When you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, a whole lot changes. Maybe you were driving to work, home, or your child’s school when, in the blink of an eye, things become shattered and you’re left rattled. What do you do now? How do you know if any of this was your fault? And, most importantly, how do you go about getting the rightful compensation that you may deserve for the damages that you’ve sustained?
In your post-accident research, you may be overwhelmed to learn that car accident laws in New Orleans are not always easy to understand. And, so much of what may be legally applicable is case-by-case specific. That’s why it’s so crucial to understand the basics of Louisiana’s car accident laws and the gravity of your own car accident – that is, what it could mean for you and your family in the future. And finally, it is important to contact an attorney who can assist you every step of the way throughout this difficult time.
Louisiana Employs the “Fault” System
After you’ve been in an accident, the first thing you need to know is that our state uses an “at-fault” system when evaluating accidents for insurance claims purposes. Generally speaking, the fault framework is as follows: In incidents involving two or more drivers, the at-fault driver is held financially responsible (either partially or fully) for the injuries and damages incurred.
While all states have different criteria for determining the levels of negligence involved in accidents (and how much financial payout will result from said negligence ratios between the drivers), it’s important to know, first and foremost, that Louisiana requires some fault to be proven before payouts can be made.
Pure Comparative Fault: Fault, but Some Leniency Allowed
Though your involvement in an accident in New Orleans does require showing a driver’s fault before payouts are issued, Louisiana also utilizes a somewhat more lenient fault system: Pure Comparative Fault.
Essentially, this system allows that, so long as a driver is less than fully (100 percent) at-fault for the accident and subsequent damages, financial compensation may still be collected for any damages for which the driver was not at-fault. For example, even if a driver is 99 percent at-fault, it’s still possible to collect compensation for the one percent of damages incurred that were not the fault of that driver.
If You Drive without Insurance, We Aren’t Just Talking Fines
One important aspect of Louisiana’s car accident liability laws is its usage of the Compulsory Coverage Rule in accordance with Louisiana Revised Statute §32:866. Sometimes called the “pay to play” rule, this statute prohibits any uninsured, injured (and not fully at-fault) parties from collecting the first $25,000 in property damage and the first $15,000 in bodily injuries.
Because drivers are required to have insurance in Louisiana, this statute is the state’s attempt at holding uninsured drivers responsible. Clearly, Louisiana takes a near-zero tolerance stance when it comes to driving without insurance. Not possessing it during an accident can be extremely costly on top of other fines and possible driving suspensions. So, if you drive without insurance and find yourself involved in an accident, present and future costs down the road could continue to haunt you for many years.
A Few Other Limitations
While Pure Comparative Fault and the Compulsory Coverage Rule are likely to be the two most relevant legal aspects pertaining to car accidents in New Orleans, there are a few other limitations that should be noted.
- According to Statute §3492 of the Louisiana Civil Code, there is a statute of limitations of one year from the “day injury or damage is sustained.”
- If your car accident involved government entities, there is a total limit of $500,000 in damages that can be sought.
- If you think that your car accident could have also spurred a possible claim for medical malpractice, there is a total limit of $500,000 in damages that can be sought here, as well.
What Exactly Can a Car Accident Mean for My Family and I?
Typically, damages resulting from car accidents are generally referred to under two different umbrella categories: i) economic, and ii) non-economic damages. Economic damages are usually those that involve monetary loss; these can include:
- Repairs or replacements of vehicles,
- Medical bills,
- Lost income, and
- Other out-of-pocket expenses that result from the accident.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are a bit more abstract. These damages are notoriously difficult to calculate, particularly without the help of legal professionals. Non-economic damages may include:
- Emotional hardship, and/or
- Loss of consortium.
Because there’s no telling for certain what economic and non-economic damages one could suffer from (both now and into the future) as the result of a car accident, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced attorney for the best possible outcome when trying to calculate your damages.
Were You Involved in a Car Accident? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Car accidents can be scary experiences. Not only are you and loved ones dealing with the physical and logistical effects of the accident, but you are also dealing with the emotional and traumatic side of things. And, to add to all this, you now have to somehow navigate Louisiana’s’ complex system of comparative fault and coverage requirements for drivers. You’re trying to get back to normal life while simultaneously dealing with hospital bills, insurance calls, and so many other worries.
In the midst of this chaos, look no further than the attorneys at Shlosman Law Firm. We have helped injured parties recover compensation for damages owed to them time and again, because we know Louisiana’s laws inside and out. We can look at the specifics of your case and give you sound, honest legal advice – in fact, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in the New Orleans’ community for years.
If you’ve been in a car accident and would like to tell us more about it, we’re ready to listen. Schedule your no-obligation case evaluation now at 504-826-9427 or request more information online today.