NEW ORLEANS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
A car accident is an unfortunate occurrence that happens to many people. If you are a victim of a New Orleans car accident, there is no reason that you have to handle your case alone. The attorney and staff at Cueria Law Firm, LLC, are very experienced in these types of accidents. That experience has shown us that many New Orleans car accidents are not limited to driver negligence but may also involve defective auto design or road defects. A New Orleans car accident lawyer will work on your behalf to gather all photographs, witness statements, accident reports, and expert reports to build your car accident case. This determines whether your accident resulted from driver negligence or may involve manufacturer or government liability.
CAR ACCIDENTS HAPPEN EVERY DAY IN LOUISIANA
Car accidents occur regularly in New Orleans, and no two are alike. There are many reasons an accident can occur, from a distracted driver to unsafe roadways. Many New Orleans car accidents are preventable if drivers exhibit proper caution and care while driving. Unfortunately, not everyone is a diligent driver, and accidents will occur, leading to damages, injury, and sometimes death.
Below are a few common causes of New Orleans automobile accidents:
Any vehicle on the roadway should be maintained as required. From oil changes to brake servicing, cars and trucks need regular maintenance to ensure proper operation. When a vehicle is not maintained correctly, it can lead to danger, as crashes will occur. Contact our New Orleans car accident lawyer in case of a motor vehicle and car accidents.
Roadways Are Unsafe
We rely on the Louisiana government to keep our local New Orleans roadways safe. In some cases, unmaintained roads can lead to accidents. Such instances as missing traffic signs, potholes, and limited visibility on the roadway can lead to a car crash. Cases of motor vehicle accidents due to unsafe roads should be brought to our New Orleans car accident lawyer.
Driving While Intoxicated
When an impaired driver is on the roadways, it can only end in disaster. Drivers who have been drinking have little to no cognitive function, which leads to slower reaction times. The driver can crash their vehicle into someone else or place themselves in danger by running off the roadway or into oncoming traffic. Contact a New Orleans, LA, accident lawyer if you suspect the other driver was under the influence.
Another big issue today is distracted drivers. From texting to social media, drivers use their mobile phones more while driving. Drivers that mess with the radio while driving can cause an accident. Drivers should always remain focused on the roadway to avoid becoming distracted and being in a crash.
Teenagers are just learning the rules of the road and how to navigate driving an automobile. This inexperience is another cause of many accidents on the road. New Orleans car accident injury victims should contact New Orleans car accident attorneys if they’ve been injured in an accident with an underage driver.
Many drivers will go well above the speed limit. They may drive anywhere from 10 to 30 miles over the posted limit. Speeding can cause a severe or fatal crash, as the faster you drive, the slower your time of reacting to conditions ahead of you will be. Contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer.
Driving Too Close
Driving too close to the person in front of you is also a big issue that causes car accidents. You must leave enough rough between you and the car before you to allow a proper stop if something happens. Contact a New Orleans Car accident attorney for such motor vehicle accidents.
5 MISTAKES TO AVOID AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
The first mistake you can make after an accident is agreeing to give a recorded statement to the insurance company, whether yours or the other driver’s. Many drivers have no idea that what they say will destroy their case before it even gets started. And insurance adjusters are skilled at manipulating what you say to use against you in your case. Instead, you should consult with a New Orleans motor vehicle accident attorney. If this is your first time going through this process, or you are unsure what to do, speak with a Louisiana car accident attorney in New Orleans, LA. Your attorney will be able to help you determine if you should give a statement and will be with you to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Delaying Treatment for Medical Needs
A second common mistake is delaying medical treatment. Some insurance companies will promise to help you, and many car accident victims think that this means that the company will help with medical treatment. Companies are not prepared to help anyone who is injured with medical treatment. A gap in treatment will hurt your case, and companies know this. To avoid this issue, be sure to have treatment completed as soon as possible. Never wait for your company to tell you when to go for treatment, as they never will.
