Car Accident FAQsGet Help Now
Sometimes, accident victims need simple answers to common questions. Here, the lawyers at the NBA Law Firm share their thoughts on many relevant accident topics to help you understand and protect your rights in Louisiana. These informative answers can help you learn more about what to expect and how best to move forward after an accident. Don’t see your question here? Fill out our online contact form to hear back from a member of our team who can address your unique needs.
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How can I use traffic camera footage to support my personal injury claim?
Proving liability is a vital part in establishing your personal injury claim for injuries related to an auto accident. In cases where it's not immediately obvious who is at fault, video footage can become valuable evidence.
Using Traffic Camera Footage to Help Your Case
The law enforcement officer who fills out your initial accident report is not required to provide you with a listing of nearby traffic cameras, so learning about sources of footage will require a bit of personal detective work.
The availability of traffic camera footage for your personal injury claim depends on where you were when the accident occurred. If you were on a highway or heavily trafficked thoroughfare, you have a much better chance of finding footage from a nearby camera. You can travel back to the scene of the accident to look for signs of cameras that may have captured the event, but do not confuse traffic cameras with road safety cameras. These devices are intended to enforce specific rules of the road such as obeying speed limits, stopping at a red light, and paying road tolls. They only take still photos when a violation occurs and do not record continuous video footage.
Another factor to consider when determining if traffic camera footage will be helpful evidence in your personal injury claim is how long it has been since the accident occurred. When it comes to accessing footage, time is of the essence. In many cases, footage is only kept for 30 days or less due to storage limitations.
Alternatives to Traffic Camera Video
Traffic camera footage is certainly helpful, but it's not the only source of footage that may be available. Other options to consider include:
Business Surveillance Video
If your accident occurred near a restaurant, gas station, or retail store, the business's surveillance video may have captured the event.
Home Surveillance Video
Homeowners who are concerned about theft often incorporate video surveillance into their security systems. These cameras may have captured your accident in a residential neighborhood.
Bus Camera Footage
In some cases, school buses and public transit buses are equipped with cameras as a safety precaution. If you were traveling near the bus when the accident occurred, it could have been caught on tape.
Private Dash Cam Footage
Dash cams are most often associated with police cars, but a surprising number of private citizens have these cameras in their vehicles. If there are witnesses to your accident, it's worth asking if they have dash cams installed in their cars.
Although you may get lucky and be able to obtain footage of your accident with a polite request, you will most likely need an attorney's assistance to access the footage. Government-owned traffic camera footage is generally not available without a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and/or subpoena. Businesses also tend to have strict regulations that limit who they will provide their security footage to.
Obtaining Footage as a Partially at-Fault Driver
Louisiana law allows you to receive personal injury compensation for accident-related injuries if you are a partially at-fault driver, but your settlement is proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. However, since there is no set formula used to determine percentage of fault, it may still be worth the effort of obtaining footage if you believe you are partially at fault for the accident. Your memories of the event may be incorrect, or your attorney may be able to use the footage to increase your compensation by negotiating a lower percentage of fault.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
If there is no relevant video footage of your accident, don’t assume you don’t have a viable personal injury claim. Many different types of evidence can be used to establish liability, including witness testimony, vehicle damage reports, law enforcement accident reports, and testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
The experienced legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to protecting the rights of Louisiana residents who've suffered serious car accident injuries. Our attorneys can gather evidence to prove liability, document your applicable damages, and negotiate with the other driver's insurance company on your behalf. This will maximize your compensation for accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188 to learn more.
Why does my lawyer need my personal information?
During an initial consultation, a lawyer will ask about the basic details related to your case. This includes when the accident happened, what injuries you suffered, and how your injuries are affecting your daily life.
Later in the process, he will likely ask for some information that is of a more personal nature. These questions might seem intrusive or irrelevant, but they are a necessary part of building a strong personal injury claim.
Personal Information Your Lawyer Needs to Know
Your lawyer will ask about a number of issues that might seem embarrassing, but it's vital that you tell the truth. He may ask:
- About your medical history. Your previous medical history is relevant because your lawyer must be able to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident and not the result of some other factor.
