Here, we provide general responses to some of the most common questions we receive from clients about auto accidents. To get more specific information about your auto accident in Lafayette, Louisiana or Acadiana, you can also contact Rut to schedule a Free Consultation. You can do so by filling out our online form, email or calling 337-CALL RUT (225-5788).
What Types of Auto Accidents Are There in Lafayette?
The types of auto accidents are the same pretty much anywhere, and they include single car accidents or collisions between other vehicles, people, property, or animals.
- Single auto accident
- Multi-car accident
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Rideshare accidents (Uber/Lyft)
- Public transit accidents
- Car accidents involving children (school bus)
How Do I Get Compensation for an Auto Accident in Lafayette?
One of the main things that accident victims have to worry about is being fairly compensated for their injuries. There are two main ways that this will generally happen, and each has its own pros and cons.
In an auto accident, resolving a case in a settlement means you or your lawyer and the insurance company reach an agreement on an amount of money. One of the main benefits of handling a case this way is that it will typically end a case much quicker than going through the court system. In addition, a client and their attorney have a good deal of power during this process–they can negotiate until they get the amount they want and reject any settlement that isn't acceptable.
Going to Court
If a victim doesn't receive a fair settlement offer, they may need to file a lawsuit to get their compensation. Lawsuits may result in a higher payout, but they typically take much longer, and there is no guarantee that a court will side with you.
If I Have To File A Lawsuit After a Car Collision in Lafayette, Louisiana or Acadiana, Who Do I Sue?
There are many parties who might be liable for your injuries, and ultimately it will depend on the facts of your specific case. An experienced lawyer such as Rut will be able to help determine who the best person or people are to seek compensation from. Generally, you could file a lawsuit against the other person's insurance company, the driver and sometimes the owner of the vehicle if the driver and the owner are two difference people.
Additionally, in some rare cases, a government entity could even be held liable if the conditions on the road are what causes a crash.
Should I Release Medical Records to Another Driver's Insurance Adjuster?
Generally, it is important to remember that the other insurance adjuster involved in the case wants to pay you as little as possible. While they may ultimately need to see your records, they only need to see specific records pertaining to your accident. If records are not necessary, but the insurance company receives them, they could use any health information against you. An attorney can help edit this request to ensure that only records needed are released.
Further, it is always important to have an attorney with you when you speak to your own insurance company. You want to give only the facts. Your own insurer has its own company as its priority, too, and so it also wants to prevent a payout. This is especially true when you need to file a first-party claim with your own insurance.
How Much Money Can I Get from an Auto Accident Claim?
This is a very popular question -- everyone wants to know how much they could get from their auto accident claim in Lafayette, Louisiana or Acadiana. Unfortunately, one answer to this question does not exist. Any settlement or jury award will be based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. Settlements can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars or more. It also depends on the attorney you hire. Some are more inclined to settle as quickly as possible while others are willing to fight at all costs to ensure you receive maximum compensation. Factors that determine how damages are calculated include but not limited to:
- Liability (were you in any way at fault for the accident)
- Severity of your injuries
- Type of medical treatment you required due to your injuries
- Cost of your medical bills
- How long you required to seek medical treatment
If I Don't Feel Hurt after an Auto Accident, Do I Have to See a Doctor?
Certain injuries might not present symptoms immediately after an accident, and getting to a medical professional can catch those injuries. Sometimes the adrenaline from the accident hides the pain of your injuries. As the adrenaline wears off, you might start to feel your injuries. Again, some injuries do not show themselves until days later so it is important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident and again if the pain begins a few days later.
It is important to note, an opposing attorney or insurance adjuster might try to argue that a delay in seeking medical treatment means that a victim's injuries were not actually from the accident. Going to the doctor after an accident can help stop these kinds of arguments.
What Should I Do after an Auto Accident in Lafayette?
First and foremost, you should contact emergency services and seek medical attention. But you also want to:
- Contact the police to come conduct a crash report and get a copy of the crash report number.
- Exchange information with the other parties to the accident, which includes names, insurance, driver's license, phone numbers.
- Gather evidence, like pictures and video of the scene, the surrounding location, the vehicles, property damage, injuries (if any).
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses as well as a brief recorded statement, if you are able to do so because their recollection will be best on the scene and preservation of it will be best if recorded either in writing or by video.
- CALL RUT so that he can determine if you have a valid claim and then work to obtain the damages you are entitled to.
What Should I Not Do After an Auto Accident in Lafayette?
In juxtaposition to what you should do if in a car collision, here is what you should not do.
- You should never leave the scene of an accident. If you leave a scene, especially when someone is injured, it is a hit and run, a criminal offense. You must stay with your vehicle and contact emergency personnel if someone is injured.
- You should not leave your vehicle where it can pose a risk to others. If you can, move the vehicle to a safe location. If you cannot move it on your own, contact someone who can.
- You should not ignore calling 911. Even when no one is injured or even if it is a hit & run, you should still contact 911. The police will investigate and write a report that can later be used to help identify liability.
- Do not forget to exchange information. Try not to let fear or anxiety get the best of you. You really need to obtain contact and insurance information from the other party involved in the collision. Insurance will be critical to recovery of compensation.
- Do not underestimate your injuries. Some injuries are delayed (like whiplash) while other injuries may not seem serious (like bruising as there may be internal bleeding). You should get checked out by a doctor.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you think or know you are at fault, do not admit it. The other party may have contributed in some way, too. In comparative negligence states, you can still recover in most situations if both parties contributed to the accident.
- Do not contact or give a statement or documents to the other party's insurance company. You must speak to your own insurance company, but you are not obligated to do the same with any other insurance company. To do so could jeopardize your case. Either your attorney or your own insurance company can communicate with the other party's auto insurer.
- Never Settle your claim without speaking to attorney Rut first.
How Much Will an Auto Accident Attorney Cost?
Here's another question where everyone wants to know how much they will have to pay -- many are reluctant because they are already financially vulnerable and hiring an attorney without the assurances of winning is a scary matter.
The simple answer is: When you hire attorney Rut, you only pay if he collects a settlement or judgment on your behalf. The firm's fee and expenses come out of the settlement or judgment. If there is no settlement or judgement then you don't owe Rut anything and the firm eats our cost in your case.
Call RUT and Let Him Be Your Auto Accident Lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana or Acadiana Today
If you've been in an auto accident and are considering filing a lawsuit, contact Rut today for a Free Consultation. We can answer your questions, put together a strong case, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 337-CALL RUT (225-5788) today or fill out our online form today.