Helping Auto Crash Victims in NOLA Recover Damages and Obtain Justice
Were you or someone you love involved in a car crash in NOLA? We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Bloom Legal today to schedule a consultation with an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer and learn more about your rights as an auto accident victim and options for recovery.
Auto Accidents: An All-Too-Common Occurrence
The attorneys at our New Orleans car accident law firm know that car crashes are a fact of life. From minor fender benders in a parking lot, to serious fatalities on the freeway, odds are high that you – or someone you know – have been involved in at least one auto accident.
When personal injuries or property damage occur in a car accident, however, things can get messy. Who is responsible? Whose insurance policy covers what damage?
Things can get even more complicated when the car crash involves hitting someone on a bicycle, or driving a motorcycle, or simply walking along the road or crossing the street. Bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents often mean serious personal injuries to those victims. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are common here.
What is a Car Accident Lawsuit?
A car accident lawsuit is a legal proceeding filed by an injury victim (the “plaintiff”) against the person, people, or companies (the “defendants”) they believe were responsible for the accident and the injuries that resulted. The plaintiff files a document called a “Complaint” in which they set forth the allegations to support their claim that the defendant acted negligently or was otherwise at fault, and makes a demand that the defendant pay damages for the losses they caused. Since it is often difficult to know the full extent of damages (for such things as medical bills or lost wages) at the beginning of the lawsuit, the demand is usually for an open-ended amount to be proven later.
After a defendant answers the complaint, the lawsuit continues through “discovery,” during which the parties exchange documents and information and take depositions of the parties, witnesses, treating doctors, and expert witnesses to build their case. One or both parties may feel that the evidence supports a judgment in their favor without the need for a trial and ask the court for summary judgment. Otherwise, the case will proceed to a trial before a judge and jury if the parties don’t reach a negotiated settlement.
At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will come back with a decision in which they find either that the plaintiff did not prove that the defendant was at fault or that the defendant was, in fact, wholly or partially responsible for the plaintiff’s losses. If the decision is in favor of the plaintiff, an award of damages will also be made.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
The damages that a plaintiff can recover in a car accident lawsuit are designed to compensate them for both the out-of-pocket, tangible costs they incurred as a result of the accident as well as more intangible losses such as the pain and suffering they endured or continue to experience because of the crash. Damages can include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including rehabilitation and long-term care
- Lost wages and the loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage and repairs
What Your New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer Needs to Prove in Order to Recover Damages
To recover compensation in a car accident lawsuit, your attorney must demonstrate the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The defendant was negligent: A plaintiff proves the defendant’s negligence by showing that he or she was unreasonably careless or violated a safety rule, such as a speed limit law or a law against drunk driving.
- The driver’s negligence was the direct cause of the crash. The plaintiff needs to show that the car accident was caused in whole or in part by the defendant’s irresponsible or unlawful actions.
- The accident caused losses. The plaintiff needs to prove that the injuries they suffered and losses they incurred were a result of the accident the defendant caused.
- There is evidence to support the amount of claimed losses. The plaintiff needs to present sufficient evidence to support the amount of damages they are seeking. This can involve everything from bills and invoices to experts who will testify about the loss of future earnings or the costs of ongoing medical treatment to the plaintiff and their loved ones testifying about the impact the accident has had on their quality of life.
Will There Be a Trial?
The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases, including car accident lawsuits, end through settlement rather than a trial. An estimated 95% of such cases are resolved this way. The parties can engage in negotiations at any stage, from before the filing of the lawsuit all the way through the trial itself. Most car accident defendants are represented by attorneys who actually represent the defendant’s car insurance company. These companies are determined to pay as little as possible in claims and will try to avoid paying any damages whatsoever.
Insurance companies know that injury victims need money and need it fast and therefore will often make lowball settlement offers far below the amount to which the plaintiff is entitled. That is why you should never, ever negotiate with another driver’s insurance company without an attorney. Your New Orleans car accident lawyer will know all of the insurance company’s tricks and tactics and build the strongest possible case to convince the insurer to pay what they owe for their driver’s negligence.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana?
There is a reason that Louisiana personal injury lawyers urge car accident injury victims to act quickly if they want to seek compensation. If you wait too long to file your lawsuit, you will lose any right to damages and will be left without any remedy at all. This is due to what is known as statute of limitations in most states, or prescription in Louisiana. In Louisiana, car accident injury victims must file their lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident. That time frame can be even shorter if the defendant is a government entity or employee.
How Much Will a Car Accident Lawyer Cost Me?
Most car accident lawyers, including Bloom Legal, represent injury victims on a contingency fee basis. This means that whether the attorney gets paid is entirely contingent on whether he or he is successful in obtaining compensation for their injured client. If your lawyer does not get compensation for you, you have no obligation to compensate them for their time and efforts.
But if your injury lawyer is successful in obtaining compensation for you, whether through a negotiated settlement or after a contested trial, he or she will get paid out of those proceeds. The amount that they will receive for fees is based on a percentage of the recovery as outlined in the contingent fee agreement you’ll enter into at the time you hire your injury lawyer. Also, your attorney will take any costs or expenses they incurred in pursuing your claim out of the compensation they recover for you.
Common Auto Accidents Questions
Call Today for a Free Consultation With a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer
Proving a distracted driving case can be difficult, but you can use many different kinds of evidence to make your case. If the other driver was texting or talking on a cell phone, for example, you can obtain telephone records from his service provider that show that the calls or texts were sent at the time of the accident. A personal injury lawyer with experience handling motor vehicle accidents New Orleans, LA and who is well-versed in state law and local insurance laws can help you to obtain this type of evidence, as well as assist with interviewing witnesses, retaining experts and obtaining police reports.
If you have proof that the other driver caused your injuries due to distracted driving, you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the driver’s insurance company. The insurer may be willing to pay for your losses without going to court, but be sure to have the settlement paperwork reviewed by your lawyer so you do not accept less compensation than you deserve. If you cannot agree to a settlement, a New Orleans car accident lawyer will help you prove your claim in court.
Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you in obtaining justice for your auto injuries. We are available around the clock by calling 504-599-9997 or reaching out to us online.
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I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie