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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  • What happens if an excluded driver gets into a car accident?

    Typically, a car insurance policy covers the policyholder and those members of the household who are old enough to drive or those who've been specifically added to the policy by name. Many policies also have provisions for permissive use of borrowed vehicles, although this type of coverage may come with a higher deductible and/or more limited benefits.  Excluded drivers and auto accidents

    Excluded drivers are named individuals who are specially not covered by an insurance policy. Often, this is because they're considered high risk due to a DUI or a poor driving record. Excluding a driver from coverage isn't allowed by all insurers, but many will permit it to save the policyholder money or to prevent the entire household from being uninsurable.

    Compensation For Accidents Caused by Excluded Drivers

    When a person is named as an excluded driver for a specific vehicle but operates it anyway, this is legally the same as driving without insurance. If a car accident occurs, the policy will not pay for damages caused by the excluded driver.

    Drivers or passengers who are injured by another person's negligence are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When no insurance coverage is available, they can attempt to collect from either the at-fault driver or the vehicle owner's personal assets.

    If the at-fault driver or vehicle owner is without the means to provide compensation, your only other option is to use your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM or UIM coverage). Louisiana law requires all car insurance policies sold in the state to come with this type of coverage, although you can specifically request to have it waived. Most policies are issued with the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000. However, some drivers who want to provide additional peace of mind choose higher coverage limits.

    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 does it mean to be an excluded driver on a car insurance policy?

    Excluded drivers are not covered by an insurance policy in the event of an accident. If you've recently been in an auto accident, verifying that the other driver has valid insurance coverage is a key step in processing your personal injury claim.  Car insurance and excluded drivers

    About Excluded Drivers

    Generally, excluded drivers are those who fall into the high-risk category. Often, these drivers would cost too much to insure, and the policyholder excluded them to save money. Or, a driver may be excluded in order to prevent the policy from being canceled all together.

    Common reasons why drivers may be excluded include:

    • Teen student drivers who aren't allowed by parents to drive yet
    • Too many speeding tickets
    • Recent DUI
    • No license or suspended license
    • Too many past accident claims

    Not all insurance carriers allow the exclusion of drivers as a cost-saving measure. Policies and procedures vary widely among auto insurers.

    How Exclusions Affect Insurance Coverage

    Anyone named as an excluded driver on an auto policy should never operate the vehicle on that policy. This is legally the same as driving without insurance.

    If the excluded driver causes an accident, the insurance policy will not pay for damages. Medical coverage may still be available, but liability and property damage will not be offered.

    In a situation where an excluded driver is at fault for an auto accident, both the vehicle owner and the driver can be held personally liable for accident-related expenses.

    Receiving Compensation For Accidents Involving Excluded Drivers

    If you're involved in a car accident cause by another driver's negligence, you're entitled to compensation for accident-related medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. However, pursuing a claim against someone listed as an excluded driver may prove difficult without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

    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 friend borrows my car and gets in an accident?

    It's a noble thought to want to help a friend in need, but letting your friend borrow your car could turn out to be a costly mistake. Depending on the terms of your auto insurance policy, your friend might not be covered if he causes an accident. Handing Car Keys To Friend

    How Permissive Use Affects Your Coverage

    As the named policyholder, your car insurance should cover you, members of your household who are licensed drivers, and any additional people you've specifically added to the policy. Most policies, but not all, also allow for permissive use to provide coverage when someone borrows your car.

    Permissive use can come with significant restrictions such as a higher deductible and/or reduced coverage limits. Other factors to consider include:

    • You can't let someone use your car for business purposes. Permissive use generally won't cover the use of your car if a friend uses it to make deliveries, meet clients, or go to a work-related business conference.  
    • Unlicensed and/or inexperienced drivers aren't covered. Permissive use policies can sometimes exclude unlicensed and/or inexperienced drivers, which means you shouldn't lend your car to anyone who doesn't have a license or student drivers who only recently earned their license.
    • Impaired or drunk drivers aren't covered. Lending your car to someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol will result in your claim for coverage being denied.
    • Permissive use is only intended to cover short trips. Permissive use is meant for brief tasks like picking up milk from the store or moving furniture to a new apartment. If you're letting someone borrow your car for several weeks or more, this type of use may not be covered.

    Since terms and restrictions can vary widely by insurer, the best course of action is always to refer any questions to your insurance agent. Do not let anyone borrow your car until you're positive that you're appropriately covered in the event of an accident.

