A motor vehicle collision can cause anything from minor bumps and bruises to serious, even fatal, injuries to a victim. Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries a victim can endure in a car accident. If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a collision you have undoubtedly already incurred a significant amount in medical bills and other related expenses or losses as a result of the accident – and will likely incur considerably more in the years to come. You probably have a number of questions relating to the accident and your ability to pursue compensation from another driver, particularly if you were partially at fault in the accident. The good news is that in Louisiana you may still be entitled to compensation for your spinal cord injury even if the accident was partly your fault.
Car accidents are a type of personal injury accident. All states use either the “contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence” doctrine when deciding who is entitled to recover damages in a personal injury accident. Contributory negligence prohibits a victim from pursuing compensation if the victim “contributed” at all to the accident. In other words, even if the other party was 99 percent at fault and you were one percent at fault you would still be prohibited from pursuing compensation under the doctrine of contributory negligence. Fortunately, only a handful of jurisdictions use contributory negligence and Louisiana is not one of them.
Louisiana uses a pure comparative negligence doctrine. Pure comparative negligence means that a victim can pursue damages from another party as long as the other party has any fault in the accident. Think of pure comparative negligence as the reverse of contributory negligence. Under pure comparative negligence a victim could, in theory, be entitled to compensation even if the other party was only one percent at fault and the victim was 99 percent at fault. The amount a victim can recover is, however, reduced by his/her degree of fault. For example, if your spinal cord injury claim was worth $2 million but you were found to be 20 percent at fault in the accident you would only be entitled to $1.6 million ($2,000,000 x 0.80 = $1,600,000).
Clearly, when comparative fault is used it becomes very important that your degree of fault is kept to as little as possible to increase the amount in damages you are able to recover. This is one of the many reasons why you need an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney on your side.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident and are concerned about your ability to recover compensation for your injuries, or you have additional questions or concerns, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Broussard & Hart, L.L.C., by calling 337-439-2450 to schedule your appointment today.