Lake Charles Car Accident Lawyers
Serving All of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Area
Far too many car accidents occur due to the careless, reckless, or negligent mistakes of others. If you were involved in an accident, or if your loved one was killed in an auto collision, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our Lake Charles car accident lawyers can help.
At Hinch & Associates PLC, we represent car accident victims throughout the Lake Charles Metropolitan Area, as well as the surviving family members of those wrongfully killed. We understand the immense impact a car accident can have on nearly every aspect of your life—and we are prepared to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
When Does Negligence Lead to Car Accidents?
Like most personal injury cases, car accident claims in Louisiana generally hinge on negligence; in other words, you will most likely need to prove that another person or party acted negligently and that this negligence led to an accident which caused you measurable damages. Examples of “measurable damages” include medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
So, how can you tell if someone else’s negligence led to your accident?
Essentially, any time another person fails to follow traffic laws or acts in a careless, reckless, or unsafe manner while operating a motor vehicle, he or she may be considered “negligent.” If such actions led to an accident and/or your injuries, you can hold the responsible person/party liable.
Some common examples of how negligence can lead to car accidents include:
- Cell phone use (including texting) while driving
- Drunk and/or drugged driving
- Falling asleep at the wheel/fatigued driving
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Making unsafe turns
- Engaging in road rage, street racing, or other reckless driving behavior
- Unsafe or illegal lane changes/passing
- Defective automobile parts
- Dangerous/defective road design or construction
If you were involved in an accident caused by any of the above or similar situations, we encourage you to reach out to our Lake Charles car accident lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and options.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Lake Charles
Being involved in a car accident is an undeniably stressful situation that can fluster even the most calm and collected individuals. While you may be feeling shaken up, it is crucial you remain mindful of your words and actions in the immediate aftermath as they can directly influence your ability to recover compensation through a subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit.
After a collision, be sure to do the following:
- Stay at the scene: Fleeing the scene of a car accident is a crime in the state of Louisiana and will make you ineligible to recover any compensation even if the other driver was at fault. Always pull over and render aid to any injured parties. If anyone appears seriously injured or is unresponsive, call for an ambulance immediately.
- Call the police: Louisiana law requires motorists involved in a crash to report the crash to the local police department whenever an injury or death occurs, or if the crash caused more than $500 in damage to property. Likewise, most auto insurance policies require you to call the police after any accident. Getting the police involved is not only required, but it can be beneficial to your personal injury case. The police will help you to control the accident scene, assess the damage, take insurance and personal information from all involved parties, and question any witnesses.
- Collect evidence: Your smartphone is your greatest asset at the scene of an accident. Get detailed photographic or video evidence of the damage to your vehicle, damage to the other involved vehicles, paint from other vehicles on your car, traffic patterns and signs, weather conditions, and any other relevant details that help explain what happened. If you can, get photographs of any injuries you or your passengers have suffered before they are treated.
- Do not discuss the crash: Remember, everything you say at the accident scene can potentially be used against you. As such, it is important you do not discuss the details of the crash with anyone but the police. Stick to the facts, tell the truth, but avoid making any unsure or speculative statements. Do not apologize to the other involved motorists. While it may seem innocent, even a simple "I'm sorry" can be seen as an admission of fault and can cause you to be held liable before an investigation has been performed.
- Seek medical attention: As soon as the police clear you to leave, see a doctor immediately to diagnose, treat, and document your injuries. Tell them you involved in a crash as well as any aches and pains you may be experiencing. Follow their treatment instructions carefully and continue to document your symptoms after.
- Get in touch with an attorney: Before you speak with an insurance adjuster, make sure you review your situation with an attorney so you can fully understand your legal rights and determine the most appropriate course of action. Insurance companies ultimately do not have your best interests at heart and will search for any way to limit, dispute, or even deny your claim. An attorney skilled in handling Lake Charles car accident cases can help protect you from mistreatment and maxmize your chances of securing the full damages you are owed.
Understanding Louisiana Car Accident Laws
Louisiana follows what is known as “pure comparative negligence” in car accident claims. Under this rule, your total recovery may be reduced if you are found by a jury to be partially at fault for the accident. In other words, if a jury determines you were 10% to blame, your total reward will be reduced by 10%.
Furthermore, the state of Louisiana imposes a one-year statute of limitations on most car accident claims. This means you have one year from the date of the accident to bring your claim (with some exceptions).
It is always in your best interests to discuss your legal rights with an experienced personal injury attorney. Hinch & Associates PLC can help guide you through the legal process and advocate for your best interests. Our legal team truly cares about our clients; we are prepared to go above and beyond in our efforts to secure maximum compensation on your behalf.
Schedule your free consultation with Hinch & Associates PLC today by calling (337) 222-3434.