Find help after a life-changing accident
Your Partner When the Unimaginable Happens
When you’re dealing with the aftermath of a serious automobile accident, your entire life is on pause. Mounting medical bills, countless legal documents, and property damage are among the many issues you will face. To make matters more difficult after automobile accidents, insurance companies usually don’t have your best interest in mind. This is why you need a qualified New Orleans car accident lawyer on your case.
At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we’re dedicated to providing legal assistance that makes sense, for every person and every matter. It’s our mission to walk with you through every step of the legal process and help you get your life back on track after an accident.
What to Do After A Car Accident
One of the most important things to remember after a car accident is to stay calm, no matter how hard that may seem. Staying calm will help you get through a series of important steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Taking these steps can also protect you legally and financially.
Immediately after an accident, follow these steps.
Call for help
First, find a safe area and call for help. If possible, pull into an adjacent parking lot or at least to the shoulder of the road. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can clearly see you.
If you, your passengers, or people in the other vehicle are injured, call 911 and ask for emergency medical assistance. If everyone is unharmed, you still need to call the police. Even when damage seems to be minor, you’ll want an official car accident report to give to your insurance company or attorney, if necessary.
Regardless of how minimal the damage may seem, exchange information with the other people involved in the crash. You will need their:
- Contact information
- License plate number
- Insurance details
Take detailed photos of the crash from several different angles, as well as close-up images of any damage. You may also find it beneficial to get a video of the entire scene in order to provide context and a total view of the area. Get evidence of any debris, skid marks, or other damage.
Are there any witnesses in the area who saw the crash happen? Gather statements and contact information from these individuals as well. Again, if it's an option on your phone, take a quick video of their description of the accident.
Inform your insurance company
Once the dust has cleared and you've left the scene, it's time to work through a few important issues. Call your insurance company and inform them that you have been in an accident. Don’t supply extensive details to your insurance just yet (your attorney will handle this later on).
Likewise, do not supply any information to insurance companies of other parties in the accident at this point.
Get a check-up
Even if you feel fine, it’s important to visit a doctor for a thorough check-up. If you’re suffering from injuries after a car accident, medical bills can pile up quickly.
From initial tests and X-rays to hospital stays and subsequent check-ups, keep an extensive paper trail for every medical appointment you have. Ask your doctor, the hospital, and even your health insurance company for records of everything. Keep all of this information in a file for safekeeping.
You'll also want to take your vehicle in to a reputable shop for an extensive inspection. Ask them to provide notes about the damage, along with a cost breakdown for repairs.
When to Call A New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer
A skilled New Orleans car accident lawyer can navigate complex legal matters with your best interests at the forefront. The stress of a car accident can be intense, especially if you’re dealing with injuries or extensive vehicle damage that leaves you without reliable transportation.
How do you know if you need a lawyer? There are three instances when it is critical to find professional representation:
- You or a passenger in your vehicle were injured in the accident
- Anyone in the accident was severely injured or killed
- There is significant and costly property damage
Many people should also consider contacting an attorney even if the damage was minor (as we typically see in rear-end accidents). A short consultation can give you a better idea of the best way to protect your rights and property after an accident.
Louisiana Car Accident Laws to Know
When it comes to the outcome of a car accident case, location matters. Laws vary greatly from state to state, which is why it’s important to be aware of issues that are specific to Louisiana. There are three areas of state law that could have an impact on your case.
Statute of limitations
Your right to file a claim expires one year from the date of your accident. This is a smaller window of time in comparison with many other states. If you miss the deadline, you may lose the right to compensation for medical bills, property damage, and more.
If you have any doubts about the state of your injuries after a car accident, it’s important to contact an auto accident lawyer in Louisiana right away.
In the event that you are partly to blame for an accident, your settlement may be reduced to reflect this negligence.
This is usually calculated in the form of a percentage related to your level of fault in the situation. For example, your compensation may be reduced by 50% if both parties are determined to be equally at fault for an accident. Since this area of the law is complex, it's best to work with an attorney to protect your rights.
At-fault insurance laws
Louisiana follows at-fault insurance laws that require the party responsible for an accident to pay for damages. An attorney can help you determine who is at fault after an accident before negotiating with insurance companies.
It’s important to note that you may still be eligible for compensation for medical costs and vehicle damage even if you were partially at fault during a crash. A New Orleans car accident lawyer at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can evaluate your case to determine how to proceed.
Lyft or Uber accident guidelines
Rideshare accidents are a new and complex area of the law. Fortunately, the attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle have been at the forefront of these cases.
A Lyft or Uber accident can occur when you are:
- A rideshare passenger
- A driver for a rideshare company
- Another driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist who gets hit by a rideshare driver
While drivers for rideshare companies carry their own insurance, companies like Lyft and Uber provide additional coverage for claims when the driver is on the clock. Unfortunately, cases can be messy.
Companies may argue that these drivers are not their employees, but rather contractors. They may contend that they're not separately liable for their driver’s negligence beyond the available automobile insurance coverage.
Further complicating things, insurance policies determine claim amounts based on what step of the process the driver was in. For example, the driver may have been:
- Waiting for a fare and not in "driver mode"
- Matched with a fare and driving to meet them
- Actively driving a passenger in their car
All things considered, these types of cases often require the experience of an attorney for help. The team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle is adept at navigating the unique circumstances of rideshare accidents.
Our Approach at Huber Thomas & Marcelle
When it comes to seeking compensation after an accident to help cover expenses, we know that an in-depth investigation into the details of your accident is the key to courtroom success.
In addition to police reports, expert witnesses, and collision reconstructions, we examine other factors to determine the causes of each accident. Dangerous road conditions such as insufficient signage, poorly marked construction zones, and potholes can cause a crash. Likewise, manufacturer defects can also be a contributing factor, and we have extensive experience with product liability cases.
Further, we always schedule formal interviews (depositions) with other parties in the accident. This may include witnesses, your doctor, police officers, and more. This information will be used in addition to the important documentation we gather throughout our discovery phase.
Our Courtroom Successes
The vast majority of cases for automobile accidents settle outside of court, up to 95% of them. Going to court is expensive and time-consuming for everyone involved, but we are committed to fair settlements, even if they take extra time. Because of that, we prepare for every single case as if it’s going to trial. This gives us more power at the negotiating table if we can reach a settlement and excellent preparation in the event that we do have to go in front of a judge or jury.
We encourage you to read our extensive list of previous case victories. These include $2.3 million secured for a woman who was injured when an airport shuttle van moved while she was boarding. The company tried to deny fault for her injury and subsequent back surgery. Our team aggressively pursued the compensation she needed to move forward.
Our attorneys have litigated hundreds of cases arising from automobile accidents and secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We have taken numerous cases to trial, and based on our depth of experience, we are always ready to pursue litigation to protect our clients.
We’re Here to Help After A Car Accident
When you work with Huber Thomas & Marcelle, you have help on your side. Whether you or someone you love is dealing with the aftermath of an automobile accident, a knowledgeable New Orleans car accident lawyer can make all the difference.
If you would like to discuss the details of your case, schedule a free consultation today.