Damages Available to Car Accident Victims

If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably want to know what legal rights and remedies are available to you. The most important remedy that victims seek is compensation for their injuries. Here are some things you need to know about damages.

Comparative Fault

Louisiana is a comparative fault state, which means that the amount of damages injured parties receive is reduced by their own percentage of fault.

For example, imagine that the court finds Driver A to be 30 percent at fault for an accident and Driver B to be 70 percent at fault. Maybe Driver B ran a red light but Driver A was driving a few miles faster than the posted speed limit. Driver A’s total damages for the accident are $100,000. Because Driver A was 30 percent at fault, he can only receive 70 percent of the $100,000, or $70,000, from Driver B.

Of course, Louisiana also requires car owners to carry liability coverage on any vehicle they own. The minimum requirement for bodily injury coverage is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The minimum requirement for property damage coverage is $25,000. But insurance doesn’t always cover the entire cost of damages.

No Pay, No Play

What happens to motorists who don’t have insurance? To encourage Louisianans to comply with insurance requirements, the state penalizes injured motorists who don’t obtain the required coverage. Under the state’s pay-to-play law, uninsured and underinsured drivers may not collect the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages and the first $25,000 of property damage (the minimum coverage requirements). This is the case even if another driver was 100 percent at fault for the accident.

Two Types of Damages

Auto accident

There are two types of damages available to victims in personal injury lawsuits: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are meant to make the victim whole. For example, if you are injured in a car accident you might rack up medical bills and car repair costs. Victims should not have to pay these expenses, which is where compensatory damages come into play.

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for gross negligence or intentional misconduct that results in personal injury. Punitive damages are only available in Louisiana in limited circumstances, like when a person drives drunk and causes an accident. 

Statute of Limitations

Louisiana has a very strict statute of limitations (deadline) for filing a personal injury lawsuit. You only have one year from the date of the accident to file your claim; that is a short timeline. Make sure you consult an experienced attorney who can walk you through the litigation process. 

Contact Us Today

Contact Patrick Yancey Law Firm today for a free consultation if you have been injured in a car accident. You might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Our experienced attorneys will help you recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.