It’s completely normal to have a lot of questions after you’ve been in an accident. Accidents aren’t planned, and many of us aren’t sure what steps to take next. After more than 25 years as a personal injury attorney, there are several questions I hear all the time. Here are some answers to a few important questions:
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. If you have been injured, it’s recommended you take your time and get as close to maximum medical improvement as possible so you can have a more accurate sense of the extent of your injuries.
How much will hiring a lawyer cost me?
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Any legal fees come out of your settlement. You will pay nothing until then.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
Every case is different, so it’s impossible to give a single answer to determine how much your case is worth. The value varies based on location, the type or degree of your injury, lost wages, and other factors. Once we have had a chance to analyze your individual case, we’ll be able to get a better idea of its potential value.
What kinds of compensation could I recover through my claim?
Compensation could include damages to your car’s value, personal property damage, medical bills, lost wages, rental car costs, as well as pain and suffering.
Do I need to work with my insurance company instead of a lawyer?
In a perfect world, your insurance would cover you. However, insurance companies are going to be more concerned with their numbers. You are under no obligation to speak to an insurance company or to settle before you hire an attorney. If the insurance company pressures you to do so, you can be firm with your refusal.
Can a passenger file a claim?
Passengers can file a claim against any party that caused the accident, including the driver, if he or she was liable for the accident. This means motorcycle and car passengers can file claims against negligent drivers even in single-vehicle accidents.
What if I am partially responsible for the accident?
Since Louisiana is a comparative negligence state, it can still be worth it to pursue a personal injury claim, even if you were partially at fault yourself. Comparative negligence means parties that contribute to an accident will share fault and will be assigned a percentage based on how much liability they bear. So, for example, one driver could earn 80 percent of the blame, versus 20 percent for you. The amount of total damages you would be able to recover in the case would then be 20 percent less to account for your fault.
Have questions about your accident or potential claim? Contact Mark G. Artall, APLC today and we will be happy to help.