How is a Car Accident Claim Valued in Louisiana?

Filing a car accident claim here in Louisiana is sometimes complicated, something that requires legal help if never filing before. How much you might receive in a settlement is another aspect to think about. The value of the claim may get just as complex when an insurance company determines the money you receive.

How does Louisiana deal with accident claim values? Diminished value is calculated in two specific ways here. However, the basic value of your claim hinges on numerous situations that occurred at the scene of your accident.

Take a look at how this works and how an experienced car accident legal team helps you gain a settlement.

The Most Basic Question: Who Was Really to Blame?

Based on Louisiana state law, you have to file a report on your accident within 24 hours to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Once that occurs, you can file a car accident claim, and you only have one year to do so.

When dealing with injuries, this could become a problem and delay your filing. This is why hiring a car accident attorney immediately is vital to get the claim filed as soon as possible. Before you file the claim, though, your attorney assesses your case to ensure you can really receive money.

Determination of value on your claim goes first by who is to blame in the accident. The crash must relate to fault of someone else before you can even file a claim. Your only way to know this is through evidence gathered from the accident scene by you, or help from your legal team.

Call an attorney at the scene of the accident to gather as much evidence as possible if you are not able to due to the circumstances.

Do You Have Damage to Your Vehicle?

If your car has damage and backed up by evidence, your claim may gain further value. In a scenario where the car becomes totaled in an accident, the chances of a higher settlement are always possible, if not guaranteed.

All of this goes by either photographic or video evidence of the damage. Juries are also more swayed in a trial when they see considerable damage evidence.

Always take immediate photographic evidence of the car damage at the scene, if you can. In a scenario where you sustain injuries, it may mean you having to hire an attorney to arrive at the scene to take photos or video.

You Had Injuries From the Accident

Your most significant car accident claim value is how many injuries you sustained from the incident. How severe are those injuries, and do they impair your ability to work any time soon? Will you have to live with a disability for the rest of your life?

Evidence like this comes from medical examination reports, not including physical appearances if appearing in a trial. Remember, if you did not incur any injuries, your claim only centers on the damage to your car. To get a bigger value to your claim, you must have injuries of some sort.

Some of those injuries might be:

  • Injuries to your back or neck.
  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Any lacerations from flying debris.
  • Mental anguish from the injuries.

To make the value of your claim bigger, you also need to prove you sought medical help immediately after the accident took place. Any deviations from this in the medical records could hurt your case. The same goes if you avoid following proper medical protocol doctors and other medical professionals told you to do.

You Had Liability Insurance

Since Louisiana has a “No Pay, No Play” law, you need car insurance. Without insurance, your claim value is virtually worthless. Owning liability insurance is a must and helps the value of your claim exponentially.

In the chance you did not have insurance, Louisiana bars you from collecting the first $15,000 in bodily injury, plus the first $25,000 in car damages. In other words, you would get little if anything if your injuries or damage are extensive without being insured.

Our state is not the only in the nation to do this. The law here maintains the above totals, even if determined you are not at fault for the accident occurring. As a safety net, you should always have Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist insurance in the chance the at-fault driver is also not insured. Those scenarios could mean your claim value becomes worthless because the other driver never had an insurance policy.

Having UI/UM insurance can sometimes be expensive. Yet, paying your premiums pay off to make your future car accident claim value worth what you deserve.

Pure Comparative Negligence

This process goes by another Louisiana law that allows a more comparative way to value your claim. What this means is, you might be partially to blame for the accident, but still have enough injuries where the pure comparative negligence law allows a settlement offer.

Negligence law is known for being complex, which is all the more reason for you to hire a car accident attorney to work this out for you. Doing so requires further examination of the accident evidence to determine percentage of those at fault.

Perhaps you acknowledge being partly responsible for the injuries you suffered from. If so, then a certain percentage of your claim value may reduce based on attributable negligence.

