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Frequently Asked Questions

Personal Injury

Why should I hire the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson to represent me?

Using an attorney is a personal decision. At the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson, our goal is to provide you with the best legal representation and protection possible under the law. In legal matters, your attorney’s experience and knowledge of the law can mean the difference between success and failure. We have been practicing law for over 30 years and have successfully tried automobile, medical malpractice, criminal, and other cases. The attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson will use their knowledge and experience to protect you and your interests.

How much trouble will it be to hire the attorneys at James M. Wilkerson and go through the entire claim or suit process?

We make it easy at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson to hire us. We strive for client comfort and satisfaction. At the initial office consultation, you will meet with the attorney that will handle your case. Then, we will keep you informed by conducting office and telephone conferences as required by the complexity of your case.

If necessary, as part of your case strategy, we will prepare you for deposition and/or trial testimony. We have found through preparation and client comfort, it puts the client in an area where they have less stress and increased confidence. These methods empower the client to help us do the best job possible and obtain the most desired result.

What types of compensation may I seek in my claim and when will I know if I need a lawyer?

Generally, the categories of damages under Louisiana injury law are:

Past and future physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and distress, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, reimbursement of household services, and possibly others.

If you are the least bit unsure of any of the issues involved in your case or do not understand the process completely, chances are you need a lawyer to pursue your case. If you have significant injuries or damages, you need an attorney to help pursue your case.

To remain profitable, insurance companies are in the business of minimizing and eliminating valid claims. While most insurance policies require the insured to cooperate with their insurance company to investigate a claim, that generally means you have to timely notify your insurance company of an accident, potential claims, provide certain basic details. However, you are generally not required to talk directly to your insurance company or give a statement, recorded or otherwise, about the accident. This can be done through a third-party, such as an attorney.

You should not give a statement about the accident to an insurance company or claims adjuster before you obtain experienced legal advice, as it may reduce or even preclude your claim. You should contact an experienced attorney before you give a statement to anyone concerning an accident.

Insurance companies have developed a multitude of methods and processes to eliminate your valid claim. One way is to advise a claimant that the information provided is insufficient to support adequate proof of loss for the claims or damages being made. Documentation of certain items, such as future medical expenses, can be very difficult and expensive to obtain. Evidence supporting loss of earning capacity can be very difficult to develop, understand, and present to a judge or jury. If you want to give yourself the best chance to maximize the value of your claim, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to give the attorney time to obtain important information, which may be lost through the passage of time.

The attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson have over thirty years of combined legal experience. We work hard so our clients get fair compensation available to them under the law. contact the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson for more information.

How do I pursue my claim and how long will it take?

Generally, the process involves investigation into liability and damages. Claims can be both legally and factually complex. A simple automobile accident can be complicated by several eye witnesses with different versions of how each thought the accident occurred. Courts in different jurisdictions may have applied the laws differently to similar factual settings, resulting in conflicting decisions. Your lawyer will investigate the facts of your case and advise you as to what the liability picture looks like. Your damages may not be completely known until you have finished all of your medical treatment and had some time to reflect on the residual effects of any disability, pain or mental anguish you may continue to suffer.

The effects on your ability to earn wages may take additional time to calculate. Once your damages are known, your attorney should be able to make a recommendation on the value of your claim. Your claim is then in a position to attempt to negotiate a settlement. If a settlement is reached, the other side usually has a limited amount of time to fund the settlement absent extenuating circumstances. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, a lawsuit is filed. The time it takes for a lawsuit to resolve can vary widely depending on the parties and complexity of the issues involved. In most cases under Louisiana law, the plaintiff has one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. From our experience, most cases settle within thirty to sixty (30-60) days from the date treatment has ended. Lawsuits usually take from ten (10) months to several years to conclude. Therefore many cases settle before a lawsuit is filed.

If you have any questions about your specific legal situation, please contact our firm today to see how we can help.

How can I afford to pay an attorney?

If the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson represents you in a lawsuit, generally you will not have to pay for legal fees or expenses during the course of the lawsuit. We represent clients on a contingency basis in most personal injury actions. Contingency fee contracts are contingent on a successful outcome. Our firm will receive no legal fees unless it is successful in obtaining money for your injuries and damages. You pay no money up front or while the case is in litigation. If money is recovered, the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson receives a percentage of the total recovery, plus the reimbursement of the costs of your case. If your lawsuit is unsuccessful, we do not get paid anything for legal fees. Legal expenses remain the responsibility of the client.

