Automobile accidents occur more frequently than any of us would like. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly three million people are injured in car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents each year. Experienced legal representation from a New Orleans car accident lawyer is crucial to ensuring victims are sufficiently compensated for injuries suffered in an automobile accident.
Whether the at-fault driver was distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or simply disobeying the rules of the road, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. When motor vehicle accidents are caused by another person’s negligence, personal injury victims are entitled to financial compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
At Lambert Zainey’s New Orleans, Louisiana office, we are committed to protecting the rights of injury victims. Do not become another auto accident victim that fails to receive the appropriate compensation because you accepted a low settlement from an insurance company. An experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer will know the real value of your case. For more than 35 years, we have helped clients obtain the maximum compensation possible.
Car Accident Information
Common auto accident causes include driver distraction, driver impairment, dangerous road conditions, dangerous products, and negligent driving.
Do I Have a Case?
If you were recently involved in a car accident and are wondering whether to file a personal injury, ask yourself the following questions:
How long ago was the accident? If the accident that caused your injuries happened more than a year ago, you probably don’t have a case.
Who was at fault in the accident? If you were at fault for the accident, you probably don’t have a case, unless you can show that the other driver(s) shared liability for the accident.
Were your damages fully covered by either your insurance policy or the other driver’s insurance policy? If so, you’ll have difficulty convincing a court to award additional damages.
On the other hand, if your accident occurred within the past few days or weeks, the other driver was clearly at fault in the accident, and your damages exceed the amount covered by the other driver’s insurance policy, you probably have a case. Contact Lambert Zainey to discuss your accident and determine if you have a sound personal injury claim.
Louisiana Car Accident Laws
Here are some of the state laws that apply to car accidents in Louisiana:
Comparative fault or negligence
Louisiana state law applies a doctrine known as “comparative fault” in cases involving negligence. Also known as comparative liability, this means that each driver involved in an accident will be assigned a degree or percentage of fault for the accident. The amount of damages an injured driver can recover after an accident is reduced in proportion to the degree of negligence they were determined to have for the accident.
In Louisiana, an at-fault driver is responsible for any injuries or property damage resulting from their accident. To ensure the at-fault driver can cover these damages, Louisiana state law requires every driver to carry liability coverage for any automobile they own.
Each vehicle is required to have 15/30/25 liability limits that provide payments of:
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person;
- $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident; and
- $25,000 coverage for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property.
Louisiana state law also requires motorists to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (unless they decline it in writing) to provide compensation if an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage to be responsible for their damages.
You can find more details about Louisiana’s auto insurance laws here.
Reporting a car accident in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a motorist who has been involved in an automobile accident in which an injury, death, or more than $500 worth of property damage occurs, is required to report the accident to the local police department. In addition, in an accident in which a death or injury occurs or property damage exceeding $100, the motorist must forward a written accident report to the Louisiana DPSC. Both reports must be filed within 24 hours after the accident.
Louisiana statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits
In most instances, you only have one year from the date of your car accident in which to file a claim.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you get involved in a car accident in Louisiana there are some important steps you need to take immediately following the accident to protect your rights.
Immediately following the accident:
- Get medical help for yourself and everyone involved in the accident
- Contact the police to report the accident
- Exchange contact information with everyone involved in the accident
- Gather as much evidence (pictures, the name of witnesses, etc.) about the accident as you can
- File an accident report
Take steps to protect your rights after an accident. Don’t accept any liability for the accident. Don’t comment on the extent of your injuries. Don’t tell anyone you’re feeling okay following the accident — you don’t know that for sure. All these things can be used against you when you seek damages for any accident-related injuries.
Don’t make a statement to or agree to any settlement with an insurance company. The amount they’re offering may not cover the full costs of your damages.
We recommend that you contact a New Orleans car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can handle all the legal matters connected to your case (gathering evidence, filing paperwork, negotiating with the insurance company, etc.) and ensure you receive the total compensation you are owed for your damages — all with no upfront costs for you.
For more information, read “What To Do After A New Orleans Car Accident.”
