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Can the State of Louisiana be sued for injury or wrongful death?

Residents of Louisiana may know that a negligent party responsible for causing injuries or a wrongful death to a person can be sued by a victim or surviving family members. If the negligent party happens to be the State of Louisiana, its agency or a political subdivision, the state may also be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death cases. However, there are certain limitations that must be followed by a court while awarding compensation. The purpose behind the limitation is aimed at curbing the trend of governmental liability abuses to avoid overburdening the state's economy and its taxpayers with increased taxes.

A lawsuit for damages must be instituted in a Louisiana state court only and not any other court. The total liability of the state for all the damages in a personal injury case to any one person cannot exceed $500,000, including all claims and derivative claims. However, this does not include medical expenses, lost wages, property damages and loss of future earnings. The same limitation will also apply in a wrongful death lawsuit.

If a court reaches at the conclusion that the injured person is entitled to medical care and other benefits either in a personal injury or wrongful suit, it will order for the creation of a reversionary trust through which all the benefits will be paid to the claimant directly. The parties involved in the lawsuit are not barred from entering into a settlement or compromise, but even in that case a reversionary trust has to be established.

Source: Legis.LA.gov, "RS 13:5106," Accessed on March 4, 2015

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