At Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm in New Orleans, Kenner and Gretna, Louisiana, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your car accident case. The following are examples of questions we often receive from accident victims.
I don't know if my injury is serious. Should I still see a doctor?
Sometimes, injuries are more serious than you realize. Here are two examples:
- You may not experience symptoms of muscle strains and sprains until swelling reaches its maximum impact, which may be hours or even days following an accident. These injuries can last for weeks or months and require professional medical care.
- You may have suffered an injury to a disc in your neck or back, or even a hairline fracture to a vertebra. To avoid making a bad situation worse, have your doctor verify that you are not in danger.
Medical prudence and common sense says to go to your doctor and have him or her give you a clean bill of health and send you home. We would rather see you healthy than wealthy after a serious accident.
What if I don't have medical insurance?
If we believe someone else is accountable for your injury, we will be able to help you obtain excellent medical care and attention without you having to pay upfront.
Should I provide a recorded statement to the insurance company?
The short answer is no, don’t give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company or even to your own insurance company.
You may want to believe that the insurance company will be reasonable and pay what it should, but that is simply not the case. In asking you to provide a recorded statement, the insurance companies are hoping you will say something that will give them an excuse not to pay or to pay less than you deserve. They may ask you to explain the accident as many times as possible and then put all of your answers side by side, under a microscope. If there are any minor differences, they will accuse you of changing your story.
In our decades of experience, it is best to explain the accident to your lawyer and let your lawyer explain to the insurance company.
Should I accept a settlement from the insurance company?
Most personal injury cases settle without the need for a trial. However, if you are not represented by a capable and respected attorney, according to proven research, you are likely to be offered a small fraction of what your case is worth. Even if you do not have to pay lawyer fees, statistically you are going to pocket far less than if you have an attorney represent you.
It’s also extremely important for you to be aware of issues such as medical liens, federal government liens, whether you are entitled to future lost wages and medical bills, and whether punitive damages might be due. Do yourself a favor and get a free consultation from a respected attorney before you attempt to settle your case on your own. Consider the age old adage, “Any person who attempts to represent himself or herself has a fool for a client.”
When should I settle my case?
The answer depends on a lot of factors, including status of your medical care and prognosis, the negotiating positions of both parties, but mostly depends on advice of your counsel. You should have 100 percent faith in the advice of your counsel.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
Even though the law requires every vehicle in Louisiana to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, many do not have it. In this case, other sources of coverage may be available. For example, if the driver of the car was not the owner, he or she may have coverage through another vehicle. You may also have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
It costs you nothing to consult with an attorney and find out what coverage may be available.
What if I didn't have insurance at the time of the accident? The accident wasn't my fault.
Louisiana is a “no pay, no play” state. If you do not have insurance, the first $15,000 of your personal injury and vehicle damage claim are excluded. However, there are exceptions in cases of DUI, hit and run, and accidents that occur in furtherance of committing a felony. In addition, you can still recover compensation for damages above $15,000. We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case.
If my case goes to trial and loses, will I owe anything to my lawyer?
For every personal injury claim at Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm, we only get paid if we make a recovery. You will not be charged any fee or cost if we are not successful.