Whether or not it is worth hiring a car accident lawyer is a personal decision. You might find it worth hiring a car accident lawyer because a lawyer may be able to:
- Prove negligence on the part of the at-fault driver
- Track the total cost of your injuries
- Assign a financial value to your potential lawsuit
- Meet your state’s statute of limitations
- Negotiate for a favorable financial settlement
These services are discussed in further detail below. In addition to handling these accident-related tasks, a car accident lawyer might also be able to build a comprehensive evidence file and ensure that you have time to focus on your physical recovery.
Proving the Cause of Your Accident
A lawyer can investigate your accident and help you gather as much information as possible about the accident scene, the at-fault driver, his vehicle, and his insurance provider. These pieces of evidence may prove the at-fault driver’s negligence and substantiate his financial responsibility for your accident-related expenses. Additional information your legal team may uncover could include accident scene photos, witness testimony, and notes and diagrams from the investigating officer.
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Documenting Your Injuries
The injuries you sustain in a car accident may have short-term and long-term consequences. Keeping track of your injuries may be complicated if you received treatment from many different health care providers and facilities. Your injuries may also require in-home medical assistance and an assortment of assistive medical devices.
Your lawyer might be able to help build your case file by compiling your medical records, photos of your injuries, and testimony from witnesses at the accident scene and medical professionals who treated you.
Assigning a Value to Your Damages
To prove the types and amounts of recoverable damages you might be entitled to, your legal team may ask for:
- Medical records and bills
- Employment and salary records
- Property repair estimates or bills
- Property values in a total loss claim
The lawyer who represents you might also be able to help you prove the value of your intangible expenses such as pain and suffering and mental and emotional anguish. If your car accident lawsuit results in a fatality for a member of your family, you might be entitled to recoup the funeral and burial expenses in a wrongful death claim.
Adhering to the Filing Deadline
Like all civil lawsuits, your car accident lawsuit has a filing deadline. Commonly known as the statute of limitations, each state’s filing deadline defines the amount of time victims have to file a lawsuit.
In Louisiana, Civil Code (CC) §3492 sets a general one-year statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit. For wrongful death cases, CC §2315.2 generally gives surviving family members one year from their loved one’s date of death to file their lawsuit. If the deadline in your case expires before you act, you might be prevented from filing your lawsuit and from legally compelling the at-fault lawyer to compensate you.
If you do manage to file your lawsuit after the statutory time limit has passed, the at-fault driver’s representative may ask the judge to have your lawsuit dismissed without being heard – a request that is likely to be granted. A personal injury lawyer might be able to use the dates on your crash report and medical records to ensure timely filing of your lawsuit and to remove the risk of its immediate dismissal.
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Negotiating for a Favorable Settlement
Many car accident lawsuits are settled without going to trial. After the evidence has been weighed by both parties, you might be able to agree on a settlement amount that covers your expenses and losses and absolves the at-fault driver of any additional responsibility.
Once a settlement is agreed upon, you usually cannot ask for additional compensation later on. A personal injury lawyer can handle settlement negotiations on your behalf and help you understand any settlement offers you may receive.
Learn More About Working with a Car Accident Lawyer in a Free Case Review
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777 for a free case review. A member of our car accident team is standing by to discuss our services and give you more information so that you can decide if it may be worth hiring a car accident lawyer for help with your case.