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Filing a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit in Lafayette

If you were injured in a Lafayette car accident, you should not have to worry about filing a claim or a lawsuit. A compassionate attorney could handle the details of your case while you relax and focus on healing. A lawyer could help gather the necessary documentation and pursue an effective claim

What is the Difference Between Filing a Claim and Filing a Lawsuit?

Filing a claim and filing a lawsuit are two different things. Filing a claim can mean sending a letter to the insurance company notifying it about the general nature of the claim, being assigned a claim number, and working with an adjuster to get a fair settlement.

Filing a lawsuit, however, involves preparing a petition for damages in the State of Louisiana and then filing it in an appropriate venue where the case can be heard. Attorneys must file it into a court of competent jurisdiction that can hear that case, which may be either where the accident occurred, where the defendant driver lives, or where the plaintiff lives. That begins the litigation process.

Important Considerations in Car Accident Cases

There are some important things that attorneys need to include in a car accident claim. They need to establish:

  • Who the plaintiff and defendants are, including the insurance companies or entities which may be liable
  • Where the plaintiff is domiciled
  • Whether the plaintiff is an adult
  • What type of action it is (personal injury or wrongful death)
  • Where the accident occurred
  • How the accident occurred
  • What damages the plaintiff suffered

If that plaintiff is not an adult, then the proper party needs to be filing suit on behalf of the minor or anyone who lacks the legal capacity to sue. If the injury victim is a minor, the parents would be filing suit in most cases. Potential damages include special damages, such as bodily injury, recovery for property damage, and lost wages. A suit could also include general damages like pain and suffering.

Then, the injury victim and their attorneys need to have a prayer for relief. This is a portion of the complaint in which the plaintiff asks the court to find the defendants liable and order them to compensate the plaintiff for their injury.

Victim’s Involvement in the Car Accident Claim Process

The injury victim plays a very important role in the claim filing process. It is very important for the victim to be available for an interview with the attorney to provide the information needed to file the lawsuit or pursue their claim. The plaintiff is very involved in the discovery process because they provide the answers to many of the questions. During deposition, they need to testify under oath as to the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. When it is time to go to trial, the victim must be prepared to take the stand and speak to the judge or jury about how their injury occurred and how it has impacted their life. Of course, their lawyer is there every step of the way to help them through this process.

Moving a case court system can take some time, and there could be some legal delays. Lawyers try to keep victims as informed as much possible at every step of the case. Even if there are no updates, attorneys reach out to the victim periodically to let them know what is happening with their case.

Settlement Negotiations After Filing Suit

It is very common for settlement negotiations to continue even after filing a car accident lawsuit. In Louisiana, the law does not require insurance companies to disclose policy limits. Only after a lawyer files suit does a plaintiff gain the right to access to a lot of information about the opposing party, such as surveillance videos and insurance policy information. If there is not enough information to adequately evaluate a victim’s claim prior to settling, a lawyer may need to file suit just to get their hands on that information.

Additionally, Louisiana has a short prescriptive period, or statute of limitations, in which a lawyer has to file suit to preserve the claim. For example, if the victim is still receiving medical treatment 11 months after the accident, the attorney may need to file suit before time runs out. Filing a lawsuit could be necessary even if the case ultimately ends with a fair settlement.

Importance of Retaining an Experienced Auto Crash Attorney

It is important to retain experienced legal counsel when filing a car accident claim because these cases often involve complex rules and regulations. Injury victims deserve to relax after a serious crash, and trying to handle a case alone can feel overwhelming. Whether a case requires filing an insurance claim or a full lawsuit is necessary, hiring an experienced Lafayette attorney could be a great benefit to victims and their families. Call today for more information.