Should I settle my insurance claim?

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim?

Settlement Secrets Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know

Do you find yourself asking “Should I settle my insurance claim?”

When you make a personal injury claim, you’ll eventually negotiate with the other party’s insurance company. Even if you end up filing a lawsuit, negotiations will be ongoing. Your case may reach a resolution out of court at any time. 

Presenting the insurance company with a strong demand letter with plenty of evidence in your favor is important. In this case, negotiations might only take a few phone calls. This is one reason it is essential to have an attorney from the beginning of your personal injury process. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon put together a few tips that will help you get the best settlement possible in Louisiana. We also discuss why it may or may not be in your best interest to settle your case, and some tips for negotiations. 

How to Negotiate a Settlement in Louisiana: The Negotiation Process

Every personal injury claim is different. This means that the negotiation process can vary widely. Sometimes all it takes is a few phone calls.

However, the average settlement negotiation tends to be a bit more complex. Negotiations take place between your attorney and the other party’s insurance adjuster. Both sides will make points about the strengths and weaknesses of your claims. 

Consider this scenario. Your attorney points out there are eyewitness accounts confirming the other person was responsible for your injury. Obviously this evidence would be in your favor. The insurance adjuster should accept your attorney’s settlement demand. The insurance company might come back and say that another person might have been equally responsible for your injury. This might be a weakness in your claim and might mean you and your attorney should accept a lower settlement amount. Your attorney then proposes a number a big higher than the counter-offer but still lower than the original offer. 

This process continues until both parties arrive at a figure everyone is sufficiently happy with. The final number will probably be lower than what your attorney first offered. But it should at the very least be higher than what the insurance adjuster first offered.

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim? 

This depends entirely on your specific case. The easiest way to know if you should settle is to ask a Gordon & Gordon personal injury attorney

Settling is usually in the best interest of both parties. The alternative to settling an insurance claim is to take your case to trial. Keep in mind that trials are unpredictable. They may drag on for months and even years. 

Take the advice of your personal injury attorney. The rare case in which you should go to trial is if you have strong evidence and the insurance company refuses to negotiate. 

How to Negotiate A Settlement in Louisiana: Quick Tips From A Shreveport Bossier Attorney 

There are a few practices you can employ to put your claim in the best possible position during negotiations. Here are some of these tips from a Manassas personal injury attorney. 

Have A Settlement Amount in Mind

Figure out the minimum amount of money you’re willing to accept. 

As part of your personal injury settlement demand letter, you and your attorney at Gordon & Gordon will help you determine how much your claim is worth. Working within the range of that number, you and your attorney will decide the smallest amount of money you would be willing to accept. The number in your demand letter is the amount of money you want, but it helps to keep your bottom line in mind during negotiations. Don’t share any of this information with the insurance adjuster. If they catch wind of your willingness to accept less money, they won’t budge later on. 

Don’t be too stubborn about the figure you have in mind. If an insurance adjuster points out that some key weaknesses in your claim you hadn’t considered before, it might be wise to review your minimum amount. If the adjuster begins by offering an amount near your minimum, you should move your figure upward. 

What is a Reservation of Rights Letter?

Sometimes an insurance company will send you something called a reservation of rights letter. Don’t let this intimidate you. 

This simply means the insurance company is investigating your claim. They reserve their right not to pay you if the other party’s policy doesn’t cover your accident.

This just means the insurance company is trying to protect itself. It prevents you from claiming that the policy covers your accident simply because the company opened negotiations with you. 

Don’t Jump At The First Offer

Insurance adjusters almost always offer an extremely low amount for the first offer to see if you will accept the fast cash. Their main goal is not to help you. It’s to save the insurance company money. This is why it’s important to have an attorney.

If the offer is reasonable but just a bit low, you should counter with a slightly higher number, but still less than your original demand. This shows the adjuster that you are being reasonable too. 

Make the Adjuster Justify A Low Offer 

Ask the adjuster you’re working with for specific reasons they made such a low offer. It’s possible they just made the low offer to call your bluff and see if you know how much your claim is really worth. 

Just because they made an offer that is unreasonably low doesn’t mean you should lower your original offer. Instead, ask them to explain why they are offering so little. 

Write them a response and answer to each of their points. See if they will budge after that. If the adjuster is being reasonable, you should be able to reach a fair settlement with them. 

Emphasize Emotional Points

Don’t shy away from talking about emotional factors. Although facts are necessary, strong emotional claims help too.

If your injury prevented you from taking care of your child, talk about your child’s suffering. You can’t put a real price on pain and suffering. But emphasizing your emotional pain can go a long way in getting insurance companies to bring a reasonable offer to the table. 

Put the Settlement in Writing 

Once you and the insurance adjuster finally reach an agreement, confirm it with a letter. This will be addressed to the insurance adjuster. It can be short and sweet. Simply name the amount you agreed to, the injuries involved and the date you expect to receive the settlement money

Should I Settle My Insurance Claim? Call Gordon & Gordon!

The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon are experienced in working with insurance companies to get you the best results possible for your settlement. If you’ve been injured and don’t want to have to face the insurance companies alone, contact us for a free consultation. 

personal injury claims process

10 Steps for the Personal Injury Claims Process

Anyone who’s been in a car accident knows: the stress and trauma take a toll. The steps you take in the following minutes and hours might make or break your health and wallet. You must ensure you do everything the law requires you to do. We’ve put together a 10 step process of a personal injury claims process. Use this to prepare yourself if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being involved in an auto accident.

What are the 10 Steps for the Personal Injury Claims Process?

  1. Check for Injuries After an Accident
  2. Document Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case
  3. File a Claim with your Insurance Company
  4. Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Auto Accident Attorney for your Case
  5. Determine the Severity of Your Personal Injury
  6. Demand a Settlement
  7. Case Settles or a Lawsuit Is Filed
  8. Discovery
  9. Mediation
  10. Trial 

1. Check for Injuries After an Auto Accident

Make sure that you stop your car in a safe place. Do not leave the scene of the accident. This is a crime. Check yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 to get medical help for anyone with injuries.  According to Louisiana law, drivers involved in an auto accident must report the accident to the police if any injury or death occurs, or if there is over $500 in property damage. Many insurance companies also require you to call the police after an auto accident. Check with your policy to find out the terms and conditions.

After the shock of an accident, you may not realize you have suffered a serious head, neck, back, or organ injury. Just because you can’t see an injury or think you only received minor cuts and scrapes, it is still best to have a medical professional evaluate you. Listen to the advice of a medical professional. 

