Personal Injury FAQ
Do I have to pay you any money when I hire you? ?
No. You pay if your case is resolved favorably. The Law Offices of Dwayne Burrell deals with personal injury cases on a 100% contingency fee basis. Our law firm is compensated only if we obtain a financial recovery for you.
How long do I have to bring a case? ?
You must file your case within the prescription period fixed by our laws. In Louisiana, such prescription period for personal injury cases is ONE YEAR from the date of the accident. For medical malpractice, the period is a bit tricky. You should consult with a lawyer ASAP after an incident so that you can preserve your right to be made whole.
How is a decision made regarding whether to accept a settlement or go to trial? ?
You will meet with our team to discuss together what would be best for you and your family. The decision will ultimately be your decision to make. Our team will certainly advise your throughout the process and through our experience, help you make the best decision for you and your case.
Under what circumstance am I able to recover damages as a result of an accident in Louisiana? ?
To recover damages as a result of an accident or medical malpractice in Louisiana you must have suffered an injury to your person or property as the result of someone else's negligence. The person or company who caused the harm must be at fault for the accident. It's not enough that the other person was ticketed for the accident. The insurance company have a right, and typically exercise such right to investigate the accident on their own and whether or not they will voluntarily pay for the damages.
Medical Malpractice is different. Not only must the medical person must be at fault, Louisiana has enacted the Medical Malpractice Act which requires the complaining party to assert such claim within 1 year to a medical review panel. Only after presenting the case to the medical review panel can you then file suit. The MMA also limits recovery to $500,000 (cap).
If I was injured in an accident that was from the fault of someone else, how are my damages calculated? ?
Damages in a Louisiana personal injury cases consist of three primary categories: medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This money is intended to restore your loss and is generally not subject to federal or state taxation.
If the party was under the influence of alcohol, you can then recover for punitive (punish) damages, which can sometimes be large in sum.
What do you mean by personal injury? What sorts of cases does this include? ?
Personal injury is a broad term that means any kind of accident that leads to bodily injury. Check here for the specific areas of Personal Injury our law office focuses on representing.
What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and do I have it? ?
In Louisiana, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies in two general situations: (1) Uninsured: the at-fault driver has no liability insurance, and (2) Underinsured: where the at-fault driver has insufficient liability insurance limits. Essentially uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is insurance coverage that covers your accident just as your liability insurance provides compensation for the people that you might injure through careless driving. This coverage typically extends to family members who live with you and anyone who is injured in your vehicle.
How much is my case worth? ?
Predicting the trial value of any Louisiana personal injury case is impossible. There are many factors that can affect the value of a case. Your attorney can only give you a general idea of the value of your case based on cases we have handled with similar injuries and through quantum studies. That said, our lawyers generally are able to give our clients a settlement range that they can reasonably expect after our lawyers have reviewed the client's personal injury case.
How long will my case take to be resolved? ?
It's essentially impossible to guess how long it will take to settle a particular case. It depends on the insurance company on the other side of the table, the willingness for the at-fault driver/insurance company to admit liability, among many other factors. With that being said, we strive to settle cases as quickly as possibly so that you can be restored, as much as the system allows, back to how you were before the accident.
Will I have to go to court? ?
If we are unable to reach a settlement offer, our team will take your case to trial. In most cases, the choice will be yours because the other side usually make some settlement offer, even if it's very low. Because our team carefully screen personal injury cases, most of our clients receive reasonable offers to settle the case before making it to trial.
How much of my time will bring a claim take? ?
Your personal injury claim will not require much of your time, unless of course we have to go to trial. After the initial interview, our team will do almost all of the work for you. Your job is to recover. If we do make it to trial, things certainly change. We would need to meet with you to prepare you for trial.
Do I still have a claim if my medical bills were paid by insurance? ?
