If another vehicle bumps yours in traffic or in a parking lot, you probably aren't worried about significant financial losses. Perhaps you need some time to get the minor damage to your car fixed or need a day or two off work because of some bumps and bruises. In a short amount of time, your life returns to normal, and you move forward with your life.
However, what do you do if the accident was more serious than that? Perhaps you suffered severe injuries that put your future at risk. You may spend time in a hospital and need physical therapy and substantial follow up care once at home. If you make a full recovery, it may only happen after you miss days, weeks or months of work and incur a high amount of medical bills despite having health insurance. What do you do then?
Exploring your legal options
If the accident resulted from the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to pursue compensation through the filing of a personal injury claim. Seems like a simple process, but there is often much more to it than people believe. For instance, is the driver the only person who may bear legal responsibility for your injuries?
If the other driver drove a commercial truck, the trucking company may also end up as a defendant in the claim. If the other driver was drunk at the time of the crash, the establishment that served or sold alcohol to that person could be on the hook as well.
When it comes to damages, how do you calculate them? Can you return to work? Will you need medical care for an extended period or for the rest of your life? Do you have to give up a sport or other activity you love? All of these questions and more affect the amount of damages you may request from a Louisiana court.
Seeking legal support
The fact is that personal injury claims are more than just saying that a driver caused your injuries. You would probably greatly benefit from hiring an attorney. How do you choose the right lawyer? It may help to consider the following factors:
- Familiarity with your injuries
- Personal involvement in cases
- Estimation of settlement amount
- Number of similar cases handled
- Percentage of practice devoted to motor vehicle accidents
You may also want to ask what out-of-pocket expenses the attorney expects you to pay, along with how the attorney gets paid. For instance, many attorneys take on these types of cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney gets paid from any funds you receive through a settlement or court judgment.
Another factor involves your feelings about the attorney. If something doesn't feel right, then that person may not be the attorney for you. For example, depending on your circumstances and personality, you may value compassion over aggressive courtroom tactics. You make the final determination, but keep in mind that the lawyer you choose needs the experience to handle your case competently.