Each year, an estimated 37,000 people die in car accidents. An additional 2.35 million sustain injuries. While some accidents are truly unavoidable, a large number occur through another driver’s negligence, leading to personal injury claims. In many instances, the question “Can someone sue you for a car accident?” arises. The following information provided by the personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon serves to help explain the processes associated with car accident lawsuits.
Being Sued for a Car Accident?
Regarding car accidents, people usually end up suing for negligence, which is the basis of a personal injury claim. This means that a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care considering the specific circumstances occurred. This is typically what people need to determine when asking “can someone sue me for a car accident?”
For example, negligence means Driver 1 fails to use reasonable care, causing Driver 2 harm. Driver 2 can then file a lawsuit alleging Driver 1’s negligence. Examples of legal grounds for negligence include failure to comply with driving laws, texting while driving, and failure to keep a safe distance.
Insurance companies use many methods when determining the value of personal injury claims. Basis for the amount of damages someone sues for is what the other party lost. This includes monetary losses and emotional damages. Compensation for the medical bills provided, as well as lost wages, and possibly some amount of compensation for pain and suffering factor into the size of the claim.
Pain and suffering refers to the physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident. It also includes the injuries caused by the car accident. “Pain and suffering” is a subjective term, leaving a great deal up to interpretation. When the accident is minor, pain and suffering is especially difficult to prove.
What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?
The State of Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance. Those coverage minimums include:
- Bodily Injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $15,000
- Total Bodily Injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $30,000
- Property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle – $25,000
Medical treatment, damage to property, and other costs to individuals involved in accidents are paid for by these coverages. The amount typically allocated to individuals falls within coverage limits. In the event additional costs, additional coverage covers the balance.
If coverage limits do not pay the entirety of associated bills, at-fault individuals hold responsibility for remaining balances. Any extra coverage helps offset these unwanted expenses.
Liability coverage also covers family members or friends behind the wheel, as well as damage following rental car accidents.
The coverages listed above do not apply to the driver’s own damages or injuries. Additional coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, serves the purpose of filling these gaps. Collision coverage pays for repairs/replacements of damaged vehicles.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you have an accident with an individual without insurance. This insurance coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents.
Keep in mind insurance coverage requirements when deciding how much to carry.
Louisiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Driving without insurance in Louisiana comes with the imposing of fines. Fines for driving without insurance in Louisiana can reach up to $1000. Other penalties include the suspension of driving privileges and license plate cancellation.. It is not uncommon in some cases for vehicle impounding or registration revocation to occur.
A “No Pay, No Play” law prohibits uninsured Louisiana drivers from collecting damages following an accident. The first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injury damages fall into these amounts.
Can I Be Sued For A Car Accident If There Is No Injury?
You can be sued for a car accident even if there is no injury. Claims filed can attempt to recover damages as result of property damage and emotional distress.
What Determines Fault For A Car Accident in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, each driver in an accident is responsible for the relative liability or percentage of fault. This is known as a “pure comparative negligence” standard.
Someone injured or dealing with property damage can still recover damages even if they were still partially at fault for the cause of the accident. Your level of compensation is reduced by the amount or percentage of fault you are assigned.
For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages from an accident and the court determines that you were 40% at fault for the accident and the defendant was 60% liable, the defendant will be responsible for paying you $6,000 in damages.
Defendants can use pure comparative negligence standards for calculating damages as a defense argument. In cases dealing with accidents involving multiple defendants and vehicles, pure comparative negligence is especially relevant.
Can Someone Sue Me For A Car Accident If There Isn’t a Police Report?
The short answer is yes. Someone can sue you without a completed and filed police report. Ideally, police file a written account of the accident. The possibility of a situation where the police do not come to the scene always remains. A lack of a police report isn’t a get out of jail free card, so to speak. You may file a claim with or without an official police report.
Keep in mind, police reports serve as official documentation of the incident. Without one, the burden of proof weighs more heavily on the other information presented in the claim.
How Much Can Someone Sue For A Car Accident?
Louisiana does not place a limit on the amount of damages plaintiffs can recover from at-fault defendants following motor-vehicle accidents. Claims brought in small claims court are an exception to this. Small claims court claims must fall below the $3,000 threshold.
Insurance providers for the at-fault parties will typically pay claims up to the limitations of the policies.
Injured parties can file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties for recovery of any remaining damages. The amount of the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff’s fault percentage of causing or contributing to the accident.
Generally, policy limits tend to dictate the amount that claims settle for. Additional amounts rarely get assigned outside of the policy coverage. Instances of additional damages usually only occur in cases with easily-liquidated assets in the defendant’s possession.
Despite this fact, it is probably in an individual’s best interest to ensure that they have some form of counsel when facing a personal injury claim.
What To Do if Someone Sues You For a Car Accident?
The benefits of consulting with a personal injury lawyer after your involvement in a car accident far outweigh the limited savings associated with self-representation. A trained, experienced attorney can work with insurance companies and protect your interests as a client. The seasoned team at Gordon & Gordon have the skills to handle these issues. They also have a track record of delivering results for their clients when faced with legal uncertainty.
Involved In A Car Accident? Contact Gordon & Gordon, Personal Injury Attorneys
If you find yourself being sued as a result of a car accident, contact the Shreveport car accident attorneys Gordon & Gordon today. Our trained professionals will provide a free case consultation and help you determine the best course of action. Protect your rights. Call Gordon & Gordon at (318) 716-HELP or visit us at our website.