personal injury attorney Archives - Murphy Law Firm

5 Ways You Can Maximize Your Potential Personal Injury Recovery

Trying to deal with insurance companies after you’ve been in an accident, especially if you were hurt, can be confusing. Insurance companies will use your confusion against you to try and minimize the amount of money they will have to pay out. You have to remember that insurance companies, especially the companies that do not represent you, are not interested in what is fair for you. These companies are interested in one thing only and that is minimizing their financial liability. Insurance adjusters might tell you many things. If you are unsure about anything that they are saying, contact a personal injury attorney. Below are 5 ways you can help yourself maximize your potential financial recovery.

1. Do Not Give a Recorded Statement 

After your accident, sometimes they’ll even show up at the scene of your accident, an insurance adjuster may try and get you to give them a recorded statement regarding the nature of your accident. First, you are not obligated to give them this statement. Second, this recorded statement will only be used against you in order to minimize your recovery. Rarely, a recorded statement won’t hurt your chances for financial recovery, but giving the insurance company a recorded statement WILL NEVER help you. Be aware that an insurance adjuster may call you and record your conversation saying that they just need the facts of the incident. If you ever make a statement to the insurance companies, it should be done so with your attorney present. 

2. Your Attorney Can Give the Insurance Adjusters Evidence

Just like recorded statements, you shouldn’t be giving the insurance adjuster any evidence to value the claim. Your personal injury attorney is more than capable of providing the insurance adjuster with all of the relevant accident information they need to properly value the claim. By trying to give this evidence yourself, you could inadvertently say or do something that the insurance company could use against you to minimize your recovery. The insurance companies will use anything that you say or do in an attempt to minimize your recovery claims. In all matters you should let your personal injury lawyer handle the insurance companies if you want to maximize your financial recovery. 

3. Do Not Settle Too Quickly

It is best to have a lawyer to advise you when it comes to settlement. If you settle too early, you may be missing out on additional compensation especially if you settle before the true extent of your injuries are known. Insurance companies will come out to the scene of your accident or visit you in person shortly after your accident and offer you money. Do not take their money, or sign any of their papers. Their goal is to stay out of court and settle quickly. You will not get fair compensation from the insurance company without an attorney representing you. Also, be wary of settlement mill law firms who will sign up your case and settle it fast.

4. Hire a Personal Injury Attorney with Trial Experience

Insurance companies do not want to go to court. Going to court costs them more money, and their end goal is to minimize costs. They will try and settle the case out of court if they can. This is why you need a personal injury attorney who will go to court if that is what it takes to get fair compensation for their clients. Insurance companies know the personal injury lawyers in their area. They know who will take a case to court, and who won’t. If you hire a personal injury attorney with trial experience, the insurance companies will often offer better settlement terms because they know if they undervalue your claim your attorney will take them to court which will end up costing them even more money in the long run. 

5. Take Pictures

Modern technology makes taking a lot of pictures easier than it has ever been before. If it is safe, and you are able, take a lot of pictures at the scene of your accident. If it is a car accident, photograph the damage to both cars. Be as thorough as possible. This evidence will help your case, and it will prevent the insurance companies from trying to undervalue or downplay the extent of the damages. If you were injured, take daily pictures of your wounds. This evidence will show the true nature of your recovery and injuries. The more evidence you can give your attorney the more compensation they will be able to help you recover. 

Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, the most important thing you can do is retain a personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Anything that you say or do can be used against you by the insurance companies to minimize your potential financial recovery. If you’ve been hurt in Baton Rouge, Murphy Law Firm is here to help you. Our team has over 150 years of litigation experience and a reputation with the insurance companies that we are not afraid to take a case to trial if that is what it takes to get our clients fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case. Call (225) 928-8800 to set up your FREE consultation.

5 Reasons Mesothelioma is Hard to Diagnose

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the body’s mesothelium. The mesothelium is the membrane that lines the inside of your body’s cavities, mainly in the chest and abdomen. Despite the fact that nearly 75 percent of mesothelioma cases begin in the chest cavity, this cancer is very hard to catch, and it is often misdiagnosed. Mesothelioma is a very malignant form of cancer that often spreads to other parts of the body and creates other health issues for people who have it. The main risk factor associated with mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, and as we will cover later in the blog, asbestos is widely used in several industries and materials. People who contract this disease likely have an injury or wrongful death claim. You should seek counsel from a mesothelioma attorney if you are diagnosed with this terrible cancer.  Below are five reasons why mesothelioma is hard to catch and accurately diagnose. 

