In a Louisiana negligence action, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act; the defendant breached their duty; the breach of the duty caused an injury to the plaintiff; the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury and the plaintiff suffered damages.
Per Louisiana Civil Code article 2323, Louisiana follows a comparative negligence standard in negligence actions. A comparative negligence system reduces the overall monetary award a plaintiff may receive by their percentage of fault attributed to their own injury. Louisiana is one of 13 states that follow what is considered to be “pure” comparative negligence. Under “pure” comparative negligence, a plaintiff may recover a monetary award even if they are found by a court to have been 75% at fault for their injury with the defendant(s) accounting for the other 25% of fault.
For example, if an award of $100,000 is granted by the court on behalf of the plaintiff but the court found that the plaintiff was 75% at fault for their own injury, the plaintiff will be able to recover $25,000 of the $100,000 award due to their percentage of fault.
Joint & Several Liability
As Louisiana adopted a pure comparative negligence approach to evaluating cases and potential recoveries, it also abolished joint and several liability amongst joint tortfeasors. Now, per Louisiana Civil Code 2324, a joint tortfeasor is not liable for more than his degree of fault and is not jointly liable with any other person for damages attributable to the fault of that person.
Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Compensatory damages are generally comprised of reasonable expenses necessary for past, present and future medical care; hospitalization and treatment; economic loss from loss of income and loss of earning capacity; pain and suffering; disability; disfigurement; emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff. Punitive damages are only available when provided for by statute, such as for drunk driving, domestic violence, or sexual abuse of a minor.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Louisiana. Should you have a question/concern specific to Louisiana law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana.