Car accidents happen every day. In 2021, there were 914 car crashes on Louisiana highways. There were 997 deaths resulting from those crashes, a record high. These numbers do not include accidents that happened on roads that are not considered highways.
It is unsettling when you are involved in an unfortunate event. If you are the victim of a car accident, you may be able to claim damages to your person and property.
Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 requires any person who harms another to pay for the harm done. Unfortunately, some insurance companies may try to avoid paying out claims. The burden of proof is on the victim. The best way to make sure you get compensation is to have a personal injury lawyer working for you.
Car Accident Laws In Louisiana
It is important to understand how Louisiana laws affect your car accident damage claims. The statute of limitations (time limit) to file a lawsuit is one year from the date of the accident. If you try to file a lawsuit after this period, it will most likely be dismissed.
Louisiana has a pure comparative negligence system in place. This means all drivers that have some responsible part in causing the accident are liable. For example, if you were in an accident and it is determined that you were 20% responsible for causing it, your compensation would be reduced by 20%.
Another important point to know is there is no upper limit to the amount of damage compensation someone can receive from a car accident. This is a very good reason to have a lawyer representing you.
What Damages Can You Claim After a Car Accident?
You can be compensated for more than the damage to your car. There are general damages, special damages, and punitive damages. There are also survival and wrongful death claims.
General damages are things that do not have a specific cost that can be attached. This can include compensation awarded for mental anguish from a car accident. Damages for physical or emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and disability can also be included in this category.
Some other general damages to consider are physical disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and loss of companionship. The amount of money awarded to the victim is different for every case. Factors that affect the outcome include the severity of the accident and the attitude of the jury members. For instance, a more compassionate jury could award a higher compensation amount.
Special damages include damages that have a specific price tag. This will include any out-of-pocket expenses the injury victim had to pay. It is up to the victim and their lawyer to prove these expenses.
The repair of damaged property is an example of special damage. Having to replace damaged property also falls into this category. Some other examples include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of irreplaceable items
- Funeral and burial expenses
Medical expenses connected to the car accident also belong to this category. Any medical bills the victim had to pay before the lawsuit is decided relating to the accident are included, such as an ambulance ride bill or emergency room charges.
Future medical expenses resulting from the accident are also considered. An example would be multiple surgeries in the future to repair damage from the accident. Spinal cord injuries or brain injuries may need long-term treatment.
Punitive damages are specifically attached to car accident injuries caused by an intoxicated driver. This includes alcohol intoxication and drug-related intoxication. This claim can be hard to prove. The best evidence would be post-accident alcohol or drug testing. If you are in an accident and suspect the other driver of being intoxicated, call the police right away so they can test the driver’s BAC level.
Survival and wrongful death claims can be recovered by the family members of someone killed in a car accident. Wrongful death statutes are for the immediate family of the victim, such as a spouse, child, or other close family members. They can receive compensation for their suffering and loss.
If there are no surviving spouses or children, the victim’s surviving parents may file a claim. If there are no surviving parents, a sibling of the victim can file.
Survival claims allow for family members to sue for general damages that occurred after the accident but before the death of the family member. The pain, suffering, and medical expenses of the victim can be included in these claims.
Hiring A Lawyer Is The Best Way To Claim Damages From A Car Accident
Again, insurance companies can be hard to deal with. We can help you collect on the damages you suffered from a car accident. Remember, the statute of limitations is one year. Contact the Law Offices of Chip Forstall today to get started.