Helping Car Accident Victims in Baton Rouge 

Every year, motor vehicle accidents cause tens of thousands of deaths, leaving the families and loved ones of the victims devastated.  

Fatal car accidents are far too common right here in Baton Rouge, with KEPL News and ConsumerAffairs reporting that our city has “twice the rate of fatal car crashes and almost twice the rate of total road fatalities” compared to New Orleans. In addition, Baton Rouge leads the nation in fatal accidents per capita involving drunk drivers.  

Getting into a car accident can have long-term and life-changing effects. While insurance companies are usually obligated to cover some car accident expenses, they will aim to pay out as little compensation as possible, especially in cases of serious injury. Contact Dudley DeBosier to consult with our car accident lawyers in Baton Rouge and learn about your rights under the law. 

Common Causes of Car Accidents 

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and serious injuries across the United States. An accident can and will happen, and knowing what typically causes crashes can help drivers avoid them and stay safe.  

Common causes of car accidents include: 

  • Speeding: Speeding can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Speeding also gives drivers less time to react to unexpected conditions on the road ahead. Furthermore, speeding increases the force of impact in a collision and the severity of the resulting injuries.  
  • Distracted driving: Increased use of cell phones and texting while driving has caused a dramatic rise in car accidents caused by distracted driving. Other forms of distracted driving include eating while driving, applying make-up, talking to passengers, and adjusting radio, GPS, or temperature controls while driving. 
  • Drunk driving: Despite a generation’s worth of stricter laws and public campaigns against drinking and driving, drunk driving remains a leading cause of car accidents across the U.S. and in Baton Rouge. 
  • Driver fatigue: Drowsy drivers have slower reflexes, poor perception, and can even fall asleep at the wheel.  
  • Aggressive driving: Tailgating, frequent or improper passing and lane-changing, running stop signs and red lights, and similar reckless behavior are identified as forms of aggressive driving. Many states have adopted specific aggressive driving laws to penalize reckless drivers.  
  • Bad roads: Poorly designed or maintained roads also contribute to car accidents. For example, a bad pothole or overly sharp curve in the road without enough time to slow can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.  
  • Product liability: Lawsuits often seek compensation for drivers injured due to the negligence of auto parts manufacturers, distributors, and automobile manufacturers. In some cases, vehicle occupants are injured because of defective safety features, including defective airbags.  

What Should You Do After a Crash? 

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, it’s important to take certain steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the immediate aftermath of an accident: 

  • Ensure Everyone’s Safety: Move to a safe area if possible. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. Check yourself and others for injuries. Do not move if injured. 
  • Call for Help: Dial 911 to report the accident, even if it seems minor. Request medical assistance if there are any injuries. 
  • Exchange Information: Swap contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). Get names and contact details of any witnesses. 
  • Document the Scene: If you are able, take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle positions, damage, and any relevant road signs or markings. If you have visible injuries, photograph them as well. 
  • Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid discussing fault or apologizing at the scene. These statements can be used against you later. 
  • Notify Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, even if the other driver was obviously at fault. Be factual about the details but avoid admitting fault or making definitive statements until you’ve spoken with a lawyer. 
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, see a doctor. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. 
  • Gather and Preserve Evidence: Keep all medical records and bills related to the accident. Save receipts for any expenses incurred due to the crash. 
  • Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Contact a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and work towards getting you maximum compensation for your damages. 

Remember, the moments after a car crash can be critical for your physical well-being and any subsequent legal action. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your interests. 

Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents 

To understand common car accident injuries, one needs to understand a bit about the dynamics involved in a car accident. Typically in a crash, one vehicle strikes another vehicle or a stationary object, causing a forceful impact. The occupants of the vehicle go from traveling at a significant rate of speed to a full stop all in a few seconds. What’s more, the occupants are often slammed into stationary objects inside  the vehicle, such as a seatback, window, or dashboard, especially if they weren’t wearing a seatbelt.  

That said, it should come as no surprise that car accidents can result in common serious injuries, including:  

The most serious car accident injuries require both immediate and ongoing medical treatment. Some injuries can take months or years to recover from, while some will leave accident victims with permanent disabilities or chronic health conditions. 

Who is Liable for a Car Accident? 

