Disabilities can occur for a wide range of reasons, but for many people, serious injuries sustained in an auto accident may be the root cause. Serious injuries, such as those sustained in a car or other automotive accident can often leave injury victims in an extremely difficult position, unable to work or support themselves independently.
Those who have suffered a personal injury caused by someone else shouldn't have to pay for the costs on their own. If you have been the victim of a serious injury caused by someone else in Louisiana, attorney Loyd J. Bourgeois understands how dramatically your life may have been impacted as a result, and he works to help those who have suffered disabling injuries to pursue the financial support and compensation they need.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in Louisiana?
The insurance company has a team of lawyers, why don't you?
If you have suffered an injury rendering you temporarily or permanently disabled, attorney Loyd J. Bourgeois is fully prepared to help you fight for justice.
I want you to take everything you think you know about Louisiana personal injury lawyers and throw those notions out the window. At my firm, we welcome you in as part of the family and fight for you like one of our own. We accept only a limited number of cases each year because we want to ensure you receive the time and attention you deserve.
When you are injured in a car accident in South Louisiana, you don't just need a lawyer—you need a trustworthy advocate and confidant who will understand the physical pain and stress you are experiencing. You need someone whose only interest is your best interest. Someone who will fight hard for you against the big bullies of the world – like insurance companies.
How Much Does an Injury Lawyer Cost?
I do not believe in charging clients a fee if they receive no benefit. For that reason, I handle almost all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay anything unless I recover money for you.
I understand that the legal aspects of your case may be unfamiliar, which is why I have filled my website with helpful, educational information. Whether or not you're ready to speak with us about your accident, you are more than welcome to browse my article library, blog, frequently asked questions, news articles, or our videos.
What Does A Personal Injury Attorney Do?
While I am unable to speak for all personal injury attorneys, I can generally explain what I do for my own clients. Again each case is different, but a typical personal injury case, prepared properly, will require much or all of the following:
- Conduct an initial interview to get acquainted with the client;
- Learn the facts of the case;
- Learn about the potential defendants;
- Learn about my client’s injuries;
- Identify treating physicians, witnesses, etc.;
- Teach and educate the client about the litigation process in personal injury claims;
- Locate and gather all important initial documents and records to support the claim (these will typically include medical records and bills, accident report, past and current employment records and tax returns, among others);
- Obtain witness statements;
- Obtain physical evidence;
- Take or obtain photographs or diagrams of the accident scene;
- Investigate to determine who will be the appropriate defendants;
- Investigate to determine all potential sources of insurance coverage;
- Obtain, read and analyze all applicable insurance policies to determine all available coverage for the client’s damages;
- Evaluate client’s own insurance coverage;
- Suggest what coverages client may purchase for future protection;
- Examine the client’s health insurance, governmental or another benefit plan to determine whether any money they paid for accident-related medical bills must legally be repaid;
- If necessary, negotiate the amount to be repaid, if any, from any recovery to health insurers.
- Conferences with the client’s treating physicians in order to fully understand the client’s medical diagnosis and prognosis;
- Obtain reports or specific statements from client’s doctors on medical causation, diagnosis, and prognosis;
- Research, hire and obtain experts needed to support the client’s claim;
- Evaluate and research all legal issues that affect the case;
- Initiate contact with and periodically discuss with the insurance adjuster the client’s claim;
- Ensure insurance company has necessary information to set appropriate reserves;
- Discuss and make recommendation to client about settlement amounts based on specific facts of case;
- Negotiate with the insurance adjuster to attempt settlement of the claim prior to filing a lawsuit;
- Determine all courts where the suit can be filed, and determine which court is best;
- Preparing and draft the petition or complaint;
- Determine the exact names and addresses of the defendants as well as their agents for service of process, if any, so that the petition or complaint can be properly served.
- File and arrange for personal service of the petition or complaint upon the defendants as the law requires.
