Each state has its own laws that govern liability in personal injury cases. The State of Louisiana adopted the pure comparative negligence doctrine, which means that if you contributed to your injury, your possible recovery will go down by your percentage of fault. Under Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2323, the only exception to this rule is when the other party knowingly causes the incident and the injuries, known as intentional tort cases.
Let’s assume, for example, that a driver changes lanes without signaling and gets rear-ended by another vehicle that was traveling faster than the speed limit. The court awards the plaintiff $100,000 in damages but finds that the plaintiff was 25 percent at fault for the accident. In such a case, the plaintiff can take home $75,000 in damages despite suffering $100,000 in losses.
Why Is a Car Accident Lawyer Important in These Cases?
If a negligent driver injured you—even if it is clear that the other driver caused the crash – it is likely that either the driver or the insurance company will dispute your claim. Any traffic accident could include challenges based on comparative negligence.
A personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to deny and undervalue claims. When you work with a lawyer, they can:
- Gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Calculate your damages
- Help you fight for the compensation deserved based on the facts of the case
They will also manage all communication and negotiations with the insurer. If they determine that the insurance company will not try to reach an agreement in your case in good faith, a lawsuit may be necessary.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
What Damages Might I Be Able to Recover After a Car Accident in Louisiana?
Each personal injury case is unique, and the types of damages you recover will depend on the specific facts of your case. If you were injured by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Past and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident or an intentional tort, you also may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages punish defendants who acted with particularly egregious behavior. Comparative negligence laws do not apply to intentional torts, either.
It is crucial that you do not accept a settlement until you know the full extent of your injuries and losses. If the insurance company offers an amount that will not cover your ongoing medical bills or loss of future earning capacity, you may wind up in overwhelming debt.
Working with an attorney can ensure you seek a fair and just recovery based on your case. The law firm representing you will mitigate any allegations that you contributed to the harm you suffered and identify as many accident-related damages as possible to maximize your payout and ensure a fair settlement covers your losses.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Louisiana?
Each state has a deadline for when a victim must file a personal injury claim. This deadline is called the statute of limitations and is set by state law. In Louisiana, victims and their immediate families usually only have one year. These statutes are:
- CC Art. 3492 for injuries to individuals
- CC Art. 2315.2 for surviving family members of those who suffered fatal injuries
If you intend to file a personal injury claim in Louisiana, you must take legal action within one year from:
- When the accident occurred; or
- When you should have reasonably discovered your injuries
The clock begins ticking on wrongful death cases the day the person passes away.
If you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, the court will likely dismiss your case. This means losing the right to ask a judge and jury to hear your case and assign damages.
If you have an attorney representing you, they will assess the deadline in your case and ensure you meet this required timeline if it is possible to do so. This is a key step in protecting your rights and pursuing the best available outcome in your case.
Talk to a Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Team Member for Free About Your Case
An auto accident or injury lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help you understand your case and the compensation you can recover during a free consultation today. We have recovered more than $200 million for our clients in successful settlements and verdicts. We may be able to help you, too.
Call (337) 777-7777 today for your free accident review, including a discussion about how the state’s comparative negligence laws could affect your claim if you contributed to the crash.