Let a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer Fight for You
Attorney John S. Williams can get you compensation for your injuries
Getting into a serious crash can be frightening and result in injuries that turn your whole life upside down, and trying to navigate the process of recovering compensation without the help of a car accident attorney can feel like an impossible task. That’s because it’s rarely easy dealing with the insurance company, especially if you don’t know what your rights are after a car accident.
Remember, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company is a business that has a financial incentive to pay you as little money as possible. As such, an insurance adjuster who only cares about protecting company profits may make you a lowball settlement offer that doesn’t come close to covering all your expenses, or worse yet, argue the accident was your fault and deny your claim altogether. At The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC, we believe that if you didn’t do anything to cause your crash then you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for someone else’s negligence.
John S. Williams is a New Orleans car accident lawyer who has more than 15 years of legal experience and understands the games insurance companies play. Since 2012, he has served as an aggressive advocate for victims of negligence by helping them get the compensation they need and deserve. Whether it’s at the negotiating table or in court in front of a judge and jury, he will fight for what’s right, what’s fair and what’s just.
What should I do after a car accident?
Knowing what steps to take after a car accident can be extremely helpful if the crash wasn’t your fault and you decide to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit. If you’re involved in a traffic collision and you’re healthy enough to do so, you should follow these 10 steps:
- Call the police. Stay where you are and try to remain calm. If anyone has been injured and needs to go to the ER, notify the police right away so they can request an ambulance. Otherwise, let police know that you were involved in an accident and wait for them to arrive. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, do not try to follow or chase after the other driver. Call the police and give them a description of the vehicle along with any other details you can provide.
- Trade information. Be sure to get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information of every driver involved in the crash. During this time, do not talk about the accident or get into an argument about who’s at fault.
- Take pictures. If you can, take as many pictures of the crash scene as possible. You’ll want to capture the position of the vehicles, all the damage, skid marks, street signs, debris, and anything else that may be relevant to your crash. You should also take pictures of any visible injuries.
- Talk to witnesses. If someone saw what happened, see if they will give you their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony is often a powerful piece of evidence when determining fault.
- Take notes. Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, so while your memory is still fresh you should write down all the details that you can remember. Note the time, location, weather, road conditions and your account of what happened. If the other driver said or did anything unusual afterward, note that as well.
- Go to a doctor. Even if you don’t feel injured, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Some car accident injuries don’t have any immediate symptoms, but you may start to feel them in the days to come. You may have whiplash, a concussion, or a back injury and not realize it. Getting prompt and appropriate medical care after a car accident is not only critical to your health, it’s critical to your claim as well. The longer you wait to seek medical care, the easier it is for the insurance company to question the severity of your injury.
- Notify your insurance company. Call your insurance company to let them know you were in a car accident, but do not go into too much detail. Give them the basic facts of what you know and keep your comments to a minimum.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. The investigating officer will create an official report that contains important pieces of information regarding your crash, including who the officer believes is at fault. You can get a copy of your accident report online from buycrash.com or by going to the records division at the New Orleans Police Department in person. If you hire an attorney to represent you, your lawyer should also be able to obtain a copy of the report if you haven’t already done so. Click here to learn how to read your accident report.
- Don’t discuss your crash with others. Do not post anything online about your car accident, especially on social media. Anything you post could potentially be used against you to challenge or deny your insurance claim. If someone representing the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, it’s best not to talk to them unless you’ve already consulted with an attorney.
- Call a car accident lawyer. Let an attorney review the details of your case to see what options you have to recover compensation for your damages. Most personal injury law firms offer a free consultation, which means it won’t cost you anything to find out if you have a case and how the law firm can help you.
There are many different types of car accidents, but no matter what type you were in, knowing what to do next can put you in a better position to recover the most compensation for your damages. Whether you got rear-ended by someone texting and driving or you were involved in a crash with a drunk driver, taking the above steps can help you protect your rights.
It’s normal to have a lot of questions after getting hurt in a traffic collision. To get answers to some of the most common questions our law firm receives, visit our car accident FAQ page and check out this car accident infographic to learn more.
What happens when you get in a car accident and it’s not your fault?
Louisiana is a “fault” car insurance state. That means the driver who is at-fault should be liable for your accident-related expenses, which in the legal world are referred to as damages. Like most states, Louisiana requires all licensed drivers to carry car insurance with minimum amounts of liability coverage.
To recover compensation for your damages, your options include:
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company, who will then likely ask the other driver’s insurer to reimburse them for your claim
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
If you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who has too little insurance, you may think that you’re going to have to pay out of pocket for your crash, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, it may cover the cost of your injuries and your vehicle’s damage.
It is also worth noting the state’s comparative fault law, Louisiana Civil Code 2323, will have an impact on the amount of compensation you’re able to recover if you’re found to be partially at-fault. According to the law, “…the amount of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.”
In other words, if you’re awarded $100,000 in damages but found to be 25 percent at fault, then the total amount of compensation you would receive is $75,000.
How much should I expect from my car accident settlement?
There is no set dollar amount. The amount of compensation you’ll be able to recover will depend on the specific details of your case, including the severity of your injuries and what damages you can prove were the result of the other driver’s negligence.
You may be able to recover compensation for:
- All your accident-related medical expenses, including doctor appointments, hospital stays, ER room visits, ambulance transportation, diagnostic testing (x-rays, CT scan, MRI), lab tests, surgery, physical therapy and the cost of future care
- Lost wages if you can’t work
- Loss of earning capacity if your injury prevents or impacts your ability to work
- Replacement services, such as childcare and housekeeping
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, which are sometimes awarded to a plaintiff to punish and make an example out of a defendant for egregious acts of negligence
If you don’t know how much you’re entitled to in compensation or received a settlement offer from an insurance company and you’re not sure if it’s fair, you should exercise caution. In most cases, when you accept a settlement from an insurance company you are required to sign a waiver that surrenders your right to sue or pursue any additional compensation.
A New Orleans car accident attorney can fight for every dollar you deserve
When you’ve been injured in a New Orleans car accident due to negligence, you generally only have a limited amount of time to recover compensation for your damages. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations is typically just one year from the date of the accident. If you miss that deadline, you may sacrifice your right to get compensated.
Let a car accident lawyer take control. Attorney John S. Williams has the knowledge and experience to personally handle every aspect of your claim and will fight to get you maximum compensation. We also help with other types of claims, too. Whether you were hit by a car, hurt in a pedestrian accident, severely injured in a bicycle accident or need a lawyer for a streetcar accident, we can review the details of your case for free and give you honest advice on the best way to move forward.