The US Department of Transportation estimates that the number of fatalities caused by auto accidents was 727 in New Orleans and Louisiana in 2019 alone. Although there has been a decline in car crashes over the years, many crashes still affect individuals directly and indirectly. These accidents can cause severe injuries, leading to days, weeks, or months of extensive medical care. If you, a loved one, or a friend is a victim of an auto accident in New Orleans, you’ll need a knowledgeable lawyer to help pursue your claim. A New Orleans auto accident lawyer from Dudley Debosier will be with you at every step of your case to guide you through the complexities of an accident injury case.
Who Is Liable for a New Orleans Car Accident?
Louisiana is an at-fault state. Tort law protects you and your property from the damages inflicted by someone else’s negligence. Therefore, the driver found responsible for the car accident carries the burden of losses endured by other drivers. Coverage is paid out after investigations into the crash to determine who was liable for the accident. Insurance company investigators and law enforcement carry out investigations to determine the fault in car crashes.
There are specific points that prove a driver was responsible for a car crash:
- Breach of duty: The evidence proves that the responsible driver violated or breached a duty of care through a certain behavior
- Duty: The evidence proves that the at-fault party owed duty of care, and were supposed to behave responsibly and safely to avoid harming other drivers
- Proximate cause: The at-fault driver’s actions or behavior are directly linked to the injuries and damages the plaintiff suffered
- Damages: The evidence shows conclusively that injuries were suffered due to the at-fault driver’s behavior
While driver error contributes to a significant number of car crashes in New Orleans, it isn’t the only cause. Still, other parties such as road construction crews, trucking companies, auto parts manufacturers, and bus companies can also be liable for an auto accident under certain circumstances. That’s why it’s always important to involve a New Orleans auto accident attorney to help untangle the mess.
What Should I Do After an Auto Accident in New Orleans?
Once a car accident occurs, the clock starts ticking immediately. If you wait for too long, you risk missing out on vital steps that could make it challenging or impossible to pursue your claim. Here are the steps you should follow to increase your chances of successfully pursuing your claim.
Remain at the Accident Scene
Some accident victims leave the accident scene before the police arrive. This is one of the mistakes to avoid after an auto accident in New Orleans because it might make you ineligible to make any injury claims. Besides, pursuing property damage claims might be hard or impossible if you don’t have backing from police reports.
The law in Louisiana requires that a driver must report an auto accident immediately if the crash results in injuries, death, or property damage that exceeds $500. Therefore, call the police once the accident occurs to comply with this law. Also, call emergency services and explain your situation and any injuries you or other people may have sustained. Try using simple and clear messages.
If it’s possible, you can make the accident scene safe for others. Check on other drivers to confirm there aren’t any medical emergencies. If you can and, if necessary, provide immediate medical assistance. Even when there are no injuries, you should report the incident to the authorities due to property damage. You can also try moving the damaged cars out of the way to prevent other vehicles from hitting them as they pass the scene, especially at night when there is reduced visibility.
Gather as Many Details as Possible from the Scene
To have an easier time processing your claim, you must gather all the essential details from the accident scene. Get the contact details of other drivers and their insurance information. In case you are injured, you can request a witness or bystander to help collect these vital details on your behalf. If you need immediate medical attention in a hospital, you can call a friend to take the insurance details for you.
Remember to take as many photos of the scene as possible, capturing the damages and injuries. Take pictures from different angles and distances for a better view. Capture all the damaged areas of all vehicles at the scene and the direction from which these cars arrived. These photos play a crucial role in providing evidence to support or prove your claim.
See a Doctor for Treatment of Your Injuries
Whether the accident resulted in minor or severe injuries, make sure you see a medical professional. A doctor will document the full extent of your injuries, which acts as extra evidence. Medical experts will also evaluate your body for any possible injuries that may arise later or that may be dulled by adrenaline due to the crash. Many insurers consider the fact that a victim sought treatment the same day of the accident when determining the severity of their injuries. Therefore, even if you only get a medical evaluation at urgent care, it will be crucial to your case. Remember to keep track of all payments related to the injuries to get compensation later.
Contact a New Orleans Auto Accident Lawyer
Contacting a car accident lawyer is another crucial step in your case after getting involved in an accident. Our auto accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier will assess your case and guide you through the legal process. We will help you with everything from negotiating with insurers to making medical evaluations. Our legal team will also help you avoid mistakes by:
- Helping you collect evidence that you might not be in a position to collect later
- Protect you from making unnecessary statements that can compromise your case
- Observe New Orleans deadlines for filing an accident case
How Long You Have to File a New Orleans Auto Accident Claim
If you are a car accident victim, you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within a specific timeframe. In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the crash to file a claim. If you stay for more than a year without reporting the incident, the courts will likely dismiss your case since you don’t have the right to sue.
To avoid losing out on your compensation for not filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitation rules, ensure you consult an auto accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier. We are conversant with the laws in New Orleans, so we’ll make sure we take action within the required timeline.
Note that there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations in Louisiana, although they rarely apply. These exceptions include:
- The discovery rule: The statute of limitation may be deferred where injuries arise from defective products based on the discovery rule. Therefore, you can have a year from when the injury became discoverable or the defect that led to the injury was discovered.
