In many personal injury cases involving car accidents, it’s apparent that the defendant acted negligently while the plaintiff did nothing wrong. In many other cases, both parties did something wrong. Can injured plaintiffs recover compensation even if they were partly at fault in their accident?
The answer is yes, it’s possible. Louisiana’s comparative negligence law does not bar recovery to plaintiffs who were partly at fault in their accident. However, the amount of damages they can recover is reduced in proportion to their share of negligence.
In a case involving comparative negligence, a court hears evidence about the case and assigns a percentage of fault to each party. If the court determines the plaintiff was 30% at fault, the plaintiff’s award will be reduced by 30%.
Consider the following fictional example: Alice files suit against Barbara, alleging that Barbara negligently crashed into her car, injuring her. Alice calculates her medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages, and claims they add up to $100,000. The court examines the evidence and determines that Barbara did act negligently by texting while driving, and therefore should be held liable for Alice’s damages. However, the court finds that Alice was also partly at fault for the accident because she failed to turn on her headlights when it was raining.
In this case, the court determines that Barbara was 80% at fault for the accident, and Alice was 20% at fault. Therefore, it reduces Alice’s reward by 20%. Although she suffered $100,000 in damages, she can only recover $80,000.
Comparative negligence applies to all kinds of personal injury cases, not just car accident cases.
When a person has suffered tens of thousands of dollars in damages, every bit of recovery helps. An attorney with experience in personal injury law can advise the injured and their families of their rights.