The determination of fault for a car accident is typically made by taking statements from the drivers and any witnesses who can help piece together how the accident happened. Other helpful items may include surveillance video of the accident from traffic or dash cams and the location of the damage on the vehicles involved. For example, damage to the rear of one vehicle indicates that vehicle was struck from behind. The police report may also contain information regarding any citations or traffic tickets that were issued and the reporting officer’s opinion of fault for the accident. 

Typically, the party whose negligence caused the accident will be held liable for the injured party’s injuries and losses. Some of the involved parties that may be held liable for a car accident in Louisiana include the vehicle’s driver, owner (if they are not the same), manufacturer, or mechanic. Furthermore, under Louisiana’s anti-dram shop and social host liability laws, bartenders, social hosts, and others may be held liable if they provided a minor with alcohol and that minor subsequently caused a car accident. 

Types of Baton Rouge Car Accident Claims 

Car accident claims frequently stem from one of the following three circumstances: 

  • Negligence: A person can be liable for monetary damages and other relief if they were negligent in causing a car accident that resulted in injuries. For example, if a driver failed to stop at a stop sign or ran a red light and caused an accident, a court is likely to find that the driver acted negligently and hold them liable for the victim’s injuries.  
  • Defective vehicles: Under Louisiana product liability law, an automobile manufacturer may be responsible for injuries sustained in an accident caused by sudden acceleration or some other safety defect. If the automobile manufacturer knew about a defect or safety issue and failed to warn buyers about these dangers, the victim of any resulting car accident may be entitled to substantial compensation. 
  • Wrongful Death: Finally, although no amount of money can ever replace a loved one who died as a result of a car accident, the victim’s family may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. This will allow them to hold the party responsible for their loved one’s death financially accountable. 

Police Reports Are Important 

Police reports are important to car accident claims for three very good reasons: 

  1. The police report will prove that the other driver was involved in the accident. Sometimes, when there is no police report, the other driver will deny that they were even there.  
  2. Drivers are more likely to admit responsibility for an accident when being interviewed by a police officer immediately after. If the police do not come to the scene, and the driver is allowed to think about the accident for several days, they will come up with reasons to justify their actions and blame the other driver.  
  3. A police report, particularly where the other driver has admitted fault, is a powerful tool for settling a car accident case. When the liable insurance company sees that their driver admitted to causing the accident and was given a ticket, they will be more willing to settle, and for a fair amount of compensation. 

Types of Damages Covered in a Baton Rouge Car Accident Claim 

After being involved in a Baton Rouge car accident, victims can collect several different categories of damages. First, a car accident victim can recover economic losses resulting from the accident, including: 

  • Past and future medical expenses  
  • Past and future lost wages and income  
  • Damage to their vehicle  
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses 

Second, non-economic losses must be considered, such as: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of enjoyment and quality of life 
  • Emotional distress 
  • Inconvenience 

Furthermore, damages related to physical impairment could lead to financial compensation after a serious car accident. These include: 

  • Disfigurement 
  • Loss of a limb 
  • Scarring, 
  • Burns 
  • Other types of disfigurement 

Calculating current and future damages after a car accident requires the insight of an attorney that practices Louisiana personal injury law. At Dudley DeBosier, we have worked with injured car accident victims for years to secure the deserved compensation unique to each case. 

What Are Louisiana’s Car Insurance Requirements? 

Louisiana’s car insurance laws are designed to ensure that drivers have financial responsibility in the event of an accident. Here are the key aspects of Louisiana’s car insurance requirements: 

Minimum Insurance Requirements 

In Louisiana, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. As of 2023, these minimums are: 

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident. 
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person in any one accident. 
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident. 

This basic coverage is often referred to as 15/30/25 coverage. 

Proof of Insurance 

Drivers must have proof of insurance in their vehicle at all times and present it when requested by law enforcement, when registering a vehicle, or when involved in an accident. 

Penalties for Non-Compliance 

Driving without insurance in Louisiana can result in penalties such as fines, suspension of driver’s license, and vehicle impoundment. Repeated offenses can lead to increased penalties. 

No Pay, No Play Law 

Louisiana has a “No Pay, No Play” law, which restricts uninsured drivers from collecting the first $15,000 in bodily injury and the first $25,000 in property damage, regardless of fault, in an accident. This law is meant to penalize those driving without insurance. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage 

While not mandatory, drivers are encouraged to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This type of coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. 