Lots of people choose not to call the police after an accident because at first, it seemed like there were only minor damages or injuries. But often, property damage and injuries arise later. Failure to document an accident with a police report may make it harder to get compensation for your damages later on. 

2. Document Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case

If you can, we recommend that you take photos of the:

  • vehicles
  • license plates
  • surroundings
  • nearby traffic controls
  • any visible injuries

Write down the:

  • driver’s name
  • address
  • phone number
  • license plate number 
  • the vehicle owner’s name

If there were any witnesses, you should also collect their names and contact information. Try to limit conversation with other parties. Do not admit fault or assign blame. In order to aid your memory, write down as many details as possible as soon as you can. It is easy to forget important details in the aftermath, but the more information you have, the easier your case will be. 

3. File a Claim with your Insurance Company

Most insurance companies require you to report the accident very soon after the crash.

Your insurance company might ask you to provide a statement. We do not recommend this. Keep in mind that YOU pay your insurance company. They technically work for you, and you don’t owe them anything.

Your attorney should help you with the personal injury claim process, not your insurance company.

It is best to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an auto accident. Then your attorney can advise you how to approach your insurance company. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon provide free initial consultations. It will cost you nothing to double check with an attorney. This could end up saving you thousands later on.

Even though your insurance company is supposed to be on your side, they might try to diminish your accident and injuries to avoid paying for your damages.Insurance companies always do everything in their power to maximize their profits. They do this by limiting their payments to you as much as possible. 

In most cases, your insurance company is best equipped to help you get your vehicle fixed or pay for a total loss. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, your insurance company can help you get back on the road, as long as you have collision coverage under your policy. After that, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from the insurance company of the driver at fault.

4. Free Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Auto Accident Attorney 

In many cases, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will contact you. They might ask you to provide a written or recorded statement. It is not in your best interest to do so. They might also offer you a small amount of money and ask you to sign a release. Again, it is not in your best interest to do so. 

In our many years as Louisiana personal injury auto accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon, we often advise clients to contact insurance companies as little as possible and never to accept fast cash. Your injuries might last longer than you thought they would. When you sign a release, you will not be able to reopen your claim. Never accept settlements or sign any documents without legal counsel. 

The Louisiana attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have a long history of representing anyone that has suffered a personal injury. Hiring us for your case will help ensure your insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you during the the personal injury claim process. Our attorneys can help you manage the numerous calls you receive from insurance adjusters. We can fight against low settlement offers from insurance companies. 

Scheduling a consultation with one of our attorneys after your personal injury from an auto accident will be free. We only receive compensation for our legal services if we help you recover damages. 

5. Determine the Severity of Your Personal Injury

Once you’ve reached this stage in the process of the personal injury claim process, your legal team will lead you going forward. Our personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon conduct further investigation into the accident. We follow up with you regularly regarding your medical treatment. We also order your medical bills and records as you continue treatment.

Sometimes your pain or injury might not go away. If this happens, we contact your doctor and get a report to submit along with any treatment records. This step can often take a long time because it depends on how you are feeling. Before you consider accepting any offer from an insurance company, you need to have a clear idea of how you’re feeling. 

6. Demand a Settlement

After your injuries have stabilized, we usually demand the insurance to offer a settlement. A settlement is a sum of money an insurance company offers to resolve a dispute with you, the accident victim. 

The insurance company will make the first offer. In almost all cases, the first settlement offer is extremely low. It is often an almost laughable amount. They want to see if you’re willing to accept fast cash now rather than wait for a bigger payout later on.

Insurance companies know that many victims don’t understand how quickly medical bills can pile up. They try to make an offer quickly before accident victims have the chance to consult a lawyer. Don’t let the insurance company do this to you. 

7. Case Settles or a Lawsuit Is Filed

After receiving settlement offers from insurance adjusters, you get the chance to decide whether you want to settle your case or file a lawsuit. Many clients are afraid of going to trial and say that they would prefer to settle. Insurance companies know this too well and offer low settlement amounts.

At this stage of the personal injury claim process, your attorney at Gordon & Gordon will provide guidance. We can tell you whether the offer from the insurance company is fair and whether it makes sense to continue with a lawsuit. 

During this part of the personal injury claim process, your attorney will provide guidance on whether the offer from the insurance company is fair and whether it makes sense to continue with a lawsuit.

There are pros and cons for settling and going to court. The experienced Louisiana personal injury auto accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will advise you on which option is best for you. 

8. Discovery

In the event you decide not to accept the settlement offer and file a lawsuit, the case begins a discovery period. Discovery means that your personal injury attorney at Gordon & Gordon get to find out more information about the other side. The other side will also learn more about you. Both sides are permitted to request documents, pictures and depositions. 

Attorneys have the chance to ask questions of involved parties during a personal injury deposition. These people could include police officers, witnesses, treating doctors, or anyone else who might provide evidence in the case of the trial. 

Once this process is complete, the court usually orders mediation prior to the start of a trial.

9. Mediation

Mediation is the final, informal alternative to going to trial during a personal injury claims process. In a mediation, a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between both sides. The goal is to promote a resolution of the disputes before a trial. The mediator gets to lead the discussion but does not get to make decisions about the case. During a trial, the judge has the ultimate power and influence over the outcome of the case. 

10. Trial 

In the event a mediation is unsuccessful, the case goes to trial. If you’re in a busy Parish, a trial might take a year to start after filing. As long as you filed your personal injury lawsuit claim within a year of the accident, you’re in the clear.

The injured person needs to prove that the other driver was negligent during a trial. He or she must also show how much money the jury should award in damages. The court asks the jury to decide if you were negligent and if your negligence caused your own injuries. Once everyone testifies, the jury decides on a final verdict. 

Fault and liability are determined by the “pure comparative negligence” standard in Louisiana. This means that each driver involved in an auto accident is responsible for their own share of the liability or fault in the accident. 

If you were injured or sustained property damage from an accident and you were partly at fault, you can still recover some damages. The exact amount of compensation you recover depends on how much you contributed to the accident. 

Let the Personal Injury Attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Handle the Personal Claims Process For You

If you were the victim of a personal injury due to another person’s negligence in a car accident, you have nothing to fear with the help of Gordon & Gordon Law Firm. Our clients can tell you about the great results we produce for our clients. If you have a personal injury case and want to speak to a personal injury attorney, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We know how to help you navigate the personal injury claims process.

report a car accident

How to Report a Car Accident

While no one wants to find themselves in a situation involving a car accident, knowing how to report damages and get the most out of any potential insurance claims can take away many potential pitfalls and headaches.  The information below serves as a guide for individuals who find themselves looking for guidance when it comes to how to report a car accident and the various aspects of a complete, correct report.  

