When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, states either follow no-fault or fault-based systems. In a no-fault system, injured motorists can seek financial compensation for their damages by filing claims with their own insurance providers, regardless of who was to blame for the crash. In fault states, also known as “tort” states, accident victims must bring claims against at-fault parties and/or their insurance companies. This involves proving fault and establishing liability, which can be challenging depending on the specifics of the accident.
Louisiana is NOT a no-fault state. Instead, the state follows a fault-based system for traffic accident claims. This means that, if you are hurt in a car accident in Louisiana, you will need to prove that the other driver (or another party) was to blame in order to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your damages.
How Do You Know Who Was at Fault for a Car Accident?
Determining who was at fault for an auto accident can be relatively straightforward, or it can be incredibly complex. The various factors leading up to the crash play a large role in determining liability.
All motorists in Louisiana owe an implied duty of care to others. This means that they have a responsibility to follow the law, act reasonably, and take appropriate measures to avoid causing accidents and/or injury to others. Anytime a driver fails to do these things, they have breached the duty of care. In other words, they share at least some of the blame for the accident.
Most often, drivers breach the duty of care by acting negligently or unlawfully. Examples of this include:
- Driving while distracted
- Using a handheld cell phone or GPS device
- Texting while driving
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Turning or passing unsafely or unlawfully
- General carelessness
- Violating traffic laws
If you believe the other driver(s) involved in the accident caused the crash by engaging in any of the above behaviors or by acting negligently in any other way, you could have grounds for a claim. Contact our New Orleans car accident lawyers to learn more.
What If You Share Some of the Blame?
We all make mistakes—in some cases, you may be partially to blame for an accident that leaves you injured. Maybe you didn’t realize you were going five miles over the posted speed limit as you tried to make a green light, or maybe you glanced down for a couple seconds to change the radio station and didn’t notice the car in front of you had come to a sudden stop because its taillights were out.
Regardless of what happened, you are not prohibited from filing a car accident claim in Louisiana if you shared some of the blame. Under Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence rule, you can still recover compensation if you were partially at fault—and even if you were mostly at fault—for the accident. However, your degree of fault will play a large role in the overall amount of compensation you are able to receive. Specifically, your recovery will be reduced by your at-fault percentage.
How Do Car Accident Claims Work in Fault-Based Systems?
In a fault-based system, like the one used by Louisiana, car accident victims must establish the following elements to file a claim:
- Another motorist (or a third party) had a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party)
- The other party (the defendant) breached the duty of care
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries
- The plaintiff suffered measurable damages
Our New Orleans car accident lawyers at Womac Law Firm can help you determine if you have grounds for a claim during a complimentary case evaluation. We conduct thorough investigations to determine what factors led up to and/or caused the accident that left you injured. When it comes to your recovery, we fight hard for the maximum compensation you are owed.