You cannot recover compensation after a car accident unless you can prove that another party was liable for the crash.
Below, our Baton Rouge car accident attorneys explain the many factors involved in determining car accident liability, including who can be held liable, evidence that can help build a case and Louisiana's comparative negligence doctrine. Contact our attorneys for assistance pursuing your car accident claim.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Car Accident?
The liable party is the one that caused the accident. Various parties could be held liable for the accident, including:
- The other driver, particularly if he or she was drunk, distracted or disobeyed traffic laws
- Government authorities, if poor road conditions were a factor in the accident
- Vehicle manufacturers, if defective equipment contributed to the accident
The victim of the accident could also be held partially liable, particularly if he or she was speeding, disobeying traffic laws or engaging in some other form of reckless driving.
These situations are governed by Louisiana Civil Code 2323, also known as the comparative negligence doctrine.
This law does not prohibit you from recovering compensation if you bear some amount of liability for the crash. However, the law mandates that your compensation award be reduced by your percentage of fault.
This means that if a court decides you were 10 percent liable for the accident, your award will be reduced by 10 percent. If you were awarded $100,000, it would be reduced to $90,000.
If an attorney takes your case, he or she will perform a thorough investigation of the accident to collect evidence and determine liability.
Evidence in a car accident investigation could include:
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Accident reconstruction using the latest technology
- Police report
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records of the victim's injuries
- Expert testimony
- Footage from red light or traffic cameras
Attorneys will use this evidence to build a case that attempts to show that another party was responsible for your injuries.
Your attorney can collect most of this evidence on his or her own. However, there is a limited amount of time to obtain pictures from the scene of the accident, since it will likely be cleaned up soon after the crash.
That is why, if you are physically able to do so, you should take pictures after the accident, including:
- Damage to vehicles
- The surrounding roadway
- Traffic signs
- The intersection, if applicable
- Your injuries
- Marks on the road or nearby damage caused by the accident
You should also try to talk to witnesses after the crash. Collect their contact information for future reference, as they may be called upon to provide their account of the accident.
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Claim
Proving liability in a car accident case is complicated. You need to conduct a thorough investigation to collect evidence and build a strong case.
This is why you should strongly consider working with an experienced attorney. The Baton Rouge injury lawyers of Simien & Simien have helped countless accident victims prove liability so they can recover fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation today to determine if you have viable claim. We will only charge legal fees if we recover compensation for you.