car accidents since this will determine which driver’s insurance company is liable to pay out the claim. Once the fault has been established, the victim will be able to move forward with a personal injury claim after their New Orleans car accident. There may still be some work to reach a final determination about the degree of fault that your car accident lawyer will need to carry on with during your claim, but the next step will be to calculate all of the damages you are owed.
The following sections will give you a better understanding of each step, their individual importance, and how they combine to create the entirety of your Louisiana car accident claim.
In some instances, determining who is at fault for an accident can be very straightforward, but this is not always the case. It is very important to call 911 as soon as your accident so a New Orleans police officer is able to investigate the crash, interview your, the other driver, and any eyewitnesses, and compile an accident report that includes their own determination about the cause.
Remember that this accident report is not the final word in determining fault, and your attorney will be able to clarify certain points to ensure that you are not held liable for any aspects of the car crash that you did not contribute to. This is just one of many tools to determine fault, and none are regarded as absolutely infallible.
Louisiana personal injury law accounts for something called “comparative fault” that allows for a victim to accept a portion of the blame for the accident while still being able to seek reasonable compensation for their damages. Once the total damages are calculated, they are reduced by the percent that the victim contributed to the crash.
For example, an individual who is hurt in a New Orleans crash caused by a driver taking a left turn into oncoming traffic is typically faulted for the crash; however, if the oncoming driver was speeding, they may be determined to be partially at fault. If they are assigned 10% of the blame, their final damages will be reduced by 10% in order to account for their comparative fault in the crash.
Comparative Fault As a Cost-Saving Tool For Insurance Companies
Comparative fault is an extremely helpful law, as the alternative would essentially bar a victim from seeking any compensation if they were even 1% to blame. However, insurance adjusters will use this tool to their advantage by attempting to pin as many percentage points as possible on the victim, therefore reducing their financial obligation accordingly. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to negotiate a fair proportion of fault without allowing the insurance company to avoid paying damages that you are absolutely entitled to.
Once fault has been established (or concurrently as the final percentages are being agreed upon), your New Orleans car accident lawyer will shift their focus to the damages you have suffered. Car accidents cause a wide range of damages that go beyond the obvious matters of property damage, medical bills, and lost wages, and your attorney will spend as much time as necessary researching these damages, quantifying their short-term and long-term impacts, and calculating a comprehensive settlement package for your situation.
Compensatory damages (the damages a personal injury victim is entitled to) are divided into two distinct parts: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the basis of your claim and include your medical bills, lost wages, and anything else that comes with a set, measurable dollar value. Since these types of damages are simple to measure in terms of their financial value, the most difficult aspect of these calculations is recognizing and cataloging each of the many damages a victim suffers. This includes services and products a New Orleans victim needs to pay for in order to help them perform their otherwise routine tasks such as shopping, cleaning, or driving, as well as assistive devices like crutches, accessibility ramps, and more.
In the event of a wrongful death, surviving family members will be able to seek compensation for additional financial impacts like funeral costs and the loss of long-term financial support from the deceased.
There are many other economic damages that you may be legally entitled to in Louisiana, and your New Orleans car accident lawyer will take the time necessary to account for each before moving on to negotiations with the insurance company.
Non-economic damages are the impacts of a Louisiana car accident that do not have dollar values, and in many cases are extremely abstract and difficult to quantify in terms of severity. These damages include things like the pain and suffering of your injuries, as well as the emotional impacts of Louisiana car accidents such as the trauma of the experience, the loss of enjoyment as your injuries impede your ability to pursue meaningful activities, the depression that comes with such a major disruption, and more.
As you can imagine, it is very difficult to assign a dollar value to something as subjective and abstract as “depression,” but an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer has a number of tools at their disposal to do just that. They will identify the most effective tool to seek the maximum reasonable damages for your New Orleans car accident.
Settlement or Next Steps
Once your New Orleans attorney has calculated all of your damages for your car accident, they will be able to make a comprehensive counter-offer to the initial settlement offer presented by the insurance adjuster. You will be shocked at the difference between the two figures and will quickly recognize the difference between how insurers and attorneys handle car accidents in New Orleans.
In most situations, a New Orleans attorney will attempt to reach a settlement negotiation with the insurer in order to avoid the complex and arduous process of bringing a lawsuit through the Louisiana courts. There are a number of situations where an attorney may choose to go straight to a lawsuit, such as accidents with uninsured motorists or when they believe there is a good chance for punitive damages, but typically they will work through all possible negotiation channels first.
Navigating the Negotiation Process
As your lawyer moves forward with negotiations, you will be able to work together to agree on the circumstances that will result in an agreement, when to push harder, or when to draft an official civil complaint to bring to court. Out-of-court settlements are commonly less than lawsuit awards because they avoid all of the additional work required for a Louisiana lawsuit, but there are instances (particularly involving high-profile defendants such as celebrities or corporations) where a substantial settlement payment is made in order to avoid the details of the case going public.
Of course, these are extremely specific instances, and you will be able to get a better understanding of all options once you are working with an attorney with a history of successful accident cases.
Contact Our Law Firm Today For a Case Evaluation
You do not need to go through this process alone, and by partnering with the accident attorneys at our firm today, you can save yourself significant anxiety while maximizing your chances of getting fair compensation for the many impacts of your car accident. The sooner you schedule your free consultation, the sooner we can begin fighting for what you are rightfully owed. You do not deserve to take on the financial impacts of someone else’s dangerous behavior.