How Does Comparative Fault Affect A Distracted Driving Case?
If you were injured recently in a collision involving a distracted driver, you are likely considering your options for seeking financial compensation. You may have already begun the process of filing an auto insurance claim, and you may be thinking about a car crash lawsuit. When you are planning to file a lawsuit against a distracted driver who caused your injuries, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible against the distracted driver. There are various ways to prove distracted driving, such as obtaining cell phone records for the distracted driver that show they were sending or receiving a text at the time of the collision, or witness statements that make clear the distracted driver was looking at a phone at the time of the wreck. Yet even if you have definitive proof of the distracted driver’s fault, you could have to deal with the issue of comparative fault.
In short, the distracted driver might raise the issue of comparative fault as a defense strategy, alleging that you were partially to blame for the accident because of your own negligence. What do you need to know about comparative fault in a Shreveport distracted driving case? Consider the following information from our Shreveport distracted driving injury attorneys.
Understanding Comparative Fault in Louisiana
What is comparative fault? It is a defense that a defendant may use to reduce their own liability. With comparative fault, the defendant says that the plaintiff was also to blame for the accident. Each state has its own comparative fault or contributory negligence laws.
Louisiana is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means a plaintiff will not be barred from recovery regardless of whether that plaintiff is just 1 percent liable or 99 percent liable. Rather, the plaintiff will still recover damages, but their damages award will be reduced by their “degree or percentage of fault” under Louisiana law.
How Comparative Fault Could Impact a Distracted Driving Case
Even if you have clear evidence of the distracted driver’s fault and name the distracted driver as a defendant in a lawsuit, the distracted driver could raise the issue of comparative fault. For example, the distracted driver could allege that you were speeding at the time of the collision, or that you were also distracted by something happening inside your vehicle. The distracted driver will need to prove that you were also negligent, and you will be able to refute the defendant’s argument with assistance from your lawyer.
If the defendant is ultimately able to prove that you were partially to blame, you will not be barred from recovery. Instead, as a pure comparative fault state, your percentage of fault will only reduce your recovery. For example, if you prove that the defendant caused a distracted driving wreck and the court awards you $100,000 in damages, that award will be reduced by your percentage of fault if the defendant can prove that you were also partially to blame. If the defendant proves, for example, that you were 10 percent at fault, your award would be reduced by 10 percent and you would recover $90,000. Even if the defendant were to prove that you were 90 percent at fault, you would still recover, but your damages award would be reduced by 90 percent and you would recover $10,000.
Contact a Distracted Driving Crash Lawyer in Shreveport
If you were injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you may have multiple options for seeking compensation. One of our experienced Shreveport distracted driving lawyers at Rice & Kendig, LLC can assist you.