Driving is the most dangerous thing many of us do on a daily basis. But we rarely stop to consider the risks. The complacency of our daily routine lulls us into a false sense of security until something happens, whether a near miss, or a serious or fatal accident.
We call them accidents because they are rarely intentional. But, like most other types of accidents, they are almost always avoidable. Our Lafayette car accident attorneys know motor vehicle collisions occur because of one or more negligent acts or omissions committed by one or more drivers in the moments before impact.
The most common causes include:
There are also several locations that are readily identifiable as putting motorists and pedestrians at increased risk, including intersections, parking lots and school zones. When serious or fatal injury results to innocent motorists, determining all factors that contributed to a collision is a primary responsibility of your chosen personal injury law firm.
In many cases, serious injuries are readily apparent and emergency medical treatment is required. But often, injuries will not present until days or even weeks after a collision. Victims are also often surprised to learn that insurance companies will make their own determination of fault, regardless of the opinion of law enforcement, even if citations were issued at the scene!
For these reasons, and others, we believe it is in your best interest to consult with a car accident attorney in Lafayette as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision. Insurance claims are handled by teams of experienced adjusters, investigators and legal and medical experts. The more serious the claim, the more experienced the team assembled to limit an insurance company’s obligation to pay for damages.
At Brandt & Sherman, we believe motorists deserve to be treated fairly. Often this requires hiring a law firm with the experience and resources necessary to make sure your rights are protected. To recover damages, victims must prove:
Making a claim for damages is possible, even if a victim is found partially at fault. In fact, Louisiana law is quite generous in this regard. As one of the few states that has a “pure comparative fault” law, victims may recover compensation for whatever percentage of blame is assigned to an at-fault driver. That means even if a victim is found 90 percent at fault, he or she may recover 10 percent from the other driver. Most states bar recovery if a victim is found more than half at fault.
In cases where serious injury occurs, identifying all responsible parties and their insurance carriers is vital to recovering the compensation you deserve. Louisiana’s mandatory minimum insurance law requires just $15,000 per person in bodily injury coverage with a maximum of $30,000 available for more than one victim. This is often completely inadequate to compensate victims. Identifying all means of recovering damages may mean making a claim against the driver, another insurance policy in place in the household or on the vehicle, or even making a claim against your own insurance carrier if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The experienced injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Brandt & Sherman represent clients and families throughout the Acadiana region, including the parishes of Lafayette, Saint Martin, Acadia, Iberia, St. Landry, St Mary and Vermilion, and the communities of Abbeville, Carencro, New Iberia, Crowley, Opelousas, Eunice, Jennings, Baton Rouge, Baker, Merrydale, Zachary, Scott, Broussard, Milton, Morgan City, Shenandoah, Denham Springs, Lake Charles, Youngsville and Thibodaux.
Contact the Lafayette injury lawyers at Brandt & Sherman today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 337-226-1003.
Call 911 to report the accident immediately. Before moving the vehicles take photographs. As many as you can. Don’t be shy about photographing the other person’s vehicle. If you are on an interstate, or other restrictive highway, you may have to move your vehicle out of the travel lane, if possible. Get your driver’s license, car registration, insurance card, and any other document you may need ready to give to the police. Do not apologize or accept any responsibility for the accident. Just the tell the officer the truth about how the accident happened. Don’t apologize to the other driver that you were in the accident with. Exchange insurance information with the other driver. If possible, ask the other driver if you may photograph their insurance information and driver’s license.
If you’re hurt but can get yourself to a hospital or an urgent care center then avoid taking an ambulance. If an ambulance arrives on the scene they will encourage to hop into the back of the ambulance and take a $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 ride to the hospital emergency room. If you can get there on your own then don’t take the ambulance.
Walk-in clinics and urgent care centers are just a capable of handling sprains and strains as the emergency room is and are much less expensive.
Naturally if you are seriously injured then take the ambulance to the emergency room at a hospital.
Yes. It is always a good idea to get legal advice from a trained, professional lawyer who specializes in car wreck accidents. At Brandt & Sherman, we have years of experience handling car wrecks.
You should always get your car repaired at a reputable car repair facility. Some insurance companies will have a recommendation where to take the car for repairs and other will not. Whatever you do, you don’t want to bring your car to Uncle Harry to get it repaired. Always seek a professional repair shop to do your repairs since they will be better able to complete the repairs in a timely fashion. At Brandt & Sherman, we can help you with this decision.
This depends upon the facts of your case and can change from case to case. In some instances, it is better to settle your case and, in some instances, it is better to file a lawsuit. Sometimes the insurance company for the party at fault does not give you that option and because they are being unfair you may have no other choice than to file a lawsuit. At Brandt & Sherman, we can help you decide what is best for you.
Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. The courts will compare the fault of the parties involved and make a determination of how much fault is yours and how much fault is on the other party or parties. If for instance, your injuries are worth $10,000.00 and you are determined to be 50% at fault you will recover $5,000.00 or 50% of your monetary injuries. At Brandt & Sherman we can present your case to the insurance company or court to maximize your recovery.
