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What To Do After A Car Accident

What To Do After A Car Accident?

Recognizing what to do after a car accident can lead to feeling frustrated and blindsided. You may be disoriented and dazed yet these initial moments after an accident is crucial for both parties involved. Being aware of what to expect physically after a car accident can help you identify any injuries you may have sustained. In the aftermath of a car wreck, the most important component is the safety of everyone affected. Before anything else, make sure that everyone is safe and call for medical assistance if it is needed. Next, call the police. An official police report is often necessary when there are damages involved in a car accident and you want to recover compensation from an insurance company. Once you have ensured everyone’s safety and called the proper authorities, follow these steps after a car accident to ensure you get all of the information possible and preserve important evidence. 

Exchange Information with Other Drivers 

Following a car accident it is important to speak with the other drivers involved, if you can, and get their name, phone number, and insurance information. Sometimes the driver of the car will not be the registered owner of the car. If this is the case, also get the name, phone number, and insurance information of the registered owner as well. Note the make and model of their car and the license plate number. Try to find out if any of the cars involved in your accident are company owned cars. Note any damages that pre-existed the car accident if you can. In some cases in the direct aftermath of a car wreck, somebody will take blame for the accident. If someone claims the accident was their fault, make note of this.

Take Pictures 

Preserving evidence is valuable in car accident cases, and now that everyone always has a camera in their pocket it has never been easier to take pictures at the scene of an accident. Get as many pictures as possible. Document the damages, if any, to all involved vehicles, and the scene of the crash including skid marks, street signs, and any other pertinent factors that could have led to the car accident. Take as many pictures as you possibly can after a car accident. When you hire a car accident lawyer, they can sift through all of the pictures you took and find the ones that are valuable pieces of evidence. 

Contact Your Insurance Policy Carrier 

Once things have calmed down a bit, don’t forget to contact your insurance carrier to notify them of the accident. A lot of insurance companies require policy holders to contact them within a certain amount of time after their accident. Failure to notify your insurance company of an accident could lead to your claim being denied. If you are anxious that your insurance company will give you a hard time, contact a personal injury lawyer first, and they can help you deal with your insurance company. 

While it is important to get in touch with your insurance company following a car accident, DO NOT give a statement or sign any paperwork from the other driver’s insurance companies until you have spoken to a car accident attorney first. Don’t even answer questions about the accident from these insurance representatives until you have spoken to a personal injury attorney first. Anything you say to the insurance company will be recorded and can possibly be used against you to minimize your claim. If you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, decline to make a statement or answer questions until you have gotten legal advice from an attorney. Be careful, sometimes these insurance companies will offer you quick money if you sign away your rights to file a lawsuit. DO NOT take money or sign any paperwork until you have legal representation. 

What Should I do if I was Injured in a Car Accident

If you were injured in a car accident and taken to the emergency room, your injuries will be thoroughly documented. However, you may be hurt in a car accident and not taken to the emergency room. It is important that you document all of your injuries after a car accident, take pictures of bruises, cuts, etc, and seek medical attention as soon as you possibly can so that there is an official medical record. Whiplash and other injuries associated with car accidents can present symptoms after the fact. It is important to notify your doctor of any symptoms no matter how small they may be after you are injured in a car accident. The sooner you can get your injuries documented by a medical professional and treated, the better chance you will have of getting compensation for them. 

Murphy Law Firm, Car Accident Attorneys with Trial Experience

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you need a car accident lawyer with real trial experience. Don’t settle for a settlement mill! The personal injury attorneys at Murphy Law Firm have over 150 years of combined litigation experience. We prepare every single case with the expectation that it could go to trial if that is what it takes to secure our clients fair compensation. Don’t be a victim twice. Contact Murphy Law Firm for a free consultation at (225) 928-8800.

Louisiana Laws Regarding Fault in Car Accident Cases

In the State of Louisiana, like most states, insurance companies and courts follow a fault-based system to determine who is financially responsible for injuries, damages, etc in car accident cases. However, Louisiana is one of only 13 states in the country that also practices “pure comparative fault,” also known as, “pure comparative negligence,” in deciding the amount of damages that can be recovered. 

What is Pure Comparative Negligence? 

In some car accident cases it is easy to assign fault to one driver or another, but in a lot of car wrecks this is not the case and both of the drivers may carry some portion of the blame. In Louisiana, the pure comparative negligence laws dictate that any damages that injured victims seek be reduced by the amount of fault they are found to be in. Here is an example; Driver A was hurt in a car accident with Driver B. Driver A is seeking 100,000 dollars in damages and injuries. The jury in the case finds Driver A to be 25 percent responsible for the car accident with Driver B. In this case Driver A’s recovery would be reduced by 25 percent. If the jury decided to award Driver A 100,000 dollars for injuries and damages in this case, Driver A would only receive 75,000 dollars. 