    If you're unable to get in touch with your insurance agent and a friend needs immediate transportation, consider offering a ride instead of handing over your keys. As long as you're the one behind the wheel, you can be confident you have the coverage you need.

    Regular Drivers Must Be Named Policyholders

    Permissive use is intended to cover accidents caused by someone who occasionally borrows your car with your permission. This type of coverage isn't intended for anyone driving your car regularly. If your friend borrows your car on a regular basis, he should be listed as a named driver.

    Know What Your Friend's Policy Will Pay

    Before you lend your car to a friend, it's a good idea to ask about his own insurance coverage. In the event of an accident, your own insurance will typically be what pays for damages. However, the driver's insurance may be needed to cover part of any applicable personal injury or medical expenses. It can also be used to supplement your plan if the collision caused property damage and/or injuries that are severe enough to max out your policy.

    Understanding Your Liability

    Since insurance generally follows the car and not the driver, lending a vehicle to a friend can be an expensive mistake if a car accident occurs. If your own insurance won't pay for the damages and your friend doesn't have sufficient coverage, you can be held personally liable for accident-related 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.

     

  • Is my rental car covered under my car insurance policy in Louisiana?

    When you're traveling on vacation, it's hard to beat the convenience of a rental car. However, it's vital that you protect yourself by thoroughly investigating the limits of any applicable rental car insurance. Do not automatically assume your rental car is properly covered under your current car insurance policy.  Rental car agent handing customer keys

    Rental Car Insurance Under Your Existing Auto Policy

    Determining whether a rental car is covered under your existing policy depends on the location of your trip. If you're renting a car in the United States or Canada, your Louisiana auto insurance should provide some level of coverage. However, if you're traveling in any other country, your current auto insurance may specifically exclude rental car coverage.

    If your trip is to a covered destination, your comprehensive and collision coverage likely covers the value of the car even if it's declared a total loss. However, you'll still have to pay your deductible and any applicable fees from the rental car company if you get in a car accident.

    If your trip is to a covered destination and you only have liability coverage, this coverage extends to the rental car as well. As a precautionary measure, check your policy's coverage limits before traveling to see if they're comparable to what the rental service recommends.

    Types of Rental Car Insurance

    When you rent a car, the company will ask if you want to purchase specific rental insurance. In most cases, there are four coverage options:

    • Collision damage waiver, to cover your financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen with no deductible
    • Liability coverage, to protect you against lawsuits if you cause property damage or injury to others while driving the rental car
    • Personal accident insurance, to cover your own medical costs and the costs of any passengers after an accident
    • Personal effects coverage, to pay for valuable items you might keep in the car while traveling

    The rental car company only requires you to purchase liability coverage if you don't currently have any sort of policy on your own vehicle. Other coverage is optional. The company might use high-pressure sales tactics, but you're free to decline any coverage you deem unnecessary.

    Avoiding Duplicate Coverage

    As a budget-conscious consumer, it's understandable you want to avoid paying for unnecessary coverage. However, you may need to make a few phone calls ahead of your trip to properly determine what types of rental car insurance you already have. Collision and liability insurance may already be provided under your own auto policy. Personal accident insurance may be unnecessary if your health insurance plan covers accident-related medical expenses. Personal effects coverage may be unnecessary if your renters or homeowners insurance provides off-premises coverage for your belongings.

    If you have a credit card, keep in mind that many credit cards also offer insurance coverage for rental cars. Platinum or Gold cards are the most likely to offer this benefit to cardholders, although the actual terms of coverage can vary widely. This coverage is intended to be secondary to your own auto policy or the coverage you purchased from the rental car company but is still a factor to consider when determining what your insurance needs are.

    Receiving Compensation for Injuries From a Rental Car Accident

    If you're involved in an accident while driving a rental car, you can receive compensation if the other driver was at fault for the accident. Your personal injury claim can include:

    • Past accident-related medical expenses, including emergency room care, surgical care, and follow-up appointments
    • Any applicable future accident-related medical expenses, if your injuries have left you permanently disabled
    • Loss of wages during your recovery
    • Loss of future earning potential, if applicable
    • Pain and suffering

    If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still collect damages. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault for 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.

     

  • Does car insurance cover drivers who are not listed on the insurance policy?

