After getting into a car accident, you may be overwhelmed by what you have lost and feel it’s difficult to heal from your injuries. You are not the only one who finds this time uncertain and wants some help deciding what to do next. The Morris Bart law office can guide you as you explore your legal options and next steps.
Our car accident lawyer in Lafayette can protect your rights and help you hold the negligent driver responsible for causing the accident and your injuries. A Lafayette personal injury attorney can pursue compensation for your losses on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.
Why Work With Our Lafayette Car Accident Lawyers?
- We have a long track record of success. Our lawyers have collected over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for past clients, including many successful car accident claims.
- Our lawyers have more than 40 years of experience litigating personal injury and automobile accident cases in Louisiana as well as in Mississippi and Alabama.
- We have state-of-the-art legal resources to support your car accident claim. Our law firm spans over 15 office locations throughout the Gulf Coast.
- You will not pay us a dime in attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our Lafayette car accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis.
For a free legal consultation with a Car Accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call 800-537-8185
What Our Lafayette Car Accident Attorney Can Do for You
A car accident lawyer in Lafayette will be there for you through every step of the legal process. We will use our 40-plus years of legal experience to seek the maximum compensation that can help you pay your accident-related expenses.
Accident claims and lawsuits can be difficult to manage on your own, especially if you are recovering from auto accident injuries and have little experience dealing with insurance adjusters who could offer you a lower settlement than you deserve.
In addition to giving you legal advice that can help you understand your case and next steps, our injury attorney can:
- Investigate the cause of the crash in Lafayette to determine what happened at the accident scene.
- Gather evidence to support your account of the accident (e.g., a police report, witness testimony, expert witness statements, medical records, etc.)
- Determine liable parties and determine their negligence.
- Assess your accident damages and establish the value of your case.
- Negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation that covers financial costs and other accident losses.
If your personal injury case does not settle through negotiation with an insurance provider, your car accident lawyer can represent you in court before the judge and jury and fight to protect your rights.
Recoverable Damages in a Lafayette Car Accident Case
Every vehicle collision is different, so there is no way we can estimate the damages that you could recover in a car accident case. Some economic and non-economic damages victims could recover in an accident settlement include:
- Medical expenses, including surgical procedures, doctor’s examinations, medical treatments, prescription medications, assistive devices, and other medical care you require
- Rehabilitation costs (e.g., physical therapy and other continued care)
- Lost income from time missed away from work for recovery
- Future income if you have lost your ability to work
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or dismemberment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Impaired quality of life
If your family member died because of the accident, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages on their behalf from the at-fault party, such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of support and protection
- Wages and benefits previously the deceased would have earned
Our Lafayette wrongful death attorney can inform you of any additional compensation you qualify to receive based on the specifics of your case and damages. Louisiana’s laws designate family members who can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. We can explain how these laws work during a free consultation.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Lafayette
Various negligent behaviors can cause motor vehicle accidents on Lafayette’s roads. Identifying the cause can help determine how negligence occurred in your case. Some of the more common causes include:
- Distracted driving: Behaviors such as eating, applying makeup, talking to passengers, changing the radio, and texting take the driver’s hands, focus, and eyes off the road.
- Drowsy driving: The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 91,000 police-reported accidents in 2017 were caused by drowsy driving.
- Driving under the influence: According to La. R.S§ 14:98, if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher, they could be looking at additional charges on top of your civil personal injury case.
- Reckless driving:Different behaviors such as tailgating, speeding, rapidly changing lanes, failing to signal, or disregarding stop signs and traffic signals can be considered reckless and aggressive driving.
- Road hazards: Defects such as potholes, uneven road surfaces, loose gravel and missing guardrails can increase the odds of a car accident, including a single-vehicle accident where a driver loses control of his or her car.
- Mechanical failures: Motor vehicle breakdowns due to a lack of proper maintenance by the owner or a defective automobile part can cause an accident, such as bad brakes, tires or steering. Understanding the cause of your car accident in Lafayette is one of the first steps you must take to collect financial compensation for your losses. Get help from an attorney who can investigate your crash for signs of fault.
How Fault Is Determined in a Lafayette Car Accident
Louisiana is a fault-based or tort car accident state; it is not a no-fault state. This means that after a traffic collision, a victim’s attorney must prove that the other party is at fault to recover financial compensation for the victim’s injuries, medical bills and property damage. Establishing another driver’s responsibility for a car accident typically requires an in-depth investigation into the crash to search for evidence of negligence.
Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care, such as a driver in Lafayette who violates traffic laws. Negligence consists of four elements of proof: duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages. There must be evidence that the other driver had a legal obligation to act with care, he or she failed to fulfill this duty of care, this caused the crash, and the victim suffered compensable losses in the car accident as a result.
Determining fault and establishing negligence after a Lafayette car accident may require assistance from an attorney. A Lafayette car accident attorney can return to the scene of the crash to gather evidence. This may include a police report, eyewitness statements, videos and photographs. A lawyer may also hire experts, such as crash reconstructionists, to testify regarding fault. Finally, a car accident attorney can negotiate with an insurance company if you are being blamed for the crash.
Laws in Louisiana that Could Affect Your Case
There are two laws you should be aware of regarding your personal injury case. They are the statute of limitations and the law of comparative negligence.
Statute of Limitations
Many states have a statute of limitations that allows between two and five years to pursue compensation. In Louisiana, anyone who wants to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their losses after a car accident must file their claim within one year of the accident date, per La. Civ. Code. Art. 3492.
This law is in place to allocate damages if multiple parties are found responsible. According to comparative negligence, if you are partially responsible for the accident, any compensation that you are awarded will be reduced by your degree of liability. For example, if you are 20% responsible, your initial compensation of $10,000 would be reduced to $8,000.
Important Steps to Take After a Lafayette Car Accident
You may not realize it as a car accident victim, but the steps that you take or fail to take after a crash can ultimately affect your financial recovery. Automobile insurance companies in Louisiana check for reasons to deny a claim or save money on a payout, such as a victim’s failure to mitigate his or her losses by delaying medical care. Protect yourself by taking the following steps:
- Pull over immediately at the scene of the accident or as close as is practicable. Do not exit your vehicle until it is safe to do so.
- Assess yourself and others involved in the crash for injuries. If someone is injured, call 911 to report the car accident right away.
- Call for help. Report the car accident to law enforcement in Lafayette even if it is a minor collision. A police report can provide valuable information during an insurance claim.
- Exchange information. Swap contact information, insurance company information and vehicle information with the other driver involved in your crash.
- Do not admit fault. Avoid discussing fault or liability for the car accident. Do not assign blame at the scene or speculate as to the cause of the crash.
- Get medical care right away. If paramedics were not dispatched to the scene of your car accident, go to the nearest hospital in Lafayette for professional medical treatment.
- Gather evidence before you leave. Take photographs of the scene of the accident and write down the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Contact your insurance company. Call your own car insurance provider as soon as possible to notify them of the accident.
- Consult with an attorney. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Lafayette for a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options in more detail.
A lawyer can guide you through the process of filing an insurance claim or bringing a personal injury lawsuit while advocating for your rights and best interests. You can focus on healing from your injuries with greater peace of mind after hiring a lawyer from Morris Bart to take over your car accident claim for you.
What to Expect When Filing a Car Accident Claim
If you have to file a car accident claim in Lafayette, you will typically begin by contacting your own car insurance company to report the crash. If an investigation of the accident finds that you were not at fault, your own insurance company can reach out to the insurer of the at-fault party to pursue reimbursement for money given to you to cover your losses.
After receiving your claim, an insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your case. This person will be your main point of contact throughout the insurance claims process. It is important not to trust an insurance claims adjuster, as he or she will look out for the insurance company’s best interests, not yours.
If you are offered a fast insurance settlement to resolve your car insurance claim, resist the temptation to quickly say yes. Instead, take the settlement offer to a car accident attorney in Lafayette for a case review. If your lawyer believes your claim is worth more than what is being offered, he or she may offer to take over insurance negotiations for you or recommend taking your case to trial.
Most car accident claims in Louisiana reach successful settlements. In this case, the liable insurance company will mail you a check for the agreed-upon amount to cover your damages. If a reasonable settlement is not offered or the insurance company rejects your claim, however, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit and take your case to court in Lafayette.
Hiring a Lafayette Car Accident Attorney: How Much does It Cost?
Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not have to pay for any attorneys’ fees out of pocket unless you collect a monetary settlement or court-ordered award. You have nothing to lose by contacting a Lafayette car accident lawyer. We will serve as your legal advocates and manage your case from beginning to end. This will give you time to focus on your recovery.
Attorney’s fees are typically 33.33% or one-third of your total reward. This figure can change depending on whether your case was settled through negotiation or was taken to trial.
A Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Help
The team at Morris Bart, LLC can help take some of the weight that comes with legal work off your shoulders. While you give yourself time to heal from your injuries, we can build a strong case to pursue compensation.
Our compassionate lawyers serve car accident victims across the greater Lafayette area. To find out what options you have for recovering monetary compensation, contact us for your free consultation.
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