Baton Rouge Car Accident Lawyer

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Getting Back On The Road To Health After A Car Or Truck Accident

A motor vehicle accident can have devastating consequences, particularly when a commercial truck or large vehicle is involved. When on the road, you likely remain cautious and do all you can to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, this is not always enough. When you are involved in an accident that was the fault of another driver or party, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden of recovery. A Baton Rouge car accident lawyer may help you obtain much-needed compensation.

If you drive by a highway collision during the clean-up phase, it’s possible to think “that doesn’t look so bad,” when in fact the persons involved in the wreck were seriously or even catastrophically injured.

Unfortunately, oftentimes insurance companies and other entities that should be focused on helping you recover from the injuries you suffered in a car accident take the same attitude. These companies protect their bottom line and often refuse to provide you with the essential compensation you need to pay medical bills and maintain financial stability.

Whether you are filing an auto insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance or are filing a civil claim for remaining damages, a compassionate attorney can give you the support you need.

Baton Rouge Legal Support After Car Accidents

We take car and truck accidents seriously at Dufour Law Firm. Our founding attorney, Layne Dufour Dusang, is known for her tenacity and “go-getter” attitude in court. She and the rest of our legal staff are here to show you compassion, and to find innovative ways to recover the funds you need to return to health or adapt to life after your accident. For years, our attorneys have worked to support and fight for the interests of those in our community injured in motor vehicle accidents.

We know how much these accidents can affect your life and how stressful it can be to navigate an insurance or civil claim. Dufour Law Firm can give you the caring and diligent legal care you need and fight for the settlement you deserve.

What To Do After A Car Wreck

First and foremost, ALWAYS seek medical attention after anything more serious than a fender-bender. Even if you seem fine immediately after a wreck, after the shock wears off, you may feel a lot of pain or have internal injuries that require urgent intervention. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, could show no symptoms after the accident but begin affecting you later. A medical professional should know to look for these injuries after a collision.

Medical treatment is important for your own health, and it is also beneficial to your claim. If you do not get medical care following the accident, an insurance company may claim there is no proof you were injured in the accident. Receiving medical care provides documentation of the injuries, their severity, and their treatment. Obtain a copy of this information if possible.

Beyond seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room, if you are able, report the accident to the relevant authorities, gather contact information from any witnesses to your accident, and insurance information from the person who hit you. Take photos with your mobile phone of the accident scene, including the injuries, damages to both vehicles, and the layout of the vehicles.

When reporting the accident to a law enforcement officer, remain truthful but never admit fault. Request a copy of the accident report if you can.

All of these actions will help your attorney when they start their own independent investigation of the car wreck. Photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts can be essential evidence in a successful claim. Proper documentation of the facts often counters the “story” that the other side may be telling about your accident.

Once you have received medical care, completed any accident reports, and documented the scene, it’s important to talk with a Louisiana car accident lawyer. An attorney can review the information you have compiled and your own account of the accident to determine the most effective way for you to obtain compensation.

Is Louisiana a No-Fault State?

No, Louisiana is not a no-fault state. It is an at-fault state, which means car insurance claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Whether you are filing an auto insurance claim or a personal injury claim, fault is important to determine. Whichever driver was at fault for the accident is responsible for all damages and injuries other individuals sustained.

In less severe car accidents, an auto insurance claim may cover all the medical bills and property damage. However, in serious accidents, even the maximum coverage from an insurance claim may not cover the severity of a victim’s injuries.

When this happens, an injured individual can recover the rest of their damages through a personal injury claim or through their own insurance policy. A personal injury claim or insurance claim through their own insurance may also be necessary if the at-fault party does not carry car insurance.

Determining and proving fault in an accident can be complicated when you are injured, but a car accident personal injury lawyer can help investigate your claim and determine if another driver or other party is at fault and liable for the damages.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Car Accident?

Drivers of motor vehicles in an accident are not the only parties who may be at fault. When you are involved in a car accident, an attorney can investigate to determine the at-fault party. In order to prove another party was at fault under the theory of negligence, the following must be proven:

  1. The party owed you a reasonable duty of care.
  2. The party breached that duty of care through negligent or reckless actions.
  3. his breach of care led directly to the accident.
  4. You suffered damages and injury because of the accident.

Negligence is not the only way a party may be at fault. Some parties are held strictly liable, meaning negligence does not have to be proven, only that the party’s actions caused your damages. In other cases, a party is at fault due to intentional misconduct.

The parties most commonly at fault in auto accidents include:

  • Other Drivers: Drivers on the road owe each other a reasonable duty of care. Drivers may breach this duty by driving distracted, driving under the influence, or driving a car that they know is not safe to drive. There are many negligent actions and inactions, and a diligent attorney could investigate and determine how another driver behaved negligently behind the wheel.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers: Defective vehicle components can cause accidents. When this happens, you may have grounds for a product liability claim against the manufacturer or designer of the faulty component. When important systems like brakes, suspension, tires, airbags, and seat belts malfunction or fail, this can cause an accident.
  • Private or Government Agencies: Sometimes, governmental and private agencies are responsible for the road’s maintenance and upkeep. These parties may be at fault if hazardous road conditions caused the accident. These may include obstructions in front of road signs and signals, improper drainage on the roadway, bad construction, potholes and cracks, and unclear traffic direction.

There may be other parties at fault, such as a maintenance and repair shop, the owner of a vehicle, or the employer of an at-fault driver who was on the clock. When multiple parties involved in an accident are found to be partially at fault, claims can become much more complicated.