Sometimes this can still lead to a substantial amount on your claim if the injuries you experienced and your car damage are serious enough.

Other Types of Negligence to Consider

Your legal team will look at other types of negligence with the at-fault person involved your car accident. Various types of negligence exist here in Louisiana that you might need to prove in court.

These are:

  • Duty
  • Breach of Duty
  • Cause in Fact
  • Proximate Cause
  • Damages

All of the above relate to the at-fault person causing your physical injuries. Your legal team takes on these negligence variations as a way to further your claim value. That value could increase if the incident falls under some or all of the above categories.

Inherent Diminished Value and Repair Related Diminished Value

Two particular Louisiana laws to consider in your claim value relate directly to the car damage you incurred. Inherent Diminished Value involves your car being diminished in value due to the prior damages. Even if repaired, a prospective buyer may balk on buying your car because of the accident track record.

For Repair Related Diminished Value, you prove your car went through the process of repair, albeit not repaired correctly. You can use these state laws to help you gain more value on your claim by proving the fair market value of your car is reduced due to these circumstances.

Your biggest challenge is how you deal with insurance companies and their adjusters using “multipliers” to calculate your car damages. They may come to you with a lowball settlement offer, something you should turn down.

You need an experienced legal team to communicate with insurance companies so you can recover from your injuries.

Contact us at Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC immediately if you experience a car accident. We’ll fight hard for your rights and value your claim based on the laws Louisiana provides.

 

What Should You Do if Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident in Louisiana?

Thousands of residents of Louisiana have taken advantage of Uber and Lyft options to help them navigate the roadways, particularly if they are planning on traveling around with friends. Because there are so many rideshare drivers on our roadways, the chances of being involved in a crash involving an Uber or Lyft is higher than it has ever been. Whether you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, an Uber or Lyft driver, a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or a driver or passenger in another vehicle, you should understand what you need to do following an accident.

Reporting an Uber and Lyft Accident to Law Enforcement

Louisiana law requires reporting accidents to the proper authorities when there is damage in excess of $500. Additionally, if the accident involves a Lyft or Uber, you should also contact the company — if you are a rideshare driver or passenger at the time. Uber accident reports may be filed using the app or using their website. Lyft accident reports may also be reported using their website or the rideshare app.

Keep in mind, the status of Lyft and Uber drivers will make a difference in which insurance company is going to be used to pay any injury claims if the rideshare driver is at fault. When speaking with law enforcement, only the drivers should provide accident details. If you are an involved driver, use caution when discussing the accident with law enforcement. The last thing you want to do is indicate you are responsible for the accident.

Everyone involved in a rideshare accident should share contact information. Whenever possible, you should obtain photographs at the scene of the accident to document the damage to the involved vehicles, injuries any victim suffered, as well as road signs and conditions. This will help when you file an insurance claim.

Seeking Medical Attention Following a Rideshare Accident

Following any type of car accident, including one in which an injury occurred in an Uber or Lyft accident, it is important to seek medical attention. Even if you do not have any obvious injuries, you could have internal injuries, head trauma, or soft tissue damage. Your local emergency room or your family physician should be informed you have been involved in an auto accident and let them thoroughly check you for potential injuries.

Reporting Rideshare Accidents to Insurance Company

When you are involved in any accident involving Uber or Lyft, it is important to understand there may be numerous insurance companies who are involved. This is one of the primary reasons you should speak with a personal injury attorney before you contact any insurance company. Insurance companies who may need to be notified include:

  • Personal insurance company for the rideshare driver
  • Insurance company for any passenger in an Uber or Lyft
  • Insurer for any pedestrian injured when a rideshare vehicle is involved
  • Uber or Lyft’s insurance company
  • Other driver or passenger in other vehicles involved in a rideshare accident

As you can see, these types of accidents can be overly complicated. Before you make any telephone calls to an insurer, you should speak with an attorney who has experience handling accident claims which involve an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

Use Caution When Discussing Claims with Insurer

One thing which is particularly important if you opt to contact an insurer without speaking with an attorney first. Use caution: Each insurance company is going to attempt to deflect blame, particularly if there are multiple insurance companies involved. Each insurance company is going to focus on ensuring they pay as little as possible on any claim which is filed. This means there will be a fair amount of posturing claiming someone else is responsible for the accident. If you hire an attorney immediately, you can avoid any issues by having your personal injury lawyer handle all communications with the insurance companies. They have the experience, and the knowledge to handle your claim from start to finish.