1. Vague and Common Symptoms 

Mesothelioma often goes unnoticed by the people suffering from it and their medical professionals because early symptoms of the disease are so common and often mistaken for something else. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, dry cough, and chest pain. Since mesothelioma mainly affects older people, many people confuse the earliest symptoms of mesothelioma as old age. When symptoms finally get bad enough to see a doctor, mesothelioma often gets misdiagnosed as pneumonia, lung cancer, or even abdominal cancer. 

2. Rarity

Contributing to the misdiagnosis of mesothelioma is its rarity. Unless your doctor is aware that you were exposed to asbestos, the symptoms associated with the disease will likely be attributed to something much more common. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, and will likely not be the first thing your doctor thinks is wrong. It is important to tell your doctor if you were exposed to asbestos in order for them to properly diagnose you. 

3. Unknown Exposure to Asbestos

Since asbestos is so widely used in a lot of different applications, you might not even be aware that you were exposed to it. In fact, even if you weren’t working directly with asbestos you could have been exposed in your workplace or it could have been brought home on the clothes of a worker in your family. It is hard to diagnose this rare form of cancer, and unknown exposures to dangerous asbestos only makes the process of accurately diagnosing mesothelioma more difficult for doctors. 

4. Long Latency

The latency period, or the amount of time the cancer grows undetected, for mesothelioma is extremely long. Someone exposed to asbestos might not see the effects of their mesothelioma for 20 to 50 years in some cases. The lengthy latency period makes detection and diagnosis difficult. You may not remember or even know that you were exposed to asbestos 20 or 30 years ago so when you go to see the doctor when your symptoms start to get bad mesothelioma probably won’t be the first thing they look for. 

5. More Difficult to Test For

The only sure fire way to accurately diagnose mesothelioma is to do a biopsy. X-rays and blood samples may lead doctors towards the proper diagnosis, but neither of these methods can accurately confirm mesothelioma. Since the only way to accurately test for mesothelioma requires an invasive procedure and the disease is rare, most doctors will run tests for other types of diseases first. Making matters worse is the rarity of the cancer. Most doctors have little to no mesothelioma experience, and this leads to misdiagnosis. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion where mesothelioma is concerned just because this cancer is so hard to detect and accurately diagnose. 

I Have Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma. What are the Next Steps?

If you or someone you love, has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma you can probably take legal action to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Mesothelioma cases are difficult which is why you need to hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in this rare disease. A mesothelioma attorney will have a deep knowledge of the disease, how it is contracted, and how to litigate on your behalf. You might think that you no longer have a case because you were exposed to asbestos over 20 years ago, but you can still hold your employer responsible for you and your family’s exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma. In the state of Louisiana, you have one year from the time you are diagnosed with mesothelioma to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. If you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you have one year from the time of their death to file a wrongful death lawsuit for their untimely loss. 

Baton Rouge Mesothelioma Lawyers

There are a fair amount of mesothelioma cases in the greater Baton Rouge area due in large part to the amount of industries here that exposed their employees to asbestos. Don’t hire an out of state law firm to handle your case. Hire a local mesothelioma lawyer to help you and your family through this difficult time. Murphy Law Firm has experience representing mesothelioma victims. We want to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Don’t suffer alone! Call Murphy Law Firm at (225) 928-8800 to speak with a mesothelioma attorney. We’re local mesothelioma lawyers, and we want to fight for you!

7 Ways Insurance Companies Try to Fool Car Accident Victims: The True Nature of Insurance

The time immediately after a car accident, or any accident that causes injuries, can be chaotic to say the least. Not only are you dealing with your health and the injuries you have sustained, but most likely, you will soon be dealing with a complicated legal situation that many people find confusing. Insurance companies use the chaos in the aftermath of a car accident to try and trick victims and reduce their ability to recover compensation. Remember, insurance companies do not make money when they pay out claims. Insurance companies make money by not paying the full value of injury claims, and they will try a number of different tactics to reduce your injury claim and protect their profits. Read below to learn about seven of the most common tactics insurance companies use against car accident victims. 