If you have any questions about your specific legal situation, please contact our firm today to see how we can help.

How do I file a personal injury claim?

Filing a claim can be a complicated matter. It is advisable to consult with an attorney before filing any type of claim. If your claim is substantial, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney to represent you.

If you are making a claim on one of your own policies, it’s important to know and understand what your policy says. Remember, the policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Make sure that you understand what is covered and what is not as well as what is a deductible under your policy. If you have any questions about the policy, you should ask your agent or the insurance company for clarification before you need to make a claim.

Generally, you must contact your insurance agent and fill out one or more claims forms to document and substantiate the claim. It is probable that you will be asked to submit proof of the claim or allow an insurance employee, usually an adjuster, to examine the damage or other evidence supporting your claim. If your policy is supposed to cover a particular loss, don’t be afraid to make a claim. After all, policies can be thought of as a bet between you and your insurer which the insurance company lost.

It is advisable to call your agent or your company’s claims office as soon as reasonably possible after you have consulted with an attorney and properly evaluated your loss. Most policies require that you notify the insurance company within a certain time frame. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent for help in an effort to speed things up.

If you feel as though the insurance company’s estimates of your losses are too low, you may need to get one or more second opinions or estimates of your claim’s value. If you are able, it is probably a good idea to make temporary repairs needed to protect your property from further damage or injury if this is reasonable under the circumstances.

Save all receipts for items that you purchase related to the damage or claim. It is important to document as much proof as possible to protect your claim. Photographs or video tapes of your property prior to any disaster can be of immense value. This may be the best evidence you can obtain to support the evaluation of your loss. It may be almost as important to document post-disaster damages. As difficult as it may be, it is advisable to take photographs or video of the loss as well.

Making a claim against another person or company’s insurance policy is often extremely complicated. Even after you establish your loss, damages for such things as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of love and affection for a spouse or child, and other damages may require knowledge and experience which you do not possess.

If you do not know what your claim is worth, how can you effectively negotiate or accept an offer from the insurance company? It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney before taking on an insurance company with vast resources. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing and, in some cases, eliminating meritorious claims.

Time limitations, evidentiary considerations and a whole host of other important issues may arise and greatly complicate the procedure. The quicker you consult and retain legal counsel, the better your chances for preserving the full value of your claim.

We know that this process is not easy, and that is why we are here to help. contact our office today to see how we can help with your specific legal situation.

Visit our videos page for answers to more frequently asked questions about claims.

How much is my case worth?

Without specific facts, it is extremely difficult for your attorney to give you a meaningful answer to this question. Personal injury cases are broken up into two parts, liability and damages. Liability determines which parties are at fault and in what percentages. In Louisiana, the party or parties that are found to be at fault at trial will be assigned a percentage of fault that will add up to 100%. This can include the plaintiff if he or she is found to have contributed to the cause of the accident. Once liability is determined, the focus is on damages. Typically the following categories of damages are available to someone injured in a personal injury accident in Louisiana:

·       Past and future medical bills

·       Past and future lost wages

·       Loss of earning capacity

·       Past and future mental anguish

·       Past and future pain and suffering

·       Loss of enjoyment of life

·       Loss of consortium (for spouse or relative)

If you have any questions about your specific legal situation please contact our firm today to see how we can help.

What are the steps I should take after I am injured in an accident and what are my legal options?

Qualified medical treatment and preserving evidence at the outset are probably the two most important steps you should take after you are seriously injured in an accident.

You should always request quality medical care to address any injury. Seemingly minor injuries may be more serious than you first think. Also, a minor injury can become a major injury if left unattended. If you are unsure about your medical options after a serious injury, an experienced attorney may be able to provide guidance on how to properly obtain and evaluate your medical options.

Hiring an experienced attorney can minimize your chances of medical mismanagement and maximize your ability to preserve critical evidence. In Louisiana, you have the right to make a claim for your damages and if it is not resolved, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused the accident. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to preserve any rights you have against the at-fault party. You should consult an attorney long before the approach of this deadline. You can make a claim for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and distress, loss of enjoyment of life and possibly other specific damages caused by the accident. A claim is made by providing proof or evidence of your claim including the fault of the other party and proof of the damages you sustained as a result of that fault. If you are unable to resolve this matter through negotiation, a lawsuit must be filed in the proper court and pursued through settlement or judgment.

