Most people in the United States have either been involved in a car accident themselves, or have a loved one who has been involved in an accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there were over 4.1 million non-fatal, traffic-related injuries in the nation in 2008. The same year, there were over 34,000 fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over 900 of those fatalities were in Louisiana.
No matter the cause, a car accident can take a great emotional and financial toll on your life, or the life of someone you love. Whether you've been injured, or someone in your family has been killed in an accident, the attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, stands ready to help you recover your losses. We can offer the services of a car accident lawyer in New Orleans, and our services are also available in surrounding cities such as Kenner, Harvey, and Metairie, and extend to Baton Rouge and beyond.
Establishing a Car Accident Claim in Louisiana
If you've been in involved in a car accident, Bachus & Schanker will assign your case to an experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer to help you file a claim. Several requirements must be met to establish a claim following a car accident: 1) At least one driver was at fault in the accident; 2) that fault led to the accident; 3) the accident caused the injuries or damages from which you are trying to recover.
Recovery of Car Accident Damages
Louisiana is a comparative fault jurisdiction. This means that fault will be apportioned to each person involved in an accident, and each person's recovery of damages will be reduced by their own percentage of fault.
Damages recoverable in car accidents include actual damages and general damages. Actual damages are damages that can be given a specific monetary value, such as medical expenses, damage to property, and loss of income. General damages are damages that cannot be measured definitively in terms of money, such as mental pain and suffering, loss of physical enjoyment of lifestyle, and disfigurement. With the help of a car accident lawyer, Louisiana laws can be explained so you understand your rights.
Paying for Medical Expenses After a Car Accident
In Louisiana, each person will pay for an amount of medical expenses equivalent to their percentage of fault in the accident. If one person is found to be 100% at fault, then that person, or their insurance company, will be liable for the entire amount of medical expenses incurred. However, most times a legal settlement must be reached between the parties before any payment is actually made. This means that payment must first come from somewhere else before it can then later be reimbursed by the settlement fund. The Louisiana car accident lawyers at Bachus & Schanker can pursue other options, such as the client's own auto or health insurance, either of which may include a provision allowing some amount of the expenses to be covered up front. Another option to explore is a medical lien which allows services to be rendered by a health care provider, and later paid for after the victim recovers from his or her injuries.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Unlike other states, Louisiana has a mandatory uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist statute. It says that unless the person purchasing insurance specifically rejects the uninsured motorist coverage on a specialized form, it will automatically be included under their policy. Without the signed form rejecting uninsured motorist coverage, every driver who purchases insurance will be presumed to also have uninsured motorist coverage. In the event of an accident in which the party at fault is uninsured, the victim's own policy will provide coverage for the victim.
Hiring a Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer
When someone is involved in a car accident, a major question they will face is whether to hire a car accident lawyer. New Orleans residents trust the attorneys at Bachus & Schanker to provide them with a free initial consultation to help them make that important decision. Only if Bachus & Schanker takes on the case will fees be discussed. In such a situation, most clients will be offered work on a "contingency fee" basis, which means the fee will be a portion of the recovery rather than an hourly fee. You need a car accident lawyer in Louisiana who will work with you, and in your best interests.