1. They Make Contact Quickly 

Immediately following your car accident a claims adjuster or representative from the insurance company is going to try and make contact with you. They may call you while you are in the hospital. It is not unheard of for them to actually show up at the site of your accident and try to talk to you. Why do they respond so quickly? Because they know that people are in a vulnerable state in the aftermath of an accident. They know that there is a good chance that you don’t have legal representation yet, and they know that more times than not, if they can talk to you quickly, you will say something that they can use to reduce your injury claim. You are not obligated to talk to anyone from the insurance company especially while you are in the hospital or at the scene of a car accident. 

2. They Try to Be Your Buddy

People are comfortable talking to their friends and people they trust. Insurance adjusters will try to be as friendly as possible when talking with you. They are trained to get close to you and foster a sense of friendship so you will talk to them. Insurance adjusters will ask how you are doing, and seem concerned for you and your injuries. They are not concerned. All they want is for you to say something that they can use to reduce your injury claim. 

3. They Will Twist Your Words

A common theme so far has been communication and language. The best bet for insurance companies is to use your own words against you. Insurance adjusters are trained to not admit fault for their covered drivers, and to seek ways to get you to claim responsibility for all or some of the accident and your injuries. One common trick insurance companies use against injured victims is to twist the meaning of their words. They will call you and act very friendly. Part of most normal conversations is the question, “How are you doing?” Typically, people just respond with, “I’m doing fine.” Insurance companies will try to twist this innocuous conversation into meaning that your injuries are not as bad as you claim or not as serious as first thought. Be careful. There are a number of different common variations to this question and response. Most of us have conversations that include some variation of it at least once a day, and our responses are generally automatic. 

4. They Will Demand a Recorded Statement

The insurance company will probably tell you that you need to make a recorded statement in order for your claim to be processed and paid. THIS IS NOT TRUE! You are under no obligation to give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster. You may have to speak with your insurance company depending on what your policy says, but you never have to give the other driver’s insurance company any type of recorded statement. They will use your recorded statement against you. They will slip in innocent seeming questions during the course of your statement that are designed to get you to admit partial fault. There is no reason to ever give the other insurance company a recorded statement about your accident. Even when speaking with your insurance company it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation

5. They Will Make Settling Seem Urgent

In the state of Louisiana, you have one year from the time of your car accident to file a lawsuit to protect your rights. Insurance companies will give you the idea that you need to settle quickly or else you will get nothing for your injuries and damages. They may even offer you money in the direct aftermath of your accident if you sign away your rights to a lawsuit. Don’t be fooled! The insurance company is trying to protect their bottom line. If they are offering you money to settle quickly, before you have had a chance to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer, your car accident case is likely worth far more than what the insurance company is offering you. 

6. They Try to Get a Broad Release of Your Medical Records

Your injuries as a result of the car accident are pertinent to your injury claim. Giving insurance companies access to your medical records directly tied to the treatment of your injuries resulting from the accident is fine. However, insurance companies will try and get you to sign a broad release of your medical records, and you may think that this is no big deal. Insurance companies want to get a broad release of your medical records so that they can use your past medical history in an attempt to show that some of your injuries were pre-existing conditions. Giving insurance companies a broad release of your medical records will only work against you. Give them nothing more than the medical records associated with your accident and the treatment of your injuries. 

7. They Will Look at Your Social Media Accounts

After a car accident insurance companies will look into your social media accounts and activities to see if you have posted anything about your accident. Anything that you post on social media regarding your accident can be used against you by insurance companies looking to reduce your injury and damage claims. The best advice we can offer you is to not post anything regarding your car accident to social media. Remember, insurance adjusters are experts at twisting your words in an effort to reduce your claims. They will stop at nothing to protect their bottom line. 

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney 

It should be clear by now that your best bet in the aftermath of a car accident is to hire a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies will tell you that you don’t need one. They will tell you that a lawyer will only cost you money and time, but this is not true. Insurance companies don’t want you to hire a personal injury lawyer. They know if you do that you are likely to get more money for your injury and damage claims.

