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Motor Vehicle Accident Center

Motor vehicle accidents have many causes: inattentive drivers, intoxicated drivers, dangerous weather conditions and even poor road maintenance. No matter what the cause, the impact can be devastating. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an attorney.

Motor Vehicle Accidents - An Overview

Motor vehicle accidents cause the loss of time, property, health and even life. Such accidents occur because of elements including driver error, negligence, distracted driving, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result, a car crash can turn a normal day into a prolonged struggle. Speaking with a lawyer can help you sort out your rights, your options and your future. Contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.

At-fault, negligent and aggressive drivers

When you have been in an auto accident, you may have a sense of who caused it. Issues of fault, however, can be complicated by who acted when and which laws governed the situation. If the other driver was negligent, you may have to prove that the driver breached a duty of care to you and that the breach caused your damages. The assistance of an attorney can be immensely valuable at this time, whether you are battling an insurance company, seeking compensation for your injuries or defending yourself in court.

Sources of information on the accident include police reports, witnesses and the condition of the vehicles involved in the accident. They could reveal what happened and why.

Actions, on the part of either driver, that may have contributed to the accident include:

  • Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to compensate for dangerous weather conditions
  • Driving above or below the posted speed limits
  • Distracted driving caused by a cell phone, passenger, radio or another source
  • Failing to obey traffic laws regarding turn signals, right-of-way and other rules

Sometimes the at-fault driver is more than merely negligent; he or she may have acted recklessly or even intentionally. A reckless driver acts with conscious disregard for the probable consequences of his or her actions. Road rage incidents often involve reckless behavior, and they can escalate into intentional behavior. Road rage in particular can be extremely dangerous, leading to injuries and criminal charges. Generally, aggressive drivers are a serious threat to safety. Speeding and taking other risks contributes significantly to motor vehicle fatalities.

It is important to avoid confrontation with road-rage drivers and aggressive drivers. You have a better chance of staying safe if you:

  • Get out of the way
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Refuse to make or return obscene gestures
  • Let go of your pride for a while; don't challenge the other driver
  • Report the aggressive driving to the authorities, stopping in a safe spot to use your cell phone if necessary

Drunk driving and motor vehicle accidents

Drunk driving can lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Additionally, the business that sold alcohol to the drunk driver may be held liable if it served the driver when he or she was visibly intoxicated. This, however, does not take any responsibility from the driver who drove while intoxicated. If you have been in an accident involving alcohol or drugs, seek the help of an attorney who will explain your legal options.

Auto accidents not caused by the drivers

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you cannot avoid an accident. In certain cases, a vehicle's manufacturing or design defect causes the accident or makes it worse. This might happen if, for instance, the brakes on your car fail or the airbag does not deploy when it should. The law of products liability applies in those situations, protecting consumers when products create an unreasonable risk of harm. If a product defect caused your injuries, you may have a case against the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the motor vehicle.

Another responsible party could be a mechanic who improperly repaired the car that caused the accident. Both the mechanic and the mechanic's employer could be liable in such a case.

Finally, poorly maintained roads, messy and confusing construction, unclear signage, improperly designed roads and similar problems can contribute to an accident. Government entities are typically responsible for maintaining roads and highways; they may, therefore, be liable for accidents caused by the above factors. Special rules, however, apply to lawsuits against government entities; a lawyer will be able to explain them in detail.

Contact a personal injury attorney

It is important to take prompt action when you have been in a motor vehicle accident. This will help you preserve your rights and seek proper compensation. Contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Auto Accident Injuries and Compensation

An individual who has been injured in an automobile accident may be able to seek monetary compensation for injuries and damages. Cases are fact specific, typically with complex issues of proof and fault in dispute. An experienced personal injury attorney from Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, can work with you to sort out your legal options.

Compensation for your losses

The injured party in a motor vehicle accident may be able to recover damages from the party or parties who caused the accident. Damages are monetary compensation for the victim's injuries or losses. Compensable injuries include physical injuries like broken bones, spinal cord injuries and head injuries; the pain and suffering caused by physical injuries may also be compensable.

Damages may also be sought to pay for the victim's medical bills - bills that arose directly after the accident, in addition to reasonable future medical bills. If the victim requires rehabilitative services or accommodations, such as physical therapy or a ramp leading to the home, these costs may be recovered. The accident victim also may recover lost past and future wages. Compensation for damage to personal property may also be recoverable.

