Who’s At Fault in a Roundabout Car Accident in Louisiana?

Roundabouts are widespread across the country and in Louisiana. When used in the manner designed, traffic circles are safe and efficient. However, many drivers are unaccustomed to driving in roundabouts and cause car wrecks. When car accidents happen in roundabouts its essential to know who’s at fault for the wreck.

Once a car has entered the roundabout, it has the right of way. The driver without the right-of-way is typically at fault for a wreck in a roundabout.

If you are the driver with the right of way, you likely are not at fault for causing the car wreck. However, because there are a variety of reasons for car accidents in roundabouts, we will look at the legal obligations in more detail.

Why is it important to determine who’s at fault?

Determining fault is vital in a car wreck because fault establishes liability, that is: who made the mistake that led to the accident. The party liable for an accident is responsible for paying the other persons’ damages caused by the wreck.

When a car wreck happens in a roundabout, just like other accidents, it’s essential to gather information to support your position.

Parties in a car accident often disagree about who is at fault for the wreck. So take steps to ensure your version of the events is established. Accident reports, witness statements, and pictures can be used to prove your case.

Police Reports

Call the police as soon as practicable after an accident. The officer sent to investigate the wreck fills out a standard accident report. In the form, he notes the traffic conditions, time the accident occurred, weather conditions, and other details crucial to the wreck.

Other responsibilities of the investigating officer include noting the conditions of the drivers, take witness statements, and documenting their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

Request the name of the investigating officer, the law enforcement agency he represents, and the report number. The information is needed for you to request a copy of his report. After you receive a copy of the report, review it for any errors, and request an amendment if you find mistakes in the report.

Witness Statements

Independent witnesses are often the pillars to determining fault in a car accident. After a wreck, speak to as many people as possible at the scene. Find out who saw the accident and collect their name, telephone number, and address.

The investigating officer should have the witnesses’ names, telephone numbers, and addresses on the accident report. Still, they don’t always do what they are should, so you need to get the information as well.

Even when an officer gets witness information, it not always written legibly or doesn’t accurately memorialize their account. You may have to contact the witnesses to confirm their honest recollection of the facts surrounding the accident. If the witness supports your position, volunteer to draft the account and ask them to sign it.

take photographs

Almost everyone has a camera on their phone, so take advantage and take pictures of the accident site. Include photos of the cars involved in the accident, the drivers, and witnesses.

In roundabout accidents, pictures can tell your story, where the cars were located, the severity of the damages, and assist in determining who is at fault for causing the wreck. The photographs are often your best evidence in proving your case.

Who’s at fault for a rear-end car wreck in a Roundabout?

The car in the traffic circle has the right away; however, what happens in a rear-end accident. The following vehicle is presumed at fault in accidents. The presumption of guilt can be overcome in some instances but not likely when traveling in a roundabout.

Cars in a roundabout are responsible for maintaining a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. In traffic circles, the gaps between cars are shortened to only a few feet from one another.

If the driver of the following vehicle is not paying attention, traveling too closely, or speeding it likely won’t have time to brake if the car ahead slows down suddenly. The following car is typically at fault for causing a rear-end collision in a roundabout.

Who has the right of way in a roundabout?

The rules of the road establish which party has the legal duty to grant a ‘right of way’ to other road users. But just because another driver should give way to you doesn’t give you the absolute right to crash into them if they don’t.

All users of roundabouts should be alert, patient, and considerate. The purpose of a traffic circle is to keep the flow of traffic moving. However, don’t believe you have ‘right of way’ and you are impervious or at a reduced risk of being in a crash.

Vehicles, including bicycles, already in the roundabout have the right of way in a traffic circle. Cars approaching a roundabout must give way to any person already established in the traffic circle regardless of which direction they are coming from.

