CAR ACCIDENTS INJURIES
Information and what to do.
Any car accident has the potential to cause catastrophic injuries and expensive property damage. After experiencing an accident in the Baton Rouge area, you may wonder what next steps to take to secure your rights and obtain the compensation you need to handle your medical bills and vehicle repairs or replacement. The experienced Baton Rouge car wreck attorneys at Murphy Law Firm are here to help.
Our lawyers have built a reputation based on trust and success. Our family of clients has grown thanks to referrals from past clients who know they can trust our car wreck attorneys to handle even the most complex personal injury cases, insurance complications, and intense litigation. If you believe another driver is responsible for your accident and injuries, it’s vital to understand the process of filing a personal injury claim and have some idea of how to handle insurance companies that attempt to delay or deny your insurance claim.
Why You Need an Attorney?
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries or other damages from a car accident in Baton Rouge, you may wonder whether a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer can help. While some private citizens manage to successfully represent their own interests in legal matters, this is extremely rare and generally inadvisable. Pursuing a lawsuit without professional representation can be difficult and overwhelming, especially if you were seriously injured. Speaking with a professional can give you time to heal peacefully, while they take care of filing paperwork and deal with demanding insurance companies.
Often, hiring a personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge will make the opposition approach your case differently. Hiring an attorney shows the other parties involved in your case that you are serious and that you intend to fight for your rights. Our injury lawyers at Murphy Law Firm do much more than handle the courtroom end of a car wreck case. We also help clients gather critical evidence and ensure that insurance claims adjusters work in good faith to process our clients’ claims.
§866. Compulsory motor vehicle liability security; failure to comply; limitation of damages
A.(1) There shall be no recovery for the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and no recovery for the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damage based on any cause or right of action arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in such accident who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security.
(2) For purposes of this Section, the meaning of “bodily injury” and “property damage” is governed by the applicable motor vehicle liability insurance policy or, in the event of security other than an insurance policy, the meaning of such terms is that which is commonly ascribed thereto.
(3)(a) The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if the driver of the other vehicle:
(i) Is cited for a violation of R.S. 14:98 as a result of the accident and is subsequently convicted of or pleads nolo contendere to such offense.
(ii) Intentionally causes the accident.
(iii) Flees from the scene of the accident.
(iv) At the time of the accident, is in furtherance of the commission of a felony offense under the law.
(b) The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if at the time of the accident, the other vehicle is not being operated and the vehicle is not in violation of the provisions of Chapter 1 of this Title.
B. Each person who is involved in an accident in which the other motor vehicle was not covered by compulsory motor vehicle liability security and who is found to be liable for damages to the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle may assert as an affirmative defense the limitation of recovery provisions of Subsection A of this Section.
C. If the owner of a motor vehicle, who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security, institutes an action to recover damages in any amount, regardless of whether such owner or operator is at fault, and is awarded an amount equal to or less than the minimum amount of compulsory motor vehicle liability security, then such owner or operator shall be assessed and held liable for all court costs incurred by all parties to the action.
D. Each person who applies for a driver’s license, registers a motor vehicle, or operates or owns a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given his consent to be subject to and governed by the provisions of this Section. All persons who apply for the issuance or renewal of a driver’s license, motor vehicle title, or motor vehicle registration shall sign a declaration on a form developed by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections pursuant to rule and regulation that the person acknowledges and gives consent to the requirements and provisions of this Section and that the person will comply with all provisions of this Section and the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law. Proof of whether the person obtained or signed such declaration is irrelevant to the application of this Section.
E. Nothing in this Section shall preclude a passenger in a vehicle from asserting a claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss which he occasioned, in whole or in part, by the negligence of another person arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle. This Subsection shall not apply to a passenger who is also the owner of the uninsured motor vehicle involved in the accident.
F.(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no insurer shall lose any rights of subrogation for claims paid under the applicable insurance policy for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.
(2) In claims where no suit is filed, the claimant’s insurer shall have all rights to recover any amount paid by the claimant’s insurer on behalf of the insured for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.
G.(1) Except for newly acquired vehicles added to a policy subject to the policy terms, the issuance, change, or adjustment of any motor vehicle liability security or insurance policy subsequent to a motor vehicle accident, without proof of coverage having been bound prior to such motor vehicle accident, shall not effectuate any of the following:
(a) The recovery for injury or damages that are otherwise prohibited under this Section.