    Knowing who is covered by your auto insurance policy is vital since misunderstanding the limits of your coverage can be a costly mistake if an accident occurs. If you lend your car to someone who is not listed as a named driver on your policy, you can't assume that permissive use coverage will apply if the driver gets in a car accident. Auto insurance policies: permissive use

    Your Auto Insurance Policy: Permissive Use

    An auto insurance policy typically covers the policyholder and any additional members of the household. Some insurance  companies require you to specifically list all household members of driving age, while others offer general coverage extending to people who are related through marriage, blood, or adoption.  Roommates are typically not covered as members of the household unless they've been listed by name.

    You should list everyone who will be driving your car on a regular basis as named drivers, even if they don't live with you. For example, you would want to list your nanny as a named driver if she uses a vehicle you own to take your children to and from school each day.

    Permissive use extends to other people who don't drive your car on a regular basis but may borrow it on occasion. For example, this might include lending your car to a friend while hers is in the shop or letting your cousin borrow your truck, so he can move furniture to his new apartment. Many policies cover permissive use, but some do not. Others offer reduced coverage with a higher deductible for any accidents that fall under the permissive use criteria. You must check with your insurer directly to fully understand the limits of your coverage.

    Exceptions to Permissive Use

    Even if you have an auto insurance policy that allows for permissive use, there are some notable exceptions you should be aware of, including:

    • Business use. One noted exception to coverage for permissive use occurs when the driver planning to borrow a vehicle is doing so for business purposes. If you lend your car to a driver who is visiting a client, traveling to a work-related conference, or making deliveries for her home-based businesses, this new driver won't be covered unless you have a specific "business use" clause on your car insurance policy.
    • Inexperienced or unlicensed drivers. Insurance companies typically have stringent rules regarding the qualifications of people allowed to operate your vehicle. If you let your teenage niece use your car to practice for her driving test and she gets in an accident, you could very well find yourself paying for the damage she causes.
    • Excluded drivers. Some auto policies, but not all, allow you to specifically exclude drivers in your household as a cost saving measure or to prevent the policy from being canceled due to a single high-risk driver. Anyone who is listed as an excluded driver on your policy will not be covered in the event of an accident, no matter why they were driving your vehicle.

    Paying for Accident-Related Damages

    If you lend your car to someone and he causes an accident that's not covered by the permissive use portion of your auto insurance policy, his own auto policy may pay for damages. However, not all insurers will pay for damages in cars the policyholder borrows, so you'll need to investigate this issue carefully.

    If your own policy won't pay for damages and the driver's policy doesn't cover borrowed vehicles, you'll be left paying for damages out of your own personal assets unless someone else is determined to be at least partially at fault for the accident. Louisiana law allows partially at- fault drivers to receive compensation for property damage as well as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if they were partially at fault, with the understanding that any settlement they receive is reduced by their assigned percentage of fault.

    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 do I calculate lost income if I’m self-employed?

    If you’re in an accident, calculating for lost wages and loss of future earning potential is fairly easy if you're an employee working for someone else. If you're self-employed, however, the issue becomes more complex. Receiving damages when you're self-employed

    Factors Used to Determine Lost Income

    Self-employment can take many forms. Farmers, truck drivers, daycare providers, freelance writers, web designers, management consultants, and restaurant owners can all be self-employed, even though their business finances may look very different.

    After an accident, calculating economic damages as a self-employed person requires considering several different factors, depending on what type of work you do. For example:

    • Lost income for the days you were unable to work
    • Loss of earning capacity or future income potential if you won’t be able to perform the same work in the future
    • Lost profits that can no longer be invested in the future of your business
    • Lost business opportunities due to your inability to market your goods or services because of your injuries
    • Loss of goodwill, or harm to your professional reputation, because you were unable to meet client demands in a timely fashion as the result of your injuries

    It's not unusual for the lost wages portion of a personal injury settlement to be substantially higher for a self-employed person, since hourly earnings are only a small portion of a business owner's loss.

    Documenting Your Economic Losses

    Documentation is essential in any personal injury claim, but it’s particularly important when you're a self-employed business owner. You may need to provide:

    • Tax returns from past years
    • Financial statements from the current year
    • Copies of invoices or work orders from subcontractors you paid to fill in for you while you were injured
    • Proof of cancellation of projects you'd already lined up but couldn't complete due to your injuries
    • Letters from clients or potential clients clarifying what projects you may have completed if you hadn't been injured
    • Testimony from an economic loss expert regarding the value of lost opportunities in your particular industry

    How Economic Losses Affect Pain and Suffering Compensation

    Pain and suffering damages in a personal injury claim are intended to compensate you for both the physical pain and the emotional trauma of your injuries. Since there is no specific dollar value placed on pain and suffering, the most common method to calculate it is a multiplier of medical expenses based on the severity of your injuries. However, some attorneys recommend a per diem approach that assigns a dollar value to each day you suffered pain from your injuries.

