Should You Hire an Attorney After a Personal Injury?

by Frank E. Lamothe, III

The nature of the accident determines the best recourse if you wish to pursue compensation for a personal injury. Examples of personal injury include wrongful death, slip and fall accidents, workers’ compensation, product liability, auto accidents and medical malpractice.

If you have suffered a personal injury due to the actions of others, you may want to know what happens next. In cases where your injuries required medical attention, or you missed work, you also want to ensure you will not endure financial strain due to lost wages or medical bills.

If your injuries impact your life beyond the initial medical needs, you might have a legitimate claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An attorney from Lamothe Law Firm can help you navigate the complexities of filing and pursuing a personal injury claim.

Louisiana Laws

The most important thing to know about Louisiana’s personal injury laws is the time frame in which you have to file a claim. Louisiana has a restrictive statute of limitations compared to other states. The deadline is one year to the day after the incident occurs. If you have not filed a claim by the time the deadline expires, you have likely lost your right to any claim.

Louisiana is a comparative fault state. If the court decides you contributed in some way to the accident, they can reduce the damages awarded by a percentage.

For example, if you have been injured in a car accident where the at-fault driver ran a stop sign, the court may decide to award you $20,000 in damages. However, if you were going over the speed limit, the court may determine you were 20% at fault for the accident. Therefore, the court reduces your award by 20% or $4,000.

Louisiana is a fault state, so blame is apportioned to the person found to be at fault whether that is a doctor accused of malpractice or an employer who failed to enforce safe working conditions. The injured party can then decide whether to make a claim against that person’s insurance or to pursue a claim in court.

While many insurance claims are settled with no difficulties, it is worth remembering that insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters who begin to evaluate your case as soon as you file a claim. This can result in drawing out the case and receiving offers below what you deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help advocate for your rights as an injured party and ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.

Award Caps

Louisiana law caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $500,000. If the state’s patient compensation fund covers the defendant, they will only pay $100,000 of that amount, with the balance coming from the fund.

However, there is no cap of future medical expenses.

Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

Navigating the complexities of insurance, medical documentation, worker’s compensation claims, and the Louisiana civil court system can be challenging without prior training and experience, especially if you are convalescing from an injury.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, and gather important documentation to support your claim while adhering to all deadlines. At Lamothe Law Firm, we also have access to medical experts who can support your claim.

If insurance does not cover your expenses, or if you want to seek non-economic damages or to prove product liability, we can help you build your case.

Even if you do not hire a lawyer, you are still responsible for:

Administrative fees
Court filing costs
Expert witness fees
Expenses for information gathering

You are also responsible for filling out complex court and legal documents and acquiring your medical records. If you have no experience in this area, you may make costly and time-consuming mistakes on legal filings that delay or even cost you your claim.

The Takeaway

The biggest challenge with personal injury cases in Lousianna is ensuring that strict deadlines for claims are met. Lamothe Law Firm has many years of experience in representing clients in personal injury cases.

Our team of experienced lawyers can evaluate your claim and advise you on the best steps to take next. Give us a call today to find out more.

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