Seeing Only Doctors Recommended by An Insurance Company
Another common issue is that insurance companies tell an accident victim to see company doctors. A company may imply that you can only see the doctors they recommend. This is not true. You can see your doctors or whoever you like. If you see only their doctors, it can hurt your case. A company will steer you towards a doctor that they want you to see, and they will pay for their services. The doctors know how they are being paid and may be biased based on who provides them compensation. Avoid this mistake by seeing the doctors you want to see and who you trust. Tell the doctor how you feel, what is hurting, and what happened so you can receive a proper diagnosis.
Not Telling the Truth
Accident victims should always tell the truth during their cases. There will be opportunities to lie, but you should never stretch the truth as it could hurt your case. Even a small misrepresentation can hurt your case and lessen your credibility. To avoid this issue, tell the truth when talking to your doctor, personal injury lawyer, insurance company, etc.
Settling Your Case Without Talking to a New Orleans Personal Injury Attorney
Another mistake is an accident victim will settle without speaking to a New Orleans personal injury attorney. An insurance company will hope that you do this without seeking representation from legal counsel. This makes their job more difficult, as car accident lawyers are well-versed on the rights of the New Orleans car accident victim. Insurance companies will work fast to try and see you settle your case for a low value within days of the incident. The company will make you believe they are on your side but they are not. They want the case to be settled so they are not out too much money and litigation does not begin.
FAQ: New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
How much does a New Orleans car accident attorney cost?
You only pay if we win. If we don’t get you a financial recovery, we don’t get paid.
Is there a deadline for filing a car accident case?
Yes. Personal injury cases have various deadlines called the Statute of Limitations (SOL).
How do I know if I need to hire a car accident attorney?
If you have been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is good to have an attorney help protect your rights.
Do I have to go to court for my car accident?
In many cases, the answer is no. Our law firm gathers the facts and builds the evidence for your injury case.
What if I was involved in a hit-and-run accident in New Orleans?
It is best to have a New Orleans personal injury attorney by your side to try and find out who caused the crash and seek compensation. The New Orleans police report can be reviewed, witnesses questioned, and perhaps camera footage from the area that can help find the driver who fled the scene. You have the right to seek compensation, especially if you are injured, or your vehicle is damaged. When a driver leaves the scene of a New Orleans Car accident and is at fault, you lose out on any insurance claim as you do not have access to their insurance information. You cannot contact the other driver’s insurance company to be compensated for repairs or medical needs. This means you will have to use your insurance or pay out of pocket for any medical bills or other expenses incurred due to the accident. A hit-and-run accident can create several issues and involve loss. The injured party should hire an experienced personal injury law firm in New Orleans to assist with building a car accident case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to handle such accidents and has the resources on hand to provide for medical needs, plus find experts to assist in creating the case for successful case results.
What If I was the passenger in an auto accident?
Whether you are the passenger or the driver, you are affected. Passengers are commonly shaken up considerably after an accident as they have no control over the outcome. Car passengers can sustain an injury due to another vehicle driver or the driver of the vehicle they are riding in. When you are an auto passenger that is injured due to another individual’s negligent behavior while driving, you have the right to pursue damage compensation after your New Orleans accident. Regarding a two-vehicle accident, the injured passenger does not have to prove liability. One of the drivers will most likely be liable. When a one-car accident occurs, the driver is usually responsible unless the accident was unavoidable due to extenuating circumstances. However, it is critical, no matter what the cause, that you, as the passenger, seek counseling from an experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer.
How do passengers receive compensation for car accidents?
The way you seek compensation will depend on the circumstances of the accident. One option is to file a third-party claim against the vehicle owner’s policy in which you were riding inside or the vehicle’s driver. A third-party application would be made when you are involved in a one-car crash or if the driver of the vehicle you were riding was the reason behind the crash. Another option is to file a third-party claim against a driver or owner of another vehicle involved in the collision. You file this personal injury claim if you are involved in an accident and a driver of another vehicle is at fault. It is essential that no matter which avenue you pursue, you keep accurate records of what happened. You need to seek medical attention if you were injured in the automobile accident so that your New Orleans car accident attorney can have proof of the car accident injuries you sustained. Accurate record-keeping such as medical reports, police reports, and other insurance paperwork, is vital to helping you pursue compensation after you’ve been involved in auto accidents in Louisiana.