Murphy Law Firm fights for injured victims. We have over 150 years of combined litigation experience, and we are all too familiar with the dirty tricks insurance companies try to put over on injured victims. Call us today at (225) 928-8800 to speak with a personal injury attorney and set up a FREE consultation for your car accident. Don’t be a victim twice!

Pain and Suffering Claim Without a Lawyer

After a car accident or other type of event that causes injury or property damage, you may be suffering from mental and, or physical distress. In personal injury cases this distress is known as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering differs from medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages, in that they are hard to set a monetary value to. Pain and suffering claims are more intangible than a medical bill or a week out of work. It can be hard to prove how much a pain and suffering claim is worth. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, it is always best to consult with a personal injury attorney, especially if you want to make a pain and suffering claim. However, as ill advised as it might be, you can proceed without the help of a personal injury lawyer. If you’re trying to make a pain and suffering claim without the aid of an experienced injury attorney, this is what the process will look like. 

How to Make a Pain and Suffering Claim Without an Injury Attorney 

The first step in making a pain and suffering claim is to send the insurance company a demand letter. A demand letter spells out your injury claim and lists the damages you have incurred. Within the demand letter, you need to discuss your pain and suffering as a result of the accident or injury event and support it with evidence. 

First, you need to show how you calculated the value of your pain and suffering claim. The best way to go about doing this is to explain how your life has been altered as a result of the accident you were involved in. Show how your pain and suffering has impacted and changed your life on a daily basis. Write about the seriousness of your injury, whether or not you have been permanently scarred or disfigured, how long it will take you, or took you, to recover, if there will be future complications as a result of your injury, and socio-economic factors at play in your life. Once you have made your case for your pain and suffering claim, you need to back up your claims with evidence and documents. 

The most important documents that you will need to acquire to use as evidence in your pain and suffering claim are the police report of your accident, your medical records including costs, and any witness statements that were taken. If you were able to get photos of your injuries, the accident, and other important facets of your case, you will want to use these as evidence too. If you’re going to make a pain and suffering claim without a personal injury attorney, you need to collect all of this evidence yourself. Do not let the insurance company collect the evidence for you. If they collect these documents on your behalf, they will choose which ones are important to your claim. You need them to consider all of the evidence. That means collecting it for yourself and attaching it to your demand letter. 

Evidence is the most important aspect of a pain and suffering claim. If you don’t have any evidence showing your pain and suffering, insurance companies, judges, and juries will not award you for these damages. It can be hard to obtain all of the evidence you need to make your pain and suffering claim. Hiring a personal injury lawyer not only makes this process easier, but it also increases your chances of recovering compensation for your claim.

5 Reasons Why You Should Seek Legal Help for Your Pain and Suffering Claim

As we have already illustrated, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken just to send a demand letter to the insurance company. How will you navigate the complex legal waters of a pain and suffering claim after you’ve been injured in an accident and your life has been turned upside down? You should always hire a personal injury attorney after you have been hurt in an accident. Below are five good reasons:

  1. Lawyers have a staff of people to help them collect all documents and evidence
  2. They can accurately gauge how much your pain and suffering claim is worth 
  3. Attorneys can help you negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your best interests
  4. An attorney can hold the insurance companies responsible by taking them to trial if a fair settlement is not offered 
  5. They are professionals who do this work everyday, you are not, and the law is complicated 

You can try and make a pain and suffering claim on your own. The insurance company will probably offer you some money just to make your case go away, but they have no reason to give you full compensation for your pain and suffering claim if you don’t have legal representation and there is no threat of a personal injury trial

Murphy Law Firm, Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers 

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, get help from Murphy Law Firm. Our team of personal injury lawyers has over 150 years of combined litigation experience. We prepare every case for trial. Don’t settle for a settlement mill! Get a free consultation today with a personal injury attorney and discuss the details of your case. Call (225) 928-8800 to get in touch with the experienced trial attorneys at Murphy Law Firm.

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.

Why is Trial Experience so Important in Personal Injury Cases?

The grand majority of personal injury cases will never see the inside of the courtroom. Trials can be lengthy and expensive, and insurance companies try to avoid them as much as they possibly can which is why most personal injury cases settle out of court before trial. Bearing these facts in mind, you may come to the conclusion that trial experience is not important when choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you. Despite the fact that your case probably won’t end up in court, you want a personal injury lawyer with a lot of trial experience.