- About any criminal record. A past criminal history may be used to argue that you are untrustworthy and, thus, either lying or exaggerating about your injuries.
- About any drug or alcohol abuse. Substance abuse issues are part of your medical history and can also be used to attack your character.
- About any financial problems. It's understandable to have some financial issues if an injury has affected your ability to work, but being deeply in debt before the accident might cause the insurer to argue you're being dishonest in hopes of a hefty settlement.
- Divorce. A recent divorce or impending marital separation is significant because an angry spouse may provide testimony that casts you in an unfavorable light.
It's becoming quite common for insurers to use private investigators or check social media for information that can be used to help them avoid paying a claim. As much as you may want to protect your privacy, sensitive personal information will come out eventually. Being honest upfront gives your lawyer the best chance for damage control.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents take legal action after suffering injuries caused by another person's negligence. Our personal injury lawyers will advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your case, protecting your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.
Can a personal injury claim include compensation for disfigurement?
Disfigurement from a car accident is a life-changing reminder of the trauma you've suffered. If your injuries are the result of another person's negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Disfigurement Can Occur
There are a number of ways individuals can develop disfiguring injuries from a car accident. These include:
- Deep lacerations
- Amputation of a limb
- Surgical procedures needed to treat other accident injuries such as organ damage
Disfigurement can occur on any part of the body. However, facial disfigurement is considered the most serious because this type of injury can't easily be concealed.
Medical Expenses Associated With Disfigurement
Some of the medical expenses you might have after suffering disfiguring injuries in a car accident include:
- Emergency room care
- Diagnostic tests
- Follow-up visits
- Cosmetic surgery
- Physical therapy for burn scars that have affected movement
- Prosthetics for amputated limbs
- Medications prescribed by your doctor such as creams or ointments to reduce the itching and swelling as scars heal
- Mental health counseling
Keeping copies of all invoices and bills related to your treatment can make sure you're properly compensated for these expenses.
Disfigurement and Employment
Someone who has suffered disfiguring injuries in a car accident can expect a lengthy recovery process. This will likely involve taking time off work for doctor's appointments, surgery, and healing. All time missed from work due to your accident-related injuries can be included in your settlement.
Disfigurement isn't something you'd normally expect to factor into your future earning potential, but it may be a factor if you're employed in a position that relies on maintaining a specific appearance. For example, models, actresses, news anchors, and entertainers must often meet specific physical requirements to succeed in their professions. However, even less prestigious positions that involve a great deal of public contact could be affected by disfigurement.
If you believe your injuries will affect your ability to earn a living in the future, your attorney can find an expert witness to estimate the appropriate compensation. Vocational experts can testify as to what types of positions would be available given your skills, education, and the local labor market, while economic loss experts can testify as to the value of lost wages and employer-provided benefits over time.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering in a personal injury claim refers to both physical pain and emotional trauma. In a case involving disfiguring injuries, it's common for victims to experience depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health symptoms as the result of how their appearance has permanently changed. Teenagers and young adults may be especially vulnerable to mental health complications related to disfigurement, since this is the time when self-esteem and a sense of self are being formed.
If you are seeing a therapist as the result of the accident, she can provide insight into the pain and suffering you have experienced. You should also keep a journal documenting your feelings and how your injuries have affected your everyday life. These observations often prove valuable as a negotiating tool.
Taking photos of your injuries as they heal over time can also be useful as supporting evidence for your case. Since it can take many months to reach a settlement in a personal injury claim, it can be difficult for the court to imagine what your injuries looked like immediately after the accident.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court, but it's still in your best interest to retain an attorney. The at-fault driver's insurance company will have a team of attorneys working to protect its financial interests and will be reluctant to provide the compensation you deserve.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience advocating for injured Louisiana residents throughout the process of resolving a car accident personal injury claim. To learn more, please contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 for a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
Are there any exceptions to the usual statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Louisiana?
