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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A “Personal Injury?”

A personal injury occurs when a business or another individual is responsible for the harm of the victim, which leads to a personal injury lawsuit claim.

Personal injury lawsuit claims consists of the following:

  • Motor Vehicle Accident
  • Defective Product
  • Wrongful death
  • Medical Malpractice
Will I Have To Go To Court?

In most instances, personal injury cases will not go to court. A majority of cases are settled outside of the courtroom.

A trial in court will only occur if the insurance company for the other party refuses to accept the settlement offer. If this is the case, Kirkendall Dwyer is prepared to take your case to trial.

How Will I Pay For A Lawyer?

A lawyer can be paid by the hour or with a contingency fee. A contingent fee is paying your lawyer a percentage of what you receive from the case. Contingent fees only occur if the case is handled successfully. Therefore, if the client does not recover compensation, no fee will be paid to the lawyer. Lawyers and clients use this method in a case when money is being claimed, which often occurs in personal injury cases.

What If I’m Partially At Fault In My Accident?

In many personal injury cases, the individual is partially at fault for the accident and his or her own injuries. In the state of Louisiana, the law follows Louisiana’s comparative fault rules. There will still be a case even if the accident is partially your fault, but you will receive reduced compensation. Your compensation will be reduced based on what percentage of the accident you were at fault for your damages and injuries.

What Can I Recover?

The compensation that is recovered from a personal injury lawsuit claim varies. A malpractice lawsuit claim has a limit for injuries and medical expenses. In Louisiana the limit is $500,000, this means that you will not be able to receive any more compensation. For any other type of accident, there is no limit on compensation that can be recovered.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a federal law that manages Seaman under the Jones Act commerce within the United States. The Jones Act involves goods that are shipped by sea between the U.S. ports. These U.S. ports are to be constructed, owned and crewed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

How Do I Know If I Qualify As A Seaman Under the Jones Act?

To qualify as a Seaman under the Jones Act here are some of the requirements:

  • An employee must have provided assistance with the operation of a ship or vessel.
  • The employee must be a member of the ship’s crew and spend 30% or more of their time out at sea.
What is Maintenance and Cure?

Maintenance and cure are benefits that apply to an injured seaman that receives the benefits from their employer throughout the recovery period. Maintenance includes multiple household expenses, the benefits consist of the following: rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and food. As for the cure, it is medical expenses. The expenses include medical bills, medication, tests or screenings, medical equipment, and transportation to and from medical facilities.

What if I Was Partially to Blame For My Accident?

In many personal injury cases, the individual is partially at fault for the accident and his or her own injuries. In the state of Louisiana, the law follows Louisiana’s comparative fault rules. There will still be a case even if the accident is partially your fault, but you will receive reduced compensation. Your compensation will be reduced based on what percentage of the accident you were at fault for your damages and injuries.

What if I work for a vessel but my duties are primarily carried out on land? Can I still bring a claim under the Jones Act?

There are certain restrictions that allow a land-based employee to qualify under the Jones Act. As an employee, you would have to contribute 30% of your time to the operation of the ship or vessel to receive the Jones Act compensation. Unfortunately, if this is not the case then you most likely will not be able to bring a claim under the Jones Act.

What Will We Need to Know From You Initially?

As you meet with a lawyer, they will be able to give you feedback once evidence about the accident is given. A personal injury attorney wants to receive relevant details that can be used to help with your case. The information can include medical records, police reports, witnesses, and traffic or facility videos and photographs. All of this information will allow your lawyer to grasp a better understanding and inform you of what you need to know.

A client should know their attorney is expected to avoid conflicts of interest, maintain confidentiality, and provide their services to represent the individual client/s.

I Like My Doctor—Is This a Medical Malpractice Claim?

It depends on your medical or recovery situation. Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional causes an injury for a patient. While you may like your doctor, complications can still arise that cause an injury due to medical errors, treatment, failure to diagnose, failure to inform patient risks or the management of your medical care. If there is a complication due to the care of your doctor then it is considered a medical malpractice claim.

What Will You Be Able To Tell Me?

As you meet with a lawyer, they will be able to give you feedback once evidence about the accident is given. A personal injury attorney wants to receive relevant details that can be used to help with your case. The information can include medical records, police reports, witnesses, and traffic or facility videos and photographs. All of this information will allow your lawyer to grasp a better understanding and inform you of what you need to know.

