Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Louisiana? If so, your ability to recover damages may be affected by the state’s comparative negligence law.
What is comparative negligence in Louisiana?
This refers to the legal doctrine that assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in a motor vehicle accident. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident, you can only recover damages from the other driver(s) up to 80%. Usually, a judge or jury will determine fault percentages. Louisiana is generally a “pure” comparative negligence state. This means that even if you are found to be 99% at fault for an accident, you can still recover damages from the other driver(s).
How is it different from contributory negligence?
Under the contributory negligence doctrine, if you’re found to be even 1% at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any damages from the other driver(s). The rationale behind this doctrine is that if you contributed to your own accident, you should not be able to recover damages. A few states still follow this rule, but Louisiana is not one of them.
Do things change if there’s another driver involved?
If you are in an accident with another driver and both of you’re found to be at fault, Louisiana’s “modified” comparative negligence law will apply. Under this law, you can only recover damages from the other driver if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. If you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages.
If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit after a motor vehicle accident, it is important to be aware of Louisiana’s comparative negligence law and how it might impact your case. Note that the evidence you present at trial will play a big role in determining fault. For instance, if you are able to show that the other driver was speeding or texting at the time of the accident, a judge or jury may be more likely to assign a larger percentage of fault to the other driver.