The moments during and immediately an auto accident always seem to occur in slow motion. The sense of impending crash, the shock of the accident, and the seconds after impact can leave a lasting memory. The injuries sustained in any auto accident could have life-altering affects and should be treated as serious from the onset.
Between 2012 and 2016, the number of auto accidents, including fatal auto accidents, increased slightly. This was counter to the national trend of a gradual decrease of accidents throughout the country.
The legal definition of a “tort” (essentially a personal injury claim) dates back to early British common law and refers to the action of one person leading to the injury of another. In Louisiana, this translates into the negligence statute. In order to establish negligence, the victim must establish:
- The defendant was negligent;
- The victim was injured; and
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injury.
Louisiana provides that every person has a legal duty of care to every other person. A court will look at whether a similarly situated driver would have behaved in the same manner while driving. If the accident resulted in injuries, then a driver who acted negligently could be subject to a personal injury claim.
Louisiana provides an injured person a one year period to bring a claim for damages from the date of the accident. It is therefore important to begin discussing the intricacies of a personal injury claim shortly after an accident occurs.
Damages in an Auto Accident Claim
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, you are entitled to seek damages as a result of your injury. Louisiana provides that victims of an auto accident may seek actual and non-economic damages after an accident. Actual damages refer to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
Non-economic damages refer to the psychological impact of the accident and includes emotional distress and pain and suffering. Louisiana does not impose a cap on the amount of damages an injured victim may receive after an accident. However, it is important to keep in mind that discussions with insurance companies could impact your ability to claim a settlement in the future. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they will attempt to coerce a settlement shortly after the accident. The settlement will often be generous and will cover the existing medical expenses, as well as a small stipend. However, your medical expenses are likely to increase in the coming weeks and months, and an insurance company will often not give you the benefit of estimation. It is therefore advised to consult with a personal injury attorney shortly after an auto accident.
Contact the Experienced Auto Accident Attorneys at Jones & Hill Today
The attorneys of Jones & Hill have years of experience in assisting their clients with personal injury cases. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you understand the physical and emotional devastation which can occur from the impact. Contact our Oakdale or Oberlin offices today for your initial free consultation.