How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?

Whenever involved in a car accident in the state of Louisiana, an individual has an obligation to stop at the scene.  Once the condition of each person involved has been verified, exchanging information with the other involved parties is the next step.  Then, calling local police and notifying them of the accident should follow.

In the event that any parties find themselves injured as a result of the crash, contacting medical personnel and providing aid if possible should be among the first tasks completed.

Once an initial assessment of the scene ends and all individuals are safe and accounted for, any vehicles involved in the accident should be removed from traffic.  This should take place only if safely moving the vehicles is possible.

If the accident occurs within an incorporated city or town, the driver must report the accident to the local police department.  For accidents that occur outside of incorporated cities and towns, drivers must report accidents to the nearest state police station or sheriff’s office.  In both scenarios, a driver must make a report “immediately, by the quickest means of communication.” 

Do I Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?

When determining whether or not to notify the police of a car accident, following Louisiana State Statutes serves as best practice.  Accidents involving injury, death, intoxicated drivers, hit-and-runs, or property damages totaling more than $500 must be reported to law enforcement immediately.

State statute section 32-398 also states that “the driver of any vehicle involved in a an accident resulting in injury or death to any person, or total property damage to an apparent extent of $100 or more must also send a written report of the accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections 24 hours after the crash.” 

If an individual fails to report a car accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections within 24 hours, they face a fine of up to $100 or imprisonment for up to 60 days, or both.

What Information Should I Report After a Car Accident?

In order for a thorough accounting of the incident to take place, the following items should be reported at minimum:

  • Names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of all driver involved
  • Any insurance information relevant to all drivers involved
  • Vehicle license plate numbers and registration numbers for any vehicles involved or damaged during the car accident.
  • Details surrounding the accident.  These items include weather conditions, road conditions, time, specific geographic location of accident, lighting conditions, and anything else that could have contributed to the cause of the accident.

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit Related To My Car Accident?

When considering filing a lawsuit related to a car accident, Louisiana places a one-year statute of limitations on any claim related to “injury or vehicle damage by driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist after a traffic accident.”

The timing mechanism for this statute of limitations begins on the date of the car accident.

Claims filed outside of this timeframe run the risk of a procedural dismissal.

Should I Take Photos of the Car Accident?

When filing a claim with insurance, the incident documentation plays a key role in how to report a car accident.  Police reports will contain a great deal of detail regarding the car accident. As much factual information provided to the insurance company will bolster your claim.  Scene photos, vehicle pictures, and surrounding street signs also provide additional context when determining the insurance claim validity.

Giving the insurance company or agent as much detail as possible can influence the determination of compensation.  Weather conditions, the other driver’s demeanor, and surrounding traffic signals/signs paint a clear picture for insurance companies.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

The State of Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance.  Those coverage minimums include:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, and
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.

These amounts for coverage are used to pay for bills related to medical treatment, damage to property, and any other associated costs to individuals involved or injured in a car accident.  The amount allocated to each party falls under the coverage limits.  Additional coverage protects against costs associated with serious injuries or damage

In the event that coverage limits do not pay for the associated bills, individuals at fault are personally responsible for remaining balances.  Any additional coverage helps offset these unwanted expenses. 

Liability coverage also covers family members or friends behind the wheel, as well as damage following rental car accidents.

The coverages listed above do not apply to the driver’s own damages or injuries.  Additional coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, serve the purposes of filling these gaps.  Collision coverage pays for repairs/replacements to damaged vehicles.  Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you have an accident with an individual without insurance.  This insurance coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents.   

Louisiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Louisiana imposes fines on drivers found driving without insurance.  These fines can run upwards of $1000.  Driving privilege suspensions also commonly take place.  In some cases, vehicle impounding, the registration revocation, and license plates cancellation occurs.

Louisiana also has a “No Pay, No Play” law that prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting damages following an accident.  These amounts include the first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injury damages.

Wondering How to Report a Car Accident?  Need Help With a Personal Injury Claim?

If you have been in a car accident and aren’t sure of where to turn, contact the Gordon & Gordon. Speak with us today for a free consultation.  Get a trusted attorney on your side, fighting for your rights. Fair compensation can ease the burden of dealing with insurance companies and get you back on track where you belong.  Call us today at (318) 716-HELP or contact us through our website.

rear-end settlement

Rear-end Settlement

If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, you are not alone.  Around 33% of all highway accidents are rear-end collisions. In Louisiana alone, more than 50,000 rear-end crashes occurred in 2019.  If you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident or want knowledge in case of an accident or potential rear-end settlement, here’s what to know.

How Do Rear-end Collisions Happen?

Careless or inattentive drivers commonly result in rear-end collisions.  Many people fit this category, such as drunk drivers, drivers on cell phones, or individuals attempting to multitask while driving.

Rear-end collisions and accidents can happen suddenly and without warning.  The consequences are far-reaching and carry with them serious legal ramifications.

Am I Automatically At Fault If I Rear-End Someone?

Following existing legislation, a rear-ending driver carries the presumption of fault.  According to Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81, the driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to maintain a “reasonable and prudent” distance from the vehicle being followed.  The statute goes on to state that drivers must have “due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon.”  This means you shouldn’t drive at unnecessary speeds.  The condition of the road is also noted as a factor to consider.  

In basic terms, drivers should pay attention to the vehicles ahead of them. They also must leave proper amounts of distance for safely stopping without collisions.

Under the following conditions, a driver can avoid fault for a rear-end accident by being able to prove:

  1. The vehicle was being driven under control
  2. The lead vehicle was closely observed
  3. A safe distance for the circumstances was followed

Instances of drivers in rear-end accidents avoiding fault do occur.  These instances include drivers rear-ending someone after another driver crosses into the lane, leaving drivers nowhere to avoid a collision. Drivers may claim the leading vehicle stopped short, had no brake lights, or slowed down for no apparent reason. 

Another example of drivers avoiding fault for rear-end accidents comes from instances where another driver enters the highway unsafely.  This can occur when entering from a private path or the shoulder.  By appearing in front of someone suddenly and not allowing for maintenance of safe distance, the rear-ending driver escapes fault.

When Am I At Fault For A Rear-End Accident?

