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Call Us Today 504-483-3400

Auto Accident Lawyer

Background

There are some unique aspects of car accidents in Louisiana. Specifically, there are stark differences between accidents that occurred in urban areas and those that occurred in rural areas. In between the period from 2013–2020, car accidents were always lower in rural areas in comparison to urban areas.
The average amount of rural crashes was about 18,000, and the average amount of urban crashes was about 28,000. It’s important to note that for both data sets, the amounts of accidents didn’t drastically increase or decrease by too much. Overall, the number of accidents stayed at a steady rate.

In the state of Louisiana, the population is estimated to be just under 5 million people. Within that population, about 800,000 live in rural areas, as compared to the rest that live in urban areas. Therefore, it makes clear sense why the statistics for urban car crashes show a higher number. One of the state’s largest cities, New Orleans, has some of the highest concentration of population and hence has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the entire state.

 

Common Questions

If you are involved in an auto accident, the following are questions that you may have after the accident and pending litigation.

How might this affect my income?

An automobile accident can affect your income in numerous ways. First of all, you may have been in an accident on the way to work. Meaning that the accident could result in a lost opportunity such as a meeting, presentation, etc. Secondly, the physical injuries themselves can result in you being unable to work. Depending on how severe your injuries are, you may be barred from working for a couple of days to a full year. Thirdly, any psychological injuries
usually result in the inability to work for longer periods. Even if you are physically able to be present, your job may entail a certain amount of mental focus, which can be affected by an intense accident. This will, in turn, result in less income for you.

Do you need a New Orleans car accident lawyer?

The purpose of a car accident insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is to reimburse the crash victim for the losses suffered. The damages you face can vary widely and may include the following: medical expenses, income losses, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium.
When you hire a lawyer, it gives you the opportunity to focus on healing from your injuries. This time may be needed, especially if your injuries are more mental than physical. While you recover, your lawyer will be able to handle the settlement negotiations with your insurance company on your behalf.
Attorneys can help in many ways, including but not limited to, collecting police reports, collecting medical reports, interviewing witnesses, and speaking with insurance providers. Most importantly, you can ensure that an insurance company does not take advantage of you. Insurance companies can do this by either denying valid claims and therefore not paying anything out. Or an insurance company can offer you a low-ball settlement. Since most people do not deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, adjusters believe that they can take advantage of people who have not hired a lawyer.

When should I see a doctor?

After your automobile accident, you should make every effort to visit a hospital or medical professional (including chiropractors, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, or even your family doctor) as soon as possible. This is true even if you do not believe your injuries are serious enough to warrant medical attention. The reason this is important is that you could have hidden injuries. Examples include neck injuries, different levels of brain injuries (including traumatic), back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and / or internal damage. Most of these I injuries will show no symptoms, and some of them will only show symptoms after a prolonged period. Prompt medical care provides the insurance company with assurance and proof that your injuries are real.
It also shows the insurance company that you are taking your accident seriously and following the required steps towards a resolution.

What if I do not have health insurance?

Even if you are not covered by a health insurance provider, you should go to see a medical professional after the accident anyways. If someone else can take legal liability for the injuries you sustained, they will ultimately be responsible for your expenses. This includes medical expenses, meaning you may be able to obtain high-quality medical care without paying upfront. Therefore, it’s a good idea to tend to your injuries after an accident.

Who can be liable for your car accident?

The following parties are the common kinds of people in Louisiana that get into car accidents. This is including, but not limited to, other drivers, bus drivers, Uber /Lyft drivers, commercial trucking companies, UPS / FedEx drivers, workers from city governments and product manufactures. It’s also important to note that some car accident claims involve more than one at-fault party. Since Louisiana is a comparative fault state, the court’s ill spread liability to everyone who contributed to the accident. This means that more than one party / insurance company may owe you financial compensation
for your sustained injuries

What are the common causes of car accidents?

Some of the most common causes of car accidents include, but are not limited to, the following: distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving / road rage, fatigued driving, failing to yield the right of way, failing to obey red lights, stop signs, and other traffic controls, driving while under the influence of alcohol / drugs, failing to adjust for poor weather conditions, reckless driving, and tailgating. It’s important to note that by determining how the accident occurred, liability can be apportioned appropriately. All the methods described above can be attributed to negligence regarding operating a motor vehicle of any kind.

 

Common Car Accident Injuries

Accidental amputation: An amputation is the removal of a body part. This can be done in a hospital or can occur in an accident of some sort. There are two main types of amputations, complete and partial. The former involves a body part being completely removed, and the latter involves a body part being partly removed. Both situations can occur in a car accident.

