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Filing a civil claim for damages after a motor vehicle accident

Are you suffering the consequences of a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver's negligence or impairment? You might have to get used to an entirely new lifestyle if your injuries caused a permanent disability -- not to mention the financial challenges you suddenly may be facing. Fortunately, the Louisiana civil judicial system allows injured victims of drunk driving and many other accidents to pursue recovery of damages.

When you file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court, you will have to establish negligence. Once the court is satisfied, it will adjudicate claims for financial, physical and emotional damages. This does not only apply to accidents causing catastrophic injuries but even for those in which injuries were less severe.

What damages can be claimed?

Although medical expenses are the primary type of damages claimed in these unfortunate incidents, you can also claim reduced employment opportunities, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even loss of affection from your loved one. Most personal injury claims include some combination of the following:

  • Medical treatment: Any injuries - from cuts and bruises to amputations or paralysis - have financial consequences. In some instances, delayed symptoms only become evident weeks or even months after the accident. For that reason, thorough medical examinations are critical immediately after car accidents, even relatively minor crashes. A doctor can identify injuries that may require long-term treatment, allowing you to add future medical expenses to your claim.
  • Other medical expenses: There might be ambulance fees and the bills for consultations with different professionals. Additional costs may result if you suffered a brain injury that requires physical or cognitive therapy, and you may have to add medical accessories such as heat pads, crutches and more. If you suffered a catastrophic injury, you might need a wheelchair and modifications may be required to make your home accessible.
  • Pain and suffering: This legal reference comprises physical and mental distress based on the injury type and the level of pain they caused, along with potential future pain as specified in the doctor's prognosis. The mental aspect refers to the stress and anxiety suffered and anticipated in the future.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity: You may be incapable of working due to hospitalization, physical therapy sessions, immobility or other reasons. Your absence from work may be temporary, but your injury may prevent you from ever returning to the job for which you were trained. Costs related to learning new skills and the loss of earning during that time may form part of your claim. When considering your claim, the court will look at your age and life expectancy, along with your current occupation, skill level and experience.
  • Loss of companionship or affection: If you are married, and your injuries jeopardized your ability to show affection or participate in sexual activity, your spouse may claim for loss of consortium and companionship. However, this is only possible if you recover injury damages.

Determining the monetary value of a claim to present to the court is a complicated task. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure current and future losses are covered. Furthermore, the skilled advocacy of your lawyer may lead to the court awarding full recovery of damages.

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