- Prepare, draft and issue written discovery questions including interrogatories, request for production of documents, and requests for admission of facts for the defendants to answer under oath;
- Respond to interrogatories, request for production of documents and request for admissions issued by the defendants to the client;
- Fully educate and prepare the client for deposition;
- Prepare notices of deposition for all witnesses we will depose;
- Prepare for and take the depositions of the defendants, independent fact witnesses, insurance company personnel, physicians or other expert witnesses;
- Meet with the client’s treating physicians to prepare them for deposition;
- Discuss with the client what to expect and otherwise prepare the client for any medical examination to be conducted by the defendants’ medical experts;
- Review, analyze and summarize all records, and bills from the client’s treating physicians and other healthcare providers;
- Prepare expert witnesses hired for their depositions;
- Review and evaluate all expert reports;
- File all necessary documents and pleadings in court as required;
- Prepare necessary motions for summary judgment;
- Prepare and respond to all defense motions;
- Prepare and argue any motions on evidence for trial;
- Prepare the client, physicians, expert and other witnesses for trial testimony;
- Organize and compile all medical records, bills and other written or exhibits for trial;
- Prepare enlargements of certain exhibits for display to the jury;
- Prepare models, timelines, charts, diagrams or other demonstrative evidence for trial;
- Prepare for and attend mediation if the case is mediated;
- Prepare and have served subpoenas upon all witnesses to command attendance at trial;
- Prepare and conduct for jury selection;
- Prepare and give opening statements;
- Prepare and take all testimony;
- Prepare and argue necessary trial motions;
- Prepare and give closing arguments;
- Try the case before a judge or jury;
- Evaluate the verdict rendered and research any new legal issues that arise during the course of trial;
- Draft any post-trial briefs or motions;
- Obtain trial transcripts and examine the trial record to determine if an appeal is warranted;
- Research and draft all briefs required if an appeal is filed by either side.
There may be other items necessary in any particular case and some of these items may take multiple steps. Your personal injury attorney should keep you advised about the progress of your case throughout this process.
Likewise, you should keep your attorney fully aware of any medical treatment or other developments relating to your injury. You and your attorney should stay on the same page regarding the progress of your case.
Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
In my opinion, some small injury cases do not require a personal injury lawyer in Louisiana.
How do you know if your case is a small injury case?
Some things I see in small personal injury cases:
- minimal impact;
- limited or no doctor visits; or
- no ongoing treatment or limitations after a few weeks.
My office usually does not get involved in cases with very minor injuries requiring only a visit or two to the doctor because doing so is usually not cost-effective for you or us.
The amount of damages at issue in these smaller cases is not that much, and after paying an attorney’s fee and your medical bills, you may be left with very little or nothing. This is simply not fair to you.
When settling on your own after an auto accident, you need to collect your medical records, evidence of your lost wages (including sick days and paid time off), details about the accident, and evidence of liability.
It is important if you are handling your case after a car accident that Louisiana has a one-year prescription period, this is commonly known as the statute of limitations. You need to negotiate a settlement before this one-year mark passes or you may lose your rights to recover your damages.
When Should a Personal Injury Lawyer Be Used?
However, for more serious and disabling injuries, accident victims will usually benefit from having an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney represent them. Why?
An experienced accident and injury attorney is knowledgeable about legal authority and knows how to effectively utilize the court system.
In some cases, an insurance company will only make their best offer with a trial date approaching.
An experienced personal injury attorney can effectively prepare you and your case for trial, and try your case to a judge or jury if need be.
And – in 1999, the Insurance Research Council (an insurance industry non-profit) found that injured people who used an attorney received, on average, three and a half times more in settlement money than those who settled without hiring an attorney. This is not just lawyer talk.
The insurance industry’s own data shows how important having an attorney is for injured victims. Ever wonder why the insurance industry hates lawyers – because lawyers hold them accountable for the damages their insureds cause.
So, do you need an attorney to get a fair settlement for your claim? Maybe not – if your injury is minor and your damages are small.
But, if you have serious or disabling damages, the insurance industry’s own data suggests – hiring a lawyer may be a good idea.
What is a Disabling Injury?
An injury case is any case where a catastrophic injury occurs due to an automobile crash, 18-wheeler crash, slip-and-fall, workplace injury, or other torts.
A disabling injury case is any injury case that requires hospitalization and an extended period of treatment or time off from work.
For example, if you are involved in a crash with another vehicle on Hwy 90 in St. Charles Parish, and as a result, you have significant back pain, you may have a disabling injury. If you are hit from behind on River Road and tear your rotator cuff, requiring surgery and physical therapy, you may have a disabling injury. Let’s say you work on the river and are involved in an incident that causes head trauma – you may have a disabling injury.
If you or someone you love were in an accident and suffered a disabling personal injury that requires hospitalization and you missed work, give us a call at LJBLegal at 985-240-9773. We have the experience to guide you through this difficult process and advise you on both the injury aspects of your claim and the disability aspects of your claim.