In Louisiana, you can file suit and recover damages for your injuries even if you are 99 percent to blame for the car accident that caused your injuries. Judges and juries are bound by comparative fault laws, and adjusters for insurance companies use these laws as guidelines for settlement negotiations. 

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle Your Car Accident

Assigning fault for a car accident is not an exact science. At the end of the day it is up to judges, juries, and claims adjusters to determine who is at fault and to what degree. In order to protect your interests you should hire a personal injury lawyer. The amount of fault assigned to you in your car wreck case, if any, will come down to how persuasive your attorney can be using all available evidence. The difference between getting fair compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained, and not sometimes comes down to the car accident attorney that you hire. If you choose to hire an attorney with little to no actual trial experience, you probably won’t recover the compensation that you deserve. Don’t settle for a settlement mill. Hire personal injury attorneys who prepare for trial. 

Murphy Law Firm has Trial Experience

The team of personal injury attorneys at Murphy Law Firm have over 150 years of combined litigation experience. We prepare every single one of our cases for the possibility of a trial if that is what it takes to get our clients fair compensation for their injuries. Don’t be a victim twice! If you’ve been hurt in a car accident get help from Peyton Murphy. Call (225) 928-8800 today to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case. 

Louisiana Passes Tort Reform Bill HB 57

This year’s first attempt to pass a tort reform bill, SB 418, The Omnibus Premium Reduction Act of 2020, failed when it was vetoed by Governor John Bel Edwards. Despite having a veto proof majority in support of SB 418 prior to the Governor’s veto, support for the bill fell apart after Edwards vetoed the bill. In a special legislative session Louisiana lawmakers were able to pass HB 57 known as The Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020. We have already written extensively on SB 418 and how it would affect injured victims. This blog will explore the differences between SB 418 and HB 57 and how car accident victims are affected by the changes.

Statute of Limitations (Prescription)

The original bill, SB 418, sought to increase the statute of limitations from one year to two years. The thought behind this, which was supported by both sides, was that if given more time car accident victims and insurance companies could reach fair settlement terms before going to court. Since the statute of limitations is only one year, a lot of lawsuits are filed just to protect an injured victim’s rights when they may have otherwise been able to reach a fair settlement. HB 57 does not make any changes to the statute of limitations for injury cases in Louisiana. Under this law the one year prescription period will remain the same. 

Jury Threshold 

Currently, all car and truck accident cases seeking less than 50,000 dollars in damages are heard by a judge in Louisiana. SB 418 sought to lower the threshold for a case to be argued in front of a jury from 50,000 to 5,000 dollars. Governor Edwards wanted the jury threshold figure to be 25,000 dollars, but lawmakers reached a compromise and HB 57 sets the jury threshold at 10,000 dollars. Car accident victims who hire settlement mill law firms or personal injury lawyers with little to no trial experience will suffer the most as a result of these changes. However, since more car accident cases will be tried in front of juries, the legal process for injured victims will most likely move slower and take longer to resolve. This means car accident victims could be waiting to get the compensation they need to cover their medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. 

Collateral Source

This part of the legislation was the most hotly contested. In SB 418, the law limited financial recovery for medical bills to what was actually paid by insurance. Opponents claimed that this left injured victims the responsibility to pay for medical services that insurance didn’t cover even when they were not at fault in the accident. HB 57 limits the amount of medical damages to the amount actually paid, but after the verdict, allows a judge to review the difference between what was actually billed and what was paid and either award up to 40 percent of the difference or decrease the award for medical damages. This will hurt injured victims in the long run and limit their ability to receive fair compensation for their injuries and medical bills. 

Seatbelt Use

Currently, judges and juries are forbidden to use the fact that a seatbelt was not worn at the time of a car accident to reduce damages received by an injured victim. SB 418 and HB 57 both proposed to change this aspect of the law. Now if an injured victim was not wearing a seatbelt, this evidence can be used to reduce the amount of damages they receive in court. Proponents of the measure say that people should not be rewarded for failing to wear a seatbelt. Opponents argue that in some cases it will be difficult, if not impossible, to tell which injuries resulted from not wearing a seatbelt. 

