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Terms To Know For A Personal Injury Claim

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If you have sustained injuries in an accident, compensation may be entitled to you for the harm caused to you. But first, one must understand the key terms associated with personal injury claims before pursuing legal action. At The Law Offices of Chip Forstall, we are here to help you understand those terms.

Preponderance Of The Evidence

The preponderance of the evidence is a legal phrase that describes how much evidence is needed to prove a case. The “preponderance” standard states that a plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not that they were injured by a defendant’s negligence. This is the required legal standard for civil cases, unlike criminal cases, which require “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Negligence is a legal concept that is commonly used in personal injury cases. It refers to one person being held liable for harm caused to another due to a failure to exercise reasonable care. It involves not acting with the level of caution an ordinary, sensible person would in similar circumstances. 

To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused harm to the plaintiff as a direct result of that breach. 

Standard Of Care

Standard of care refers to the level of care and caution that a reasonable person with similar qualifications, training, and experience would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. In the context of a personal injury claim, the standard of care is used to determine whether the defendant was negligent in causing the plaintiff’s injuries or losses.

For example, if a doctor is accused of medical malpractice, the standard of care would refer to what a reasonably competent and skilled doctor in that medical specialty would have done under a similar situation. If the defendant’s actions fell below this threshold and resulted in harm to the patient, they may be the one held responsible for any injuries or losses that take place.

Similarly, in a car accident case, the standard of care would refer to what a reasonable driver would do under comparable circumstances. If a driver’s actions fall short of this standard of care and their negligence causes an accident and injuries to another driver, they may be liable for those injuries or losses.

The Importance of Standard of Care in an Accident

Pure Comparative Negligence

Pure comparative negligence is a legal principle used in some jurisdictions, including Louisiana, to determine the amount of compensation a plaintiff may receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Under this principle, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident or incident that caused the injury.

The plaintiff’s compensation will then be reduced by their assigned percentage of fault. This means that even if the plaintiff is mostly at fault for an accident, they may still be entitled to some compensation. 

For example, in Louisiana, even if a plaintiff is 99% at fault, they can still recover some compensation. If they are determined to be 30% at fault for an accident or incident, then their compensation would be reduced by 30%.


Damages are given to compensate victims for losses connected to their injuries. Generally, there are two types of damages that may be given in personal injury cases: economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, damage to property, and any other out-of- pocket expenses that result directly from the accident and your injuries. 

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering that occurs as a result of the injury and loss of consortium.

Loss Of Consortium

Loss of consortium arises when one spouse experiences significant harm resulting from another person’s negligence and subsequently loses their capacity to fulfill marital obligations, such as providing intimacy or companionship. 

This harm can be physical or emotional and often includes damage to the relationship between the two individuals. In these cases, the uninjured spouse may be entitled to compensation for the loss of those benefits and services resulting from the injury to their partner. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded when someone has acted with malicious intent or gross negligence, which causes harm to another person. These types of damages serve as punishment for such behavior rather than as compensation for actual losses sustained by the victim. For example, if a defendant driver is convicted of a DUI (or DWI), the court would find that he is liable for gross negligence and thus entitles you, the plaintiff, to punitive damages.

Understanding Punitive Damage in an accident

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a time limit set for filing a legal case after an accident has taken place. Generally, if you don’t file your lawsuit within this period, then you won’t be able to take any legal action against those responsible for your injuries. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is one year from the date of the injury

Contact The Law Offices Of Chip Forstall For Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

If you need help or have any questions related to a personal injury claim, The Law Offices of Chip Forstall is here to help. We have the resources and expertise to provide guidance, support, and representation to those who are seeking to pursue a personal injury claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The Chip Forstall law offices advocate for the rights of wrongful death survivors, injured pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and more. Call us today for a free consultation.

PHONE   |    504-483-3400
FAX   |   504-483-3447

320 North Carrollton Ave, Suite 200

New Orleans, LA 70119

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