Throughout Louisiana there are many roads that do not have marked center lines. When an accident occurs on one of these roads, a careful investigation must be made to determine which side of the road the accident occurred on. Then, if a lawsuit is filed, the trier of fact can determine which driver was responsible for the accident. A recently decided case that was affirmed by the Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit serves as an example of how such fault determinations are made and how the law plays into these accidents.
In that case, a woman was on an unmarked road getting ready to turn left into a private driveway. From the other direction, another vehicle crossed the center of the road in order to pass cars parked along the side of the road. By doing so, the second driver failed to re-enter his lane before reaching the first vehicle. The second car slammed into the first, causing serious injury to the first driver and severe damage to her vehicle. An investigation of the crash, particularly of skid marks, showed the accident did indeed take place in the first driver’s lane and that the second driver was driving much faster than the posted speed limit. The first driver filed a lawsuit against the other driver and won compensation for her damages. To find the second driver at fault, the judge in the case examined existing statutes to determined the second driver broke the law by moving into the other lane to pass vehicles when the other lane was not clear for a reasonable distance and f or traveling at excessive speed.
As evidenced by this case, when one is injured in an accident, a lawsuit may be filed against another driver in an attempt to recover damages. To succeed on such a claim, the plaintiff must show the other driver was negligent and that negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If a driver is speeding, crosses the center line, or is drunk, for example, the driver is likely to be found negligent. If injuries are sustained as a direct result of that negligence, then compensation may be obtained to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Then, the plaintiff can focus on moving past the accident and getting life back to normal.
It is also important to note that accident lawsuits are subject to a comparative negligence analysis. Under this analysis, fault is allocated to each party according to their responsibility for the accident and damages are awarded accordingly. In the accident discussed above, for example, the plaintiff was found to be 30 percent at fault for letting her foot off the brake when she saw the oncoming vehicle in her lane. Therefore, the plaintiff’s award was reduced by 30 percent in an attempt to reach the fairest outcome possible.
Accident lawsuits are very fact sensitive and require a deep and thorough investigation into the accident’s cause and the amount of damages caused to the plaintiff. An experienced New Orleans attorney can help a plaintiff fight for the compensation she needs and deserves, and can help hold irresponsible drivers accountable. If you have been hurt in an auto accident, please contact the Berniard Law Firm.