Answers to Our Frequently Asked Questions

When you are involved in an accident or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice or abuse, you may not even know the right questions to ask at first. Browse our collection of frequently asked questions to see what others have asked and read our answers to learn all you can about your case.

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  • What could go wrong if I try to handle my own car accident claim?

    If you’ve never needed a lawyer before, you may think you can handle your car accident claim on your own. However, this is one time when a DIY approach can be a costly mistake. Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer Neblett, Beard and Arsenault

    Common Mistakes Made in Car Accident Claims

    Even if your injuries are relatively minor and liability seems straightforward, there are a lot of unexpected obstacles to navigate in a car accident claim. Common mistakes people make when they forgo legal representation include:

    You could accidentally admit fault.

    Insurance adjusters are trained to pay as little as possible for each claim. The adjuster may ask misleading questions and twist your words to try and get you to admit fault for the accident.

    You might underestimate your injuries.

    It’s human nature to want to get better and back to normal as soon as possible. However, car accident injuries often heal more slowly than expected or lead to additional complications.

    Your past injuries could be used against you.

    Preexisting conditions don’t preclude you from seeking full car accident compensation, but it’s common for insurance adjusters to use them to claim your injuries weren’t actually caused by the car accident.

    You don’t have access to all the evidence you need.

    A personal injury attorney knows how to conduct a thorough investigation and gather expert witnesses to build a case.

    You might accept an offer that’s too low.

    What sounds like a lot of money at first might not be enough to fully compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney knows how to value your case based on your damages, available insurance coverage, and the strength of the evidence.

    Your Health Should Come First

    After a car accident, attending to your medical needs should be your top priority. When an experienced personal injury attorney is handling your case, you won’t be wasting valuable time trying to prepare paperwork and meeting court deadlines. You’ll be able to devote your full attention to your recovery.

    Hiring an Attorney Is More Affordable Than You Think

    If you’re worried about the cost of legal representation, you should know that personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. There is no upfront expense because your attorney is paid a percentage of the final settlement as the fee for service.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What are special damages in a car accident claim?

    The process of filing a car accident claim is often accompanied by terminology you may not be familiar with. If you hear an insurance adjuster or your attorney refer to special damages, they are talking about damages with an exact monetary value. Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer Neblett, Beard and Arsenault

    Types of Special Damages

    Common types of special damages in personal injury cases include:

    Medical expenses.

    These include emergency room care, diagnostic tests, surgery, hospital stays, medication, physical therapy, follow-up appointments, and other related healthcare costs associated with your injury. If you have a permanent disability caused by the accident, these expenses also include anticipated future care costs due to your condition.

    Lost wages.

    You are entitled to compensation for time missed from work, as well as the value of all employment benefits such as vacation time, 401(k) contributions, or health insurance that you may have lost due to the accident. Loss of future earning capacity should be included in your claim if you have been left with a permanent disability as the result of the accident.

    Property damage.

    This includes repair or replacement for your vehicle, as well as any valuable items that were also damaged in the crash such as your cell phone or laptop. The cost of a rental car would also be included in this category of damages.

    Special damages need to be thoroughly documented, so it’s important to save all paperwork related to your accident. Copies of hospital bills, pay stubs, and repair shop invoices will help you maximize your compensation. However, if you are seeking anticipated future damages for medical expenses or lost earning capacity, your attorney will need to find expert witnesses who can calculate these values on your behalf.

    If you are determined to be partially at fault for an accident, you can still seek compensation for all special damages you’ve incurred. However, your settlement will be proportionately reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your financial responsibility for accident-related expenses.

    Have You Been Injured in a Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Louisiana car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to compensation. Please contact us online, or call our Alexandria office to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What happens when an accident is caused by someone driving too fast for road conditions?

    Speed limits are set based on general road conditions, but drivers are expected to use good judgment and slow down as necessary. When someone is traveling too fast for road conditions, they can be found at fault for any accident that occurs. Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer Neblett, Beard and Arsenault

    Road Conditions That Require Caution

    A wide range of road conditions may require you to drive under the posted speed limit.

