Unfortunately, car accidents in New Orleans are common occurrences. Many people have been in accidents and not sure how to proceed once the deed is done. Here are a few things you should keep in mind and be aware of after a car accident in Louisiana. Just a note, these are general guidelines for the state of Louisiana, if you're from out of state, personal injury & accident laws may be different for your area.
1. You Must Stop If You've Been in a Car Accident
If involved in a car accident, no matter how small, you must stop as close to the scene as possible. You must stop even if the car accident doesn't look serious. In Louisiana, if you leave the scene of any auto accident you'd be considered a hit-and-run driver.
2. Move Your Vehicle if Possible
If your car wreck isn't too serious, move your vehicle to a road shoulder or out of the way of traffic. If you are a passenger who has suffered a bodily injury do not attempt to move the person or give them medical attention if you have not been trained. Doing so may exasperate the injury.
3. Get Help / Call Police if Necessary
Call the police and explain what happen happened in as neutral terms as possible. Cooperate with the officer, but try to avoid admitting fault or blaming the other driver if possible. An objective police report can be invaluable to the insurance claims process when filing with your insurance company. If the accident is minor the police may not make it out so you'll have to file your own report. Be courteous and polite, but don't admit fault even if you believe you were.
4. Document the Car Accident as Much As Possible
With the advent of smartphones, it's easier to take pictures and take notes about what happened. Most insurance companies have apps that you can use to help you document what happened. Many smartphones have voice recorders that you can record yourself talking about what happened. Things you should document:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Location of the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
5. File an auto accident claim with your insurance company
Inside the apps of most major insurance companies, you can submit your claim with the details you gathered. You can also call your insurance company or submit a claim online. This is why documentation is important as you want as many details as possible when submitting your claim.
You May Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If your accident is more severe, or if your insurance company gives you problems with submitting your claim, you may wish to hire a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys in Louisiana work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay unless damages are recovered. If you have major medical bills after an accident or receive a severe bodily injury, you should call a personal injury attorney close to where the car accident occurred. If you do need to hire a personal injury attorney in New Orleans, or anywhere in Louisiana, the Voorhies Law Firm has recovered millions for our clients and have gotten major settlements for auto accidents.