General Personal Injury FAQs

Q. How do I know if I have a case?

A. In most instances the law provides that if a person or corporation injures another, they are required to compensate that person for their injury. If you feel you have been injured and if you feel that it was someone else's fault, you should consult with our law firm.

After we have had a chance to visit with you and find out what happened, we will be in a better position to discuss with you our feelings concerning whether you have a case or not, or we will investigate the case further to make that determination.

Often a client will feel that due to the facts of the case he or she has no right of recovery, but after a thorough investigation we are able to discover facts that allow recovery.

Even if you are partially at fault in the incident, Louisiana law may allow you to receive a partial recovery for your losses. If you are injured at work, you may have heard that due to worker's compensation, you may not "have a case." Injuries that occur in the workplace are very complex, so you should consult with us immediately because you may have the right to assert a claim against an entity who is not your employer such as a product manufacturer, a different contractor, or under some rare circumstances, you may be able to sue your own employer.

Q. Who can bring a lawsuit?

A. Only certain individuals may bring a lawsuit.

If you are injured, you have the right to bring a suit to be compensated for your pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income and medical expenses.

In a case in which a person dies, the law defines certain classes of persons who are entitled to recover.

See Wrongful Death under Practice Areas.

Q. What types of damages can I expect to recover?

A. If you are injured, you are entitled to the following damages, if proven:

  • Pain & Suffering - The physical pain of the injury itself and any pain you endure after the initial injury during the healing process.
  • Physical Injury - The actual injury itself, such as broken bones, loss of a limb or loss of the sight in an eye. These injuries may no longer cause physical pain and suffering, but may cause an impairment of the person's body which may cause numerous problems for a long period of time.
  • Mental Anguish - The mental pain that occurs to an accident victim due to not being the person they were before the accident and anguish over not being able to do the things that the person could do before the accident.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life - Damages for the loss of the quality of a person's life and not being able to enjoy life due to pain or due to not being able to do the things they did before the injury.
  • Loss of Income and Impairment of Future Earning Capacity - Loss of Income from date of the incident to the present date and into the future, including increases for inflation and productivity and impairment of the ability to earn in the future.
  • Medical Expenses - Past and future medical expenses related to the incident, including doctor and hospital bills, prescription bills, home health care and medical and prosthetic devices.
  • Loss of Consortium - A spouse or children of an injured person have a claim for the impairment of their relationship, including loss of love, comfort or society.

Q. How Long Do I Have to Bring My Lawsuit?

A. The time limit for filing a lawsuit is referred to in Louisiana as "Prescription." You may have heard it referred to as the "Statute of Limitations." Generally in Louisiana an injured person has one year from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. That time limit may be extended in certain cases if the injury or the damages from the injury are not discovered immediately. In these rare cases, the injured person has one year from when he discovers that he has been injured or damages to bring suit.

A person injured in an auto accident has two years to file a claim against his uninsured motorists' insurance company.

The time available to file a claim varies depending on the circumstances of your case. Usually you have one year from the event, but you should never assume you case is too old to file. On the other hand, you don't want to wait too long or it may be too late.

In some cases there is a "discovery rule" which allows a person one year from when he or she "discovers" that he has been injured to file suit.

Also there may be special statutes that apply to your case. For example, if a minor has been sexually abused, he or she may have until 10 years from their 18th birthday to file a claim against the person who sexually abused them.

If you have any questions about when you need to file your case, you should contact us immediately.

Q. What is a contingency fee?

A. Many people refer to the contingency fee as "the key to the courthouse," because most injured people are not financially able to pay an attorney "by the hour" to represent them.

If our firm agrees to represent you on a contingency fee basis, you will be asked to sign a contingency fee contract.

This is a contract between you and our firm in which our firm is paid a fee only if we are successful in recovering money either by settlement or judgment for you. The fee is based on a percentage of the amount recovered.

Our contingency fee percentage varies depending on the complexity of the case, the expenses involved and the possible ultimate recovery. Our firm contingency fees are generally 33 1/3% or 40% of the recovery.

Q. Will my case settle?

A. Many cases settle before trial. Judge Alvin Rubin, one of the finest judges in America, and one of the most beloved professors at the LSU Law Center said it this way: "A case that is prepared to try - will surely settle."

What he meant was this. If the lawyer handling the case has it prepared to go to trial the other side will know that he is prepared and will probably settle the case. What Judge Rubin said is true. Only if your case is properly prepared to go to trial will it be in a position to settle for an amount you consider reasonable.

We will constantly inform you of any offers to settle your case and discuss with you the strength of your claim and our opinion of your chances of winning or losing at trial.

The ultimate decision of whether or not the case should be settled belongs to you.

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