Car Accident FAQs

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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 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.

    scarsAbout Car Accident Scars

    Scars from a car accident can be caused by:

    • Shattered glass
    • Debris from the vehicle or crash site
    • Severely broken bones
    • Burns
    • 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

    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.

     

  • 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.  Dental damage in a car accident

    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.

    Dental injuries are often accompanied by a concussion, whiplash, or other head and neck injury. Some examples of dental problems caused by a car accident may include:

    • 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.

    Proving Damages

    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.

    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 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. Calculating future medical expenses

    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:

    • Surgery
    • 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.

    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 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 Louisiana Car Insuranceyou 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?

    Comprehensive Coverage:

    • 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.

    Collision Coverage:

    • 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.

    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 happens if a defective GPS causes an accident?

    Relying too heavily on a Global Positioning System (GPS) device or smartphone app to provide directions can have a serious downside. GPS information may not always be accurate, which means you could be placing yourself or others at risk of a car accident. Car accidents caused by a GPS

    How Your GPS Can Lead To A Car Accident

    A GPS is a network of satellites that can calculate your location by transmitting signals to a receiver and using a process known as trilateration to determine where you are using at least three satellites in the network. The military has been using GPS technology since 1960, but GPS devices weren't available to the general public until 2000 and didn't become widespread until the last decade.

    GPS devices and navigation apps typically have disclaimers that indicate the data they provide may be imperfect. It is vital that drivers pay close attention to road signs and their surroundings to avoid an accident.

    Some examples of how a GPS can cause an accident with incorrect or outdated navigation information include:

    • Being instructed to turn the wrong way down a one-way road
    • Being instructed to drive off a demolished bridge
    • Being instructed to drive into a river
    • Being instructed to drive into a construction zone
    • Using a GPS as a pedestrian and being told to walk onto a highway

    It may seem that reasonable people would not follow directions that put them in peril, but many people have more confidence in a machine than in their own navigation skills. Others don't realize they've made a mistake until it's too late.

    GPS use can also cause accidents by contributing to distracted driving behavior. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that programming a GPS while driving is just as risky as texting while driving—which increases your crash risk by up to 23 times.

    Liability For Car Accidents Involving GPS

    The law is murky surrounding liability for car accidents involving a faulty GPS. The current legal system is based on the notion that drivers bear primary responsibility for crashes, but the widespread use of GPS is changing the standard of what counts as reasonable behavior on the part of a driver.

    In most cases, manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their product is safe and works as intended. However, claiming a specific duty on the part of the GPS mapmaker would open up the door to nearly unlimited liability. Additionally, there is some debate on whether GPS units constitute a product or service. If a GPS is a service, product liability law doesn't apply.

    Holding manufacturers liable for a faulty GPS can be difficult because it can be argued that disregarding the visual cues associated with the road in front of you is equivalent to a misuse of the product and, thus, voids the warranty.

    States such as Louisiana use a comparative fault system to determine responsibility for crashes. Many experts believe that this approach may become common in cases where faulty GPS data contributed to the accident. In a comparative fault scenario, the GPS manufacturer would be partially responsible for providing incorrect data, and the driver would be responsible for a percentage of the damages based on his inattention to his surroundings.

    Receiving Compensation For Your Injuries

    If you've been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses. Damages you can recover include:

    • Emergency medical care and any necessary follow-up appointments
    • Anticipated future medical costs, if you've been left permanently disabled
    • Lost wages from the time you were unable to work due to your injuries
    • Loss of future earning potential related to a permanent disability

    The best way to protect your right to compensation following a car accident is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help you determine who may be financially responsible for your injuries, accurately assess the value of your claim, gather evidence to support your case, line up applicable expert witnesses, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

    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.

     

  • Who pays for my car accident injuries?

    If you've been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the method of compensation may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Paying for car accident injuries

    At-Fault Driver's Automobile Insurance

    The at-fault driver should carry liability insurance to compensate you for your accident-related expenses. However, many Louisiana residents only carry the minimum coverage required by the state. This includes:

    • $15,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of a single person
    • $25,000 in insurance coverage for property damage, including damage to vehicles
    • $30,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of multiple people in a single auto accident

    As you might expect, serious car accident injuries can easily exceed these policy limits. If you've suffered burns, internal bleeding, or organ damage, your related expenses can be substantial.

    At-Fault Driver's Personal Assets

    If a driver has insufficient insurance coverage, you can attempt to collect damages by suing the driver personally. This option is most feasible when the at-fault driver has property, investments, or other assets that you can use as a source of funds for the settlement. However, unless the driver is extremely wealthy, you may end up waiting several years for your funds. Payments in these types of cases are most often made in installments.