In roundabouts with multi-lanes, a driver should be aware of which lane will get them to their destination before they enter the traffic circle. If they start to exit at the wrong spot and attempt to swerve back into the roundabout, they could cause a wreck. If a driver causes a rear-end accident when swerving back into a traffic circle, they are likely at fault.

Traffic approaching from your right has priority unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings, or traffic lights. Pay attention to road markings, which may allow you to enter the roundabout without giving way.

If so, move forward with caution and still look to the right before joining. Note that drivers in roundabouts often don’t signal at all or signal incorrectly.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development provides a PDF pamphlet with diagrams and rules applicable to roundabouts. You can access the rules by clicking on their links.

What happens if you miss your exit on a roundabout?

If you miss your exit, you should indicate with your blinker you are continuing right and go all the way around the traffic circle. When you see your exit put on your blinker indicating you are leaving the roundabout.

Roundabout car wreck claims.

One of the most common places traffic accidents occur are either in or approaching roundabouts. Approaching and driving in a roundabout takes awareness of not only your positioning but also the location of other cars.

Accidents in traffic circles are typically due to drivers getting in the wrong lane for the exit that they want and end up cutting across and running into other drivers.

If you have been in a roundabout accident and suffered an injury, as a result, contact our office. Roundabout claims are often complicated because liability is not clear. We can help navigate your claim to a successful resolution.

Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call our office and speak to Sonja Bradley. She is a lawyer experienced in car wreck cases. You can call our office directly at (225) 686-8006 to schedule your free consultation.

Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect a Personal Injury Case?

It’s not uncommon for people to have chronic pain or a previous injury when involved in an accident. But how are pre-existing chronic medical conditions and prior injuries considered in the context of a personal injury case?

The party at-fault in a personal injury case is responsible for the injuries they cause. Their responsibility extends to the worsening of pre-existing conditions.

To recover damages for pre-existing conditions is complicated; however, the at-fault party takes his victim as he finds him and is responsible for all damages flowing from his negligent act.

What’s considered a Pre-Existing Condition in a Personal Injury Case?

Pre-existing conditions are illnesses or injuries that started before the accident occurred. There are two types, chronic conditions, and prior injuries.

Pre-existing chronic conditions

A chronic condition is commonly considered any disease or physical ailment that lasts for more than three months. Typically, as people age, they develop chronic illnesses, such as orthopedic, heart, or pulmonary diseases.

If you suffered from a chronic low back condition before an accident, it’s feasible an accident would cause damage in your low back. Has your pain changed since the accident? Has the pain increased? These are essential questions you have to be able to answer.

Your doctor may have objective tests of your back before and after the accident that shows changes in your back. His examination and testimony are relevant in confirming your claims.

For example, an MRI of your lumbar indicated a bulging disc without nerve impingement before your accident. And after the accident, an MRI showed the same disc was herniated and impinged a nerve. The MRI’s are objective evidence that the accident aggravated a pre-existing chronic condition.

Can a car accident worsen degenerative disc disease?

Yes, although insurance companies and defense attorneys tell victims otherwise. If you’ve been injured and have preexisting degenerative disc disease, you are entitled to be compensated for your injury.

Your pre-existing condition makes you at an increased risk for further injury and doesn’t nullify your personal injury claim. See the case summary below of Augustine v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company below. (eggshell plaintiff)

Previous Injuries

Previous injuries are injuries previously sustained from an earlier accident. Let’s say you were involved in an automobile accident and broke your arm. You went to the hospital and was put in a cast. The following week, you’re in another accident, and your arm is hurt again.

Does the most recent accident cause more damage to your arm? If so, to what extent? Your arm was hurt before the second accident. Does the at-fault party have to pay again for a limb that was broken in a different accident?

These questions will have to be answered by your doctor or other medical experts. However, if the damage to your arm was made worse by the second accident, the at-fault party will have some responsibility to pay for your losses.

Should You Mention Prior Injuries?

Yes, you should always be honest about prior conditions, especially with the attorney representing you. Being dishonest can effectively diminish your chances of a fair recovery.

