Car accidents can be expensive—especially when they lead to medical bills and lost earnings. If you have been injured in an accident, filing a claim could be important for your long-term financial stability and physical (and mental) wellbeing. So, how do you file a claim for a car accident in Louisiana? Here is an overview of what you should do next, along with the answers to some common questions about seeking just compensation:
Filing a Claim for a Car Accident in Louisiana
When you get injured in a car accident, there are some steps you should try to take as soon as possible. There are also some steps that you will want to take while you are recovering. For example, to protect your right to just compensation, it will be important for you to:
- Report the Accident – You should report the accident to the police and your insurance company. If you did not call 911 from the scene of the accident (and if nobody else called), you can call the local precinct’s non-emergency number. When reporting the accident to your insurance company, you should provide the basic details of the accident, but you should avoid saying anything about how you think the accident happened or who you think might be responsible.
- Preserve As Much Information As Possible – To make it as easy as possible to pursue your claim, you will want to preserve as much information as possible. This includes any information you have from the scene of the accident, any photos or videos you took with your phone, your copy of the police report, and any medical records or repair estimates related to the accident.
- Make Smart Decisions – Making smart decisions is the key to maximizing your chances of recovering just compensation after a car accident. Among other things, this means taking care of your medical needs, making sure you don’t say the wrong things to your insurance adjuster, and not posting about the accident on social media.
- Document Your Losses – As you go through the recovery process, you will want to document all of your accident-related losses. This includes not only financial losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but non-financial losses such as daily pain, missed events and activities, and inability to spend meaningful time with your family.
- Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer – One of the smartest decisions you can make after a car accident is hiring a lawyer to help you. Your lawyer can investigate to gather additional evidence, calculate just compensation for your losses, and protect you against the insurance companies’ defense tactics.
These are by no means the only steps involved in filing a car accident claim in Louisiana. There are several more steps involved—including steps that you will need your lawyer to take on your behalf. To make sure you avoid oversights or other mistakes that could jeopardize your claim, you should speak with a lawyer right away.
Common Questions About Filing a Car Accident Claim in Louisiana
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
In Louisiana, all drivers are required to have auto liability insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the law. If you got hit by an uninsured driver, you may be able to file a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy—if you have one—or you may need to work with your lawyer to determine what other options you have available.
What If the Other Driver Isn’t the Owner of the Car?
In Louisiana, auto insurance follows the car. As long as the driver had the owner’s permission to use his or her car, then the owner’s insurance policy still applies. If the driver has his or her own auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim under his or her policy as well.
What If I was Hit By a Rideshare Driver?
Rideshare drivers are required to carry auto liability insurance, and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft carry insurance that covers their drivers’ accidents as well. Your lawyer can determine which claim (or claims) you should file; and, if necessary, your lawyer can deal with Uber or Lyft’s defense lawyers on your behalf.
What If I was Injured While Riding in an Uber or Lyft Car?
If you were injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can hold the at-fault party financially responsible. This is true whether your driver, the other driver, or some other third party was to blame.
Do I Have to Notify My Insurance Company if a Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
Auto insurance companies typically require their policyholders to report all car accidents involving their insured vehicles. If you are required to report your car accident and fail to do so, this could lead to denial or termination of coverage.
What If Neither Driver was At Fault in My Car Accident?
If neither driver was at fault in your car accident, you may have a claim against a third party. For example, if an issue with the road was to blame, you may have a claim against a government agency or contractor. Or, if a vehicle defect caused your accident, you could have a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer. There are other possibilities that a lawyer can evaluate for you as well.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Car Accident Claim in Louisiana?
While you don’t technically need a lawyer to represent you, it is strongly in your best interests to seek experienced legal representation. There are simply too many things that can go wrong—and you have too much at stake—to try to handle your claim on your own. From proving who caused the accident to calculating your losses, there are numerous ways an experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you.
Get a Free Consultation about Your Car Accident Claim in Alexandria, LA
Car accident lawyer Chris J. Roy, Jr. represents car accident victims and their families in Alexandria, LA and the surrounding areas. If you need to file a car accident claim, Chris can guide you through the process, and he can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, call 318-413-6191 or tell us how we can reach you online now.