Establishing Liability Following an Uber or Lyft Accident in Louisiana

Your attorney can request the police reports, accident reconstruction reports, and traffic cam footage as well as security footage from businesses located in the vicinity of an accident involving a Lyft or Uber. This must be done as quickly as possible because oftentimes, security footage is overwritten after a few days. The police report is helpful because it allows your attorney to have the information from the scene of the accident as provided by drivers and witnesses.

Hiring an Experienced Rideshare Accident Attorney Matters

Each personal injury case is different and hiring an attorney who has experience handling rideshare accidents matters. Regardless of your involvement in the accident, you have rights and those rights should be protected. Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers, operators and passengers of other motor vehicles and pedestrians who suffer an injury in an Uber or Lyft accident all have unique needs.

Victims of an Uber or Lyft accident who suffer injuries may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills – treatment immediately following the accident and any follow-up treatments which are dictated by the injuries suffered in the accident.
  • Lost wages — while you recover you may be unable to work at your regular job. You should not have to bear the financial brunt of being unable to work due to someone’s negligent behavior.
  • Rehabilitation — depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require rehabilitation therapy in order to return to full employment. You should not have to bear these costs when someone else is responsible for your injuries.
  • Property damage — if you were a driver in another vehicle, a bike or motorcycle operator, or you lost a cell phone or other electronic device as a result of being tossed around the inside of a rideshare vehicle, the items must be repaired or replaced.

When you hire a law firm who has a proven track record of obtaining justice for their clients, you can feel confident you are hiring someone who will have your best interests in mind. There is no need for you to allow the insurance companies to duck their responsibility and reimburse you for the out of pocket costs of an accident, or your pain and suffering. Hiring an experienced attorney means you get the peace of mind of knowing you have someone on your side who will advocate for your rights and work hard to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Call Charbonnet Law Firm for Help with Rideshare Accidents

If you, or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident involving a Lyft or Uber anywhere in Louisiana, contact Charbonnet Law Firm immediately. For more than five decades, we have been serving personal injury clients across New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. You deserve justice and we can help provide you the peace of mind of knowing you have hired a legal team who will fight for your interests every step of the way. Cases involving rideshare companies can be complicated and while you recover from your injuries, the last thing you need to worry about is dealing with multiple insurance companies. Let us fight on your behalf while you keep your focus on getting your physical health back to pre-accident condition. The sooner we have the information to get started, the sooner we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Car Accident Settlement

Those of you living in New Orleans already know that when car accidents occur, Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law can become problematic. This is why having car insurance is so important and mandatory. Once obtaining insurance, the legal wranglings of a car accident settlement has easier inroads with proper legal representation.

Winning a settlement for a car accident is still a complicated process. Without an experienced legal team in your corner, dealing with an accident settlement is risky.

How much you could receive is another big question. What can you do to get the most out of that settlement? It comes down to finding as much evidence as possible, including hiring the proper legal team to put it all together.

Document the Scene of the Accident

Most people have cameras built in to their smartphones, making it easier now to take pictures of anything within seconds. Taking pictures of your car accident should become a top priority.

Be sure to document the damage done to your car, in addition to the damage on the other person’s vehicle. Acquiring all this documentation goes a long way to determine who exactly caused the accident to win your case.

