Car accidents are an inescapable reality, and many people across the country face the aftermath of devastating crashes each day. The impact of a car, motorcycle, or truck collision can be extensive—both physically and emotionally—especially when a negligent driver causes serious injuries.
The process of holding the at-fault driver legally responsible and recovering compensation can add to the stress of the accident and your recovery, especially if you are not familiar with your options. A personal injury attorney can help. Most offer free consultations for victims and their families.
Accident Victims Can Recover Compensation for Their Damages
According to Louisiana State University, thousands of motor vehicle accidents pepper the Pelican State each year. In 2015 alone, there have already been more than 65,000 crashes, of which 18,000 caused injuries. In fact, more than 28 percent of collisions result in physical harm, which is one reason why all road users should know their rights in the event of an accident.
Medical treatment after a crash can be expensive, but victims of negligent drivers may be able to seek damages to pay for healthcare costs. If you were in a crash that was not your fault, it may be wise to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or organization. Alternatively, you may be able to recover compensation through an insurance claim and informal settlement. So, what is the difference?
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How an Attorney Will Approach Your Personal Injury Case
At Morris Bart, LLC, we can assist you with the process of recovering compensation after a car accident. Our expansive team of attorneys and legal support staff understand the intricacies of Louisiana personal injury lawsuits, and we can guide you through the process. There are many ways to approach settlement negotiations after a collision, and a Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer from our firm can help you identify the best way forward.
If we cannot reach a fair payout during settlement negotiations, we have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court. To schedule a consultation and discuss your options, call our office today. In the meantime, here is a breakdown of the two general approaches for recovering compensation after an injury:
Filing a Formal Lawsuit, Presenting Evidence, and Asking for Compensation
Many personal injury claims will follow a civil lawsuit route, and the Louisiana Civil Code governs this process—particularly in regard to determining fault and liability. It is important to remember that a civil lawsuit is different from a criminal trial, and as the victim of an accident, you will need to initiate your civil action—even if there is an ongoing criminal trial related to your case.
During a formal lawsuit, a judge and/or jury will attempt to identify the cause of the crash and who was at fault. Each side presents evidence to try to show the court what happened. We also demonstrate the value of our client’s damages with receipts, bills, and other documents. We ask the jury to side with our client and award them an appropriate payout based on the damages they incurred.
These and other factors will determine the final judgment. It is important to note that, once the case goes to the judge or jury, we have no control over the outcome. A lawsuit is sometimes the best option for pursuing compensation, but there are also risks. In addition, it generally takes longer and costs more to go to trial than to settle out of court.
Negotiating a Settlement With the Insurance Company
Many personal injury claims do not reach the civil lawsuit stage. Instead, the injured party will take the claim directly to the negligent driver or their insurance company, typically with a lawyer’s assistance. There are likely to be lengthy negotiations, and when both parties are satisfied, they will enter into an agreement that neither can continue with any additional legal action.
This process is how most car accident cases resolve. There is an out-of-court agreement between the victim and the insurer representing the at-fault driver. This scenario is usually the most straightforward, least stressful, and least expensive option. However, it still takes a lot of work, knowledge, and experience to build a strong claim and negotiate a fair settlement agreement.
Unfortunately, an informal settlement is not the best option for all scenarios. There may be details of your case that will lead your attorney to recommend suing in civil court to get the best possible outcome.
Which Is Best for My Case?
There is no way to know which approach will be best for your car accident case without speaking with a lawyer. Each accident and injury claim is different. An attorney familiar with cases like yours can assess your legal options and which may be best for your case during your free consultation.
Some reasons why a victim might need to sue after a car accident include:
- The insurance company will not agree to a fair settlement
- The driver was not insured
- There are disputes about liability, shared fault, or other facts of the case
- The insurance company does not believe the injuries or damages were serious
- Time is running out; Louisiana has a very short statute of limitations for taking legal action in personal injury cases
There may be other considerations based on the circumstances of your accident and injuries. Your attorney will offer advice and guidance based on their knowledge and experience. However, the decision will ultimately be up to you.
Connect With Morris Bart, LLC for Free Today
If you are in a car crash and you wish to speak with an experienced Baton Rouge personal injury attorney, contact Morris Bart, LLC. We will evaluate the circumstances of your crash, explain your options, and discuss the potential outcomes of your case. We also have offices serving all parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Our attorneys represent clients based on contingency fees.
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