Yes, you can settle a Louisiana car accident claim without a lawyer. However, the question may not be “Can you settle a car accident without a lawyer?” but rather “What will it cost me to settle a car accident on my own?” or “Do I have the time to settle a car accident on my own?”
Car accident claims are often time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you do not have experience navigating the insurance claims process. A personal injury lawyer can help with all aspects of your claim and take the lead. This means you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries and get back to your previous activities as soon as possible.
When You Might not Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
No law in Louisiana says you must hire a personal injury lawyer if you suffered injuries in a Lafayette car accident. You may very well be able to settle your car crash without a lawyer if your claim is straightforward and you suffered minimal damages.
For example, property damage accidents are usually easier to calculate the value and get a fair settlement. If you did not suffer injuries and only need to file a claim to repair your vehicle, you may be able to handle this on your own.
However, be aware that you only have one year to file a lawsuit under CC Art 3492. This deadline is not a lot of time to manage all of the necessary tasks, including:
- Investigate the claim
- Determine all potentially liable parties
- Make an insurance claim
- Negotiate a fair settlement
Some insurance representatives may try to take advantage of the fact that you do not have counsel. They may attempt to delay the claim until the statute of limitations passes so that you are unable to take legal action against their policyholder.
When You May Want to Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm
While you are always free to consult with a personal injury lawyer after a motor vehicle accident, there are certain times when the services of a lawyer are a greater asset and can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. This includes when:
You Suffered Injuries in the Accident
Even if your injuries appear to be minor, medical assessment, treatment, and follow-up care are expensive. Relatively minor injuries can still result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and cause potential complications that you may not be aware exist yet.
It is important that you seek medical treatment after your accident and follow your doctor’s orders for care. The medical expense portion of your claim may impact other aspects of your claim, too, such as pain and suffering. If you suffered injuries in the accident, we recommend working with an attorney who can help you value your case and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
You Missed Work or Cannot Return to Work Because of the Accident
Some car accidents cause debilitating injuries, including spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, or a traumatic brain injury. Others cause temporary and treatable injuries but require time to recover.
For example, traumatic brain injuries may occur in any type of crash and often happen because of a bump to the head, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even a concussion could keep you out of work for a week or more. More serious injuries may prevent you from returning to your previous career.
Accidents can also cause psychological injuries. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other related concerns make it difficult to return to life as usual. If the accident has made it so that you could not return to your same work, it is vital to get help from a lawyer who can evaluate your potential damages and the economic impact of the accident on your life.
There are Multiple Parties Involved or Questions About Liability
In some collisions, there are multiple other parties involved. For example, in a chain-reaction crash involving several different drivers, it may be difficult to determine who is liable.
A car accident lawyer can investigate the case and determine all potentially liable parties in order to maximize your potential recovery. They may also be able to help if others claim you are partially or entirely at fault.
The Insurer Denied Your Claim
If you submitted an insurance claim on your own and you believe the insurer wrongfully denied it, an attorney can review your case to determine what happened. You may need an advocate who can protect your interests and fight for the compensation you need and deserve based on what happened. An attorney can also explore whether you have a claim against the insurer for bad faith.
Your Loved One Died Due to Their Crash Injuries
If your loved one died from their traffic accident injuries, CC Art. 2315.2 may allow your family to seek wrongful death damages. However, this statute comes with its own rules and process for seeking compensation. Letting an attorney handle it while you focus on your family can significantly reduce your stress.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with My Claim?
Many people choose to hire a personal injury attorney when they realize how much time it will take to resolve their claim on their own. Car accident claims may involve many time-consuming tasks, including:
- Investigating the accident scene
- Collecting medical records, repair estimates, and other proof of damages
- Contacting the insurance company and providing them with updated information
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Preparing a demand letter
- Negotiating with the insurer
- Filing legal pleadings as needed
Additionally, many people may feel they do not have a level playing field with insurance representatives who devalue claims daily. Our Lafayette car accident firm is familiar with the potential damages involved and can negotiate with the insurance companies on our client’s behalf.
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers to Learn More
To learn more about Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation after a Louisiana collision, call us at (337) 777-7777. We have offices in Lafayette, Alexandria, New Orleans, and other areas. It costs nothing for your initial consultation, and you pay no attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for your claim.