When seeking reimbursement for your damages after a car accident, it's important to understand the difference between an insurance claim and a lawsuit. Additionally, it’s helpful to know the benefits associated with having an attorney to represent your interests throughout the process.
Filing an Insurance Claim
In most cases following an accident, you'll first attempt to file a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company. Your claim is simply a formal notice that you wish to be reimbursed for your injuries and/or property damage relating to the negligent driver's actions. However, if you've been injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver with no insurance, you'll be filing a claim against your own insurance company to utilize the benefits of your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
If you've retained the services of an attorney, he will send a letter to the insurance company that states all communication relating to the claim should go to his office. This means you'll be able to let your attorney handle the negotiation process and focus your energy on recovering from your injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the at-fault driver's insurance company misses the deadline to respond to your settlement offer and the one-year statute of limitations for Louisiana personal injury lawsuits is approaching, your attorney will likely recommend litigation as the next step.
The lawsuit process will involve filing a petition with the court and having your lawsuit served on the defendant. Once this has been completed, you'll make depositions, request records, and secure expert testimony as part of the discovery process.
Most personal injury lawsuits involving car accident claims don't make it to trial. The attorneys for both sides are often able to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement before the case is scheduled to appear in front of a judge.
Protect Your Rights by Hiring an Attorney
Whether your case is resolved as an insurance claim or it's necessary to file a lawsuit, having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side makes obtaining a settlement much easier. With extensive knowledge of Louisiana personal injury law, the attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can advocate for your needs throughout every step of the process. Please complete our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.