I Was Injured In A Car Accident Near Lafayette, What Steps Should I Take If I Want To File A Personal Injury Claim?
A claim can be filed against the opposing driver’s insurance company and/or your own insurance company for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and also for your property damage associated with the collision. A person can do that on their own, but I would recommend that they hire an attorney experienced in that area because certain things you must establish require great care. In Louisiana, we have a no pay no play statute, which means if you do not have liability coverage on your vehicle and are in a collision with another driver who caused the accident, that will affect your ability to file a claim. You would forego the minimum coverage limits in Louisiana, which are $15,000 and $25,000 for property damage, and the first $15,000 for personal injury. The same is true for Property Damage (PD) claim, and it would have to exceed the $25,000 limit because you don’t have coverage. You also must be able to document your injuries and get examined by a healthcare professional to document what those injuries are and follow up with any other specialty to address those ongoing injuries that may become chronic.
The steps would be to get an accident report, document your coverage, place that insurance company on notice, place your own insurance company on notice if you have a UM claim or a potential UM claim, and then document injuries by way of medical records and bills as well as documenting lost earnings.
I Was Partially At Fault For The Car Accident That Caused My Injuries. So how Is That Going To Impact My Lafayette Personal Injury Claim?
In Louisiana, being partially at fault does not preclude you from filing a claim. There will be comparative fault where you will pre-litigate before you can haggle with the insurance company, if you will, about percentages of fault. Still, suppose the plaintiff has any amount fault at all. In that case, contributory negligence, if they have any degree of fault, would preclude a claim from being filed. In certain jurisdictions of the United States, in Louisiana, we fought against that, so we have a Comparative Fault state. We look at the comparative fault of each side. If you agree to what that might be in advance of litigation, you do that with the insurance company, but if not, you file your claim. It’s up to the trier of fact to determine the percentages of fault, whether a judge or a jury.
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How Long After A Car Accident Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Claim In Louisiana?
You have one year from the date of the incident to file a claim of personal injury. We call it the prescriptive period, and Louisiana’s prescriptive period is one year and two years to file a UM claim.
If An Uninsured Or Underinsured Driver hit me In Louisiana, Do I Have Any Chance Of Recovering Financially From My Injuries?
If an under- or uninsured driver hits you in Louisiana, you have uninsured motorist coverage/ underinsured motorist coverage under your policy. Our law mandates that all drivers have insurance. The mandate includes uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, which is written into a policy unless the insured waives that coverage. It must be on a form that the Commissioner approves of insurance, so all the insurance companies have the proper form because it’s been litigated enough, and so on that form, it’s called a selection form. You select whether you want uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage up to your liability limits. The second option might be “I select uninsured motorist coverage at a lesser amount.” So it can be at a lesser amount in your liability, or it can be “I select economic only UM.” Economic only UM means that you can receive damages that are only of a financial nature when an uninsured or underinsured driver has injured you. So economic only would cover things like lost wages and medical expenses but nothing for pain and suffering, nothing for general damages such as scarring and disability.
If you do have coverage, you can have damages covered under that policy. The other option where you have a potentially uninsured or underinsured driver is if they are acting for an employer or some other entity that may be declared to be what we call Respondent Superior, which means you’re under their direction and care. So, for example, you’re doing something for an employer, and while you’re doing that, you’re acting within the scope of that employment, then the employer can be held liable for the damages. Conceivably, that individual may not have Insurance on their vehicle because they let it lapse. Still, if they are in the course and scope of employment, they have a minimum policy of $15,000. If your damages far exceed that, then you can get additional damages from the employer above and beyond the driver’s policy limits.
If It’s Clear The Other Driver Was At Fault For The Accident, Do I Still Need To Hire A Lafayette Personal Injury Attorney For My Car Accident Case?
The law does not mandate whether you need a lawyer, though it is highly recommended. Insurance companies have procedures they use to handle claims. They attempt to apply these formulas across the board, and for the most part, those are intended to undercompensate individuals. So, under Louisiana law, you don’t have to hire a lawyer, but it’s strongly recommended that you hire someone who knows how to handle litigation against the insurance companies.
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