Lying, or failure to disclose an old injury jeopardizes your entire case. It not only tarnishes your injury claim it also diminishes your credibility in all other aspects of your case. Opposing counsel use failure to disclose prior medical conditions as a weapon to attack plaintiffs’ truthfulness.

Recovery for a Plaintiff suffering severe pre-existing conditions

There is a legal theory referred to as “the eggshell plaintiff.” It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it mean? The eggshell theory stands for the premise that a defendant takes the plaintiff as is.

In other words, if a persons’ skull is thin as an eggshell and cracked during a minor rear-end accident, the at-fault party is responsible for all damages flowing from the injury. The eggshell condition can not be used to shield the at-fault party from full responsibility for the injuries.

The eggshell plaintiff in Louisiana

The supreme court of Louisiana addressed this situation in the case of Augustine v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. In the Augustine case, a 74-year-old woman was involved in a minor rear-end collision that resulted in no damage to either vehicle.

At trial, the woman testified that she had arthritis before the accident, and the pain increased afterward. The jury awarded the woman $50,000.

State Farm appealed the judgment was excessive based upon the slight impact of the vehicles. However, both the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal the Louisiana Supreme Court confirmed the jury verdict. The Augustine case solidifies that a defendant takes his victim as he finds them.

You need to provide a clear and detailed explanation of your prior medical condition, not only so you get the proper medical care but also so you can be justly compensated.

Defense attorneys and insurance agents will try to pin every injury illness and injury on your prior condition. Honesty, about your medical history, is the best approach to getting your proper treatment and compensation.

Medical Records

One advantage of pre-existing conditions is the paper trail documenting your medical history. It is essential to notify your attorney of all doctors who’s treated you so they can request a copy of the medical documents.

Your attorney can use the medical records to distinguish your current injuries and also work with your doctors. Medical records are useful in depositions of medical witnesses and during the trial. They provide critical information so a judge or jury can have a full picture of how the accident aggravated your prior condition.

Take steps to protect your case

If you’ve been in an accident and had a pre-existing condition hire an attorney. Insurance companies and defense attorneys’ primary responsibility is to save their clients money.

By hiring a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney soon after your accident can help you build a strong case by relating your current condition to previous medical issues.

Call Sonja Bradley, an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

Don’t let defense attorneys or insurance adjusters bully you because of a pre-existing condition. An experienced attorney can help you recover all the damages you suffered because of someone else’s fault. Damages you are entitled to recover are pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and disability.

Sonja Bradley is an attorney with offices in Hammond, and Livingston, Louisiana.

Are Parents Liable for Their Children’s Car Accidents?

Your eldest child got her driver’s license, and then she got into a car wreck. Fortunately, no one was severely injured, but she was at fault for the accident. Now the question is, are you, as her parents liable for the damages she caused?

Parents can be financially responsible for damages caused by their children who are at fault in causing a car accident. Parental liability differs by state, but the general theories of liability for parents are negligent entrustment, vicarious liability, and driving privilege application laws.

The facts and laws are pivotal in determining a parents liability for the damages caused by their child’s negligent driving,

Theories of Parental Liability for a Childs Car Wreck

Teenage drivers are the highest risk drivers for causing and being involved in car wrecks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16-19. Yes, your child’s welfare is a concern, but let’s examine when you can be held liable, even when you weren’t in the car.

Vicarious Liability for a Child’s Negligence

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine establishing the responsibility of a person who had the right, ability, or duty to control the actions of another person.

Vicarious liability is based on a relationship with the person who caused the injury. Parents must responsibly supervise and educate their children. The relationship between parent and child establishes responsibility and vicarious liability applies.

Some states impose parental liability by statute for a child’s intentional or negligent acts and also limit their monetary liability. States will have different laws concerning vicarious liability. For this reason, it’s imperative to check the laws where the accident occurred.