The key to pursuing a successful claim or lawsuit is to obtain and preserve as much evidence to support your claim as possible. If you can reasonably do so, you should consider preserving the evidence at the accident site. Use your cell phone to photograph and/or video the location of any physical items involved in the accident or have someone do it for you if possible (vehicles, construction equipment, hazardous conditions e.g. liquid or other material on a walking surface causing it to be slippery). As soon as you are reasonably able, contact an attorney experienced in handling your type of case. An experienced attorney can advise you on the best way to gather and preserve critical evidence. contact the Ruston, LA personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson for a free, no commitment consultation.

What is the difference between a claim and a lawsuit?

A lawsuit is the formal process of filing a petition or a complaint in a court of law or an Administrative Law Court. It is a process where by you interrupt or stop the running of time necessary to bring your claim and recover, also called the statute of limitations.

It is also the required step before you can take your case in front of a judge or jury at a trial. A claim, on the other hand, is an informal process. It is used to avoid the formality associated with filing a lawsuit. It is a way to resolve and obtain recovery for damages or injuries, or resolve another dispute without the formal filing of a petition or processing through the court system.

It is a preferred way, and generally, is less costly and less time-consuming than the legal process of a pursuing a suit.

Will I Have to File a Lawsuit?

Whether a person or a client needs to file a lawsuit is a question frequently asked by clients. That is determined by many things, and there is no easy quick answer at the beginning of a case. Some cases require suits. Some cases don’t. One of the things that it depends upon largely is the severity of the injuries and the extent of the medical treatment.

Most cases in Louisiana require that a suit be filed within one year of the accident. There are exceptions to that. For example, in Jones Act and general maritime claims you have a longer period of time.

There is one thing for certain. Depending on the kind of claim you have and the statute of limitations that applies, if you do not file suit within that time, you will forever lose your right to file a lawsuit. Once that’s lost, you can’t recover it.

Here at the law offices of Matt and Allen we will give you advice as to, number one, whether a suit must be filed and, number two, when it should be filed.

How long will it take to finish my lawsuit?

Many clients who come to us and need to file lawsuits ask the question, “How long will it take to finish my lawsuit?”

No individual can tell you exactly how long a suit will take to be complete right when you file the suit. It depends upon many variables. One, first and foremost, it depends upon the extent of your injuries and the extent of your medical treatment.

At the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson, we are very hesitant to give recommendations to the client to finish a lawsuit before they are released by a doctor. Larger suits, for example offshore cases, large and complex automobile accidents, tend to take longer. Smaller claims, and when I say small I’m not talking about the value of the claim, I’m talking about the facts surrounding the accident — for example, a two car collision — tend to be shorter.

Those tend to be about 8 to 14 months while larger claims go from about 12 to 24 months with a rare exception of some taking more than 24 months.

How Long Will It Take to Finish My Claim?

We are frequently asked as attorneys how long a claim will take to conclude. The answer is it generally depends on a number of different factors. For example, the time it takes for someone to recover from serious injuries and medical treatment can vary substantially. Also, the investigative process can take quite a bit of time.

Witnesses statements or depositions need to be taken from people who may work and live in different cities and states. Coordinating these events can delay the process. Also, the volume of cases that the court involved in your particular case, may have or might need to finish, may delay the process or extend the time necessary.

Generally speaking, all of these factors and other factors are involved in determining the length of time necessary to conclude a claim or a lawsuit.

Will my case settle or will I have to go to trial?

Whether a case settles or goes to trial is impossible to predict at the beginning of the case. There are many factors that determine that. One is whether the person or the insurance company, who is a defendant in your case, is trying to be fair and reasonable.

Another thing is you have to understand that all those statistics show that more than 95 percent of civil cases do settle. There are those cases that do, in fact, go to trial.

At the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson, we base our recommendation to the client as to whether they should settle their case or go to trial on the fact of whether the insurance company is willing to pay them a fair and reasonable amount of money for their damages.

If there are, we recommend settlement. If they are not, we recommend going to trial. However, you must understand that it is the client’s decision whether to settle or to go to trial, regardless of our advice to that client.

My injuries prevent me from working. How will I support my family?

When people are injured, and they can no longer return to work, they are generally concerned about supporting their families. First is, if you are injured at work, your employer and its insurer owe you workers compensation benefits. Workers compensation benefits substitute for your earnings while your doctor is treating you. They also owe you medical expenses to pay for your medical treatment.

If you are not injured at work, there are other avenues to obtain benefits, or relief to assist you in supporting your family until you are able to return to work. Here at the Law Offices of Matt and Allen, we will assist you, and represent you in exploring all of those avenues to support your family. From workers compensation, to any other avenue available to you under the law.