Naming the Insurer

SB 418 sought to shield insurance companies during car and truck accident trials by forbidding mention of which company or companies were insuring the drivers at fault. HB 57 limits the times when personal injury attorneys can mention which insurance companies are involved to the opening and closing of the trial. Proponents of the bill say that juries are far more likely to award larger settlements when they know that insurance companies will be footing the bill rather than an individual. Opponents of the measure say that lawmakers are shielding insurance companies from paying out what they owe injured victims. HB 57 offers protections for insurance companies, but it does not completely shield them like SB 418 sought to do. 

Will HB 57 Lower Car Insurance Rates?

The goal of HB 57 and SB 418 as stated by lawmakers was to lower car insurance rates for Louisiana drivers. Drivers in Louisiana pay some of the highest insurance rates in the country, and something needs to be done to help lower these costs. However, neither SB 418 or HB 57 included a single sentence or any language at all regarding insurance rates. HB 57 just like its predecessor SB 418 does not mandate insurance companies to lower their rates. In fact, insurance companies can raise their rates if they can show it is necessary to provide services. HB 57 much like SB 418 is a special interest bill driven by big insurance companies. This bill does little to actually help Louisiana drivers and only hurts car accident victims. If Governor John Bel Edwards signs HB 57 into law, which he has said he will, the new law will go into effect January 1st, 2021.

You Need a Seasoned Trial Attorney

HB 57 makes trial experienced personal injury lawyers even more valuable than they already were. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a settlement mill! Murphy Law Firm has a team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys that prepare every case for trial. Our team has over 150 years of litigation experience. If you’ve been hurt in a car or truck accident, get help from Murphy Law Firm. Call us today at (225) 928-8800 to speak with a car accident attorney about your case!

The Seven Most Dangerous Intersections in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is a dangerous city for drivers. In fact, according to a recent study that was published, Baton Rouge is the second most dangerous city in America to drive in. Traffic congestion, poor road quality, and traffic delays are some of the biggest factors in making our Baton Rouge roads unsafe. If you want to stay safe on the roads, you need to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings. We’ve put together a helpful list of the most dangerous intersections in Baton Rouge. Drive carefully in these areas, and always stay vigilant and patient when you are on the road. 

1. Essen Lane & I-10

This is one of the busiest and most congested areas in town. There are multiple big hospitals and medical practices in this area, and there are on and off ramps for I-10. Year over year this intersection consistently has more car accidents than any other in Baton Rouge. It is not surprising if there are over 100 accidents in any given year at this intersection. Road construction, traffic delays, and heavy congestion are regular features of Essen Lane at I-10. Stay patient while driving here, and pay attention to traffic. 

2. College Drive & I-10

For college students and locals alike, College Drive is a main thoroughfare. There are multiple big chain stores like Albertsons, Walmart, and Hobby Lobby, the road is often cracked, bumpy, and full of potholes, and it is one of the main ways area residents access I-10. All of these factors lead to a perfect storm for poor traffic conditions, and a lot of car wrecks. The area surrounding the on ramps going east and west is particularly perilous since there are a number of quick stop lights, impatient drivers, and drivers merging from surrounding area parking lots.

3. Airline Highway & Goodwood Boulevard

Airline Highway is seemingly always congested, and when you combine a less than ideal road surface with an intersection with another four lane road in Goodwood Blvd, you have an area that will be prone to an increase in car accidents. Further exacerbating the accident issue at this intersection is the frontage road that has a stop sign for traffic coming up to the intersection with Goodwood Blvd. Congestion gets bad in this part of town and combined with poor road conditions and heavy traffic is a recipe for disaster.

4. Airline Highway & Old Hammond Highway

This intersection is literally the next traffic stop over from Airline and Goodwood, and it is no surprise that it is also prone to a high number of car wrecks. Airline Highway and Old Hammond Highway are both busy streets with a lot of traffic, and when these two streets intersect there is an increase in car accidents.

5. I-12 & Millerville

This intersection has a lot of heavy traffic. There are a number of restaurants, Super Target, Best Buy, and more in this area. The road conditions in this part of town are actually pretty good when compared to Airline Highway or College Drive, but congestion and heavy traffic flow at this intersection lead to a high number of accidents every year.

6. I-10 & Acadian Thruway

We are pretty familiar with this intersection since it is right outside our office! There is a little less traffic on Acadian Thruway then on College Drive, but there is still a fair amount of daily congestion around the on and off ramps of I-10 especially in the daily rush hours. Busy intersections, especially merging traffic coming on or off an interstate is always going to lead to more car accidents than most other streets. The quick succession of stop lights on Acadian right near the interstate sometimes causes traffic to back up, and when drivers get impatient they often get careless and accidents happen. Right now Acadian is even more dangerous due to a road resurfacing project that is also taking place. If you’re driving here, pay attention to the road and be patient!