Parents Vicarious Liability in Louisiana

In Louisiana, a parent can be held responsible for the damages caused by their unemancipated minor child. Louisiana Civil Code article 2318 codifies the vicarious liability of parents for a minor child.

It establishes that unless a minor has been emancipated either through a legal judgment or marriage, parents are responsible for any damages caused by their minor children.

Parents remain liable even if the child is placed under the care of another person and does not reside with them. However, the parent may reserve the right to proceed against the party caring for the minor.

Parents Vicarious Liability in California

Under California law a parent is vicariously liable for the damages caused by their minor child in three circumstances: 1) When their child’s willful misconduct results in injury,

  • When their child’s willful misconduct results in an injury;
  • When their child’s negligent driving resulted in a car accident; 9. CIVIL LIABILITY [17000 – 17714]
  • When a child causes an injury when using a firearm, the parent allowed the child to use it.

Under Californias, vicarious liability statute parents’ exposure is limited to up to $25,000 for their child’s willful misconduct. To be liable, the child’s action has to result in injury or death to another person or property, and pain and suffering are not recoverable. Californian Civil Code 1714.1

Parents Vicarious Liability in Texas

The state of Texas established civil liability on “a parent or other person who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child.” Texas statute 41.001.

The statute caps damages to $25,000 of actual damages, so there is no recovery for pain and suffering or other general damages. It also limits the ages of children it covers from 10 to 18 years of age.

Statute 41.001 is not the end-all. Aggrieved parties may still file a civil suit against parents if they can show the child had a propensity for bad behavior, and the parents were aware of it.

Parents’ have a “duty of care” to prevent their child from causing foreseeable harm, such as joyriding and crashing a neighbor’s car. Parents that breach their duty of care are liable for the damages caused by their breach.

Parents Negligent Entrustment of a Vehicle to Their Child

A parent can be liable under the theory of negligent entrustment if they knew or should have known the child was not able to operate the vehicle safely but allowed the child to drive anyways. The elements to establish a negligent entrustment claim are:

  • The vehicle owner knowingly allowed the driver to take his vehicle;
  • The driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed;
  • The vehicle owner knew or should have known the driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed;
  • The conduct of the driver was negligent, and a cause of the accident and the negligence was the proximate cause of the crash

For example, a parent knows his child is drunk, gives him the keys to his car. The child loses control of his vehicle because he is intoxicated and causes an automobile accident.

Parental Liability Under Driving Privilege Application

Some states require parents to assume the liability of their minor children in the application for a driver’s license. This is true for California and Florida. California Vehicle Code 17707 VC imposes liability on the person signing the minor application for a driver’s license.

What to do When your Teenager has a Car Accident

Your daughter just called you and let you know she has been in a car accident. After you check to make sure she is alright, what do you do next? Try to talk to her calmly and ensure her everything will be ok.

Accidents can rattle adults but it is especially difficult for young drivers. Stress, panic, and anger will lead to more problems, so everyone needs to stay calm. Ask her to check on anyone who may be injured.

After she has checked that everyone is stable, and tell her to put on her hazard lights. Next, ask her to call 911 and give a detailed description of her location. She needs to ensure they know where she is before she gets off the phone.

Tell her not to speak to anyone other than the officer about the facts of the accident. Instruct her to not apologize or say, this was all my fault. Advise her to stay in the car until the police arrive. Her safety is the primary concern.

You need to go to the scene of the accident. Once there, exchange information with the other driver and get the name and agency information of the investigating officer. You will need this information to request a copy of the accident report.

Write down the name and address of any witnesses. Take notes about the witnesses and what they said to you at the scene. Take photos of the vehicles and the location of the accident. Also, take a picture of the other driver’s license plate, skid marks, and anything else that may be relevant about the crash.

Talk to your children about safe driving and what to do in case of an accident. Knowing what to do in case of an accident can protect teenage drivers. Car accidents involving teens happen every day, being prepared, and knowing what to do can minimize the impact.

