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What is your case worth?
There are many factors that go into determining a settlement value or jury award. First, what is the type of injury and how does it affect your life. Whether the injury is permanent or resolves in a few months will greatly influence the value. The number of doctor and/or hospital visits required. Economic losses such as wages and medical bills must be considered. In addition, liability is a major factor. Unless it is a rear end auto accident, most defense counsel will try to argue the victim is to blame for the accident. The more clearly you can establish the defendant's fault the greater it will enhance your settlement or verdict. That's why early investigation is critical.

General Tips on Louisiana Insurance Laws
There are some important general legal concepts that may help you if you have questions about Louisiana insurance laws.

Insurance companies often advise people who are not at fault in accidents that there is no coverage under an insurance policy, when the law may not agree with them. Usually non-lawyers are making the initial decisions and may be wrongfully denying insurance coverage. Therefore, it is important to consult an attorney without taking the insurance company’s word. There are hundreds of Louisiana cases where an insurance company has said there is no insurance coverage and the courts have disagreed and ordered the insurance company to provide insurance coverage for the accident.

Insurance company’s often offer "low ball" settlements to persons who have not hired attorneys. Although the quick settlement is tempting, it is often best to consult an attorney before accepting an insurance company’s offer. Once you accept the offer, if you develop additional physical problems or learn of additional damage to your vehicle, you will not be entitled to ask for more money from the insurance company to cover the additional damages. Also, Ms. DeForest has personally worked on cases where the insurance company has offered clients several hundred dollars to settle a case. After the clients retained counsel, the clients ended up with thousands even after attorney fees, costs, and medical expenses were deducted from the settlement. There are no guarantees but it costs nothing for a free consultation before accepting an offer.

Louisiana law requires you to carry liability insurance on your vehicle. If you get in an accident that is not your fault (for example, you are rear-ended), you will NOT be entitled to recover for the accident from the at-fault party in most cases because of your failure to have liability insurance on your own vehicle. This if often called the "No Pay, No Play" rule. (If your damages exceed the insurance you are required to carry, then you may be entitled to recover the damages that are higher than the insurance you failed to have). The important message is to keep your auto insurance up to date on your own vehicle.

Under most auto insurance policies, everyone who drives the vehicle with the owner’s permission may be entitled to insurance coverage if the owner carries insurance. If an insurance policy clearly states that an individual is excluded from coverage then there is no insurance for that person.

Passengers who are riding in vehicles that are involved in an accident are entitled to sue the at-fault driver, whether it is the other vehicle’s fault or the driver’s fault in the vehicle you were riding.

Many people do not understand that most homeowner policies carry liability insurance. That means if a person injures you through their negligence t (not related to an automobile or an intentional act) you may be able to recover under the at-fault person’s homeowner’s insurance even if the injury was not caused at the homeowner's house. An attorney may determine if this type of coverage is an option by obtaining the homeowner’s policy and learning the facts of the case.

When building a home or other structure, secure a performance bond. The Commercial General Liability policies that contractors are required to carry do not cover ANY FAULTY WORKMANSHIP. Indeed, those policies cover almost nothing. (Ms. DeForest and many of her colleagues have been to court on these policies dozens of times and learned this through experience). There are also dozens, if not hundreds of cases denying coverage to homeowners who have suffered poor and negligent work by a contractor only to learn that the contractor's policy does not cover poor work). The only way to protect yourself financially when hiring someone for any kind of faulty construction is by securing a performance bond. (Which is a separate issue from making sure the contractor is licensed,etc., which are also important factors).

 

Statement of Commitment to Clients

Ginger DeForest strives to get the best results for each client based on the situation. She is dedicated to working with a team of other lawyers with particular knowledge in various aspects of cases.

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