Although statute of limitations laws often provide firm deadlines for taking legal action, there are a few exceptions that will allow you extra time to pursue your Louisiana personal injury claim.
About Statute of Limitations Laws
Statute of limitations laws affect how long you have to file a personal injury claim. Each state has slightly different laws, but all are designed to ensure that cases are filed and resolved in a timely fashion. Since evidence becomes more difficult to locate as time passes, statute of limitations laws protect people from the threat of legal action when they're no longer able to defend themselves.
Louisiana's statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to car accidents, dog bites, slip and fall claims, and other accidents caused by another party's negligence is one year. The deadline for a wrongful death claim, which is a type of personal injury case where someone dies due to the negligence of another party, is also one year.
If you miss this deadline and try to take your case to court, the defendant can request that the claim be dismissed. Unless your case falls into one of the categories containing a special exception, the court will likely grant the request.
Exceptions for Cases Involving Children
When a child is injured in an accident, the statute of limitations doesn't begin until the child turns 18. This means, the claim can be filed until one year after the child's eighteenth birthday, regardless of how old he was at the time of the accident.
Exceptions for Cases Involving Multiple At-Fault Parties
Some types of personal injury claims such as multi-car pile ups involve more than one party who is at fault. If a claim involves multiple defendants, you must sue one party within the one-year statute of limitations. However, you can successfully sue a second party outside of the year deadline if it is determined that both defendants are liable together.
Exceptions for the Discovery Rule
If an accident is caused by a defective product, such as a poorly constructed vehicle component, the statute of limitations clock doesn't begin until it's determined that the information regarding the true cause of the injury should be reasonably discoverable.
The discovery rule can also apply in cases where someone simply does not know an injury-causing event has occurred. For example, someone who suffers respiratory distress or organ damage due to exposure to a hazardous chemical might not immediately know that he’s been exposed to something dangerous. In this case, the one-year statute of limitations doesn't begin until the cause of the person's injuries has been established.
Wrongful death cases where there are no witnesses and a conclusive cause of death can't be established might also fall under the discovery rule. However, you must consult an attorney to be certain of the deadline for filing your claim.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A personal injury case can include the following types of compensation:
- Medical expenses, including immediate medical care as well as anticipated future medical care if you've been left with a lasting disability
- Lost wages, including immediate time off work as well as the anticipated loss of future earning potential due to an accident-related disability
- Pain and suffering, including both physical discomfort and emotional trauma
- Funeral and burial costs for a wrongful death claim
- Loss of care and companionship of the deceased in a wrongful death claim
Your attorney can help you assess how much your case is worth, locate the necessary evidence to prove negligence, document your damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Since personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost for representation. Your attorney will accept a percentage of the final settlement you receive as the fee for legal services.
The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered harm due to the negligence of others receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Can I file a personal injury claim if I've been injured in a street racing accident?
Due to the high speeds involved, street racing accidents can cause devastating injuries to drivers, as well as to innocent bystanders. If you were harmed as the result of a street racing accident, you can seek personal injury compensation in addition to the criminal penalties the drivers will face for their actions.
Criminal Penalties for Street Racing
Street racing is defined in Louisiana RS 32:65 as "the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit."
Racing is a crime regardless of whether or not there are any injuries associated with the race. However, the penalty for racing is enhanced if someone is harmed. Serious bodily injury or death related to a race results in the following possible penalties:
- Fine of not less than $500 or more than $2,000
- Imprisonment for not less than one year or more than five years
- Both a fine and imprisonment
Serious bodily injury is defined as injuries involving unconsciousness; disfigurement; loss or impairment of the function of a limb, an organ, or mental faculty; or the substantial risk of death.
