What Should I Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Louisiana?

What Should I Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Louisiana?

After a personal injury accident, you face a difficult situation. The easy path would be to ignore the situation and try to move on with your life. However, you may face significant financial losses due to medical bills and missed time from work. Your quality of life might also decrease due to pain, depression, and disfigurement.

Hiring a lawyer may be necessary to get compensation for your losses. The lawyer you hire for your case could make a dramatic difference in your personal injury case outcome. The right lawyer will have the skills, knowledge, and experience to put you in the best position to recover fair compensation for your injuries.

The Role of the Personal Injury Attorney

Louisiana law gives you the right to pursue injury compensation when you suffer an injury due to someone else’s actions. If you lost a loved one to a fatal accident, you could pursue a wrongful death claim against those who caused your loved one’s death.

In either case, your claim will probably start with an insurance claim. Many accidents are covered by insurance policies such as:

  • Auto insurance
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Medical malpractice insurance
  • General business liability insurance

These policies include liability coverage, which covers claims from third parties that fall within the policy. So, for example, when a driver hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is covered by the driver’s auto insurance liability coverage.

If the driver also suffers an injury, the liability coverage will not cover the driver’s losses. Liability insurance only pays third-party claims against the policyholder. It does not pay claims by the policyholder.

Your attorney will prepare the claim and document your losses. To win a claim, your lawyer must prove the policyholder bears legal liability for your injuries. Many claims will settle at this stage based on the documents submitted. Your attorney only needs to negotiate with a claims adjuster to get you the greatest compensation possible.

But in some situations, the claims adjuster will deny your claim. Some common grounds for claim denials include the following:

  • The policyholder did not cause your accident
  • The policyholder did not act negligently
  • The accident did not cause your injuries
  • Your losses did not result from your injuries

If your injury attorney cannot overcome the claim denial, they must file a lawsuit to continue your pursuit of compensation.

Factors to Consider When Hiring an Injury Lawyer in Louisiana

Some considerations when hiring an injury lawyer include:

The Lawyer’s References

When you start looking for a lawyer, you should look for someone who comes highly recommended. References from other lawyers or even judges should carry a lot of weight. They have often seen the lawyer in action and know the level of skill and knowledge they possess.

References from former clients are also valuable. A former client will only recommend their attorney if satisfied with the results. Equally importantly, if a former client recommends against a lawyer, listen to why they were unhappy with the lawyer’s work.

You should beware of online reviews. While online reviews can provide limited insight into the lawyer’s skills, you have no way to verify the source. As a result, the reviews might give you a false impression of the lawyer.

The Lawyer’s Communication Skills

Most injury lawyers offer free consultations to new clients. Once you narrow down the field of lawyers, you will want to schedule free consultations with the lawyers under consideration.

During the consultation, you will describe your accident and your injuries. The lawyer will explain your legal options and may even estimate the compensation you can seek. As you converse, listen to the substance of the lawyer’s explanation and how well the lawyer explains the legal issues.

Lawyers must have strong communication skills to negotiate with claims adjusters and persuade them to accept your claim. If the claims adjuster denies your claim, the lawyer must explain and persuade a judge and jury to agree with your side of the story and award damages to you.

Experience Handling Similar Cases

Experience can make a difference in the lawyer’s ability to quickly obtain the best possible outcome. However, their total number of years is not the only relevant factor. You want a lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases.

Lawyers gain skills through practice, and the skills that a lawyer gains through handling truck accident cases might not necessarily translate directly to a medical malpractice case. Additionally, the lawyer might not have relationships with the expert witnesses you need for your case if they usually handle different types of cases.

Legal Fees Charged by the Lawyer

One of the most important considerations in hiring a lawyer is the fee you will pay. Most injury attorneys charge a contingency fee. But the percentage could vary from lawyer to lawyer.

The benefit of a contingency fee for accident victims is that you will not need to pay any upfront fees for the lawyer to start working on your case. Additionally, a contingency fee gets paid at the end of the case based on the compensation your lawyer recovers for you. Thus, you only pay if you win or settle your case.