    Your Own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    Your own insurance can be used to help bridge the gap between the driver's coverage and your actual damages. Louisiana law requires all drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage unless they’ve specifically waived this option in writing, so the vast majority of drivers within the state are covered.

    UM or UIM policies are typically issued at the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000. However, different limits can be requested.

    UM or UIM coverage applies to all vehicle occupants. This means, if you're injured as a passenger in someone else's vehicle, the driver's UM or UIM coverage can be used to pay for your injuries.

    Your Own MedPay Coverage

    MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, or PIP, is a type of auto insurance that can be used to pay for accident-related medical expenses regardless of fault. This includes emergency care, surgery, follow-up visits, medication, physical therapy, and other related costs. It alleviates the burden of being asked to pay for expenses out of pocket while a personal injury claim is still pending, since many people have health insurance plans with high deductibles or those that specifically exclude car accidents from coverage.

    If it's later determined that someone else is responsible for your expenses, your insurer will try to collect reimbursement for the benefits they've paid. The legal term for this is subrogation.

    Employer Liability

    Car accidents that occur while you're working are compensated under workers' compensation, regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident. However, accidents occurring during your commute or on your lunch break are generally not covered.

    Manufacturer Liability

    If an accident was caused by vehicle failure such as faulty brakes, airbags, or power steering, the manufacturer may be held liable for accident-related expenses. These types of cases rely heavily on experts to establish the true cause of the accident.

    Governmental Liability

    Governmental liability for auto accidents is rare but can be a factor if an accident is caused by poorly maintained roads. This would include potholes, missing signage, broken guardrails, uneven shoulders, or visual obstructions due to improper trimming of nearby trees or bushes. In these cases, the agency responsible for the roads may be liable for your expenses.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    Whenever you're having difficulty finding sources of compensation for accident-related expenses, retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney is highly recommended. Your attorney can gather documentation of your expenses, line up relevant expert testimony, and advise on the most feasible sources of funding for your settlement.

    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 do after an accident caused by a tailgating driver?

    Tailgating is often cited as a top factor in auto accidents, with experts estimating that as many as one-third of all car crashes involve tailgating as a contributing factor. Accidents caused by tailgating

    About Tailgating

    Following distances are a vital part of safe driving because stopping requires that you consider the combined effects of perception distance, reaction distance, and braking distance. The Louisiana DMV recommends using the "three second" rule to help you maintain a safe following distance. Choose an object in front of you such as a tree or road sign. When the vehicle in front of you passes this landmark, start counting seconds. If it takes less than three seconds for you to reach the same landmark, you're following too closely and should adjust your speed accordingly.

    Tailgating is the term most often used to described following another vehicle too closely. In a literal sense, a driver is riding the tail of the vehicle in front of him. Tailgating can occur for a number of different reasons but is often attributed to driver inexperience, impatience, or distraction. Tailgating is also linked to road rage and aggressive driving, since following too closely is seen as a way to intimidate or frighten other drivers.

    Injuries Associated With Tailgating Accidents

    Tailgating is extremely dangerous because a driver doesn't have adequate space to stop if the vehicle in front of him slows down or brakes suddenly. When a tailgating driver rear ends a vehicle, he is almost always determined to be at fault for the accident.

    Common injuries associated with tailgating accidents include:

    • Whiplash
    • Concussion
    • Facial cuts and lacerations
    • Seat-belt related injuries to the neck and chest
    • Sprains and strains
    • Back and spinal cord injuries

    Signs of injury may not be immediately obvious, due to the adrenaline rush the body receives after a trauma. Even if you feel fine after an accident, it is best to be evaluated by a medical professional as a precautionary measure.

    What to Do After an Accident

    Steps to take after an auto accident include:

    • Provide basic first aid for those who are injured, but don't move anyone who is unconscious or complaining of neck or back pain unless an immediate hazard requires intervention. Moving someone with these symptoms can inadvertently create more serious injuries.
    • Call the police for assistance, providing a description of your location as well as any injuries requiring medical care.
    • Exchange insurance information with the other driver and contact information with any witnesses.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene, if you have your cell phone or a camera handy. Make notes to help you remember key details.
    • Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

    One thing you should never do after an auto accident is speculate as to who is responsible. Even if you think you were speeding or somehow contributed to the accident, do not admit fault. It's best to simply stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police or your insurance company.

