In less than a second, car accidents can cause permanent disabilities or worse. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 33,244 fatal car wrecks in the United States in 2019. Almost 700 of these were in Louisiana, which equates to 1.42 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.
For those who suffered injuries or lost a loved one, navigating the insurance claims process can add stress and worry to an already frustrating situation. Knowing what to do and what to expect can make it easier to identify and notify the liable parties, file your claims, and recover the money you need to pay your bills.
Recovering from a New Orleans Car Crash
People who are lucky enough to survive serious crashes often face an uphill climb to recovery. Even a slow-speed collision can cause serious injuries.
In addition to the physical pain, the process of recovering compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages can be legally complex. Some at-fault drivers deny liability, and insurance companies are notorious for offering settlements that do not cover all of the claimant’s expenses. This is where a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
If you were injured by a negligent driver in Louisiana, contact the Morris Bart law office. A New Orleans personal injury attorney with our firm can evaluate your case, gather evidence, structure your claim, and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Tips from One of Our Attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC
Here are three tips for notifying the at-fault individual in an injury claim:
1. Do Not Delay
It is important to notify the responsible driver as soon as possible. According to Louisiana Civil Code, you typically have one year from the date of the incident to file your lawsuit. However, you should not wait until the last minute. Recovering damages can be a long and complex process, and evidence may disappear over time. It is okay to wait until you enlist the help of an attorney, as long as you act quickly to do so.
In many cases, your insurance carrier will require you to report any accident to them as soon as possible after a crash. Since you have a contract with your insurer, this step is important. However, you do not have to give them any details beyond the date, time, location, and names of those involved if you have them.
2. Determine Liability
One of the most important steps in an accident claim is identifying the responsible party. Depending on the nature of your crash, there may be several people or organizations that are liable for your damages, including:
- Another driver or drivers
- An employer of a commercial driver
- The agency responsible for maintaining the road
- A company that manufactured or sold a defective part
You may have to notify various drivers, insurance companies, the organization that owns the at-fault vehicle, and other parties. Your personal injury lawyer can help you identify all of the responsible parties.
3. Notify Responsible Individuals in Writing
Once you have established who may be liable for your accident, you must inform him or her in writing. A personal injury attorney can write the letter and help you avoid mistakes. You may need to write a notification letter to several parties. Essentially, it will inform them that there was a car crash that caused your injuries.
Do not assume that the negligent driver will contact his or her insurance company after the collision. He or she may have committed to doing this at the accident site but then changed his or her mind. This is why it is so important to send your notification letters as soon as possible. It will help confirm the existence of the crash.
What If You do Not Know Who Is Liable?
Identifying the liable parties after a crash is not always easy. Many people think all car accidents occur because of a bad driver, and that person is the at-fault party. While this is often the case, it is not always true. There may be other parties who acted negligently, vicariously liable companies under Louisiana law, and others at fault altogether. Consider these situations:
- The at-fault driver was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer, so their employer is likely vicariously liable in Louisiana.
- The accident occurred because of a defective car part or poor repairs.
- A problem with the road contributed to the accident.
- A driver who left the scene caused two other cars to collide.
Working with a personal injury law firm can help ensure you know all the potentially liable parties and have strong support for your claims against them. Most work is based on contingency and we do not charge anything upfront.
What Happens After You Notify the Liable Parties?
After you notify the liable parties, the process of filing an insurance claim or preparing a lawsuit will begin in earnest. You or your attorney will gather evidence and tabulate the value of the claim. This task will allow you to understand when an offer is fair or if negotiations should continue.
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What Damages Are Available for Recovery in Your Case?
The check an accident victim receives after a settlement or verdict may cover a range of damages they suffered because of the accident. This is how they hold the at-fault party or parties responsible for their injuries. The covered damages could include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost income, current and future
- Car repairs
- Pain and suffering damages
If you work with an attorney from our team, we will help you get the proof you need to show the cost of your accident and value the injuries and emotional distress you suffered, too.
Work With an Attorney at Morris Bart, LLC on Your New Orleans Accident Claim
If you were injured in a car accident, a New Orleans personal injury lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC can guide you through the notification and claims process. Call to schedule a consultation.
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