Proving Fault in an Accident in Lafayette or Metairie

Injured woman feeling bad after having a car crash

Proving Fault in an Accident in Lafayette or Metairie

In Louisiana, all drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance for automobile accidents. The current liability insurance required for Louisiana drivers is:

  • Bodily injury coverage for one person in the amount of $15,000;
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident (two or more persons) in the amount of $30,000; and,
  • Property damage coverage in the amount of $25,000.

Louisiana is an “at fault” state for automobile insurance. In other words, the driver who caused the accident is “at fault” and responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Therefore, to recover money for an accident claim, you must prove the other driver caused the collision.

Elements for Proving Liability in an Accident

To prove that the other driver is liable for your damages, you must present evidence that proves each of the legal elements for liability. In Louisiana, you must show:

  • The other driver owed you a duty;
  • He breached the duty;
  • The breach resulted in the collision;
  • You were injured in the collision; and,
  • You suffered damages because of the crash and your injuries.

The first element is the easiest one to prove because all drivers have a duty to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. By causing a crash, the driver failed in his duty of care. Likewise, proving you suffered injuries caused by the crash can be substantiated through medical records. Proving that the other driver caused the crash (fault) is usually the most difficult element to prove in a car crash case.

Proving Fault in an Accident in Louisiana

To prove fault, we must determine the cause of the accident and identify the party who caused the crash. This process involves a comprehensive investigation to gather evidence to show the other driver did something to cause the crash. For instance, the other driver crossed into oncoming traffic causing a head-on collision, or the driver turned left in front of another vehicle when that driver did not have the right-of-way.

To prove fault, we may take one or more steps while investigating the accident including:

  • Visiting the accident scene to take photographs and make videos.
  • Searching for videos of the accident from nearby video cameras or traffic cameras.
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses.
  • Obtaining and reviewing the police report, including interviewing the police officer.
  • Inspecting each of the vehicles.
  • Hiring an expert accident reconstructionist and/or other experts to recreate how the accident occurred.
  • Examining medical records.

Some crashes are more complex and challenging to investigate. For example, accidents involving multiple vehicles or semi-trucks can be difficult to investigate. The sooner an attorney can begin to investigate the cause of the accident, the better chance you have of recovering evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Memories can fade, and eyewitnesses can relocate making it difficult to find them.

Recovering Compensation for an Accident Claim

Proving fault for an accident opens the door to recovering compensation for damages. However, proving damages can also be complicated, especially when injuries involve soft tissue damage. Working with an experienced Louisiana accident lawyer can give you an advantage because an attorney understands the documentation required to prove damages. An attorney can also give you direction on how to document damages.

Some tips for documenting damages include:

  • Keep copies of all invoices and bills for medical treatment, including hospitalizations, doctors, physical therapists, ambulance service, chiropractors, anesthesiologists, radiologists, etc.
  • Retain all receipts and bills related to medications and medical equipment/supplies
  • Keep track of loss of income, including any bonuses or other incentives you lost because you were unable to work
  • Retain all receipts and other evidence of out-of-pocket expenses such as paying someone to cut the grass, travel expenses, etc.
  • Keep a pain and suffering journal to track your daily pain level, how your injuries impact relationships with others, and how your injuries prevent you from performing daily tasks or enjoying other activities

Your attorney may provide a list of other information he wants you to track to help prove damages. It is essential to work closely with an attorney as you document your damages for an accident claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Metairie and Lafayette

Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer. The Law Offices of Blaine J. Barrilleaux represents clients throughout Louisiana in injury claims against other drivers, companies, government agencies, and other parties who may be responsible for an accident.

Who is Responsible for Damages for a Car Accident in a Leased Vehicle?

Car dealer sales car to the customer and shake his hand

Who is Responsible for Damages for a Car Accident in a Leased Vehicle?

Many drivers are opting to lease a vehicle instead of purchasing the vehicle. There are many advantages to leasing a vehicle, including lower car payments, a new vehicle every few years, a more expensive vehicle, and lower repair costs because the vehicle is under factory warranty during the lease. However, what happens if you are in a car accident in a leased vehicle? Who is responsible for the damages caused by the accident?

The Other Driver Caused the Crash

If another driver caused the crash, that driver’s insurance company should be responsible for paying the damages caused by the crash. The company’s liability would include paying for repairs to the leased vehicle or paying the market value of the vehicle if it was totaled. If the vehicle was totaled, the payment would go directly to the leasing company. The compensation for all other damages should be paid directly to you as with any other car crash claim that was the fault of the other driver.

However, if the other insurance company disputes fault, you may need to contact your insurance company to discuss repairs under your policy.  Leasing companies require that you carry comprehensive and collision coverage just as a lender would require these types of insurance coverage if you purchased the vehicle with a loan. If your insurance company pays for the repairs, it will pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance if that driver was truly at fault.

