Our personal injury attorneys in Lake Charles, LA are widely regarded as leaders in personal injury accidents statewide, however, our focus is on helping Lake Charles accident victims recover damages for injuries caused by the fault of others. We understand that serious accidents can be disabling and life-changing. Although you may never be restored to your pre-accident condition, our goal is to ensure that you are compensated to the fullest extent possible.
When you are seriously injured by the careless acts of another, it is important that the law firm you select to handle your case are personal injury attorneys with substantial trial experience.
Our team of personal injury lawyers are effective representatives, capable of guiding your case through the complex process of negotiations and, if necessary, we have the experience, determination, and expertise to see your case through trial.
We are experienced in auto accidents, trucking accidents, train wrecks, oil and gas accidents, and maritime injury as well as many other areas of serious personal injury cases.
- Car Accident / Car Wreck
- Truck Accident / Truck Wreck
- Motorcycle Accident / Motorcycle Wreck
- 18-wheel Accident / 18-Wheeler Wreck
- Commercial Truck Accident / Commercial Truck Wreck
- Maritime Accidents
- Oil and Gas Accidents
- Wrongful Death Accidents
You should not wait to contact an attorney until you realize the severity of your situation. Delays in seeking representation can only hinder your ability to fully recover compensation for injuries. The insurance companies have attorneys representing their best interest, shouldn’t you have a personal injury attorney representing yours?
Building Your Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident
Police officers, Sheriff Deputies, and State Police respond to over 6 million auto accidents a year, resulting in almost as many insurance claims. The average insurance yearly claim ranges from more than $3,000 of property damage and $15,000 of personal injury. Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays victims claims – but not automatically. An insurance company does not stay in business by handing out settlements to every claimant; it’s up to you to prove the value of your claim. Victims deserve commensurate compensation for their medical costs and pain and suffering. The suggestions below can help build a successful injury claim after an auto accident.
Injury Claim Basics
While anyone with (PIP) personal injury protection or medical coverage can submit a claim to their own insurance company, filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company is not as easy. Insurance companies have a duty to vigorously defend their insured and protect their investors.
To obtain a fair settlement, you must prove:
- The other driver was the cause of the accident
- The accident was the cause of your injuries
- The cost of your medical care, related expenses, and pain and suffering are due to the negligence of the other driver.
Understanding the language used by insurance companies and lawyers:
Negligence – is defined as a failure to take reasonable care or take action to prevent harm to others. The other driver is considered negligent when they fail to follow traffic laws or fail to act conscientiously. Failing to stop at a red light is an example of negligence.
Liability – is defined as responsibility for what happened. The failure of the at-fault driver to stop at the red light deems them liable for injuries caused to the person in the car that was broad-sided.
Proximate Cause – the acts of another directly caused injury. The act of running a red light and wrecking into the victims truck was the proximate cause of injuries to the victim.
Auto accident liability claims are based on the at-fault driver’s degree of fault. If their negligence caused the accident, they are liable for your damages. If the fault was yours, you do not have a case. Your only recourse is to file a claim with your insurance company.
Compensation for Damages – Damages are the costs associated with property damage and personal injury. Damages can include out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Property damage includes auto repair expenses or the value of your automobile if it is a total loss, and the value of items lost in the crash, such as laptops or like eyeglasses. To recover your claim, you need to show that the at-fault driver was negligent, and their negligence caused your injuries and property damage.
Steps to Take After the Accident
Report the Accident
Your first action should be to call 911. If you are seriously injured, ask someone to call for you. Share your location, report injuries sustained to others and yourself, describe the scene to the dispatcher, and let them know if the scene is dangerous.
Do not allow anyone to persuade you from calling the police. If your vehicle was damaged or someone was injured, you will need an official accident report. The police report is an important element in building your personal injury claim.
Medical Treatment is Essential
Always accept medical assessment and treatment at the scene of the accident. Share your symptoms with the emergency medical technicians, no matter how mild they seem. Car accident injuries are not always obvious. Internal injuries and head trauma take time to show. If the paramedics suggest transporting you to the hospital, allow them to take you.
If you are not taken to the hospital, go see your primary care physician as soon as possible. If your doctor is unavailable, seek medical attention at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. Inform the doctor you were injured in an auto accident.
Delaying or refusing medical treatment can weaken your injury claim. If you don’t seek medical treatment as early as possible, the insurance company can deny your claim, arguing your injuries were not caused by the accident.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reports will be valuable in your personal injury case. The Emergency Medical Services report should include descriptions of your injuries and the medical care given at the scene.
The police report should provide detailed information about the at-fault driver’s mistakes and citations, names, and contact information of witnesses, accident illustrations, weather conditions, insurance information, and more.
While the Emergency Medical Technicians and police reports will help your claim, they will not cover everything. If physically able, try to gather evidence after the accident. The more you have, the better your chance of settling the claim in your favor.
Collecting Vital Information
The police on the scene can help with the exchange of information between drivers, make sure to obtain the following:
- Driver’s name, address, telephone number, email address – if possible, and work phone number.
- Driver’s insurance company’s name, phone number, and the insurance policy number.
- Fault drivers vehicle model, vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number, and of other vehicles involved in the wreck.
- Contact information if there were additional occupants in the involved vehicle.
- The contact information for any witnesses.
Use your cellphone, tablet, or camera to take photos or videos of the accident scene, injuries, and damage to vehicles involved in the accident. If you are unable to, ask someone at the accident scene to take the pictures for you.
Notify the Insurance Companies
You need to call your insurance company and notify them of the accident, even if the accident was not your fault. Every insurance policy has a “notification clause” that requires the following:
- That you agree to notify the insurance company of any accident you are in. You agree to cooperate in the investigation of the accident by your insurance company.
- By doing so, you may be able to access policy benefits such as medical payment coverage, car repair reimbursement, or possibly rental car coverage while yours is in repair.
- In addition to contractual obligations, you are protecting your own interests by informing your insurance company of the accident.
Insurance requirements vary by state, and the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver might not be enough to pay your medical costs. When the at-fault driver fails to carry appropriate insurance coverage, you will need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to help you pursue compensation beyond their policy limits.