Following motorists generally bear the majority of blame for rear-end car accidents.  This rule finds its basis on the principle that the following motorist fails to responsibly maintain close watch of the preceding vehicle.  Another reason for fault occurs when the following driver fails to allow for sufficient space to stop.

Left-turning motorists involved in collisions occurring across the center-line receive the presumption of fault for accidents. The driver must offer evidence showing freedom from negligence to avoid liability. 

Left-turning motorists must make sure, before turning, that they can turn without danger.  They must also yield to oncoming traffic.  

In instances of motorists turning at intersections with green arrows, drivers can show freedom from negligence.  This happens by proving green arrow illumination at the time of the turn.

A motorist in an accident should never assume that they are at-fault for accidents without proper examination of the situation.

Auto insurers of tailing or left-turning motorists try to avoid paying for property damage and injuries.  They refuse to acknowledge or attempt to refute these well-established presumptions. 

Prior to dealing with insurance companies, communicate with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney for assistance.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

Louisiana requires the following :

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $25,000
  • Medical payments: The minimum legal requirement – $1,000
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

What are the typical injuries from a rear-end car accident? Do They Influence A Rear-end Settlement?

During a rear-end collision, injuries range from minor bruising and superficial cuts up to paralysis or even death.

Frequently neck and back injuries occur due to whiplash.  Whiplash typically occurs when a vehicle strikes an unmoving car from behind.  This causes the head to snap backward, then forward violently.  Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain and stiffness, and back pain.

Another common injury as a result of rear-end collisions comes with long-lasting effects.  Traumatic Brain Injuries can occur as a result of violent blows or jolts to the head.  Traumatic Brain Injuries can result in permanent brain damage and loss of many basic physical capabilities.

Considered perhaps the most identifiable injury associated with rear-end collisions — broken bones — can occur to any part of the body and often require intensive therapy for full recovery.

Only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose the injuries sustained in a vehicular collision.

Based on the extent of injuries, the settlement can grow quickly.

How Much Will a Rear-end Settlement Be?

While the amount for a rear-end settlement varies, the level of compensation depends on the scope and severity of the accident.  Factors influencing rear-end settlement amounts include:

  • Extent of serious injuries
  • The severity of the accident
  • Effects on the victim’s ability to work
  • The effects of injuries on family members
  • How quickly, if ever, the victim can heal from the injuries
  • Specialty medical care or treatments
  • Assignment of fault
  • If the victim had proper seat belt etiquette

Seasoned attorneys at Gordon & Gordon can work with you to assess the circumstances of the case and deliver an estimate of the potential worth of your case.

Need Help With Your Rear-End Settlement?  Contact Gordon & Gordon Today!

If you find yourself or someone you know in a situation where assistance with a rear-end settlement is needed, don’t hesitate to speak with the experienced team at Gordon & Gordon.  Call us today at (318) 716-HELP or leave us a message through our website to schedule your free case consultation.

how much can someone sue for a car accident

Can Someone Sue You For A Car Accident?

Each year, an estimated 37,000 people die in car accidents.  An additional 2.35 million sustain injuries.  While some accidents are truly unavoidable, a large number occur through another driver’s negligence, leading to personal injury claims.  In many instances, the question “Can someone sue you for a car accident?” arises.  The following information serves to help explain the processes associated with car accident lawsuits.

Being Sued for a Car Accident?: Personal Injury Victims

Regarding car accidents, people usually end up suing for negligence.  Negligence is often the basis of a personal injury claim. This means that a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care considering the specific circumstances occurred. This is typically what people need to determine when asking “can someone sue me for a car accident?”

For example, negligence means Driver 1 fails to use reasonable care, causing Driver 2 harm. Driver 2 can then file a lawsuit alleging Driver 1’s negligence. Examples of legal grounds for negligence include failure to comply with driving laws, texting while driving, and failure to keep a safe distance.

Insurance companies use many methods when determining the value of personal injury claims.  Basis for the amount of damages someone sues for is what the other party lost.  This includes monetary losses and emotional damages. Compensation for the medical bills provided, as well as lost wages, and possibly some amount of compensation for pain and suffering factor into the size of the claim.

 Pain and suffering refers to physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident.  It also includes the injuries caused by the car accident. “Pain and suffering” is a subjective term, leaving a great deal up to interpretation.  When the accident is minor, pain and suffering is especially difficult to prove.

What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?

The State of Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance.  Those coverage minimums include:

  • Bodily Injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $15,000
  • Total Bodily Injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $30,000
  • Property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $25,000

Medical treatment, damage to property, and other costs to individuals involved in accidents are paid for by these coverages.  The amount typically allocated to individuals falls within coverage limits.  In the event additional costs, additional coverage covers the balance.

If coverage limits do not pay the entirety of associated bills, at-fault individuals hold responsibility for remaining balances.  Any extra coverage helps offset these unwanted expenses. 

Liability coverage also covers family members or friends behind the wheel, as well as damage following rental car accidents.

The coverages listed above do not apply to the driver’s own damages or injuries.  Additional coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, serve the purposes of filling these gaps.  Collision coverage pays for repairs/replacements to damaged vehicles.  

Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you have an accident with an individual without insurance.  This insurance coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents.  

Keep in mind insurance coverage requirements when deciding how much to carry. 

Louisiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance in Louisiana comes with the imposing of fines.  Fines for driving without insurance can reach up to $1000.   Other penalties include the suspension of driving privileges and license plate cancellation..  It is not uncommon in some cases for vehicle impounding or registration revocation to occur.

A “No Pay, No Play” law  prohibits uninsured Louisiana drivers from collecting damages following an accident.  The first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injury damages fall into these amounts.

Can I Be Sued For A Car Accident If There Is No Injury?

You can be sued for a car accident even if there is no injury.  Claims filed can attempt to recover damages as result of property damage and emotional distress.

What Determines Fault For A Car Accident in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, each driver in an accident is responsible for the relative liability or percentage of fault.  This is known as a “pure comparative negligence” standard. 

Someone injured or dealing with property damage can still recover damages even if they were still partially at fault for the cause of the accident.  Your level of compensation is reduced by the amount or percentage of fault you are assigned.

For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages from an accident and the court determines that you were 40% at fault for the accident and the defendant was 60% liable, the defendant will be responsible for paying you $6,000 in damages.

Defendants can use pure comparative negligence standards for calculating damages as a defense argument. In cases dealing with accidents involving multiple defendants and vehicles, pure comparative negligence is especially relevant.

Can Someone Sue Me For A Car Accident If There Isn’t a Police Report?

