When you are involved in a car accident in Louisiana, you need to take many steps—and you need to take many of them quickly to protect your legal rights. One of these steps is reporting the accident to the insurance companies. So, whose insurance company should you call?
Generally speaking, you should report the accident to your insurer. Not only is this easiest in most cases, but it is also a requirement under most auto insurance policies. If you are involved in a car accident, and don’t report the accident to your insurer, there is a chance that this could result in a denial of coverage.
This is true even if you believe the other driver was at fault. When you report the accident to your insurance company, your adjuster should contact the other driver’s insurer. This will ensure that the other driver’s insurance company ultimately pays for your accident-related losses—assuming coverage is available.
What Types of Insurance Coverage are Available After a Car Accident?
Another reason to contact your own insurance company is that you may be entitled to coverage under your policy. In many cases, this is true whether or not you have a claim against the other driver. Here is an overview of the main types of auto insurance coverage that are available after a car accident in Louisiana:
- Liability Insurance – All drivers are required to carry liability insurance under Louisiana law. If you have a claim against another driver, you will be seeking compensation under his or her liability policy. By law, drivers must carry coverage of at least $15,000 per person ($30,000 per accident) for injuries and $25,000 for property damage. However, many drivers choose to purchase additional coverage.
- Medical Payments (MedPay) Insurance – MedPay is optional insurance coverage in Louisiana. If you have MedPay, you can use it to help cover your medical expenses regardless of who is at fault in a collision.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance – UIM coverage is also optional under Louisiana law. If you have UIM coverage, you can use it in three primary scenarios: (i) you get hit by an uninsured driver, (ii) you get hit by a driver whose insurance is inadequate to cover your losses, or (iii) you get injured in a hit-and-run accident. Unlike MedPay, UIM is fault-based coverage—meaning that you can only secure coverage if you can prove that the other driver was at fault in your collision.
- Towing and Labor Insurance – Towing and labor insurance covers the cost of transporting your car from the scene of a crash. It is also optional for Louisiana drivers.
- Collision and Comprehensive Insurance – Collision and comprehensive insurance cover damage to the policyholder’s vehicle. Collision coverage applies when the damage results from a crash, while comprehensive coverage applies to damage from animals, falling objects, fire, theft, and vandalism.
Of course, whether these types of coverage are available to you depends on the circumstances of your accident. Was the other driver at fault? If so, does the other driver have liability coverage? What coverage do you have under your policy? Do you need to seek coverage under your policy? These are all important questions that an experienced Alexandria car accident lawyer can help you answer.
When Can You File a Claim Outside of Auto Insurance?
In many cases, filing an auto insurance claim won’t be your only option. If your losses exceed the auto insurance coverage that is available (which could easily be the case after a serious accident), you will want to work with an attorney to determine if you have any other claims you can file. Some examples of scenarios in which accident victims can file claims outside of auto insurance in Louisiana include:
- Rideshare Accidents –Uber and Lyftcarry insurance that covers liability resulting from collisions involving rideshare vehicles. In addition to having a claim against the rideshare driver, you may also have a claim against the rideshare company—and the rideshare company may have significantly more insurance coverage available.
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents – If you were injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may have a claim against the company that owns or operates the vehicle. Common grounds for pursuing these types of claims include negligent vehicle maintenance, exceeding gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), hiring unqualified drivers, and forcing drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel.
- Claims Against Employers – Even if you were injured in an accident involving another personal vehicle, you could still have a claim against the other driver’s employer if he or she was working at the time of the crash. In most cases, employers are liable for the mistakes their employees make within the scope of their employment. This includes common driving mistakes such as speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and using a cell phone while driving.
- Accidents Involving Road and Vehicle Defects – If you crashed because of an issue with the road, you could have a claim against the government agency that is responsible for building and maintaining the road. If you were injured as the result of an issue with your vehicle (or the other driver’s vehicle), you could have a defect claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Regardless of the type of claim (or types of claims), you can file, you will want to speak with a car accident attorney promptly. From dealing with your auto insurance company to pursuing any of the “third party” claims we just discussed, hiring an experienced lawyer will give you the best chance to recover just compensation.
Talk to an Alexandria, LA Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Were you injured in a car accident in Louisiana? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. To discuss your situation with an experienced Alexandria car accident lawyer in confidence, call 318-487-9537 or tell us how we can reach you online now. We handle all car accident cases on contingency, so you pay nothing unless we win.