Is Louisiana a Comparative Negligence State?
Some states follow a comparative negligence understanding of car accident claims, and other states subscribe to the contributory negligence understanding of the laws. In contributory negligence states, if one party is even partially responsible for an accident, they cannot hope to recover anything in terms of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. However, in a comparative negligence state (also known as comparative fault), a party that was partially responsible for the accident may still recover damages, though their compensation may be reduced based on the percentage of fault they share in the accident.
Louisiana is a comparative negligence state.
Can You File a Lawsuit if You Were Partially or Completely to Blame for a Car Accident?
Under comparative fault laws, you can still pursue compensation for a car accident, even if it was partially your fault. Please note that comparative fault means that if the majority of the blame rests with you, then you may only be entitled to a small percentage of any potential compensation.
For example, if you are responsible for 60% of the accident, then you may be able to recover damages. However, the potential settlement will be reduced by the 60% you were found to be at fault.
For a better chance of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who has previously represented cases similar to yours.
How is Comparative Fault Determined?
It is impossible to convey any sort of clear formula for how fault will be determined in your car accident case. Typically, the judge deciding the case will determine who is at fault for the accident. If your case goes to trial, then the jury may be the one who ultimately decides who was at fault.
During these moments, it’s especially important that you have a skilled attorney in your corner representing your interests. A car accident attorney can help argue the facts in your favor, hopefully reducing the amount of fault you might share for the traffic collision.
It’s important to remember at the time of the car crash and in every moment that follows, you should never apologize or admit fault to the other driver, the police, or an insurance adjuster. Any such comments could be used against you.
Can You Sue Even if You Were Not Hurt in the Car Accident?
Personal injuries or wrongful death are not the only viable claim for a car accident case. If you were in a car accident that left your vehicle badly damaged, you might be able to pursue compensation for property damage. The settlement could go towards repairing or replacing your damaged motor vehicle. You may also have a claim for the diminished value of your car, although since COVID, that’s been a hard case to prove because of the ever escalating prices of used cars; even those that have been wrecked.
Louisiana law requires that all drivers carry liability coverage of at least $25,000 for property damage. If the vehicle damage goes beyond that, you may seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against the other driver, but it’s admittedly hard to find a lawyer to handle those cases on a contingency fee basis because collectability is so uncertain.
Property damage can include property other than your automobile, too. For example, if the collision damaged any items on your person or in the vehicle, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Even if you did not suffer an injury, the car collision might have caused you to miss time from work. You may be able to seek compensation for lost wages.
What Are Examples of Car Accidents Where Multiple Parties Might Be At Fault?
Common examples of car accidents where multiple parties were to blame include:
- DUI accidents where both drivers were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Head-on collisions where one car is forced to swerve out of a lane into oncoming traffic.
- Motorcyclists split the lanes and hit a car that was driving recklessly, too.
- One car is driving without its lights on after dark and they are struck by a car going over the speed limit.
- Rear-end fender benders where one driver should’ve been paying closer attention but maybe the other driver was speeding.
- Reckless driving accidents in poor weather conditions.
- Side-impact collisions where one or more cars fail to yield.
What Type of Compensation Could Be Rewarded in a Car Accident Claim?
If you can successfully prove your case, you may be rewarded with economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages might include lost income, medical bills, property damage, and lost future earnings. Non-economic damages may include lost quality of life, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and lost companionship.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, a plaintiff must file a personal injury claim within one year of the accident. Filing after the one-year window has elapsed will result in your claim being dismissed.
There are exceptions, however. If the injured party was a minor, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t begin until the injured minor turns 18. This means their time to file is up on their 19th birthday, regardless of how old they were when the accident occurred.
Other exceptions may also apply. For more information, contact us ASAP so that you don’t miss your chance to file a claim.
Contact Babcock Injury Lawyers to Schedule a Free Case Review
Babcock Injury Lawyers has an impressive track record of success. We’re confident that we can provide you with the legal representation that you deserve for your case. In fact, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee to our clients.
To speak about your unique case in more detail, please contact our law firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You may call our law offices at (225) 500-5000.