    How to Protect Your Legal Rights

    Filing a personal injury claim protects your right to compensation for accident-related expenses. These can include:

    • Medical care such as emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and follow-up appointments
    • Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident has left you permanently disabled
    • Lost wages while you were unable to work during your recovery period
    • Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled as the result of your injuries
    • Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma

    Since personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, there are no up-front costs associated with retaining legal representation.

    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.

     

  • Who is liable for injuries caused when a police chase leads to an accident?

    A police chase may be exciting to watch on television, but being an innocent bystander during a chase can be extremely frightening. If you've suffered injuries as the result of a chase, consulting an attorney is the best way to determine how to protect your right to compensation. When you're hurt in a police chase

    Potential Liability of Chased Suspect

    In most cases, the chased suspect is liable for a bystander's injuries because all drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. When a suspect is speeding, swerving, failing to stop at traffic lights, or engaged in other reckless behavior associated with a police chase, he's neglecting to fulfill this duty.

    However, a chased suspect's insurance policy is likely to fight any claim resulting from chase-related injuries. It's becoming more common for insurance policies to have language that specifically prohibits coverage for "damages caused by intentional and criminal acts." Even though Louisiana law generally favors protecting injured persons, this provision is considered acceptable because of a long-standing tradition of rulings "prohibiting persons from insuring themselves against their own intentional or criminal acts."

    When the insurance company refuses to pay for your car accident related expenses, you can attempt to collect from the driver's personal assets. However, a criminal suspect may not have any viable assets. In this case, you'd turn to your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as a last resort.

    Potential Liability of Police Officers

    Because of the unique nature of their jobs, police officers are given broad authority to carry out their duties. This grants them legal protections not afforded to an ordinary motorist.

    To reduce the risk of injury during a police chase, officers are required to undergo high-performance training that simulates various road and highway conditions encountered during a chase. This allows officers to master skills such as high-speed cornering or driving a car that's skidding out of control.

    Despite law enforcement’s authority and special training, an officer's conduct isn’t always justified. Before continuing on a chase, police officers are supposed to consider a number of factors and make an educated decision regarding the most responsible course of action:

    • Nature of the suspect's offense
    • If there are safer alternatives available
    • Weather conditions that would affect the case
    • Traffic and road conditions
    • Potential risk the chase poses to the public
    • Danger the suspect poses to the community

    If an officer initiates a chase for a low-level offense when a safer alternative was available, he may be found liable for injuries. However, if the chase was necessary to apprehend a murderer or someone who posed a serious safety risk, the officer's conduct would be more likely viewed as justifiable.

    If a police officer is found to be liable for your injuries, you won't collect damages from the officer personally; rather, the city or agency employing the officer would be responsible for his actions. Keep in mind that a chase involving a suspect determined to be a serious safety threat may involve officers from several different law enforcement organizations. 

    Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help

    If you've been injured in a police chase, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's experienced personal injury attorneys can help you decide how to best seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. During your free, no-obligation initial consultation, you should provide a detailed account of the accident. This includes the following details:

    • The date, time, and location of the chase
    • The direction you were traveling or where you were standing
    • When you first noticed the chased suspect and the police car
    • The actions you took to avoid the vehicles or get out of the way
    • Who hit you or your vehicle
    • Your immediate symptoms of injury
    • Any witnesses to the accident

    If you decide to proceed after the initial consultation, your case will be accepted on a contingency fee basis. This means there will be no upfront cost for legal representation.

    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.

     

  • Can I still receive compensation if my injuries don't appear immediately?

    If you feel fine immediately after a car accident, it might be tempting to simply brush off the incident as bad luck and continue with your day. However, many symptoms of injury may not appear until a later date. It's important to be evaluated by a medical professional as a precautionary measure. Delayed injuries and your car accident claim

    Late Physical Effects of a Car Accident

    When the body is faced with any sudden and unexpected event, a rush of adrenaline is released. This can temporarily mask symptoms that could indicate an injury. But in the days or weeks following a car accident, you might notice symptoms such as:

    • Headaches
    • Neck and shoulder pain
    • Back pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Muscle stiffness
    • Slowed reflexes
    • Limited range of motion
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Visual disturbances
    • Confusion and disorientation
    • Numbness or tingling in limbs

    These symptoms may seem minor on their own, but they may not heal with rest and the passage of time. After a car accident, experiencing one or more of these symptoms could indicate complications such as a concussion, whiplash, back injury, or a blood clot.

    Keep in mind that while car accident injuries are most often associated with high speed collisions, even a seemingly minor parking lot accident can potentially create problems.

