New Orleans, Louisiana, does not follow the no-fault system for auto collision claims but is an at-fault state. Learn how this affects injured victims. If you were in an accident, contact a New Orleans auto accident lawyer for legal assistance.
If someone else’s reckless actions have injured you, they should be held responsible for their actions. Auto collisions in New Orleans, Louisiana, can affect not just the physical health of victims but also their finances. If you are an accident victim, contact a New Orleans auto accident lawyer immediately to discuss your rights and legal options.
Accidents caused by the reckless actions of another can result in expensive medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of enjoyment, loss of quality of life, etc. Thankfully, the law allows victims to exercise their rights to compensatory damages for their injuries and losses. The financial settlement helps to restore victims to the position they were in before the crash.
Every state has laws regarding car accidents, but each fits into two systems: the ‘at-fault states’ and ‘no-fault states.’ Whether either of these systems governs your insurance policy can significantly affect how your claim is handled. It also affects the compensation you may receive for your wounds and losses.
This article discusses Louisiana as an at-fault state and how it affects victims and their personal injury claims.
Is Louisiana a No-Fault Car Accident State?
As stated earlier, states adopt no-fault or fault-based systems regarding auto accident claims. Louisiana is not a no-fault state. Instead, it is a fault-based state for car accidents. This insurance system is based on tort liability. It simply means that the driver who caused the accident will be liable for the cost of the accident.
To recover the total value of your damages, you must prove the liability of the other driver who caused the crash. Establishing liability can be challenging, depending on the specifics of the accident. Therefore, you may want the expertise of a New Orleans auto accident lawyer to gather all relevant evidence that establishes the other party’s fault.
Victims can exert their rights to compensatory damages by filing an insurance claim based on the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance coverage. You can also institute a civil action in court against the responsible party. So after seeking medical attention for your injuries, report it to the police and seek legal counsel.
While in a no-fault system, every driver is covered by their own insurance, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Thus, injured victims can seek compensation for damages by filing claims with their insurance providers.
The payment received covers the victim’s medical expenses and lost wages under the applicable no-fault state law. Also, states that recognize no-fault insurance policies have established different thresholds for the amount of damages necessary to pursue accident claims.
How Does the At-Fault Base System Affect Car Accident Victims?
Approximately 87% of drivers in the United States carry auto insurance. Therefore, if you are involved in a New Orleans, Louisiana, car accident, there is a good chance that the other driver has an insurance policy. Each insurance carrier pays for the damages sustained according to the degree of fault of each party.
In a conventional fault-based insurance system, drivers purchase liability insurance coverage to protect themselves from paying damages resulting from an accident. This provides you and others peace of mind and security from financial losses.
Injured parties do not need to rely on insurance coverage to cover their medical bills, lost wages, or other accident-associated costs. Also, they don’t have a limited threshold of accident severity to hold the other driver responsible.
What Are Louisiana’s Car Insurance Requirements?
The New Orleans, Louisiana law requires all motorists to carry liability auto insurance. According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, the state liability insurance requirements are:
- $15,000 bodily injury and death liability coverage per person
- $30,000 bodily injury and death liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability coverage
The liability coverage pays for:
- Any accident you cause
- Both property damage and personal injuries
- Damages of the victim up to policy limits
Uninsured motorists who fail to comply with these requirements are breaking the law and will face punishment. They may pay $500 or $1,000 fines for driving without a license. Non-compliance also attracts license suspension, revocation, or having your vehicle impounded.
Does Louisiana Require Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
Personal injury protection (PIP) is an extension of your basic motor vehicle insurance policy. Louisana does not operate on a no-fault-based system. Therefore, PIP is not mandatory but optional. However, it’s usually a good idea to add it to your auto insurance policy.
PIP is a form of no-fault coverage available to you and your passengers in the event of a collision, regardless of fault. It covers a percentage of your medical expenses, lost wages, etc.