Manslaughter or murder charges are added to the standard penalty for street racing if the accident results in a fatality.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims Related to Street Racing
If you are harmed as a bystander in a street race, you can file a personal injury claim against the drivers involved in the accident. A personal injury claim is a type of civil action seeking financial compensation for damages relating to the incident. This includes:
- Medical expenses such as emergency room care, diagnostic tests, surgery, pain medication, and follow-up visits
- Anticipated future medical needs due to a permanent disability caused by the accident
- Lost wages from the time you were unable to work because of your injuries
- Anticipated loss of future earning potential due to a permanent disability caused by the accident
- Pain and suffering
If your loved one has died due to street racing injuries, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This is a type of personal injury claim alleging that a death was caused by another person's negligence. Compensation can include:
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering, if the deceased did not die immediately from his injuries
- Your loss of the deceased person's care and companionship
Punitive damages are not generally awarded in personal injury or wrongful death claims. However, they may be considered appropriate in a street racing case depending on the driver's past record and the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate for specific losses you have suffered. Their sole purpose is to punish the defendant in an attempt to discourage future bad behavior.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Cases
Your civil claim is a separate legal action from the criminal penalties associated with the race. However, evidence from the criminal case can be used to support your claim for negligence.
Another important difference between civil and criminal cases is that criminal charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil claims must only be proven by a preponderance of evidence. This means, it is more likely than not that the defendant is guilty. Due to the differences in standard of proof, it's possible for someone to be found not guilty of criminal charges but liable in a civil claim.
Protect your right to compensation by retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review with the legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault.
How can I seek compensation for nerve damage from a car accident?
If you've suffered nerve damage in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, Louisiana law gives you one year from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. Your settlement can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Compensation for Medical Expenses
Nerve damage from a car accident can be caused by whiplash, lacerations, or blunt force trauma. As a result, you may incur significant medical expenses.
- Diagnostic tests to identify the location and extent of the nerve damage
- Surgery and follow up care
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy to improve strength and mobility in the affected area
Medical expenses can be documented by keeping copies of all bills and invoices received from the hospital, as well as statements showing what benefits your insurance carrier paid on your behalf. When you settle your claim, the company will be entitled to reimbursement for any medical expenses that were determined to be the responsibility of the at-fault driver.
Compensation for Lost Wages and Loss of Future Earning Potential
Car accident victims are often forced to miss work for an extended period of time while they're recuperating from their injuries. They may also require time off to attend physical therapy or other medical appointments related to their injuries. All of the lost wages related to the car accident injury can be included in your personal injury settlement.
Depending upon the extent of your nerve damage and what occupation you held before the accident, this condition may affect your future earning potential. You might be unable to work at all, only capable of working part time, or working in a lower-paying profession.
Some of the ways in which nerve damage can affect your ability to earn a living include:
- Difficulty sitting or standing for extended periods of time
- Trouble walking long distances
- Impaired ability to bend or lift
- Touch sensitivity that makes it hard to complete tasks involving physical contact
- Trouble with fine motor skills
If you're unable to return to the job you held before your accident, you're entitled to claim a loss of future earning potential as part of your personal injury settlement. Testimony from a vocational expert can be used to establish how your nerve damage is likely to affect your earning potential, given your education, past work history, and the local job market.
Pain and Suffering Compensation
Nerve damage can cause pain in the affected area, greater sensitivity to cold or heat, and bothersome twitching or uncontrolled muscle movements.
Pain and suffering compensation reimburses you for these physical side effects, as well as the emotional challenges you may experience as the result of your nerve damage. Personal injury law recognizes that car accident injuries are often accompanied by anxiety, depression, and PTSD, especially when a victim has been left with a disabling injury that affects his or her ability to earn a living and enjoy hobbies or special interests.
Pain and suffering compensation is typically calculated by multiplying your economic damages by a number between one and five that represents the severity of your overall injuries. Keeping a journal that details how your nerve damage affects your daily life can provide valuable evidence for this portion of your claim.
How Fault Affects Your Settlement
If you were partially responsible for the accident that caused your nerve damage, you can still seek compensation in a personal injury claim. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault to reflect your financial responsibility for your injuries.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Even though most personal injury claims are eventually settled out of court, it would be a mistake to try to negotiate a settlement without representation. Insurance companies exist to make a profit, which may mean offering you a settlement less than you need to handle your accident-related expenses.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's dedicated legal team has extensive experience helping car accident victims resolve personal injury claims promptly and fairly. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
How can I seek compensation for scarring after a car accident?
