New Orleans Car Accident Attorneys
Lawyer advertising is just about everywhere these days. Lawyer slogans and television jingles seem to be all around us. But slogans and jingles will not force big insurance companies to pay injured car crash victims the compensation they deserve. The auto accident lawyer who you see on TV the most or whose jingle or slogan stays in your head the longest, may not be the best lawyer to fight for you. When choosing a law firm and one of their New Orleans car accident attorneys to represent you in a personal injury case, only one thing should matter – RESULTS.
The Strength Of HHK On Your Side
No firm is better equipped than HHK to handle your personal injury claim stemming from a car wreck. For over 70 years, our firm has fought for families devastated by personal injury caused by the negligence of others. Our New Orleans car accident lawyers are proud to have recovered over $35 billion on behalf of our clients.
Unfortunately, these recoveries do not come easy. Insurance companies that put profits ahead of injured accident victims often refuse to pay legitimate personal injury claims. Instead, these insurance companies deny legitimate personal injury claims for as long as possible in hopes that tired families will eventually give up and settle for less than they deserve. Insurance companies attempt to manipulate the system and prolong the process and protect their profits at the expense of personal injury victims. Insurance companies even stoop so low as to attack the integrity of personal injury victims.
Experienced New Orleans Car Accident Attorneys
People depend on cars every day. Today it is nearly impossible to get from place to place without a car. Most of us live and work too far apart to travel by foot. As a result, we are exposed to potential personal injury or even wrongful death on a daily basis. Although cars are a modern-day convenience that generally makes our lives easier and better, they are not always safe. Accidents occur all the time. Auto accidents happen for a wide variety of reasons, including drunk drivers, drivers distracted by handheld devices, fatigued drivers, and dangerous roadway conditions. Regardless of how an accident occurred, victims of car crashes often suffer serious personal injuries or even wrongful death.
When you are injured in a car crash that was caused by the negligence of another, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should contact our experienced New Orleans car accident lawyers.
Insurance companies know that too many lawyers avoid trial. As a result, insurance companies undervalue your injuries, knowing that most attorneys will settle for much less than your personal injury claim is actually worth just to avoid having to go to court.
Some of Our Related Personal Injury Practice Areas
Although Herman, Herman & Katz handles just about every type of personal injury claim, our New Orleans auto accident attorneys handle the following types of claims that are often involved in auto accident cases:
- Brain Injuries – A serious brain injury can result in long-term disability, paralysis, and death as well as some of the highest compensation awarded for any injury. Our brain injury team is led by retired neurosurgeon Joseph Kott, a physician with a law degree.
- Burn Injuries – Burn injuries are among the most painful of all injuries, and they can cause lifelong disfigurement. Even moderate burn injuries can cause immense mental anguish. These losses can be added to physical disabilities to justify a large damages award.
- Products Liability: Manufacturers and distributors of defective products can be held liable when their product malfunctions and injures someone. An automobile airbag malfunction, for example, resulting in serious injuries that the victim would not otherwise have suffered. In some ways, products liability law is more victim-friendly than other forms of personal injury law – you don’t necessarily have to prove fault to win, for example.
- Medical Malpractice: Although doctors enjoy a god-like status in our society, ultimately they are human and therefore subject to error. When a medical error rises to the level of professional misconduct, however, the victim is entitled to compensation. In some cases, a medical malpractice claim can be combined with an ordinary personal injury claim (a doctor commits malpractice while treating a motorcycle accident victim injured by a drunk driver, for example).
- 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents: An 18-wheeler rig is about twenty times as heavy as an ordinary automobile. And when a collision occurs, the damage is frequently catastrophic. Commercial truckers are subject to strict regulations that do not bind ordinary motorists, and the violation of a regulation often provides a basis for personal injury liability.
- Wrongful Death – Although a deceased accident victim cannot file a personal injury lawsuit, certain close relatives of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages can be large. They are often comparable to what the victim could have won if he had lived but remained in serious condition for an extended period.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I settle or go to court?
In most cases, settlement is the ideal solution because it is much quicker and easier than going to court. The vast majority of our auto accident cases are resolved that way. Even a stubborn defendant is frequently motivated to settle once a formal lawsuit has been filed against him (the defendant can always settle before trial, and he usually does).
Am I automatically at fault if I rear-ended the other vehicle?
Not automatically, but it’s not good news for you. This is because the burden of proof will be on you to prove that the accident was the defendant’s fault. You might win, for example, if you proved that the driver’s brake lights malfunctioned due to faulty maintenance.
Are punitive damages available in Louisiana?
Yes, but only under certain extreme circumstances such as:
- A DUI accident
- An intentional “road rage” assault
- An unreasonably dangerous product that injured many people.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct, and an award of punitive damages is never guaranteed.
