There was a time when we felt like folks who were organized and comfortable with figures and negotiations could handle simple, clear liability claims involving minor injuries without the assistance of counsel. Those days are long gone now, and the unfortunate truth is that the claims industry has changed substantially. The system has grown more complex and less user friendly. The primary problem is that crash victims believe the insurance company wants the same things they do, namely a fair and efficient, early resolution to their claim. But insurers are driven solely by profits, and there is overwhelming internal pressure within insurance claims offices to achieve the lowest possible cost per claim. These pressures result in development of strategies and techniques to push the boundaries of ethical behavior, to purposefully stall and delay claims, to fail to advise claimants accurately as to their rights, in short, to take every possible advantage of insurer’s knowledge, familiarity, databases and bargaining position to force claimants into resolving claims for well under accepted values. These practices are at their most egregious when what began as a small claim turns out to involve serious injuries that aren’t readily apparent, and the claimant learns too late that they have been taken advantage of in a case that now involves life-altering injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Initially, there is no out-of-pocket cost. Injury lawyers are typically paid at the end of the claim, after funds have been recovered for the claimant, from a percentage of the recovered funds. This allows injured crash victims to get legal counsel even where they may be in financial hardship due to accident injuries and interruption of work and income.
What types of personal injury cases do you take?
While car accidents make up a majority of our work, we handle all sorts of injury claims, including falls, motorcycle accidents, burn/explosion cases, medical negligence, assaults, defective product claims, and nearly any scenario that causes injury to our clients.
How long do personal injury cases take?
Because there is so much difference from one case to the next, there is no rule as to how long a case might take. Simple cases involving minor injuries often resolve in five to seven months, while in other cases the medical treatment alone may extend over a couple of years.
Will I have to go to court for my personal injury case?
Though suit is filed on many cases, the majority of cases still settle before trial. Court records establish that less than 10% of claims will go to full trial.
How can I pay for medical bills while by claim is pending?
We have a number of strategies to help address this question, and our resources and relationships in this area are one reason many of our clients return to us or refer their family members, who may need medical treatment but lack insurance or sufficient cash flow to obtain care. We can very often facilitate treatment that would be otherwise unavailable.
What damages am I entitled to recover for my personal injury claim?
Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 provides that the at-fault party owes all losses reasonably attributed to the accident, including lost wages, medical expenses, damage to property, pain & suffering, mental & emotional distress, future medical expenses and earnings impairment, and more. Some cases include fact patterns that may give rise to claims for penalty damages and attorney’s fees.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Louisiana has one of the shortest claim filing periods in the country. In many cases, your rights will be lost if suit is not filed within one year of the accident. Other claims, such as contract disputes, may provide for a longer time period.
What if I'm partially at fault?
Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state, meaning the judge or jury in a case may allocate fault among plaintiffs and defendants or even non-parties to the suit. A plaintiff found to be 10% at fault would still collect 90% of their damages, in most cases.
What factors determine how much my case is worth?
The value of the case is based on the type and degree of harm suffered, the cost to treat the injury or repair the damage. Case values may differ from one region or court to the next, and amount of recovery may be affected by amount of available insurance coverage. Each case has unique factors that will affect it’s value, and thus it’s best to speak to a lawyer with experience in the area where your case will be tried.
How do I maximize my personal injury settlement?
We are able to deliver the best value to our clients when they engage our services early after they have suffered a loss, and communicate well with us during treatment and pre-trial proceedings. Proper case management avoids mis-statements, confusion, and unnecessary delays, as well as minimizing the “dirty tricks” claims handlers often use on unrepresented claimants.
Who pays if I win my personal injury claim?
Typically, the insurer for the at-fault party will issue payment upon settlement or final judgment. We also have experience collecting judgments from uninsured defendants in certain cases.
Will my insurance go up after my teen gets in an accident?
Because teenagers are at such high risk of getting tickets and accidents, their insurance premiums are expensive. And under Louisiana law, insurance companies have the right to raise rates after even one moving violation or accident in which the driver is more than 50 percent at fault. But there are also steps the driver and their parents can take to minimize the damage.
Does my teenager have to take drivers ed in Louisiana?
Yes, to get licensed in Louisiana, teenagers must take a school or an alternative education program and complete a comprehensive driver training program. Louisiana requires minors to take 30 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel training with an approved instructor as part of the Graduated Driver Licensing Program. The program is designed to give teens more leeway to drive as they gain maturity, skill and experience – and to hopefully avoid getting in a wreck.
What happens if my teen gets to an accident in someone else's car?
If your teen borrows a friend’s car and gets into an accident while driving, things could get pretty complicated. While the driver’s insurance coverage will be the one expected to pay for your child’s mistake (if they had permission to drive), it could quickly become messier. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-pressure consultation to discuss your case.
What happens if I didn't list my kid on car insurance?
As a rule of thumb, any licensed driver in your household and one that uses your vehicle(s) on a regular basis should be listed on your insurance policy — including your teenagers. A proactive approach to ensuring your family is covered can save you tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills and a number of other unpleasant headaches.
Are you required to add your child to auto insurance?
It’s your choice as to whether to add your child to your insurance or purchase a new policy, but all drivers in the state of Louisiana are required to have auto insurance at the following levels:
- $15,000 per person for bodily injury
- $30,000 per collision for bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage