Baton Rouge Car Wreck Attorney
Being involved in a car wreck can be an extremely traumatic event. Suddenly you are injured and unfortunately, you may no longer have a vehicle. After a car accident, you may not be able to work, pay your bills, or access the medical attention you need. Injury from an accident can also result in pain and suffering, lost wages and even loss of employment. Our experienced car wreck attorneys at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, and Zachary want to help. Personal injury car accident cases can become complex and confusing for victims. Most insurance companies possess the necessary resources needed to investigate an accident to help minimize what they will have to pay. Car accident victims should have someone working to protect their rights. When you hire the lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys, you will receive the protection needed. We work on a contingency fee basis so you won’t owe us any money until we win your case for your through trial or settlement.
Each year, East Baton Rouge Parish typically falls in the top five Louisiana parishes with the most traffic accidents, and the vast majority of them occur in Baton Rouge. Drivers in Baton Rouge are involved in more than 3,000 traffic accidents each year that result in injuries. Fortunately, only a handful of them are fatal crashes, but severe car accident injuries can turn a victim’s life upside down.
If you have sustained injuries in one of those car accidents in or around Baton Rouge, you are likely overwhelmed with emotions from anger to fear to frustration and feel unsure about what you should do after suffering injuries in a traffic crash.
Your next steps should include contacting our experienced Baton Rouge car accident attorneys. We can help guide you through this difficult time. Until you have the opportunity to consult with a lawyer, the answers to the following frequently asked questions about Baton Rouge car accidents provide some general information to get you started.
Yes. Louisiana has strict accident reporting requirements, and failure to follow them can result in up to a $100 fine and up to 60 days in jail. If you are in a car accident in Baton Rouge, you must immediately report the accident to the local police if anyone was injured, anyone died, or at least $500 of property damage occurred. Additionally, you must also file a written report with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC). You have 24 hours to file the written report if more than $100 of property damage occurred, someone suffered injuries, or someone died due to the accident.
If you were in a severe traffic accident, it’s likely an ambulance took you to the nearest hospital to receive treatment for your injuries. However, you might have been fortunate enough to remain conscious and walk away from your vehicle after the accident. Some accident victims choose to deny treatment by paramedics and avoid going to the hospital at all, figuring that they feel okay and so must have suffered only minor injuries that do not require medical attention.
That is a mistake. If you did not accept treatment at the scene, visit a doctor as soon as possible to get examined for common injuries that occur during car accidents, even if you think you are okay.
Bruises and soreness can indicate serious internal injuries or organ damage. If left untreated, internal injuries can be fatal. Also, some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, do not immediately show signs or symptoms. By conducting a thorough exam, a physician can identify any injuries and treat them before they cause additional harm.
You also need to seek medical treatment after a Baton Rouge car accident because your medical record serves as evidence to support an insurance claim and lawsuit for your car accident injuries. The notes your doctor makes become a permanent part of your medical record. The insurance company and or legal defense team will have difficulty disputing your injury claim when you have medically documented injuries.
If you reach a settlement agreement with the other driver’s insurance carrier or the jury rules in your favor, if your case goes to trial, you could recover damages for a wide variety of losses related to your car accident and injuries.
Car accident victims may receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses for ambulance and emergency services, emergency room treatment, doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, x-rays, diagnostic tests, medication, and travel expenses to and from the doctor
- Estimated future medical expenses for car accident victims whose injuries lead to a permanent disability or condition that requires continuous care and treatment
- Costs for rehabilitation including specialized treatment with physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, or other specialists that help car accident victims regain lost functions, learn new ways of doing things and cope with temporary or permanent disabilities
- Lost income as a result of time away from work due to injury and recovery
- Lost earning capacity when catastrophic car accident injuries occur
- Costs for domestic replacement services such as lawn care services, cleaning services, handyman services, or any outside help to replace labor the accident victim completed before they sustained injuries
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse, if applicable
- Scarring and disfigurement
Louisiana courts reserve punitive damages for rare cases that involve willful harm or egregious negligence. Sometimes drunk driving accident victims receive punitive damages, but eligibility occurs on a case by case basis. Your car accident lawyer can examine the circumstances of your case and let you know if you should ask for punitive damages when you bring a lawsuit.
Louisiana requires all drivers to carry auto insurance policies that include uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UI) coverage. In most cases, drivers will have the same amount of UI/UM coverage as they do for bodily injury liability(BIL) coverage; however, policyholders can carry the bare minimum of $15,000.
If an uninsured driver caused an accident, then you can likely file a claim under your UM policy to recover damages up to your policy limit. Once you have exhausted your policy limit, you may have to sue the driver, or some other legally-liable party, for additional compensation. Hiring an experienced Baton Rouge car accident injury lawyer gives you the best shot at securing the maximum compensation available for your injuries and losses.
To deter drivers from operating vehicles without the minimum amount of auto insurance, Louisiana implemented a “No Pay, No Play” law. This law prohibits uninsured drivers from recovering damages when they suffer injuries due to another driver’s negligence. The law states that uninsured accident victims cannot recover the first $15,000 of damages for injuries. The law includes some exceptions, including drunk driving accidents, hit-and-run accidents, and accidents caused by out-of-state drivers.
Louisiana is among the states with the shortest statute of limitations for car accident claims. If you have suffered injuries in a Baton Rouge car accident, then you may have just one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. If you do not take action within that window of time, then you may lose your rights.
Louisiana law does allow for some rare situations that could pause the statute of limitations time clock, but when and how those exceptions apply gets complicated. For example, if you or a loved one suffered severe car accident injuries that left you in a coma and unable to take action for months, a court might hear your case. Additionally, children who suffer injuries can have until they turn 19 to file a car accident lawsuit.
However, you cannot count on these exceptions applying to your case. Instead, the safest course of action is to speak with an experienced Baton Rouge car accident injury lawyer as soon as possible after any crash.
Yes, you can afford a lawyer. Sometimes car accident victims assume they cannot afford a lawyer, so they do not hire one. Unfortunately, this can result in victims receiving far less money than they deserve for their car accident injuries if they receive anything at all. Our car accident law firm offers free consultations to potential clients to discuss the details of their claim and their injuries.
If you have a viable claim, our Baton Rouge car accident injury attorneys will represent you on a contingent fee basis. In a contingent fee arrangement, you do not pay money up front to retain a lawyer, and you do not pay the lawyer as the case goes along. Instead, we work for you in exchange for a percentage of any money we secure on your behalf. In other words, our lawyers get paid only if you get paid.
A car accident lawyer helps you get the compensation you deserve for an accident from the parties who caused you harm. Sometimes accident victims and potential clients are unaware of the ways a lawyer can specifically help their claim.
Car accident lawyers engage in a wide range of activities to help their clients, such as:
- Lawyers evaluate the facts of a car accident claim to determine the viability of a case and discuss legal options with clients.
- Lawyers handle communication with insurance companies and defense lawyers to protect clients from saying something to hurt their claim.
- Lawyers investigate or employ investigators to find out relevant facts about an accident to determine liability, which includes gathering evidence such as accident reports, medical records, and eyewitness statements.
- Lawyers use experience and consult with specialists and experts to value their clients’ claims, so they get the maximum amount possible for losses related to the accident and injuries.
- Lawyers are skilled negotiators who often secure more settlement money or court-awarded damages than accident victims would otherwise receive. Lawyers who negotiate for their clients also send a signal to insurance carriers to take a claim more seriously.
- Lawyers advocate and fight for their clients in the courtroom when the parties at fault dispute liability or when insurance companies refuse to make reasonable settlement offers that fairly compensate a victim for losses incurred as a result of the accident and injuries.