Likewise, if you hire an attorney to come to the scene of the accident, they can also take photos as evidence. Other evidence gathered directly from the scene may include:

  • Taped footage from traffic cameras of the accident as it occurred.
  • Accident debris to analyze the impact of the accident.
  • Information collected from the other driver or drivers.
  • An accident report from the police.

One thing to remember is all possibility exists you sustained injuries and are unable to take photos on your own. If so, it makes contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible all the more imperative. Should you have capability to call an attorney from a safe location, have them visit the location to collect evidence for you.

Attorneys who focus on car accident cases have professional cameras with them to help assist. They can even acquire the accident report for you if you need transport to a hospital for injuries.

Gain a Detailed Police Report

While pictures and video will become essential evidence, the police report is far more official. More detail is usually placed into these reports, including names of those involved. In many cases, it also means recorded evidence, sometimes from witnesses who saw the accident happen.

To get a police report at the accident scene, you need to call 911 as soon as the incident occurs. Police will usually be there anyway, since someone usually calls 911 if witnessing an accident. Then again, if in a quiet area, it may end up being your responsibility to call for emergency response. Others involved in the accident may have inability to call police due to being injured.

Be sure to get involved in helping police put together the report. You can even give them your own photos or video since the report becomes legal evidence in your favor.

As everyone who lives in the St. Louis area knows, many country roads exist where an accident could occur with few to any observers. Finding ways to get police there as soon as possible is critical toward gaining a clear police report.

In addition to the above evidence, obtain the names of the police officers involved, including their badge numbers. Compiled detail plays a big part to prove your side of the story.

Never Sign Any Documentation From an Insurance Company

After the accident occurs, an insurance company may visit the scene and do their own investigation into what happened. These investigations are often similar to what the police do and may involve:

  • Analysis of traffic camera footage.
  • Accident reconstruction at the location.
  • Taking pictures of any damage to vehicles if at the accident scene.

They also request a copy of the police report to gain as big a picture as possible on what happened. Their conclusion is often in favor of the other person who perhaps is to blame. As a result, the insurance company may try to pin the blame on you rather than the other person or people.

Oftentimes, insurance companies save time going to court by offering you a settlement up front. Far too many people end up signing these documents to their detriment. These settlements are usually lower than what is really deserved.

Never sign a settlement agreement on your own with an insurance company. If you want to get the largest amount possible, leaving that initial insurance settlement offer alone is your best bet.

Rather than sign away any possibility of the insurance company being liable, get some legal representation. With an experienced car accident attorney, they handle all contact with the insurance companies so you never have to. Because communicating and negotiating with insurance companies is very complicated, this removes all burden on you, especially if recovering from injuries.

Your legal team fights to renegotiate the insurance claim so you get a higher amount than the smaller offer they initially put forth.

Get a Medical Examination

A major mistake some car accident victims make is not going to seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes injuries look initially minor, then turn more serious later. Waiting to seek a medical examination could come back to haunt you in winning a settlement.

An insurance company could use this against you in the assumption you never sustained the serious injuries you say. Always take time for a medical examination the same day, even if you think there is nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, adrenaline at the scene of an accident sometimes masks the reality of hidden internal injuries. Not being examined for latter could lead to even more serious health problems, if potentially death.

While there to get your medical examination, be sure to obtain a copy of your medical report. Having this in your possession is as important as the police report and any personal evidence you acquired. During a trial, your medical report determines exactly what the extent of your injuries are to prove you deserve a higher settlement amount.

Gaining Legal Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

Always be sure to file a personal injury claim since this is also used as evidence if your case goes to trial. Many people fill these claims out on their own, yet usually sign those initial insurance settlement offers mentioned above.

Hiring a car accident attorney first is in your best interest so the legal team makes sure you fill out your claim correctly. Any misstatements or other errors done on your own will only hurt you later.

The general legal rule is to seek legal representation if your car accident settlement becomes overly complicated. When loss of life occurs and more extensive damage to property occurs, hiring an attorney is a must.

