In this article, we cover the basics of auto insurance, such as 1) the different types of car insurance, 2) the different types of car insurance claims, 3) why hiring a lawyer is key to getting the best results from your car accident injury claim, and 4) frequently asked questions.
When a car accident happens, there are many next steps you should take. In the immediate aftermath, you should make sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, take photos, and call the police to the scene in order to file a police report. After that, you should contact your own insurance company, and a reputable, experienced attorney—like our team at Breaux Law Firm in New Orleans.
However, many people don’t realize that taking those necessary steps and working with a lawyer will only get you so far. In most car accident claims, the type of insurance you carry, the type of insurance claim you make, and whether or not you work with an attorney are the factors that will have a large impact on the results of your claim.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are six types of auto insurance coverage:
Louisiana law requires that all drivers have auto insurance for any car they own and that all auto insurance includes liability coverage for both property damage and personal injury. Your auto insurance policy in Louisiana must, by law, include liability limits—the amount an insurance company is required to pay to a third party—of no less than $15,000 for bodily injury to one person; $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in an accident; and $25,000 for damage to someone else’s vehicle or property.
The policyholder is then responsible for any additional expenses above the liability limit. (It is highly recommended by most experts that your car insurance policy has enough liability insurance to cover your net worth.)
An auto insurance policy will tell you your coverage for bodily injury and property damage in a three-number format, like 15/30/25. The first number is the bodily injury coverage limit for just one person, the second is the bodily injury coverage limit for the entirety of all the people injured in the accident, and the third number is the coverage limit for any property damage. So, for example, the required coverage amounts for Louisiana are 15/30/25.
In an effort to reduce the likelihood of a car accident that involves a driver with no insurance in Louisiana, the state passed a “Compulsory Coverage” law, known as “No Pay, No Play,” in 2011. This law prohibits car accident victims from collecting the first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injuries, regardless of who caused the accident.
There are many types of car insurance claims, including:
Car insurance claims can request reimbursement for both economic and non-economic damages, including things like:
All of the above factors—the type of insurance policy you have purchased and the type of car insurance claim you file—contribute to the results of your claim. There is no doubt that getting financially reimbursed by the other driver’s auto insurance policy or by your own in order to cover your expenses after a car accident is complex!
But you don’t have to navigate this territory alone!
Working with established, reputable, and knowledgeable attorneys, like our team at Breaux Law Firm, is key. Filing a claim, understanding your own insurance policy coverage limits, and fighting your fair compensation is understandably hard to do alone, much less after the chaotic trauma of a car accident. Let us fight for you, instead. Whether you’re in New Orleans or Louisiana, we’re the attorneys who you can turn to for trustworthy guidance and leadership.
We’ve covered that here, in our article titled “What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance and Should I Have it?” In short, your auto insurance company will offer protection against uninsured motorists. Adding uninsured or under-insured motorist insurance to your auto policy often costs less than $100 per year, and will provide you with at least an additional $15,000 in coverage per person and an additional $30,000 in coverage per accident. Contact your insurance cover to discuss the costs or to double-check if this is already part of your policy.
You’ll file a claim with your own insurance company, and they’ll take care of the rest. But don’t be fooled; your insurance company may not have your best intentions in mind. They want the best deal for themselves—not for you. If you are offered a small, immediate payment amount from the other driver’s car insurance, we suggest you consult with an attorney first, before accepting their initial offer. You might have a solid claim, and paying you quickly can be a way for the other driver’s car insurance to get you out of their hair. Let experienced attorneys, like our team at Breaux Law Firm, review your case. Review our article “Why You Should Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Before Accepting Any Quick Offer” for more advice on the matter.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then the answer is yes.
Yes. When someone else is driving your car, your insurance generally follows the car, not the driver. Therefore, if someone borrows your car and gets into an accident, your insurance is applicable to recover the damages. However, your insurance policy may only cover the damages up to certain limits. What this means is that whether or not you were also in the car, your insurance will likely cover damage to your car, and if the person who is driving your car causes an accident that damages another vehicle or injures another person, your insurance will likely cover them as well—but only to the extent that your insurance policy allows. The person driving your car will be held financially responsible for damage that exceeds your coverage limits.
Car accidents are difficult, scary, and overwhelming. Your priority should be your own mental, emotional, and physical recovery. We at Breaux Law Firm encourage those who have been involved in a car accident to contact us, if for no other reason than to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of by the auto insurance industry. Give us a call any time for your free consultation. We know the auto insurance industry inside-out, and we also know the legal system in Louisiana. If you choose to work with us on your claim, you can rest assured you’re in good hands, and you’re part of the Breaux Law family—where we fight for you as if we were fighting for our own family members.