The attorneys at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers represent injured motorists in and around Lake Charles, Louisiana. Over the past 20 years, we have helped thousands of clients secure compensation from negligent drivers who caused a crash that injured them or injured or killed a close family member.
You can rely on us to fight for you to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we will be there with you each step of the way to increase your chances of getting the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
For a free legal consultation concerning your car accident claim, contact the legal team of Lake Charles lawyers and legal professionals at the office of Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers by calling 800-898-4877 or CLICKING HERE. This consultation does not commit you to anything. We offer it to help you understand the important steps to take next in your unique case.
Why Choose Our Law Firm to Represent You
Thanks to our 20-year history and thousands of favorable settlements, Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers boasts one of the best reputations in the region. We treat our clients like family and do not rest until we obtain the most favorable settlement possible for our car accident victims and their families.
We are fully committed to your needs and to help you maximize your financial recovery so you can focus on getting better. We have gained a reputation for delivering stellar client service, and our lawyers have received 10.0 client ratings on Avvo along with dozens of testimonials and client referrals.
We are proud of our record of success, and our lawyers have earned consistent designation as some of the best car accident attorneys in the country. We have the skills and resources to handle your claim efficiently, and you can rest easy knowing a top-ranked, highly experienced lawyer is handling your case.
For a free initial consultation regarding your auto accident claim in Lake Charles, you can contact Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers at 800-898-4877 or online.
Car Accident Statistics for Lake Charles, Louisiana
As the economic hub of Calcasieu Parish, Lake Charles draws tens of thousands of people each year to work in the refinery business, attend the Crawfish Festival, listen to the Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra, or study at one of the area’s many colleges and universities. Some of these visitors stay long-term to start families, while others become repeat visitors.
There is a diversity that makes Lake Charles great. The area is home to people of all faiths and all races, and the city’s famous Contraband Days puts much of this diversity on display, with live music, parades, and savory cuisine that reflects Lake Charles’ unique heritage.
Unfortunately, being the hub of so much activity comes with a downside–an increase in traffic accidents. Some of these accidents will change their victims forever as they carry physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives.
Lake Charles definitely leads all cities in Calcasieu Parish in car accidents. In 2022, Lake Charles saw:
- 3,158 total traffic crashes involving injuries
- 30 fatal accidents
Of course, drunk driving continues to plague Lake Charles, as well as the entire state. In 2022, alcohol contributed to 1,276 total car crashes in Louisiana, and just under 18% (229) involved fatalities.
Legal Considerations of Car Accidents
The central question in most car accidents is, “Who is at fault?” The person who caused the accident must bear the financial burden of the crash, including all of the pain and suffering experienced by injured motorists. If you were injured in a car accident, then you can seek financial compensation for your injuries, but you first need to identify the at-fault driver.
You also need to consider whether your own negligence contributed to the crash. Were you reading a text message when someone hit you? Did you fail to use your turn signal right before someone plowed into your car? Multiple causes can contribute to accidents, including your own errors. If so, your proportion of fault can reduce the amount of compensation you recover—but you should still try to seek compensation for yourself.
You should always consult a personal injury attorney because a lawyer can help you establish the other driver’s liability and file your personal injury claim with their insurance company. If you feel you bear any fault in causing the accident, you should discuss this with your attorney to understand how it may affect how much compensation you can get.
Determining Your Full Compensation and Seeking Damages
No matter the extent of your injuries, you should have a thorough medical evaluation. A doctor can order tests, such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, to investigate whether you suffered internal injuries that may cause problems later. If you suffered severe injuries that may result in disability, you need a prognosis from your doctor so you can more accurately determine the amount of treatment, therapy, and accommodations you may need.
Injured motorists can recover compensation for economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses, including surgeries, nights in the hospital, doctor’s office visits, and prescription drugs
- Lost wages and lost future wages
- Property damage to your car
You should hang onto proof of lost income, such as pay stubs or bank account statements. You should also keep copies of your medical bills and receipts for medical treatments, as well as receipts for related out-of-pocket expenses and car repair/replacement costs. Your personal injury attorney will need this information to calculate your economic losses.
Car accident victims may also recover non-economic damages to cover the ongoing adverse effects of their injuries, such as
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Lost enjoyment of life
If your accident was the result of someone’s egregious negligence, intentional misconduct, unlawfulness, or wanton disregard for your life and safety, you may pursue punitive damages. Insurance companies do not typically award punitive damages, but courts sometimes will. If you must take your case to trial, your attorney can advocate for you and petition the court to consider an award, however, there is no guarantee.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Injury Claim?
Yes. Car accident cases require knowledge of Louisiana’s laws to recover compensation. They also require knowledge of how to deal with insurance companies, as well as civil courts and procedures. You will also have to legally establish the other driver as the liable party.
If you don’t know whether you need a lawyer, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is there a dispute about who is at fault for the accident?
- Did you or anyone else suffer a bodily injury as a result of the accident? Did one of your loved ones die?
- Is the other driver’s insurance policy inadequate to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage?
- Have you suffered severe emotional distress and physical pain from the accident?
- Do you 100 percent understand the paperwork sent to you by your insurer?
- Does the entire process overwhelm you?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then meet with a Lake Charles car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer understands the complex web of Louisiana’s liability rules and can help you identify whether you have a valid legal claim.
