While Louisiana is best known for its festivals, we might well be known second best as the state with the highest insurance rates. If you’ve been in a fender bender or worse, you will be thankful that in Louisiana, insured drivers are aptly able to recover damages. Below you will find important information on car accident compensation laws.
Louisiana utilizes the 'fault' system for its insurance claims. In a fault system, you are required to prove that the other driver was at fault before compensation can be recovered for injuries suffered in an accident.
Unfortunately, Louisiana’s 'compulsory coverage' rule (a.k.a. as 'pay to play') stops an injured party from recovering compensation of the first $15,000 of bodily injury, and the first $25,000 in property damage if the injured party doesn’t have insurance.
Although the compulsory coverage rule may seem unjust to the injured, the 'pure comparative fault' system LA. uses is quite substantial. Under this rule, if a driver is less than 100% at fault - they may recover some portion of damages. As an example, if a driver is found to be 98% at fault and suffers losses equal to $10,000, they might recover $200 in damages—quite a contrast to other states where a driver over 50% at fault recovers nothing.
Types of Damages
Auto accident damages are generally categorized as one of two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Financial damages are called economic damages that include repair or replacement of the damaged vehicles, lost income, medical expenses - past and future, and additional out-of-pocket costs. Harder to determine damages, such as emotional suffering, pain, disability, or disfigurement, are defined as non-economic damages.
Common car accident damages can include:
For the most part, Louisiana does not cap on damages in injury or car accident cases – with the notable exception of car accidents involving a government agency. The state has imposed a total limit of $500,000 on damages awards. In addition, Louisiana has a relatively short statute of limitations of one year.
And while generous with most auto accident cases, serious injuries that require hospital stays are further obstructed by a state-imposed medical malpractice cap. If by some extraordinary series of misfortunes, a medical professional exacerbates the injury, the medical professional can only be held liable up to $100,000 in damages, with a total recovery of $500,000. The additional $400,000 is paid by the Patient's Compensation Fund.
Armed with the information above, you can see why it is in your best interest to speak with a Car Accident Lawyer when involved in an accident in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
If you are involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Louisiana, consider calling an experienced car accident attorney for a free evaluation of your case, even if you are partially at fault. With a medical malpractice cap, the short statute of limitations and the compulsory coverage rule, it can be difficult to recover compensation for damages and injuries. Contact a Louisiana car accident attorney as early as possible to ensure you are educated on your legal options.
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