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 interests.

     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 you.”

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 for costs?

     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.




     If you have any of the following questions and want a more detailed report concerning these problems, you can either call us at (318) 221-8261 and leave your name and address on a voice mail and we will send you a report, or go to the contact section of this website and provide us with your e-mail address or your name and street address and we will send you a report. Free reports that are available are as follows:

  • My Car Is Wrecked, What Does The Insurance Company Owe Me?

  • I Have Been A Car Wreck, How Can I Pay My Medical Bills?

  • What Do I Do If The Person Who Caused My Wreck Does Not Have Insurance Or Does Not Have Enough Insurance To Cover My Damages?

© 2007 J. Patrick Hennessy