Distracted Driving Accidents
Information and what to do.
According to a recent study on distracted driving, Louisiana is one of the worst states in the country for distracted driving, showing that almost 50% of all trips in the Bayou State include phone use. Car accidents involving distracted drivers happen all the time. If you’re hurt in a car wreck by a distracted driver, you need a dedicated and experienced personal injury lawyer to fight for your rights. Drivers in Louisiana often don’t fully pay attention to the road, dividing attention between:
Driving and Talking on the Phone
Chatting with Passengers
When these careless drivers cause car accidents and injuries, victims should consider talking to a personal injury attorney about the possibility of compensation. Murphy Law Firm has experience handling distracted driving claims and can help you explore your legal options.
§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.
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.
How to Prove Distracted Driving
It’s highly unlikely that a distracted driver admits to his or her mistakes after causing a car wreck. The driver was probably breaking one of Louisiana’s distracted driving laws, but won’t say that he or she was at fault. If you know the other driver wasn’t paying attention, there are other ways to prove your case besides a confession.
Cell Phones – New drivers (R.S. 32:300.6) – limits those driving with a Class “E” learner’s permit or an intermediate license to use of a “hands free” cell phone. This is a moving violation, but is a secondary offense and may not be the sole reason for the stop. True emergencies are excepted. First offense fine max is $175; subsequent violations – up to $500. If using the hands on phone and driving when a crash occurs the above fines may be doubled.
Cell Phones – Minors (R.S. 32:300.7) – Those driver’s under 17 may not lawfully use any wireless communications device to send or receive a call or send or read a text while driving. Certain emergencies are excepted. This is a primary offense and a moving violation. Max fine is $100 for first offense; $200 for subsequent offenses and double if a crash is involved.
Texting while driving (R.S. 32:300.5) – No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write ,send, or read a text–based communication. It is a moving violation and a primary offense. The first violation is punishable by a $175 fine. Each subsequent violation is punishable by a $500 fine. Navigation with a global positioning system and use during emergencies are allowed.
Call the Police and Report the Incident
The police will gather information such as how fast both vehicles were traveling, the names of any eyewitnesses, the state of the other driver's vehicle, and other important details.
Collect Information Yourself if You can
Include photographs of the scene of the crash and the inside of the driver's car. There might be evidence such as fast food containers that help prove distracted driving.
Check for Lack of Brake or Tire Marks on the Road
This is another common sign of distracted driving. This could show signs that the driver wasn't paying attention and didn't attempt to brake before colliding with you. Talk to witnesses and ask them if they'd be willing to record a statement about the other driver's actions and behaviors in the moment leading up to an accident.
Distracted driving is all too common. How many times have you looked over and seen someone looking down at his phone? Even if it’s a brief text, the results can be deadly.
Your future is on the line, and you need to protect your rights.
If you don’t know what to do after a car accident with a distracted driver or if you have catastrophic injuries, simply call (225) 928-8800. An experienced distracted driving attorney at Murphy Law Firm will answer all the questions you may have and walk you through what to do next during a free, no-obligation consultation. Our goal is to help those in need after serious car accidents in Louisiana. We’ll educate you on your rights and get you the compensation you’re entitled to.
Call today and schedule a free case evaluation with our team of personal injury lawyers through our website, and we’ll be in touch with you right away to discuss your legal opportunities