Merrydale, LA – When someone has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, they can file an insurance claim and bring a lawsuit if necessary. Almost all personal injury lawsuits that are filed in Louisiana and other states are based on the doctrine of negligence. This basically means that another driver was not careful enough, which resulted in an accident and various kinds of losses sustained by the plaintiff. People who need specific information about how to bring these kinds of cases and what to expect should speak with a lawyer

Elements of the action

All negligence cases have a structure that includes four basic elements. These are a relevant standard of care, a breach of that standard, actual and proximate causation, and damages. All of the elements need to be present in order for the plaintiff to succeed. 

Evidence of negligence

It is important for any plaintiff in a negligence case to provide evidence that will actually help prove their case. In situations related to motor vehicle accidents, this normally includes things like reckless or careless driving, distracted driving, speed, illegal turns, ignoring stop signs, or other traffic violations. Even criminal behavior such as drunk driving can be used as evidence of negligence, although the criminal case will be handled separately if the defendant is charged. 

The fact that the plaintiff can argue that the defendant is responsible for causing a collision based on the facts available is usually sufficient to proceed with the case. In addition to traffic violations, things like accident reports from the police and testimony from witnesses are also crucial pieces of evidence. 

Comparative negligence

Louisiana and many other states have developed systems within their negligence laws that allowed fault for any accident to be divided between all parties involved. This is called comparative negligence. Under this system, the plaintiff can lose some of their damages based on their percentage of fault for causing the accident, but they will not be prevented from bringing a lawsuit. Even when an accident involves several drivers, they all can be assigned a percentage of fault to equal one hundred percent. 

Proving damages

The final element requires that the plaintiff show that they experienced actual harm and losses due to the defendant’s conduct. It is common for damages to include medical treatment costs, lost income and wages, non-economic losses for pain and suffering, and projected future costs related to injuries and missed career opportunities. 

Assistance from a local lawyer

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf is an experienced injury firm that assists clients in Louisiana. They focus their practice on accident cases in Merrydale and other parts of the state.

Firm contact info:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806