3 Reasons Why Trial Experience is so Important in Personal Injury Cases

1. Better Settlements

As we’ve already said insurance companies want to avoid going to trial as much as they possibly can. These companies keep detailed lists and notes on every local personal injury attorney. They know which lawyers will take a case to trial if their client is not offered a fair settlement, and which attorneys don’t go to court. Personal injury attorneys with trial experience get better settlement offers from insurance companies because they aren’t afraid to go to court. When you hire a personal injury lawyer with trial experience you send a message to the insurance companies that you won’t settle for less than what is fair for your injuries, bills, and lost wages.

2. Experience with Juries

In the state of Louisiana personal injury trials are argued before a jury. The ability to connect with a jury, to communicate damages, and humanize a case is a skill that personal injury lawyers get with experience in the courtroom. If your personal injury case ends up going to court, you want an attorney with years of experience and success in the courtroom. Ultimately, the jury will decide how much your case is worth. If you want to recover compensation for all of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you need a personal injury lawyer with the trial and jury experience to effectively communicate these facts to the jury and show them why it was the defendant’s fault.

3. Confidence and Peace of Mind

Hiring a lawyer with trial experience to represent your interests instills confidence and gives you peace of mind that your best interests are truly being represented. You have enough to deal with after your life is upended by an accident. Take the time to find a personal injury lawyer who has trial experience and a track record of looking out for their clients, and leave everything in their hands so you can focus on what’s important, recovering.

Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorneys

The personal injury attorneys at Murphy Law Firm have over 150 years of combined litigation experience. We prepare every single one of our personal injury cases with the expectation that it could go to trial if that is what it takes for our clients to receive fair compensation for their accident. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact our team at (225) 928-8800.

Bayer Settles Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

On June 24th, 2020, Bayer announced that it was settling the thousands of outstanding lawsuits against them claiming that their product Roundup, more specifically the glyphosate in Roundup, causes cancer. The cases started piling up after a school groundskeeper won a 290 million dollar decision from a California jury back in 2018. At the time Roundup was owned by Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer in 2018. Just last year in 2019, another California jury awarded a husband and wife 2 billion dollars in damages as a result of their illnesses caused by Roundup. The damages were later reduced to 87 million dollars by a judge. 

Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Settlement

Bayer has set aside more than 10 billion dollars to settle existing and future Roundup lawsuits. They have allocated 8 to 9.5 billion dollars to settle the thousands of existing lawsuits against them, and an additional 1 to 1.5 billion dollars to settle any future Roundup lawsuits that may arise. Despite the fact that they have decided to settle their Roundup cases, Bayer is not admitting to any fault, wrongdoing, or liability. In fact, Roundup will continue to be on retail shelves without any warning label provided to warn users that the product may harm them or cause cancer. 

Injured victims claim that the glyphosate in Roundup is what caused their cancers. However, Bayer strongly denies the claims that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and the United States EPA backs this claim. Recently, a federal judge ruled that officials in California cannot force companies to place warning labels on products containing glyphosate. 

What is Next for Victims of Roundup?

Not everyone who has filed Roundup lawsuits against Bayer has agreed to settlement. Just because a large number of these cases will settle doesn’t mean that new cases cannot be filed. It is apparent that juries, who have seen the evidence in at least two high-profile cases, tend to side with plaintiffs against Bayer. The fact that Roundup remains on the shelves means that more people will get cancer from using it, especially since there is no warning label. 

Get Help from a Personal Injury Attorney

Have you or someone you love contracted cancer after exposure to Roundup? You could have a case against Bayer. Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to find out if you have a case. The team of attorneys at Murphy Law Firm has over 150 years of litigation experience. We are experienced trial lawyers, and we are not afraid to stand up to big companies like Bayer. Call us today at (225) 928-8800 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.

The Process for Bringing a Personal Injury Case to Court

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you are probably wondering if you should file a personal injury claim to recover damages. We know that the law and the legal process can be confusing or even intimidating to some people. We want to help educate everyone, who might be interested in filing a personal injury case in Louisiana, on what this process looks like in a typical case. Keep in mind, some of the following steps might not happen in your case if a fair settlement is reached before your case goes all the way to trial. We hope this outline helps you in your decision whether or not to file a personal injury claim. 