The short answer is yes.  Someone can sue you without a completed and filed police report.  Ideally, police file a written account of the accident. The possibility of a situation where the police do not come to the scene always remains.  A lack of a police report isn’t a get out of jail free card, so to speak.  You may file a claim with or without an official police report.  

Keep in mind, police reports serve as official documentation of the incident.  Without one, the burden of proof weighs more heavily on the other information presented in the claim.

How Much Can Someone Sue For A Car Accident?

Louisiana does not place a limit on the amount of damages plaintiffs can recover from at-fault defendants following motor-vehicle accidents. Claims brought in small claims court are an exception to this.  Small claims court claims must fall below the $3,000 threshold.

Insurance providers for the at-fault parties will typically pay claims up to the limitations of the policies.  

Injured parties can file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties for recovery of any remaining damages. The amount of the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff’s fault percentage of causing or contributing to the accident. 

Generally, policy limits tend to dictate the amount that claims settle for.  Additional amounts rarely get assigned outside of the policy coverage.  Instances of additional damages usually only occur in cases with easily-liquidated assets in the defendant’s possession.

Despite this fact, it is probably in an individual’s best interest to ensure that they have some form of counsel when facing a personal injury claim.

What To Do if Someone Sues You For a Car Accident?

The benefits of consulting with a personal injury lawyer after your involvement in a car accident far outweigh the limited savings associated with self-representation.  A trained, experienced attorney can work with insurance companies and protect your interests as a client.  The seasoned team at Gordon & Gordon have the skills to handle these issues.  They also have a track record of delivering results for their clients when faced with legal uncertainty.

Involved In A Car Accident? Contact Gordon & Gordon, Personal Injury Attorneys

If you find yourself being sued as a result of a car accident, contact Gordon & Gordon today.  Our trained professionals will provide a free case consultation and help you determine the best course of action.  Protect your rights.  Call Gordon & Gordon at (318) 716-HELP or visit us at our website.

non-injury car accident

What To Do After A Non-injury Car Accident

Each year, an average of 6 million car accidents occur within the United States. Roughly 3 million of those accidents involve injuries.  Out of those 6 million accidents, 72% result in some form of property damage.  That’s almost 12,000 car accidents each day involving property damage.  With numbers that high, it can be surprising to find out that the process for handling a non-injury car accident is unclear.

What to do after a non-injury car accident

With this guide, you’ll have the ability to make sound decisions and take constructive courses of action should you ever find yourself in a non-injury car accident.

What is a non-injury car accident?

A non-injury car accident is an accident in which there are no physical injuries to either party involved.  There can still be property damage during an accident and still be considered “non-injury.”

What is the first thing I should do after a non-injury car accident?

After a car accident, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re putting yourself in an advantageous position.  The first thing you should do whenever involved in a car accident is check yourself and passengers for their condition.  Once you’ve assessed that, your next immediate goal should be to get to a safe area.  If the vehicle isn’t damaged and can operate safely, it should be moved to the side of the road.  

Should I call the police if my accident was minor?

Even with no damage or injury involved, attorneys recommend that you report an accident to the police.  This serves as an official report. It also bolsters the record of events in the likelihood the incident makes its way to courtroom proceedings.  

Under Louisiana law, if the accident results in any injury or damage to property in excess of $500, local law enforcement must be identified by the “quickest means of communication.”  Louisiana State Police must also be notified if the accident occurred on a state highway.

If the accident results in injury or damage to property in excess of $100, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections requires you to file a written report within 24 hours.

Where can I get a copy of the accident report?

You can search the Louisiana State Police website for a copy of the accident report.  In order to search for the crash report you must have the name of the driver involved in the crash (first and last name), parish that the crash occurred in, and crash date.

Are negligence and liability the same thing in car accidents?

Negligence is a legal theory used to define behavior considered careless or thoughtless in nature.  Injury or harm to another person may have occurred as a result of the negligent behavior.  An individual can be considered negligent because they failed to do something, such as yielding for a pedestrian, or because they did something that they should not, i.e. speeding or rolling past a stop sign.  Drivers are under the responsibility to exercise care and caution to prevent injury to others that they may encounter while driving.

Liability is the determination of what the responsible party “at fault” must owe in order to compensate the other party for their negligence.

Common causes of car accidents

Countless factors cause car accidents.  Some of the most common causes include:

Distracted driving

According to the American Automobile Association, upwards of 50% of motor vehicle crashes can be related to distracted driving.  Texting and cell phone usage is the primary concern in these instances.  In a recent study of 100 million cell phone users, up to 85% admitted to using their cell phone while driving.  Studies have also shown that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident by 400%.

Driving under the influence

Roughly one-third of all fatal car accidents in the United States happen as a result of someone driving while under the influence.  Even if someone isn’t considered over the legal limit, crashes are still frequent.  1,878 people were killed in 2018 in alcohol-related crashes where the drivers had lower alcohol levels (BACs .01-.07).

Speeding

Speeding, regardless of the reason, is a huge contributor to the total number of car accidents in the country.  This is not limited to driving faster than the posted speed limit, but also includes driving too fast for the weather or road conditions.

Bad Weather Conditions

Inclement Weather has a major effect on traffic patterns and the ability for many people to effectively operate their vehicle.  

Fatigue

Whenever a driver is tired, their ability to remain alert and practice safe driving techniques is hindered.  

Aggressive driving

Aggressive driving plays a contributing factor in over half of all car accidents throughout the country.  The following items fall into the category considered “aggressive driving”:

  • Following improperly
  • Improper or erratic lane changing
  • Illegal driving on road shoulder, in ditch, or on sidewalk or median
  • Passing where prohibited
  • Failing to yield right of way
  • Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them
  • Failing to signal
  • Racing
  • Making an improper turn

Can I sue after a non-injury car accident?

Even if do not find yourself injured, you can still pursue compensation for damages and expenses related to a car accident.

What non-injury damages can I recover?

You can recover damages for car repairs or other expenses related to the car accident.

How much is a car accident settlement?

The typical settlement depends on the facts of the case and the degree to which the insurance companies and other negligent parties are willing to reach a settlement.  The proper representation determines the size and scope of any settlement you reach.

Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident?

In order to fully protect yourself and ensure you receive the amount of compensation, hiring a lawyer to assist you in your car accident case remains almost always worth it in the long run.  Attempting to navigate the legal process alone can add stress and confusion to what is by its very nature a disruptive and taxing experience.  A proven attorney can help ease that burden.