Can I apply for disability after an accident?

 There are typically three different forms of disability. There’s Workers’ Compensation, there’s Social Security Disability, and there’s private disability insurance. To qualify for Workers’ Compensation, you have to be injured on the job and you can no longer perform your job duties.

To qualify for Social Security is a little bit harder. Not only can you not perform the job you were doing, but you can’t perform any job at all. For private disability insurance, it’s an insurance contract between you and your insurance company. Like any other contract, you’d have to look at the terms of your policy.

If I am injured in an accident, can I use my health insurance to pay for medical treatment?

If you’re injured in an accident, you can certainly use your health insurance to pay for our medical treatment. However, if you’re injured on the job, it’s your employer’s obligation to do so. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company would be the proper insurance to pay for your medical treatment.

If you’re injured by the fault of someone else, it is their obligation to do so. If your health insurance pays and it’s somebody else’s fault, they will likely be entitled to be reimbursed through a segregation of reimbursement provision in your insurance policy. At the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson, we’ll handle all these issues for you, and make sure that you recover the maximum amount available.

I am hurt, but don’t have insurance and cannot afford to go to the doctor. What should I do?

Many of our clients who we represent are injured and have no insurance and can not afford medical care. Those individuals hire us, and we are able to explore all available insurance.

There are many times available insurance coverage, unknown to the client, that is available to them to provide for medical care. As well as there are state and federal medical benefits that we are able to facilitate use for the client.

Even short of all that, we have many clients who we afford and provide payment for medical care to them, to assistant them ‑‑ their independency of their case.

At the end of the case when funds are recovered for their medical losses, even for future medical care, those are reimbursed to the health care providers, and the client is able to use that money in the event he has future medical needs after the case is over.

The insurance company is pressuring me to settle my claim, but I am still hurt. What should I do?

If the insurance company is pressuring you to settle your case before you have recovered, do not do so. You can bet that the insurance company is pressuring you because it’s in their best interest to do so. Hire the attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson. We’ll evaluate your case and discuss the pros and cons of settling it at this point in time.

Your treating doctor must fully release you, or advise you, on the probability and cost of any future medical treatment. You must fully understand all the risks of settlement, so that you can make an informed decision before you decide whether or not to settle your case. If you settle your case and it becomes final, you cannot go back.

What do I do after a car accident?


If you fail to stop, you can be subjected to one or more criminal offenses under Louisiana law.


Call the police and an ambulance, if necessary, and if you are able, offer assistance.


You need to obtain the other driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance carrier, policy number, insurance agent, and phone number for the agent. You will be expected to provide this same information.


Take pictures of the cars, the street in both directions from the accident, any skid marks, stop signs or other traffic signs or signals.


In Louisiana, your signature is not an admission of guilt, but merely an acknowledgement that you received the ticket.


Under most insurance policies, you are required to report the accident and cooperate with your insurance company.

For other types of accidents, you should collect and record as much detailed information as is reasonable under the circumstances. The person making a claim for damages has the burden to prove the circumstances supporting a conclusion that someone is at fault. Critical evidence can disappear shortly after an accident, resulting in the loss of the right to fully recover.

If you have any questions about your specific legal situation please contact our firm today to see how our experienced car accident attorneys can help.

What Are Minimum Insurance Requirements in Louisiana?

Each state has minimum insurance requirements for drivers operating a vehicle registered within that state. The types of coverage and minimum coverage amounts vary from state to state; however, all states require drivers to carry liability insurance to protect others in the event of an accident.

Minimum Insurance Coverage Required by Louisiana Law

In order to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state of Louisiana, you must have the following coverage:

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage pays others for property damage and bodily injury resulting from an accident that is your fault. The insurance company will pay up to the policy limits if it is determined you were at fault.. The minimum liability coverage you are required to purchase is 15/30/25. Under this coverage, the insurance company pays up to $15,000 for bodily injury to one person, $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person, and $25,000 for property damage. The insurance company is only obligated to pay up to the amount of coverage you purchase; any amount due that exceeds your liability policy limit must be paid from you personally, i.e.: out of your pocket.

You may choose to purchase coverage in amounts higher than these minimum limits but you are not required to do so by law. It is smart to carry as much insurance as you can afford in order to protect your wealth in the event of a serious accident.

Optional Insurance Coverage Available

Your insurance agent will discuss several types of insurance coverage that are optional. You are not required by state law to purchase these types of insurance coverage; however, you may want to consider them to protect yourself from liability.

