Accidents happen. But not all accidents are created equal. Sometimes fault is clearly on the side of one party but other times both the plaintiff and the defendant can bear some of the legal responsibility. In Louisiana, it is important to know that if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you can still recover if you were partly to blame.
Louisiana comparative fault laws
Each state has adopted its own laws determining how to handle a personal injury claim when the claimant shares some responsibility. Louisiana is in league with the most generous states, having adopted a pure comparative negligence rule.
Under pure comparative negligence, an injured party may recover for injuries even if he or she was more at fault than the opposing party. This is in contrast to the small handful of states that do not let a party recover for an injury if they bear the slightest bit of fault, or the majority of states that allow recovery so long as the victim’s fault was less than either 50% or 51%, depending on the location.
How comparative fault is applied
Louisiana’s comparative fault law is found at Louisiana Civil Code 2323. It has the effect of reducing a claimant or plaintiff’s claim in proportion to the percentage of his or her fault. This means, for example, that if you were 75% at fault, you could still recover 25% of your damages.
The rule affects any type of personal injury claim. This means even if you suffered the unfortunate loss of a loved one who was partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover in a wrongful death claim. Keep in mind that you must still be able to prove all of the elements of negligence against the defendant and this will be tougher when the evidence is less clear-cut.
Role of comparative fault in personal injury negotiations
In a trial situation, a jury (or judge in a bench trial) will be asked to determine what percentage of fault each party bears for the injuries. In a settlement negotiation, however, there will usually not have been any formal determination made.
It is crucial to know your rights, especially when dealing with insurance adjusters and representatives of opposing parties. They may try to overemphasize the role your fault may have played or lead you to believe that you are not eligible to recover.
Consult a Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer
The determination of fault will have a significant impact on how much you can recover for your injury. Your best first step is to speak with a Louisiana personal injury lawyer, especially before giving any statements or speaking with the other party’s insurance adjuster.
The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers takes injury claims seriously. We fight to win full and fair compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today.