When you get injured in a serious car accident caused by someone else’s negligence (or a road or vehicle defect), you are entitled to just compensation in Louisiana. But, recovering the compensation you deserve isn’t easy. Not only do you need to prove the cause of the accident, but you also need to prove how much you are entitled to recover.
Proving the costs of a serious car accident is a multi-step process—and it is a process that can be challenging at times. But, getting through the process is extremely important. Recovering the compensation you deserve can help you avoid going into debt, and it can greatly improve your quality of life. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone. You can hire a lawyer to represent you, and you can do so at no out-of-pocket cost.
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Proving the Financial and Non-Financial Costs of a Serious Car Accident
So, how do you prove the costs of a serious car accident in Louisiana? Broadly speaking, the costs of a serious car accident fall into four main categories—and calculating the costs in each category involves different steps.
1. Medical Expenses
Understanding your medical needs is one of the first steps toward calculating the costs of a serious collision. Once you have a thorough understanding of your treatment needs and prognosis, everything else will flow from having this information available.
When you have a claim for a car accident in Louisiana, you are entitled to financial compensation for your current and future losses. This applies to all four categories. With regard to your medical expenses, this means that you are entitled to compensation not only for your medical bills to date, but also the medical bills you will incur in the future.
Determining your long-term medical needs (and the costs of meeting these needs) involves working with your doctors to develop a long-term plan. How often will you need to visit your doctors? Is there a chance that you will need to undergo surgery in the future? Will you need physical, occupational, cognitive, or psychological therapy? How much will you have to pay for prescriptions over your lifetime? These are all questions that it will be critical to answer.
While it won’t be possible to predict your future medical costs with absolute certainty, it will be possible to gather enough information to make informed decisions about your claim. Your lawyer can then work with your doctors to generate the documentation needed to prove your losses to the insurance companies—or to the jury if necessary.
2. Other Out-of-Pocket Costs
Along with medical expenses, victims of serious car accidents in Louisiana can also recover just compensation for their other out-of-pocket costs. Again, this includes costs incurred to date and costs incurred in the future. Some examples of common expenses in this category include:
- Transportation costs (i.e., for attending doctors’ appointments)
- In-home care costs
- Costs for home and vehicle modifications
- Costs for home cleaning and landscaping services
- Costs for other services that are only necessary because of your injuries
Based on the assessment of your future medical needs and the long-term effects of your injuries, it should be possible to determine how long you are likely to incur these costs as well. Your lawyer can then calculate an appropriate amount of compensation based on the costs you are expected to incur in the months, years, and decades to come.
3. Loss of Income and Benefits
In addition to out-of-pocket costs, Louisiana law also entitles car accident victims to just compensation for their loss of income and benefits. Similar to calculating your out-of-pocket costs, calculating your lost earnings to date will largely be a matter of looking at the records that are available (in this case, your paystubs or other records from your employer).
But, calculating your future loss of income and benefits will be more challenging. In addition to forecasting how long you will be unable to work (or how long you will be forced to work in a lower-paying job), it will also be necessary to forecast any raises, promotions or other changes in your employment that you may have experienced in the future. This will require you to rely on your lawyer’s experience as well.
4. Non-Financial Losses
Finally, in Louisiana, car accident victims are also entitled to compensation for their non-financial losses. While these are not “costs” in a financial sense, they are still costs of suffering severe traumatic injuries in a collision. Examples of non-financial losses for which financial compensation is available in Louisiana include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, consortium, society, and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In Louisiana, there are two primary methods for calculating the non-financial costs of a serious car accident. These methods are:
- Per Diem Method – With the per diem (or “per day”) method, non-financial losses are calculated by determining an appropriate daily “value” of the victim’s injuries. This number is then multiplied by the number of days the victim is reasonably expected to experience the types of losses listed above.
- Multiplier Method – With the multiplier method, the first step is to calculate the car accident victim’s financial costs (both current and future). The next step is to determine an appropriate “multiplier” based on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Usually, this multiplier is between one and five. Finally, the victim’s multiplier is applied to the victim’s financial costs to determine his or her non-financial damages.
If you have a claim for a serious car accident, it will be important for you to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Alexandria, LA Car Accident Lawyer Chris J. Roy
If you need to know more about your legal rights after a serious car accident in Louisiana, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a free consultation with Alexandria, LA car accident lawyer Chris J. Roy, please call 318-413-6731 or get in touch online today.