What should I do after an automobile accident in Louisiana?
Following an automobile accident in Louisiana, there are some things you should do:
Assess the situation and make sure everyone is safe. First determine whether anyone in your vehicle is injured. If another car was involved, check on the other driver and any passengers for injuries.
Once you have confirmed everyone is safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road so it does not impede traffic if possible. Be careful as sometimes exiting your vehicle after an accident can be dangerous. Be sure other traffic has stopped and you are not putting yourself at risk of being struck by oncoming traffic.
Call 911 to report the accident and wait for the police to arrive (unless instructed otherwise). When the police arrive, provide them with the facts of what happened and report any injuries you might have. Ask for a copy of the police report item number and the officer's contact information, including name, badge number, and policy agency should you have any further questions.
Swap contact and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the accident.
Write down the make, model, and license plate number of all vehicles involved in the accident.
Obtain the name(s) and contact information of any witnesses.
Take pictures and/or video of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles or objects involved. Also take pictures of the accident scene and position of the vehicles before any are moved if possible.
Stay at the scene of the accident until you have been cleared to leave. If you leave before police arrive or you have been cleared to leave, you may face criminal charges even if the accident was not your fault.
Never admit fault. While you may believe you are at fault for the accident, you may not be aware of all facts and circumstances that were at play in causing the accident.
If your vehicle is towed, tell the tow company where you would like it to be taken (or at least know where it is going to be taken).
Seek medical attention if you feel you are injured in any way. Delays in treatment can hurt your case.
File a claim with your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company, depending upon the details of the accident. Many insurance companies give you the option of filing a claim online, over the phone, or through their mobile app.
Refrain from giving statement to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. They could use your words against you. Instead, call a qualified attorney to discuss your options.
Do not accept an offer of settlement from an insurance company without speaking to a qualified attorney first.
Should I go to a doctor after an automobile accident?
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the automobile accident or whether or not you think you may be hurt, it is always in your best interest to see a doctor following an automobile accident. There are two main reasons why you should always see a doctor after being involved in an automobile accident:
For your own well being: your personal health and wellness should be your top priority. When you are involved in a car accident, your body receives a jolt of adrenaline, which can mask your injuries. Even if you feel your injuries are minor, it is always best to have a doctor do a full physical exam to ensure you do not have any underlying injuries (like concussions or internal bleeding). It is also important when you first seek medical attention, you should tell the doctor about any and all injuries, no matter how insignificant you may think they are, so they can be monitored and you can receive the appropriate treatment.
- Documentation to Support Your Car Accident Claim: when you seek out medical attention, there will be a record of your visit. Your medical record will list your injuries. This can help connect your injuries to the accident. Without proof of injuries you suffered from the automobile accident, the at-fault parties or insurance companies may argue your injuries were not caused by the accident or as bad as you claim.
How soon after an automobile accident should I seek medical attention?
It is important you seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident so you can receive the appropriate treatment to heal and so your injury is properly documented. If you don't go to a doctor right away, it could be days before you realize you are hurt. By then, your injury could've gotten much worse. You may be at risk of serious complications that could put your health in danger.
Also, if you delay in seeking medical care, the at-fault parties or insurance companies will argue your injury wasn't serious or there's insufficient proof your injuries were caused by the accident. If you go right away, the link between the accident and your injuries will be much stronger than if you wait.
What damages can I recover from a car accident in Louisiana?
Some of the most common types of damages that are recoverable in car accident cases are:
- Medical expenses (both past and future)
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages (both past and future)
- Impaired earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, love and support
- Property damage (e.g., costs to repair or replace your vehicle, towing charges, rental car, diminished value, or even personal items damaged from the accident)
- Punitive damages (if allowed by Louisiana law)
All of these types of damages will not be recoverable in every case. Each case and the facts surrounding the case and injuries involved will decide the types of damages you may be able to recover from a car accident.
In order to determine what damages you might be able to recover from your accident, it is important to talk with a qualified attorney, who can examine the facts and circumstances of your case.