When should I call an attorney after an accident?

Once the necessary reporting to the insurance companies and authorities has taken place, contacting an attorney as soon as possible is a good idea.  Having a professional involved that is experienced in handling accident claims can prevent any unforeseen complications.

Benefits of hiring an non-injury car accident attorney

Hiring a trusted attorney can help you with your accident case in many ways.  Whether it is dealing with the insurance companies, proving the other parties’ liability, building a strong, evidence-based case, or appropriately valuing your claim, a lawyer can take a lot of the guesswork out of the experience for you and help you protect your rights.

Call Gordon and Gordon today

While a non-injury accident may seem like a minor disruption, there are possibile potholes that a qualified, experienced attorney can help you avoid.  Contact the offices of Gordon and Gordon today for a consultation and see how they can help you on the road to recovery. Call 318-617-HELP for a free consultation.

What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Do you know what to expect physically after a car accident?

Thousands of people sustain injuries every day in car accidents. Injuries in these accidents can span from minor to severe. Car accidents can even be deadly.

The adverse effects of these injuries aren’t always immediate, either. Sometimes, the victim of a crash won’t feel the extent of their injuries until much later. This means you may not realize exactly what you’re entitled to in a personal injury case.

In this post, our car accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will describe what to expect physically after a car accident. We’ll look at some of the most common symptoms of car accident injuries, and how they affect crash victims’ recovery. 

What Are Common Physical Symptoms of Car Crash Injuries?

In the wake of a car accident, there will be confusion and uncertainty. You may not feel all of your injuries in the moments after the crash. Below, we’ve listed a few symptoms of car crash injuries you may experience.

Here’s what to expect physically after a car accident:

Headaches

Headaches are a very common car accident injury. But they aren’t always immediate. You may feel fine right after the accident, then wake up the next morning with the worst headache of your life. It could even manifest several days later. 

A headache after a car accident may result from:

  • whiplash 
  • neck or shoulder tension
  • concussion
  • traumatic brain injury 
  • anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

While the headache itself can be annoying, it may also be a symptom of something more serious. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries, for instance, can cause long-term medical complications if untreated.

If you do experience a headache following a car accident, seek medical attention.

Neck, Shoulder, or Back Pain

Similar to headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain is very common after an accident. These pains can also occur immediately or several days later.

Causes of neck, shoulder, or back pain following a car accident can be:

  • stress
  • muscle tension
  • injury to the joints, tendons, or muscles
  • nerve or tissue damage 

What to Expect Physically After A Car Accident: Bruising 

Bruising is a result of damage to the blood vessels under your skin. You may not see bruising immediately following a crash; the blood may take time to reach the surface of your skin and become visible.

You may think of bruising as a pretty minor injury. Much of the time, it is. Most bruising will heal completely on its own. However, extensive bruising may indicate damage to the internal organs. See a doctor if you have bruising, tenderness, or discoloration that doesn’t improve. 

What to Expect Physically After A Car Accident: Numbness or Tingling

Nerve and tissue damage can cause numbness and tingling. The numbness and tingling will most likely occur in the neck, back, shoulder, or hands and feet. 

If you experience these symptoms after a car crash, you should seek medical attention.

Changes in Mood

In personal injury settlements after a car accident, physical injuries are typically the focus. However, car accidents can also cause emotional damage

You may notice increases in anxiety, depression, or mood swings. These can even indicate an underlying physical injury, such as a concussion.

Upset Stomach or Abdominal Pain

During a car accident, your seatbelt will pull very tightly across your body. This may cause bruising or other injuries to the stomach area. If you experience pain or nausea, tell your doctor so you can rule out conditions like internal bleeding.

What to Expect Physically After A Car Accident: Swelling 

Swelling is also very common after your body experiences trauma. 

You could experience swelling from tissue damage, pulled muscles, or sprains. When an area swells, it causes a lot of stiffness and pain. You can take care of most swelling at home by resting, icing, and elevating the area. 

However, you should still alert your doctor to any swelling. You may need long term treatment like physical therapy if the injury is severe.

Ringing in the Ears

Tinnitus is another name for this condition. It is a result of minor or major damage to your ear drums.

This kind of damage to the ear drums can result from loud noises, stress, or a concussion. 

Trouble Concentrating or Remembering 

During a car accident, you are at high risk for head injuries. These injuries, as well as the stress and trauma of the accident, can leave you feeling foggy or confused. 

This particular symptom can be subtle. But if you are having unusual trouble concentrating after a car accident, you should see a doctor. This may be a symptom of a more serious problem, like a traumatic brain injury. 

Blurry Vision or Dizziness

Many of the other symptoms we’ve talked about, like whiplash or PTSD, can cause blurred vision or dizziness. These symptoms could take anywhere from a day to a month to develop. If you experience these symptoms and they do not improve, seek medical attention. 

Why Do Some Car Accident Injuries Not Develop Immediately?

Now we know a little about what to expect physically after a car accident. Let’s talk about why some of those physical symptoms don’t manifest until later. There is a mental and a physical reason.

First, immediately after a car accident your mind is preoccupied with how to handle it. You worry about the damage to your car, the damage to the other person’s car, whether anyone is hurt, etc. You probably aren’t thinking too much about your own injuries.

Second, and most importantly, in a crash your body is flooded with adrenaline. This is a hormone that keeps the human body alert during a fight or flight situation. They also suppress pain. You may not feel any pain at all until your stress hormones are back in balance.

What to Expect Physically After A Car Accident: Recovery

The length of your recovery depends entirely on your accident and your injuries. Even if you know what to expect physically after a car accident, you may not know what to expect for recovery. Factors like your age, health status, and treatment may play a role.

Working with a car accident lawyer is helpful to many injury victims after a crash. If you were not at fault, dealing with the insurance companies and with your recovery can be stressful. Hiring a car accident lawyer soon after your accident allows you to focus on healing.

Call Gordon & Gordon

If you have questions about what to expect physically after a car accident, call Gordon & Gordon. If you or a loved one has experienced injuries after a car accident and you believe you were not at fault, we can help. Call us at 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website. 

being sued for car accident what can they take

Being Sued for Car Accident What Can They Take?

If you’re being sued in a car accident, you probably want to know if the other party will settle.

The short answer is: probably.

The long answer is a little more complicated. About 95% of personal injury cases settle before trial. The same is true for car accident lawsuits.

But why is this? Well, there are several reasons.

