A defendant is not always 100% at fault for an accident. Given the circumstances, a third party or even the plaintiff themselves could bear some of the responsibility for the accident or injury. A judge or jury in a Louisiana courtroom is responsible for apportioning the fault between the parties. While a difficult task, the fact finders are not left without any guidance.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has laid out five factors to guide the judge or jury in the allocation of the percentage of fault between the parties: (1) whether the conduct resulted from inadvertence or involved an awareness of the danger, (2) how great a risk was created by the conduct, (3) the significance of what was sought by the conduct, (4) the capacities of the actor, whether superior or inferior, and (5) any extenuating circumstances which might require the actor to proceed in haste, without proper thought. Besides these five, the relationship between the fault/negligent conduct and the harm to the plaintiff can also be a consideration in determining fault as well. Watson v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 469 So.2d 967, 974 (La.1985). See also Thibodeaux v. Trahan, 2011-0382 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/5/11), 74 So.3d 850.
With these elements as a template, Louisiana courtrooms can quickly and efficiently dispense fault to each relevant party, while also providing them the flexibility to take into consideration other circumstances relevant to the accident or injury.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans trial attorney by filling out our free, no obligation case review form located on this website.