Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident in Louisiana?

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident in Louisiana?
Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, New Orleans Office 400 Poydras Tower Poydras St Suite 1975 New Orleans, LA 70130

The crunch of metal and the quick jolt against your seatbelt may set your heart racing and your adrenaline rushing even before you have a chance to realize what has happened. Even a minor car accident can cause substantial damage to your vehicle and severe injury to you and your passengers. You get out of the car. You exchange insurance information. Now what? Do you need a lawyer for a minor car accident in Louisiana, or can you handle the claim yourself? Most of the time, you can probably handle a minor car accident claim without worrying about contacting a lawyer. However, in some cases, you may need a lawyer to help deal with even a minor Louisiana car accident claim.

When Do You Need a Lawyer to Handle a Minor Car Accident?

If you have a minor car accident that involves relatively minor property damage, you can probably handle the claim yourself by going through the insurance company. However, in many cases, you may discover that having a lawyer on your side can provide several advantages as you deal with your Louisiana car accident claim. When do you need to bring in a lawyer?

You suffered any injury in the car accident.

Here’s the thing: any time you suffer an injury, even a minor injury, in a car accident, you probably need a lawyer to help guide your claim. Most of the time, property damage claims prove relatively simple. You will take your vehicle to a certified repair shop, they will offer you an estimate of your repair costs, and the insurance company will pay out for those repairs. Often, the insurance company will take care of that payment directly, which means you do not have to worry about any of that process. On the other hand, a claim that includes any injury can prove much more devastating and difficult to manage. First, you will need to establish the extent of your injuries and that they did occur in the car accident. You may discover that even minor accidents can cause much more serious injuries than you may have thought initially. For example, a car accident could result in whiplash and the long-lasting suffering that might go along with it, or it could result in sprains, strains, and soft tissue injury. A minor car accident can even result in broken bones or brain injury, which could lead to the need for extensive and expensive medical treatment. The liable driver’s insurance company, however, may try to claim that your injuries did not occur as a result of the minor car accident or that you could not possibly have suffered those injuries in an accident involving so little force. Having a lawyer on your side can make it much easier to establish the full extent of your injuries. Next, you will need to clearly lay out the medical bills you had to pay because of your car accident injuries. If you carry MedPay insurance, you may need to start calculating the cost of medical bills after they exceed your Louisiana MedPay coverage. Again, you may find yourself struggling to establish that you faced those costs due to the accident and your injuries. The insurance company may argue that you suffered relatively little property damage in the accident, which should mean that it involved relatively little force and that you should not have long-term medical complications. Unfortunately, that does not change the reality that you may have extreme medical complications from the accident and require ongoing care. With a lawyer on your side, it can prove much easier to clearly lay out the medical challenges you faced because of the accident and the compensation you expect as a result. A lawyer can help you provide much-needed evidence that your injuries did occur in the car accident and that you suffered those severe injuries. A lawyer can also help lay out other compensation you may deserve for those injuries, including compensation for your suffering and any wages you may have lost due to the accident. By working with a lawyer, you can often feel much more confident about the outcome of a claim that involves any type of injury.

The insurance company disputes liability for the accident.

Often, you can clearly lay out evidence that establishes who likely caused a minor car accident. You may, for example, have evidence that another driver hit you from behind when you stopped at a stop sign or that another driver ran a red light. In the case of many minor collisions, however, it can prove difficult to establish precisely who committed the act of negligence that led to the accident. Did one driver choose to text and drive? Did a speeding driver cause the accident? Who actually had the right of way at the time of the incident, and how did the liable driver violate it? You may find yourself going through a great deal of difficulty as you try to establish who caused your accident clearly. Unfortunately, if the insurance company can assign liability to you, it may prevent you from getting the compensation you really deserve for the damage to your vehicle. You may have to use your insurance coverage, which could lead to expensive premium increases, or you may end up stuck paying for that damage yourself. With a lawyer on your side, gathering the evidence you need may prove much more manageable. A lawyer can help clearly lay out the evidence you need to show that the other driver caused your accident and that, as a result, you deserve compensation for your injuries.

