Q/A

How do I know if I have grounds for a lawsuit?

If you believe that you have been injured and it was someone else’s fault, you should consult an attorney to find out about your legal rights. That attorney will set up an appointment to ascertain what happened, and investigate to determine whether you have a case.

What should I do if I am involved in an accident?

You should call law enforcement or 911 as soon as possible. Be sure to report any injuries, the location and time of the accident, and your name and contact information. Until a police officer arrives, do not discuss the facts of the accident with anyone except the officer. If you are aware of any witnesses, try to get their contact information. If you are physically able, you should also take photographs of the scene of the accident, any damage to your vehicle, and any visible injuries.

Should I call any insurance companies following the accident?

You should notify your own insurance company and tell the agent only basic information about the accident. As to other drivers’ insurance companies, you should tell them only about your losses and let their adjuster appraise any damage to your vehicle.

Should I give a statement after an accident?

Many times, insurance companies attempt to take statements from injured victims before they consult an attorney. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions to settle a case quickly. An injured person is not required to give a recorded statement. Never give a statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster before talking to a qualified, experienced attorney.

When should I consult a lawyer?

When an accident occurs, you need to preserve evidence as soon as possible or it might be lost over time. Some cases do not reach the trial stage for several months or even years. As soon as you are injured, you should seek the advice of counsel to find out what you should do to ensure the best results for your case. Although it is recommended that you seek counsel as soon as possible, even if you have waited a while to talk to a lawyer, it may not be too late to get help.

Whom can I sue?

Generally, you may sue any person or entity who is responsible for your injuries. You may also bring an action against that person’s insurance company and, in some cases, under your own insurance policy.

How can I afford a lawyer?

Lawyers are usually paid by the hour or on a contingency fee basis. At deGravelles & Palmintier most cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay no fee unless the lawyer is successful in recovering money, either by settlement or judgment. The attorney’s fee is based on a percentage of the amount recovered. This allows someone who might not otherwise have the means to obtain counsel to get the best representation available.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

Under Louisiana law, you generally have one year from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. In some cases, you could have one year from the time of discovery of the injury to bring suit. Also, special laws might apply to your case if you are injured on the water.

In an automobile case, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against your uninsured motorist’s insurance company.

What kind of damages can I recover?

Depending on the type of lawsuit, you might be entitled to damages for any physical injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, lost past and future wages, past and future medical expenses, and loss of consortium for your spouse, child or parents.

What if I am injured at work?

Typically, if you are injured at work and your employer or your co-employee is solely at fault, you must file a worker’s compensation claim to recover any damages. When someone other than your employer or co-employee was at fault, you may sue that person or company. However, special laws may apply if you are injured while working on the water. Speaking with a lawyer with extensive experience in these areas of law is critical to determine what options are open to you.

Why are certain workers protected by special laws?

Certain employees, including seamen and longshoremen, are covered by special laws that do not apply workers on land-based jobs. If you are injured while working on an offshore platform, vessel, or in a harbor, you should consult an experienced maritime lawyer to see if any of these special laws apply to you.

Should my case settle?

In most instances, cases settle out of court. Settlement usually depends on the facts and circumstances of the case and the parties’ willingness to reach a resolution. Lawyers who have a reputation for success in the courtroom will often settle more of their cases. This is because the adjusters and defense attorneys know they will take a case all the way if need be.

Referring Attorneys

The deGravelles & Palmintier team has been built not only on the satisfaction of clients, but also on the respect of their colleagues, opponents and the judges before whom they have practiced. This respect is reflected in the long-lasting and mutually profitable relationships that the firm has built with referring attorneys.

Even great attorneys may need to seek help on a case that they are handling. Sometimes the attorney may not have extensive experience on a certain type of case (e.g., maritime or products liability). Sometimes an attorney may not have the resources to develop a case like it should be developed (e.g., hiring of multiple world-class experts). deGravelles & Palmintier has the experience and resources to help our referring counsel bring their cases to successful conclusions.

When a case is referred to us, our firm uses a team approach to a client’s success. Referring attorneys are an essential part of that team. While a referring attorney’s involvement might vary, the referring attorney, regardless of the level of participation, will share in the progress of the case and the financial rewards of a successful conclusion.