Regardless, even a seeming minor car accident case could end up becoming more complex later. Always hire an attorney at the scene of your accident as a legal security net.

Contact us at (504) 294-5075 at Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC if in a car accident here in St. Louis. We will examine your case and fight for your rights to obtain the settlement amount you need.

 

Most Dangerous Roadways for Drivers in Louisiana

Everyone who ventures onto the roadways in Louisiana knows there is always a risk of being involved in a car accident. This is not unique to Louisiana, it is a nationwide issue.  Unfortunately, this nationwide issue takes a staggering toll on residents of Louisiana — we rank 7th in the nation for the deadliest roads in the United States. Sadly, our fatality rates continue to rise, and they have continued to increase annually for at least the last decade.

Fatality Rates Have Continued to Increase Most Years

When reviewing the LSU Data Reports, one will find an overview of traffic fatalities for the last five years. While data for 2020 is not currently complete, it is estimated we will see the continuing upward trend in fatalities on Louisiana roadways. The data does show a modest decrease during 2019, but an overall projection of a significant increase during 2020. One must review other sources of data to determine which roads are the deadliest.

Consumer Safety Information and Deadly Roadways

There are numerous sites which offer insights into roadways but one of the most comprehensive is offered by Safer America. Their most recent report was published in 2019 and was based on data compiled from 2015 to 2017. Here’s what it shows in terms of the top 10 deadliest roads in Louisiana

Safer America, an organization dedicated to gathering and sharing consumer safety information, recently completed a study of the most dangerous roads in Louisiana based on the number of recorded fatalities between 2015-2017.

  1. US-171 26 deaths
  2. I-12 26 deaths
  3. US-165, 31 deaths
  4. I-49, 37 deaths
  5. US-61, 38 deaths
  6. SR-1, 48 deaths
  7. US-90, 52 deaths
  8. I-20, 52 deaths
  9. S-190, 54 deaths
  10. I-10, 136 deaths

In total, the number of accidents which are reflected in these fatalities 457. For most residents of Louisiana, it probably does not come as a surprise to learn that of those 457 accidents, 121 occurred on I-10, one of the busiest roadways in the state. Remember, this road connects some of our biggest areas, specifically Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. Additionally, this is the roadway which connects Louisiana to Texas, and Mississippi.

Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Louisiana

The leading cause of fatal accidents in Louisiana is intoxication. There are some frightening statistics which indicate some of these fatalities could have been avoided. Some concerning numbers provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission include:

  • 40 percent of all accidents during 2017 were alcohol related
  • 78 percent of fatalities involved alcohol, failure to use seat belts, distracted and aggressive driving
  • Louisiana ranks 9th in the United States for alcohol related deaths
  • Louisiana has the 4th worst drivers in the nation (per CarInsuranceComparison.com)

Louisiana Drivers and Visitors Clogging Roadways

You might be shocked to learn that we are home to slightly fewer than 3.5 million licensed drivers in Louisiana. However, you should also be aware that we also have more than 53 million annual visitors, more than 18 million of whom visit New Orleans. Drivers should also be aware there is no single roadway, which is exempt from fatalities, although state roads do have the highest percentage. According to LSUs CARTS program, here is the breakdown of fatalities by road type:

  • State Road: 44.7 percent
  • US Highway: 17.0 percent
  • Interstate: 13.1 percent
  • City Road: 13.8 percent
  • Parish Road: 11.1 percent
  • Not Reported: 0.3 percent

These stats probably do not come as any big surprise to anyone who has read the Shreveport Times article “Why Louisiana has some of the worst roads in the country and what can be done about it” published in late 2019.

Car Accident Victims and Their Families

One of the things which often gets lost in statistics is the humanity. Each reported fatality is a person. Each person is a member of a family — parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Each fatality represents a person who worked or attends school in Louisiana creating a second family of sorts. We must never lose sight of the trauma of losing a loved one in a fatal accident on Louisiana roadways. In some cases, a family member may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for their loss.