Car accidents can be extremely stressful and emotional, and an experienced attorney can assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve. Call our office to speak to an attorney experienced in representing car accident victims.

What Happens if you get in a Car Accident Without a License?

You don’t have a license and you were in a car accident. The car wreck wasn’t your fault. Do you have the right to recover damages for your damages and injuries? What happens if you get in a car accident without a license?

Driving without a license is a violation of the law, but it’s also a completely separate issue from your claim for damages. The party at fault is responsible for the damages to your vehicle and any injuries you’ve sustained.

Louisiana negligence laws require the party that causes damage to another to repair it. This mandate is independent of your responsibility to have a driver’s license.

Can You File a Claim against another Party if you were Driving without a License?

Yes, so long as you are not at fault in causing the accident. Unlicensed drivers are not automatically liable for an accident because they don’t have a valid license. Liability is based on the negligence of the parties.

The fault for the accident is dependent on which party failed to act responsibly and safely. For a person without a license to be liable, he must have operated in a careless way that led to the collision. To learn more about proving fault read this article.

Driving Without a License in Louisiana

Although you can recover damages if you were in a car wreck without your license, you have violated Louisiana law against the operation of a motor vehicle without a valid license.

Anyone operating a motor vehicle on a Louisiana highway must possess and present a valid driver’s license when requested.  A licensed driver without immediate possession of the license is subject to a fine of $10 to $500 and up to six months in jail.

Under Louisiana’s “Wallet Program,” a digital image of the driver’s license presented via the driver’s cellphone is sufficient. Driving a car without your valid driver’s license on you is not as severe as driving with a suspended or revoked license.

While you will likely get a ticket, it’s a simple traffic violation and not a misdemeanor. Courts often dismiss the ticket if you show up at court with your valid driver’s license, although you may still be fined.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A person who operates a vehicle during the time his or her license is suspended or revoked is subject to jail time, fines, and an extension of their driving suspension. Driving after your license has been suspended or revoked is a crime.

If you are charged, your sentence depends in part on the type of license you had and whether you had prior convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license. For persons with Class D or E driver’s license, the maximum sentence is a $500 fine and six months in jail. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415 (C)(1).

If you have a class A, B, or C driver’s license, the maximum sentence could be $5,000, six months in jail and a civil penalty of $2,500. For any conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked license, your period of suspension or revocation may be extended for an additional year.

Can you go to jail for not having your license?

Persons driving without a valid license can be charged with a misdemeanor. Not having a valid license includes persons who have never had a license or failed to renew an expired license. If charged and convicted, you face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

Driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in jail. You can be fined up to $500 unless you were driving a commercial vehicle, then the fine can reach $5000. Also, an additional year is added to your driving suspension.

However, if your driving privileges were suspended because of a DWI conviction, more severe penalties can be assessed. Check the statute for up to date penalties. It is prudent to get a driver’s license issue straightened out as soon as possible.

Getting your license allows you to drive legally, and you gain some credibility when dealing with the insurance company and courts. It is typical for either of them to use your continued lack of a license against you.

Can you get in trouble for letting someone without a license drive your car?

Typically, if you let someone drive your car, which you believe had a valid license, but they didn’t, you shouldn’t get into any trouble.

However, if you allow a person without a license to drive your car and they were involved in an accident, you could be held responsible if you knew or should have known that the person was unlicensed or had a suspended license.

You could be held civilly responsible under the doctrine of negligent entrustment. To establish liability it must be proven that you knew or should have known the person was unlicensed at the time. The best approach would be to call a lawyer who concentrates on these types of issues, because Louisiana’s negligence laws are relatively broad.

Does having no driver’s license play a role in determining negligence in a car accident?

