If you were injured in an auto accident in Louisiana, your personal injury case is subject to a different set of rules than had you been in another state. Louisiana is a direct action state, which means parties injured in a car accident can name an insurance carrier in a lawsuit. This is not something that’s allowed in other states. Here we explain Louisiana accident laws and how they may affect your case.
Direct Action: What Does it Mean?
Because Louisiana is a direct action state, an injured party can name an insurance carrier directly in a court case. This helps the injured party because a judge overseeing the case will know that there is an insurance company available to cover any damages. Usually, judges and juries will award more damages if an insurance company is named to pay the claim, instead of the individual who caused the accident.
Juries Can Be Sympathetic to Drivers if No Insurance Carrier Is Named
Often, juries are sympathetic to drivers who cause accidents, if there isn’t an insurance carrier named in the lawsuit. This is because the jury perceives that the negligent driver will need to come up with all of the damages out of pocket, which can be difficult or impossible to do.
Juries sometimes feel hesitant to penalize drivers and hold them responsible for huge judgments. For example, if a driver for a small mom-and-pop company caused an accident, an award against the little company could devastate it. The same holds true for an individual or person with a family.
Many cases are tried in which the defending attorney appeals to the jury to use compassion when awarding damages. Best practices for a plaintiff’s attorney, then, is to always name the insurance carrier in a lawsuit. This makes it clear to the jury that the defendant is not being asked to pay any of the award.
One-Year Statute of Limitations
Another difference in Louisiana accident laws than other states is that Louisiana has a one-year statute of limitations. There aren’t any kinds of pre-lawsuit requirements in terms of claim processes, so the injured party is expected to file a suit any time from one day after the accident until exactly one year after.
If too much time passes after a crime occurs, the Louisiana Statutes of Limitations will prevent you from pursuing restitution for loss or damage.
Because Louisiana is a comparative negligence state, an injured party who is at fault for an accident can have damages reduced by the determined percentage of fault.
Lower Insurance Limits
Louisiana’s required insurance minimum amounts are very low compared to other states. As an example, the state has a $15,000 bodily injury minimum for driver insurance policies. There are unfortunately many cases that go through litigation where the negligent party only has the minimum coverage. This effectively limits the injured party’s recovery of damages to just $15,000.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in the state of Louisiana, there are many elements to consider should you want to file a personal injury lawsuit. Tramontana Law has years of experience trying auto injury cases in the state of Louisiana. We know how to work within the various areas of the law to properly try your case so that you get the maximum amount of damages awarded to cover your medical expenses and other losses.
Fill out the form on this page and an attorney from the Law Office of Tony Tramontana will be in touch with you shortly. We want to hear your story and help get the justice you deserve.