    In the per diem approach, the daily rate is often based on your estimated earnings from employment. As a self-employed person, your per diem rate may be higher than normal due to the complex nature of your economic losses.

    Collecting Compensation If You’re Partially at Fault for the Accident

    Louisiana uses the comparative negligence system when settling personal injury claims. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you're still entitled to compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

    For example, a self-employed accountant with an estimated economic loss of $50,000 due to severe car accident injuries would only be eligible to receive $30,000 (60%) if he was found to be 40% at fault for the accident.

    Retaining Legal Representation

    Personal injury law can be quite complex, especially when you're trying to prove economic losses as a self-employed person. Having an experienced attorney to advocate for your needs throughout the process is essential.

    If you're self-employed and unable to work due to your injuries, you may feel as though legal representation is out of reach. However, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so your attorney will require no upfront payment and will accept a portion of the settlement you receive as payment for his services. With a contingency fee system, you're free to focus on your recovery while remaining confident that your attorney is advocating for the highest possible compensation.

    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 do aftermarket parts affect my car insurance claim?

    Although attending to your medical needs should be your first priority after an auto accident, you'll definitely want to make sure any necessary repairs are made to your vehicle in a timely fashion. There are several factors to consider as you're having your vehicle repaired, but one that is often overlooked is the difference between aftermarket parts and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Using aftermarket parts for your car repair

    What Are Aftermarket Parts?

    An aftermarket part is any vehicle part that comes from a source other than the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts can be:

    • Replacements for parts damaged through normal wear and tear
    • Replacements for parts damaged in a collision
    • Parts used to customize the vehicle's appearance
    • Parts used to customize the vehicle's performance

    When you have your vehicle repaired at a car dealership, you can be assured that you're getting OEM parts. If you take your car to an independent repair shop, there is a 75% to 80% chance the parts used will be aftermarket parts unless you request otherwise.

    The largest source of aftermarket parts in the United States is found online at sites such as Amazon and eBay Motors.

    What Type of Parts Are Best for Vehicle Repairs?

    Aftermarket parts are popular because they tend to be more affordable and easier to locate than OEM parts. However, there are a number of reasons why you may want to stick to OEM parts for your vehicle repairs following an auto accident:

    • The source, condition, and durability of non-OEM parts are often unknown, which can create a safety hazard when you're back on the road. In some cases, you may be at a higher risk of being involved in an auto accident due to the use of aftermarket parts.
    • Your vehicle warranty may be voided if you use aftermarket, salvage, or reconditioned parts.
    • If you plan to sell the vehicle at a later date, the use of non-OEM parts will decrease its value because of poor quality structural integrity, finish, fit, and appearance. The effect of aftermarket parts on resale value is most pronounced when your vehicle is a newer or luxury automobile.

    What Will the Insurance Company Pay for?

    Car insurance policies are designed to help drivers repair their vehicles to "like kind and quality” condition. If you're seeking repairs for an accident caused by another driver's negligence, you have a right to request that only OEM parts be used on your vehicle. If you're seeking repairs for an accident that was your fault, your insurance company may only be willing to pay for aftermarket parts when making the necessary repairs. However, you should be able to pay the difference in price if you wish to have OEM parts used instead.

    Louisiana law states that insurers who wish to use non-OEM aftermarket parts to repair your motor vehicle must provide written notice of the type of parts being used. When non-OEM parts are used, a repair estimate must identify each part and provide a disclosure that reads, "This estimate has been prepared based on the use of crash parts supplied by a source other than the manufacturer of your motor vehicle. Warranties applicable to these replacement parts are provided by the manufacturer or distributor of these parts rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle." When aftermarket parts are used, the parts must have the logo or name of the manufacturer on a sticker or inscription in an area that's clearly visible after installation.

    If you're having trouble getting your vehicle repairs made in a timely fashion, retaining an experienced attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf is a smart move. Insurance companies are primarily interested in saving money, so it's important to have someone on your side who is committed to seeing that your vehicle is repaired in a satisfactory manner.