Under the collateral source rule in Louisiana, you are entitled to be compensated for your medical bills regardless of whether or not they have been paid by your health insurance. The law does not punish one for protecting themselves on the front end by obtaining medical insurance. The premiums you have paid is what ultimately allowed you to have those bills paid. You pay premiums for your medical insurance and the benefit derived therefrom is for your benefit.
If your medical bills were paid by medicaid or medicare, the answer is different. Why typically you will be allowed to recover for those bills, medicaid an/or medicare will usually place a lien on your settlement. Our team have experience with dealing with such liens and resolving them as to not slow down the settlement process.
How long will it take for me to receive a financial recovery in my case? ?
As discussed above, it's impossible to predict when your case will settle.
pon reaching a settlement, we are required to place the funds in a IOLTA Trust Account. So, we will typically call our client in when the check has arrived and have them sign both a settlement statement, breaking down fees, and the check. We will then place the check into the client trust account. Once the check clears, we can then write you a check for your portion of the funds. We have no control over the process. It is one in which we MUST follow.
Do you handle big rig truck collision cases? ?
Yes, we handle tort claims involving truck accidents. The same issues arise in big rig truck collisions except of course the amount at stake. Since big rig trick accidents involve insurance policies much greater than typical two car accident. As such, it's crucially important to retain an attorney very early on in the case because the opposing side will begin setting up a defense very early on to protect their exposure.
Who pays my medical bills and lost wages? ?
?If you have medical insurance, they will likely cover your medical bills. If there is any leftover bills or if you had no medical insurance, the at-fault driver insurance company will be responsible for paying those medical bills. If the amount in which the at-fault driver is insufficient to cover medical bills, you can then depend on your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Can you recommend a doctor to me? ?
It's best to use your primary care physician and/or his referral for any treatment. While we can certainly refer you to a doctor for your injuries, it's typically a sign of good faith on behalf of the opposing side when they do in fact see that you were treated by your primary care or a referral therefrom. They will usually respect the diagnosis and be willing to negotiate from a better place.
We do understand sometimes our clients did not have a primary care physician. In such cases, we can direct you to a doctor who can treat you for your injuries and get you feeling better. Likewise, if your doctor requires paying the entire bill upfront and you are unable to do so, we can direct you to someone who can work with you and treat you until you are able to pay, at settlement or resolution of case.
Should I continue to receive medical treatment for my injuries? ?
This decision should be made by you and your health care provider(s). In getting treatment for the injuries from your auto accident, remember that the focus should be on your health, not the legal consequences arising therefrom.
Do I need an attorney to handle my personal injury claim? ?
?Ihe insurance company representing the person(s) at fault for the accident will have a team of adjusters, investigators and personal injury attorneys working on their behalf. In order to have any chance at getting what you deserve, you should get assistance from a personal injury attorney and their team. If you have a serious personal injury case, you need the assistance of a Louisiana personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. No matter how nice insurance adjusters may sound on the phone, they are paid to have one goal in mind: to pay you as little as possible./p>
When should I hire a personal injury attorney? ?
You should retain a Louisiana personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Unfortunately, after being seriously injured in an accident, you are immediately placed at a distinct legal disadvantage. While you are dealing with your injuries, the at fault driver and his insurance company have begun working against you. Your accident attorney will often arrange for an investigator to take pictures of the accident scene, take statements from witnesses and preserve any physical evidence. You want to make sure that all relevant evidence is preserved.
Should I get a second opinion if an attorney thinks I do not have a case? ?
Yes. Different lawyers will see cases differently. Some attorneys may not be familiar with the type of case or many not be willing to spend the time and money required - which can be substantial - to get your personal injury case ready for trial. If your case is rejected by one lawyer, it is always a good idea to seek a second opinion.
What geographic areas do your lawyers take cases from? ?
?IWe handle personal injury cases in Louisiana. As for other areas of practice, criminal and entertainment (sometimes family law matters), we take cases in the Greater New Orleans area as well as the Monroe, West Monroe, & Ruston areas. /p>