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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  • 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.

     

  • 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.