Our personal injury and car accident attorneys here at Gordon & Gordon are going to go over them all with you in this post. We’ll also talk about the difference between a car accident settlement and a judgment in court.

Being Sued in a Car Accident: What’s the Difference Between a Settlement and A Judgment?

Well, the most obvious difference is that one happens in court, and one happens outside of court.

But to understand why settlements are preferable in the majority of cases, it’s important to understand how the decision-making process is different in each case. 

So, say you’re being sued in a car accident. That makes you the defendant. 

The first thing that will happen is that the plaintiff’s attorneys will file a claim with your insurance. They will give your insurance company all the information they have: eyewitness testimony, police records, and medical records. They will give your insurance company all the evidence they have that their client sustained an injury and that your negligence and recklessness caused it. 

From there, your insurance company and the plaintiff’s attorneys will begin negotiations. If your insurance company believes the evidence is compelling, they will probably want to settle early. This is because if your case goes to trial, a judge will probably award a massive verdict to the plaintiff. 

If the evidence is weak or uncertain, your insurance company might return with a lower number. This will continue until the number satisfies both parties. If the two cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to trial.

Here’s where things can get sticky for one party or another. In a trial, a judge will decide the amount and also who gets it. Your insurance company and the plaintiff’s attorneys will present their evidence. Once the judge makes a decision, you can’t negotiate it or belatedly accept an earlier offer. So when you’re being sued in a car accident, settling is usually better all around. 

First, Insurance Companies Want to Settle

When you are being sued in a car accident, you probably won’t have to pay up. It will be your insurance company. And it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to settle a case quickly. They want to do this for a few reasons, which we’ll talk about farther down. 

An insurance company’s entire goal is to close a claim quickly. For this reason, your insurance company will push hard for a settlement. 

If you are the plaintiff in a case, a settlement is probably in your best interest. But make sure you consult your attorney before you accept any settlement offer.  

Attorneys and Insurers Want to Avoid the Unpredictability of a Trial

This applies most to an insurance company, but the plaintiff’s attorney will probably want to avoid a trial as well. 

Anything can happen in a trial. To avoid an unexpected result and to reduce their own risks, both plaintiffs and defendants will look to settle a lawsuit. 

Even if neither party gets exactly what they want, there’s a degree of certainty with a settlement. The plaintiff can avoid getting nothing, and the defendant can avoid a massive verdict for the plaintiff. Both of these things can happen in trials, and there is no mitigating it or negotiating it. 

Plaintiffs Want Payment Quickly

The plaintiff in a car accident suit wants to get their payment as quickly as possible. After all, money now is worth more than money later.

Additionally, plaintiffs probably have expenses. These include medical bills and lost wages. The longer it takes a case to resolve, the deeper in debt the plaintiff may get. 

It is always better to settle because when an insurance company agrees to an amount, they will pay it out quickly. If you receive a judgment in court, there is no guarantee of collection. 

This is because if the amount the judge awards you exceeds the defendant’s liability policy, the defendant is responsible for the overage. There is no guarantee the defendant can pay this out-of-pocket. The best way to get paid quickly is to settle. 

When You’re Being Sued in a Car Accident, Everyone Wants to Save Money on Litigation

Litigation is expensive. When a case drags on for years and years, the costs start to pile up. There are depositions to attend, and expert witnesses to hire. 

The price tag can easily reach five figures before trial and will double just for the trial itself. Both sides will incur these costs and would probably like to avoid as many of them as possible. Settlement early accomplishes this.

Achieving Closure After Being Sued in A Car Accident

Plaintiffs want to move on from their injury. When you’re being sued in a car accident, you want to get on with your life. Insurance companies want to close claims. Settling a case achieves closure more quickly than going to trial.

Being Sued in a Car Accident? Contact Gordon & Gordon

If you or a loved one is being sued in a car accident, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website. 

reasons for auto collisions in shreveport

Common Cause of Collisions in Shreveport 

Do you know the most common cause of collisions in Shreveport? 

Road accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they occur for a combination of reasons. Drivers can become distracted behind the wheel. Drivers can get tired after long drives, or the weather can limit visibility. Roads can be unsafe. Some collisions are more severe than others, but nearly all collisions will result in either property damage or injuries of some kind. After a collision, some drivers may find it difficult to get the compensation they deserve.

In this post, the personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will list the five most common causes of collisions in Shreveport, Louisiana, counting down to the most common cause of collisions. We will also discuss how each of these causes of collisions factors into car accident fault, and other factors of a personal injury case.

Rain is Common Cause of Collision in Shreveport

Nobody likes to drive in the rain, but here in Louisiana, it’s an inevitability. 

Rain is a highly common cause of collisions in Shreveport. It’s easy to see why: when the road becomes overly wet, the tires on your car can’t grip the road as well. Vehicles may slip and slide on the road. Decreased control of your vehicle means an increased likelihood of an accident.

If your tires are low on air or if the tread is not deep enough, you have even less control over your car in rainy conditions.

In addition, as we said, nobody likes to drive in the rain. In a particularly heavy rainstorm, an inexperienced driver might panic. When rainy weather causes a collision, police and the courts will usually determine fault on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes in situations like these, there is no fault, and then it will be up to your own insurance to compensate you. The best way to avoid this situation is to be very aware of your surroundings when it is raining.

Reckless Driving Causes Shreveport Collisions

Unfortunately, reckless driving is a very common cause of collisions in Shreveport. When someone on the road is swerving, ignoring road signs, or speeding, collisions and injuries are likely. 

Reckless driving can occur in combination with intoxication. Or it can simply be a motorist more concerned with getting to their destination than safety. If you sustain an injury in a car accident due to another’s reckless driving, the fault is relatively easy to determine. In most cases, the opposing party’s insurance will compensate you for injuries. In cases that require negotiation with this other party’s insurance, it is absolutely necessary that you have an attorney to represent you.

Drunk Driving Causes Major Accidents

Even though drunk driving is often simply the cause of reckless driving, it is such a common cause of collisions that it deserves its own mention.

When people drive after drinking alcohol, they compromise their response times and ability to focus on the road. 

All 50 states have laws regarding drunk driving. All of these laws note a .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. Once a person reaches this limit, they are driving under the influence of alcohol. 

For many motorists, alcohol can affect their driving even before they reach this .08 limit. These collisions are very preventable; if you have been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. 

Drunk driving is a clear violation of the law. If you sustain an injury due to someone driving under the influence of alcohol, they are most likely liable for your injuries. 

