The minutes, hours, days, and even weeks after a car accident can raise unexpected questions that require informed decision-making. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is the surest way to guard your rights in those times when you have more pressing matters to take care of.
Do you need a car accident lawyer?
Most people believe that if they just go to court and tell the truth, everything will work out for them. While it is important to tell the truth, personal injury litigation – including the information-gathering and negotiating that can take place long before a lawsuit is filed – is an adversarial process. Each side is working to position its claims, and this process can be intimidating for non-lawyers.
An attorney can help you through both that initial pre-litigation stage, and if necessary, through to trial, helping you understand:
- The value of the case, based on severity of the accident and resulting injuries;
- The fairness of settlement offers;
- The process, and commitment involved, in taking a case all the way to trial; and
- Legal and factual issues that can complicate the case, like when the other driver was on the job, uninsured, or driving a government vehicle, or when you had a pre-existing condition aggravated in the accident.
Once familiar with the pre-litigation and litigation process, it is easy to understand why parties who are represented by lawyers receive greater compensation than those who represent themselves.
How soon should I hire an attorney?
When it comes to retaining legal counsel after an accident, the sooner the better. Insurance companies get to work as soon as they receive notice of the accident, so within days, you may receive calls offering a low-ball settlement. In other words, the process can take off very quickly.
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is one year but it is not wise to wait that long to seek legal advice. By retaining a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, you can:
- Stop opposing counsel or insurance agents from contacting you; they must instead contact your attorney;
- Allow your attorney to speak on your behalf, preventing mistakes like an apology made out of politeness that is later used to show fault;
- Receive assistance in actively preserving documentation and other evidence to build your case; and
- Ensure all costs and expenses accounted for so you receive full compensation.
Speak with a car accident lawyer in Baton Rouge
When you or a loved one needs the assurance that comes from putting your trust in an experienced and dedicated car accident lawyer in Baton Rouge, call the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. With offices in Lafayette and Acadiana, we are committed to meeting you where you need us.
Initial consultations are always free, and we never take a fee unless we win money on your behalf. Call today to find out how we can help you pursue your legal options.
Additional Louisiana car accident resources:
- Justia, 2011 Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 3492 Delictual actions, https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/cc/cc3492