The insurance company proves difficult to contact or does not get back to you in a timely manner.

After a car accident, even a minor car accident, you may need fast results from the insurance company and your claim. You need to get your vehicle fixed quickly, especially if the damage from the accident interferes with your car running in any way. Unfortunately, sometimes, the insurance company may make it very difficult for you to get in contact with them and get the information you need. You may struggle to get a call back after leaving your name and number or experience long delays as you wait for the insurance agent to get back to you. By working with a car accident lawyer in Louisiana, on the other hand, you can get the support you really need as you go through your claim. Insurance companies may prioritize getting back to claimants who have lawyers on their side. Lawyers may also get around the usual avenues used to speak with an insurance agent, which may mean that they get an answer faster than you can on your own.

The insurance company denies your claim.

You know that the other party caused your car accident and that, as a result, you deserve compensation from the other party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance company may not automatically provide you with the compensation you really deserve. In some cases, the insurance company may deny your claim outright. Now, you may end up liable for your damages, including all the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you may have sustained. Treatment for your injuries may prove incredibly expensive, and you may struggle with what to do next. Working with a lawyer can help you appeal the claim denial and more clearly establish the insurance company’s liability for your accident. By working with a lawyer, you can feel much more confident, in general, about the outcome of your claim. In fact, if you have a lawyer on your side from the beginning, it is much less likely that the insurance company will deny your claim.

The insurance company issues you a settlement offer that does not seem to include the actual damages you sustained in the accident.

Even a minor car accident in Louisiana can leave the victim with considerable expenses. Think about it:
  • You have to pay to repair your vehicle, which can prove very expensive. Vehicle repairs may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for even minor damage. If the insurance company’s offer does not include those damages, you will probably end up having to take care of them yourself, which can prove incredibly expensive.
  • You may have needed to go to the hospital to get checked out after the accident, even if you did not suffer any serious injuries. After even a minor accident, you should always have a doctor look you over. Conditions like whiplash, brain injury, and even broken bones may not crop up immediately. When they do, they can mean severe damage and long-term medical bills. However, even a brief emergency room visit can mean high costs.
  • You may have needed long-term medical care for even minor injuries. A broken bone, for example, could require several follow-up appointments or even surgery for you to receive the highest standard and quality of treatment.
  • You may have missed work because of your injuries, interfering with your ability to pay your bills. The amount of work you had to miss may depend on the extent of your injuries: for example, you might get back to work within a few days if you just suffered broken bones, but it could take weeks or more for you to go back if you suffered any brain injury in the accident.
  • You may have endured a lot of suffering because of your car accident, and you may deserve compensation for that suffering.
All those costs can add up quickly after even a minor car accident. The insurance company should compensate you for damages caused by its driver’s recklessness. In some cases, however, you may find yourself struggling to get the insurance company to acknowledge the full extent of your suffering and the damages that went along with the accident. A lawyer can help ensure that you understand your rights and that the insurance company takes them seriously, often leading to a more positive financial resolution to your claim.

You have any questions about your claim, from the compensation you may deserve to what the claim process should look like.

Many people do not often have to deal with insurance companies and insurance claims. Most people, for example, may never have to deal with the aftermath of an injury claim. You may have questions about the process. How much compensation should you really expect? How long should it take to file your claim? Has the insurance company given you a reasonable offer, or does the insurance company just want to save money and not acknowledge the damages you had to deal with? A lawyer can help answer all those questions and any others you might have about your case. Many lawyers will start with a free consultation about your car accident claim, which means you can get answers without having any obligation to use a lawyer to handle the rest of your claim. If you do need a lawyer, that lawyer can work with you and guide you through the rest of the claim process.

Contact an Attorney for Help with Your Louisiana Car Accident Claim

Working with a Louisiana car accident attorney can offer many benefits as you handle even a minor car accident claim. While you may be able to handle a minor car accident claim on your own, if you encounter complications along the way, a lawyer can help streamline the process and make it easier for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact a Louisiana car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to get the help you need.
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