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If Someone Injures Me, Are They Always Legally Responsible For My Damages?

Not every injury entitles the injured person to compensation.  While every New Orleans personal injury lawsuit has its own set of unique circumstances, there are some fundamental facts that must be proven in every case before the plaintiff may be awarded damages. 

The basic laws underlying all personal injury lawsuits brought in Louisiana are set forth in Articles 2315 and 2316 of the Louisiana Civil Code.  Article 2315 states: “Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.”  Article 2316 states: “Every person is responsible for the damage he occasions not merely by his act, but by his negligence, his imprudence, or his want of skill.”

While these articles would seem to allow for a successful lawsuit whenever it can be established that a defendant’s negligence caused injury to the plaintiff, this is not actually the case.  In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must also establish that the defendant had a legal responsibility to act according to a certain standard of care to protect the plaintiff under the circumstances, and that this standard of care was violated.

The standard of care the law imposes on a defendant’s conduct varies according to the activity involved.  Various legal statutes, ordinances or prior rulings of Louisiana courts govern what that standard of care will be in a specific case.  If it cannot be established that the defendant’s actions violated the appropriate standard – or the plaintiff’s injury did not result from the defendant’s violation – the defendant is not responsible for the plaintiff’s damages.

If you have been injured in an accident and wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, we would be happy to help you.  Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.