A client should know their attorney is expected to avoid conflicts of interest, maintain confidentiality, and provide their services to represent the individual client/s.

Will I Be Getting Involved in a Class Action Suit?

Depending on your situation there is a chance to be involved in a class-action lawsuit. A class-action lawsuit will only happen if a group of people have similar injuries from a particular product or action and sue the defendant as a group. In order for the court to move forward with a class-action case, the judge has to decide if each of the plaintiffs are similar enough and able to have a case against the defendant group. If this is the case, then you will be involved in a class-action lawsuit.

Class action lawsuits can vary in length and can be shorter or longer to resolve, but most class action lawsuits take between two to three years.

How Long Will This Process Take?

Class action lawsuits can vary in length and can be shorter or longer to resolve, but most class action lawsuits take between two to three years.

Do I Need to Hire a Local Attorney?

No, you do not need to hire a local attorney. However, a local Louisiana attorney will have a better understanding of the state laws.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

A trial in court will only occur if the insurance company for the other party refuses to accept the settlement offer. If this is the case, Kirkendall Dwyer is prepared to take your case to trial.

Can You Predict The Value of My Claim?

The value of your claim depends on the injury or accident. The more number of damages for your injuries in an accident can help predict the value of your claim. If the cost of the damages is more expensive, the value of your claim will increase. There are many different types of personal injury damages that can make your claim more valuable. Personal injury damages make your claim valuable include medical expenses, property damage, property damage, damage expenses, and wrongful death accidents.

What Should I Look For In A Lawyer?

Finding the right lawyer can be hard. Your first priority is to search for a lawyer that specializes in a particular kind of law that will benefit your case. She/he should make you feel comfortable and allow you to tell the truth about your accident so they can help resolve your case.

What Costs Can I Expect To Recover?

For a personal injury claim, there are different types of damages where compensation is recovered. You could be entitled to recover the following:

    • Medical expenses

      • Medical expenses can include medical bills, prescription medication, tests or screenings, medical equipment, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and transportation to and from medical facilities.

    • Lost wages

      • Personal injuries can often leave you out of the workplace temporarily or put an end to your career. Due to a personal injury interfering with your career and income, you can recover compensation for the lost wages.

    • Pain and suffering

      • If your personal injury accident resulted in pain and suffering, you can be compensated for it.

    • Property damage

      •  Property damages often involve motor vehicle accidents. This covers damages to your personal property that has been damaged due to the defendant’s negligence.

    • Out-of-pocket expenses

      • Out-of-pocket expenses are compensation that can be recovered for everyday activities that are now limited due to personal injury. This can occur if an individual needs to hire someone to assist with their tasks if they are unable to perform due to the injury.

    • Wrongful death damages

      • If you were in an accident where a loved one was killed due to the defendant’s negligence, you are qualified for funeral expenses, burial expenses, loss of insurance, retirement benefits, lost wages that the deceased earned and side effects of the emotional loss of the deceased.

What if I Can’t Afford to Pay My Medical Bills?

If you were injured in an accident, the immediate priority is the injuries and recovery process. This can result in a lot of medical care from the initial ambulance, surgeries, recovery equipment, and physical rehabilitation. The recovery process after an accident can be expensive from all of these medical bills.

The aftermath of an accident is typically all about the recovery process. During this time, it can be difficult if you’re out of the workplace temporarily or if the accident has put an infinite end to your career. Unfortunately, medical bills will continue despite whichever situation occurs for you. If you’re unable to afford medical bills, contact a local lawyer to help with compensation for your claim. A claim will be able to help you with your medical bills, but understand that this process takes time.

How much time do I have to file my personal injury claim?

In Louisiana, the state follows the Louisiana Civil Statutes of Limitation. The Louisiana Civil Statutes of Limitation allows victims one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim.

The Insurance Company Keeps Calling: What should I do?

The insurance company calls to have a better understanding of the accident. However, if another insurance company contacts you, make sure to get the information that is necessary. Some information that is important to obtain is the name of the company, the caller’s name, and their title.

As for the information you give, tell minimum information about the accident, because any harmful information could be used against you in the future case.

What Should I do if I’m in an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist?

In many cases when an accident occurs with an uninsured motorist, your claim can be paid by the uninsured/underinsured motorist (IUM) coverage or you can sue the at-fault driver. If the other driver (the uninsured motorist) is at fault for the accident then you should receive compensation for the damages and medical expenses.