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Does a minor traffic mistake prevent a crash-related lawsuit?

When police officers respond to a report of a motor vehicle collision, one of their responsibilities is to determine who is at fault for the crash. Often, one dramatic mistake by a driver is clearly the cause of the crash. Someone failing to look both ways before initiating a left-hand turn could turn directly into oncoming traffic and cause a preventable collision.

Fault matters for legal and financial reasons after a crash. The driver at fault is the one whose insurance will pay for most of the crash costs after a wreck in Louisiana. If you made a small mistake that contributed to the crash but ultimately didn’t cause it, will your mistake prevent you from filing an insurance claim for a civil lawsuit against the other driver?

Minor mistakes won’t impact insurance

Drivers should generally avoid admitting fault when communicating with the insurance company about a crash. Still, even if the other driver accuses you of being partially responsible, their insurance company should still pay your claim.

Provided that the police report and any reconstructions of the crash show that the other driver is to blame, their liability coverage can still help pay for your costs even if you did make a minor mistake while driving.

Traffic mistakes can affect civil claims

When you go to civil court to ask for compensation in a lawsuit, your traffic mistake could affect your rights. Louisiana state law recognizes comparative fault in personal injury cases. This legal concept acknowledges that someone can be partially to blame for an accident.

If the other driver uses your alleged comparative fault as a defense to the civil claim you make in court, the courts will decide what percentage of the crash is ultimately your fault. They will then reduce the money they award you in the lawsuit by the percentage of fault that they decide falls to you. Someone who is 30% at fault for a crash would receive 70% of the money the courts decide they should receive in the lawsuit.

Understanding the rules that govern insurance and personal injury claims after motor vehicle collisions can help you get the money you need to pay your bills.