After a car accident in Louisiana, you will end up having to handle some new people in your life. Two of those will be insurance adjusters - your own and the other driver's. Additionally, you may be interested in contacting a Louisiana accident and injury attorney.
Between the adjuster and a lawyer, you will first deal with the adjuster.
As a matter of fact, the other driver's insurance agent may contact you within a day or so about your case.
That's not a long time when you consider that you are probably still reeling from having been in an accident and trying to figure out exactly what happened. After all, right now you're probably dealing with your injuries, scheduling doctors' appointments, and figuring out how you will be able to get back to as normal a life as possible.
Two Truths you need to know about dealing with insurance adjusters after a car accident in Louisiana
- You may be offered a "quick settlement" on your case. We've heard of adjusters contacting people in the hospital!
Usually, they'll offer you a smaller amount of money than you would expect and say something like, "If you hire an attorney, they're just going to take 40% of the fee from you."
This is actually a two-part lie. First, one of the reasons you may want to hire an attorney to represent you is to try and get a fair settlement for you and your loved ones.
That's one of the reasons that lawyers are so important. Our job is to be your advocate and fight the insurance company for a fair settlement - we get between the adjuster and you to protect you and handle the day-to-day work needed to settle (or if push comes to shove, prepare for trial).
The second part of this lie is that many firms don't charge a 40% fee to handle a routine car accident case – most are 1/3 or 33-1/3%! At my firm (Loyd J. Bourgeois, LLC) we actually have a tiered fee in which we collect less if the case settles early (25% if settled before we have to file a lawsuit) and usually only collect our highest fee of if the case actually goes or gets close to going to trial.
Plus, if the insurance company has already given you an offer – we don’t take a fee on the amount they offered in writing. So- really, there is no risk to you to have an attorney involved in your case.
- You have up to one year after your accident to file your lawsuit. So when the adjuster tells you that it is in your best interest to settle quickly, he or she is just not telling you the truth.
Here is the truth about why you don't want to settle fast: you are trying to recover the money needed to pay back any medical bills you may have while dealing with your injuries.
If you settle fast, you risk losing out on getting money paid back from physical therapy or other procedures you may need in the future stemming from the accident. You'll end up paying for the additional care on your own if you settle early.
Unfortunately, if you have already signed a release form with the insurance company, you’ve lost the ability to pursue legal action against either the at-fault driver, their insurance carrier, and possibly your own UM insurance.
The best possible scenario is to avoid this situation altogether, which you can do by not signing the release form until you have absolute medical clearance from your doctor that you are finished with treatment.
Many times people are optimistic that their pain will get better with time, and it's only later that they realize that they have a chronic injury.
If your injuries are of the type that will require future treatment(s), you need to take this into account in any settlement or resolution.
Ultimately, it is up to you to make smart choices about your case and to protect yourself from the tricks of some insurance adjusters.