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Accidents happen every day, and usually these accidents result in someone getting hurt. If another person’s negligence is the cause of your accident and injury, that person may be liable for the costs you have incurred for your treatments and related expenses. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case will be beneficial for you, as the lawyer will advise you of your rights and can assist you in pursuing a personal injury claim to recover damages.
Types of Personal Injury Accidents
There are many types of accidents that may result in injuries and lead to insurance claims and lawsuits. Many Louisiana personal injury lawyers, like our experienced lawyers at Zinda Law Group, handle cases resulting from a wide range of accidents. Common scenarios leading to personal injury claims include:
- Car Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
- Worker Place Injury
- Wrongful Death Claims
What to do After an Accident
Regardless of the type of accident you have suffered, there are things you should do immediately afterward that will impact the success of your claim in the future. From slip and fall accidents to car accidents, the following steps should be taken to ensure the accident is properly documented and that your injuries are attended to.
1. Seek Medical Attention
First, seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. If you are severely injured, be sure to call emergency medical services to receive treatment at the scene. If you believe yourself to be uninjured, or you believe your injuries are minor, seek treatment anyway, for you might have latent injuries that can cause complications if left untreated.
2. File a Report or Call the Police
Next, depending on the nature of your accident, the police may need to be involved. If the police are called, they will investigate the scene and fill out an accident report. In a situation where the police may not be involved, such as a slip and fall in a store, be sure to file a report with the store manager or company. Retain a copy of either the police report, the report you filed, or both.
3. Document the Scene
Afterward, document the scene of your accident. Take pictures of the surrounding location, the area in which you were injured, and any damage to your personal property. You should also take pictures of your injuries; these photos will be used as evidence by your Louisiana personal injury lawyer in pursuing your claim.
4. Exchange Information
Furthermore, exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties involved in the accident. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should get their contact information before they leave the scene. It will be harder to track down witnesses after they leave, and their statements can be used as evidence to support your claim.
5. Contact a Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer
Remember to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. You can start looking for attorneys with simple searches online such as “lawyer personal injury,” “personal injury lawyer near me,” or “personal injury lawyer New Orleans.”
You can find lawyers through the Louisiana State Bar Association online. You can also check websites of smaller bar associations within Louisiana to find a lawyer closer to you. For example, you can check the New Orleans Bar Association’s website to find a New Orleans personal injury lawyer who specializes in the kind of case you want to bring.
You do not have to work with the first lawyer you find. You should research first and choose a personal injury lawyer near you who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of success in pursing personal injury claims. Zinda Law Group’s personal injury lawyers in Louisiana have experience in a wide variety of personal injury matters and an outstanding record of success in handling personal injury matters for our clients.
The Basics of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Once you have gathered as much information as you can regarding your accident, give everything you have to your attorney. He or she will then conduct their own investigation into the accident, building off the evidence you provided. The attorney will then help you file a claim against an insurance company and potentially file a lawsuit.
After filing alawsuit, your attorney will represent you in negotiating with the other parties and insurance companies. It is likely that your claim will result in a settlement, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will make sure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to in a settlement.
Negligence and Liability in Personal Injury Claims
Negligence is defined as the failure to do something which a reasonable person, guided by ordinary considerations, would do. Also, it's doing of something which a reasonable and prudent person would not do. The negligent action also needs to cause harm to the victim for there to be a personal injury claim.
If the person’s actions were careless, that’s generally called negligence. People who hurt others, even unintentionally, can be held liable for the injuries you sustained. Liability refers to legal responsibility for your damages and suffering. Even if your injury occurred because of another person’s negligence, both you and that person can be found liable for the injury-causing accident.
Louisiana is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that, under Louisiana law, if your actions contributed to your injury, your possible recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. The only exception for this rule is when another person knowingly causes your injury, which is called an intentional tort. Your personal injury lawyer will work hard to pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
How Wrongful Death Suits Differ
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim brought by the surviving members of a deceased individual against another person or entity who can be held liable for the death. In Louisiana, a wrongful death claim is treated as a personal injury claim that the deceased would have been able to bring if death had not occurred. A wrongful death lawsuit may provide financial compensation in the form of damages to the party who brought the lawsuit.
Those who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit and collect damages are listed in the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure and include:
- The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased, or either the spouse or the child or children.
- The surviving father and mother of the deceased, or either of them if he left no spouse or child surviving.
- The surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, or any of them, if she left no spouse, child, or parent surviving.
- The surviving grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, parent, or sibling surviving.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the defendant’s wrongful act or negligence may lead to criminal charges. Although the other party may be criminally charged, a civil claim for wrongful death can still be brought against them. An experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer can navigate the potential overlap of a civil claim and criminal trial in order to represent you effectively.
Civil claims have their own time limits for filing. These limits, called statutes of limitations, dictate how long a person has the right to file a particular type of claim. For personal injury claims in Louisiana, the statute of limitations is one year; this means that a person has one year from the date of his or her injury to file a claim.
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is also one year. Thus, a person has one year from the date of their medical malpractice injury, or one year from when they reasonably should have discovered their injury, to file their claim.
As wrongful death claims can arise from accidents or medical malpractice situations, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is one year from the death of the victim. After the one-year mark, your civil or wrongful death claim is barred, or not allowed, and you will not be able to recover damages.
There are some circumstances that may “toll” or pause this one-year period. If you find yourself near the filing deadline, it is worth discussing your case with an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney who may be able to provide valuable information and guidance regarding Louisiana’s statute of limitations.
If your personal injury lawsuit is successful, you will likely be awarded compensatory damages, which may be able to cover the costs associated with your accident, such as medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages; economic damages are the out-of-pocket costs associated with your injuries, while non-economic damages cover emotional and physical pain and suffering. A Louisiana personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for:
You may be able to recover the cost of medical bills you have paid out of pocket since the accident. This includes doctor’s visits, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and medication. Damages can also include the costs of any future medical expenses related to your injury.
Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Capacity
If you are out of work due to your injury, you may recover what you would have earned from the time of your accident until you can return to work. In addition to lost wages, if your injuries from the accident prevent you from going back to your job or working at another job for similar compensation, you may be able to recover the difference between what you were earning before the accident and what you are earning now.
Your non-economic damages may cover the cost of the emotional and mental toll that an accident takes on you and/or your family. You may be able to recover for this mental anguish itself, as well as the cost of mental health treatment that may stem from the accident.
How Recovery Differs in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice lawsuits differ from other personal injury claims when it comes to damages. Louisiana is one of 37 states which places a limit, or damage cap, on the amount of money a victim may recover in a medical malpractice suit. Unlike most states, Louisiana places the limit on both economic and non-economic damages.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Louisiana, the maximum amount of total damages you may recover is $500,000. This limit, however, does not apply to future medical costs. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to have the best chance of receiving the maximum amount of compensation you will need to cover future medical expenses.
How Zinda LAW GROUP Can Help You
If you have suffered an injury due to another’s negligence, you may feel lost concerning what to do next. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your injury. Our attorneys will guide you through the complex legal system and claims process to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family while you recover from your illness. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees; this is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.