Baton Rouge, LA – When someone is involved in an accident, they will likely retain an attorney to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for their injuries. The specific legal term for the lawsuit that says another driver was not careful enough on the roads is a negligence case. While the specifics of negligence can become complex, the doctrine is essentially a way of making businesses or people pay for their mistakes if they cause tangible harm and financial losses to others. 

The structure of negligence cases

Negligence cases have the same basic structure in every state, with some slight differences. The four consistent elements of any negligence action are a duty of care, breach of that duty, actual and proximate causation, and damages. Louisiana’s negligence law uses these same four elements. Evidence that proves each element to the jury based on the burden of proof is important. If even one element of negligence is missing, the plaintiff will not be able to collect, as the jury will be instructed to rule in favor of the defendant. The attorney for the victim will normally need to show something like a traffic violation, a distraction, or other issue that caused the defendant to make a mistake or drive recklessly. A breach of the duty of care can be implied from evidence of traffic violations. 

Dividing fault for an accident

Negligence laws have evolved over the years to account for the fact that there may not be a clear answer as to which driver was at fault or caused a collision. This resulted in the doctrines of comparative and contributory negligence. Most states have adopted negligence laws that allow a plaintiff to collect damages as long as they were only partially at fault for a collision. 

Louisiana uses a pure comparative negligence doctrine. This is most beneficial to plaintiffs, as they can still collect money regardless of their level of fault. Their damages will only be reduced relative to their fault for the accident. There is also not a level of fault that will totally prevent them from bringing the case. This means that a plaintiff who was half at fault for an accident will only receive half of the amount of damages, rather than being prevented from bringing the lawsuit entirely. Any specifics regarding an individual defendant or plaintiff’s level of fault should be directed to the attorney handling the case. 

Attorneys who focus on accidents in Louisiana

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf are experienced personal injury attorneys who practice in the Baton Rouge area. Anyone who needs advice after an accident can contact the firm to schedule a meeting. 

Firm contact info:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806