What are the Steps for Bringing a Personal Injury Case to Court in Louisiana?

1. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

It would be very unwise to try and take a personal injury claim to court in Louisiana without a personal injury lawyer. The injury law in this state is complex. Furthermore, a good personal injury lawyer will have investigative resources to fully look into your case and gather all of the information that is going to be relevant in helping you secure a favorable result. After your injury, consult with a personal injury attorney to get a professional opinion about your case. They will help you take the next steps and pursue litigation. 

2. Your Personal Injury Attorney Investigates the Claim

The first thing your personal injury attorney will do is interview you. They will want you to provide every detail about the accident that you can remember. Following their interview with you, they will gather all of the available medical records and bills, accident reports, witness statements, and whatever other pertinent evidence is available. They will use this information to form the basis of your personal injury case. It can take a while for all of this information to be gathered and reviewed.

3. Your Lawyer Negotiates with the Other Side

In some cases, your personal injury lawyer may reach out to the lawyers or representatives of the insurance company before a lawsuit is even filed to see if they can secure you a fair settlement. An attorney with a wealth of trial experience will have a good idea about how much your injury case is worth, and they will push for a settlement that reflects the full value of your case. An experienced trial lawyer also has more leverage in these preliminary negotiations because the other side knows that if a fair settlement can’t be reached a lawsuit will be filed and they will be taken to trial. 

4. A Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed

In the state of Louisiana there is a one year Statute of Limitations on personal injury cases. This means that your lawsuit needs to be filed with the court no more than one year from the date of your accident. Once your personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit the litigation phase of your case officially begins.

5. Discovery Phase

Now that your personal injury lawsuit has been officially filed, the discovery phase of your case begins. Simply put, this is when both sides, your lawyer and the other side’s lawyer, investigate what the injury claims and legal defenses are. Both sides will request documents and reports, interview witnesses, and take depositions. Depending on the complexity of the injury case this part of the process could take some time to complete. 

6. Further Negotiations and Mediation

As the discovery phase of your case winds down, your lawyer and the lawyer for the other side will typically talk about settlement to see if an agreement can be reached before trial. This is when it really pays to have a personal injury attorney with trial experience under their belt. The lawyers for the other party and the representatives for the insurance companies will know your attorney’s reputation, and if your lawyer has a reputation for settling cases and not taking cases to trial to pursue maximum compensation under the law, you probably won’t get a fair settlement offer before trial. In some cases, your case may go into mediation to see if a fair settlement can be reached by both parties without having to go to trial. 

7. Trial

If your lawyer is unable to get you a fair and reasonable settlement before trial, your case will go to court. Depending on your case the length of time it is in court will vary. Some cases take only a few days, and others take multiple weeks to conclude. There are many facets of a personal injury trial that we will cover in another blog post. If you hire a skilled personal injury lawyer with trial experience, you will have a skilled litigator on your side arguing your case in front of the judge and jury. Ultimately, at this stage the decision is left in the hands of the jury or judge.

Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been hurt in an accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Murphy Law Firm. We have over 150 years of litigation experience. We are trial lawyers who defend injured victims. We will help you stand up to the big insurance companies and get fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about our team and your case. You can call Murphy Law Firm at any time at (225) 928-8800. Don’t be a victim twice!

Tort Reform Bill SB 418 Vetoed by Governor

Governor John Bel Edwards has vetoed Senate Bill 418, the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act. The bill was intended to reduce insurance premiums for Louisiana drivers, but in reality SB 418 only protected insurance companies from lawsuits while not offering any concrete promise to actually lower the rate of car insurance in Louisiana, and limited the amount of compensation injured victims would have been able to recover for their medical care. 

Here is a direct quote from the Governor’s veto letter, “It is important to note that not a single insurance company testified in committee that Senate Bill 418 would actually reduce rates. Further, the rate reduction provision in the bill is permissive, rather than mandatory, and actually allows for rate increases if insurers are able to demonstrate one would be needed.” 