Medical Payments

In the event of an accident, medical payments insurance, or med pay, pays for medical expenses incurred by anyone occupying your vehicle up to the policy limit. Unlike uninsured motorist coverage, it does not pay for things such as pain and suffering, but the good thing about medical payments insurance is that it will pay you or your occupants regardless if the accident was caused by your own fault. It is a form of “no fault” insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (UM) coverage pays you in the event that you are in an accident caused by another driver who does not have insurance or who has insurance but not enough to fully compensate you. In Louisiana you automatically have uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage when you purchase liability insurance. By purchasing liability insurance, you automatically receive the same policy limits of UM. You can however, reject or reduce uninsured motorist coverage by completing and signing a special form.Because many drivers operate vehicles without insurance or with very little insurance, you should always carry as much uninsured motorist insurance you can afford.

Other types of optional coverages include:

Collision Coverage – Pays for property damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision. Like med pay, this is another form of “no fault” insurance. It will pay to fix your vehicle even if the collision was your own fault.

Comprehensive Coverage – Pays for property damage to your vehicle in the event there is no collision, but it is damaged by some other means, such asweather, theft, or other covered losses.

Rental and Towing Coverage – This type of coverage pays for the cost of towing your vehicle if it breaks down and renting a car after an accident.

Your insurance company may offer other types of coverage. You should meet with an insurance agent to discuss the various types of insurance coverage available to make a decision based on your needs and financial ability.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident?

If you have been injured in an accident, the insurance company may be trying to settle with you. It is not in your best interest to discuss the accident with an insurance company until you have met with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What if I’m Injured in a Hit and Run Accident in Louisiana?

It is difficult to believe that someone would cause an accident and leave without taking responsibility or providing aid to injured victims, but it happens each day. According to Louisiana law, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. We may not ever know why someone would leave the scene of an accident; however, some possible reasons why a person may commit a hit-and-run are:

The driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident;

The car was stolen;

The driver did not have automobile insurance; or,

The driver had an outstanding warrant.

Regardless of why a driver leaves the scene of an accident, you may still collect compensation for your losses even though the at-fault driver may never be identified. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your automobile insurance policy, your insurance company may be responsible for paying your medical expenses, repairing your vehicle, and reimbursing you for your lost wages.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects a driver who is the victim of a hit-and-run or who is in an accident with an uninsured driver. Under Louisiana law, uninsured motorist coverage is automatically included in your insurance policy; however, you can deny coverage. If you do not want UM coverage, you must sign a statement provided by your insurance company verifying that you voluntarily chose to opt out of UM coverage. UM coverage is relatively inexpensive, and you never know when you may need it; therefore, you should carry UM insurance in the highest amount you can afford, if possible.

How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Help in a Hit-and-Run Accident?

In most hit-and-run cases, you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages under your UM coverage. Since the identity of the driver is unknown, your uninsured motorist coverage pays your damages. Even though your insurance company is paying your damages, do not assume that you will be treated fairly and that the insurance company will pay you a fair settlement. Your insurance company is like all insurance companies — the company is in it to make a profit; therefore, it does not have your best interest as its top priority.

contact an Experienced Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney

You should not be responsible for paying the medical bills for injuries sustained in a hit-and-run accident. Someone should be responsible for repairing or replacing your vehicle. You also deserve to receive compensation for your lost wages, physical pain, and emotional suffering. Handling the legalities of a hit-and-run accident claim can be overwhelming as you are struggling to recover from injuries. Your priority should be your health and a full recovery.

The automobile accident attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson understand what you are going through and they want to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to receive. While you focus on getting well, allow us to protect your legal rights and work to ensure you receive a fair and just settlement for your injuries. contact our office to schedule your free consultation and get answers to your questions about a Louisiana hit-and-run accident.

What Damages Can I Be Compensated for in a Car Accident in Louisiana?

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, you may be wondering who will pay for your medical bills for the accident? Who will pay you for being out of work due to your injuries? Who pays for the person you had to hire to do lawn work because you could not? In an automobile accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver typically pays for these costs.

How Is the Value of My Automobile Accident Claim Calculated?

The value of an automobile accident is calculated based on economic and non-economic damages. Because each accident is different, the value of your claim may vary greatly from the value of another person’s claim.

