Q. I have been in a
serious car wreck, do I need a lawyer?
Absolutely, yes. You should at least consult with a
lawyer. The world in general has become increasingly
complicated. If you have been in a car wreck and you are dealing
with an insurance adjuster, you can be assured that he is
trained to protect the insurance company. It is not his job to
see that you are treated fairly, and it is his job to pay the
least possible amount of money to you. It makes no sense to
conclude that insurance companies are concerned with your best
If you have a plumbing problem, you should call a
plumber. An electrical problem, you should call an electrician.
If you have a legal problem, you should call a lawyer. I
recently had a flat tire on my car. It took me thirty minutes to
find the jack, jack the car up, remove the tire, and put a new
tire on the car. After I changed the tire, I took the car to the
tire shop, who took a few minutes to take off the spare and put
on the new tire. He could change a tire more quickly because he
had training, experience, and better equipment. When I commented
on how long it took me to do the same thing, he simply said,
“Leave the tire changing to me and I’ll leave the lawyering to
Q. How do I pick a lawyer?
The practice of law has become increasingly
complicated. It is not reasonable to expect a lawyer to be able
to handle every problem a client might have. Lawyers now
specialize. This firm specializes in car wrecks, consumer class
actions, and business litigation. We do not handle divorces,
bankruptcies, wills, estates, worker’s compensation, or social
security disability cases.
If you have been in a serious car wreck, the first
thing you should find is a lawyer who specializes in that type
of case. Years ago, the best way to find a lawyer who
specialized in a particular type of matter was to ask another
lawyer. That is probably still the best way. If you have a
relationship with a lawyer, ask him for the name of a lawyer who
is suited to handle your case.
Q. Are trial lawyers
certified like doctors?
The Louisiana Bar Association does certify lawyers in
certain matters but not as personal injury trial lawyers. There
are certain organizations a personal injury trial lawyer should
belong to, including the American Association for Justice and
the Louisiana Association for Justice. Trial lawyers can
voluntarily test and become board certified as a Civil Trial
Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates. Lawyers are
also rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Any lawyer you choose should
certainly have at least a CV rating. The best and most
experienced lawyers have an AV rating.
Q. How long do I have to
pursue my claim?
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit or
you will in all likelihood lose any right you might have to
recover for your injuries. Your time is limited by what are
called in other states “statutes of limitations”. In Louisiana,
the time limit is controlled by what is called “prescription”.
The time you have can vary from one case to another but, to be
safe, you should always assume that you have no more than one
year from the date of your wreck to file suit. It is not enough
that you have made a claim against an insurance company or that
you are negotiating a settlement with an insurance company. To
stop prescription, you should assume that you must file a
lawsuit within one (1) year of the wreck.
Q. Do you handle personal injury
cases other can car wrecks?
Yes. We have handled and continue to handle many types
of personal injury cases. We do not handle worker’s compensation
cases and social security disability cases. Otherwise, if you
have been injured through the fault of some other person or
product and you think you are entitled to be compensated,
contact us. We will be happy to consult with you at no expense
or charge to you.
Q. What should I expect to
pay an attorney for his services?
Most car wreck cases are handled on a contingency
basis. This means that you will not be required to pay
attorney’s fees unless money is recovered on your behalf. For a
typical car wreck, this firm customarily will pay court costs
and will then divide any recovery two-thirds to the client and
one-third to the firm. The fee arrangement can vary, however,
depending on the facts of your particular case.
Q. Will I be responsible
The cost associated with car wrecks can sometimes be
significant. There are court costs, copying expenses, travel
expenses, expert expenses, expenses of investigation, and
deposition costs, to name a few. If this firm accepts your case,
we will be responsible for the court costs and will be
reimbursed for those court costs only out of any recovery you
receive. In other words, if we accept the case, we will pay the
court costs and you will only be responsible for court costs if
you recover from the person who caused your injury.
Q. Will I be required to
sign a contract with the attorney?
Louisiana law requires a written contract between the
attorney and the client. It is improper for a Louisiana attorney
to undertake your representation unless and until he has a
written employment contract.
Q. If I hire you as my
attorney, what will be required of me?
If we are hired to represent you, we will undertake the
investigation and prosecution of the case. We will obtain
accident reports, do whatever investigation is necessary, and
hire any experts which are needed. We will also obtain your
medical records from your health care providers. You may be
required to give an oral statement, to assist in answering
interrogatories (questions posed by the defendant during
litigation), to give a deposition (a formal statement required
during the litigation process), and if the matter goes to court,
you will be required attend and testify in court. We will advise
and assist you with regard to each of these matters and be
present and defend you in connection with any statements,
depositions, or court testimony.
Q. What am I entitled to
recover in the way of damages?
If you are injured in a car wreck through the fault of
some other person, you are generally entitled to recover past
and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, past
and future pain and suffering and inconvenience, as well as
recovery for disability and loss of enjoyment of life. If your
injury is serious enough, your spouse and your children also may
be entitled to recover for loss of consortium. Additionally, you
are entitled to recover any property damage you have suffered
including damages to your car and loss of or damage to other
property. Damages, obviously, will vary considerably depending
on the injuries you have suffered in the wreck.