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First Steps to Take after a Lafayette Car Accident

Whether you are a driver, a passenger, or even a pedestrian, the simple act of colliding with another vehicle may be a traumatic experience. It could be easy to lose your bearings and make mistakes that may limit your ability to recover compensation for your losses.

On top of the legal requirements after an accident, a lawyer should know what first steps to take after a Lafayette car accident. A knowledgeable car accident attorney may also be able to help you take certain steps to greatly increase the chances for a successful claim.

What the Law Requires After an Automobile Crash

The Louisiana laws concerning what drivers must do after an accident are may be strict. Louisiana RS §32:398 creates a set of duties that all drivers must follow after an accident. This may only apply if the accident results in a minimum of $500 of property damage or if any person is injured or killed. Drivers in this situation may need to:

  • Give notice to the local police or sheriff’s department, if applicable
  • Provide their name, address, and registration number of the vehicle to any other party involved in the accident
  • Provide this same information to any responding police officer

A driver may also need to provide a written report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections no more than 24 hours after the accident if the collision causes at least $100 of damage. The police officer who responds to the accident is also required to submit a report.

After a car accident, a failure to follow any of these first steps is typically considered a crime. The penalty for a conviction could be up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $100.

How an Injured Individual Could Help their Civil Case

Anyone involved in an accident could take certain steps on top of the legal requirements to help a potential injury claim. The moments following the accident may be the source of many pieces of evidence that might never be available again. If the driver of the other car makes an admission of guilt, it could be important to make a note of it and include it in the report.

Another key step to take after an accident could be to take pictures of the scene. This may include pictures of:

  • All cars and vehicles involved in the crash
  • The weather at the time of the incident
  • Any traffic signals or signs that should have controlled traffic
  • The final resting places of the vehicles

These pictures could help when the time comes to file a report and may also serve to memorialize events when filing an insurance claim. It is typically important to seek out immediate medical care following a crash. The adrenaline that provides energy and anesthetizes against pain might make it difficult to detect injuries. Only a trained ER doctor may be able to properly diagnose an injury and provide proper treatment.

Louisiana’s time limit to file a claim is typically one year from the date of the accident. Which means that contacting an attorney is one of the first steps to take after a Lafayette car accident, as soon as possible. If a claim that is filed on time is denied, an attorney could help a plaintiff appeal the denial.

Talking to A Lawyer About a Lafayette Car Accident

The moments immediately after a car accident are vital. Your initial focus may need to be on obtaining medical care for everyone that needs it. Once this is done, a call to the police may meet all legal obligations. After fulfilling your legal duties, you might want to take steps to improve their chances of recovery in a car accident case.

By simply taking pictures of the scene, remembering what the other drivers say, obtaining prompt medical care, and providing an accurate report, the chances of a successful claim may increase tremendously. A person may need to keep these steps in mind after an accident. Contact an attorney to learn more about first steps to take after a Lafayette car accident.