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What to do after a car accident in Louisiana

The hours and days that follow a car accident can be some of the most trying times in a Louisianan's life. They may be physically injured, emotionally devastated and financially struggling. By knowing what steps to take after an accident, Louisianans can make things less stressful for them and their family.

Immediately after the car accident, Louisianans should first check if everyone involved is physically okay. They should never leave the scene of an accident, even if they did not cause it. Call an ambulance if needed, and report the accident to police as quickly as possible.

Next, Louisianans should then gather as much information from others involved and try to gather witness information, while details are still fresh in their minds. Take photos of damages and the accident scene. The law requires everyone to give their name, address and vehicle registration to those involved in the accident.

Shortly thereafter, if damages were incurred, like vehicle damages or injuries, an accident survivor may decide they want to file a lawsuit against those responsible for those damages. A majority of car accident lawsuits rely on the premise of negligence. Under a negligence theory, if one can prove that the other driver was not exercising a reasonable level of care when the accident occurred, the accident victims will have a strong case against that negligent party.

Nonetheless, even if both parties were negligent, either party may still receive compensation, if the state where the accident occurred is a comparative fault state, like Louisiana. Comparative negligence law distributes damages by assigning a percentile fault to each party. Each party's damages will be reduced in proportion to their relative fault.

In order to file a lawsuit, one first needs to file a complaint describing the incident and requesting compensation. But, the lawsuit must be filed within the legal time limit, otherwise known as the statute of limitations. The clock starts on the day of the accident, and in Louisiana, the clock runs out one year after the accident. By following these steps, accident survivors or their families will have the chance to recover damages from a negligent driver.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Your New Orleans Car Accident: The Basics," accessed on March 22, 2016

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