LOUISIANA CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
No matter how many precautions you take on the road, collisions are sometimes unavoidable. Whether the driver responsible was distracted, under the influence, or driving recklessly, you deserve compensation for your injuries and damages. Car accident injuries have the potential to result in catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, or even wrongful death. Don’t let an at-fault driver get away with your injuries. Hire a Louisiana car accident lawyer to fight for your rights in court.
At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we provide each and every client with the right Louisiana car accident lawyer for their case. For over 20 years, Michael J. Vergis has served as the preeminent personal injury attorney in Shreveport/Bossier. For a free case evaluation after your car accident, please give our office a call at 318-698-3724 today. We don’t accept a single cent unless we win your case.
What To Do After a Car Accident in Shreveport Bossier
After any car accident, whether it was a mild fender-bender or a terrible crash, it is important to remember a few simple steps. These steps help bolster the validity of your case, as well as keep you and any passengers safe from further harm. Below, we outline the steps to take after your car accident in Louisiana.
- Call the police. Oftentimes after an accident, we have a lot of adrenaline in our bodies. This makes it more difficult to assess the damage – both to our property and to our body. Rather than trying to quickly get on with your day, call the police. Even if the accident was minor, getting a police report helps tremendously. It serves as an important piece of evidence if you later begin to experience pain from injuries you cannot see. These reports state facts, and sometimes list who the responding officer believes to be at fault.
- Collect witness information. If it takes a bit for the police to arrive, use this time to collect relevant contact information from as many witnesses as you can. Their statements could prove extremely helpful to your case.
- Take pictures of the scene. If possible, use your phone or camera as a method to document the scene. Show where the accident happened, as well as all vehicles involved. Also take pictures of any visible injuries you have.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t immediately feel pain, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some invisible injuries don’t generate a lot of pain or discomfort, but they still have the potential to be deadly.
To begin your legal process the right way, contact an experienced car accident attorney like Michael J. Vergis.
How Much Time Do I Have to File an Injury Claim for a Car Accident in Louisiana?
The Louisiana Civil Code states that you have one year from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This one-year clock starts ticking down on the day you sustain injuries or damages. However, certain exceptions exist for this statute of limitations. We list these exceptions below.
- If anyone who sustained injuries during the accident was under the age of 18 (a minor), the statute of limitations does not apply.
- If a person’s injuries resulted from a defective product, but the person did not know the source of their injuries, the clock begins to run when they “reasonably discover” that information.
Keep in mind that the sooner you file your suit with the help of a Louisiana auto accident lawyer, the better. Not only does it make you look better in the eyes of the court, but it also shields you from having your case dismissed. If you miss the deadline to file your claim by even one day, the defendant will likely ask that your case be dismissed.
Will I Have to Go to Court for my Louisiana Auto Crash Claim?
Not necessarily. Many cases resolve in ways other than going to trial. Below, we list the different ways that we settle cases at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis.
- Settlements: A large portion of car accident cases settle out of court. These settlements involve negotiations between your Louisiana car accident lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer. Negotiating for full compensation in these situations becomes more likely if you have a strong case. A good personal injury attorney will go out of their way to personally investigate your case, find the facts to support you, and strive for just compensation. However, this process is sometimes complicated. Insurance companies won’t want to settle quickly, nor will they want to give you what you deserve. Trust your lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement.
- Trial: Generally, cases like these come to a trial when the other party refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement. If your case comes to this, your attorney will handle everything. One reason why these cases go to court is if both you and the other party have some involvement in the crash. This is due to Louisiana’s comparative negligence fault laws. The jury decides what percentage of the blame each party has.
How Do I Deal With the Auto Insurance Company?
Insurance companies can be extremely frustrating in a personal injury case. Your car accident is already enough to deal with, so why not let your Louisiana car accident lawyer handle the insurance company for you? Below, we include the steps our qualified attorneys will take on your behalf to better approach settlement negotiations with insurance companies.
- First, work alongside your attorney to independently research the cost of repairs for your vehicle. Claims adjusters from the insurance company often send you their estimate of the repair costs. However, to determine whether or not this is a low offer, seek multiple estimates from outside experts. These experts might be your own trusted mechanic, a body shop, or maybe even the dealership.
- Then, proceed with negotiations. Initial offers from insurance companies are almost never enough to cover repair costs. However, don’t lose your cool. Calmly ask the adjuster to explain their offer to both you and your attorney.
- Beware of “betterment” arguments. Especially when accidents involve damage to older vehicles, adjusters try to argue that repairing them actually makes them more valuable. In arguing this, the company will try to charge you for excess value or reduce their payout amount. To counter this, we work to prove that the repair parts do not actually increase the value of your vehicle.
- Agree to a settlement. Once you and your lawyer reach a fair settlement with the adjuster, you must confirm the offer in writing.
How Much Will My Car Accident Settlement Be?
No personal injury attorney can tell you with absolute certainty how much your settlement will be. However, they will be able to tell you what factors help determine the value of your settlement. Below, we list these important factors.
- The type of insurance policy each driver in the accident has, plus the maximum limits of those policies.
- Proving liability is the foundation for any successful car accident settlement.
- Current and future medical expenses.
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
- Property damage.
- Other expenses, including rental costs, transportation costs, home modifications for disability, or prosthetic limbs
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?
This greatly depends from person to person and case to case. However, there are some common fee arrangements that most lawyers derive their payments from. For example, many large firms cover all upfront costs and expenses. However, they then take the amount equal to these costs out of your final settlement amount.
Other firms, like the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, operate on contingency fees. What this means for you is that we don’t accept a cent unless we achieve a recovery for you. We prepare for every single case as if we’re taking it to trial, so you don’t have to worry about sub-par performances. Our top priority is delivering compassionate, aggressive representation for every single client.
Is it Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Absolutely. Hiring a Louisiana car accident lawyer is always a good idea, even for minor accidents. However, the more serious your injuries, the greater value a lawyer will bring you. As a case grows more expensive and more complex, insurance companies will work even harder to avoid paying you a fair settlement. That’s why you need Michael J. Vergis, Attorney at Law. With over 20 years of exemplary experience under his belt, he’s among the best in the business. To request a free consultation, please call 318-698-3724 today.