Do I Have a Case?

Accidents are unexpected, unfortunate incidents that sometimes result in damage or injury. But what you do after an accident shouldn’t be left to chance or circumstance.

If you’ve been injured, the first step toward recovery is determining if you have a case. This step-by-step guide can help you weigh your options.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain what makes a viable personal injury case.

Four Basic Questions

To get started, answer the four questions in the infographic below. If you answer ‘yes’ to all four questions, you may have a viable injury case.

 

 

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

The four questions above represent the foundation of most injury claims: 

  • The first question is about negligence. Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate or expected care in a specific circumstance. In tort law, people are expected to exercise reasonable care in their actions. The failure to do so could result in a negligence claim.
  • The second question is about damages. In order to bring a viable injury case forward a victim must prove that real damage was suffered. For example, if someone’s dog gets loose but the dog doesn’t damage any property or hurt anyone, no damage or injury can be claimed. Damage can include financial loss, injury, or death.
  • The third question is about evidence. To successfully recover damages, victims typically need a record of the incident and related expenses (e.g., police report, medical bills, medical records, etc.).
  • Lastly, the fourth question is about the extent of damages. It’s common for victims to accept an insurance settlement before they realize the full extent of their damage or injury. This is commonly referred to as short money, because it falls short of the total a victim would need to fully recover.

Louisiana Statutes of Limitations

In almost all Louisiana civil claims, the victim, also called the plaintiff, has one year to file a formal lawsuit—that’s not a lot of time. Louisiana’s one year limitation applies to car accidents, slips and falls, or any instance in which someone else’s negligence caused the harm.

There are, however, rare exceptions to this rule. For example, injuries resulting from a defective product may not be known to the victim at the time of injury. Moreover, minors involved in an accident may be able to step outside the one year time limit.

Louisiana’s statute of limitations also specifies how much compensation is available for certain types of injuries. Medical malpractice, for example, has a damage cap set at $500,000.

There is no damage cap for personal injury cases that do not involve medical malpractice.

Comparative Fault in Louisiana

Every state has its own way of dealing with injury cases when the claimant shares some responsibility for the accident, damage, or injury.

Louisiana follows pure comparative negligence, which allows an injured party to recover damages, even when he or she is primarily (more than 50 percent) at fault for the accident, damage, or injury.

Comparative fault laws only apply if the claim becomes a formal civil lawsuit. If this occurs, a Louisiana court will take into account who is responsible and to what extent and allocate damages accordingly.

For example, if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 but he or she is found to be 60 percent at fault, the plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by 60 percent. The plaintiff’s compensation total is now $40,000.

However, most claims don’t go to trail; it’s much more likely that the case will settle in negotiations. And since there’s no specific way to allocate fault, compensation is generally determined by the victim’s negotiation skills.

Why Representation Matters

Picking a personal injury lawyer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make following an accident. Moreover, choosing to work with an attorney increases the likelihood of a comprehensive settlement amount.

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, why go it alone when you don’t have to?

An attorney can help guide you through Louisiana’s complex legal system, negotiate with insurance adjusters and give you the space you need to focus on what really matters: recovery.

If you’ve been injured, or if you’re still not sure if you have a case, call our Lake Charles office at 337-240-9349 for a complimentary consultation, or contact us online.

 

Our attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything until we win your case!

 

 

When Do Defective Products Get Recalled?

Defective products and recalls are not synonymous terms: the former is often the result of an absent or ineffective recall; the latter is a process initiated by a manufacturer when a product poses a public safety risk.

Below, the personal injury lawyers from Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explore the differences between product recalls and defective products, how to avoid dangerous products, and what to do if a defective product causes injury. Continue reading “When Do Defective Products Get Recalled?”

SSD Denial: What You Need To Know

frustrated-woman-paperwork

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD, is a government-funded program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The program is funded by payroll tax contributions; it covers every employee paying into social security.

However, just because you’ve been injured doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get SSD benefits.

In fact, the majority of Louisiana’s SSD applicants are denied benefits during the application process—approximately 65 percent of initial claims are denied.

Rejected claims are typically the result of missing records, improper filing, or lack of legal advocacy.

If your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have been denied, don’t panic. Below, the social security disability lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain Louisiana’s SSD appeals process.   Continue reading “SSD Denial: What You Need To Know”

The Cost Of Offshore Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction industries have a collective fatality rate seven times higher than all other U.S. workers.

Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are overrepresented by oil and gas extraction fatalities; however, the public rarely hears about these accidents unless a significant disaster occurs.

Below, the maritime injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss how these devastating accidents impact families and our community. Continue reading “The Cost Of Offshore Injuries”

Texting And Driving Statistics

Cell phone use while driving is a problem in Louisiana: according to one report, nearly half of all drives in Louisiana include unsafe phone use—that’s more than any other state.

When drivers get distracted, people get hurt. And when people get hurt in Louisiana, the lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help. Our car accident attorneys know how devastating a crash can be, especially one caused by a distracted driver.

Below, we’ve outlined state texting laws as well as important facts and statistics to underscore the importance of focused driving.

Share this information with your family and friends (especially teen drivers) to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Continue reading “Texting And Driving Statistics”

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

In September, The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), an influential advocacy group raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States.

This annual report evaluates state liability systems through the economic lenses of corporate America and attempts to persuade state and federal changes through pragmatic research and reporting.

According to the report, the New Orleans or Orleans Parish in Louisiana ranks last among all states for its liability system. Continue reading “Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer”

Louisiana HS Football Participation Increases While National Numbers Decline

As the national number of high school football players decreases, states like Louisiana are actually seeing an increase in high school football participation.

Since 2014, nationwide participation in high school football dropped 2.3 percent; in Louisiana, however, participation reached an all-time high in 2015. Continue reading “Louisiana HS Football Participation Increases While National Numbers Decline”

The Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action Lawsuits

Taking on a corporation to receive compensation for an injury is as intimidating as it gets. Pharmaceutical and consumer product companies seem to have an endless supply of resources to suppress and dismiss individual cases.

So, what are people supposed to do if they’ve legitimately suffered harm?

Class actions and mass torts are common procedural actions used to implement corporate change or discipline on behalf of large groups of victims. In theory, these actions help expedite court cases and ensure individual victims receive fair representation.

While class action and mass tort are often used interchangeably, they are not the same type of procedural action, and they serve very different functions for individual victims. Continue reading “The Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action Lawsuits”