    Late Emotional Effects of a Car Accident

    A car accident can cause emotional trauma as well as physical injuries. In the days or weeks that follow the accident, you might experience:

    • Trouble sleeping
    • Nightmares
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Angry outbursts
    • Sudden crying
    • Flashbacks to the accident itself

    In addition to physical symptoms, a concussion can cause emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A condition that is most commonly associated with military service, PTSD can appear after exposure to any trauma. Women, children, and people with a family history of mental disorders are most vulnerable to developing PTSD after an auto accident.

    Seeking Medical Care After a Car Accident

    After any car accident, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel fine at first, your doctor may notice abnormal test results that indicate a problem. You also want to create a paper trail in case you experience additional symptoms at a later date, so the other driver's insurance company can't argue that your injuries were caused by something else.

    In the days and weeks following the accident, be alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you notice anything unusual, return to your doctor for a follow-up visit. Your symptoms may turn out to be nothing, but it's always better to address any issue early on.

    Protecting Your Legal Rights

    A personal injury claim can include compensation for a variety of accident-related expenses, including:

    • Medical care, including anticipated future medical expenses if you're left permanently disabled
    • Loss of wages, including applicable loss of future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering, including the emotional trauma of the accident

    You can receive compensation even if you're partially at fault for the accident, although your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.  For example, if you were normally eligible to receive $200,000 and determined to be 50% at fault for the accident, you'd only receive $100,000 as compensation for the other driver's liability for your injuries.

    Retaining legal representation is the best way to ensure that your case proceeds in a timely fashion. Your attorney can communicate with the other driver's insurance company, collect documentation to verify the extent of your injuries, and line up any applicable expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

    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 is Med Pay coverage, and do I really need it?

    Most people purchase car insurance based on price alone, but there are some important differences in coverage that you should be aware of. One type of supplemental coverage you should consider adding to your policy is MedPay coverage. MedPay is not a legally required type of auto insurance, but it can offer some important benefits if you're ever involved in a car accident as either a driver or passenger. Choosing MedPay coverage

    About MedPay Coverage

    MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, or PIP, is intended to pay for the cost of medical care after an accident regardless of fault. This includes expenses such as:

    • Ambulance fees
    • Emergency room visits
    • X-rays and diagnostic tests
    • Surgery
    • Physical therapy
    • Professional nursing services and care
    • Medication
    • Crutches
    • Wheelchairs
    • Dental procedures  

    MedPay coverage follows the policyholder, which means you're still covered if you get into an accident while riding as a passenger in a friend's vehicle, walking, biking, or using public transportation. Other members of your household receive the same protection from your MedPay coverage. However, MedPay will not apply if you're injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident that should be covered under workers' compensation law.

    MedPay vs. Health Insurance

    If you already have health insurance, you might wonder whether MedPay is worth the added expense. Although this is a question that's hard to answer because each policy is different, most insurance agents agree that MedPay offers benefits to everyone except those with no deductible or copay platinum level plans.

    Some health insurance policies specifically exclude injuries from car accidents, while others come with high deductibles and/or copays that can be a financial burden when an accident has left you unable to work. In either of these cases, MedPay coverage would be a good investment.

    Although terms will vary from policy to policy, MedPay coverage is typically intended to supplement your existing health insurance. Coverage limits are relatively low, but it's an inexpensive way to add peace of mind knowing that you'll be able to handle immediate medical expenses after an accident.

    When You're a Passenger in Someone Else's Vehicle

    If you're injured as a passenger in another person's vehicle, the vehicle owner may have MedPay benefits that can be used to pay for your medical care. If the owner doesn't know whether he has MedPay coverage, this information can be found on the declarations page of the policy.

    Since MedPay provides coverage regardless of who is at fault, using the driver's MedPay benefits to pay for your emergency medical needs can give you some financial breathing room to decide how to proceed with your claim.

    Paying Back MedPay Benefits

    If MedPay is used to pay for your accident-related medical expenses and it's later determined that the other driver was at fault for the accident, your insurer will want to collect reimbursement from the other driver's insurance. The legal term for this is subrogation. However, if your medical expenses exceed the at-fault driver's coverage limits, you do not have to repay the difference due to Louisiana's "make whole" doctrine.

    After a car accident, MedPay coverage can be used to alleviate some of the immediate financial concerns associated with your injuries. However, you may also want to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for:

    • Medical expenses, including those that MedPay has already covered, as well as any anticipated future medical expenses
    • Loss of wages during your recovery, including applicable loss of future earnings if you've been left permanently disabled from the accident
    • Pain and suffering, including the physical and emotional effects of the accident

    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.