How does comparative negligence affect the outcome of an injury lawsuit in Monticello?

car crash

Monticello, LAPersonal injury cases are almost always filed as negligence lawsuits. This doctrine is crucial because it allows victims to sue other people and businesses for making mistakes that result in various kinds of loss and damage. While the doctrine is similar everywhere in the United States, there are differences in negligence laws in each state, mostly related to dividing fault for an incident. Louisiana uses a system called comparative negligence that lets fault be divided between all parties involved in the incident.  

An overview of the elements of negligence

All plaintiffs who hope to bring a negligence action must show that the four elements have been met. These are a relevant duty of care, a breach of that duty of care, actual and proximate causation, and damages. If any of the four elements are missing, the plaintiff will not be able to prove their case against the defendant and collect any compensation. These elements can be shown through things like accidents caused by ignoring known hazards, traffic offenses, and reckless behavior that is likely to cause injuries. 

Comparative negligence rules

Comparative negligence comes into play when it is apparent from the evidence that one or more parties involved were actually negligent. The inquiry does not end, because the total amount of fault in the accident can be divided in any way necessary between everyone involved, including the plaintiff, to equal one hundred percent. Any fault that is attributed to the plaintiff will result in a reduction in the money that they can collect. This level of reduction is equal to the amount of fault assigned to the plaintiff by the jury. In practice, it may not be beneficial to file a lawsuit where it is apparent the plaintiff will mostly be at fault under these rules. However, it is best to make that determination with the assistance of a lawyer. 

Comparative negligence and settlements

Many injury cases will actually end with a settlement agreement negotiated by the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys rather than a full trial with a jury verdict. While the two parties can technically agree on any amount, the attorneys will consider the evidence against both the defendant and the plaintiff relative to the negligence laws when they come to a final settlement agreement. This amount will likely reflect what the evidence exchanged through the discovery process showed related to fault for both sides.

Help with an accident lawsuit in Louisiana

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf is a law firm that handles various aspects of motor vehicle crash cases and related lawsuits. Anyone who has recently been injured in the Monticello area can contact their attorneys for specific advice. 

Firm contact info:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806