Speeding is the Second Most Common Cause of Shreveport Collisions

Speeding is the second most common cause of collisions in Shreveport. Since these accidents usually occur at high speeds, there is also a possibility of serious injuries. 

Driving above the speed limit may not seem like a big deal. Everyone does it, right? But remember that driving above the speed limit is illegal. When you speed, you are breaking the law. 

Also, speed limits exist for a reason. The set speed limit is the fastest you can travel on the road in question without becoming dangerous to other drivers. When you drive above that speed limit, you are more likely to lose control of your car. The time it will take you to stop to avoid obstacles will also increase. Thus, even small increases in speed can increase your likelihood of a crash. 

The Most Common Cause of Collisions in Shreveport is Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the most common cause of collisions in Shreveport and all over the country. Since the growing popularity of cell phones and now, text messaging, distracted driving causes more collisions than speeding, drunk driving, and other major causes of accidents. 

There are many reasons drivers can become distracted behind the wheel. Using a smartphone while driving, eating, and drinking from a cup or mug are the most common causes of distracted driving. 

It can be difficult to prove when someone caused a collision due to distracted driving. Usually, it requires eyewitness testimony or some proof that the other party was driving erratically due to distraction. 

What Should I Do After A Car Accident in Shreveport?

It’s important to know what you should do after a car accident so you don’t make your situation worse.

First, make sure you stay on the scene of the accident. Otherwise, police could charge you with a hit and run, even if you aren’t technically at fault. 

If you haven’t sustained any injuries and the other party is also unscathed, you should exchange insurance information. Key pieces of information are:

  • Contact information of the other driver
  • Any witness information
  • The other vehicle’s make, model and license plate number
  • Photos of the damage to both cars
  • The name of the other driver’s insurance company 
  • Location or address of the accident 
  • The police officer’s name and badge number (if the police arrive on the scene)

If there are extensive damages to your car or if you sustained serious personal injuries, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even if the process isn’t particularly contentious, an attorney can help you speed up the proceedings and make sure that you get all the compensation you deserve.

Contact Gordon & Gordon

For more information about the most common cause of collisions in Shreveport, or for more information about personal injury and car accidents, contact the Gordon & Gordon Law Firm. You can call us 24/7 at 318.716.HELP, or leave us a message on our website!

im at fault in a car accident

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident?

What happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?  When you’re in a car accident, who is at fault is one of the first questions the police try to answer. It’s also one of the first questions we ask ourselves: what if I’m at fault in a car accident? Fault isn’t always immediately evident. When cars collide while merging, for example, or for a collision that happens in a parking lot, fault is difficult to determine.  At Gordon & Gordon, we know that the time following a car accident is fraught with worry, especially if you believe you were at fault. But what exactly does being at fault mean? Well, that depends entirely on your insurance and the circumstances of your accident. In this post, our attorneys will give you an in-depth guide on determining fault, what it means for you, and answer the question: what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?

How Do You Determine Fault in a Car Accident?

Louisiana is what is known as a “tort state”. This means that one driver or the other will be at fault in an accident, and their insurance will be responsible for the other driver’s damages.  Insurance adjusters determine who was at fault in the accident. These insurance companies will gather information about the wreck and the events surrounding it, look at witness statements, and, based on their findings, decide which insurance company will have to pay up. Sometimes it’s cut-and-dry: for instance, in Louisiana, if you rear-end someone you are automatically at fault. Insurance companies can use police-issued citations as evidence of fault as well.  Other times, your insurance may determine you are “partially at fault” and agree to some percentage of the damages. For instance, if you are merging onto the interstate while another driver is exiting and you collide, you may both be at fault. Your insurance company can agree to 70% of the damages while the other driver’s insurance covers the remaining 30%. This is often what happens in multi-car accidents where fault is impossible to determine. Determining fault is unique for every car accident. If you are at fault, the amount of money your insurance pays depends on the policy you have.  

Liability in Car Accidents

So you were at fault in a car accident. Maybe you were distracted by your phone, maybe you were just unlucky. Either way, since Louisiana is a tort state, you and your insurance company are now liable for any damages.

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Vehicle Damages

When you’re at fault for a car accident, the other driver may submit a claim to their insurance company for damages to their car. Though their insurance company will cover these damages, they will then look to your insurance company for reimbursement.  The most likely outcome is, again, that your insurance premiums will go up when your policy renews. 

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Crash Injuries

If you are at fault in a car accident in which someone was injured, you and your insurance may be liable to pay them even more damages. You can be responsible for their medical bills or lost wages during recovery, for instance.  However, for a routine insurance claim, they cannot ask for more than your policy covers, or your insurance adjuster will simply not reply. It doesn’t matter how much their claim is theoretically worth. Even if their damages total more than $200,000 if your liability insurance only covers $100,000, they can only get $100,000 out of your insurance. In order to get more money out of you, the other driver will have to bring a personal injury lawsuit.  

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident: Personal Injury Lawsuit 

When people wonder “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?” this is the worst-case scenario. This is the case even in no-fault states, where the law allows those who have been injured in a crash to bring personal injury lawsuits against at-fault drivers. If you are involved in a collision in which someone was injured, you become vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit, no matter your location or the circumstances. At that point, you need legal counsel.  Car insurance companies will happily sell you as much liability insurance as you can stomach to protect you from this type of claim. However, unless you can afford an astronomical amount of liability coverage, your policy will not cover a catastrophic injury claim. For example, if you have $150,000 of liability insurance and you are sued for $500,000 in a personal injury lawsuit, you are personally liable for that $350,000 if you lose. In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, the injured driver must prove that their injuries were a direct result of their collision with you. They must also prove that the collision was a direct result of your negligence. In this situation, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. They can help negotiate damages to a reasonable amount between you and the other driver. However, hiring legal counsel when you are already faced with a lawsuit. If you are in a serious car accident, it is always advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible; if you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side from the beginning, they can help guide you through the insurance and legal process more easily than you would be able to navigate it on your own. 

What Happens If I’m At Fault In A Car Accident? Call Gordon & Gordon!

If you or a loved one is currently involved in the fallout of an accident, and you’re wondering “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?” contact Gordon & Gordon. Our personal injury attorneys have been helping the people of Shreveport-Bossier for decades, and we can help you too.  Give us a call at 318.716.HELP, or send us a message about your case. You can make an appointment for a consultation at any of our convenient locations in Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield. Don’t just sit around wondering “what happens if I’m at fault in a car accident?”; call Gordon & Gordon for compassionate legal counsel and peace of mind.   
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