Again, Louisiana drivers are not required to carry PIP insurance. However, it can be helpful. There may be circumstances where the minimum insurance coverage will not be enough to cover the costs arising from the crash.
Also, filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company can take time. Again, these are scenarios where PIP is beneficial. Furthermore, if the driver responsible for the crash is not insured, PIP can provide coverage for a portion of your expenses up to your policy’s limit.
How Do I Know Who Was At Fault for the Crash?
Determining who was at fault in a crash can be straightforward or it may be complicated. However, all motorists in Louisiana owe a duty of implied care to other road users. They are responsible for driving safely, adhering to traffic laws, and taking appropriate measures to avoid causing accidents and injuries to others.
Drivers breach their duty of care by acting negligently or unlawfully in the following circumstances:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other substance
- Illegal speeding
- Failing to yield right of way
- Violating traffic laws
- Aggressive driving and road rage, etc.
To determine the party at fault, a New Orleans auto accident lawyer and insurance companies will consider the police report and other relevant evidence. A successful accident claim is contingent on proving the at-fault party’s liability.
Also, you must establish the key elements of negligence. It includes the following:
- That the motorist or third party owed you a duty of care
- That they breached their duty of care
- That their breach of duty was the proximate cause of your injuries
- That as a result, you suffered measurable damages
What if I Am Partially at Fault for the Auto Accident?
It’s not unusual to be partially blamed for the accident that caused your injuries and property damage. Mistakes are bound to happen due to various circumstances. The state of Louisiana practices pure comparative negligence law.
Under this rule, you are not prohibited from filing your auto accident claim even if you share some blame for the crash. Thus, you can still recover compensation.
However, your degree of fault will affect the total compensation you receive. For example, if your fault percent was 40%, and the court awards you $100,000, your compensation would be reduced by 40%, bringing your compensation to $60,000.
What Should I Do If I Was Involved in a New Orleans, Louisiana Car Accident?
Motor vehicle accidents are unpredictable and can happen at any time. Again, since Louisiana is an at-fault state, you will need to prove the liability of the other driver to be entitled to compensation.
Insurance companies are ruthless when paying out settlements to accident victims. Remember that they are a business and they’re looking to make profits. So they deploy questionable tactics to deny your accident claim or pay you less than you deserve.
So, vulnerable motor vehicle accident victims should not accept any quick offers. Once you accept their offer, there is no going back. You would be disqualified from receiving more money even if the settlement was insufficient to cover your expenses. So, get a New Orleans auto accident lawyer to handle all communications and negotiations with insurance adjusters.
Furthermore, you must act quickly to protect your rights to compensation. Your right to financial recovery lies in successfully proving that the driver caused the collision from the beginning. This means you must gather and preserve all evidence to build and prove your case against the negligent driver.
The following are actions to take after an auto crash:
- First, inform the police department and obtain the official police crash report.
- Seek immediate medical care.
- Follow up with medical treatment.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
- Take photos and videos of the crash scene, the accident injuries, property damage, tire tracks, etc.
- Obtain the contact information of eyewitnesses.
Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you can contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. A New Orleans auto accident lawyer well-versed in Louisiana personal injury law and procedures can handle your case while you focus on recovering. They will work with you to investigate the accident, determine who was at fault and negotiate to get you maximum compensation.
How Long Do You Have to Sue Someone After a Car Accident in Louisiana?
Accident victims in Louisiana have a limited period of one year from the date of the accident to file their personal injury lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. Failure to file your claim within the specified deadline would result in losing your financial recovery rights. So it’s best to get started as soon as you can.
Get Legal From a New Orleans Auto Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can result in severe injuries. You may face a long road to recovery if you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck. You have a right to recover the full value of your damages.
At the law office of Wright & Gray, we have a long track record of success in getting clients the compensation they deserve. We will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. It doesn’t matter if you share partial fault for the crash.
A New Orleans auto accident lawyer from our firm is here to help you understand the legal process and what to expect. So reach out to us today for a free consultation.