One of the important things to remember when leasing a vehicle is to purchase adequate insurance coverage. You should discuss all types of automobile insurance, including gap insurance so that you will not be liable for the payment of thousands of dollars to a leasing company in the event of a car crash.

Additional Steps to Take After a Car Accident in a Leased Vehicle

Your first priority, if you are involved in a car accident in a leased vehicle, is the same as it would be in any situation — call 911 and request emergency medical services. You need to protect your health by seeing a doctor as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you document the damage to the vehicle. Taking pictures of the scene of the accident is very important.

After you call your insurance provider to report the accident, you need to contact the leasing company to report the crash. The leasing company may request a copy of the traffic report. However, as with any crash, do not admit fault, even to the leasing company without consulting with a Louisiana car accident attorney.

If the vehicle is not totaled, you need to take the vehicle for estimates to the service facility recommended by the leasing company. The leasing company may also direct you to take the vehicle to a specific service facility for repairs. If for some reason the insurance provider and the leasing company direct you to use different repair shops, you should consult with an attorney before doing anything further. You do not want to breach either the lease agreement or your insurance contract.

Call a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney for Assistance

If you are in a car accident in a leased vehicle, you could face several issues that are not common in accidents involving a purchased vehicle. An accident attorney can help you navigate the complex issues related to car accidents and leased vehicles.

In addition to dealing with the insurance company, you must also deal with the leasing company. The leasing company adds another level of frustration that you must deal with as you try to focus on your recovery. A car accident attorney can guide you through the process while protecting your rights and best interests.

The Law Offices of Blaine J. Barrilleaux assist accident victims throughout Louisiana as they seek compensation for injuries sustained in vehicle-related accidents. Call 337-989-1212 in Lafayette or 504-218-4419 in Metairie. Our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims and their families.

Louisiana Car Accident Caused by Cell Phone

Closeup rear view of late 20's woman driving a car and texting on her cell phone. Smart phone is brand free. Real shot with actual driving and texting, DO NOT DO THIS EVER!

Louisiana Car Accident Caused by Cell Phone

According to a study by Life360, a driving safety service and family location app, Louisiana had the second highest cell phone use by drivers.  The study analyzed data from February and March 2017. Texting while driving is banned in the state and drivers under the age of 16 years may not use a cell phone while driving. However, the state has not passed a law prohibiting handheld cell phone use yet. Therefore, many drivers continue to use cell phones while driving throughout the state.

Unfortunately, a car accident caused by cell phone use can result in traumatic injuries. Common injuries in a cell phone-related car accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Burns and disfigurement
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Death

Individuals who have been injured by a driver using a cell phone may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Filing a personal injury claim is the first step in recovering money for losses, damages, and injuries sustained in a car accident caused by cell phone use.

Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Use

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. Drivers who are not paying attention to the road ahead or the task of driving are dangerous for everyone on the road. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents during 2016. In addition, thousands of people are injured in distraction-related accidents each year.

Texting while driving is one of the worst forms of distracted driving. Texting, posting to social media, sending emails, or any other form of sending and receiving written material is a potentially deadly distraction. When using a cell phone to text, the driver is distracted visually, physically, and cognitively. In other words, the driver takes his eyes off the road, his hands off the steering wheel, and his mind off driving. In just five seconds, the vehicle can travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. That is a long time not to be paying attention to operating the motor vehicle.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident Caused by Cell Phone Use

It may be difficult to prove that the car accident was caused because a driver was using the cell phone. However, through careful investigation, we determine the cause of the crash to prove that you were not responsible. We use physical evidence from the accident scene and the vehicles, eyewitness testimony, medical records, police reports, and the assistance of accident reconstructionists to determine how the crash occurred so we can prove the other driver caused the crash.

Damages in a Car Accident Caused by Cell Phone Use

The economic and noneconomic cost of a car crash because of cell phone use can be significant. For some families, the cost is the loss of a loved one. Because the judicial system cannot undo what has already been done, it provides a way for accident victims and their families to be compensated for their losses and injuries. While a monetary award will not take away the pain, it can help provide a measure of justice as well as ease the financial burden caused by a car crash.

Some of the damages victims may be compensated for in a car accident include:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent impairment
  • Future damages, including ongoing medical treatments, personal care, and loss of income

In addition to proving that the other driver caused the accident, we must prove the level of damages. Therefore, careful documentation is essential to receive full compensation for all damages.

Call for a Free Consultation with a Lafayette Car Accident Attorney

 With nearly 20 years of legal experience and licensed in all state and federal courts, The Law Offices of Blaine J. Barrilleaux can handle all Louisiana car accident cases. Call 337-989-1212 or 504-218-4419 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.