Louisiana Personal Injury; Torts
In Louisiana law, all torts arise from Louisiana Civil Code 2315 which states,
“Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.” This is called a Tort.
A tort is an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability. In the context of torts, “injury” describes the invasion of any legal right, whereas “harm” describes a loss or detriment in fact that an individual suffers. Torts fall into the following categories: negligence, product liability, intentional torts, property, and dignitary torts.
Louisiana Civil Statute Codifies Torts
Louisiana law allows a person who causes damage to another to be obligated to repair that which has been damaged. Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315.
In Louisiana there are three essential elements to every personal injury claim:
- Liability – Is another person and/or company at fault for the accident, incident and/or defect? In Texas this element is negligence.
- Causation – Did the accident, incident and/or defect CAUSE the injury and/or damage you suffered?
- Damages – Have you suffered an injury or damage?
Therefore, to recovery under Louisiana law another person and/or company must be the reason or part of the reason (liability) for an incident, accident, or defect that results (causation) in an injury (damages) to another. There may be a person responsible for an incident, but if there are no damages, there is no recovery. In Louisiana you must be able prove that the liable acts caused each element of damage to you.
Who Is Liable?
An incident, accident, or defect the fault of another person or company? When someone’s negligence or intentional acts cause an event, accident, or defect that person or company is responsible for the consequences of that negligent or intentional actions.
Liability is an essential element that must be proved in order for a person to have a claim. Determining who is at fault for an accident, incident or defect can be a difficult task.
“Masters…are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants…in their exercise of the functions in which they are employed.” La. Civ. Code art. 2320.
Vicarious Liability or the Law of Liable Employers Under Louisiana Law
An employer may be vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. In other words, if an employee of a company causes an injury to another person, the company may be found liable for the employees’ actions. It is important to investigate early whether the person at fault was employed and performing actions related to that employment at the time of the incident, accident, and/or occurrence at issue.
Has the conduct of the other person and/or company caused the victim’s damages? The liable person’s actions must cause the damage and/or injury a person suffered in order for the person to recover. The causal link between the person and/or company’s conduct and our client’s injuries and damages may be difficult to prove.
Are there injuries or damages? Some damages are immediately apparent and others may take time to reveal themselves. The injury and/or damage warrants recovery. If there is liability but no damages or injuries there is no recovery. A person may be responsible (liable) for a negligent act or intentional act, but if there is no damage or injury, there is no recovery. Our firm is committed to proving all damages that our clients suffer.
Damages under Louisiana Law for the injured victim may include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Income
- Funeral Expenses
- Property Damage
- Attorneys’ Fees
- Statutory Penalties
- Mental and Physical Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Intellectual Gratification or Physical Enjoyment
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Punitive Damages
- Loss of Consortium, Service, and Society
Punitive Damages (Damages to Punish the Liable Party)
Under Louisiana law, punitive damages are not available except where authorized by statute. For example, Punitive damages may be awarded when a driver is drunk and causes damage to another person. Punitive Damages are additional damages that are intended to reform or deter a person from engaging in certain behavior.
Basic car accidents are probably the most common tort (personal injury) in Louisiana, the most memorable injury cases are those off shore especially in the past few decades with the BP explosion although some of the laws fall under offshore or Maritime law but that is a different subject for a different discussion.
If you believe that you have been the victim of an injury (tort), contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Alex R. Hernandez, Jr., PLLC for a free, no-obligation consultation. 1-88-HDZLAW-8