When a New Orleans injury auto accident occurs, the party at fault is responsible for paying any damages arising from the collision. Although which driver is responsible for the accident usually must be decided by a judge or jury, if the injured party is struck from behind liability is usually easily established.
In Louisiana, a driver is presumed to have been negligent if he collides with the rear of a vehicle ahead of him. When this situation occurs, it is assumed that the rearward driver either did not leave sufficient space between the vehicles to allow for making a safe stop under normal driving conditions, or he or she failed to pay proper attention to the events taking place ahead. Because of this presumption, the injured party no longer has the burden of proving the rear driver was negligent. Instead, the burden is placed on rear driver to prove that he was not negligent.
This rule does not, however, mean that the driver of the vehicle who was struck from behind is always free from fault. If the rear driver was suddenly faced with an unexpected hazard created by the forward vehicle, then the rear driver may be found free from fault. Even if an emergency did exist, however, the rear driver is still responsible for using reasonable care to avoid it. Failure to do so may still result in a finding of negligence against the following driver.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and have any questions, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER. We would be happy to help you.