Across the United States, there are two main camps that states fall in regarding car accidents and auto insurance claims. The first is a no-fault state, and the second is a fault-based state. Louisiana is a fault-based state. Here’s what that means for you.
No-Fault vs. Fault-Based States
In a no-fault state such as Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Utah the payment of damages caused by an auto accident is split by all parties involved. Simply put, whether you were the party responsible for the accident or the victim doesn’t matter; you or your insurance company will likely be held liable for your personal damages.
On the other hand, all other states, including Louisiana, are fault-based states. In a fault-based state, the party responsible for the accident is the party responsible for all damage-related costs. That means if you’re the victim of a car accident (i.e., someone else ran a red light and hit you) the other party and their insurance company will be required to pay for the damages.
What to Do After an Accident in a Fault-Based State
As you might imagine, in a fault-based state legal action regarding the fault of an accident is more common than in no-fault states. For that reason, it’s crucial to follow specific procedures after an accident to ensure you have all of the evidence needed to defend yourself should a case arise.
If you find yourself in an auto-accident, these are the steps you should follow.
Call the police and obtain an official police report
By calling the police to the accident scene, you receive official documentation that an accident occurred. This documentation will be beneficial in filing an insurance claim and defending your story if a legal situation should arise.
Document the accident through pictures and witness accounts
Immediately following your call to the police, if you’re able to, take pictures of the accident scene before anything is disrupted by emergency response personnel. By doing so, you’ll have real-time evidence to back-up your story and photos to provide your insurance company or lawyer if necessary.
File an insurance claim
In a fault-based state, there are two options for filing an insurance claim after an auto accident: either with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own. If you choose to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s company, you may be required to go through a process to prove you were, in fact, not at fault. If you choose to go through your own insurance company, however, they will cover the cost of the damages and then pursue the other party’s company for repayment. It’s essential to note that with the latter option you will be required to pay your deductible up-front.
How To Protect Yourself Right Now
As a resident of a fault-based state like Louisiana, you can take action now to ensure you’re in the best position possible if or when you get into an accident. The first thing you can do is double-check your insurance to confirm that you are carrying the required coverage. Likewise, you can ask your insurance agent about medical payment coverage since it will help to cover the cost of any medical claims resulting from an accident, even if you were not at fault.
If you find yourself injured from an automobile accident and require a lawyer, the trusted attorneys at E. Orum Young Law are here to assist you with your litigation needs. Simply contact us today regarding your situation and to learn more about our services. Get a Free Case Review by calling us at (318) 450-6453.