Personal Injury Attorney in Bossier City

Personal Injury Attorney Practices

Table of Contents

An injury takes a physical and emotional toll, not just on the injured person but on their loved ones as well. Besides trying to recover and heal from the injury, you also have to consider the costs incurred. Some cases require more than painkillers or prescription medication and need physical therapy and other long-term treatments.

You cannot rely on insurance companies to have your best interests at heart. After all, adjustors will also be looking after their employers. If you’ve been wounded in a fall, involved in a car accident, or otherwise hurt through another’s fault, it’s best to consult a Louisiana personal injury lawyer. A skilled attorney will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

Personal injury attorney bossier city

What Does the Law Say About Personal Injury?

Many injuries due to other people’s actions are unintentional. However, just because they didn’t mean to harm doesn’t mean these persons are not responsible. They must still face the consequences of their actions. If you are injured in an accident, you may charge the one responsible with negligence.

Car, pedestrian, and commercial truck accidents, slips and falls, accidents due to poor building maintenance, and the like fall under negligence. In situations like these, one might reasonably say that the person at fault did not intend to harm the injured individual. However, they failed to protect them, a negligent act, which resulted in the injury.

These cases can only be successful when the defendant had a duty or responsibility to the injured person. Keep reading for a breakdown of why this is a vital aspect of the case.

Why Is Duty of Care Crucial?

Storekeepers, business owners, and drivers are all people with a duty to protect others. Business owners and storekeepers must ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable stay at the establishment; a driver needs to ensure safety on the road. Failing to protect store visitors, pedestrians, motorists, or passengers means breaking that duty, and the injured person has the right to compensation in that case.

Exception for Awarding Damages

A situation where there is an exception for awarding damages is if the incident was intentional and considered a criminal act. The prosecution of the incident as a criminal act is separate from any trials in civil lawsuits. Criminal and civil courts are separate entities. If another person willfully causes you harm, you can seek compensation in a civil, not criminal court—this covers battery and other purposeful acts of violence.

In Louisiana, when a crime results in a personal injury, such as assault, sexual abuse, or kidnapping, the person harmed must file a lawsuit on their initiative—criminal courts cannot order defendants to compensate the plaintiff. As such, you need an experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer, like Christopher Stahl, who knows the nuances of criminal and civil law.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

Attorneys who have handled personal injury cases know the different ways courts weigh in on claims of negligence. A lawyer will have nuanced and in-depth knowledge of how people are expected to act and the specific duty of care that they should have displayed. From car accidents to medical malpractice cases, you can count on a personal injury lawyer to know what parts of the law are applicable in your case.

For example, if you are a car accident victim, it does not mean you will be fully compensated for your losses. In Louisiana, there is something called the “pure comparative negligence” doctrine. It requires the court to weigh the facts of the case and determine whether the plaintiff is partially at fault for their injuries. If so, the award for damages is reduced—if you sought $5,000 in damages and are found 50 percent at fault, you can only recover $2,500.

Handling Strict Liability Claims

An experienced lawyer can also help you with strict liability claims. These are situations where the person with duty of care uses the appropriate safety measures but still leaves someone injured. Plaintiffs raise strict liability claims against defective products that cause injuries to consumers or homeowners who do not remove safety hazards in their property and subsequently injure a guest.

This type of claim also covers specific injuries caused by domestic pets. There is a “one-bite” rule in Louisiana stating that dog owners are liable for injuries that their dog caused, even if it is the first time the dog bit a person.

Handling Cases against Tourists

At times, visitors to Louisiana can injure or be injured during their visit. Filing a lawsuit against a resident from out of state complicates several things. For one, the state court typically hears a personal injury case. However, when the defendant is from out of state, the case could go to the federal court. If the underlying basis for the claim involves federal law, the case is also out of state courts’ jurisdiction.

The place where a case gets tried can have consequences on the results. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is different in state and federal courts. In Louisiana, you have one year from your date of injury to file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, you have a two-year limit in federal courts.

Typically, whether in a state or federal court, if a personal injury occurs in Louisiana and involves a state resident, a Louisiana court will likely handle it. Nevertheless, the many possible defenses, types of personal injury claims, and filing logistics can turn this type of case more complex than it would typically be. What’s more, if you make any mistakes in the process, you could lose part (or even all) of the amount the other party owes you.

