FAQs About Types of Damages in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

March 22, 2023 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

FAQs About Types of Damages in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile crash, a slip and fall accident, by a defective or dangerous product, or in some other accident, Louisiana law allows you to pursue compensation. Louisiana law entitles accident victims to bring insurance claims against the at-fault party (or parties). Louisiana law also enables victims to file personal injury lawsuits. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury claims and the compensation that can be recovered.

From whom can victims recover?

Victims of accidents are entitled to recover from each and every party that is “at-fault.” That might be only one party — like the driver of the other vehicle or the owner of the retail store where a slip and fall occurred. Or, multiple parties might be at-fault — such as the driver or the other vehicle and the vehicle manufacturer for some defect in the vehicle. An accident victim must prove who is at-fault which means proving four legal elements: duty, breach, causation and injury.

What damages can be recovered?

Under Louisiana law, personal injury claims can include past and future losses and damages. For example, a jury can award — and an insurance company will pay — compensation for the reasonable cost of medical care, treatment, surgeries, medications, supplies and devices that have been necessary. Further, if medical care is expected to continue into the future, beyond the insurance settlement or resolution of the personal injury litigation, then recovery can be had for future medical care, treatment, surgeries, medication, supplies and devices. Other examples include:

  • Lost wages and lost future wages (often called diminution of earnings capacity)
  • Pain and suffering and any future pain and suffering that the victim might experience
  • Past and future emotional distress, fear, anxiety and other mental conditions
  • Past and future expenses related to non-medical services performed by another that the victim was/will be unable to do for him or herself
  • Damage to property (like a vehicle) including cost of repair and/or replacement
  • Loss of use of property and/or costs of use replacement (such as a vehicle rental)
  • Past fear and apprehension of imminent harm
  • Past and future loss of consortium
  • Past and future loss of life enjoyment/inconvenience
  • Disfigurement

To recover for any of these categories of damages, a victim must prove the causal connection between the accident and each category of damages. In some cases, there will be no damages for some categories because there were no damages of that sort or lack of causal evidence.

How are pain and suffering and emotional distress damages calculated?

There is no set formula or method of calculating non-economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Testimony from the victim and from the family is typically presented to help determine the value of these damages. Opinion witnesses are often used to explain the severity of such damages and provide an estimate for a jury or an insurance claims representative.

Can I recover punitive damages?

Generally, punitive damages cannot be awarded in personal injury cases. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a wrongdoer for malice or other “bad” behavior. Generally, personal injury cases do not contain facts that demonstrate the need to punish the at-fault party. There are some exceptions such as impaired driving or sexual abuse that an experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer can explain.

Our Attorneys Can Help 

For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases including car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.