(b) The defeat of any affirmative defense otherwise allowed under this Section.
(c) The avoidance of liability for court costs otherwise required under this Section.
(2) Reinstatement provisions of a policy during the premium payment grace period specified in the policy shall not be invalidated by the provisions of this Section.
H. The provisions of this Part shall not apply to any vehicle which is legally parked at the time of the accident.
Acts 1997, No. 1476, §4, eff. Sept. 6, 1998; Acts 1999, No. 1085, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2003, No. 532, §1; Acts 2008, No. 921, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010; Acts 2014, No. 149, §1.
NOTE: See Acts 1997, No. 1476, §5(D)(2). The rate reduction day was the date on which the judgment in the lawsuit became final, May 8, 1998. Sections 2 through 4 became effective 120 days thereafter, Sept. 6, 1998.
Louisiana is a comparative fault state. Under this doctrine, each party’s fault, including your own, must be determined in a personal injury claim. Each party will be held responsible for his or her degree of fault. So, if you were partially to blame for your accident, your recovery would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to you.
For example: Let’s say you suffer $1 million in damages in a car accident. If you were 20 percent at fault, your recovery would be reduced by 20 percent. The most you could recover would be $800,000.
Insurance companies try to use Louisiana’s comparative fault law to shrink a car accident victim’s financial recovery. You should work with a lawyer who will stand up to the insurance company and fight for every penny you are owed. This is what we mean at Murphy Law Firm when we say, “Don’t be a victim twice!”
Art. 2323. Comparative fault
A. In any action for damages where a person suffers injury, death, or loss, the degree or percentage of fault of all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss shall be determined, regardless of whether the person is a party to the action or a nonparty, and regardless of the person’s insolvency, ability to pay, immunity by statute, including but not limited to the provisions of R.S. 23:1032, or that the other person’s identity is not known or reasonably ascertainable. If a person suffers injury, death, or loss as the result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of another person or persons, the amount of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.
B. The provisions of Paragraph A shall apply to any claim for recovery of damages for injury, death, or loss asserted under any law or legal doctrine or theory of liability, regardless of the basis of liability.
C. Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraphs A and B, if a person suffers injury, death, or loss as a result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of an intentional tortfeasor, his claim for recovery of damages shall not be reduced.
Amended by Acts 1979, No. 431, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 3, §1, eff. April 16, 1996.
Louisiana requires drivers to carry liability auto insurance. This insurance pays for the property damage and bodily injury that a driver causes in a crash. However, many drivers on our roads lack this coverage. In fact, a few years ago, the Insurance Information Institute estimated that nearly 14 percent of Louisiana drivers lacked the required coverage.
If an uninsured driver causes your auto accident, you may be able to file a claim through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy. Unless you rejected this coverage in writing, you should have it. A lawyer from our firm can review your policy to determine if you are covered.
Generally speaking, a UM claim pays for all of your damages that an uninsured driver causes (up to your policy limits), while a UIM claim pays the difference between what the at-fault driver’s insurance covers and your total damages (again, up to your policy limits). You could also file a UM claim if you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident.
In addition to UM/UIM, you may have other options available to you. For instance, you may also carry medical payments coverage, comprehensive and/or collision coverage. If your injury occurred while you were working, you could potentially file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Additionally, you may be able to file a claim against parties other than the at-fault driver. For instance, if the driver was working at the time of the crash, you could sue the driver’s employer.
Your lawyer should work hard to uncover every possible source of compensation for you. This is what Murphy Law Firm means when we say that we will pursue a maximum recovery for you.
If neither you nor the other driver has insurance, then you will have limited options. You won’t be able to file a claim through the other driver’s liability policy, and you will have no UM/UIM or other coverage available to you.
You could file a claim against at-fault driver and try to collect your recovery through the driver’s personal assets. However, in most cases, a person’s assets won’t fully cover your losses. If the driver was “on the clock” when the driver caused your crash, you could potentially sue the driver’s employer.
Keep in mind: Under Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law, an uninsured motorist cannot collect the first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in bodily injury damages, regardless of who caused the crash.
While your ability to recover funds through an auto insurance claim or lawsuit may be limited, keep in mind that options such as workers’ compensation benefits or even Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be available to you.