The Omnibus Premium Reduction Act, SB 418, was a special interest driven bill, and it did little to nothing for the citizens of Louisiana. SB 418 was returned to the Louisiana Legislature. If two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives vote to approve the bill, the Governor’s veto will be overridden and SB 418 will become law. 

How SB 418 Affects Louisiana Drivers

  • Raises the statute of limitations for injury cases to 2 years
  • Lowers the jury threshold for injury cases from 50K to 5K
  • Limits the amount of compensation that can be recovered for medical bills
  • Allows judges and juries to consider seatbelt use
  • Requires lawsuits to be filed against the other driver rather than the insurance company 

The Omnibus Premium Reduction Act can still become law in Louisiana. The original bill passed both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature with enough votes to override a Gubernatorial veto. We will see in the coming days whether or not SB 418 will pass with a two-thirds majority. 

Tort Reform Makes Trial Experience Even More Valuable

The proposed tort reforms in Louisiana make trial experience even more valuable for injured victims. Settlement mill personal injury lawyers are going to have a harder time making quick settlements if the jury threshold is lowered as proposed by law. More personal injury cases will go to trial, since it will be the only way for injured victims to fight for fair compensation, and personal injury attorneys without real trial experience will be forced out of their comfort zone and into a courtroom. If you’re hurt in a car accident, hire a personal injury lawyer with an abundance of trial experience. The team at Murphy Law Firm has over 150 years of combined litigation experience, they prepare every case for trial, and are not afraid to stand up to the big insurance companies and fight for what is fair. Call (225) 928-8800 to speak with a member of the Murphy Law Firm team today!

Did I Hire a Personal Injury Settlement Mill?

Insurance companies love working with personal injury law firms that operate like settlement mills because there is very little uncertainty for them. In most instances, insurance companies save money by not going to trial. Personal injury settlement mills have the same mindset. These firms don’t want to take a case to trial because it takes a lot more time and litigation experience. Instead, these settlement mills want to get hired on a ton of cases, where they’ll settle quickly and get paid quickly. They’ll repeat this process over and over again by way of extreme marketing. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney that will take the time to get to know you, your case, and ultimately, fight for your best interests.

How to Spot a Settlement Mill

One of the hallmarks of personal injury settlement mills is aggressive advertising. However, not all law firms who advertise heavily are settlement mills. How can you tell if you are hiring a marketer or an attorney? Here are the key factors that distinguish a settlement mill from a reliable personal injury law firm:

  • High-volume of cases (churn and earn)
  • Heavy advertising (obtaining majority of clients from million-dollar marketing campaigns)
  • Rarely ever deny settlements (insurance companies love this!)
  • Little to no case screening
  • Little to no client/attorney interaction (your case is handled almost fully by a paralegal) 
  • Resolve cases quickly (on to the next!)

Why Do Insurance Companies Love Settlement Mills?

For settlement mills, the high-volume of injury cases prevents these lawyers from spending time on a single case. They are mostly focused on getting their next lead (client). In fact, at these firms, you may never meet nor speak with the attorney representing you which plays into the hands of the insurance companies. Insurance companies don’t mind paying modest settlements for minor cases if it means that the substantial injury cases are lost in the mix, and settle for less too. Clients can’t be getting fair settlements if their compensation is based on another client’s settlement. In the end, injured victims may suffer while settlement mills get richer and big insurance companies save money.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney with Trial Experience

If you want to avoid settlement mills and get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries, you need to hire a personal injury attorney that has an abundance of trial experience. Personal injury lawyers who have the trial experience and the ability to thoroughly review a case will understand a case’s true worth and will get better settlement terms on average. You should never feel pressured by your attorney to take a settlement offer, especially if you think it isn’t fair. Beware of settlement mills that may offer an incentive to settle quickly at the first offer. Typically, they will offer to lower their fees if you take a quick settlement. The end goal for settlement mills is to close cases fast and open new ones even faster.

The best advice for injured victims is to ask questions and consult with a few different personal injury attorneys before you choose who will represent you. If you make a quick choice based on the number of advertisements you’ve seen, you will likely end up in a settlement mill. At Murphy Law Firm we prepare every case for trial. The insurance companies know our team will not back down and take a quick settlement offer. Call us today at (225) 928-8800 to set up a consultation with our team.