If you have recently been involved in a car accident in Baton Rouge, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and more. To recover the full amount of compensation you justly deserve, however, there are a few important things to know. Below, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer explains what these are.
You May Have to Report the Accident
Under state law, you may be required to report the accident. If your accident resulted in injury or death or property damage that exceeds $500, you must report the accident to the local police department. Your insurance policy may also require that you report the accident to the police. Reporting any accident can also help you prove liability, as police may include who was at fault in the report they file.
Louisiana Follows a Pure Model of Comparative Negligence
All states have some form of comparative negligence law, but they vary from state to state. The comparative negligence law applies when more than one party is to blame for an accident. In these cases, each party is assigned a percentage of fault, and they bear liability for paying the same amount of damages. Louisiana follows a pure model of comparative negligence, which means you can claim damages if you were hurt, even if you were 99% at fault for the crash.
For example, you may have been involved in a crash and sustained $100,000 in damages. If you were found to be 30% at fault for the accident, your damages would be reduced by the same percentage, which is $30,000. In total, you would receive $70,000. Comparative negligence is often raised as a defense in car accident claims, particularly when multiple parties are involved. It is important to work with a Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer who can refute these arguments so you recover the full damages you deserve.
The Insurance Company May Initially Deny Your Claim
Insurance companies use many methods to try and deny your claim. They may argue that the accident was not caused by the person they are covering, that you were not actually injured, or that your injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition. If they are successful with these claims, you will not receive the full compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are less likely to try these tactics when accident victims are represented by an attorney.
Louisiana Motorists are Assumed to Have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Unless they Reject it in Writing
Unfortunately, not all drivers carry proper auto insurance, even though they are required to by law. To protect law-abiding citizens, state law requires that all insurance companies provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to their clients unless the clients reject the coverage in writing. When you have this coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company even if the other party did not have proper coverage. If you are not sure if you have this coverage, you should speak with an attorney about what documents you need to find out if this coverage will be available to you.
Louisiana Has a “No Pay, No Play” Law
To discourage drivers from driving without auto insurance, Louisiana has enacted a “No Pay, No Play” law. Under this law, uninsured motorists cannot recover a certain amount of damages if they are hurt by someone else’s negligence. In Louisiana, uninsured motorists cannot recover the first $15,000 in bodily injury damages or the first $25,000 in property damage. There are some exceptions to the law, so it is always important to speak to an attorney before taking further action.
You Have One Year to File Your Claim
The statute of limitations, or time limit, is very strict in Louisiana. You only have one year from the date of your crash to file a claim. If you do not file within this time, you will lose any legal right to claim compensation from the at-fault party. Even though you have one year, waiting until the year has almost passed before speaking with an attorney can significantly reduce the value of your case and some injury attorneys may not speak to you if you are too close to the deadline.
There are No Caps on Damages
Many states have enacted laws that cap, or limit, the amount of damages a person can receive after a car crash. Fortunately, this is not the case in Louisiana in most cases. After a car accident, you can claim the full economic and non-economic damages you sustained during the crash.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Baton Rouge Can Help You Claim Full Damages
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you need sound legal advice. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers can advise you of your rights under the law and ensure they are protected so you obtain the maximum damages that are justly yours. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.