10 Serious Reasons to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident
Many times, if you have been involved in a fender bender, the other driver will plead with you to settle it “between the two of you.” He may warn that your insurance rates will go up. He may offer you cash on the spot.
Don’t do it!
You may be worried that your driving may have played a part in the accident. You may feel like you can handle it all yourself. You may be tempted to take the money or offer some yourself. Think again!
If you have sustained damage to your car, your body or your lifestyle as a result of an accident you should contact an attorney right away. You should get advice about whether it is due to your negligence or that of another driver. If it happened in an unsafe driving situation, or a defective vehicle, you should also contact a lawyer right away.
There are many reasons why you should file a lawsuit immediately, even if you have some doubts about the merits of your claim. A lawyer will explain to you the various pros and cons depending upon your situation. However, often it is to your benefit to file as soon as you can.
Here are ten reasons why it is advantageous to file a lawsuit after a car accident as promptly as possible.
1. The Statute of Limitations
In Louisiana, car accidents are governed by the statute of limitations for personal injury claims: Louisiana Civil Code (CC) Article 3492. This law states that you must file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident.
Do not delay. You may need some time to recover from a physical injury. You may be dealing with the hassle of being without a car or being unable to work. However, retaining a personal injury lawyer who can file suit on your behalf is key to start the process of getting compensated for your injuries and settle any disputes.
It takes a long time to proceed with a lawsuit, and waiting will jeopardize your chances. Evidence can disappear. Memories fade.
By getting your original complaint on the record, you will start moving towards making your life whole again.
Depending on the circumstances of your suit, sometimes your statute of limitations may be even shorter than one year. For example, if you collided with a school bus or police car, you may have an even shorter time limit during which you can file a lawsuit. Filing suits against municipalities and government entities often entails an even tighter time frame.
2. Bolsters Insurance Claims
Pursuing a lawsuit will be simultaneous to your insurance claims. However, the legal process can enhance the chances of receiving your insurance money.
For example, if your insurance company denied coverage, facts unearthed by your attorney may help you appeal that denial. If your insurance company attempts to settle for a nominal amount, your lawyer can help you decide if you have a better chance to get more compensation by going to court.
If your attorney uncovers valuable evidence in discovery, you may be able to use that in your insurance claims.
3. Allows Timely Collection of Evidence
Discovery is the process by which your lawyer will assemble the facts of the case. He can ask for police reports and medical records. He can take a deposition where he will ask the other driver and witnesses questions under oath.
If you think your accident was due to a defect in your car, your attorney will be authorized to seek evidence from the car manufacturer. If your accident was caused by poor construction of a highway or parking facility, he can get architectural records and communications with contractors.
Evidence collected at the scene of the accident or close in time to the event is compelling in court. Evidence collected later can be tampered with.
4. Prevents Obstruction
Sometimes evidence goes missing. If you file promptly, you allow your attorney to question witnesses when their memories are fresh. You allow them to find records and documents before they get lost.
For example, what if you think the construction of a parking garage created limited visibility and contributed to the accident? You want to preserve the scene to show how it supports your claim. You do not want to give the garage owner time to knock down a wall or install mirrors.
Not all reactions by parties to a suit are so willful. Over time people forget details. By obtaining their description close in time to the actual event, you are more likely to get believable testimony that will help your claim.
5. Helps with Medical Claims
Immediately after having an accident, you should call the police. If anyone seems to have suffered a serious injury, you should call an ambulance.
Getting exact medical details of the extent of everyone’s injuries is important as soon as possible. Like evidence, medical issues can change over time.
It has been known to happen that a person who walked away from an accident suddenly shows up in court in a wheelchair. Sometimes injuries do get worse over time, but sometimes it is a ruse to get more money. By filing suit early and getting timely medical diagnoses, you can tell when someone in the accident has been hurt as a result of the accident.
If you file suit early, you can also help set the foundation for the defense to any countersuit by someone who claims you hurt them.
6. Some Injuries Arise Later
You yourself may experience medical issues that are not immediately apparent. Often neck or spinal issues get worse over time. Concussions may not be immediately apparent, but need to be treated right away.
You may also find that injuries from the accident manifest over time. You may experience mental health issues, like PTSD or depression. You may be unable to perform the functions of your job. You may be unable to have sexual relations with your spouse.
All of these losses can be part of your lawsuit. You deserve compensation for all the injuries you have incurred due to someone’s misbehavior.
Early filing helps establish the direct time frame of the accident. This will deter attempts to try to claim more extensive injuries which may, in fact, be due to other factors unrelated to the accident.
7. Supports Disability Claims
If you cannot work due to injuries sustained from an accident, you have the right to sue for lost wages. If your car is destroyed and you cannot get to work, you may also have a similar claim.
If you are litigating a car accident, you will collect documentation of injuries which resulted from the crash. This will be helpful if you need to apply for disability.
8. Can Support Workers Comp, Where Applicable
What if the accident occurred in the course of your employment? You may have a cause of action against your employer.
If you drive a vehicle that belongs to your employer, or if your job requires you to drive under unsafe circumstances, you may be covered by federal and state safety and employment laws.
Some injuries come from the cumulative effect of unsafe working conditions.
Other injuries may come from defective equipment. A truck driver has a responsibility to inspect his equipment, but if his employer threatens him or makes him drive anyway, the employee is protected by OSHA. But these rights have to be asserted right away.
Talk to an attorney if you drive for a living and are involved in an accident while on the job,
9. To Help You Become “Whole”
The objective of a civil suit is to make someone whole. The money at stake is intended to return the person to the state they would have been in if they had not had the accident.
If you lost wages, you ask to be compensated for the money you lost. If you are unable to work, enjoy your hobbies, or maintain your family relationships, the lawsuit aims to restore you as much as possible to your prior state.
Of course, money cannot replace the loss of mobility, or vision, or physical function. but it can pay for treatment. It can also provide for you and your family as you recover.
Even if your actions may have played a part in the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. The court will calculate the percentage for which you are responsible and factor that into the final award.
Many parties to a suit will settle long before they get to trial. A lawyer can help you get money by negotiating an amount which may help you move on with your life.
10. To Help Your Family Who Also May Be Affected
If you are the primary breadwinner in the family, you will want to find a way to provide for them while you recover. Working with an attorney may help you reach a settlement which will help your family get through this tough time as well.
Your attorney may instruct you on causes of action you may not have known were available. For example, if your marriage has suffered due to the accident, you can file a claim for loss of consortium. So can your spouse.
Know Your Rights: File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident Right Away
If you have been involved in a car accident, speak to an attorney right away. They may advise you to file a lawsuit after a car accident in order to preserve evidence, establish your claim within the statute of limitations, and give you an edge in settlement negotiations.
You may have suffered damage to your property, your body, and your life, but there is hope. A lawyer can help you seek compensation for what you have lost. They can prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
If you’ve been injured, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you. Your case and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee. If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 414-6499 or contact us here. Or if you prefer, feel free to take advantage of our live chat system. Get Even. Call Stephen