Car Accidents

Auto Accidents In New Orleans And Louisiana

Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, can be dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. In 2019, there were more than 72,000 people injured and 722 deaths on Louisiana roadways, according to the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety (CARTS) at Louisiana State University. A recent University of Michigan study comparing states by traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents found that Louisiana came near the bottom at 42nd for traffic safety. The usual factors tend to play a role in this troubling statistic: not all vehicle occupants wearing seatbelts, often coupled with driver speed, distraction and impairment.

Whether it is impaired drivers, traffic congestion or roads in need of repair — drivers in New Orleans in particular experience more than their fair share of vehicle crashes. According to that same LSU data, in 2019 nearly one in three of Louisiana’s traffic injuries occurred in the New Orleans metropolitan region. And New Orleans and surrounding parishes accounted for 22 percent of traffic fatalities in the state.

Unfortunately, it seems that the number of deadly traffic accidents is holding steady into 2020 despite the long stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps To Take If You Are In A Car Accident In Louisiana

  • 1. Get everyone involved to safety. If vehicles or persons with neck injuries can’t be moved, set up flares. Provide immediate medical assistance if necessary and possible.
  • 2. Call 911. Explain the situation and any injuries in as clear of language as possible: who, what, where. If there are no injuries, you will still need to report the accident to authorities if more than $500 worth of damage occurred.
  • 3. Take photos and gather information. Get insurance information from all drivers involved and take photos of the accident and damage.
  • 4. If you are injured, seek medical treatment immediately. Many insurance companies take into account the fact that you sought emergency treatment the day of the accident when determining the severity of your injuries. Even if you just go get checked out at an urgent care, this is important for your case. Be sure to use your health insurance if you have it.
  • 5. Contact a trusted attorney with experience in Louisiana car accident cases right away. Charbonnet Law Firm has won cases for clients in the New Orleans area for decades. Let our skilled, caring legal team take care of all the confusing details and protect your interests while you focus on recovering.


Louisiana Law Governing Car Accidents

Below are some of the state laws that govern motor vehicle accidents in New Orleans and across Louisiana. An experienced attorney can help you better understand how these laws shape your rights and responsibilities and how they can affect the outcome of a case, if you are injured in a car accident in Louisiana.

Requirement To Report Vehicle Accidents

By law, drivers in Louisiana must report any vehicle accident immediately, if that accident results in injury to or death of any person, or results in property damage in excess of $500.

This typically means calling 911 immediately. If it is a non-life threatening emergency, the operator may instruct you to call 311 or another service for reporting the accident. The accident will then be investigated by a law enforcement officer, and a crash report will be publicly available and our office can secure it for you once the law enforcement officer completes it.

Statute of Limitations (Prescription)

You may have heard that Louisiana has different laws than the rest of the country. That means we like to use different terms for normal things. In Louisiana we say “prescription” instead of “Statute of Limitations.” What does that mean?

It means you have one year from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. This includes any claim for injury or vehicle damage by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist. This is a shorter deadline than most states, and missing it almost certainly means losing your ability to negotiate for fair compensation.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Speak with an attorney experienced in Louisiana auto accident claims and personal injury law right away. By leaving yourself plenty of time before the one-year deadline, you and your legal team can build the strongest case possible for the compensation you deserve.

Comparative Negligence

Louisiana car accident judgements are subject to a comparative negligence law. This means that a court can find you, the victim, partially at fault for your car accident. You can not recover damages for your case. But the court will reduce your award by the percentage that it decides you were at fault. So, if you would have received a $100,000 award and you are found to be 20% at fault for the car accident, your award would be reduced to by 20% to $80,000. An insurance claims adjuster will use the same logic in determining what it will offer as a settlement.

Obviously, there is no empirical measure of fault, so any assignment of liability is really a judgement call that is subject to your ability to negotiate with insurers or persuade a judge or jury. A skilled, experienced attorney with knowledge of past awards and how “fault” is determined can be invaluable in helping you through this process.

At-Fault Driver’s Personal Car Insurance

If you are in an accident involving a driver who is at fault for the accident, chances are the driver has personal auto insurance. That existing personal auto liability insurance will extend to the rental car and cover injuries and damages suffered by others, up to the policy limits. Policies can also include comprehensive and collision coverage. Some rental car companies require renters to provide proof of insurance coverage from a personal auto insurance policy in order to waive their liability or collision coverage. The level of coverage will depend on the state requirements in which the policy was issued.

In Louisiana, drivers of personal use vehicles are required to maintain the following levels of auto liability insurance coverage:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Personal Injury Law

In Louisiana, car accident case law is generally governed by the same statutes governing personal injury, though this is not always the case. Depending on your case and injuries, there may be different legal requirements, caps to awards for damages, and other complicating factors. A skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana car accidents and personal injury law can help you understand your rights and options when navigating this process. personal injury law

Contact Charbonnet Law Firm Today.

Have you been injured in a New Orleans car accident? We can help. Contact the skilled, dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law. We have spent the last five decades helping our clients get the best possible settlement and the compensation they deserve.

Let our dedicated legal team give you a clear picture of your claim and what to expect. Our team will work tirelessly to build the best possible case for you. At Charbonnet Law Firm, our clients have the peace of mind that their legal interests are being protected so that they can focus on healing and getting back to their lives. Call us today for a free consultation.


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