Before a wrongful death claim can be filed, fault must first be established. Louisiana requires all registered vehicles to have a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury coverage, $30,000 coverage per accident, and $25,000 in coverage for property damage. There is always a chance this coverage may not come near to covering the financial costs of losing a loved one. This is why a wrongful death lawsuit may be the only option a family may have available to them.

Wrongful death claims may only be filed for one year following death and may be filed by surviving family members. In the event the driver who is responsible for the accident is facing criminal charges, it is important to remember you do not have to wait until those charges are brought or tried before filing a lawsuit. While a guilty finding may strengthen your case, a not-guilty finding may not have a negative impact on a personal injury case either. This is because a civil case — which is what a wrongful death case is — has a much lower burden of proof than a criminal case.

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Everyone knows there is no amount of money which can ever make up for the unexpected loss of a loved one. However, families will suffer financially following a car accident which results in a fatality. A wrongful death suit can help you recover some of the following economic losses:

  • Medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
  • Wages and benefits your family loses as a result of the death of a loved one
  • Compensation for expenses associated with funeral and burial of a loved one
  • The dollar value associated with household services the decedent provided
  • Bills for damages to personal property

There may also be non-economic losses which can be included in a wrongful death lawsuit which you should discuss with an attorney.

Economic Concerns and Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

One concern families often have following the death of a loved one in a fatal car accident is the affordability of an attorney. You should be aware you can schedule a free consultation and when you decide to work with an experienced  Louisiana personal injury attorney you will not pay any legal fees until such time as they are successful in obtaining a settlement on your behalf. Any legal fees collected come from the final settlement we are able to obtain for you. We will be happy to discuss this with you during our consultation.

If you have lost a loved one on one of the most dangerous roads in Louisiana, contact the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC at our New Orleans office at (504) 294-3910 or our Metairie office at (504) 294-3910 today for a free consultation. We will let you know what options you have and help you recover financially. With more than five decades of representing families across the state, you can count on us to devote the time and resources necessary to make sure you and your family do not suffer financially after losing a loved one due to someone’s negligent behavior on our roadways.

The 10 Most Important Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

After a car accident, the steps you take matter. Not only do you want to increase your odds of making a full recovery as much as possible, you want to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect your finances and your right to follow a personal injury claim after the accident. Did you suffer serious injuries in a car accident? Make sure you follow these steps to protect yourself and your finances as much as possible.

1. Do not leave the scene of the accident.

You’re in a hurry. You have somewhere you need to be, things you need to do, and a lot of things on your plate. If you have a car accident, however, you should never leave the scene of the accident until the police arrive. Even if you did not cause the accident, you can face charges for leaving the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene can also make it impossible for you to tell your side of the story.

Only in very specific circumstances can you legally leave the scene of the accident: if you must leave to seek medical attention for a medical emergency, or if you do not feel safe at the scene of the accident. Under those circumstances, you may choose to notify the police of your intent to leave the scene of the accident and tell them where to find you.

2. Report the accident.

Call 911 to report the accident and, if needed, to summon an ambulance to provide medical care. Most of the time, a police officer will respond to the scene of the accident and write a report that includes the time and place of the accident as well as any evidence the officer can collect at the scene. The accident report may also establish fault in the accident, which can prove incredibly valuable later.

3. Avoid accepting any fault in the accident.

While you should provide an accurate version of events to the police officer that responds to the scene of the accident, avoid statements that accept fault for the accident. Do not tell the officer that you accept fault. Do not brush off the other driver’s liability or attempt to share the blame, especially if you did not contribute to the accident. If you accept fault at the scene of the accident, it could later leave you liable for damages associated with the accident or prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve in a personal injury claim.