Other damages that are more difficult to quantify may also be sought. Mental pain and suffering may be compensable, as may permanent impairment or disfigurement. Loss of enjoyment of life is also compensable in certain situations.

If the injured person was already suffering from a previous injury, that does not necessarily bar monetary recovery. The accident may have aggravated or worsened the injured person's existing injury, and the new injury can be treated as a separate matter from the underlying injury.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is a good idea to keep a daily diary documenting how the injury is affecting you, both emotionally and physically. This can be of great assistance when it comes time to show the effects of the accident.

Spouse's damages: loss of consortium

Even if the husband or wife of the motor vehicle accident victim was not in the car at the time of the crash, he or she may also be experiencing a loss. Almost every state recognizes the claim of loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to the negative effect the accident has had on the marital relationship. The marital relationship generally comes with certain benefits, such as companionship, comfort, assistance, sexual relations and affection; the loss of consortium can be temporary or permanent.

Auto insurance

It is most often the case that auto accident victims who recover in court or via a settlement are paid by the other driver's insurance company. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, however, the accident victim may need to pursue other means of recovery.

The insurance policy of the victim may have an uninsured-motorist or underinsured-motorist provision that will compensate the victim. Other types of insurance policies, available through the victim's spouse or employer, may also provide benefits. How significant a benefit and whether it is available depends, of course, on the specifics of the policy itself.

Amount of financial recovery

The level of damages to which the auto accident victim may be entitled depends on numerous factors. State law, the victim's injuries, proving the facts of the case and even the victim's own actions can come into play. So can the type and length of medical treatment, the insurance coverage of each party, the effect of the accident on the victim's income and the permanence of the injuries. This is why an experienced attorney can be such a strong ally in planning the case and assessing damages.

Contact a personal injury attorney

A motor vehicle accident can have catastrophic consequences, both for the victim and the victim's family. Contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options..

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Insurance Claim Do's and Don'ts

When you need to make an auto insurance claim, you should proceed with care. Your actions may have a significant influence on the amount of compensation you receive. Contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to learn more.

The Do's

  • DO consult an attorney for legal advice.
  • DO review your insurance policies to find out what is covered and what is excluded.
  • DO notify your insurance company right away after you are in a car accident, your car is stolen or damaged or another such covered event takes place.
  • DO take pictures if you can: of your vehicle, the accident site and your injuries.
  • DO take notes when you speak with your insurance company. Make a record of the names, job titles and phone numbers of the representatives with whom you communicate. If you can, get the names of their supervisors, too. Note what you discussed and what you or the representative promised to do.
  • DO tell your insurance company the truth. Not only does this save everyone a lot of time and effort, but questions of legal liability can be complex. If you fail to be forthcoming with your insurance company, this could invalidate or reduce your coverage.
  • DO investigate whether you have additional insurance coverage. Depending on the circumstances, supplemental coverage may come from another auto insurance policy, a homeowner's policy or umbrella coverage.
  • DO keep the receipts for money you've spent on car rental, medical bills and purchases made in connection with the motor vehicle accident.
  • DO make sure you're aware of the difference between the replacement value of your car and what you actually owe on the car. If the car is totaled, most car insurance will cover only the cash value of your car at the time of the accident. You may owe more than that, however, on the loan or the lease of the car. Gap coverage makes up for this difference. Additional coverage is usually necessary for things like a special sound system in your car.

The Don'ts

  • DON'T accept the insurance company's estimate of your losses and damages until you have a chance to fully explore the matter yourself. An attorney's help can be valuable in determining whether the insurance company's estimate is fair.
  • DON'T give the insurance company a recorded or written statement until you have determined how you wish to proceed. It is important to be aware of the extent of your insurance coverage and your rights.
  • DON'T sign a release or waiver until you have gotten reliable legal advice. You may feel pressure to sign from your insurance company, but it is your right to explore your options. Just make sure that you take appropriate action within the time limit stated in your insurance policy.
  • DON'T accept a check from your insurance company - especially one that says "final payment" - unless you have obtained legal advice and carefully weighed your options.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Your insurance company is legally obligated to follow through on the terms of its contract with you. You have the right to make sure that happens, and a lawyer can offer you the support, guidance and advocacy you need. Contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists

When a driver refuses or is unable to carry proper motor vehicle insurance, that driver puts more than just him- or herself at risk. If the driver injures another person, the insurance will be inadequate to cover the damages. Injured parties, however, may be covered by their own insurance policies; uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects accident victims in these cases. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to create a plan of action.

