Whether you are a resident or visitor in this great city, injuries and accidents can happen at any time and any place. If somebody’s deliberate actions caused an accident that led to your injuries, the law allows you to seek compensation for health care expenses and other losses. In case you are looking for a New Orleans personal injury lawyer near you, Dudley DeBosier has a team of knowledgeable attorneys who are ready to fight for justice on your behalf.
What Is Classified as a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is a type of injury that results from another individual’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness. These injuries can entitle you to monetary compensation for injuries you sustained.
What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?
An injury sustained in an accident such as a motorcycle or car accident is a personal injury. On the other hand, bodily injuries refer to the physical injuries sustained mainly by another individual.
What Kind of Injuries do Personal Injuries Include?
Personal injury cases can be a result of several accidents. Also, the resulting claims vary significantly with different strategies and legal issues depending on many factors.
Personal injury claims can include the following:
Slip and Fall
When property and business owners allow hazardous conditions to develop and remain within their premises, they can lead to slip and fall accidents. These incidences can lead to minor and severe injuries such as broken bones and sprains, traumatic brain injuries, hip fractures, and spinal cord injuries.
Claims arising from auto accidents are among the most common in the United States, with more than two million people sustaining injuries annually. Car accidents can result from drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, and more.
Construction Worker Accidents
People working or walking around construction sites can easily get hit by falling objects, power tools, electrocutions, machinery, and more. Regardless of how the accident happens, a lawyer can help you seek compensation for these injuries.
Nursing Home Abuse
Residents in nursing homes should receive proper care, including shelter, basic nutrition, healthcare, and comfort. Unfortunately, some nursing homes don’t maintain these standards, and residents in these facilities can easily get injured due to negligence, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and more.
Some dog owners are negligent in caring for their four-legged friends, which increases the chances of attacking victims. In case of an injury caused by a dog bite, Louisiana law states that victims should recover compensation for their injuries.
What Compensation Can You Expect in a Personal Injury Claim?
You have a legal right to recover compensation from any individual, government entity, or company that caused an accident. You must also prove a breach of legal duty or negligence led to the accident. Your personal injury attorney will then pursue compensation for:
- Lost Income: The injuries you sustain in an accident may prevent you from going to work for a few days or even weeks or months, leading to lost income. The at-fault party should compensate for the income lost due to emotional or physical injuries.
- Medical Bills: You should receive compensation for all the money you spend on medical expenses from accident-related bills, hospital visits, treatments, adaptive medical devices, and more.
- Wrongful death damages: If the accident led to the death of a loved one who was the breadwinner, you should receive compensation for financial loss and economic damages.
- Pain and suffering: Some accidents can lead to significant discomfort and negatively impact your quality of life. Your lawyer can demonstrate how the accident affected you and determine the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering.
How do I Prepare for a Personal Injury Case?
After sustaining an injury in New Orleans, you may be unsure how to handle the situation in your pursuit of justice. Here is the procedure you should follow to maximize your chances of getting compensated for your injuries:
Speak to a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer
Immediately after an injury, contact an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer will discuss your case and advise how to handle it to get the best outcome. You’ll get a full breakdown of what to expect, the paperwork needed, and what you should do if the defendant offers a settlement.
See a Doctor
No matter the severity of your injuries after an accident, make sure you see a doctor. A health expert will do a thorough evaluation and treatment while also taking notes of the injuries you sustained in the accident. These reports are used as evidence in your claim as they will show a timeline of the injuries suffered after the accident and the treatment costs you incurred. For victims with severe injuries, a doctor can recommend a long-term treatment plan which includes follow-up appointments. Ensure you follow such treatment plans to protect your injury claim.
Collect all the Necessary Evidence
Always try to gather as much evidence as possible after an accident. These details play a significant role in proving negligence. Moreover, your personal injury lawyer will have credible information to use in their paperwork while filing your lawsuit. Some of the evidence you can collect include:
- Photos of your injuries and the scene of the accident
- Medical records
- Witness information including names, addresses, and phone numbers
- Contact details of the insurance companies
- Defendants contact details
- Receipts of money you’ve spent due to the injuries
Avoid Talking About Your Case or Injuries
If your case proceeds to court, avoid talking about it publicly or on your social media platforms. Privacy is crucial in your case to avoid scenarios where your activities might conflict with the injuries you sustained.
Know When to Take a Settlement
A trial in any personal injury case can take several months. That’s why you need a lawyer by your side to guide you on the best time to accept a settlement. In most cases, the defendant’s insurance company will try offering a less than ideal settlement. Always listen to your lawyer to know when a settlement offer is sufficient.
A personal injury lawyer knows how much money is reasonable based on the injuries you sustained. Also, there may be cases where getting a settlement might be a better option than going to court to save on the legal fees and time.
Stay in Touch With Your Personal Injury Lawyer
No matter how minor the personal injury lawsuit may seem, always keep in touch with your lawyer. Ensure there is transparent and consistent communication with your attorney during the case. This way, any changes in your status, ability, or condition, get documented quickly and considered in your claim or lawsuit.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Many accident victims are anxious about pursuing an injury lawsuit, especially if they have never been in such an incident before. Below are the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit.
Meeting With a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer
After an accident caused by another person’s carelessness, you should consult a personal injury lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney will thoroughly evaluate your case and give a professional opinion if you have a valid claim. Remember to have all the supporting documentation about the accident, damages, and the injuries you sustained. Many personal injury attorneys, including those in Dudley DeBosier, offer a free consultation, so you don’t have to pay a lawyer at your first consultative meeting.