How can I collect compensation if the at-fault driver was uninsured or if the value of my claim exceeds his insurance coverage?
There are several possible solutions, including:
- Claim against your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, if you carry it
- Claim against the defendant’s personal assets
- Seek alternate defendants, such as the defendant’s employer or the manufacturer of a defective brake drum
How long do I have a file a lawsuit?
Under Louisiana law you normally have only one year to file a lawsuit: a year after the accident for a personal injury lawsuit, and a year after the victim’s death for a wrongful death lawsuit. Although this is one of the shortest grace periods in the nation, certain narrow exceptions exist.
What is the Louisiana 'no pay, no play' law?
About 13 percent of Louisiana drivers are uninsured – one of the highest percentages in the nation. Louisiana’s “no pay, no play” law was designed to reduce the high cost of insurance that results from this state of affairs. Under this law, if you are uninsured and you get into an accident, you cannot win a claim against an auto insurance company even if the accident was not your fault.
If a commercial truck caused the accident, can I claim against the trucking company?
Perhaps. If the truck driver was an employee, the trucking company is probably liable for the driver’s negligence. If the driver was an independent contractor (which would relieve the company from liability for the trucker’s own negligence), you might be able to establish that the trucking company was itself negligent – negligent hiring, for example.
Is Louisiana a 'fault' or 'no-fault' auto insurance state?
Louisiana is a “fault” auto insurance state. This means that in the event of an accident, you can immediately file a third-party claim against an at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. In no-fault states, you must look to your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover your losses unless an exception applies.
If the driver who injured me was drunk at the time of the accident, can I sue a nightclub that sold him alcohol?
No. Many states have “dram shop laws” that allow the victim of a drunken driver to sue the bar that sold him alcohol if he was visibly intoxicated or under 21 at the time he was served. Louisiana is one of the few states that does not have a dram shop law. There is also no dram shop law for a social host (someone who throws a college “keg party,” or example).
Should I talk to the insurance company?
No, absolutely not unless your lawyer advises you to. Insurance companies are full of tricks that can completely derail your claim if you fall for one of them. If the insurance company wishes to talk about the case, direct them to your lawyer.
My injuries will prevent me from ever working again. Can I claim compensation for a lifetime of lost wages?
Yes, you can in most cases as long as you can prove that (i) the accident is what caused your disability and that (ii) the resulting disability is serious enough to prevent you from ever working again. If your injury occurred while you were on-duty, workers’ compensation rules apply.
What is comparative negligence, and how might it affect my claim?
Louisiana applies a “pure” comparative negligence regime. It works like this:
- After considering the evidence, the court determines the parties’ relative percentages of fault for the accident (30 percent to Party A and 70 percent to Party B, for example).
- Each party pays that percentage of his own damages that equals his own degree of fault, and the other party pays the rest (Party A pays 30 percent of his own damages and receives 70 percent from Party B, for example, while Party B pays 70 percent of his own damages and receives 30 percent from Party A).
What is 'negligence per se' and why does it matter?
Under Louisiana’s “negligence per se” doctrine, a driver who violates a traffic safety statute is considered automatically negligent — he cannot argue, for example, that running a stop light did not constitute negligence under the circumstances. To be held liable, however, the offending driver’s negligence must have actually caused the accident.
What is the minimum auto insurance coverage allowed by law?
Louisiana requires every driver with a vehicle registered in-state to carry the following amount of insurance at a minimum:
- $15,000 per person in personal injury liability
- $30,000 per accident in personal injury liability
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability
Can I sue a division of the state government for personal injury or wrongful death?
Government agencies are entitled to sovereign immunity (they cannot be sued unless they allow themselves to be sued). The reason for this is that any compensation must be taken from taxpayer-provided funds. Louisiana allows itself (and its local governments) to be sued for personal injury under certain circumstances, but it places a 500,000 limit on non-economic damages (compensation for pain and suffering, for example).
Will my personal injury compensation be taxed by the IRS?
In all likelihood, little or none of it will be subject to tax. Personal injury compensation is generally not taxed by the IRS, because it is not considered earned income. Interest on your compensation (between the time of the accident and the time you are paid) is taxable as capital gains, and punitive damages are taxable as ordinary income. Few personal injury victims receive punitive damages.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point at which you have recovered about as much as you ever will (you might still be disabled, however). A doctor generally determines when you have reached MMI, and you may need to reach MMI before your future anticipated medical expenses can be accurately calculated.
We Can Help You Fight Back
If you were injured in a car crash, you need to work with trial lawyers that have a tradition of fighting powerful insurance companies. Our victories on behalf of our car accident clients are attributed to our dedication, preparation, and innovation. Insurance companies and their lawyers know that every personal injury case we accept will be thoroughly prepared for trial and our clients will be aggressively represented. We will not yield until our clients secure the funds they need to reclaim their lives.
Learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.