Comparative Negligence System  

Louisiana’s comparative negligence system for car accident claims operates on the principle of comparative negligence. Under this system, if an individual is involved in a car accident and is found to be partially at fault, the compensation they can receive for their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a person is deemed to be 20% responsible for an accident, their awarded damages will be reduced by 20%. 

Why Are Some Car Accident Claims Denied—And What Are My Options If It Happens?

Auto insurance providers in Louisiana may deny your car accident claim, even when there’s plenty of evidence that shows you weren’t at fault. Understanding the common reasons for such denials and knowing how to appeal them is crucial. 

Common Reasons for a Car Accident Claim Denial 

  • Policy Exclusions: Your insurance policy might have specific exclusions that apply to your situation. For instance, if the accident involved a driver in your vehicle not listed on your policy, the insurer might deny the claim. 
  • Lapsed Insurance Policy: If your insurance policy was not active due to missed payments or other reasons at the time of the accident, your claim could be denied. 
  • Fault Disputes: Insurance companies might deny your claim if they believe you were at fault for the accident, especially if the accident report is vague, inconsistent, or even inaccurate.  
  • Failure to Report the Accident: Failing to report the accident promptly to the police or your insurer can result in claim denial. 
  • Insufficient Documentation: Lack of adequate documentation to support your claim, including medical records, accident scene photos, and police reports, can lead to denial.

Strategies for Appealing a Denial 

  • Review Your Insurance Policy: Understand the specifics of your policy to ensure that your claim should be covered. Pay attention to the details of coverage and exclusions. 
  • Gather Detailed Evidence: Compile comprehensive evidence including accident reports, witness statements, medical records, and any other documentation that supports your claim. 
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney experienced in dealing with insurance claims. An attorney can offer guidance on the appeal process and represent your interests in negotiations with the insurer. 
  • Consider Mediation or Arbitration: These alternative dispute resolution methods can be a way to reach a settlement without going to court. 
  • Prepare for Litigation: In some cases, taking legal action may be necessary. Your attorney can advise you on whether this is a suitable course for your situation. 

At Dudley DeBosier, we understand how frustrating and confusing it can be to deal with insurance claim denials. Our experienced team of Baton Rouge auto accident attorneys is here to help you understand your rights, navigate the appeal process, and work towards a fair resolution of your claim. 

When to Hire a Baton Rouge Car Accident Lawyer 

If another driver’s negligence caused the accident, the injured party could be owed substantial compensation. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer is important and should be done as soon as possible following an accident.  

So, when should you hire a car accident lawyer? 

  1. When the insurance company wants to settle – Remember, insurance companies want to settle for as little as possible. A lawyer can ensure any settlement is fair and accounts for various factors, including your lost wages and diminished quality of life. 
  2. When the victim’s injuries are serious – Car accident injuries can have a long-term effect on the victim’s life and health. An attorney can help ensure compensation accounts for these.  
  3. When there are multiple parties involved – This makes the case more complex. An attorney can sort through the details and holds the negligent parties responsible 
  4. When the car accident victim is being treated unfairly by the liable insurance company – An attorney can protect the victim’s rights and look after their best interests.  

Our team of Baton Rouge car accident lawyers is ready to help. We can review your car accident case for free, and if you decide to hire us to handle your claim, we will fight aggressively, from beginning to end, to obtain the best possible results. 

How We Win Car Accident Claims for Our Clients 

At Dudley DeBosier, we build and win car accident claims using these methods, to name just a few:  

  • We collect all available evidence, including accident reports, medical records, and witness statements.  
  • We use accident reconstruction technology to recreate our clients’ crashes, giving us a detailed view of what happened.  
  • We analyze any video footage to pick up vital details that can be crucial for your case.  
  • We work with expert witnesses like accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals who can give important insights and evidence if going to court is necessary. These methods help us understand the accident better and strengthen our clients’ claim, increasing the chances of a successful outcome. 

Call Dudley DeBosier in Baton Rouge for Help After a Crash 

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in a car accident in Baton Rouge, speak with a car accident lawyer at Dudley DeBosier. We offer a free consultation and charge no legal fee unless we recover compensation on your behalf.  

Call Dudley DeBosier today at (866) 482-3047 or fill out the free initial consultation form below. We’re available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.