If you have been injured in a car crash caused by another driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for economic losses such as:

Past and future medical expenses

Past and future lost wages

Loss of earning capacity

Property damage

Rental car fees

Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident

Economic damages are actual dollar amounts — the total expenses and losses you incurred due to the injuries you sustained in the automobile accident. However, economic damages are only a portion of the value of your claim. Your non-economic losses often represent a substantial portion of your claim.

What Are Non-Economic Losses?

Non-economic losses are much more difficult to calculate because this type of loss does not have a “bill” or “invoice.” Non-economic losses include:

Physical pain and suffering

Mental and emotional anguish

Loss of enjoyment of life

Permanent disability

Scarring and disfigurement

Loss of companionship and guidance

No amount of money will sufficiently compensate you for this type of loss because a monetary award cannot “undo” what has already been done. The only means the law is can compensate an accident victim for non-economic loss is through a monetary judgment. There is no specific calculation courts use to determine the amount of non-economic damages. An experienced attorney understands how to value your claim based on the severity of your injuries and the facts surrounding the accident.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney for My Car Accident?

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in your accident claim is essential to maximize the amount of compensation you receive for your claim. The laws regarding automobile accidents and insurance in Louisiana can be confusing. You need an attorney with expertise in handling this type of personal injury claim to ensure that you receive a fair and just settlement for your damages.

The auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson have the experience and knowledge required to value accident claims to ensure their clients receive a fair and just settlement for their claim. When you are suffering from the financial, physical, and emotional damages caused by an automobile accident, you need someone in your corner who will fight for your rights and protect your interests while you focus on your recovery. contact our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you and your family.

What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?

Even though Louisiana laws require every driver to have minimum liability insurance coverage to register and operate a vehicle in Louisiana, some drivers choose to drive uninsured. Drivers are required by law to have liability insurance in the following amounts:

$15,000 for the bodily injury or death to one person

$25,000 for property damage to the other person’s vehicle

$30,000 for the bodily injury or death to more than one person

In an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates the other accident victims for their losses. Unfortunately, when an uninsured driver causes an accident, he or she rarely has sufficient assets to compensate the other parties for their injuries. Where does that leave the injured victims? What can they do if the driver who caused the accident does not have insurance?

How to Handle a Car Accident with a Driver Who Has No Insurance

The initial steps that you take following an accident with a driver who has no insurance are the same as in any automobile accident.

Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries

contact the police and wait at the scene for the officer to complete an accident report

Get as much information from the other driver as possible (i.e. name, contact information, description of vehicle, license tag number, etc.)

Get the names and contact information from any witnesses

Take pictures of the accident scene

contact an accident attorney

Report the accident to your insurance company

Obtain estimates for repairs to your vehicle

Continue medical treatment for your injuries

Keep all receipts, invoices, statements, and other evidence of your losses

In a typical automobile accident, the insurance company for the other driver would contact you regarding your claim. We would advise that you do not discuss the claim with the insurance adjuster until you have discussed the accident with a personal injury attorney. It is never wise to provide a written or recorded statement to the insurance company or sign any releases prior to meeting with an attorney. The same applies in the case of an uninsured motorist claim.


What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a claim against your own insurance if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, and your insurance company cannot use an uninsured motorist claim as a reason to increase your monthly premiums. Louisiana insurance laws require that every automobile insurance policy include uninsured motorist coverage. You can deny coverage by signing a waiver; however, the insurance is usually inexpensive for the coverage you receive.

Uninsured motorist coverage pays your damages if you are involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company compensates you for your medical expense, lost wages, physical pain, and emotional suffering as if the company was covering the other driver.

Do I Need an Attorney if I Am Working with My Own Insurance Company?

We recommend that you consult with an attorney before providing statements or signing releases, even with your own insurance company. Even though this company provides your insurance and you assume it is working for you, it is not. Your claim will be treated as any other automobile accident claim — the company will try to pay the least amount possible to settle your claim.

We encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation to get answers to your questions about uninsured motorist claims. contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

My car was in an accident and can’t be driven. What should I do?

If your car is in an accident and can’t be driven, you need to call our office immediately. If the accident was caused by somebody else’s fault, it’s their obligation to not only repair or replace your vehicle, but also provide you towing, storage, and loss of use. Loss of use is typically provided by a rental car, not all the time. Sometimes, your insurance company also can provide you a rental car. At the Law Office of James M. Wilkerson, we will handle these claims, among others, and make sure that you receive the maximum recovery.

If you do not see the answer you are looking for, please contact our office to speak with a Louisiana personal injury attorney.


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