Types of Car Accidents
In Louisiana, a car accident can occur at any time, under any conditions. It’s important to drive safely and keep your attention focused on the road. Unfortunately, this isn’t always enough to prevent getting involved in an accident. Some of the common types of car accidents that occur on Louisiana roads include:
- Rear-end collisions. One of the most common injuries of rear-end collisions is whiplash. In these types of accidents, the driver of the car rear-ending the other car is typically responsible.
- Side-impact or intersectional collisions. Depending on the types of vehicles involved, as well as the vehicle’s safety features and the speed at which the collision occurred, injuries and damages in this type of collision can be quite severe.
- Low-Speed impact collisions. These are accidents that occur between vehicles moving at speeds of 10 miles per hour or less. Whiplash and other injuries can occur even at these low speeds.
- Sideswipe collisions. Sideswipe accidents occur when two parallel cars brush up against each other.
- Vehicle rollover. SUVs are at greater risk for this type of accident than other vehicles because SUVs have a higher center of gravity.
- Head-on collisions. When two vehicles hit each other head-on, the results can be fatal to the occupants of both vehicles.
- Single car accidents. These accidents happen when a vehicle hits a fixed object, such as a pole, tree, fire hydrant, lamp post, etc. Depending on the circumstances, a third party may share liability for a single-vehicle accident.
- Multi-vehicle pile-ups. These chain reaction events often occur on crowded freeways or highways. They are the most dangerous type of collision because they are the hardest to escape. Additionally, causes of multi-vehicle pile-ups can be difficult to determine.
- Intersectional collisions. One of the most common types of car accidents in Louisiana, most often caused by a sudden, unexpected left turn.
Learn more about the types of car accidents in Louisiana and their potential impact.
What Are Considered Damages in a Car Accident Claim?
Damages are any losses you sustained as a result of your accident-related injuries. There are two types of damages you can claim: special and general.
Special damages are damages that can be assigned a specific dollar amount. Your medical expenses are an example of special damages, just like lost wages and loss of employment. These losses can be established using your current medical bills, paycheck stubs, direct deposit records, etc. Special damages can also include the projected costs of ongoing medical treatment, including physical therapy, medication, medical devices, and hospitalization.
General damages are applied to losses such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of intimacy to name a few. It’s sometimes difficult to assign a dollar value to these kinds of damages. A New Orleans car accident attorney can help you identify all the general damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident as well as assist you in determining an adequate dollar amount.
What Are Some Common Injuries Associated with Car Accident Lawsuits?
Depending on the circumstances, the injuries suffered during a car accident can range from minor to serious to fatal. They can include:
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal injuries and organ damage
- Air bag-related injuries to the face and chest
Some of these injuries can be so severe that the victim will require lifetime medical care and be unable to return to work. In some instances, they may be fatal. The victim’s surviving family members may have to file a wrongful death suit to recover the damages (loss of income, funeral expenses, etc.) caused by the death of their loved one.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Car Accident Claim in New Orleans?
Yes, there is. As stated above, you have one year from the date your accident occurred in which to file a personal injury claim to recover damages.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Injury Case?
While you don’t need a lawyer to file a personal injury claim, hiring a New Orleans car accident attorney to represent you can benefit you in many ways:
- They can protect your rights to seek compensation for your injuries.
- They can collect the evidence needed to prove your claim.
- They can handle all the paperwork and other administrative requirements related to your case.
- They can help you identify the total damages you suffered as a result of your injuries and assign an adequate dollar amount for the damages caused by these injuries.
- They can negotiate with the insurance company to get you the total compensation you are owed.
- They can represent you in a court of law.
Contact a New Orleans, Louisiana Car Accidents Attorney
Lambert Zainey has handled all types of Louisiana car accidents, helping injury victims to take the right steps after an auto accident. Whether another driver’s negligence or a defectively manufactured product caused your car accident, we have the tools and experience to successfully pursue compensation on your behalf. In fact, Lambert Zainey often obtains accident reconstructionists, retired traffic officers, transportation safety experts, and automobile design and manufacture experts to examine the incident and prove the negligence which caused the incident.
Lambert Zainey has been handling serious car accidents in New Orleans, and throughout Louisiana for over 35 years. If we handle your case, there are no fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys will work hard to get you the best possible result. Contact our New Orleans injury lawyers today for assistance with any car accident questions you may have about your case.