Filing a Claim

Whether an injury is due to an accident or an intentional act, you only have a limited time to file a claim. According to the Louisiana Civil Code 3492, plaintiffs only have one year from the date of the incident to file a claim of personal injury due to negligence. As such, you need to work with someone who knows the system very well. You cannot waste time compiling documents.

If you work with a knowledgeable attorney, you increase your chances of success. They can help you assess your case correctly, calculate the amount of damages the other party owes you, file your lawsuit in the proper court, and represent you during the trial.

They can also provide you a good overview of what you stand to gain (or lose if you don’t push through with the case). For example, a personal injury action arising from a crime, like a robbery, stalking, home invasion, aggravated battery, or assault, has two years’ liberative prescription. It means if you don’t press charges within the statute of limitations, you cannot file for the same within two years. For acts of sexual assault, the liberative prescription is at least three years, according to LSA 46:2184.

Time limitations can vary according to the act and the victim’s age. When you consult a personal injury lawyer, you will have all the information you need to make a sound decision.

How Much Your Claim is Worth

The value of your claim depends on the number and extent of the damages suffered. The more damages and the more expensive they are, the more valuable the claim becomes. There are different types of personal injury damages. Here are some of them:

personal injury claim application form

Medical Expenses Incurred

This claim refers to all past, current, and future medical expenses related to the treatment of your injuries. Blood tests, MRIs, X-rays, surgery, and prescription medications are some of the most frequently cited expenses. However, plaintiffs might also claim coverage for physical therapy, bills from stays in medical facilities, fees for emergency transportation, copays for doctors and specialists, in-home care, and medical equipment like wheelchairs and crutches.

Wages Lost Due to the Accident

In some instances, the injury can cause people to miss work. It might be because they’re receiving medical treatments or because they are physically or mentally unable to complete work-related tasks. Whichever it may be, workers can file a personal injury suit and receive compensation for wages missed due to their injuries.

Property Damage Incurred

This claim often applies to defective product lawsuits or cases involving traffic accidents. It also covers damage to residences or other personal property due to another person’s negligence. For example, if you sustain injuries in an accident, you can receive compensation for repairs or replacement for your car.

Coverage for Other Expenses

Often, a personal injury prevents people from fulfilling various responsibilities like cleaning their home or taking their children to school. You can obtain compensation if you have had to hire cleaners, drivers, or other service providers to do things you could before the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Some personal injuries also result in damages without a set monetary value attached. Physical pain, depression and anxiety, other mental health issues, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of companionship, and other social, psychological, or physical forms of damage fall under this category.

Wrongful Death

Filing a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one killed by negligence may entitle you to funeral and burial expenses, damages for lost insurance and retirement benefits, lost wages your loved one would have earned, and non-economic damages like loss of care, guidance, emotional support, and companionship.

The Amount of Compensation You Can Recover

When you file an insurance claim, you don’t automatically get the amount you specified. The compensation you get will depend on the limits of the insurance policy covering your claim. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney will clarify the details.

For example, there is a cap on damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, but there is none for other types of personal injury cases. So, there’s no theoretical limit to the compensation you can recover in these types of cases. In Louisiana, the damage cap for medical malpractice is $500,000 in addition to future medical care, treatments, and other costs. It means you cannot claim an amount beyond $500,000 for current expenses.

For Persons Partially at-Fault for the Injury

Often, victims in a personal injury case bear a certain level of responsibility for the injuries they sustain. In other states, you cannot recover your compensation if the court finds you responsible for the incident above a certain percentage. In Louisiana, though, the state’s comparative fault law puts no restrictions on claims.

You could lose part of the compensation award based on your percentage of fault. According to Louisiana CC 2323, if you have a $100,000 award and bear 40 percent of the responsibility, you will end up receiving $60,000 instead of the total amount.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents can change people’s lives forever, and even seemingly minor ones have unforeseen ripple effects and consequences. For one, there are so many expenses associated with recovering from an injury, from the initial cost of getting oneself to the emergency room to doctor’s fees, physical therapy, medications, and specialized equipment.

Recovering from an injury could mean thousands of dollars spent on medical bills and related costs, and not everyone can pay for that. What’s more, persons who suffer injuries might have to miss work, which will affect their capacity to earn. At times, full recoveries prove to be impossible.

Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Stahl

Hiring a Louisiana personal injury lawyer takes a load off your back. When you have an attorney, you can rest easy knowing that the paperwork and documentation are all in good hands. With proper legal representation, like what the law office of Christopher Stahl provides, you will be able to focus on recovering and moving on from this incident.
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