Filing a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
After a serious accident or injury, you are likely to face significant physical, mental, and financial challenges. From making sure you get the right medical care to managing your day-to-day expenses while out of work, getting back on your feet can be extremely difficult.
At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., our Lafayette personal injury lawyers believe that you shouldn’t have to face these hardships on your own—and the law agrees. If someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct caused your injuries, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit and seek financial compensation for your losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our attorneys can help you navigate the legal process, as well as fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. We have helped countless individuals and families here in our community, recovering millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf. We invite you to contact our office to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. When you work with our firm, you do not pay any attorney fees unless/until we win your case!
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?
Under Louisiana law, you may file a personal injury claim (or lawsuit) when you suffer physical injuries, an illness, or a medical condition as a result of another person or party’s actions or inactions. In other words, if someone else was at fault for the incident that caused your injury, you likely have grounds for a claim.
As the person filing the personal injury claim (known as the “plaintiff”), you have the “burden of proof.” This means that you are the one responsible for proving your claim against the other party (known as the “defendant.”)
In most cases, proving your personal injury claim involves proving each of the following elements:
- Duty of Care: First, you must establish that the defendant had a legal responsibility to you. This is known as the “duty of care,” and it typically involves certain responsibilities the defendant had to avoid causing you foreseeable injury. For example, motorists have a duty of care to others on the road in that they must obey the law and drive with caution to avoid causing accidents, which could lead to bodily injury or death.
- Breach: Next, you need to demonstrate that the defendant breached the duty of care. Most often, this involves proving that the defendant was negligent, careless, or reckless in some way, or that they acted wrongfully (i.e., illegally). For example, a motorist who drives under the influence of alcohol or texts behind the wheel is acting negligently, therefore breaching the duty of care they owe to others on the road.
- Injury: To have a personal injury claim, you must also prove that you were, in fact, injured. Even if someone was egregiously negligent or otherwise breached the duty of care they owed you, you only have a case if you can prove that you were injured and suffered measurable damages. “Damages” is a legal term used to refer to the economic and non-economic losses you suffer as a result of your injuries, including medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering.
- Causation: Lastly, to have a personal injury case, you will need to prove that the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct was the cause of your injuries. In other words, you must prove that the defendant was at fault for the incident that led to your injuries. Note that, under Louisiana’s rule of pure comparative negligence, you do not need to prove that the defendant was entirely or even mostly at fault to have a claim.
If you can prove each of these elements, you likely have a case. At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., our Lafayette personal injury attorneys conduct exhaustive investigations and work alongside accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, and expert witnesses to obtain a clear picture of what happened and who is to blame. We are prepared to handle every legal detail of your case so that you can focus on healing.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Like other states, Louisiana has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This means that you have a limited time to file a lawsuit; if the statute of limitations expires and you have not taken legal action, the court will almost surely dismiss your case.
The statute of limitations on most personal injury lawsuits in Louisiana is one year from the date of injury. Sometimes, when an injury is not immediately discovered, the statute of limitations extends to one year from the date on which the injury was discovered (or reasonably should have been discovered). Other exceptions may also apply, depending on the specific details of your case.
In any case, you should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. When you reach out to our team at Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., we will immediately begin gathering information and evidence in support of your claim. Our attorneys are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide personalized information specific to your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. Can Help
Our Lafayette personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death claims.
We focus our practice on:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle and other vehicle accidents
- Premises liability
- Product liability
Additionally, our firm represents people in Lafayette and the surrounding areas who have been accused of or arrested on serious criminal charges. Our criminal defense team has a long history of success, having secured numerous acquittals, case dismissals, reduced penalties, and not-guilty verdicts for our clients over the years.
Our criminal defense attorneys handle cases involving:
No matter how serious your situation may be, our team is here to help you protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome. We know that no two cases are exactly alike, which is why we develop innovative and highly personalized legal strategies for every client.
An injury is a devastating thing to have to deal with and a legal case on top of it can seem impossible. Our firm’s personal injury attorneys are able to offer peace of mind when you know that someone with experience and commitment is handling the situation.
When a case can’t be worked out through negotiation, Doran & Cawthorne has no qualms about taking the matter to court. Whether before a judge, or jury, we will gather the evidence necessary to present your case before the fact-finder in the best light.
It is all too common for insurance companies to offer less than what they know to be fair. Our lawyers will negotiate on your behalf, and won’t compromise for anything less than the amount they know you should be receiving.
Our lawyers don’t just talk it…we strive to deliver. You can rest assured you’ll have experienced personal injury counsel with Doran & Cawthorne on your side.
Having handled hundreds, if not thousands of injury cases in Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere, we can assess the best options for each case.
Our firm’s attorneys will guide you in the right direction to make sure your case is developed effectively to your advantage.