Suffering from a car accident is no joke. Depending on the severity, you could be left to worry about a pile of medical bills or dealing with a serious injury.
If you’ve never been involved in a car accident, you probably are unaware of Louisiana’s car accident laws and statute of limitations. If the situation ever arises, here’s your guide on what to do after a car accident in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations
According to Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations, a person involved in a car accident has one year to file a claim or lawsuit starting from the day of the crash. The law also states that if the wreck consists of at least one of the following, you are to report the crash to local law enforcement:
- Damages exceeding $500
In most cases, the police will be notified and called out to the crash scene anyway, and they will write a report. If you’re ever involved in an accident, it’s important to call the police in case their report can be used later on for evidence.
What Does Pure Comparative Fault Mean?
Louisiana is one of the 13 states that have adopted the pure comparative fault method. Pure comparative fault means that both parties will be examined for their participation in causing the wreck.
This also means that your involvement in the wreck will reduce how much you get in compensation for your claim. If you file a claim for a case that makes it to court, the percentage of your responsibility discovered by the jury will be reduced from your earnings.
For example, the jury awards you $80,000 for damages and personal injury, but they find you 15% responsible. That means you will walk away with $68,000 once the 15% is taken from your initial reward.
The pure comparative fault is also used with your insurance company when they examine your claim.
How to File a Car Accident Claim in Louisiana
To file a car accident lawsuit in Louisiana, you will need the help of an attorney. If you miss the one-year deadline for filing a lawsuit, then your claim may be dismissed if you file it later. That’s why it’s important to file as soon as possible to get everything up and running.
There are two types of claims a civilian can and should file in Louisiana: one with their insurance company, and the other is a possible lawsuit. Since there is pure comparative fault, you will need to file a claim with your insurance as a way to help cover some of the medical bills.
Collecting Compensation From Your Claim
If you file a car accident lawsuit, the defendant can either pay a settlement, or your case will go to trial. If your case goes to trial, the jury will be the ones to decide how much you are awarded.
When the decision is left to the jury, they will look at the plaintiff’s economic or non-economic losses. The economic losses are anything that can be added up, such as medical bills, car damages, or lost wages.
Non-economic damages are pain and suffering from mental and physical anguish as a result of the wreck, such as any physical injuries or trauma you have endured.
How An Attorney Can Help
It is a great idea to hire an attorney before you file a claim with your insurance. Attorneys make great partners for help with insurance claims, not just lawsuits.
You will need someone on your side from the start and one who will negotiate to get more out of your settlements. When you hire attorneys, they can take over your case by collecting all of the necessary evidence, speaking on your behalf, and negotiating with your insurance company or in court.
While some think hiring an attorney is a lot of money, it’s actually the investment you need to make if you want to have a successful outcome.
Find Your Legal Partner Today
Do not wait until your case gets too overwhelming to call an experienced accident lawyer. Depending on the complexity of the case, it can take years to get to the end of your case.
Hiring a Lousiana accident lawyer is one of the best things a person can do for their case. It’s always best to get legal help at the start of your case, so give us a call today to set up your free consultation.