    Drivers may need to slow down for:

    • Heavy traffic
    • Unusual traffic patterns such as traffic from a funeral procession
    • Sharp curves
    • Road work areas
    • Uneven roads
    • Loose paving such as gravel
    • Poor visibility due to fog or mist
    • Wet roadways

    There is no firm guideline to help you determine how fast is too fast for given road conditions. You must consider the condition of your vehicle and whether you could stop in time to prevent an accident. At 70 miles per hour, your stopping distance is about 315 feet in a passenger car. At 60 miles per hour, the distance decreases to 240 feet. Slow down to 50 miles per hour, and you can stop in 174 feet.

    Determining Liability After an Accident

    After an accident occurs, law enforcement officers will evaluate the scene and interview witnesses to determine fault. Anyone who is driving too fast for road conditions can be cited under LA Rev Stat § 32:64, which states: “No person shall drive a vehicle on the highway within this state at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and potential hazards then existing, having due regard for the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and the condition of the weather, and in no event at a speed in excess of the maximum speeds established by this Chapter or regulation of the department made pursuant thereto.”

    Drivers who are at fault are responsible for the property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering incurred by others. If you are determined to be partially at fault for an accident, you can still seek compensation. However, your settlement will be proportionately reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your role in causing your damages.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Should I replace my child’s car seat after a crash?

    In most cases, a child’s car seat needs to be replaced after a crash—even if it doesn’t appear visibly damaged or the child wasn’t in the seat when the accident occurred. Child Injury Car Accident Lawyers

    When to Replace a Car Seat

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), your child’s car seat needs to be replaced unless the accident you were in meets all of the following criteria to be classified as a minor accident:

    • No one in the vehicle was injured in any way.
    • None of the airbags deployed.
    • You didn’t need your vehicle towed and were able to drive away from the scene of the crash without incident.
    • The door closest to the car seat was not damaged.
    • The accident caused no visible damage to the car seat such as cracks, creases, stress marks, or broken tether stitching.

    If your crash qualifies as a moderate or severe accident, the NHTSA states the car seat needs to be replaced even if your child wasn’t riding in it at the time of the crash. The force of impact can still compromise the structural integrity and effectiveness of the seat.

    Some car seat manufacturers use replacement guidelines that are more stringent than the NHTSA rules. If your owner’s manual states the seat should be replaced after any crash regardless of severity, you should purchase a new car seat to ensure your child remains properly protected.

    The cost of replacing a car seat can be included in your personal injury claim for the accident, along with any medical bills for you or your child, lost wages while you were unable to work due to your own injuries or child care responsibilities, and pain and suffering. However, there are special rules that must be followed for a child's personal injury settlement because children under 18 are not allowed to take legal action on their own behalf. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure the rights of both you and your child are protected.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • As an older driver, will I be automatically blamed for causing a car accident?

    Insurance companies exist to make a profit, which means they will try any trick available to avoid paying a claim. This includes suggesting that your age caused your car accident. To protect your right to full compensation for the damages you’ve suffered, you will want to seek assistance from a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Car Accident Lawyer Alexandria LA

    Age Is Nothing but a Number

    Statistically, drivers over 65 are 16% more likely to cause an accident than adult drivers age 25-64. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

    Making assumptions about age-related changes in reflexes, hearing, vision, and cognition is dangerous. While it’s true that some 65-year-olds are in poor health and can no longer live independently, many people continue to work full time, exercise regularly, and enjoy thriving social lives well into their 70s or 80s. Diet, exercise, genetics, and access to quality medical care all play huge roles in how aging affects a particular person.

    Insurance Adjusters Hate Paying for Severe Injuries

    While age doesn’t necessarily make someone an unsafe driver, getting older can make you more vulnerable to severe injuries when a crash does occur. For example, bones become more fragile with age. Half of women and one in four men over the age of 50 will experience at least one fractured bone.

    Fractures in older adults also take longer to heal, which means you’re more likely to require additional treatment than a younger driver with the same injury. If you’ve fractured a hip, the injury may even be severe enough that it limits your ability to live independently.

