Personal injury damages are monetary awards injured people may receive as compensation for harm caused by another party. “Damages” is also the term used for the injuries the person sustained by this harm. Plaintiffs may receive personal injury damage awards for physical and emotional harm, as well as property damage that occurred due to an accident or incident that was someone else’s fault.
If you or a loved one was injured in a preventable accident in Louisiana, you may be entitled to collect compensation. A Louisiana personal injury lawyer from our firm may represent you. Our legal team can examine your case, determine if you have grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit, and pursue a settlement for personal injury damages on your behalf.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Louisiana Is One Option to Pursue Damages
According to CC Art. 2315, every person who harms another individual must compensate the victim for the harm done. If you are harmed, you may apply for compensation through insurance or file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.
Insurance Claims Allow Injured Parties to Settle Their Cases Out of Court
Many people start their legal pursuit of compensation by filing a claim with the at-fault or liable party’s insurance company. This allows claimants to present their case to the insurer and demand coverage for damages, which can be negotiated into a settlement based on the liable party’s policy.
However, insurance coverage is not always adequate to cover losses. Even when there is sufficient coverage, insurance companies may try to negotiate the lowest settlement possible. Once you accept their offer, you can no longer pursue additional compensation – even if your injuries worsen and require more treatment. It may be worth working with a lawyer to estimate the value of your case and fight for a fair settlement.
When to Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you file a claim and run into obstacles with the insurance company (e.g., the company keeps stalling communications), you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit to continue your pursuit of compensation. Many lawyers use the threat of lawsuits as leverage when negotiating a settlement, but this can be a practical next step if the insurance company refuses to meet your demands.
In situations where you sustained serious injuries that require continuing care, it may also be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the compensation needed to cover your injuries, medical expenses, property damage, and the effect on your quality of life. Some insurance policies do not provide enough coverage to pay for all financial expenses, so filing a civil action can be one way to fight for more compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Personal Injury Damages You May Receive Are Based on Losses You Suffered
If you win a lawsuit for a personal injury claim in Louisiana, there are several types of damages you may be awarded. These include:
These are economic damages for specific monetary losses and costs due to the accident. Examples of special damages are:
- Medical, ambulance, medication, and rehabilitative expenses
- Expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages from being unable to work, and expected future lost wages
- Property damage costs, such as to repair or replace a damaged vehicle
- Reduced earning capacity
- Mileage costs for traveling to doctor’s appointments if you have to seek treatment far from your home
- Rental car fees during the time your vehicle is being repaired
If you suffered other financial setbacks, we can collect receipts, invoices, or other financial documents to prove their value and calculate them into the total compensation award we demand.
These are for less-tangible, subjective costs that do not have a specific monetary value. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish and distress, including depression, anger, anxiety, and sleep issues
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of reputation
- Psychological trauma
- Permanent disability, including loss of bodily function, vision, or hearing
- Physical disfigurement or scarring
These types of damages are subjective, but there are methods to calculate their value. Our legal team can go over how we estimate a monetary value for non-economic damages after listening to your case.
Exemplary or Punitive Damages
These are to punish and make an example of a defendant who acted in a malicious, violent, fraudulent, or grossly reckless way while causing your injuries. Punitive damages may sometimes be greater than compensatory damages.
There is no limit on the amount of damages you may receive in Louisiana, except a cap of $500,000 in cases of medical malpractice, per RS 40:1231.2.
Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
Under CC Art. 2315.2, the immediate family of a person killed by another party’s negligence may collect damages that the deceased would have been entitled to receive in a personal injury case had they survived. Depending on the situation, the surviving spouse, children, or other family members may make wrongful death claims.
Wrongful death damages may include:
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
- Loss of financial support from the decedent (deceased victim)
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of society
- Medical debts
Our team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers respects that you may be overwhelmed with grief after losing your loved one. We can manage your case for you and update you as your case progresses, so you do not miss your case’s statutory deadline.
You Must Prove Negligence Occurred to Receive Personal Injury Damages
To be awarded damages in a personal injury case, you and your attorney must show that the defendant acted negligently and was at fault for causing the accident. This means showing the following:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed you a duty of care not to cause harm. For example, all drivers must obey traffic laws and take precautions to avoid hitting other vehicles or people on the road.
- Breach of duty: The defendant breached this duty of care. For example, if a driver decides to use their cellphone while operating their vehicle, this dangerous act would be considered a breach of their duty of care.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach was the direct cause of your injuries. Continuing our example, because the driver was distracted by their cellphone while driving, they did not notice you crossing the street.
- Damages: You suffered damages as a result. For example, you broke your leg when the distracted driver hit you in the crosswalk. Your leg injury prevented you from working for eight weeks and required extensive medical treatment, including physical therapy after your leg healed.
Duty of Care Can Vary on a Case-By-Case Basis
What duty of care is owed would depend on the circumstances. Examples of different types of duties of care include:
- Vehicle accidents: Drivers must adhere to traffic laws. A breach of duty might occur if a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into you.
- Slip and fall accidents: Property owners and managers must keep their premises safe for guests and customers. A breach of duty might occur if a storekeeper failed to mop up a spill and you fell.
- Defective products: Product manufacturers, designers, and marketers must ensure their product is safe for use before releasing it to the public market. A breach of duty might occur if a defective airbag exploded and caused you injury.
- Medical malpractice: Medical workers and facilities must administer proper medical care by industry standards to ensure patients remain safe during treatment. A breach of duty might occur if a surgeon left a sponge in your body during a surgical procedure.
Our legal team can investigate your case to identify who can be held liable for your injuries based on who has duty of care in the situation. We can also collect evidence to support your claims and present your case in front of a jury or insurance adjuster.
Get Legal Help to File a Claim for Personal Injury Damages in Louisiana
If you or a loved one was harmed due to someone else’s negligence in Louisiana, the personal injury lawyers at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers may be able to help. We take the burden off you and handle all legal aspects necessary to get you fair compensation.
Time is of the essence. According to CC Art. 3492, you generally only have one year from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana. It is important to contact us quickly to allow enough time to investigate and build a successful case. There are no costs to you until we win a damage award for you, so call us today at (337) 777-7777.