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Many of the processes you have to go through in a personal injury claim are exactly the same all over the country. The principles of proving fault or liability, for example, will be the same no matter where you go.

However, you might find some unique elements of injury law in each state, and Louisiana is no exception. Here’s a quick overview of some of the state laws and stipulations governing personal injury cases that might differ from other states.

Statutes of limitations

The most common difference across states for injury cases (and other types of law) is varying statutes of limitations. In Louisiana, you have one year after the date the accident occurred in most cases to file your personal injury claim. This is shorter than many other states, so you must be expeditious with your legal claim to make sure you get your case filed on time.

Auto insurance laws

Because Louisiana is a “fault” state for auto accident injuries and insurance, injured motorists will be able to either file a claim with an insurance company or go to court to file a lawsuit and seek damages. The state’s drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance, as they are in every other state.

Comparative fault laws

Every state sets its own rules regarding shared fault. Louisiana is a comparative fault state, meaning any person who suffers an injury sees their damages reduced by the percentage of fault they were determined to have shared in the accident.

So, for example, if a driver runs a red light and hits you but you were running a bit over the speed limit at the time, a court might determine you to have had 10 percent of the fault in the case. If damages are $20,000 in the case, that means you would receive $18,000 rather than the full amount, as 10 percent of $20,000 is $2,000.

Damage caps

Some states set damage caps for certain types of compensation. In Louisiana, there are medical malpractice damage caps of $500,000. Providers determined to be liable in these cases are only required to pay $100,000 if covered by the Patient Compensation Fund for the state, with the rest of the compensation over that amount coming from the Fund.

Dog bite rules

Another issue that varies from state to state is how the law handles dog bites and/or dangerous dogs. In many states, dog owners are shielded from liability the first time their dog bites someone (what’s commonly referred to as one-bite rules). However, in Louisiana, dog owners have strict liability for their pets’ actions, and can be liable even on the first time the dog bites.

For more information about some of the unique elements of personal injury law in Louisiana, contact an experienced attorney at Mark G. Artall, APLC.

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