Evaluating a Lawyer
You need a highly skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to maximize your chances of winning a case. In your first meeting, a personal injury lawyer will ask you several questions to understand your case and give you an estimate of the time we’ll take to evaluate your case value.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
The next step is to hire a personal injury lawyer and understand how to pay for their services. Our attorneys offer their services on a contingency basis. This means you can make payments once you receive your monetary compensation. At this stage, make sure you ask all the necessary questions about the fee before signing a client contract.
Investigating Your Case
Now that you’ve hired a lawyer, they will investigate your case to understand what caused the accident, how you were injured, the damages, and more. The lawyer will then contact the insurer and possibly also involve the defendant. As the negotiations continue, your attorney will keep you updated on all the developments in the entire lawsuit process.
Settling Your Case Before Filing a Lawsuit
At this stage, your personal injury lawyer will try and resolve your case through negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. The at-fault insurance company will, in most cases, offer a settlement, and your lawyer will give you their opinion on whether you can accept the offer.
Filing a Lawsuit in Court
If the at-fault party’s insurer doesn’t offer an adequate settlement, your lawyer will have to file a lawsuit. Note that you must have a ‘standing’ before filing a lawsuit. To have the standing to sue, you must:
- Have a redressable injury
- Suffered an actual injury
- Prove your injuries and damages were due to negligence by another party
Depending on the case’s complexity, it can take several months or even years. A judge sets a deadline for each phase which includes:
- Complaint and answer phase: The initial phase involves detailing how you were injured and the damages resulting from the accident. This complaint is then delivered or served on the defendant. The at-fault party then answers the complaint by admitting or denying the allegations. Note that the defendant should give their answer within 30 days.
- Discovery phase: In the discovery phase, both parties gather documents, evidence, testimony, and other details regarding the case from other third parties. A written discovery should include depositions, interrogatories, requests for admission of facts, and requests for production of documents. Your involvement in this phase is crucial, so ensure your lawyer has your latest contact information.
- Motions phase: The at-fault party can decide to file a motion to ask the court to dismiss your claims or the case. This can happen before or after the discovery phase.
This is a form of resolution for your case and can happen anytime during a case. Mediation involves both parties, a neutral mediator, and the attorneys. Both parties present their case, and the mediator helps them come to a settlement negotiation. This process is non-binding, so parties can accept or reject the offer.
Going to Trial
If your case proceeds to trial, your personal injury attorney will present their side to a judge or jury as the defendant puts on the defense. The jury will then determine if the defendant is liable for your injuries and damages and the amount they should pay.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a minor?
If a minor is involved in an accident, the parent or a legal guardian can file a lawsuit on their behalf. These cases also need the assistance of a lawyer to guide you on how the law requires you to handle them.
Also, keep in mind that you may have incurred various expenses if you are the guardian or parent of the injured child. Apart from medical bills, you may have missed work or incurred other expenses to provide professional care for your child. The compensation for such cases can also include these expenses.
What’s the Statute of Limitations in Louisiana?
While handling a personal injury case, you’ll have to keep in mind the timeline for filing a lawsuit. As per the Louisiana Civil Code §3492, you have a year to file most civil claims. After 12 months, you can’t file a civil lawsuit. The only exceptions apply when:
- Your injuries were evident immediately after the accident
- You were a minor at the time of the accident. In this case, your one-year timeframe starts once you turn 18.
If you miss this deadline, you may not receive your rightful compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident. That’s why you need to hire a New Orleans personal injury lawyer from Dudley DeBoiser immediately after the accident.
Myths Associated With Personal Injury Accidents
While handling a personal injury lawsuit, some facts may be misleading about these cases. These myths can even discourage you from seeking justice. Some of these personal injury myths include:
You can handle an injury claim alone: You may have heard someone saying that you can handle an injury claim yourself, but this is misleading. A personal injury attorney increases your chances of getting compensation after suffering severe injuries and damages in an accident.
Courts deal with several lawsuits each day: Most victims with personal injury claims settle these cases without going to New Orleans courts.
Most lawsuits are frivolous: You’ve probably heard this personal injury claims myth many times, especially with insurance companies. But the truth is that most victims who file lawsuits after an accident decide to follow this route if they don’t get what they are legally entitled to.
Any attorney can handle your lawsuit: Dealing with a personal injury lawsuit isn’t as simple as you think. These cases require a lawyer with experience and full knowledge of the law in New Orleans. Make sure you Reach out to a personal injury attorney from Dudley DeBosier for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Lawsuits punish other people: Even though you sue a defendant for their actions that led to the accident, they rarely pay for the injuries and damages you incurred. In most cases, their insurer will pay the compensation.
You can’t afford to hire a personal injury lawyer: Failure to hire a lawyer limits your chances of winning a case, and you lose more money. Personal injury attorneys such as those at Dudley DeBosier only get paid when you get your compensation, since we work on a contingency basis.
Get Help From Our New Orleans Personal Injury Attorneys Today
A personal injury case is complex. If you are involved in an accident due to another person’s recklessness in New Orleans, always involve a personal injury attorney with years of experience handling similar cases. A knowledgeable lawyer who knows the law and how to deal with the defendant’s insurance companies will help you get justice and the rightful compensation.
The legal team at Dudley DeBosier care about our clients, and our attorneys will always fight for your to get a deserved compensation as you concentrate on getting quality health care for your injuries. Here is a resource to help you fill out a case for our personal injury lawyer to help you.
If you need help with another type of case, check out our other services and find the right New Orleans Lawyers for your situation.
Reviewed by Chad Lederman at the New Orleans Dudley DeBosier office. You can reach Dudley DeBosier by calling 866-738-1785. Attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are licensed to practice in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.