Like your neighbors in the New Orleans area, you regularly drive to work, school, church, shops and other places. While practicing defensive and alert driving is a good way to minimize your chances of having a car accident, you may eventually find yourself in the middle of one. If your accident results in serious injuries or extensive property damage, you may want to seek compensation from whomever caused the accident.
What if you were partly to blame, though? Louisiana law uses a comparative fault approach to personal injury matters that involve negligence. To be sure you receive adequate compensation for your bodily and financial injuries, you must understand how your actions may affect your claim.
The elements of negligence
Many personal injury cases proceed on a negligence theory. To prove someone acted negligently, you must establish four elements:
- The individual owed you a duty of care
- The individual breached his or her duty
- The individual’s actions caused your injuries
- You suffered some type of compensable harm
Motorists have a general duty to drive responsibly. If they fail to do so, they not only breach their duty, but they often put others in danger.
The comparative fault standard
Louisiana’s comparative fault standard addresses the causation element of a personal injury claim. That is, the law assigns fault on a percentage basis. For example, a distracted driver may have proceeded through a stop sign and hit your stopped vehicle. If your vehicle was over the stopping line, though, you may be somewhat responsible for the accident. As such, your financial award may decrease according to your percentage of fault.
If you have suffered a life-changing injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may receive an onslaught of bad news. However, the good news is even if you were partly to blame for your injuries, Louisiana law likely still allows you to pursue some compensation. This fact may put your mind at ease as you begin your recovery journey.