Questions to Ask a Lake Charles Car Accident Lawyer
Finding the best lawyer to handle your Lake Charles car accident injury claim can be challenging. You must consider many factors before you sign a contract or agree to anything long-term. First, however, let’s dispense with some myths:
- You DON’T need to hire the same lawyer your friend, coworker, or family member hired for their personal injury claim. Their preferences in what they want in a lawyer might differ from yours.
- You DON’T need to hire the lawyer who has the fanciest office. Nice offices may indicate the law firm is successful, but that “success” could come from them taking on a lot of clients whose cases they can settle quickly just to make a few bucks. You DO want a lawyer who gets results, but you want an attorney who will get the best results FOR YOU!
- You DON’T need to hire a lawyer who promises to win your case. No lawyer can promise a particular result, and you should run from any who do.
Conversely, you do need to speak with an attorney and their intake staff to get important information about the lawyer’s skills and abilities. Ask the following questions:
- How many car accident clients have you represented? Some lawyers handle only divorces or DUIs and criminal defense. You want someone who has dealt with thousands of car accidents during their career, and preferably, you want to work with a law firm that only handles personal injury cases.
- Do you take cases to trial or only settle them? Some cases are unable to settle, and the only way to vindicate your rights is to go to court, which has its own unique, complicated rules.
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case? What other information do you need? This gives your lawyer a chance to explain how the relevant law applies to the facts and circumstances of your injuries.
- How do you like to communicate? Everyone has different communication styles. Some prefer to speak in person, over the phone, or through email. Make sure to hire an attorney who will communicate with you in the way that you most prefer.
Consider how comfortable you felt after consulting with a lawyer’s team and whether those individuals explained your case in a way you could understand. Also, gauge how comfortable you felt asking questions. If the legal staff intimidated you, you cannot participate effectively in your case, and you might feel unhappy with the results.
To help you decide whether we are the right legal team to handle your case, Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers offers potential clients a FREE consultation. This consultation comes with no strings, no contract, and no fine print. You can call 800-898-4877 or complete our contact form at any hour of the day, and we will promptly get back to you.
To receive compensation, you’ll need to show that a driver contributed to your injuries. This means you will need evidence—and a lot of it.
Many clients, with the help of their attorneys, may obtain:
- Pictures of the crash scene so that the jury can better understand where the cars ended up after the collision. Pictures can also capture skid marks or any obstructions that might have impaired someone’s vision.
- Proof of the severity and location of your injuries. Medical records are key, but sometimes you also need testimony from doctors or other emergency personnel.
- Proof of your pain and suffering. You can typically testify as to what you are feeling, but people who know you can also testify about how the accident has changed you. Your pharmacy records may also show the medication that you need to control your pain.
- Evidence that the other driver acted in a negligent or reckless way. For example, you might obtain cell phone records that show the driver sent a text message or made a phone call in the seconds before the collision.
Each case is unique, so we cannot say ahead of time what evidence you will need to prevail in your case. Consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Understanding Insurance Agent Tricks
Many injured motorists try to settle their own personal injury claims without the help of a lawyer. They believe they have read enough online to know how to negotiate on their own behalf, and they don’t want to spend any money on an attorney.
Unfortunately, most people do not understand how insurance companies and agents operate quite like the experienced team of attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers do. Over the years, we have seen insurance agents pull many different tricks to deny injured motorists the compensation they deserve.
Here are some examples:
- An injured motorist tells an insurance agent they can’t really remember what happened. The agent uses this statement to argue that the other driver isn’t to blame.
- An insurance agent asks an injured motorist to speculate about what might have caused the crash. Trying to think of something to say, the injured person—often on painkillers at this point—says maybe they failed to use a turn signal right before a negligent driver plowed into their trunk. The insurance agent uses this statement to reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives.
- An insurance agent tells a badly injured motorist that their injuries are worth $10,000 and no more. After signing a settlement agreement, the motorist realizes that their traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and emotional distress will cost them five or six times that amount—but they signed a waiver agreement preventing them from obtaining anything more from the insurance company.
- An insurance agent tells an injured victim that they will collect all of the evidence in the case and that they should sit back and relax. The agent doesn’t collect the relevant evidence that shows their client was at fault.
In each of these examples, the victim made a critical error they could have prevented had they hired an experienced personal injury attorney. The first two admitted responsibility when they didn’t know what happened, another gave up important legal rights, and the last one trusted an insurance agent to canvass the accident scene and collect helpful information.
By hiring a car accident lawyer, you can protect your rights and increase the amount of compensation you recover because your attorney will have your best interest at heart.
Injured in a Lake Charles Car Wreck? Call the Attorneys of Stewart J. Guss for a Free Consultation
To find out whether you have a valid car accident injury claim, contact the offices of Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers immediately to schedule a FREE case review.
Don’t delay! Louisiana law gives injured victims only one year from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. Because investigation and insurance company negotiations can take far longer than that, you do not want to risk forfeiting your ability to obtain compensation.
The attorneys and legal team of Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers are nationally recognized leaders in the industry who have protected the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you suffered injuries in a car accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we recover compensation for you. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or use our online contact form to get started.
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.