Being in a car accident can have devastating consequences for both your health and your finances. Even once your medical needs are met, you can find it very difficult to climb out of the financial hole you’re in due to the damage to your vehicle, your lost wages and all the unpaid bills.
So, how do you know if you can actually get a settlement from the insurance company? In general, the answer comes down to where negligence lies for the accident and Louisiana’s laws.
Was the other party involved in your wreck negligent?
In general, negligence is the failure of one party to exercise an appropriate amount of care in any given situation toward another party.
For example, if you were hit by a driver who sped through a red light because they were distracted while playing Pokemon Go on their phone, that would be a clear failure to pay attention to the road and traffic signals. They failed in their duty toward you (and others) to be a good driver.
Were you at all negligent in your actions?
Every state handles personal injury claims in its own way. Louisiana follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means that any possible compensation you may receive from the party can be reduced by your percentage of fault for your own injuries.
Using the same situation above as an example, if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt when you were t-boned by that distracted driver, the court may decide that your injuries were worse than they could have been by about 30%. If the total value of your claim is $100,000, you would receive 30% less than that sum, or $70,000.
Has it been more than a year since your accident?
Every state also has a statute of limitations – a legal deadline – by which you must file a lawsuit. In this state, it’s relatively short: You have just one year to pursue a claim. If negotiations with the insurance company fail, you need to get your claim filed quickly.
No matter what the situation, getting what you’re rightfully due from the insurance company isn’t always easy, which is why many people seek legal assistance from the start.