Over the course of a typical driving lifetime, most people are involved in a total of three or four accidents, reports Forbes. Even if you are a “good driver” and make a point of being exceptionally safe behind the wheel, an accident can still occur at any time. After all, you cannot control everyone else on the road.
Whenever you are involved in any car accident, it is important to know what your options are, what to expect during the claims process, and what types of damages you are entitled to recover. The more you know, the better you can protect and exercise your rights. For questions about your car accident or for legal representation for a claim/lawsuit in Baton Rouge, call a lawyer from Cueria Law Firm today: 888-479-0220.
What types of negligence commonly causes car accidents?
All drivers have a legal duty to drive with care so as not to endanger anyone on the road. Whenever they act in a negligent or careless manner, i.e., breach their duty of care, they can be financially liable for any damage they cause. Negligence comes in many forms. Some of the most common types of negligence that contribute to car accidents include the following:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Not looking around carefully before switching lanes or making a turn
- Driving while under the influence
- Using the cell phone or texting while driving
- Driving while sleepy
- Eating, drinking, putting on makeup, etc.
- Aggressive or illegal driving maneuvers
- Talking to or looking at passengers
- Focusing on other things outside the car, e.g., another accident, cars pulled over, etc.
What does the car accident claims process entail?
Below is a brief overview of what you can expect when filling a claim after a car accident. Note, these are just general steps; there are many details outside the scope of this article. For specific questions about the steps you need to take, make sure to ask an attorney at Cueria Law Firm.
- Identify fault. Who primarily caused the accident: you or the other party?
- File a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If you were at fault, you will need to file a claim with your own insurer. If the other party was at fault, you can file with that insurer. Note, if you are partly at fault, you can likely still recover, but you will need to speak to a lawyer about how to best move forward.
- Gather evidence to support your case. (More on this later.)
- Submit the evidence a demand letter to the insurer. The demand letter lists your damages and requests payment for them.
- Negotiate with the insurer. If the insurer accepts your claim, the insurer will provide you with a settlement offer. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to try to recover a fuller amount.
- Accept the offer. If the offer is fair, you can accept it and will receive payment from the insurer.
- File a lawsuit. If the offer is insufficient, or if the insurer denies your claim altogether, your attorney can help you file a civil lawsuit at the Baton Rouge City
What kinds of evidence do I need to prove (and win) my case?
In order to win your case and ensure your damage award is sufficient, you will need to prove two things: 1) the extent of your damages, and 2) the other party’s negligence.
You need to make sure that you have accounted for the totality of your expenses and losses on your claim. If you miss important details or fail to list future expenses before finalizing your claim, you will not have another opportunity later to ask for more funds if your condition worsens. Be as thorough as possible.
You can use items such as receipts, bills, past pay stubs and tax returns, doctors’ testimonies about your future medical needs, and professional estimates of future needs to prove your monetary losses. You can also use your patient file and testimony from your mental healthcare provider to prove emotional damages, as well as your injury journal that documents your pain levels and the effect of your injuries on your daily life.
Because car accident claims and lawsuits hinge on fault, you must be able to prove that other party was responsible for causing the accident. In certain circumstances, like a rear-end collision, fault is usually cut and dry, but in other cases, proving liability can be more challenging. Various types of evidence might be useful to prove negligence, such as:
- The police report: If the driver was in violation of any traffic laws, i.e., speeding or driving recklessly, the police officer will notate citations in the report.
- Photos and videos: Photos/video of the accident scene and of the damage to the cars might help the insurer/courts better determine fault.
- Eyewitness reports: If any bystanders witnessed your accident, their input can be very valuable as evidence. They may be able to testify as to what transpired and who caused the accident.
- Expert testimony: Your lawyer may also be able to enlist the help of an accident reconstructionist to identify probable causation.
- Other evidence: Other pertinent evidence depends on the specifics of your case. For instance, if you suspect the driver was drunk, your lawyer can obtain his/her breathalyzer, blood, and/or urine test results. Similarly, if the driver was texting while driving, your attorney may be able to obtain his/her cell phone records.
What kinds of damages can I recover in a car accident case?
You can recover several types of damages if you win your car accident case.
- Special damages: Special damages are the monetary, tangible losses you sustain from the accident. These include things such as medical bills, transportation to medical appointments, rehabilitation, medical devices and aides, physical therapy, counseling, lost wages, disability, the cost of hiring help around the house, and other miscellaneous injury-related expenses.
- General damages: General damages are the emotional, harder-to-quantify losses you experience, such as mental anguish, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: The courts award punitive damages to victims only in cases where the other driver was especially reckless, such as in DUI accidents. Courts do not award them to compensate the victim so much as to punish the wrongdoer and discourage future misconduct.
How can Cueria Law Firm help with my Baton Rouge car accident case?
The attorneys at Cueria Law Firm have the resources and skills to handle any type of personal injury or wrongful death case in the state of Louisiana, including car accident cases. We are truly passionate about helping victims in the wake of serious crashes, and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We would like the opportunity to do the same for you.
Let our car accident lawyers in Baton Rouge help you and your family get the justice and restitution you need when are hurt by others’ negligence. Contact Cueria Law Firm today at 888-479-0220 for a free consultation.