Many car accidents on New Orleans’ streets and highways happen because one person acted negligently or recklessly behind the wheel. The crash and resulting injuries were 100 percent that driver’s fault, and they clearly owe the injured people compensation.
But not every auto accident case has facts this black and white. Real life is often made up of shades of gray. What if you got into an accident that was mostly the other driver’s fault, but you played a part too? For example, imagine someone runs a red light and crashes into you at an intersection, but you were speeding at the time. Could something like this mean you can’t get compensated for your serious injuries?
Modern personal injury laws are different
Decades ago, any contributory negligence on your part likely would have prevented you from pursuing your rights in court. But today, Louisiana law recognizes the reality that being partly at fault for a crash should not prevent you from getting something in compensation for the other party’s negligence.
The relevant statute says that each the proportion of each person or business’ fault for the accident must be calculated. If you as the plaintiff are partly at fault, the compensation you collect at trial would be reduced by the percentage of fault the jury imposes on you.
Let’s go back to the accident scenario above. Because you were exceeding the speed limit, the jury might say you were 10 percent at fault and find that you suffered $100,000 in damages. You would receive $90,000, or $100,000 minus $10,000.
Don’t let doubt stop you
Doubts about whether the other driver was completely responsible for the car wreck that left you severely injured should not stop you from pursuing maximum compensation. You should at least know your options before you accept a settlement offer from the driver’s insurance company.