New Orleans Car Accident Lawyers Helping Crash Victims 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–even in a fender bender. 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 in Louisiana
The auto accident attorneys at our New Orleans law firm know that car crashes are a fact of life. From minor collisions 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. We’re here to help you make sense of your claim and pursue as much damages as possible whether through the insurance company settlement or a claim against the other driver.
The First Steps to Take After a Car Accident
In the aftermath of an auto accident, you should not leave the scene of the crash. This is required to avoid being charged with the crime of hit-and-run. You should also contact law enforcement to come to the collision scene.
- Calling the police is important, as it provides you with a way to report the accident and ensure you get a detailed police report that explains how the crash occurred. A law enforcement officer may ticket a driver who was believed to have broken the rules of the road. The officer can perform testing as well, such as a breath test, if there is reason to believe one of the motorists at the crash scene was intoxicated. The evidence collected by the police and the information from the police report could prove to be very useful later when dealing with your car accident claim.
- When possible, you should take pictures at the crash scene of the vehicle, the damage to the cars and the area where the collision occurred. All of this can help you demonstrate the crash cause, which may be important if you are trying to show that the other driver was to blame when attempting to recover compensation.
- Getting medical attention is also essential after an accident. You’ll want to make sure you see a doctor because not all serious injuries immediately manifest with symptoms. You could have a severe head injury or internal bleeding and be unaware of the extent of your injuries if you do not seek prompt medical attention.
- The doctor you see in the aftermath of the accident should keep detailed medical records of the injuries you sustained, as well as your treatment regimen. These medical records can help prove that you sustained serious injuries and that those serious injuries were a result of the accident—both of which will be useful when trying to gain compensation.
- Finally, you should report the accident to your own insurer and contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You’ll need to report the crash to your own insurer, so you have coverage in case you are found to be at fault for the accident, or in case the other driver has no insurance and you want to make a claim on any uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy. You are encouraged to call a lawyer early on so that they can help you deal with insurers and make certain you do not inadvertently do anything to damage your accident claim.
What Compensation Can You Recover with the Help of a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer?
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 their injuries. 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 Should I Tell the Insurance Company About My Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident or other personal injury one of the first things you’ll likely do is contact your insurance company. It’s why you have insurance after all, right?
However, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They employ a number of tactics to keep their coverage payments down. You’ll want to be prepared before you talk to your insurance company, since what you say can have an impact on the payment you receive.
The best thing to do is talk to a personal injury lawyer as early on as possible. They can help you navigate dealing with the insurance company, and in many cases represent on your behalf.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when dealing with your insurance company:
- Do not provide a statement without consulting an attorney first. When you first call your insurance company to report your accident they will likely want to take a statement. Do not provide a statement without consulting an attorney first. Only give them basic information. Tell them you’ve been involved in an accident and where it happened. Provide the name and insurance information of the other person(s) involved in the accident.
- If the insurance agent asks whether you were injured do not give a definitive yes or no answer. Some injuries can show up at a later time even if you initially think you were not injured. Always consult a doctor following an accident or injury. It is important to take care of your health and receive a full diagnosis before reporting any injuries to the insurance company. If you relay your injuries to the insurance company and then later find out about another injury, you may not be able to receive the full compensation you deserve.
- Be careful not to admit fault in any way. Even if you think you were at fault, there may be other factors that you don’t know about. Even saying something like “I didn’t see them” or “It was an accident” may be considered an admission of guilt.
- Do not agree to any recorded conversations.
- Never sign any settlement without consulting an attorney first. Insurance companies love to call you up and say “I have a check for $5000 with your name on it! Tell me where to send it!” You may be tempted to take the money since injuries are often expensive, however this is a common insurance negotiation tactic following an accident. Once you’ve accepted a settlement you cannot receive further compensation for that incident—even if you learn later your injury was worth more. The insurance companies know this, and will often try to lowball you on their offers.
What Happens in 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 Your New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer Needs to Prove in Order to Recover Damages
To recover compensation in an accident lawsuit, your car crash 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.
Common Auto Accidents Questions for Our Attorneys
Do I Need to Hire New Orleans Car Accident Attorneys After an Accident?
Hiring a car accident lawyer in the aftermath of an auto accident is very important. Victims need to understand how they can pursue an accident claim in order to gain appropriate compensation for damages. Oftentimes, insurance companies try to avoid paying accident victims all the money to which they may be entitled.
Insurance companies could try to disclaim liability for an accident, even if it was clearly caused by a policyholder. Insurers care about protecting profits, not about your health, so they may try to get you to say something that jeopardizes your claim for compensation. They may also attempt to get you to agree to a settlement that is far lower than what you deserve. If you agree to a low settlement, you may not be able to change your mind later.
A New Orleans car accident attorney can help you determine what your claim is worth, assist you in fighting for the compensation you deserve and help you prove your case. At Bloom Legal, we understand how much compensation victims should likely receive from injury claims, and we can help you evaluate settlement offers to determine if they are fair. We can also negotiate a better settlement with an insurer on your behalf, so you get the maximum in compensation possible without having to go to court.
Not only can our firm help you with a negotiated settlement, but we are also skilled litigators who are prepared and ready to fight for you in front of a judge and a jury. If you cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, we will go to court to prove your case for compensation. The attorneys at Bloom Legal will investigate the circumstances surrounding your auto accident, help you find expert witnesses and do everything possible to bring the strongest case on your behalf so you can obtain fair compensation.
You need to recover damages for your losses after a crash, as car accidents can cause you to experience thousands or even millions of dollars in damages. The person who hurt you should be responsible for covering these costs – not you.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Car accidents occur far more frequently than most people realize, which is why it is so important to be prepared for accidents and understand what to do in their aftermath. In fact, the latest data, which was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, revealed that there were 37,461 people killed in traffic accidents over the course of 2016 alone. This was a 5.6 percent increase compared with the prior year.
There are many different causes of motor vehicle collisions. NHTSA identified the leading causes of fatal crashes, which included:
- Driving while distracted: Approximately 3,450 fatalities were caused by distracted drivers in 2016.
- Drowsy driving accidents: Fatigued drivers killed an estimated 803 people in 2016.
- Driving while intoxicated: Drunk drivers were responsible for 10,497 fatalities. This was an increase of 1.7 percent compared with the year prior.
- Speeding: Drivers who traveled too fast caused approximately 10,111 fatalities in 2016.
Driving while distracted, drowsy or drunk can result in a motorist becoming responsible for any car accident that he or she causes due to their negligent behavior. A driver who is speeding can also be held legally liable for causing a crash to happen. Accident victims will need to prove that the driver was unreasonably careless or violated safety rules in order to hold the motorist accountable for the crash.
Do Car Accident Claims Frequently Go to 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.
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 an Auto Accident Claim in Louisiana?
There is a reason that Louisiana 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 New Orleans 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 accident 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.
Call Today for a Free Consultation With a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
Our law firm is knowledgeable and experienced in all motor vehicle accident cases–from fender benders to DUI accidents to rideshare crashes and more. We’re happy to evaluate your claim for free and let you know what is your best legal option. Schedule a 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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Posted By: Zachary Klos