No, not unless the failure to have a driver’s license played a role in the car accident. Louisiana negligence is established in Civil Code Article 2315: Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.  Civil Code Article 2315 (A)

Courts use the following criteria in their analysis to determine the validity of negligence claims:

  • Was the conduct a cause in fact of the harm? In other words, “but for” the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff would not have been injured; and such conduct is a cause.
  • Was a duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant? Did this defendant owe a duty to this plaintiff, either by law, regulation, or custom?
  • Did the defendant breach this duty? Did the defendant deviate from the duty owed to this plaintiff?
  • What was the scope of duty breached? Was the duty breached meant to protect this plaintiff from this type of injury? The answer to this question is case-specific. Facts are used to determine foreseeability and ease of association.
  • What damages were suffered by the plaintiff? Were the damages suffered caused by the breach of the duty owed to the plaintiff? To read more about Louisiana Negligence law click here.

Will insurance cover an unlicensed driver?

It depends on the facts surrounding the unlicensed driver. Insurance companies require a valid license before they issue insurance. Also, many insurance companies have exclusions of non-coverage for owners/drivers with a suspended license.

However, if the car was borrowed, then the insurance typically follows the vehicle. If a person with valid car insurance decides to loan his vehicle to an unlicensed person, then the insurance should cover the damages caused by the unlicensed driver. One caveat, the owner, doesn’t know the person is unlicensed at the time he loaned the vehicle.

The best way to protect yourself have adequate UM/UIM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy and to hire an attorney experienced with car accidents.

These two actions will ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Sonja Bradley has successfully navigated many cases through the settlement process and courts for accident victims throughout Louisiana.

If you want someone by your side to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, contact our offices in either Hammond or Livingston, Louisiana.

How Does The Car Wreck Settlement Process Work in Louisiana

Car accidents occur way too frequently in Louisiana. If you’ve been in a car accident, what do you need to do? How do you navigate to a successful settlement of your car accident claim?

The settlement process begins with establishing fault, proving your losses, and negotiating a settlement amount with an insurance company. If this fails, you have to prove your damages in court.

To obtain a proper settlement, you must establish liability and damages. The process needs to begin soon after the accident happened. Settlements of claims are preferable to the unpredictable nature of trials.

Establishing Fault

Establishing fault is essential to negotiating a settlement. The other party has to be responsible for paying your damages. If the other party is not at fault for causing the accident, they have no duty to pay for your losses.

If there is a question of which driver is at fault for the accident, you need to take steps to establish the fault of the other driver. So how do you tackle this task?

Your first step in proving the fault of the other driver is to ensure the investigating officer obtains the correct information at the scene. Next, get a copy of the accident report, collect the names and addresses of the witnesses, and review the law.

At the Scene of the Wreck

If you’ve sustained damages in an automobile wreck, call the police. The investigating officer fills out an accident report. In his report, he documents traffic conditions, time of the accident, weather conditions, and other crucial details.

An essential task of the investigating officer is taking statements of not only the parties but also any witnesses. He should include in the report witnesses’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

If necessary the officer takes pictures of the accident scene and provides a narrative description based on the information he gathered. The report may document skid mark length, traffic law violations, and condition of the driver.

Get the name of the investigating officer, and witnesses while you are at the scene. Find out how to obtain a copy of the report.

Legal Basis for Fault

Check local, state, and federal laws; if the other driver violated driving laws, it will help to establish his responsibility to pay for your losses. Use the internet and search city and parish laws. Check specifically for the right of ways and speed limits.


If a witness didn’t give an account to the officer at the scene or their explanation wasn’t clear, ask the witnesses to provide a more detailed version in writing to you.

When Fault is Clear

The insurance company should, in cases of presumed negligence accept responsibility. Left turning vehicles and rear-end instances are the most common accidents that the presumption applies.

Comparative Fault

Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence means a party is not barred from recovery of damages because they are partially at fault for causing an accident. The parties are responsible for paying damages based on their percentage of fault. This means that a party is only responsible to pay the damages based on their percentage of fault.

