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Houma Car Accident Damages

Anyone who has suffered injuries from a recent car crash may be entitled to Houma car accident damages. If someone has suffered injury because another vehicle operator has violated the traffic and safety rules and caused harm, they may be able to collect medical expenses for treatment for their injuries, future medical expenses for treatment of the injuries, and loss of income or lost earnings if the person is unable to continue their employment.

If, as a result of the injuries, they suffer a permanent injury that affects their ability to perform certain functions, they may be entitled to impairment of earning capacity damages or loss of future earnings. Speak with a qualified car accident attorney right away to begin reviewing your case.

Potential Damages

Pain and suffering and mental pain and anguish are considered general Houma car accident damages. General damages also include inconvenience, impairment of the enjoyment of living, and disability. The spouse and children of the injured party may bring a claim for what is known as loss of consortium. The law recognizes here that if someone is injured and they have a close relationship such as a parent, a child, or a spouse, those parties can suffer also, and that is called loss of consortium damages

Punitive damages in a car accident are recoverable, but only under limited circumstances. Those limited circumstances mean that it must be proven that the operator of the at-fault vehicle acted with a wanton and reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others by intoxication. That can be intoxication by alcohol, illegal narcotics, or even abuse of legal medications. The burden is on the party bringing the claim to prove that the intoxication was the cause, in fact, of the injuries.

Understanding the Role of Auto Insurance

Typically, automobile liability insurance coverage in Louisiana will cover all Houma car accident damages. Sometimes, insurance policies will exclude punitive damages. Other than punitive damages, most insurance policies cover any damages that an injured party would be able to recover through the fault of the other person.

Responsibility for Paying Property Damages

In a car crash in which someone’s truck, van, or automobile suffers a collision loss, the party at fault is responsible for paying the cost of repairing the vehicle. The party at fault is also responsible for paying any wrecker fees and any storage fees. If the vehicle, even after it is repaired, suffered a decrease in value, the people at fault are responsible for that also. A total loss is any case where the cost of repair of the vehicle is greater than the value of the vehicle.

In that event, the responsible party must pay for the value of the vehicle on the date of the crash. Whether the car has been repaired or is a total loss, the at-fault party is obligated to pay for loss of use of the vehicle, particularly while the vehicle is being repaired, and then for a reasonable period of time if it is determined to be a total loss.

If the vehicle is a total loss, the responsible party also has to pay for sales tax on any new vehicle that is bought to replace the totaled vehicle. Insurance companies in Louisiana that provide coverage on liability insurance policies are obligated to contact the party whose vehicle has been damaged, make an appraisal of the damages, and make a written offer to cover the cost of repair or the replacement cost of the vehicle.

What are Damage Caps in Car Accident Cases?

A damage cap is when a legislature, such as the Louisiana Legislature, has acted and made a determination that, in certain cases, certain items of damages are capped and a jury or a judge cannot award any more than that amount.  In Louisiana, that affects governmental bodies, which would be municipalities, the State of Louisiana, local law enforcement, and sheriff’s offices.

If an employee of the City of Houma or an employee of the State of Louisiana or a deputy sheriff, or a city policeman was at fault in a car accident, the amount of money for general or non-economic damages is capped at $500,000.

That was established by an amendment to the Constitution of Louisiana around 20 years ago. Other than that, there are really no caps for Houma car accident damages. That is the only cap there is in Houma, and it involves municipalities and governmental bodies or any subdivisions of them.

Possibility of Evading the Cap on Damages

There is no cap on the economic damages, but for the non-economic or general damages, it is the law of the land that, for government bodies, sheriff’s offices, and political subdivisions, there is a cap on general damages in car accidents up to $500,00.  The Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana has upheld the constitutionality of those caps. There is no way to get around the cap on general Houma car accident damages or non-economic damages against governmental bodies in car accident cases.