Scars are permanent reminder of trauma associated with being involved in a car accident. If you've suffered scarring in an accident caused by another driver's negligence, Louisiana law allows you to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for accident-related expenses.
About Car Accident Scars
Scars from a car accident can be caused by:
- Shattered glass
- Debris from the vehicle or crash site
- Severely broken bones
- Surgical procedures needed to treat injuries, such as organ damage
Scarring can occur on any part of the body, although facial scars are often considered the most troublesome due to the effect they have on someone's appearance and self-esteem.
Scars after car accident can be grouped into three different categories:
- Keloid scars. These are thick, large, and possibly affect your mobility. They occur when the body continues to produce collagen after the wound has healed.
- Hypertrophic scars. These look similar to keloid scars, but don't go beyond the original site of injury.
- Contracture scars. These are most often associated with burn injuries after a car accident. With contracture scars, the scar goes deeper than the original injury and can thus affect the muscles and nerves below the surface. This makes the skin become tight and hard to move.
Scars do fade somewhat over time, but there are several options doctors can use to help improve the appearance of a car accident scar. Popular methods include surgical removal and steroid injections. Creams, ointments, and gels can be used to reduce itching and swelling.
If the scar remains after medical treatment, there are special cosmetics that can be used to conceal or minimize the appearance of the scar. Some people also choose to get tattoos that are designed to cover the scar while providing body art that boosts self-esteem.
Personal Injury Compensation for Scars
If your car accident was the result of another driver's negligence, you're entitled to compensation for accident-related expenses. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still file a personal injury claim. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Your settlement can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to treating the injury that caused the scar as well as promoting the healing of the scar
- Any future medical care that your doctor recommends to promote healing of the scar
- Counseling or therapy to deal with the emotional effects of your disfigurement
- Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or other mental health medication prescribed by your counselor or therapist
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work due to your injuries
- Loss of future earning potential if your scar causes limited mobility to the extent that you're no longer able to complete the work you performed previous to the accident
- Pain and suffering
Evidence to Support Your Personal Injury Claim
Many different types of evidence can be used to support your claim for personal injury compensation:
- Copies of medical bills relating to the treatment of your scar
- Documentation of lost wages from your employer
- Photos documenting the change in your scar's appearance over time
- A journal detailing how scarring and other injuries affected your life
- Testimony from your physician about your treatment needs and anticipated future medical care
- Testimony from your counselor or therapist about the mental health effects you've experienced due to your disfigurement
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Although it's true that the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, this doesn't mean foregoing legal compensation is a good idea. Insurance companies have experienced attorneys working to protect their financial interests, which typically means offering you a settlement that's less than what you truly deserve.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can advocate for your needs throughout the process of resolving your car accident personal injury claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Can I seek compensation for dental damages related to my car accident?
Dental injuries are often an overlooked part of a car accident personal injury claim, even though damage to the teeth can cause severe pain and difficulty eating or speaking. If you've suffered dental injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
How Dental Injuries Occur
In a car accident, dental injuries typically happen when the head or mouth is struck by or strikes an object or portion of the vehicle. This is called a direct injury. Indirect injuries can occur when the mouth closes abruptly and the force causes the teeth in the lower jaw to be crushed by the upper teeth. This is most common in a rear end collision.
- Fractured teeth. Depending on the severity of the facture, a broken tooth may have damage to the enamel, dentin, and pulp layers. Minor fractures can be fixed with cosmetic bonding, but more serious damage may require a root canal and extraction.
- Avulsed tooth. A tooth can be knocked out of the socket by the force of impact. An avulsed tooth can sometimes be saved but only if treatment is received promptly. Otherwise, veneers or implants will be needed.
- Tooth luxation. This injury occurs when a tooth is loosened but not knocked all the way out. With tooth luxation, the tooth can be wiggled forward, backward, and sideways. A dentist will need to inspect the mouth for additional damage and push the tooth back into position.