Lawyers in Louisiana must provide a written fee agreement before you hire them. Review the fee agreement carefully and ask any questions that come to mind. You will have fewer disputes with the lawyer if you fully understand the agreement before signing it.

Hiring an Injury Lawyer in Louisiana

Once you choose a lawyer, Louisiana law requires the lawyer to have you sign the fee agreement. The lawyer can start working on your case immediately by collecting your medical records and filing an insurance claim.

Choosing a lawyer is only the first step in pursuing injury compensation. But with careful consideration, you will hire a lawyer who can get the best possible outcome for your case.

How Does a Recall Affect a Product Liability Claim?

How Does a Recall Affect a Product Liability Claim?

If a defective product injures you, you might wonder if the product was subject to a recall. Suppose you search for a recall and discover the product was, in fact, recalled. If so, the recall could be used as evidence in a product liability claim, though it doesn’t automatically prove liability for damages.

How Does a Product Recall Work in the United States?

Manufacturers recall products for many reasons, including reports of adverse events. They might voluntarily recall a product or initiate a recall after prompting by a federal agency. Federal agencies that recall products include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

A notice is sent to sellers and distributors to immediately remove the product from the market. Recalls may be published online, provided to the media, and listed on various government websites. In some cases, recall notices might be sent to known customers.

The recall notice identifies the product by make, model, and lot number. The notice might also explain the dangers the product poses and any known adverse events. Finally, the recall provides information about what the consumer should do, such as return the product or throw the product away.

Does a Recall Automatically Make a Manufacturer Liable?

Some state laws might allow recalls to be entered into evidence in a product liability case. Other states have laws that make recall notices inadmissible as evidence. In either case, the recall itself does not create liability for damages caused by a defective product

On the other hand, the recall does not automatically relieve the manufacturer from liability. The manufacturer might use the recall as a defense to product liability claims by proving the injured party received a recall notice and continued using the product. However, if a person is injured because of a defective product, a broadly issued recall does not absolve the manufacturer of liability. 

Instead, the plaintiff must prove the elements of a product liability claim. 

What Are the Legal Elements of a Product Liability Claim?

Product liability is the legal doctrine that holds a party liable for damages caused by a defective product. A product liability claim might be based on negligence, but many product liability cases are based on strict liability. That means the manufacturer and other parties can be liable for damages regardless of whether they intended to create a defective product or knew it was defective.

Generally, you must prove the following legal elements of a product liability lawsuit to win:

  • The product had a defect that made it unreasonably dangerous;
  • You used the product in a manner that a reasonable person would have used the product;
  • The defect was the proximate and direct cause of your injury; and,
  • You sustained damages because of the defect.

Product liability claims typically fall into one of three categories: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn (marketing defect). 

Investigating and gathering evidence to prove your personal injury case can be challenging. Product liability claims are incredibly complex personal injury cases. It is best to consult an experienced product liability lawyer as soon as possible after a defective product causes an injury.

Damages You Can Receive for Injuries Caused by Defective Products 

Generally, recalls do not have a substantial impact on product liability claims. If you prove the legal elements of a product liability case, you could receive compensation for your:

The value of your product liability claim depends on several factors. The severity of your injury and whether you could be partially to blame for your injury are two factors used to value damages. 

What Should I Do if a Product Has Been Recalled?

If you sustained injuries, seek medical treatment immediately. Be sure to tell the doctor that a product caused your injuries. Medical records are essential for winning a product liability lawsuit. 

Read the entire recall notice carefully to determine the dangers associated with the product. Secure the product safely and contact a product liability lawyer immediately. The attorney can advise you if you need to return, dispose of, or preserve the product.

How To Make Sure You Get Compensated After Suffering a Personal Injury

How To Make Sure You Get Compensated After Suffering a Personal Injury

Sustaining an injury in a slip and fall accident, automobile accident, or another personal injury case can be overwhelming. In addition to the pain and suffering you experience, you could incur substantial bills, expenses, and financial losses. 