Uninsured motorists

Even if your state requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, the driver who injured you or your passenger may not have had insurance. Or you may have been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, making it impossible to identify the driver at all.

This is when uninsured motorist coverage will step in to protect your interests. Many states require auto insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage. If your insurance company offers uninsured motorist coverage, and you chose to include it in your policy, then your insurance company will act as if it were the at-fault driver's insurance company in compensating you.

When you file an uninsured motorist claim, your insurance company's interests can be adverse to your interests. Consulting with an attorney before filing a claim is wise.

Underinsured motorists

When the at-fault driver is underinsured, this means that the driver has purchased an auto insurance policy that does not provide enough coverage to compensate you for your damages. If you have underinsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance policy, you may be able to collect, from your own insurance company, the amount of your damages that exceeds the at-fault driver's insurance coverage. The premium cost for underinsurance is not as costly as the primary coverage, and the amount of underinsurance protection should be at least the same amount that you have in your primary policy. For example, if you have a $100,000 policy protecting others from your negligence, you should at least have $100,000 in underinsurance coverage to protect yourself.

Collecting insurance benefits under an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy

To recover benefits under an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, the injured party typically will need to show that the other motorist was at fault. The injured party will also need to prove that his or her bodily injuries were significant. To collect benefits under an underinsured motorist policy, the injured party must have received the entire amount of insurance coverage available from the at-fault driver's insurance company before the injured party can make a claim against his or her own insurance company under the underinsurance coverage provision.

Stacking insurance coverage

In some states and under some insurance policies, an injured party may "stack" various policies to reach a satisfactory level of compensation. By stacking coverage from more than one auto insurance policy -- or coverage for more than one car on a single policy -- the injured party increases monetary recovery. Stackable coverage is not allowed in every state; in some cases, the insured must choose to have stackable coverage upon purchasing the policy.

Contact a personal injury attorney

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects accident victims when they are most vulnerable. Not every policy has such coverage, however, and the victim's approach to the situation can change the level of compensation he or she receives. Indeed, some rules do not require the victim's insurance company to pay the victim if the victim settles prematurely with the at-fault motorist's insurance company. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer from Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

What to Do If You Are in a Motor Vehicle Accident

When you are in an accident, you have immediate, important decisions to make. For the crucial decisions you have to make later on, consult with a personal injury attorney from Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Immediately after the accident

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, the first thing you need to do is stop your car or truck; pull over to the side of the road if you can. Most states make leaving the scene of an accident a crime.

Check to see whether you or your passengers have been injured. See if the occupants of the other vehicle(s) are okay, too. If anyone is injured, call an ambulance; it is usually best not to move an injured person yourself. Prevent additional injuries by making your vehicle visible: set out flares, turn on your hazard lights or raise the hood of your vehicle.

States have different rules about when people who have been in accidents need to call the police. To be on the safe side, you may want to call anytime you are in an accident. The police will decide whether they need to come to the scene.

Meanwhile, exchange information with the other driver. Write down the driver's name, address, telephone number, license plate number, driver's license number and full auto insurance information. Give your information to the other driver, too.

If anyone witnessed the accident, try to get their identifying information. In addition, make note of the circumstances of the crash and anything unusual that you noticed. Record the weather conditions, the speed limit on the road, your speed at the time of the crash, your estimate of the other driver's speed and other such elements. This will be important if the case ends up in litigation or an insurance dispute.

Do not admit fault. The determination of fault, if any, will be made later. For now, focus on safety and proper accident procedures. Do not sign any waivers offered by the other driver or the insurance company.

When the police arrive

Cooperate with any police officers who are at the scene of the accident. Provide them with whatever information they request, including information on injuries and witnesses, but avoid making editorial comments or admitting responsibility for what happened. Legal liability is complex, and you may not have the facts you need to determine who was responsible for the accident.