What If I Am Partially at Fault for a Car Accident?

In Baton Rouge, the law of pure comparative negligence applies. This means that you can still recover damages for your injuries even if you were partially at fault. When the insurance provider or court divides up fault between two or more parties, they will assign each a percentage. Even if you are found to be 99% liable for the accident, you still have the legal right to reclaim damages from the party who is 1% at fault.

However, your final settlement will be reduced by the same percentage for which you are liable. Under pure comparative negligence laws, each party is liable for their percentage fault in the accident. You may be able to recover damages from multiple parties.

If you are being held partially or largely at fault for an accident, it is helpful to work with an attorney. They may be able to recover evidence about who was at fault and reduce your percentage fault, increasing your compensation amount.

Common Causes of Auto Accidents

Knowing the cause of an auto accident in Baton Rouge is important to determining the at-fault party. By understanding common causes of accidents, you could become a more defensive driver. Some of the most frequent causes of car accidents include:

  • Distracted Driving: When a driver is distracted, their focus, eyes, or attention is off the road and other cars. They are less likely to notice and react to change on the road. This increases the chances of an accident, especially rear-end collisions.

    Distracted driving is often caused by texting, calling, talking to others in the vehicle, or simply not thinking about driving. Many actions on the phone are also illegal in Louisiana, such as reading, writing texts, or accessing social media. An attorney may be able to prove another driver was at fault by accessing their phone records.

  • Driving Under the Influence: It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Drivers who are impaired may struggle to make reasonable decisions and react slowly, increasing the chances of a collision. Alcohol, controlled substances, and even prescription drugs can cause impairment. A driver who is at fault for driving under the influence will likely face criminal charges in addition to civil claims.
  • Reckless Driving: The most common form of reckless driving is speeding. Speeding increases the chances of an accident because drivers have less time to react when conditions change on the roadway.

    If a driver is in an accident while speeding, the damages and injuries are often worse than if they were going the speed limit. Reckless driving also includes driving too fast for the road and weather conditions, tailgating, failing to yield the right of way, running past stop signs or lights, and breaking other traffic laws.

  • Driving While Fatigued: Driving while tired can be incredibly dangerous, nearly as dangerous as driving under the influence. Fatigued drivers may also fall asleep while driving, which can result in head-on collisions and sideswipes. Head-on collisions are often catastrophic or fatal.
  • Vehicle Malfunction: If an essential component of a car or commercial truck fails or otherwise malfunctions, this can cause an accident that is not a driver’s fault. Injured parties could file claims against the product manufacturer or distributor.
  • Poor Road or Weather Conditions: Hazardous driving conditions, such as dim lighting, low-visibility weather conditions, and bad roads, can cause accidents. However, drivers also have a responsibility to alter their driving based on conditions. A driver may be liable if they were driving too fast for poor road and weather conditions, even if they were going the speed limit.

Truck Collisions Can Leave A Catastrophic Impact

Accidents between two or more cars can leave victims with serious injuries. Motorists in a car or on a motorcycle who collide with an 18-wheeler or semi truck may experience even more dire injuries, including:

  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones, including multiple or complex fractures
  • Internal injuries to the lungs, liver or other vital organs

Trucking accidents are more complicated than typical car accidents for many reasons. Because injuries are usually more severe, a settlement will likely need to be larger to cover costs such as multiple surgeries, permanent disability, and a loss of future income. High-value claims can be difficult to secure, particularly when dealing with trucking companies with many resources and a strong insurance and legal team.

Trucking companies have access to aggressive legal teams who are there to preserve their bottom line. Negotiating with these legal teams can be hard, especially when you have a catastrophic and debilitating injury. You deserve a truck accident attorney who is just as aggressive in securing compensation for you. Our legal staff looks at all avenues of compensation recovery and does not give up on your case – or you.

Truck accidents are also complex because it is more likely that multiple parties are at fault and can be held liable for your injuries. Our team knows how to investigate a truck accident properly to determine the party or parties who owe you compensation.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, you have one year from the date the accident and injury occurred to file a personal injury car accident claim. If you do not file a civil claim within the one-year statute of limitations, you will be unable to file and earn compensation.

There are certain exceptions to this time limit. If you were under the age of 18 when the accident occurred, you have one year from the date you turn 18. If you were in an accident and did not discover an injury until a later date, you have one year from the date you discovered or should have discovered an injury and its connection to the accident.

If you are unsure whether the statute has expired on your claim, talk to a Baton Rouge car accident attorney. Your case may qualify for the discovery exception. Typically, after a car accident, you should discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as you can. Doing so may help maximize your claim’s value and prevent important evidence from disappearing.

An attorney can also help you determine if you can file a personal injury or other civil claim on top of an auto insurance claim and assist you in negotiating any claims. The sooner you work with an attorney, the sooner they can begin investigating the car or truck accident prior to filing before the deadline.

Car Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims

When someone is involved in a car or truck accident and dies on the scene or later dies from their injuries and complications, their loved ones can file a wrongful death claim in place of a personal injury claim the deceased would have filed. Close relatives can file against the driver, company, or other party at fault for the accident to recover wrongful death damages. These include:

  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering if there was time between the accident and their loved one passing
  • Funeral and burial costs

Go With The Firm With Extensive Experience In Auto And Truck Accident Cases

At Dufour Law Firm, our lawyers have more than 40 years of combined legal experience. We handle numerous car and truck accident cases each year in Baton Rouge and the surrounding five parishes. Get to know our attorneys through a free initial consultation. Call us at 225-304-0054 or request your consultation online.

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