Baton Rouge Car Accident Statistics
Over the past several years, thousands of vehicle accidents occurred in the Baton Rouge area, causing many fatalities:
- 41,804+ vehicles in accidents
- 5,505 injuries
- 42 fatalities
- 37,400+ vehicles in accidents
- 2,996 injuries
- 41 fatalities
- 39,100+ vehicles in accidents
- 3,399 injuries
- 45 fatalities
- 35,900+ vehicles in accidents
- 3,662 injuries
- 26 fatalities
- 32,400+ vehicles in accidents
- 3,672 injuries
- 29 fatalities
- 31,400+ vehicles in accidents
- 3,643 injuries
- 35 fatalities
These statistics indicate that the risk of experiencing a car accident is very real for residents of the Baton Rouge area. At Murphy Law Firm our clients can count on the full range of our experience and resources to reach the best possible result in their cases. Car wrecks often involve various types of damages, and our team of personal injury attorneys know how to explore every available channel of compensation on your behalf.
Most Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents that happen at higher speeds have a greater chance of causing fatalities and serious injuries, but even crashes at moderate speeds can cause catastrophic damage. Some of the most common injuries resulting from car accidents include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car crash victims who suffer such injuries not only have to contend with the damage to their vehicles, but also expensive medical bills and possibly even ongoing treatments and permanent disabilities. If you are wondering if your recent car accident would qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, your first question should be whether the accident was preventable. Changing road conditions and sudden hazards can cause accidents that are not the drivers’ fault, but, when car wrecks occur due to the negligence of other drivers, injured victims can pursue compensation for their damages through personal injury claims against those negligent drivers.
How to Prove Negligence
Personal injury law hinges on the legal concept of negligence, or one party’s failing to uphold a certain duty of care in a given situation. For example, licensed drivers have a duty of care to other drivers to follow posted traffic signs and obey the traffic laws. Speeding, aggressive driving, running stop signs, failing to use turn signals, and improper lane changes are a few examples of how drivers can violate or breach their duty of care on the road.
Proving negligence in a legal battle entails four elements:
The plaintiff has to prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care in the given situation.
Next, the plaintiff must show the court how the defendant violated this duty.
The plaintiff can only sue for the direct results of the defendant’s negligence, so the plaintiff must prove his or her.
The plaintiff can only sue if he or she suffered damages, or actual harm.
Imagine this scenario:
A driver is using his cell phone and speeding through a residential area. He fails to notice a stop sign and drives through the intersection, striking a car passing through the intersection with the right-of-way. The other driver suffers a concussion and multiple broken bones. The other driver’s car sustains severe damage, resulting in the car insurance company totaling the vehicle.
In this scenario, the at-fault driver’s obligation to follow the rules of the road is his “duty,” and the speeding, cell phone use behind the wheel, and running the stop sign all constitute “breach.” The plaintiff’s totaled car and injuries form the “damage” in the case, and the plaintiff only needs to provide enough evidence to show these damages resulted from the defendant’s careless driving and not some other cause.
While this example is very straightforward, reality is rarely this black and white. Hiring a personal injury attorney will greatly increase an injured driver’s settlement or case award following an accident with a negligent driver. Additionally, the right car accident lawyer will know how to gather the evidence necessary for proving causation and securing the maximum amount of compensation possible for his or her client.
Louisiana's Car Accident Laws
Louisiana state laws contain a few issues that drivers should know before engaging in any type of legal battle. First, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is much shorter in Louisiana than most other states . Injured plaintiffs in any type of personal injury situation only have one year from the date of an injury, or the date of discovery of an injury, to file a lawsuit. It’s crucial to act quickly after a car accident to have the best chance of securing compensation for your damages.
Louisiana also follows a pure comparative negligence law . Many states use a modified comparative negligence law that allows plaintiffs to secure compensation for damages for which they are partially at fault, up to 50%. Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence law instead allows plaintiffs to secure compensation even if they are 99% at fault for an accident – they would simply secure 1% of the claimed amount.
Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence law highlights another important reason for hiring a car accident attorney: The average person may not know how to fight a claim of partial fault. Handling such a case requires extensive knowledge of state laws, evidence gathering, and testimony from eyewitnesses and possibly even expert witnesses. If a vehicle defect causes an accident, a lawyer can help navigate the subsequent product liability claim against the manufacturer. Some car accident cases wind up involving multiple defendants, cross claims, counterclaims, and many other situations best left to trained car accident attorneys.