What is car accident negligence in New Orleans?
When a New Orleans car accident occurs, and one or more parties sustain serious injuries, a personal injury case can be filed. To win the case, you must prove negligence. Negligence in a New Orleans car accident is when a driver chooses not to take proper care to ensure safe driving. Being able to prove the negligent driver was at fault means that the other driver was not cautious when driving. In New Orleans, Louisiana law requires that every driver follow the state driving rules and regulations. If you can prove that the other driver violated state laws then proving driver negligence will be much easier. Examples of New Orleans car accident negligence can include such instances as running a stop sign. If you can prove that the other driver ran the stop sign when crashing into you while you had the right of way, it will help to prove negligence within your personal injury claim.
What If I was injured in a New Orleans drunk driving accident?
In Louisiana, the blood alcohol of an individual driving a motor vehicle must not exceed the legal limit of 0.08%. A person driving in Louisiana who is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol above the 0.08% limit will be considered a drunk driver. The individual will face criminal penalties as they are a risk to others with the potential to cause personal injury or wrongful death while driving. Individuals responsible for accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol will most likely be arrested for a Driving Under the Influence charge. The drunk driver is liable both criminally and civilly. A conviction of a DUI does not necessarily benefit the victim. However, victims of a DUI accident in Louisiana can take additional legal action against the perpetrator by working with New Orleans car accident lawyers in New Orleans. Make sure that the lawyer that you choose is very experienced in these types of cases.
Who is responsible when dangerous roads cause an accident?
In New Orleans, either the Department of Public Works (DPW) or the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is responsible for the upkeep of public roads. Our tax dollars sponsor the installation, maintenance, repair, and improvement of the roadways, and the town has a duty of care to the people to protect them from an unreasonable risk of harm. If an agency falls short of its duty, such as by designing defective roadways or failing to fix faults and defects on the roads — and people get hurt as a result — then the government entity in charge might be liable for victims’ damages. To determine precisely who the liable party (defendant) is for a defective roadway-related accident, your car accident attorney in New Orleans can investigate the situation and identify the proper authority.
What do Louisiana’s government immunity laws entail?
Unlike most states, Louisiana’s immunity laws are very public/victim-friendly. In other states, government agencies enjoy a significant degree of immunity from lawsuits. These states have implemented self-protecting immunity laws that shield themselves from financial liability in personal injury suits. People who sustain an injury in accidents resulting from a government agency’s or government worker’s negligence have limited recovery options typically. Fortunately for victims, Louisiana does not shield itself from tort lawsuits, as other states do. La. Const. Art. XII, § 10(A) clearly states: “Neither the state, a state agency nor a political subdivision shall be immune from suit and liability in contract or for injury to person or property.” In other words, victims have every right to pursue a personal injury claim against a government board, commission, department, or agency when they sustain an injury through negligence.
What defense does the government commonly use in liability suits?
When New Orleans car accident victims injured by dangerous roads try to sue the government agency in charge, the agency might likely try to use the “Public Duty Doctrine” as a defense. The Public Duty Doctrine essentially provides that the government can only be liable when they breach a duty of care to an individual — not the public at large. USLegal.com explains the doctrine: “A governmental entity can be held liable only when the duty breached was owed to the injured person as an individual and was not merely the breach of an obligation owed to the public at large… In short, a duty to all is a duty to no one.”
While this would likely mean that filing a lawsuit would be impossible — road maintenance is a public issue, not individual — roadways are somewhat of a gray area. While the Public Duty Doctrine shields governmental entities when performing their duties to the public, the DPW and DOTD are responsible for maintaining roads. Because of this, accident and injury victims may be able to hold government entities liable, with some exceptions. Your lawyer will examine your case to see if you can file a car accident claim against one of these governmental entities.
Are there any limits to dangerous road condition lawsuits?
While you may be entitled to bring a car accident claim against a government agency for neglecting to keep safe roads, you must observe some limits that do not apply to regular civil suits.
