If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver and you want to file a claim to obtain compensation, there are a few auto accident laws in Louisiana you should review to make sure you understand them.
These laws govern the length of time for filing lawsuits, the amount of insurance compensation you could recover and what happens if you were partially responsible for the crash.
If you have questions after reading about these laws, contact Simien & Simien's car accident attorneys. We have in-depth knowledge of state laws affecting auto accident claims and can help you obtain compensation from an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Louisiana Car Insurance Laws
Car insurance claims are governed by a fault system in the state of Louisiana. Under this system, the at-fault driver is responsible for the injuries and property damage caused by the accident.
This means you can file a claim with the other driver's insurance company to obtain compensation. You can also file a claim with your own insurance company, but it will seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurance policy.
This is why Louisiana requires all drivers to purchase liability coverage to pay for medical expenses and property damage to other drivers. Under state law, drivers must carry the following amounts of liability coverage, at minimum:
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $30,000 for injuries to two or more people in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage
You can recover compensation from these coverages, provided the other car was being driven by:
- The owner
- A member of the owner's family
- Someone driving the car with the owner's permission
The amount of compensation you receive will be limited by the amount of coverage in the at-fault driver's insurance policy. For instance, if the at-fault driver's policy has $25,000 for bodily injury, you can recover a maximum of $25,000 for medical expenses.
Louisiana also requires all drivers to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, unless they decline it in writing. This is coverage in your own insurance policy that would provide compensation if the at-fault driver has no car insurance or does not have enough coverage to pay for all of your damages.
You can find more information on car insurance laws in Louisiana in the Louisiana Department of Insurance Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits
Another way to obtain compensation after a car accident in Louisiana is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Unlike some states, Louisiana allows victims of car accidents to skip the insurance claims process and file a lawsuit.
You could also file a lawsuit after you receive insurance compensation if you did not receive enough money to cover all of the damages you suffered.
However, there is a limit on the amount of time in which you can file a car accident lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations.
According to Louisiana (La.) Civil Code 3492, accident victims have one year following a car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for a personal injury and/or property damage. If you do not file a claim within one year, you lose the right to do so.
One year can pass very quickly, particularly if you file an insurance claim. This is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after the crash. An attorney can assist with your insurance claim while preparing to file a lawsuit if you do not recover all of the compensation you need from the at-fault driver's insurance policy.
Comparative Fault in Louisiana
Louisiana is a comparative fault state, as defined by La. Civil Code 2323. This means more than one person can be considered at fault for a vehicle accident, including victims.
State law mandates that compensation awards in personal injury claims be reduced by the victim's percentage of fault for the accident. For instance, if a jury awarded you $100,000 in damages for your car accident case, but found you 20 percent at fault for the accident, your award would be reduced to $80,000.
The comparative fault law is applied by judges and juries. An insurance adjuster evaluating your claim may also consider how much you were at fault for your accident when determining how much to offer you in an insurance settlement.
Contact Simien & Simien Today for a Free Consultation
Simien & Simien's car accident attorneys can ensure comparative fault laws are applied appropriately to your claim so you do not miss out on any of the compensation you deserve.
We will advise you on the best course of action to take after your accident. We are prepared to assist with an insurance claim and/or personal injury claim.
Schedule your free, no obligation legal consultation right now to find out more about how we can help you.
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