Have you recently been involved in a hit-and-run accident? Did someone you love get hurt by a reckless driver? If so, then you may be able to seek compensation for their negligent actions.
While most of these cases are pretty straightforward, several challenges can still keep you from getting what you deserve. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer from Louisiana can be a wise decision in such circumstances. Fortunately, you’re on the right site.
Morris Bart’s law firm has been in the field for decades, and you can be sure you’ll receive crucial guidance through your hit-and-run claim process. We’ll protect your rights and handle all the negotiations to ensure you get an amount to cover all your losses and expenses related to the accident.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run
It is essential to contact law enforcement after a hit-and-run so that they may start the search for the driver. Law enforcement will speak to witnesses, gather video footage, complete door-to-door investigations, and consider information from the DMV. Be sure to take these steps when involved in a hit-and-run:
- Ensure you and your passengers are unharmed and safely out of traffic
- Contact law enforcement
- Contact an experienced hit-and-run lawyer
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What Types of Compensation Will Your Attorney Help You Fight For?
After a hit-and-run accident, the compensation you’re entitled to may cover economic and non-economic damages. Each of these represents unique harms and damages.
Otherwise referred to as “specific damages,” this compensation is meant to reimburse you for the actual measurable losses resulting from the hit-and-run incident. They cover out-of-pocket expenses for any injuries or damages resulting from the accident.
In your situation, you’re entitled to the following economic damages:
- Past or future healthcare bills
- Therapy expenses for emotional or mental issues
- Lost income
- Lost business opportunities
- Repair and replacement of damaged property
- Funeral expenses for believed family members
Your attorney will arrive at an accurate estimate of your economic damages by combining the amounts documented on healthcare facility invoices, pharmacy receipts, and other critical documents. Additional expenses may come into play, but every piece of evidence should have a dollar value.
These are also called general damages. They can’t be measured; hence it’s relatively harder to calculate them by adding up documented records, receipts, and bills. Unlike the former, these damages compensate for personally inflicted, non-monetary losses that aren’t readily quantifiable.
Common general damages after a hit-and-run incident include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Negative impacts on the plaintiff’s reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Non-economic damages are exceedingly subjective and will depend on the nature of the case.
How Long does It Take to Be Fully Compensated for Hit-and-Run?
There’s no standard duration for which hit-and-run lawsuits take, and several factors will determine how long it’ll take to be compensated after filing the lawsuit. To perfectly understand the timeline, it would help to check out the step-by-step process of seeking compensation for a hit-and-run accident.
Here’s what to expect from the process:
First Attorney Meeting and Consultation
Claiming compensation begins with scheduling a free case evaluation, either by virtual video call, in person, or by phone. Here, you’ll talk about different elements of your case, including the hit-and-run incident, injuries, costs, and more.
After you’ve ascertained that you have a possible case, you’ll have to sign the retainer agreement. This specifies that the amount you agree will be deducted from the final settlement as attorney fees.
Filing the Claim
Your attorney will then reach out to the at-fault party or insurance company to notify them that they’re representing you. They’ll also send letters and make the relevant phone calls to report the incident and file the claim.
Your attorney will collect the necessary evidence to build a strong case as you undergo treatment. This includes photographs, witness testimonies, police reports, surveillance footage, medical records, and much more.
Writing a Demand Letter
After understanding your diagnosis and future prognosis better, your attorney will send the other party’s insurer a settlement demand letter. This will outline the related damages and demand compensation for each. They’ll either accept the demand, reject it, or make a counteroffer. Most insurers make their offers within 30 days, but you aren’t assured that the counteroffer will be fair.
Offers and Negotiations
If the other party’s insurer sends a counteroffer, your attorney will begin settlement negotiations, updating you throughout the steps. After agreeing on an amount, you’ll sign a release of the claims, an agreement prohibiting any efforts to seek additional compensation, no matter the future complications. But if you can’t reach a fair settlement, you’ll proceed with the next stage.
Filing a Lawsuit
Most personal injury claims don’t reach this stage, but some claims do. Your attorney will file a complaint to identify all parties, summarize the claim, and demand the court’s judgment. The defendant will respond to this document with an “answer,” where they deny or admit fault.
Discovery & Mediation
In this pre-trial phase, both sides exchange evidence and evaluate all facts, and a neutral mediator may oversee the negotiations and try to facilitate a satisfactory settlement. If this fails, the case proceeds to trial.
Here both parties will present their evidence while arguing their case. The plaintiff has the burden of proof, so you’ll present your evidence before a judge first then the defendant will try countering your claim. Some trials involve a jury, while others involve just a judge. Either way, the court’s determination will be read aloud in the end, announcing who is liable and the number of damages awarded.
Settlement Check Disbursement
Money is coming your way at this stage, whether from an out-of-court settlement or the court awarded the damages. Before preparing your award as a settlement check, the law firm will first deduct the agreed-upon fees and other expenses.
This process may seem daunting, but it’ll be much easier when you have a reliable attorney.
When Is the Deadline for Filing Your Claim?
Louisiana statute of limitations determines how much time you have left to file the hit-and-run accident claim. According to Louisiana Civil Code Art. 3492, you have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit if you’re sure that someone else’s negligence or irresponsible behavior caused your injuries. If you don’t meet this deadline, the court will likely nullify the claim.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run, you need an experienced attorney to assist you through this challenging process. Our attorneys at the Morris Bart law firm have experience helping our clients through hit-and-run legal proceedings. We will work to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for more information.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.