Firstly, there is a limit to the number of damages you can recover. Louisiana Revised Statutes § 13:5106(B)(1) states that the state’s total liability for all damages for personal injury to one person shall not exceed $500,000. Also, if the court finds you partly liable for the New Orleans car accident, your degree of fault will reduce your damage award. So, if you were speeding on a dangerous road when the accident occurred and received 25 percent fault for the accident, you will only receive 75 percent of the value of your losses, not to exceed the $500,000 damage cap.
Types of damages
Whereas you might be able to cover a wide array of damages in a regular personal injury suit against a person or business, Louisiana laws limit the types of damages that are compensable in a lawsuit against the government. In cases of this nature, you can only win a damage award for the following types of losses: property damages, medical care and related benefits, loss of earnings, and loss of future profits. You cannot recover emotional damages such as pain and suffering.
Note that the time limits and procedural requirements for filing a claim against the government are typically shorter and more stringent than those for non-government applications. You will want to speak to an attorney that handles car accident claims involving dangerous road conditions as soon as possible for information on when and how to proceed. Procrastinating or not following claim protocols to a T could thwart your rights to benefits.
How do I determine the value of my case?
A severe bicycle or auto accident can cause massive financial issues for an individual or family, so the value of your case may be considerable. Medical bills can be expensive, and your income might drastically decrease if you cannot return to work for some time. If you have sustained a permanent disability, your injury could permanently hinder your earning capacity. Fortunately, all of these are compensable if you win your injury case. If you and your attorney can prove your claim, the Louisiana court that hears your case will determine the value of your damages. The judge will look at all of your medical bills and related expenses, proof of lost wages, input from your doctors about your prognosis and future medical needs, and any other evidence you bring to confirm your damages. Make sure to keep thorough records to share; retain all receipts and bills for your injury-related needs. These records include surgical bills, hospitalization, physical rehabilitation, check-ups, custodial services, prescriptions, and prosthetic devices.
What If I am hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance?
You may have a case if you have coverage known as an underinsured or uninsured motorist within your automobile insurance policy. This insurance is an option available to you when purchasing insurance for your vehicle. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you are covered when hit by someone who does not have automobile insurance or does not have enough to cover the claim. You then can recover from your car insurance company. If you have been involved in such an accident, check your policy to see if coverage is offered. It will be listed as UM on your policy if available. It is a good idea to have UM coverage as it covers you in case of an accident with an uninsured driver and is usually inexpensive to carry. It is often not discussed by your insurance company as it is inexpensive, and if a claim is filed, then your provider must offer coverage. But, of course, this is why we have insurance companies.
What if a car accident is partially my fault?
You may still have a case if you have been involved in a car accident in New Orleans and may be partially at fault. Based on the information you provide, a Louisiana personal injury attorney will be able to determine if you can move forward with a claim. When evidence exists that you share blame for a vehicle accident and the case goes to trial, the jury will have to choose what percentage of the fault belongs to you and what percentage belongs to the other party involved. These percentages must equal 100%. If the jury finds that you were not at fault, you will be able to recover a full 100% in damages awarded by the jury. If you are found to have partial blame for the accident, the amount you are awarded will be reduced based on the percentage found by the jury. For the most part, the parties involved in the New Orleans accident will agree on amounts to settle for without going to court. When you are considered partially at fault, the value of a settlement will be reduced. The reduced amount will be based on the evidence presented in the case and how much fault you have been proven to have in causing the car wreck. Whatever the case, you are more likely to receive compensation when working with an experienced car injury attorney specializing in New Orleans car accident cases. Contact our office today if you have been involved in an automobile accident and want to review your case.
WHERE CAN I FIND A FIRM THAT HANDLES NEW ORLEANS ACCIDENT CASES?
Our attorneys at Cueria Law Firm accept all types of injury and wrongful death cases, including complicated claims against government agencies for dangerous road conditions. It is our practice to fight diligently for full and fair compensation; we have a passion for helping hurt Louisianans get the compensation they need and deserve when preventable accidents have injured them. Contact our office today and schedule a free consultation at your convenience: 800-899-7102.