Experienced Car Accident Lawyers In Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University’s Highway Safety Research Group recently published a report stating that in Louisiana, there were 166,000 car accidents that caused 13,267 injuries in 2017. Despite the advancements that car companies have made in safety, even minor auto accidents can lead to serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you can’t always trust your insurance company to help you cover the cost of damage to your car, medical bills and lost wages. If your insurance provider is treating you unfairly, the auto accident lawyers at Smith Shanklin Sosa, LLC, can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Auto Accident Causes
No one plans on getting into an accident when they pull out of their driveway, but several factors can make a collision more likely, including the following:
- Distracted driving, especially texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Sleep deprivation
- Mechanical malfunctions, such as faulty brakes
- Reckless driving, such as running a red light or speeding
- Inclement weather
- Potholes, construction and other issues with the condition of the road
No matter how safely you drive, conditions on the road and the recklessness of other drivers can cause you to get into an accident.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
After an accident, you should move your car to a safe position on the side of the road, unless your vehicle is too damaged to do so. If you or anyone else involved in the accident is seriously injured, call 911 for medical assistance. Then, call the police to file an accident report. This will begin the process of conducting an investigation to determine the causes of the accident. The police will take statements from every driver and passenger involved in the accident and interview any witnesses. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, you should exchange insurance information with the other drivers and take pictures of your car, the other cars and the scene of the accident.
How To Determine Fault For Your Auto Accident
Louisiana uses a policy of “pure comparative negligence” to determine who’s at fault for a car accident. The courts will evaluate all of the available evidence to assign fault to each driver. If the court decides that the other driver was 100% at fault, their insurance will have to cover all of your damages. If they are deemed to be 80% at fault and your damages are $100,000, they will be responsible for $80,000. In more complicated cases that involve more than two cars, varying amounts of fault may be applied between the drivers. If a poorly maintained road caused the accident, the local municipality could also be held responsible. Also, if you are in a collision with the driver of an 18-wheeler or another commercial vehicle, you may be able to file a suit against their employer.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you were in a minor accident and the other party’s insurance company agrees to cover all of your repairs, it’s unlikely that an attorney will be able to help you. However, more severe auto accidents have several moving parts that you’ll need to consider:
- Have you missed work because of your injuries?
- Are you no longer able to participate in activities you love because of your injuries?
- Is the other party’s insurance offering you a settlement that doesn’t consider additional costs, like rehabilitation or future earnings you’ll miss out on?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer for your auto accident case can help you receive the compensation you need after an accident. A car accident attorney can help you project how much you’ll need to cover your expenses, uncover evidence to prove which party was at fault and demonstrate how the accident has affected your daily life.
Louisiana Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
It is very important to understand your rights and legal options if you get involved in a car accident. At Smith Shanklin Sosa, we have put together the following frequently asked questions to help you get started.
How long after a car accident can you file a claim in Louisiana?
Louisiana has a statute of limitations on car accident cases of just one year after the accident takes place. It’s important to move quickly when seeking compensation and/or legal representation to protect your options.
Can you file an insurance claim without a police report in Louisiana?
You can certainly file a claim even if you do not have a police report. That being said, having this report can help your case go more smoothly – if the police determine that the other driver was at fault and give them a ticket, for instance. So, you can move forward without one, but it is still wise to get a police report when possible.
Is Louisiana a no-fault insurance state?
Louisiana is a tort state, rather than a no-fault insurance state. This means that fault needs to be established. If another driver caused a crash and injured you, for instance, you need to show that the accident was their fault and that the accident directly led to your injuries, making the other party liable for those costs.
How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?
It depends on the complexity of the case and whether or not the other driver contests the allegations. If they admit fault, things could move quickly, over weeks or months. But if they contest their obligation or other complications push the case into litigation, the case could take a year or more.
How long does a car accident stay on your record in Louisiana?
If someone gets involved in a serious car accident, it may stay on their record for the next three years. This is especially likely if it was a serious at-fault crash involving injury or death.
It is always best to ask a car accident lawyer your questions directly so that you get tailored answers.
Contact An Auto Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been in a car accident, you should let the personal injury lawyers at Smith Shanklin Sosa take on your case. When you contact our office, you will speak directly with the attorney who will handle your claim. We will help you find a doctor to evaluate your injuries, gather evidence and negotiate with the other party’s insurance provider. Our focus is on making sure that you get the help you need. In Louisiana, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, so schedule a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers today by calling 225-424-6094 or contacting us online.