    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 does uninsured motorist coverage work in Louisiana?

    Although the law requires drivers to have valid liability coverage, the truth is that many Louisiana motorists are uninsured. Some can't get insurance because they're driving without a license, while others may be making the choice to forgo coverage in favor of handling other expenses.

    When you're in a car accident caused by a uninsured motorist or a driver with insufficient insurance coverage, your own auto policy can be used to seek reimbursement for accident-related expenses.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UM or UIM coverage, pays for your medical care and other expenses when you're involved in an accident caused by someone who does not have valid auto insurance or when the driver responsible for the accident has insurance that doesn't sufficiently cover your expenses. Benefits may apply in a hit-and-run accident if a witness can verify the circumstances of the incident. Accidents with uninsured drivers

    Louisiana law requires all auto insurance policies sold within the state to come with UM or UIM coverage, unless the policyholder has specifically waived this coverage in writing. This means that the vast majority of drivers do have an avenue for collecting damages when they've been hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Policies are typically issued at the state's bodily injury liability limits of $15,000, unless different limits are requested by the driver.

    If you are seeking benefits, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurer's investigation of the accident. You'll be asked to provide an account of the events, proof the other driver had no insurance or insufficient insurance, and contact info for any witnesses. You'll also be asked for verification of your medical expenses and lost wages. You should be honest when providing this information, but avoid speculating about the circumstances of the accident or the severity of your injuries.

    If you had passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident, your UM or UIM coverage also applies to their accident-related expenses.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Economic-Only Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist economic-only coverage provides the same basic benefits as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, with the exception of only covering the actual cost of injuries to you and any passengers. With this type of coverage, you can't be awarded benefits for pain and suffering related to the accident. In a personal injury claim, pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages because they don't have a cost that can be verified with any documentation.

    What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage?

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage can be purchased to help pay for repairs to your vehicle if the damage is caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. There is a $250 deductible. In most cases, the maximum benefit is $25,000 or the actual cash value of your vehicle. However, you may purchase a policy with a higher recovery limit if you believe this is appropriate given the value of your vehicle.

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage isn't available if you already have a policy that includes collision insurance. It's not necessary in this case because it provides coverage already included under collision insurance.

    How Can I Protect My Legal Rights?

    Your insurance agent can answer any general questions you might have about the types of damages covered in your policy and the applicable deductibles. However, you should keep in mind that an insurance agent's job is to keep costs down for his employer. Your insurance agent isn't necessarily concerned with helping you receive a settlement that adequately meets your accident-related expenses.

    If you're trying to collect benefits, hiring skilled legal representation is strongly recommended. A personal injury attorney can handle all communication with your insurance company and present your claim in a way that maximizes your available compensation. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost 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.

     

  • What testimony can expert witnesses provide in my personal injury case?

    Many types of evidence can be submitted in a personal injury case, but expert testimony is often crucial in establishing liability for the damages you've suffered from an auto accident. Expert witnesses are typically selected based on advanced education, specialized training, and professional experience working in a specific field. Expert witnesses in personal injury cases

    Accident Reconstruction Experts

    Accident reconstruction experts are the most common type of experts called to testify in a personal injury case. Since drivers are encouraged to avoid making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of fault, an accident reconstruction expert uses engineering principles to determine how the incident happened and what was the most likely cause of the collision. They consider factors such as the size and weight of the vehicles involved, the condition of the road, the extent of vehicle damage, and reports from law enforcement officers to create a timeline of events.

    Human Factors Experts

    The trauma of being involved in an auto accident often affects memory and perception of the events that led up to the collision. When drivers are unable to remember what they did or how much reaction time they had to prevent a crash, a human factors expert may be called to testify.

    This type of personal injury expert can testify as to what a driver should have perceived in relation to the limitations of weather, vision angles, and lighting conditions. The testimony of a human factors expert is crucial in establishing the difference between negligence and simple human error.

    Medical Experts

    Doctors who specialize in the treatment of a specific condition such as nerve damage or a TBI may be called on to provide evidence regarding the extent of your injuries, your future medical needs, and the likely cause of your condition. A qualified medical expert doesn't need to be the doctor who treated you personally, as long as he is given the appropriate access to your medical records.

    Pain and suffering compensation is difficult to assess in personal injury cases, but a doctor who specializes in the treatment of chronic pain can build a strong case by testifying as to the extent of your discomfort and how it affects your daily activities.