The situation is incredibly frustrating when your injury was caused by another person’s negligence or intentional acts. You would not be in this position had it not been for another party’s reckless acts. 

The good news is that personal injury laws give you the legal right to file a claim for damages. The party responsible for causing your injury can be legally liable for your economic damages, including lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. You can also seek compensation for your emotional distress, pain, and suffering.

As the injured victim, you must prove your case, which can be challenging. However, here are some ways you can ensure you get compensated for personal injury claims

Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene 

Proving fault for an accident begins with the evidence you collect at the accident scene. Tips include:

  • Take photographs of the accident scene, including what caused your injury and property damage
  • Make a video of the accident scene in case you overlooked something when taking photos
  • Gather information from the witnesses so your lawyer can contact them for formal statements
  • Ask for a copy of the completed accident report 

Don’t say anything that could imply you accept blame for causing the accident or think you could be partly to blame. Avoid talking about the details of the accident to anyone other than the police officer.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment for Injuries

It is generally a good idea to receive medical attention, regardless of whether you’ve sustained an obvious injury. Some injuries do not present themselves at the scene of the accident.

Therefore, don’t refuse treatment at the accident scene. Instead, go to the hospital or a physician as soon as possible. 

Delays in medical attention could hurt your case and keep you from receiving compensation for injuries. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the insurance company might fight your claim. The insurance adjuster might say the accident did not cause your injuries or you failed to mitigate damages.

On the other hand, seeking prompt medical care can strengthen your personal injury case. You must prove the accident caused your injuries. Detailed medical records become key evidence in a personal injury case. 

Don’t Discuss Your Injuries or Accident Case

Only discuss your case with your personal injury lawyer. Talking with an attorney before you speak with the insurance company is best. Also, avoid social media, blogs, and other online posting sites.

Posting information online could hurt your case. Insurance companies perform thorough searches for evidence online. An innocent post saying you are okay could be twisted to argue you were not injured.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer 

Having a trusted legal team handle your case could be one of the most important choices you make to help you get compensation after a personal injury. Handling your claim without legal advice and guidance often results in a much lower settlement amount. 

The insurance company has a team protecting it from liability. It is virtually impossible to fight those resources on your own. Instead, you can hire a personal injury law firm to even the playing field. Your attorney has the resources, skills, and experience to go up against insurance companies and win.

However, don’t just hire a lawyer. Instead, hire an attorney with considerable experience handling cases like yours. For example, if a car wreck caused your injury, hire a car accident attorney. But if you were injured in a slip and fall, hire lawyer with experience in premises liability law.

Complete Medical Treatment and Be Patient

A personal injury case can take time to settle, so you need to be patient to get fair compensation for a personal injury or accident. 

First, you don’t want to settle your claim before you complete medical treatment. Otherwise, you are responsible for future medical bills and losses. You also need to know if you sustained a permanent impairment that could substantially increase your claim’s value. 

Second, your lawyer needs time to investigate your claim and gather evidence. The more evidence you present, the better your chance of receiving maximum compensation for a personal injury. 

Being patient could result in much more money in your pocket at the end of your case. 

Listen to Your Personal Injury Attorney and Follow Their Advice

An insurance company might make a quick settlement offer. Don’t fall for it. Initial settlement offers are usually much lower than what your case is worth.

The insurance company knows you want to settle your case quickly. Therefore, it makes an offer and hopes you take it so the company can avoid paying a more considerable amount. 

Your lawyer understands how much your case is worth. So listen to your attorney’s advice about accepting a settlement offer. 

The choice is yours, but you hired your attorney for their expertise. If your attorney says the settlement offer is too low, don’t take the offer. 

It can be difficult waiting for a personal injury settlement. However, when you hire the right attorney and are patient, you have a much better chance of receiving the money you deserve.