Proving Your Losses

To negotiate a settlement, you need a firm grip on the numbers.

Medical Bills and Records

Obtain a copy of all medical records and bills and forward it to the insurance company. Make sure they have all the information on your injury. If you have any physical limitation or disability because of the damage suffered in the accident, you want to make sure it is documented and provided to the insurance adjuster.

If you expect any future medical treatment ask your doctor to note this in your records. Also, call the medical providers’ offices and get a price for future medical treatment. Forward all information concerning future medical treatment to the insurance company.

Car repairs

Once your car has been repaired forward the documentation to the insurance company. If your vehicle was a total loss, gather information on similar car values, and pass this along to the adjuster.

If your car decreased in value because of the wreck, get a statement from a reputable car salesperson or search the internet for information to support your claim.

Other Losses

Louisiana allows for a variety of losses to be recovered because of the negligence of another. For example, an injured party can recover for future pain and suffering and future wage loss. A detailed article on damages in Louisiana law is covered in a separate article.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company

A settlement of your claim has advantages and must be given value. Judges and juries are unpredictable and could award you less than what the insurance company offers. However, there are times when a settlement of the claim is impossible.

Some insurance companies legitimately evaluate claims and make fair settlement offers. While other insurance company’s business practice is to try and trick and deceive claimants.

Ask for copies of their insured insurance declaration page. In Louisiana, the law requires a minimum liability amount of $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single accident and $25,000 for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property.

Don’t accept the adjusters’ word for their clients’ coverage amounts; request a copy of the policy declaration page.

When does a Lawsuit have to be filed?

Mark your calendar on the date of your accident. In Louisiana, a suit must be filed within one year for both personal injury and property damage. This period starts on the day of your accident.

Don’t lose track of the date and get caught trying to file suit at the last minute. Plan to file a lawsuit a couple of months early. If you haven’t settled by then, it is unlikely you will get it worked without a suit filed.

Settlement negotiations continue after suit is filed. You can still settle your claim at any time before a ruling by the court. If you fail to file your claim within one year, Louisiana courts can deny your case no matter how strong your position.

We know negotiating a settlement is hard if you need assistance contact our office. We have over 18 years of representing injured clients. We have extensive knowledge calculating damages and can help you recover the settlement amount you deserve. And if your case has to be tried, we can do that as well.

How to Prove You Are Not at Fault in a Car Accident

When a car accident happens, sometimes the parties involved disagree on who is at fault or acted negligently in causing the collision. So how can a person prove they are not at fault in a car accident.

To establish fault obtain a copy of the accident report, review the law, and gather witness statements. These are some steps you can take to establish you are not at fault in a car accident.

Often it is clear who is at fault for the collision, but for the times when fault isn’t so apparent, you need to take steps to prove you are not at fault.

Proving Fault

Proving fault is essential in determining which party is legally responsible for paying for the damages caused by the collision. In cases that fault isn’t apparent, there are some steps; you can take to establish liability.

Police Report is used to establish Fault

If you are involved in an accident, you must call the police. The investigating officer will fill out a standard accident report. In this report, he is required to note the traffic conditions, time of the accident, weather conditions, and many other crucial details.

One of the essential tasks of the investigating officer is taking statements of not only the parties but also any witnesses. He should include the witnesses name, address, and telephone numbers in his report.

The officer may take pictures of the scene and provide a narrative of his opinion based on the information he has gathered. The report should also note the length of any skid marks and state any traffic law violations and the impairments of the driver.

Traffic law violations and impairments of the driver can be useful in supporting your position. Ask the investigating officer how you can obtain a copy of the report. Also, request the officers’ name and the law enforcement agency he represents.

Review the accident report. If you find any mistakes by the investigating officer, you can amend the report. Sometimes they make factual errors, such as the wrong times, or incorrect vehicle or insurance information. Generally, you can request a correction by supplying proof to confirm the error.

