It is not unusual for a New Orleans personal injury lawsuit to involve more than one defendant. Any time the negligence of multiple parties leads to an injury, an experienced personal injury attorney will pursue compensation from all of those responsible. An inability to locate a potential defendant does not bar you from pursuing damages from the defendants who are available. It may, however, impact the amount of compensation you ultimately receive.
Under Louisiana law, when a judge or jury is determining who is at fault in a personal injury or wrongful death case, each person whose negligence is found to have been a contributing factor is assigned a percentage of fault. This percentage of fault is assigned regardless of whether the negligent person is a party to the action. Ability to pay, immunity by statute, and even whether the identity of the person can be determined also are not factors in considering whether they should be assigned a percentage of fault.
Once a percentage of fault for each person responsible has been determined, that person is responsible for paying only that percentage of the total damages. If a defendant cannot be located or is otherwise unable to pay its percentage of the total damages, the injured person will be unable to recover that portion of the damages. The other negligent parties are not required to pay an additional share to make up for the damages that the injured person was unable to recover.
As a result, if you have been injured as the result of the negligence of multiple individuals, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will make every effort to locate all of those involved and obtain full compensation for you.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have suffered a personal injury. We can answer your questions at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.