If you or a loved one has experienced a car accident in Louisiana, it is crucial to understand the answer to the question: is Louisiana a no fault state?
Each state has adopted a unique set of laws that specify the procedures following a car accident. Insurance companies analyze these laws to determine who was at fault and how much compensation each party will receive after the traffic accident. Broadly, states adhere to either an “at-fault” or a “no-fault” system when determining liability and insurance payouts.
After a car accident, you may be left dealing with sustained injuries or other devastating consequences. Having a full understanding of fault in Louisiana can help you avoid surprises in the wake of a car crash. At Wright & Gray, we work for our clients to evaluate the true value of their case and ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. Your rights are important and should be upheld. Consider calling us today at 888-912-4944 to learn more about how a New Orleans auto accident lawyer can legally assist you at Wright & Gray.
Fault System Vs. No Fault System
While all states can be categorized into one of two groups depending on whether they use “at-fault” or “no-fault” systems, what exactly does this mean? The key differences between these two systems are whether the victim has the right to sue or not and who is held responsible for paying for the injured party’s damages.
No Fault System
No-fault systems specify that an insurance company must compensate for the injuries of its policyholder, regardless of who was technically at fault for the accident. These systems provide a more limited right to sue by settling damages through insurance payouts rather than in court. Lawsuits may occur for pain and suffering damages or damages that exceed the upper limits of insurance benefits.
At Fault System
At-fault systems use different types of laws to determine who is held accountable to pay for the damages. Essentially, this means that one driver is more at fault than the other, and is therefore held responsible for the accident. An insurance company will compensate the other party depending on how their policyholder was at fault. If an individual is not satisfied with their payout, they may elect to sue for further damages. Most states utilize the at-fault system for automobile insurance.
Is Louisiana A No Fault State Or An At-Fault State?
Is Louisiana a no fault state? No, it is not. Louisiana uses the at-fault system for determining liability following a car accident. Therefore, when two drivers get into a car crash, their respective insurance companies will look at the evidence to decide who is at fault for the accident.
It is not always that straightforward, however, since Louisiana uses comparative negligence laws. Comparative negligence allows for fault to be “shared” by two drivers. According to Louisiana Civil Code Article 2323, the amount of damages that a driver can recover following an accident will be adjusted depending on how much they have contributed to the accident.
Take, for example, a situation where a driver is speeding through a school zone and striking another vehicle that ran a stop sign in a four-way intersection. One driver is clearly at fault for speeding in a school zone, while the other driver is also at fault for running a stop sign. In Louisiana, the evidence will be considered and each driver will be assigned a percentage of fault and compensated accordingly.
Statute of Limitations
Louisiana maintains a statute of limitations for all traffic accidents. This means that if you wish to sue an at-fault driver, you must file the lawsuit within one year of the accident. If the one-year statute of limitations passes, you will not be able to bring legal action against the driver for the accident in question.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover in Louisiana?
Another common question in addition to whether Louisiana is a no-fault state is the types of damages that Louisiana recognizes. Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 discusses the damages that a party can recover following a collision, which can be divided into two categories:
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
Compensatory damages are any losses that a driver sustained due to the negligence of the other party. The purpose of recovering compensatory damages is to put you in the same standing that you were in prior to the accident. Medical expenses or the costs associated with replacing or repairing a vehicle can be classified as compensatory damages.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, aim to punish the other party. An experienced personal injury attorney at Wright & Gray can help you understand whether punitive damages are applicable in your case.
How Will Louisiana’s At-Fault System Impact Your Claim?
Due to the nature of at-fault systems, it can take longer to settle a claim. This is largely because insurance companies must evaluate the evidence of the case and accurately determine the percentage of fault for each driver.
This process can be time-consuming. Moreover, there is a greater ability to sue for damages in at-fault states. Drivers are able to sue for damages at any point within one year following the collision. These factors can greatly impact the settlement timeline.
How Can A Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Between steep medical bills, vehicular damage, and emotional distress, experiencing a car accident can be highly stressful. Each party is interested in recovering damages and mitigating their own fault in the accident, which can lead to strenuous relations between both drivers and insurance companies. For this reason, seeking professional legal assistance can help alleviate stress and ensure that your rights are upheld at every point during the aftermath of a collision.
At Wright & Gray, we take a client-centered approach and focus on recovering all possible damages for injured victims. By leveraging Louisiana’s at-fault system, we are able to create the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you or a loved one has experienced a car accident, consider contacting us today at 888-912-4944 to learn more about your legal rights and how we can fight for you.