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Auto Accident Attorneys | Baton Rouge LA

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. At Bohrer Brady, our experienced auto accident attorneys in Baton Rouge, Louisiana work with you to sort out your legal options.

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Car Accidents | 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, and our auto accident attorneys in Baton Rouge can help.

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 Accidents | 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 our experienced auto accident attorneys can be such a strong ally in planning the case and assessing damages.

Contact our Auto Accident Attorneys

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 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to schedule a consultation with our car accident injury attorneys to discuss your situation.

Insurance Claim Do’s and Don’ts

When you need to make an auto insurance claim following an auto accident, you should proceed with care. Your actions may have a significant influence on the amount of compensation you receive. Contact Bohrer Brady in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to schedule a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in car accidents to learn more.

The Do’s

  • DO consult an auto accident 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 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 auto accident 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 from an auto accident attorney and carefully weighed your options.

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 our car accident attorneys at Bohrer Brady in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney and 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. Consult with our Baton Rouge auto accident attorneys before filing a claim.

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 our auto accident attorneys

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 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

What to Do If You Are in a Car 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 our auto accident attorneys in Baton Rouge. Bohrer Brady will protect your rights.

Immediately After the Auto 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 a 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 Our Auto Accident Attorneys | Baton Rouge

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 at Bohrer Brady in Baton Rouge, Louisiana can help you sort out all the losses related to your accident.

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.

Car Accident Lawyers | 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 having Auto Accident Attorneys in Baton Rouge:

  • 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 making decisions that are in your best interest.

Other Information You Should Know About Auto Accident Lawsuits:

  • 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.