Assuming you are not totally at fault in causing the accident you can recover for the damage done to your vehicle, the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, the rental expense incurred while your car is not drivable, and your medical bills. In addition, there is a type of damage called General Damage which consists of your pain and suffering, your mental anguish, your disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. You may also recover the money you lost from not being able to work during the period of your recovery from the accident. On occasion, your vehicle, after it has been repaired, is now worth less than it was before due to it having been wrecked. A diminution of value claim is possible. At Brandt & Sherman we can present these damages to the insurance company in the best light for you.
This is an extremely difficult question to answer at the beginning of an injury case. Some people recover from their injuries within a few weeks and some people suffer for years, and some people never recover at all. Until you have an adequate amount of medical care it is hard to place a value on any personal injury case. A competent personal injury attorney will be able to give you advice on the value of your case and your injuries. At Brandt & Sherman we will constantly monitor your case in order to maximize your recovery.
Louisiana is one of the states that requires you to have liability insurance on the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident. If you are uninsured at the time of your accident, then you will be penalized by a law that is referred to as “no pay/no play.” This law requires you to give up or forfeit the first $15,000.00 of your damages for bodily injuries, and $25,000.00 in damages to your vehicle. Doing the math on this if your bodily injury or personal injury case is worth $30,000.00, you can collect $15,000.00 from the other insurance policy because you forfeit the first $15,000.00. The same applies to the damage to your vehicle. If you have $30,000.00 in damage to your vehicle, you are penalized $25,000.00 and can only collect $5,000.00 from the party at fault. There are some exceptions to this rule such as if you are hit by a driver who was intoxicated. They do not get the benefit of the “no pay/no play” law. There are other exceptions. You would need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine those exceptions. At Brandt & Sherman we have the expertise to tell you how “no pay/no play” will affect your case.
Absolutely not!!! From the moment you start speaking with them they will be keeping a record of what you say. If at all possible, they will use your conversation against you later. Many people do not realize that they are injured until the day after an accident or sometimes even days after the accident. One of the first questions they will ask you is “how are you doing” and a polite human being you are going say “fine.” This will eventually be used against you. You may also not feel any pain in first few days after the accident and when you report that to the insurance company, they will use that against you as well. At Brandt & Sherman we will be your voice, so you do not have to worry about making a mistake speaking to the insurance company.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be your voice for all questions that need to be answered. Often the insurance company for the at fault driver will give you misleading information on what your case is worth and make an offer to settle your case immediately. It is much better to have an attorney you can consult with to determine what your case is worth and whether you should settle the case or not. At Brandt & Sherman we have years and years of experience handling motor vehicle accidents. We can guide you and be your voice.
The answer that question is no! Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. The more they take in from premiums and the less they pay out to injured persons the more money they have to keep in their own pocket. They have no motivation to treat you fairly. There are enough stories of insurance companies taking advantage of people that you could fill a whole library.
Most personal injury cases are handled on the basis of a contingency. What contingency means is if you do not get a recovery, you do not owe a fee to the attorney. The standard fee in Louisiana and many other states is 1/3 of the total recovery goes to the lawyer. That’s 33%. If the lawyer collects nothing for you then he gets nothing. Some law firms will charge 35%, some charge 40%, some charge 42%. This is something you should have explained to you by the lawyer on the first day you speak with him or her. Get this agreement in writing. A professional personal injury lawyer will give you a copy of the contract that you sign on the day you leave his/her office after meeting with him/or her.
Most of the time a professional personal injury law firm, like Brandt & Sherman, will pay up front your expenses so that you will not have money come out of you own pocket. The Louisiana Supreme Court has given lawyers rules to follow in regard to advances and loans to clients and we closely follow those rules.
There are many ways that your medical expenses can be covered. Some injured persons have medical payments coverage on their own auto insurance policy. Others have health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or some other form of medical reimbursement. A competent personal injury firm will help you explore those options and, under certain circumstances, will front you the money to pay for medical expenses not otherwise covered. At Brandt & Sherman we will discuss your options with you to determine what is best for your particular case.
You can use any doctor that you want! The choice is yours. If you don’t know what doctor to see we will give you the option of a number of different doctors who treat your particular issue and injury. We will describe to you the expertise of the doctors that are willing to treat a motor vehicle accident (some doctors do not) and allow you to choose which doctor you would like to see. The choice is always yours.
At Brandt & Sherman, we can advance you the money to hire someone to take you to the doctor and return you home. Some clinics actually provide rides to and from the clinic.
You may visit the Brandt & Sherman website and send us a message requesting an appointment. Someone will call you back with that appointment. You may also call 337-800-4000 and one of our intake specialists will take down all the information about your accident and schedule an appointment to see an attorney.
Unlike most of those billboard lawyers you usually see, the ones every 100 yards along the highway, if you hire Brandt & Sherman you will meet with one of our lawyers who will personally interview you and follow your case from beginning to end. We will be with you every step of the way. That is not to say we do not use paralegals and assistants to move your case along, but you will always have contact with your lawyer. We work as a team and sometimes you will have 2 or 3 lawyers working on your case to make sure that you get the settlement or recovery you deserve.