How Do Personal Injury Cases Work in Louisiana?
While every type of personal injury in the state of Louisiana has its own liability tests and theories to be fulfilled in order to receive compensation, they also have some things in common. Some of the more common types of personal injury claims include:
- Wrongful death caused by the negligence of another, hazardous conditions in the workplace, a medical mistake, or death during a supervised activity
- Slip and fall accidents on private or public property when the plaintiff was not acting in a negligent manner, and the owner of the property knew or should have known, about the existing hazard
- Auto accidents caused by the negligence of another driver who breaks the rules of the road, harming another driver
- Medical malpractice, when a person is harmed by a doctor, hospital, or another medical professional, who has not acted in a reasonable manner, or in the same manner as another medical professional would have done, given the same circumstances
- Product liability, when a person is harmed by an unreasonably dangerous product
How Does a Personal Injury Case Start?
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may have a personal injury claim. It is extremely important that you seek medical attention after your injury. Not only is this important for your health, but if you fail to do so, the insurance company or jury may also believe you weren’t hurt all that bad. You will then consult a personal injury attorney for anything other than the most minor of claims. If you have medical expenses and have been out of work due to the accident for more than a day or two, you should definitely contact a personal injury attorney.
Are There Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?
Statutes of limitations are enacted in each state to set a limit on the time a plaintiff has to bring a personal injury claim. While the statutes of limitations are between two and five years in most states, the Louisiana statutes of limitations for personal injury claims is only one year. This means you must file your claim within one year from the time the accident occurred, or you cannot seek damages from the negligent party.
What Must Be Proven in a Personal Injury Case?
Louisiana’s laws regarding negligence in a personal injury claim are different than those of many other states. Not only does Louisiana have a cap on damages that can be recovered in personal injury claims and malpractice actions, but the state also follows the theory of comparative fault. Therefore, liability will be spread to all those who contributed to an accident in proportion to the level of proven fault.
In other words, if you are in a car accident and were hit by a driver who ran a stoplight—but you were exceeding the speed limit—you might be found to have 10 percent of the liability, while the other driver has 90 percent. This means that any monetary compensation you receive for your personal injury claim will be reduced by 10 percent. Otherwise, the general rules of negligence apply. These rules state that a person has a duty of care to others and if they breach that duty of care by carelessness (or on purpose), they are liable for any injuries to others which resulted from the breach of duty of care.
What is the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case?
While every personal injury claim is unique in one way or another, the general timeline of a personal injury claim is as follows:
- An accident due to negligence occurs, causing injury;
- The injured person seeks medical attention;
- The injured person consults with a personal injury attorney;
- The personal injury attorney investigates the claim and requests medical records;
- The personal injury attorney files an insurance claim or demands a settlement;
- If no settlement is reached, a lawsuit is filed;
- Discovery ensues on both sides;
- There may be mediation or arbitration to facilitate a settlement;
- There is either a settlement, or the case goes to trial, and
- A verdict is reached at trial.
What are the Potential Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Damages depend on the exact circumstances and injuries, however, the potential damages may include: medical expenses, both current and future, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages if the person who caused the accident did so in a willful or malicious manner.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case?
While you are not legally required to have an attorney handle your personal injury claim, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much, much higher when you have an experienced personal injury attorney from Hoffoss Devall by your side. We have the necessary skills and experience to not only ensure your rights are protected but also to negotiate with a recalcitrant insurance company, obtaining a fair settlement on your behalf. Contact Hoffoss Devall today!