Why You Should Still File a Claim if You’re Partially At-Fault
One of the most common reasons that injury victims wait to reach out to a personal injury attorney is because they are unsure whether they have grounds for a case. When you have been seriously injured and someone else is primarily responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, they should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
The laws surrounding shared fault in Louisiana may be more complicated than you thought. But when you have been injured in an accident in New Orleans, you may be surprised at how survivor-friendly the civil justice system is. Here is more about why you should still file a claim even if you are partially at fault for your injuries.
How Shared Fault Laws Work
Every state has their own laws in place for how they handle personal injury cases where the injury victim is also partially responsible for causing their injuries. Some states, like Alabama and North Carolina, follow pure contributory negligence systems.
Here, if you are found to share fault for your injuries, you are prohibited from recovering compensation in civil court. Even if you only share one percent of the blame, that one percent will hold you back from recovering the compensation you deserve.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Louisiana
Fortunately, under LA Civ Code 2323, Louisiana is not a contributory fault state. Instead, the civil courts use a pure comparative negligence system.
Here, sharing fault for your injuries does not prevent you from pursuing recovery of your damages in civil court. You could share up to ninety-nine percent of the blame for your injuries and still collect compensation for that one percent of fault that is not yours.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Other states, like Massachusetts and Indiana, follow modified comparative negligence systems. Instead of prohibiting injury victims who share fault for their injuries from being awarded compensation, instead, they limit the amount of fault you can share. Many states allow a maximum of forty-nine to fifty-percent of the blame before a case is barred.
How the Insurance Company Takes Advantage of Claimants
You know you can still be awarded compensation for sharing fault for your injuries under Louisiana’s pure comparative fault laws. But there is more to how this system works, and it could have a dramatic impact on your ability to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
When you share fault, you need to be held accountable for your own negligent actions. To do this, Louisiana civil courts will reduce your injury settlement in proportion to your percentage of fault. So if you were ten percent at fault for your injuries, expect to have your injury settlement reduced by ten percent as well.
Insurance companies understand how shared fault laws work and do everything they can to reduce the amount they are required to pay you. Here are a few ways the insurance company takes advantage of LA comparative negligence laws to avoid paying out on claims fairly.
The Lowball Offer
Making an insultingly low insurance settlement offer is one of the most common insurance adjuster practices. They may pressure you by saying since you share fault you may not be entitled to anything, but this is not the case.
When you are already struggling to cope financially, even some compensation seems better than nothing. Insurance companies know that if they can get you to settle for less than you deserve, it will save them money.
The Manipulated Statement
Another way insurance companies capitalize on LA comparative fault laws is by taking the statements given to them by well-intended claimants and manipulating them.
Perhaps you expressed remorse for the accident, or guilt that you were having trouble supporting your family while you were talking with the insurance adjuster. They may use anything you say to make it seem as though you carry more fault for the accident than you do.
Since your injury settlement will be directly reduced by your portion of fault, if the insurer can get away with placing unwarranted blame on you, they can also get away with reducing or denying your injury settlement.
Insurance adjusters do this every day, and they know just what to say to get you talking. It is important that you take steps to avoid being taken advantage of by advantageous insurance companies.
How Your Attorney Can Protect Your Right to Compensation
Making sure that you get the most out of your claim is your personal injury lawyer’s most important responsibility. There are several ways your attorney can help protect your injury settlement, so you are awarded full and fair compensation for your suffering:
- Analyzing fault in your case so only a reasonable and equitable amount of blame is assigned to you
- Providing the insurance adjuster with the statement of events they need to proceed, so you do not have to speak with them
- Negotiating with the insurance company when they make insultingly low offers
- Holding them accountable when they try to get away with settling your claim for less than you deserve
Dealing with the insurance company is an often-necessary element of the personal injury claims process. But sharing fault can also affect your case should it go to trial. Your attorney will prepare you for what is to come when you share fault for your accident or injuries. But we will also zealously fight for the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in New Orleans Today
Sharing fault for your injuries after an accident in Louisiana will not prevent you from being able to collect the compensation that you deserve. Make sure you get the most out of your case, and that fault is accurately assessed when you get a reputable New Orleans personal injury lawyer at the Charbonnet Law Firm to take on your case.
Schedule your free consultation when you complete our quick contact form. Or, give our law firm a call at (504) 294-5094 to get started today.