Make sure to get the business cards of the police officers who investigate. Ask for the incident number, too, so that you can get a copy of the accident report (and so that you can give this information to your insurance company). Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police officers tell you that it is okay to do so.

Soon after the accident

Even if you are in minor pain, it is best to be examined by a physician. Injuries may not truly show themselves until later, and early treatment can prevent significant pain or other damage. In addition, an insurance company could argue that your failure to seek medical treatment aggravated your injury, or even that your injury did not arise from the accident at all.

Contact a personal injury attorney

When you consult with a lawyer, bring all of your automobile insurance information with you. Do not sign any documents or checks from an insurance company before you speak with the attorney. Document all of the costs related to the accident, such as renting a car, lost wages, medical bills and other costs. An experienced personal injury attorney from Bohrer Brady LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, can help you sort out all the losses related to your accident.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Resource Links

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
The NHTSA is a government agency dedicated to making American roads safer for travelers.

National Safety Council
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization, provides links and articles on topics like seat belt use, safe driving for teenagers and reducing motor vehicle crashes.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
The Department of Transportation is a federal agency focusing on policy and lawmaking to ensure safer travel in the U.S.

MedlinePlus: Motor Vehicle Safety
This website, from the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, offers information on preventing motor vehicle crashes.

Defensive Driving
This primer on defensive driving discusses factors such as weather, speed limits and parked vehicles.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs
This article discusses steps you can take to obtain a lower auto insurance rate.

Distracted Driving Shatters Lives
This article discusses the epidemic of distracted driving on America's roads.

Stop Aggressive Driving
Learn tips on planning to give yourself extra time to get to your destination and what to do when you encounter an aggressive driver.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute
These organizations focus on studying and preventing highway motor vehicle accidents.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Car Accident FAQs

What should I do if I am in a wreck:

  • Report all accidents to the police.
  • Notify your own insurance company immediately.
  • Do not delay obtaining proper medical care.
  • Do not discuss your case with others.
  • Keep all notes and documents related to the accident, including the police item number, name and address of other driver, names of any witnesses, receipts from ambulances, hospitals, doctors, etc.
  • Fill out your SR-10 form.

Who pays my medical bills?

  • The insurance company providing coverage for the car you were in, if it has medical payments coverage.
  • Your own automobile policy, if you have medical payments coverage.
  • Your own health insurance will generally pay a portion of your medical expenses, if requested.
  • The at-fault driver's insurance company is liable for medical bills at the end of your case.

Who pays my property damage?

  • If the accident was not your fault, you can collect from the person that hit you or his insurance company.
  • No matter who was at fault, you can collect from your own policy if you have collision coverage.
  • You can recover your deductible from the at-fault driver.
  • You are entitled to your damage estimate and choice of repair shop.
  • Property damage, by law, should be settled within 30 days.
  • You may be entitled to diminished value.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

  • This pays your bodily injury damage when the person that hit you had too little or no insurance.
  • An uninsured motorist claim cannot be used against you to raise your rates or cancel your insurance.

Can I get a rental car?

  • If you have rental reimbursement, your insurance pays for a rental.
  • If you do not, the person that hit you may still be liable for a rental car because you lost the use of your own vehicle.

How long will it take to resolve my claim?

  • We work hard to settle your case as quickly as possible.
  • In most cases, a settlement can be made thirty to sixty days from the date you are released by your doctor, depending on the severity of your injury.

What can I expect to recover from my claim?

  • The law allows you to recover money for your physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.
  • Your spouse and children also have legal rights to recover damages.

What is No Pay, No Play?

  • If you do not have insurance, you lose your right to recover the first $10,000 of damages.
  • This law does not apply to passengers in a car.

The Advantages of Legal Representation:

  • We will work to get you the best settlement possible.
  • No more dealing with the insurance adjusters.
  • Your legal rights are protected.
  • You need not worry about being personally involved in the claims process.
  • You will receive professional advice in make decisions that are in your best interest.

Other Information You Should Know:

  • The insurance adjuster's job is to represent the insurance company and to settle your case cheaply. He is NOT on your side.
  • You should not give a recorded or written statement because it may be used against you later.
  • You have one year from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, otherwise your rights will be lost.
  • If an insurance company does not pay your claim timely, it may owe you penalties.
  • If you were on the job, you may also be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
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