Knowing when to hire a car accident attorney in New Orleans can be difficult. Do you handle the insurance claim yourself, or do you get help from an attorney? Dealing with an insurance claim can be stressful and frustrating. To avoid stress, you may want to hire an attorney. However, there are other reasons why you may want to talk with a NOLA car accident lawyer before you talk to the insurance claims adjuster or accept a settlement offer.
Five Reasons to Hire a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
1. Avoid aggressive insurance company tactics.
The insurance company’s priority is to pay nothing for your claim or pay as little as possible to settle your claim. Your priority is to recover fair compensation for all damages. The insurance company uses various tactics to delay, deny, or undervalue a car accident claim.
A lawyer familiar with car accident claims understands these tactics, such as taking recorded statements and requesting complete medical histories and records. An attorney protects you from these tactics.
2. Investigates the collision.
Proving fault is essential for recovering compensation for a car accident claim. An attorney conducts a comprehensive investigation to discover how the accident occurred. The lawyer gathers evidence to prove who caused the collision.
Insurance companies try to blame accident victims for causing the crash to avoid paying a claim. In the alternative, they may allege the accident victim was partially at fault to decrease the amount of money they must pay under Louisiana’s comparative fault laws. An attorney builds a case to refute these claims.
3. Documenting damages.
In addition to proving the other driver caused the crash, you need to prove you sustained damages because of the accident. Linking the crash to your injuries is generally accomplished through your medical records. However, you must have evidence of other damages, including your financial losses, pain, and suffering.
Your lawyer works with you to gather evidence proving damages. Financial damages can be established through invoices, bills, receipts, and employment records. Pain and suffering damages are more difficult. Keeping a journal detailing your struggles and pain during recovery can be very beneficial in establishing the level of suffering caused by the car accident and your injuries.
4. Calculating the value of the claim.
Using the evidence gathered during the investigation, an attorney calculates the value of the damages. Typical damages in a car accident claim include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
- Personal care
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Scarring, disability, impairments, and disfigurements
- Loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life
There are no standard formulas for calculating noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages. An experienced attorney understands the value of these damages based on experience and knowledge from prior cases. Also, future damages related to permanent impairments can be difficult to estimate. An attorney may utilize various medical and financial experts to evaluate and calculate future damages.
5. Negotiating a fair settlement.
After calculating the value of your claim, your attorney negotiates a settlement with the insurance company. Negotiating a settlement can be a lengthy and challenging process.
In some cases, negotiations may fail. In those cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to protect your rights. Because your attorney has been working on your case from the beginning, your attorney is prepared to file a lawsuit, if necessary.
Contact a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information
If you have questions about a car accident claim, contact Attorney Fred Olinde at The Olinde Firm by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free consultation with a New Orleans car accident attorney.