Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer
Our primary mode of transportation is arguably the motor vehicle. We depend on our cars to get us around every day. Our cars are crucial to daily living, from going to work, school, or running important errands. Unfortunately, with so many people on the roads, accidents are bound to happen. If you are involved in a car accident, an attorney can help you sort through potential legal options.
Most people think about insurance after a car accident. After all, we have insurance to cover us in case of accidents in the first place. You might think you do not need an attorney to deal with an insurance company, but you would be surprised by how legally complex the insurance process can be. If an insurance settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit might be needed to recover compensation. Lawsuits can be incredibly complex, and a lawyer may be necessary.
After being injured in a car accident, you might be wondering how you will pay for your recovery and your damaged vehicle. Our Louisiana car accident lawyers are here to help you get the financial compensation you need. Call the offices of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (225) 269-8930 for a free case review.
Filing an Insurance Claim for a Louisiana Car Accident
Many injured drivers turn to insurance after a car accident. Different states have different rules regarding how insurance operates in car accident cases. In no-fault states, drivers are compensated through their own insurance first and may only file a lawsuit if specific conditions are present. Louisiana, however, is an at-fault state that requires injured drivers to file claims with the other driver’s insurance. This method also requires you to prove to the insurance company that the other driver is at fault for the accident.
Dealing with an insurance company is rarely easy, especially when it is someone else’s insurance company. Remember, the insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. They are looking out for their own interests, which often means trying to get out of paying. You must prove your case to the insurance company in much the same way you would in a courtroom, with evidence. Our Louisiana car accident lawyers can help you communicate with insurance companies to help you get the most compensation possible for your case.
Lawsuits for Car Accidents in Louisiana
In no-fault states, drivers are often required to pursue an insurance claim before they are allowed to consider a lawsuit. Because Louisiana is an at-fault state, drivers can choose to pursue insurance claims or file a personal injury lawsuit. You can even try negotiating with the insurance company first before filing a lawsuit when negotiations break down.
Louisiana requires that personal injury plaintiffs file within a specific amount of time. This law, known as a statute of limitations, requires that you file your complaint within 1 year of your accident. With such a small window of time, it is important to act quickly after an accident.
To file a complaint, you must identify the party or parties you wish to hold liable. While you might think this is an obvious choice, our Louisiana car accident attorneys can help you determine the most appropriate defendant. You can sue the driver that hit you or another driver who did not hit you but otherwise caused the accident.
For example, a defendant could be someone who negligently cut you off in traffic, causing you to slam your brakes and get rear-ended by a vehicle behind you. You did not cause the accident, nor did the driver who rear-ended you. However, you can also sue the vehicle behind you in this scenario if they were negligent in driving too close to you or riding your bumper.
Evidence for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana
Filing a lawsuit means taking your car accident to a court of law. the proceedings leading up to your trial and the trial itself are extremely formal, official affairs that demand adherence to strict procedures. Courts are very rigid when it comes to evidence. You must have enough evidence to support your claims, and the evidence must be legally admissible. Our Louisiana car accident attorneys are very familiar with the kind of evidence common in car accident cases, and we can help you prepare your case for trial.
Because you have such a limited time to file your case in the first place, evidence collecting should begin almost immediately. If you are not too seriously injured, you can exit your vehicle after an accident, snap some photos, and record videos of the scene on your phone. This is important because emergency personnel typically clear accident scenes rather quickly in the interest of highway safety.
In Louisiana, drivers are legally required to report accidents to the police if there is injury, death, or serious property damage. When the police arrive on the scene, they will speak to the drivers involved and anyone nearby who might have witnessed the accident. Police reports cannot be used as evidence in court because they are based on information provided to the police by other people, thus making them hearsay. However, you can use a police report as a guide to what evidence you need for your case.
Criminal Charges Related to Car Accidents in Louisiana
Car accidents are not always purely civil matters. In some cases, the accident leads to criminal charges for drivers. If your defendant was charged with a crime concerning your accident, your case might be a bit more complicated. Talk to our Louisiana car accident attorneys about handling a civil lawsuit where your defendant is also criminally charged.
Criminal charges related to car accidents can include hit-and-run incidents, vehicular homicide, and DUIs or DWIs. Charges like DUIs are often misdemeanors, although felony charges might be assessed under more serious circumstances like serious injury or death. Vehicular homicide is often a felony, while hit-and-run accidents may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.
Contrary to popular belief, accident victims have no control over whether the other driver is criminally charged. You and your attorney have no power to “press charges.” However, you may be asked to cooperate with law enforcement in a criminal investigation into the cause of your accident. Ultimately, a prosecutor will assess charges against negligent drivers.
If a defendant faces criminal charges connected to a car accident, it is sometimes smart to wait until the criminal case is resolved before pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. If the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, the guilty disposition can be used against them in civil court. Keep in mind that personal injury lawsuits are under a 1-year statute of limitations, so you should consult with our Louisiana car accident lawyers about whether you should wait.
Call Our Louisiana Car Accident Lawyers for Advice
If you were hurt in a car accident, the defendant should be held liable and made to pay. Our Louisiana car accident attorneys know how to get plaintiffs the compensation they need to recover. Call the offices of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (225) 269-8930 for a free case review.