Understanding personal injury compensation in Louisiana

People who are injured by another’s action have the right to ask for compensation.

People who are injured by another's action have the right to ask for compensation.

An unexpected injury can occur at any time and when people are often least expecting it. If the injury was caused by the negligence of another, people in Louisiana can seek appropriate compensation from the other party.

Pure comparative fault

According to Claims Journal, people can be 99 percent responsible for the accident that left them injured and still seek compensation against the other party. This is a rule known as pure comparative fault and under the rule, the amount of compensation awarded is determined partly by the percent of responsibility that the other party holds.

An example of this could be something like a drunk driving crash. One driver was under the influence but the other driver was speeding when they collided. An investigation showed that the drunk driver was 70 percent responsible for the crash while the other driver held a responsibility rate of 30 percent. Under state law, if the drunk driver was injured in the crash, he or she could seek compensation against the driver who was speeding, but the amount would be determined by the 30 percent of comparative fault.

Compensatory damages

Generally, the money awarded to an injured victim by a jury or judge is referred to as compensation because it is intended to reimburse the victim for the damages he or she suffered, according to Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute. The law recognizes that a personal injury accident, like a slip-and-fall, helicopter accident or a doctor's mistake can have a range of short- and long-term effects on the victim. Therefore, there are different types of compensation that may be available to the victim and these include the following:

  • Medical - covers all costs associated with the medical treatment and care for the injury, including future costs the injury is expected to incur
  • Pain and suffering - for the physical pain the injury has caused the victim - this may also include emotional distress, such as depression, loss of sleep, anxiety or other emotional and mental problems caused by the accident.
  • Loss of property - this can be used in situations where personal items were lost in the accident or a vehicle was damaged
  • Loss of consortium - if the victim is married and unable to maintain an intimate relationship, this compensation may be awarded.

The final type is loss of income and covers current and future lost income if the injury is a long-term one or permanent, leaving the victim unable to return to work. This may also be referred to as a loss of earning capacity.

Punitive damages

In some cases, the other party may have acted with willful negligence and the court will respond by ordering them to pay a financial punishment, or punitive damages. These kinds of damages can be ordered against a trucking company that encouraged its drivers to violate federal guidelines, a car company that knew of a vehicle defect and failed to protect consumers or a doctor that acted in his own best interest instead of that of the patient's.

People in New Orleans who have been harmed due to the actions of others may not have a clear understanding of the full effects of that injury. They may find it helpful to talk about their situation with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.

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