4. Collect photographic evidence if you can do so safely.

The evidence you collect after your accident can provide a valuable foundation for a future personal injury claim. If you can move safely around the scene of the accident without worsening your injuries, take the time to snap some pictures of the accident scene. You may want to take pictures of:

  • Your vehicle, especially the damage to it
  • The position of the two vehicles, especially if you did not have to move them after the accident
  • Your injuries
  • Any features that contributed to the accident

5. Exchange information with the other driver.

Collect information from the other driver involved in the accident. The police report from the accident will contain this information, but it can prove easier to access information that you collected yourself. Getting the other driver’s insurance information and a picture of the driver’s license can make it easier for you to provide information to your insurance company.

6. Seek medical attention.

Following a serious accident, always go to the hospital or to an urgent care facility, even if you believe that you did not suffer serious injury. Let a doctor check you out to ensure that you did not suffer more injuries than you think. Keep in mind that adrenaline may fade slowly after an accident, preventing many victims from feeling the pain of even serious injuries. If you do not seek medical care, you may not notice your injuries immediately.

Seeking medical attention also provides evidence of when your injuries took place. If you later need to file a personal injury claim, the report from the hospital can help establish the timing on the accident and your injuries, which can prevent the other party from trying to claim that you suffered your injuries at another point in time.

7. Create an accurate record of the events that led up to the accident.

Memory fades quickly, especially after traumatic events. Often, that can make it very difficult for you to piece back together the events that led to the accident, especially if some time passes before you attempt to put that record together. Take the time to create an accurate record of the accident. Write it down, record it in an app on your phone, or have someone else write it down for you. The sooner you create this record, the more accurate it is likely to be, and the greater the likelihood that you will be able to accurately recreate as many of the events leading to the accident as possible.

8. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

In many cases, you may need to wait before you file a personal injury claim. It can take time to investigate the events that led to the accident, and a personal injury attorney may recommend waiting until you have an accurate idea of what your recovery will eventually look like before filing your claim, especially if you suffered serious injury. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible, however, can provide you with a roadmap of how to proceed as you navigate a personal injury claim after a serious accident. An attorney can also provide you with valuable advice that can help maximize the compensation you can receive after an accident.

9. Notify your insurance company.

You will need to notify both your health insurance company and your auto insurance company about your accident. Your health insurance company can provide you with vital information about your coverage and what treatment options you have after your accident, while your auto insurance company can help you move forward with your vehicle claim, including getting your vehicle repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Make sure you ask any questions you have about your coverage, especially if you have serious injuries from your accident.

10. Follow your doctors’ instructions.

Seeking medical care does not just mean going to the hospital and getting an accurate picture of your injuries. It also means that you follow the instructions your doctors give you. Those instructions help maximize your recovery. If you fail to follow those instructions, not only can it limit your recovery, it can prevent you from receiving the full funds you deserve for your injuries, since the liable party may claim that you did not take the steps needed to recover after your accident.

Navigating a car accident can prove difficult, especially if you have never had one before or you have serious injuries from the accident. Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC can help. Contact us today for a consultation about your accident or more information about the steps you need to take, whether you suffered injuries in a rideshare accident or an accident with a private driver.

The Positives & Negatives of Settling Out of Court

Are you part of a personal injury claim? Some cases are taken to court, but others decide to settle out of court. This can actually be a good idea and there are a lot of positives, but there are also some negatives that comes to settling out of court.

Positives

  • Appearing in court can be stressful and take a lot of your time. By settling outside of court, it reduces burden, stress and will actually save you time.
  • Defendants can sometimes avoid payment if they go to court by declaring bankruptcy, meaning you may not be able to collect damages. When settling out of court, you will more likely be able to collect compensation.
  • Court fees and attorney fees can add up. When you go to court, you will be paying more in attorney fees. You can actually save money by settling out of court by avoiding these extra costs.
  • When settling out of court, you are able to keep your case and all of the details private. This doesn’t happen when you have to go to court as all of the details of your case would be public record.

