Earl & Messer, Attorneys at Law
Lawyers who Listen.

Injury FAQs

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Frequently asked questions about injury cases.

Q:  How long should I wait before speaking with an attorney?

A:  You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. There may steps to take early on to put you in a better position to resolve your claim for its maximum value.

Q:  Should I just let the insurance company handle my claim?

A:  The insurance company does not represent you and does not have your best interest at heart. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and resolving claims as cheaply as possible.

Q:  How long does a plaintiff have to bring a claim in Louisiana?

A:  In Louisiana a plaintiff is required to bring his or her injury claim in one year in most cases. This is true for auto accidents, work related injuries, medical malpractice claims, maritime injuries, and most other tort claims. In Louisiana it is referred to as a prescriptive period. It is called a statute of limitations in most other states. 

Q:  What happens if a claim is not brought in time?

A:  Usually, if your claim is not brought on time you will lose your right to bring that claim.

Q:  Can I afford to hire an attorney?

A:  We handle most injury cases on a contingency fee basis which means we don't get paid unless you get paid. If you do not win your case or reach a pre-trial settlement you do not owe us any attorney fees. In addition, we often advance the costs and expenses associated with bringing a legal claim and recover those from the settlement or jury award.

Q:  How will I pay for my medical bills?

A:  If you have health insurance your health insurance should pay. Some health insurance companies seek reimbursement for the amounts they pay and some do not. Often times we can arrange for you to see doctors that we have relationships with that will allow you to receive treatment with an agreement that the bills will be paid when your case is resolved. In certain cases we may choose to pay your medical expenses directly and recover those costs when your claim is resolved.  

Q:  How long will it take to resolve my claim?

A:  That is a difficult question to answer because each case is unique. You may not want to bring your case to trial until you are finished treating or at least have learned the full extent of your injuries. Your injuries may be relatively minor or you might receive a fair settlement offer early on. Whatever the time frame you can be sure that we are committed to helping you achieve a fair resolution to your claim, no matter how long it takes.  

Q:  How do I know what my case is worth?

A:  There is no exact science for figuring out what a case is worth. Damages generally fall into two categories known as general damages and special damages. General damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. There is no formula calculating the value of general damages. However, based on experience and the awards given in past cases it is possible for an attorney come up with a range of what a case might be worth. Even that is only an estimate the actual general damages award at trial may be more or less than the attorney's estimate. Special damages include medical bills, lost wages, property repairs, or other losses than can be calculated to an exact amount. Some cases may also involve awards of attorney fees or punitive damages designed to punish a defendant for certain actions. When choosing an injury attorney you should pick someone that has successfully recovered high value damage awards both through settlement and at trial.