7. Constitution Ave & College Drive

Our list wouldn’t be complete without at least one more intersection on College Drive. Constitution Ave intersects College Drive and has a stop light, but the light is short, and during times of heavy congestion drivers trying to turn on or cross College Drive might find themselves stuck for multiple light cycles as traffic backs up on College. This leads to impatient drivers, more reckless driving behavior, and more car accidents. Not to mention the road conditions on College Drive are already less than ideal.

As you can see most of the car wrecks in Baton Rouge occur around the interstate or the highway. It is always a good idea to pay close attention while driving in these areas. However, as we’ve seen earlier, Baton Rouge as a whole is a dangerous city to drive in. Stay vigilant on the roads and try to remain calm when you are stuck in traffic!

Baton Rouge Car Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been in a car accident in Baton Rouge, Murphy Law Firm can help you. Our personal injury lawyers have over 150 years of combined litigation experience. We are not afraid to take any case to trial if that is what it takes for our clients to receive a fair settlement. Call Murphy Law Firm at (225) 928-8800

Current Road Construction in Baton Rouge

Road construction is great for our community, and with the novel Coronavirus shutting down large parts of our city, there has never been a better time for the city to ramp up road improvement projects. Still, increased construction means there are more obstacles, potential hazards, and new traffic patterns that all have the potential to cause car accidents. Drivers need to stay vigilant in these times to avoid accidents and stay safe on the roads. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of current road improvement projects happening in Baton Rouge right now. If you have been out on the roads lately, you have probably driven through a few of these areas. Check out which areas are currently under constructions, and stay safe while you drive!

Latest Baton Rouge Road Improvement Projects 

  • Road Diet on Government Street – The lanes on Government Street are being reduced and rechanneled. This presents unique construction hazards to drivers since travel lanes are effectively being narrowed. Government Street is a busy road where people drive fast and change lanes quickly. If you are driving on Government Street be aware of the flow of traffic and reduce your speed in order to remain safe during the road diet construction here. 
  • Widening of I-10 at Highland – The interstate has long been an area many local residents would like to see improved. With current widening construction taking place on 1-10 at Highland Road drivers need to take caution when driving in this construction zone. There are workers and heavy machinery present, and drivers approaching this zone may decelerate rapidly. 
  • Resurfacing of Perkins Road – A large swath of Perkins Road was recently resurfaced on both sides of the road. The remnants of this project still remain on the sides of the road, and there is ongoing work continuing on the sidewalks and shoulder of Perkins Road. While a majority of the obstacles have been cleared, and congestion has eased, drivers should remain cautious when there are orange cones and construction workers present. Even construction off on the side of the road can increase car accidents on a busy road like Perkins.
  • Traffic Flow Improvements on Nicholson Road and Brightside – This area has some of the heaviest traffic in Baton Rouge especially when LSU is in session. Road construction has been happening primarily at the corner of Brightside and Nicholson to improve the flow of traffic in this busy area. Drivers need to be aware that traffic will slow down drastically at this intersection. Slow speeds, heavy traffic, and construction are bad combinations for traffic accidents because people get antsy and try to get out of the traffic. If you’re driving in this area remain calm, go slow, and don’t try to rush.
  • Traffic Flow Improvements on South Acadian Thruway – This is a new project that just received approval on the 26th of March, 2020. The project will improve traffic flow on South Acadian from Government Street to the interstate. Early signs point to turning lane improvements especially near the school where traffic backs up at the end of the school day. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the construction projects currently under way or about to start in your parish you can visit the La DOTD website

If You’re Hurt in a Car Accident We Can Help

Road construction increases the amount of obstacles for drivers and leads to car accidents. Car accidents in construction zones and, or, involving construction vehicles or equipment can cause a lot of damage and injuries. These car accident cases can get complicated quickly with all of the insurance companies involved. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, get help from a personal injury lawyer. You need someone to look out for your interests. Murphy Law Firm is here to help you in your time of need. Call us at (225) 928-8800 to learn how we can help you.

Important Documents You Need In Your Car

There are hundreds of laws concerning our cars. But each one has its purpose—mostly concerning safety and order. Every time you ensure your car is up to date with important documents, you’re saving yourself from possible fines or even arrest. Get the important information you need from an experienced car wreck lawyer in Baton Rouge. We’re here to help.

What Documents Do I Need in My Car?

Let’s start with the basics. Even if you’ve never been pulled over by an officer, we all know the phrase, “License and registration, please.” You should know where these documents are in your vehicle and when they need updating. 