    How an Attorney Can Help

    An insurance adjuster should not assume that you’re at fault for an accident because of your age. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help protect your right to compensation after a traffic accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Your attorney can:

    • Limit access to your medical records to what’s relevant for your claim, so past doctor visits don’t cast doubt on your driving ability
    • Handle communication with the insurance company on your behalf, so your words aren’t unfairly misinterpreted
    • Maximize your compensation by fully documenting your damages—including any future costs you’ll incur as the result of your injuries

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • After my accident, what’s the first step in negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company?

    Car insurance companies exist to make a profit. As such, they’re not going to adequately compensate you for your damages without a fight. 

    What You Need to Know About Demand Letters               

    A demand letter is the first step in the negotiation process. This is a formal letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It should be well-written, persuasive, and clearly outline what you expect to receive. You need to:

    Alexandria LA Car Accident Lawyer
    • Provide a description of how the accident occurred
    • Explain why the driver is liable for the accident
    • Outline your injuries and other losses
    • State the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering

    Demand letters are often accompanied by supporting documentation, such as bills or invoices, that verify your damages.

    After your demand letter is received, your case is assigned to a claims adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to convince you to settle for substantially less than your original demand.

    Don’t Go Through This Process Alone

    There are templates for demand letters online, but you should think twice about trying to negotiate a settlement on your own. Insurance adjusters have extensive experience getting accident victims to make statements that minimize the severity of their damages or lead to denial of liability. To protect your rights, you need someone to advocate for your interests. A personal injury attorney can prepare your demand letter and negotiate on your behalf for the highest possible compensation.

    In cases involving severe injuries, it’s also possible that you’re underestimating your damages. You can’t ask for more money once the settlement is final, so it’s vital that you understand what your future medical needs will be and how your injuries will affect your earning potential. An experienced personal injury attorney can find medical and vocational experts to accurately estimate your future expenses, so you’re not left with an unfair financial burden.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What are my options if I was hurt in a car accident caused by an obstructed view?

    Car accidents caused by obstructed views are more common than you might expect. When trees, bushes, lampposts, fences, or signs block a driver’s vision and cause an accident, the person or organization in charge of maintaining the property where the accident occurred can be found partially at fault. Alexandria LA Car Accident Lawyer Neblett Beard and Arsenault

    Liability for Line of Sight Accidents

    In a car accident personal injury claim, typically the only parties involved are the drivers of the vehicles. However, in cases involving obstructed views, the people or organizations in charge of maintaining the area where the accident occurred can also share in liability.

    Like drivers, property owners have a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent others from becoming injured. This includes taking actions such as trimming overgrown trees or bushes, removing debris located near the roadway, and refraining from adding landscaping features that could block a driver’s vision.

    While it’s certainly possible that a property owner or occupant can be found liable for an accident involving an obstructed view, his liability is unlikely to totally excuse the drivers of the vehicles from fault. After looking at testimony from an accident reconstructionist, liability would likely be assigned in percentages to the driver or drivers involved and the property owner or occupant.

    Under Louisiana law, partially at-fault drivers can still collect compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as any associated property damage. Their recovery is simply reduced by their assigned percentage of fault to reflect their own role in causing the accident.

    How an Attorney Can Help

    Whenever liability is questioned, it’s vital that you have an experienced personal injury attorney who can represent your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. Your attorney can gather evidence, find credible expert witnesses, and negotiate with all of the insurance companies involved in the claim to maximize your financial recovery.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Will my personal injury claim cover chiropractic care?

    Medical expenses are legally required as damages in a personal injury claim. This includes chiropractic care. However, the insurer for the at-fault party may question if your chiropractic care is considered reasonable and necessary. Car Accident Lawyer Neblett, Beard & Arsenault

    How to Get Your Chiropractic Care Covered

    Alternative forms of medical care continue to grow in popularity, but treatment by non-physician medical professionals such as chiropractors is likely to be questioned as part of a personal injury claim. Medical science has yet to fully prove the efficacy of this type of care, which casts doubt on its necessity following a car accident. Also, since chiropractors specialize in treating soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, sprains, strains, and contusions, the severity of the injury itself may be called into question.

    To increase the odds of having your chiropractic care covered:

    See a doctor first

    It is a good idea to avoid making your chiropractor your sole care provider. Care provided by physicians, hospitals, or medical clinics is highly regarded by insurance companies as an indicator of your pain and suffering.