If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your mouth after a car accident, it's vital that you get a dental exam as soon as possible.
Types of Damages
A claim for dental injuries can include the following damages:
- The cost of dental care necessary to correct the problem
- Anticipated future dental expenses, since many dental bridges, dentures, and implants need to be replaced periodically
- Lost wages, if you had to take time off work to deal with your dental needs
- Pain and suffering
Due to the cost of anticipated future dental expenses, dental damage claims tend to be highest for younger people who will be expected to require more replacement work over the course of their lifetime.
An X-ray is the most common way to prove damages in this type of personal injury claim. X-rays can show the injury to your teeth and give an indication of what must be done to correct the problem. Comparing X-rays from after the accident with X-rays from a previous dental appointment can establish that your injuries are the result of the car accident and not a preexisting problem.
Taking extensive photos of your teeth before and after any corrective work is also recommended. Since the majority of your work will likely be completed before you reach a settlement, photos help the court visualize the full extent of your injuries.
Expert testimony is used in many types of personal injury claims involving ongoing medical expenses. If your dental injuries will result in the need for future replacement work, expert testimony can help accurately estimate this cost.
Cases Involving Partially at-Fault Drivers
If you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can still file a claim to seek compensation for your dental damages. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you were determined to be 25% at fault for the accident, you'll receive 75% of the amount you would have been entitled to if the other driver was 100% at fault.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
In any personal injury case, the best way to ensure your right to a fair settlement is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are focused on maintaining their profits, not providing you with the compensation you need to adequately pay for your dental damage. A skilled attorney can assess the worth of your case, line up the necessary evidence, and negotiate on your behalf for the highest possible settlement.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping injured Louisiana residents resolve their car accident personal injury claims. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
How are future medical costs calculated when a car accident leaves me permanently disabled?
Injuries suffered in a serious auto accident can create a significant financial burden, especially when you've been left with a disability that requires ongoing care. Obtaining an accurate estimate of future medical costs is essential to ensure a fair personal injury settlement.
Including Future Medical Expenses in a Settlement
Some examples of car accident injuries that may result in the need for ongoing medical care include:
Some of the various forms of medical costs you may need to consider include:
- Lab tests
- Follow-up visits
- Prescription medication
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Special medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, and prosthetics
- Need for home healthcare or placement in a nursing facility
- Transportation costs related to seeking medical care from specialists who may not live near you
- Modifications to the home environment for handicapped accessibility
- Need for counseling to deal with the emotional trauma associated with your injuries
Loss of future earning potential and pain and suffering compensation will also be higher in cases involving seriously disabling injuries. However, these categories of damages are calculated separately.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
A personal injury claim should only be settled after you've reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This is the point at which your condition has stabilized enough that your healthcare provider can make a reasonable prediction about your future medical needs.
The time necessary to reach MMI can vary, with some victims requiring a year or more to have their condition stabilize. However, it's important not to rush to a quick judgement. When you've suffered a serious injury, unforeseen complications can occur early in the healing process.
Calculating the Cost of Future Medical Care
The cost of medical care is increasing at a rapid rate, and for many middle-class families, healthcare costs are growing faster than wages. For this reason, anticipated future medical expenses should be estimated by several different experts. Some factors to be considered include:
- The extent of your injury
- Your future prognosis
- Treatment goals you've already established
- Your age
- Your general health before the accident
- Trends in healthcare inflation related to your geographic area and your specific injury
There are two general approaches to calculating future medical needs: total lifestyle and additional expenses. A total lifestyle approach looks at all related costs to maintain a quality of life that is near what you enjoyed before the accident, while an additional expenses approach is focused more on specific costs related to your injuries. A total lifestyle approach is used when the injury has affected your ability to live independently such as when you've suffered a serious brain injury or paralysis.