  • Driver’s License. A driver’s license is essential to keep on you at all times, or at least in your car. Authorities require you to have it when you’re driving. But, if you’re the kind of person that tends to misplace things often, look into getting a digital driver’s license. Per Act 625 of the 2016 season, it’s legal to carry approved digital driver’s licenses, such as the LA Wallet app. Remember, these are legal in Louisiana, but might not be in other states. Check before you travel.
  • Proof of Insurance. Did you know you can also have your insurance on your phone? It’s legal in 49 states to carry electronic proof of insurance. But if you rather have a physical copy, your insurance provider should send you two copies every time you renew. One is to be kept on your person and the other is meant to go inside your car. Insurance policies usually renew either annually or semi-annually. Make sure to check your policy or the back of your insurance card to see when you need to renew.
  • Registration. Renewing your registration is actually much easier than you might think! Usually, when your registration is about to expire, a reminder is sent to you in the mail. (If you’ve moved recently make sure that information is up to date.) To renew this document, you can go in person to an OMV office, renew online, or by mail. Keep an eye on your expiration date and renew as soon as you can to avoid hefty fees.
  • Inspection Sticker. The last important “document” you should keep in your car is actually the inspection sticker on the front of your vehicle. There are a few Parishes that require an “enhanced” vehicle inspection, which includes an emissions test. These Parishes include East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville, and Livingston. Once passed, drivers will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report and an inspection sticker. This sticker is valid for a year.

These are all of the documents the law requires you to have on you when driving, but we also request you also keep your vehicle owner manual in the car. If anything goes wrong with your car, you can consult this manual as soon as possible. 

If you get into an accident, have these documents ready and call Murphy Law Firm to ensure you have your legal bases covered. 

Contact An Experienced Car Wreck Lawyer Around Baton Rouge

Make sure to stay up to date with all of your important vehicle documents and know where they are located. You never know when you might need them. 

Murphy Law Firm is here to make sure you don’t become a victim twice. If you’ve been in a wreck, give us a call at (225) 928-8800 or contact us for a free consultation. We are here to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Your Car Accident Attorney For Baton Rouge And Beyond

Have you been in a car accident? It can feel so difficult to regain your life after getting hurt or losing your vehicle. Then it stands to reason that you need a car accident attorney. They can help you in more ways than one. We often say, “Don’t be a victim twice.” But what EXACTLY does that mean?

The First Time You’re A Victim

Obviously, the first time you’re a victim is when the car crash happened. It’s nearly impossible to prevent being a victim of a car accident. You can’t control what other drivers do—there are some very irresponsible people out there. Did someone run a red light and T-bone your car? Were they distracted by their phone and drifted into your lane? Or, perhaps even worse, was a drunk driver involved? Sadly, becoming a victim of a car accident often can’t be helped, so that’s why there are car accident attorneys to offer guidance and support. 

But Don’t Be a Victim Twice!

The second time you might be a victim isn’t so obvious. After being the injured party in a car accident, the very last thing you need is to be victimized again. Insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying you more—and unfortunately, it’s no accident. They WANT to get out of paying you what you deserve. 

Despite getting their monthly premiums and having signed agreements, they try to find every loophole. Understandably, you’re in no position to defend yourself. After a devastating car accident, you’re trying to recover your body and your life. Not to mention, all that “legalese” can be confusing and misleading (sometimes on purpose). Rely on a car accident attorney to devote the time and expertise to your case.

The Car Accident Attorney Baton Rouge Needs

According to data reports from LSU, In 2018, East Baton Rouge Parish drivers experienced more than 5,000 car accidents with injuries in 2018. What’s more, there were nearly 46,000 accidents throughout the whole state of Louisiana. It’s a good thing the attorneys at Murphy Law Firm can represent you no matter where you live. We fight for EVERY case, dedicating ourselves to helping real people to get real results. 

Based In BR, Here For ALL of Louisiana

We may be based in Baton Rouge, but we serve all of Louisiana. From A to Z—or from Addis to Zachary—we’re here for individuals seeking the justice they deserve. PlaqueminePort Allen, and Prairieville as well as St. GabrielGonzales, and Geismar—as north as St. Francisville and as south as Houma and everywhere in between.   

Contact Peyton Murphy Today

Want to know more? Lend an ear to our previous success stories. Our work has gotten our clients millions of dollars after car accidents in Baton Rouge. If you’ve been in a car accident, you’ve already been a victim once. Call a car accident attorney at Murphy Law Firm so you won’t be a victim again at the hands of the insurance companies. You can reach our helpful staff at (225) 928-8800 or contact us online for a free consultation. We proudly serve Louisiana and would be honored to serve you as well.