Broken bones: In a car accident any of the bones in your body can be broken. However, the most common ones include the following: lower legs, arms and wrists, clavicles, ribs, facial bones and even the skull.

Burns: Burns from car accidents are classified based on their severity. First-degree burns are those that only affect the top layer of skin. Second-degree burns reach the second layer of skin and therefore cause more intense blistering of the skin and other body parts. Third-degree burns reach under the skin and can cause permanent damage to blood vessels, tissue, and nerves. It’s important to remember that burns may show one degree of severity at the scene of the accident but can evolve to a much worse situation later.

Brain injuries: An open brain injury (also called a penetrating brain injury) is one in which your scalp breaks and part of the skull may enter the brain. On the other hand, a closed brain injury is anyone that doesn’t involve the skull being broken. Specifically, a closed brain injury is caused by a rapid forward or backward movement which causes the brain to shake inside the skull. Note that it can be hard to assess how serious a head injury is by just looking at it, meaning an x-ray by a medical professional is usually needed.

Cuts and lacerations: A laceration is a deep tear in the skin or flesh. This type of wound is often irregular and jagged. There are various types of cuts and lacerations that can happen in a car accident (mainly from car parts flying off, or from shattered glass). These kinds of cuts can also occur when a victim is pinned under the vehicle, and they try to get out from under it. Specifically, the types of lacerations include, but are not limited to, cut-type lacerations, over-stretching, grinding compressions and split lacerations.

Herniated discs: A laceration is a deep tear in the skin or flesh. This type of wound is often irregular and jagged. There are various types of cuts and lacerations that can happen in a car accident (mainly from car parts flying off, or from shattered glass). These kinds of cuts can also occur when a victim is pinned under the vehicle, and they try to get out from under it. Specifically, the types of lacerations include, but are not limited to, cut-type lacerations, over-stretching, grinding compressions and split lacerations.

Spinal cord injuries: Injuries of the spinal cord that are associated with a car accident are often caused by trauma to the neck or to the back. Specifically, this kind of force occurs when a vehicle collides either with another vehicle or with an obstacle. Accidents from persons driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are one of the most common causes for spinal cord injuries in victims. In severe cases, when spinal cord injuries result in either partial or complete paralysis, an injured person will require considerable treatment over the long term.

Other injuries: There are numerous other injuries that can occur from a motor vehicle accident. These include, but are not limited to bruising, concussions, hand, arm, foot, and leg injuries, internal organ damage, paralysis, soft tissue injuries, and whiplash.

 

Important Louisiana Car Accident Laws

There are four different laws that will likely impact your case.

The first of them is at-fault auto insurance laws. These laws state that the party at fault for the accident will be responsible for paying for the damages. A lawyer can help identify the at-fault person, via a police investigation, and file the appropriate claim with the insurance company.

The second law involves a concept called comparative negligence. The law says that if the court finds you (the victim) partially at fault for the accident, the state may hold you responsible. For example, you would receive $90,000 of a $100,000 award if you were 10% at fault for the car accident.

Thirdly, there is the statute of limitations. This states that you have just one year from the date of your car accident to file a personal injury claim in Louisiana. Note that this is a shorter time frame than in most other states. It’s also important to note that missing the deadline almost always results in the loss of your right to file, therefore losing the opportunity to receive compensation.

Finally, there is something called the no pay no play law. In Louisiana, every driver is required to have a valid auto insurance policy providing liability coverage. Meaning individuals that fail to abide by that law may face some hefty fines if they are involved in an auto accident (even if the accident was the other drivers’ fault). Specifically, this statute says that victims of car accidents may be held personally liable for any damages they have suffered. However, there are certain instances where the law does not apply such as accidents involving parked cars. Another exception is if the at-fault driver flees the scene or is intoxicated at the time of the accident. Also, the law does not apply for drivers who are involved in crashes from another state that does not require the same level of coverage as Louisiana.

 

Proving Liability for a Car Accident

Since Louisiana is not a no-fault state, you must typically prove liability by bringing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party if you wish to recover compensation for things like your medical bills, lost wages, etc. Unless you have elected a specific insurance plan that has extensive coverage, you usually will not have the option of recovering compensation through the insurance company. To establish liability in a car accident case, our attorneys will work to do the following. First, establish that the other person / party owed you a duty of care. Second, prove that the other person / party breached that duty of care. Third, demonstrate causation by proving how the breach of duty caused your injuries. Fourth, prove that you sustained measurable damages.

To discuss any aspect of your auto injury case in a free initial consultation call 504-483-3400 or e-mail us.

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Chip Forstall
320 North Carrollton Avenue
Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70119

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