All About Car Accident Laws in Louisiana

Car accident laws can be complex to grasp as a non-specialist. If you’re met with an accident, you’re likely advised to report it or call your insurance company. Most people neglect a crucial step which is calling a lawyer. A lawyer can keep you suffering from more than you should.

When it comes to lawsuits, certain factors affect the claims. The two laws that one should keep in mind before filing any car accident claim in Louisiana are:

  • A deadline (one year)
  • Pure comparative fault

You need to file the lawsuit within one year, according to car accident laws in Louisiana. Louisiana implements a pure comparative fault rule, which allows claimants for financial recovery even if the claimant is to be blamed for the accident.

That is an overview of Louisiana law. Next, let’s get into how things work.

Statute of Limitations According to Car Accident Laws in Louisiana

The statutes of limitations assign a period within which you’re obligated to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file it within the prescribed limit of time, the chances of your case going in your favor is very low.

If you are met with an accident, and there’s a severe injury or property damage, then according to  Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, you’re assigned a time limit to file a lawsuit. This prescription is effective from the date of injury or damage. The time limit is within one year. So any claims for injury or property damage by the driver, passenger, or pedestrian must be made within one year.

Note: However, there is no time limit on filing a claim in the case of a car insurance claim. Any insurance provider, whether it’s yours or the other driver’s, will expect you to file a claim — or at the very least notify the insurer of an incident that could lead to a claim.

If you try to file the lawsuit after the prescribed time limit has passed, the person you are trying to sue can point out this discrepancy to court as a motion to dismiss it. The court will definitely try to consider and will go through with it. There ends your case. If you miss the deadline, you’re guaranteed to lose.

This statute of limitations applies to:

  • Property damage
  • Injury
  • Medical expenses

If you file a lawsuit on time, then you’ll be able to negotiate better and expect your case to go well in court. However, if you’ve missed the deadline, then you should reach out to a lawyer to help you out and deal with the whole thing.

Comparative Negligence

Let us consider a scenario in which the other party is responsible for the damage, and you have your part to play in it as well? How does it affect your case, and what you’re going to get out of it?

Louisiana is a “pure comparative fault” state, as defined by Louisiana Civil Code Article 2323 of the state constitution. So the consequences are going to be dictated by how much damage you’re responsible for.

Let’s say a jury awards you $100,000 because of your injuries, pain, and suffering, as well as other losses. The jury, on the other hand, believes that you contributed 10% to the crash. Therefore, if your damages total $100,000, your award will be reduced by 10%, or $10,000, leaving you with a prize of $90,000 instead. Even if you’re found to be primarily responsible for the accident, you may still be able to recover for your losses from other liable parties; however, you should expect any damages award to be drastically reduced.

The comparative negligence rule helps Louisiana judges and juries work together. Due to the lack of an empirical method of determining fault, any attempt to assign liability will be based on your ability to convince a judge or jury through negotiation or argument.

Reporting a Car Accident

Section 32-398 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes mandates that drivers in the state report any vehicle accident that:

  • Causes death or a severe injury
  • Causes more than $500 in property damage

If the accident happened within a city or town, then the concerned driver must report it to local authorities. If the accident occurred outside of a city or town, the driver could file the report at the state police station. In any situation, the driver is required to report the incident right away. Must avoid negligence or any delay.

Louisiana Car Insurance Requirements

Insurance coverage will almost always be a factor in a Louisiana car accident, so knowing the state’s requirements for liability auto insurance and other coverage rules that could impact your claim is critical. Learn more about car accident laws in Louisiana by talking to a car accident attorney today.