Negatives

  • When you do go to court, you could be awarded more money in damages. Settling out of court could cost you some compensation.
  • You can only receive punitive damages, like compensation for emotional suffering, if you take your case to the courts. Keep in mind that settling out of court is usually very cut and dry and will not include punitive damages.

Settling out of court is not an easy way out and can sometimes be the best option for your personal injury case. This is why you should always speak with an attorney before deciding on your case and always take their advice.

Are Rideshare Cars Considered Commercial Vehicles?

Even though they’re personally owned, cars used to provide rides for Uber, Lyft or one or the other rideshare companies are commercial vehicles when they’re in service.

In the decade since Uber launched its unique concept, we’ve grown quite comfortable with the notion of riding in strangers’ cars. Some sources claim that between 400,000 and a million people are working in the industry in this country alone. Worldwide, ridesharing accounts for about 15 million rides a day.

With that volume of trips, there are bound to be accidents. According to some sources, rideshares are involved in accidents that cause more than a thousand deaths a year.

Accidents involving rideshare vehicles are often caused by the same issues as all motor vehicle accidents: road conditions, drowsiness or distraction of the driver, speeding, the driver’s level of experience or failure to follow road regulations.

THERE ARE VARIOUS PARTIES INVOLVED IN ACCIDENTS INVOLVING RIDESHARE VEHICLES:

  • rideshare driver
  • passenger in a rideshare vehicle
  • injured bystander – pedestrian – when a rideshare vehicle is involved
  • driver or passenger in another car involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle

Uber and other rideshare companies have a $1 million liability policy, meaning you may be able to get up to a million dollars to cover damages as a result of being involved in an accident with them – depending on who is at fault and the severity of the damages or injuries you sustain.

Because each state has different laws regarding vehicle accidents, particularly as they relate to rideshares, it’s important to work with someone who understands your individual rights in this scenario. Charbonnet Law Firm’s attorneys bring almost a century of combined legal experience and expertise in personal injury cases to help clients navigate the process of physical and financial recovery from accidents involving rideshare vehicles.

Business Interruption Insurance

What happens when a global pandemic shuts your company’s doors and cuts off your business income? Many businesses carry insurance for just such events.

Business Interruption insurance is a safeguard for businesses in times of crisis, when the future of the company is endangered, like in the event of a fire, hurricane or flooding. The coverage generally can be applied only in the event of property loss that causes the business to be shut down while repairs are done and while there’s no income. Some policies allow the company to recover additional expenses due to the loss of business.

Contingent business interruption insurance will cover lost income when the damage is on someone else’s property but interrupts your business.

Contingent Property Insurance or Dependent Property Insurance (a/k/a Supply Chain coverage) could possibly apply, depending on claims of property damage.

Civil Authority coverage may apply in times of nearby damage, generally a one to five-mile radius of the business. Some other types of business insurance include coverage for business interruption.
Regardless of your type of business insurance, your claim must be related to property damage to kick in.

However, some policies have an exclusion that disallows coverage for an interruption caused by an epidemic or pandemic. Others require a certain time frame for closure in order to trigger coverage. So it’s important to know what your particular policy covers – and doesn’t cover.

But what happens when the government shuts down “non-essential” businesses. What happens when your policy has contamination exclusions or doesn’t have specific communicable disease coverage? Some insurers are issuing blanket denials of claims.

COVID-19 has created a whole new ballgame in terms of business insurance. While legislatures debate bills mandating business interruption coverage for COVID-related cases, cases are making their way through state and federal courts to determine whether companies have coverage for their loss of income during quarantine. Several states, including Louisiana, have seen exceptions to the exclusions. Coverage may still be available for businesses whose policies do not include communicable disease coverage extensions or that have contamination exclusions for viruses.

Charbonnet Law Firm’s attorneys bring almost a century of combined legal experience and expertise to help clients navigate the issues related to business interruption and insurance coverage. If your insurance claim has been denied, we can help you take the next steps.