    Don’t delay treatment

    After any car accident, seeking prompt medical treatment is necessary to link your injuries to the event. If you wait several days or weeks to seek care, it becomes easier to argue that your pain is from an unrelated injury.

    Make sure your records are complete

    Records from your treating physicians should be as specific as possible. Vague and inconclusive records are most likely to create problems with the insurer. Records of chiropractic care should indicate your specific symptoms, the precise treatment provided, and the exact cost of each treatment.

    Be cautious of ongoing care

    It is not uncommon for chiropractic care to involve several appointments per week over the course of several months. However, the more costly the care, the more likely it is that the expense will be questioned. Even if your case goes to trial, you could be held responsible for a portion of the bill.

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What should I know about distracted driving laws in Louisiana?

    Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, Louisiana law lets you seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any associated property damage from the accident. In some cases, the driver may also be penalized for breaking the state’s distracted driving laws. Distracted driving laws Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer Neblett, Beard and Arsenault

    What Does the Law Say About Distracted Driving?

    Key points to remember about Louisiana’s distracted driving law include:

    • Drivers are not allowed to use their phones to read, write, or send text-based communication. This includes text messages and emails.
    • Accessing, reading, and posting to social media is not allowed.
    • You can’t use your phone to make calls in a school zone during posted school zone hours.
    • If you have a learner’s permit or intermediate license, cell phone use is prohibited at any time unless you are making a call using hands-free technology.

    First-time offenders can receive up to $500 in fines. A second or subsequent violation comes with a 60-day license suspension and up to $1,000 in fines. If the driver causes an accident, the fines are doubled. These fines are among the highest in the country.

    Violations of distracted driving laws are considered a primary offense. This means you can be cited even if you are not breaking other traffic laws.

    Are There Exceptions?

    As with many other laws, the Louisiana distracted driving law contains several noteworthy exceptions. Drivers are permitted to use their phones when:

    • Reporting a traffic accident, fire, or another emergency
    • Getting help because their safety is at risk
    • Reporting a crime
    • Using a phone is a necessary part of their job as a first responder
    • Being legally parked

    GPS and navigation system use is always permissible.

    What About Other Forms of Distracted Driving?

    Note that Louisiana’s distracted driving laws don’t cover a number of potentially unsafe distracted driving behaviors:

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • How common is drugged driving?

    Drugged driving poses a growing threat to drivers everywhere. The continued opioid epidemic, combined with the expansion of legislation allowing medical and/or recreational marijuana use, has led to large numbers of impaired drivers getting behind the wheel. One study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association found a 28% increase in drugged driving from 2006 to 2016.  The dangers of drugged driving Neblett, Beard and Arsenault

    How Drug Use Leads to Auto Accidents

    While everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, less attention has been paid to the hazards of driving while under the influence of drugs. Here’s a brief overview of how drug use can affect driving ability:

    • Marijuana slows reaction time and impairs the ability to judge speed and distance.
    • Opioids lead to drowsiness and impaired memory.
    • Benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
    • Methamphetamine and cocaine can cause aggressive and/or reckless behavior.
    • Mixing drugs or combining them with alcohol intensifies the effect of each substance.

    Some signs that a driver may be impaired include swerving, weaving, drifting off the road, driving without headlights, stopping without warning, and ignoring traffic signs or lights. However, it’s not always easy to realize that a driver is under the influence of drugs until an accident has occurred.

    Louisiana’s Drugged Driving Law

    Louisiana law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of any controlled substance. There is an implied consent law stating that any driver should be presumed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining intoxication or the presence of illegal drugs when the test is requested by a law enforcement officer.

    Drugged driving is a misdemeanor for the first and second offense and a felony for the third, fourth, and subsequent offenses. Mandatory minimum jail sentences apply if there is a child under 12 in the vehicle at the time of the driver’s arrest.

    Protecting Your Rights After an Accident

    If you’ve been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by an impaired driver, you’re entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Law enforcement reports, witness testimony, and photos or video of the accident scene can all be used to support a claim that the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident. However, since valuable evidence becomes harder to locate as time passes, it’s important to act quickly to protect your legal rights. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.