    Life Care Planning Experts

    In a personal injury case involving permanently disabling injuries, a large part of the settlement will be applied toward the injured person's future medical needs. A life care planning expert can testify as to what those needs might be and how much they might be expected to cost given the current rate of healthcare inflation.

    Economic Loss Experts

    When injuries from an accident are expected to affect your ability to return to work, an economic loss expert can help quantify the value of your lost wages. The expert may provide an estimate of future earnings given your past earnings history and the potential for future salary increases in the position you held at the time of the accident. If you are undergoing training for a new position, the expert might testify as to your likelihood of securing a new position and what the anticipated difference in wages will be.

    Vocational Experts

    Vocational specialists provide testimony focusing on what types of positions you might be able to obtain given your physical health and current level of education. They assess factors such as transferable skills, resources for retraining, and the local job market to determine your overall employability.

    Product Liability Experts

    Manufacturers, engineers, or design specialists may be called as experts if your case involves an accident where a defect such as poorly designed tires, faulty brakes, or airbag failure contributed to the incident.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation

    When the facts surrounding your accident are in dispute, legal representation is essential. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for your needs and ensure that you receive the highest possible settlement. If appropriate, your attorney can line up any experts who may be able to support your case.

    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.

     

  • I’ve received calls from a company that will loan me money right now against a settlement I might receive in the future. Is this a good deal?

    When you're experiencing financial difficulty due to unpaid medical bills and time off work following a car accident, a personal injury settlement loan may seem like the perfect solution to your troubles. However, companies that claim to offer an immediate solution to your financial worries may not have your best interests at heart. Personal injury settlement loans

    About Personal Injury Settlement Loans

    Personal injury settlement loans, sometimes called lawsuit advance loans or advance settlement funding, will loan you money based on the anticipated size of your personal injury claim and how likely it is that you'll eventually win your case. Only promising cases with a high likelihood of a successful settlement will qualify.

    There are no credit checks involved in a personal injury settlement loan application, so funds are available much more quickly than with alternative financing. In many cases, you can receive your money in just one week.

    If you accept a loan, your agreement with the funding company gives them a legally enforceable lien against your recovery. If that happens, your attorney will have no option other than honoring the lien at the time of the settlement of the case.

    If your settlement ends up being lower than anticipated, you may be able to negotiate lower fees with the loan company. If you lose your case, you don't have to repay the loan.

    Potential Problems

    Personal injury settlement loans can be risky for a number of reasons, including:

    • A lack of regulation means it can be difficult to find a reputable lender without taking the time to conduct extensive background research.
    • A loan often comes with a hefty application fee and administrative costs that aren't mentioned in the original sales pitch.
    • The interest rates on these types of loans are often very high, since they are not federally regulated. A recent survey of companies offering personal injury settlement loans found that interest rates ranged from 30% to 120%. This means, a credit card or personal loan would be a more affordable option in terms of reducing interest fees.
    • The interest on the loan may continue to accrue until the claim is resolved. If your personal injury case takes years to reach a settlement, which isn't uncommon in cases involving very serious injuries and/or liability disputes, the interest could exceed the principal of the original loan. Due to a lack of regulation, companies can charge a flat annual rate or a per-month interest fee.
    • The interest that continues to accrue at a very high rate may cause you to feel pressured to settle your case prematurely to be able to repay the loan.
    • Your privacy may be compromised by an agreement that requires the loan financing company to gain access to privileged attorney-client communications or work product.

    Alternatives to Personal Injury Settlement Loans

    Although there are some circumstances in which a personal injury settlement loan may be the best option, it's typically better to investigate other sources of alleviating the financial strain related to your case. Credit cards, a home equity loan, borrowed money from friends or relatives, or selling unneeded assets are some of the potential options to consider.

    Being an active participant in building your case will help speed up the process of settling your personal injury claim. Here are some ways to help your attorney build the strongest possible case:

    • Answer calls from your attorney promptly, so there are no unnecessary delays in working on your case.
    • Follow all treatment recommendations from your healthcare provider, including any restrictions in returning to work or engaging in vigorous physical activity.
    • Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, as well as your other accident-related expenses.
    • Don't talk to an insurance adjuster without your attorney present.
    • Don't speculate on fault for the accident or the severity of your injuries, as seemingly innocent conversations can be used by the defense to avoid liability.

    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.