How To Prove A Louisiana Personal Injury Case
When a person is injured by another person’s carelessness or negligence, they may have a claim under Louisiana personal injury laws for monetary compensation for damages as a result of the accident. For example, in the case of a car accident, where “Driver A”, who is properly stopped at a stoplight, is rear-ended by “Driver B”, who was texting while driving, suffers whiplash, Driver A may have a personal injury claim against Driver B for damages associated with the whiplash injury and impact to the vehicle. However, personal injury cases, even in the clear-cut scenario involving Driver A and Driver B, are often complex and difficult to prove. In Louisiana, there are several elements that the injured person, called the “plaintiff”, must prove in order to successfully recover damages in their case.
Negligence in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases
In order to prove a personal injury case in Louisiana, a plaintiff must prove that the person who injured them, called the “defendant”, was negligent in causing the accident that resulted in injury to the Plaintiff. In order to prove Negligence, the Plaintiff must first prove that it was the Defendant’s actions that caused the injury, that the Defendant owed the Plaintiff a duty of care (and what the scope of that duty was), that the duty of care was breached, and the extent of the damages the Plaintiff suffered as a result of that breach. Let’s examine each of these elements in turn, using the Driver A and Driver B example.
In the Driver A and Driver B scenario, in order to prove causation, Driver A must prove that in the absence of texting while driving, the accident would not have occurred, and that Driver B’s texting while driving was a substantial factor in causing the accident that resulted in Driver A’s injuries. Without causation, Driver A does not have a case against Driver B, because Driver B must be deemed to be liable for Driver A’s injuries resulting from the accident.
Duty of Care
The duty of care that one person owes another person typically depends on the relationship between the two people and their status. In a car accident case, the duty of care that drivers typically owe each other is that of a “reasonable person”. This means that Driver B owed Driver A the standard of care to act objectively reasonable while operating the vehicle. Along with the duty of care, the court must make an inquiry into whether the defendant should be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. The court analyzes many factors when analyzing the scope of the Defendant’s duty, for example whether the risk of harm was foreseeable in the particular case. In the case of Driver A and Driver B, Driver A would argue that the risks associated with texting and driving are foreseeable to all drivers on the road.
Breach of the Duty of Care
Once a plaintiff has established causation and the duty of care, they must then prove that the Defendant’s actions fell below the standard of the duty of care, causing the accident. In the case of Driver A and Driver B, Driver A would argue that Driver B’s actions fell below the standard of care because Driver B was texting and driving, which everyone on the road knows is not reasonable for a person to do while driving (and is, furthermore, unlawful in most, if not all, states).
Finally, in order to successfully recover in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered damages. The plaintiff can make this showing by presenting evidence of medical expenses, damages to the vehicle or other property, wage loss, and other damages. If the plaintiff is successful in proving the elements of their personal injury case, the defendant may be held liable by court order for the damages resulting from the accident.
How to Start Your Louisiana Personal Injury Case
Proving the elements of a personal injury case in any scenario is not an easy task. If you or someone you love has been injured due to the fault of someone else, it is best to seek out legal help. The experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyers at the office of Lunsford Baskin & Priebe offer a free and confidential consultation to learn about your case and see if they can help. Contact the offices of Lunsford Baskin & Priebe today for your free and confidential consultation.