To support your claim for damages, you'll need testimony from healthcare providers experienced in the treatment of patients with injuries that are similar to yours, as well as life care planning experts who are experienced in calculating the cost of specific procedures given current inflation rates. A life care planning expert will estimate expenses in several different categories, then calculate a discount rate to bring the future trajectory of medical costs to the appropriate present value.
If you were partially at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. This is intended to reflect your own financial liability for your future medical costs.
Importance of Obtaining Legal Representation
When a personal injury claim involves injuries that will require ongoing medical care, it's important not to rush to a quick settlement. Once you've accepted a settlement, you're not allowed to ask for additional funds if your treatment needs turn out to be more expensive than you've expected.
An experienced personal injury attorney will conduct the research necessary to adequately assess the worth of your case, line up relevant expert testimony, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. This allows you to direct your attention to meeting the treatment goals outlined by your healthcare provider.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to advocating for the needs of Louisiana residents who've been left with permanent disabilities as the result of another driver's negligence. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
What Auto Insurance Is Required And What Is Optional?
Buying auto insurance can be a confusing and difficult process, especially if you are unfamiliar with the industry jargon that most insurance companies use. Imagine the surprise of a car accident victim who learns there is not enough insurance to recover from their injuries, medical bills or lost wages. Don't let this happen to you. Make sure you understand your automobile insurance policy. Here are some tips and tricks you should know when buying auto insurance or updating your current policy.
What Liability Auto Coverage Do You Need?
Bodily Injury Liability (BI)
- Required by law. (Minimum limits of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident in Louisiana.
- Covers other peopole's bodily injuries or death if you're at fault.
- Provides for a legal defense if someone files a lawsuit against you.
- Covers a judgment against you only up to the policy limits in a lawsuit.
- Does NOT cover injuries to you or other people on your policy.
Propery Damage Liability (PD)
- Covers damage you cause to someone's property, like their car, fence, house or other property damaged in an accident.
- Provides you legal defense if someone files a lawsuit against you.
What Physical Damage Coverage Do You Need?
- Covers your vehicle for incidents other than crashes, like theft, flood, fire, etc.
- Pays to fix your vehicle less your deductible. To keep premiums low, select the highest deductible you feel comfortable paying.
- This is not required by a law, but if you have a loan or a lease, the lienholder will require it.
- If your car is new or in excellent condition, you may need this. If your car is older or in poor condition, ou may not want to pay for this.
- Covers damage to your car if it hits, or is hit by, a vehicle or object.
- Pays to fix your vehicle less the deductible you choose.
- This is not required by law, but if you have a loan or a lease, the lienholder will require it.
- If your car is new or in excellent condition, you may need this. If your car is older or in poor condition, you may not want to pay for this.
Do I Need Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
- Optional, but should be seriously considered.
- Covers you, members of your household and passengers for injuries, damages, or death caused in a hit-and-run or by someone without insurance.
- Your policy will cover your medical expenses, up to the limit on your policy.
Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury
- Coverys you, members of your household and passengers for injuries, damages or death caused by someone with insufficient insurance.
- If you're in an accident caused by a person with insufficient insurance, our policy will pay the difference, up to the policy limit.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage can be combined or sold separately depending on the state and the insurance carrier.
In Louisiana, there is no distinction between uninsured and underinsured. UM coverage provides insurance for both uninsured and underinsured situations. Uninsured property damage insurance covers your auto when property damage is caused by someone without insurance. Underinsured motorist property damage insurance covers your vehicle when property damage is caused by someone with insufficient insurance.
What Other Type Of Auto Insurance Coverage Is Available?
Personal Injury Protection Coverage Or Automatic Medical Paymetns Coverage
- Covers medical, hospital and sometimes funeral expenses of the insured, passengers, and pedestrians who were struck without regard to fault, up to the policy limits.
- Pays for you or family members injured in another's car or while walking.
- Total payments covered by PIP/MedPay are the limits indicated. That is the maximum amount that will be paid per person for any combination of covered expenses.
If you've been involved in a car accident and discover the other driver has no insurance, or if you are underinsured and not able to pay your medical bills based on the negligence of others, you need to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 for your free consultation.