Factual changes concerning fault is more difficult. Each police department has a procedure for objecting or challenging a report. Contact the department involved in your case and request the procedures. The most common procedure is to attach a copy of your concerns to the initial report.

Research the Law

Use the internet and research the specifics concerning your accident. There may be some parish or state statutes that apply to your case. Check the laws on roadway markings, speed limits, and right of way.

The Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles division has laws accessible online. If the accident occurred in a city and involves city violations, they likely have the traffic statutes online, if not check the local library and city police office. Any violations of the law will bolster your position.

Witness Statements

An independent witness could be a pillar to establishing fault in a car accident. After an accident, all witnesses contact information should be gathered by you.

The investigating officer should have documented the witnesses names, telephone numbers, and addresses on the accident report. Frequently they will take statements from the witnesses and include the statements in the report.

Sometimes the witness statements are not written clearly or don’t accurately memorialize the accounts as you remember hearing at them while at the scene of the accident.

You need to contact the witness and ask for their honest recollection of the facts surrounding the accident. If the witness bolsters your position, ask them to provide an affidavit or witness statement. You can volunteer to draft the account based on their conversation.

It is not unreasonable for a person not to want to take the time to write up a witness statement for a person they don’t know. If you are willing to draft the document and they only have to sign you are more likely to receive a positive response.

Presumption of Negligence

The presumption of negligence applied in cases when a violation of law or standard practices caused an accident. The presumption of negligence is often used in rear-end cases.


In a rear-end collision it is presumed that the following driver was not prudently driving his car. He was either following too closely for the road conditions, driving inattentively or speeding. In a rear-end case, the location of the damages to the vehicles are often enough evidence necessary to prove fault.

It is important to be aware that Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. In limited cases, the following vehicle may not be 100 percent at fault in causing an accident.

If a party is rear-ended and found partially at fault, their recovery will be reduced by the percentage of their responsibility. Facts and circumstances can overcome the presumption of negligence in some instances. See  Cheairs v. State ex rel. Dept. of Transp. & Dev., 861 So.2d 536 (La. 2003).

Left-turning vehicle

There is also a presumption of negligence in collisions caused by a left-turning car. If a car is traveling straight down a road and a car makes a left-hand turn, the turning vehicle is presumed at fault.

The damage to the vehicles is critical in identifying the fault. In a left-turning accident, the damage would be on the front-end of one car and the front-right side of the other.

Just like in a rear-end cases there are exceptions to the “no-fault” provision for left-hand turns. If for example, the car going straight was speeding or ran a red light.


You’ve just been in a car wreck, so what do you do next?  Know this, insurance companies are in business make money, they collect premiums and fight, so they don’t have to pay claims, especially for personal injury.  To help protect yourself, you need to follow these necessary steps and then call Sonja Bradley your lawyer for personal injury claims.


You may feel you are alright, but sometimes severe injuries can occur in even a minor accident.  You need to stay at the scene until emergency personnel arrives.


If you or anyone else involved in the accident has been hurt immediately call emergency personnel and request an ambulance.


Notify the police of your accident, and this must be done right away and give them the location where the accident occurred.  They will send an officer to the scene to gather information, investigate the crash, and make a fault determination.  They will write this information in a report and file with their agency.  You need to ask the officer for the report number and request his name and contact information.  The more information you have, the better protected you are.


Most people have smartphones today, so take advantage of this technology and take pictures.  Take pictures of the vehicles, the accident site, the other driver and passengers, the license plate of the other driver, the damage to the cars and the investigating officer.  If there are witnesses, ask for their names and contact information and take a picture of them as well.  If you don’t have a smartphone, take out a pen and paper and record this information. Information is vital.

When You Have Been a Car Wreck Contact Sonja Bradley Your Personal Injury Attorney in Hammond, Louisiana, Livingston Louisiana, Denham Springs Louisiana, Ponchatoula Louisiana, Albany Louisiana, Amite Louisiana and surrounding areas.