The answer is no – you do not have to have a lawyer for a car accident settlement. Louisiana law does not require you to hire an attorney to pursue compensation for your damages. You may be able to represent yourself in settlement negotiations or a personal injury lawsuit.
However, having a legal team in your corner after an accident can provide numerous benefits. A lawyer who understands Louisiana personal injury law can work on your case while you are recovering from your injuries. They can:
- Gather evidence
- Hire expert witnesses to testify in your defense
- Gather evidence to demonstrate the value of your damages
- Handle all legal deadlines, communications, and paperwork on your behalf
Furthermore, they may be able to represent you on a contingency fee basis with no advanced payment required.
The Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer After a Lafayette Crash
Regardless of the circumstances of your accident or how clear-cut your case may seem, navigating the legal system can be difficult. You may experience some resistance when filing your claim. For instance, the at-fault party may deny responsibility, or their insurance company may reject your claim or offer a low settlement.
A car accident lawyer can take on your personal injury case to protect your rights and fight for a fair settlement. There are several ways that an attorney can help you with your case, including:
They will Handle Your Entire Case
If you are recovering from your injuries, you may quickly discover that getting around and focusing on legal matters are difficult. Trying to handle a complicated personal injury case on your own can be challenging if you have limited resources, time, or mobility.
A law firm typically consists of lawyers and a supplementary legal team that can perform all clerical duties, engage with all parties, and formulate a legal strategy while you attend doctor visits, undergo treatment, and heal from your injuries.
The Firm will Investigate Your Claim
As the victim of a car accident, you may lack all the facts that can prove your case. Lafayette accident lawyers can investigate your claim to determine what happened, who is at fault, and how the other person’s negligence led to your injuries.
A lawyer can gather evidence of fault and liability, such as:
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Police reports
They will know how to present this evidence to substantiate your claim. They may also have a network of experts they can call on to support your claim or the argument they deliver on your behalf at trial. This could include:
- Accident reconstruction specialists
- Medical professionals and specialists
- Industry experts
- Others as needed
They Can Help Calculate Your Damages
In a Lafayette car accident case, you may be able to claim both economic and non-economic damages under Louisiana’s personal injury laws. An attorney can help you document all financial and personal losses that you incurred due to the accident. This may include damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
Although it is impossible to estimate the exact value of your case, working with an attorney will give you a clearer picture of what your claim may be worth. They can also use the evidence to draw a correlation between the accident and your damages, establishing a range where a fair settlement should fall.
This ensures you know when a settlement offer is just and when the insurer is low-balling you. The final decision is up to you to accept an agreement, but your lawyer will offer advice and guidance.
Your Attorney will Manage Communication with the Insurer
A car accident lawyer will engage with the insurance company on your behalf. This includes submitting all paperwork, answering an adjustor’s questions, and negotiating a settlement.
Allowing your attorney to speak on your behalf can prevent you from making any mistakes that could hurt your case. They understand the legal process and know how to negotiate a settlement. Insurance companies, even your own, are not on the side of the victim. They generally want to pay out as little as possible, even if it means you do not receive fair compensation.
You should not give an insurer a recorded statement or accept an offer until you get a free case review with an attorney. If you decide to work with a personal injury law firm, they can protect your rights throughout the claims process.
They will Represent You in a Lafayette Parish Civil Court
If the insurance company rejects your claim or offers you a low settlement, you have a right to take your case to trial and allow a judge or jury to decide your case. A lawyer can represent you in both settlement negotiations or during a Lafayette Parish civil trial.
Protect Your Rights by Working with an Attorney
While you technically do not have to hire a lawyer for a car accident settlement, having one on your side will take the pressure and stress of coordinating your case off of your shoulders.
In general, most personal injury law firms offer representation on a contingency fee basis with no upfront payments required. Accident victims do not pay any attorney’s fees unless and until they recover compensation in a settlement offer or verdict.
Do not delay in connecting with an attorney. CC Art. 3492 may impose a one-year time limit on your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana.
Speak with Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers for Free About Your Case
If you were injured in a car accident in Lafayette, Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers may be able to represent you. We also provide services in other areas of Louisiana. To discuss your case in a free consultation with one of our personal injury team members, call us at (337) 777-7777.