- The injured minors rule: If the injured victim is a minor under 18 years, the statute of limitation doesn’t start running until the individual turns 18 years.
- The shared liability rule: Some auto accidents may involve multiple at-fault parties, leading to an extension of the one-year statute of limitation. These can be in cases where a crash involves three or more cars, such as in a pileup in traffic, and at least two of the drivers share similar blame. However, as the plaintiff, you must first file a lawsuit against one at-fault party within the one-year timeframe. Once you’ve satisfied this condition, you will have more time for another case that shares the liability.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect After a Car Accident in New Orleans?
There are several remedies for victims of auto accidents in New Orleans. Even if you sustain only minor injuries, you can still get financial compensation. However, if you suffer severe injuries, you will need substantial compensation covering even future medical needs. Code 2315 of the Louisiana law requires the responsible person who harms another individual to provide financial settlement. Your damages can be categorized into:
General Damages: This compensation isn’t calculable in exact dollar values. They can include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, pain, and suffering, and consortium. Consortium involves the damages for loss of a surviving spouse.
Special damages: Damages that compensate an injured party for the specific losses they underwent, including the out-of-pocket costs, are special damages. Under Louisiana law, special damages can include lost wages, property or vehicle damage, medical expenses related to the accident, present and future, and funeral expenses.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Asking for Enough to Cover Me for What’s Ahead?
There is no amount of settlement that can be sufficient for car accident victims, especially if they sustain permanent disability or death. However, getting compensated helps pay for health expenses and other financial obligations you may have to pay for the rest of your life, such as rehabilitative costs. To ensure you get enough monetary compensation to cover each cost, always involve a New Orleans auto accident lawyer to help you do all the calculations. Make sure you include both the economic and non-economic damages.
While pursuing your case, ensure you have strong legal advocacy. An accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier to help you through the entire settlement process.
What if I Was Partially At-Fault for the Auto Accident?
In some cases, you might be partially at fault for the accident that left you injured. Maybe you glanced down for a few seconds to adjust the radio frequency or exceeded the acceptable speed limit in a particular area. Regardless of what happened, make sure you file an auto accident claim. Louisiana’s comparative negligence rule states that even a partially at-fault victim can still recover compensation. However, your recovery will likely be reduced by your degree of fault.
How Can an Attorney Help You With Your Claim?
A car accident lawyer is a vital resource in the days following an auto crash in New Orleans. Lawyers will provide you with the right advocacy, knowledge of the law, and advice when dealing with the legal system. Below are more ways an attorney can help you.
Fighting Against Insurance Company Claim Denials
A crucial role of an auto accident attorney is to help you fight back against insurers’ denials. You may assume that insurance companies are always open to offering a monetary settlement to cater for your injuries and damages after an accident. This isn’t the case, and in some circumstances, you might have to go to court to compel some insurers to honor their provisions.
Don’t accept being a victim twice after an auto accident by having the insurer take advantage of you. An auto accident lawyer in New Orleans can handle the litigation if the insurance firm attempts to dispute your compensation claim. Keep in mind that insurers have enough resources to hire their own lawyers. Their legal teams may try to take advantage of your situation because you aren’t conversant with the law and push you to take a low offer telling you that you will have to take a lower amount later.
Claim Additional Compensation
Your insurer and the insurance company of the at-fault driver can only provide a limited amount of funds after an auto accident. Yet, you may have some expenses that aren’t part of what’s covered in these policies. A car accident attorney can help you file injury lawsuits against drivers who cause additional harm through reckless or negligent behavior. This way, you can make up the difference between the amount covered by insurance and your damages.
The extra compensation can be for expenses like:
- Emotional distress
- Ongoing medical cares
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Excessive property damage
- Pain and suffering
Do I Need a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer?
A personal injury lawsuit or an auto accident insurance claim aims to reimburse an accident victim for the losses resulting from another driver’s negligence. The compensation helps to ease the financial burden of paying for serious injuries. Some of the damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Income losses
- Loss of quality of life
However, pursuing justice for your case while still healing from car accident injuries isn’t as simple as you may think. The services of a New Orleans auto accident lawyer like Dudley DeBosier can help. An attorney will navigate the complex legal procedures and pursue maximum settlement for your case. They will help gather all the necessary evidence relating to your case, do the paperwork, handle the insurance settlement, case representation, and more.
Whether a driver was using a cell phone or was drunk before the crash, our attorneys will determine liability and help you file a claim against the at-fault party. Accident attorneys can also interview witnesses and collect police reports while pursuing your case. We will also negotiate with the involved insurance companies to make sure they offer a settlement worth your injuries and damages. If the insurer fails to provide fair compensation, we will take your case to court.
Get Legal Representation from Dudley DeBosier Attorneys After a Car Accident
When dealing with auto accidents in New Orleans, always seek legal assistance from the lawyers at Dudley DeBosier. No matter who caused the crash, we will take care of the entire case, do all the investigations, interview witnesses, take care of all the paperwork, and even move to court if you don’t get a fair settlement.
With our legal team by your side, you can concentrate on getting quality medical treatment after the accident and leave the rest of the work to us.
So, how do you get started with your car accident case? Here is a free resource that can guide you on what to do next.
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 866-897-8495. Attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are licensed to practice in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.