If you are wondering if you are at fault for an automobile accident and a police officer was called to the scene to investigate the accident, you can check the State of Louisiana Uniform Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Report. Police officers, State Troopers and Sheriffs’ Deputies in Louisiana often create these reports after investigating a car accident. The investigating officer will give you an incident report number after the accident. You or your attorney can used this incident report number to obtain the report.
But what happens if the investigating police officer placed you at fault or partially at fault for the accident? Does that mean that you cannot recover for the accident? Just because the police officer placed you at fault for the accident does not mean that you cannot recover for the accident.
Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state. That means that the value of your damages (including pain and suffering and medical expenses) will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributable to you for the accident. For instance, if your case is worth $100,000.00 and a judge or jury finds you to be 50% at fault and the other driver is found to be 50% at fault, the other driver (and his insurance company) would be responsible for paying you $50,000.00. The law on “comparative fault” in Louisiana is codified in Louisiana Civil Code article 2323.
Furthermore, a police officer’s opinion that you are at fault or partly at fault for an accident is not necessarily admissible in court. In other words, judges do not often let police officers’ opinions on how accidents happened into evidence. Police Officers typically can only testify to what they saw after an accident during the investigation. Thus, unless a police officer witnessed the accident, he typically will not be able to testify as to how the accident happened.
Finally, who is at fault for an accident is an “ultimate issue of fact” at trial. So, a judge or jury would not be required to adopt the police officer’s opinion as to who caused the accident even if the judge lets the officer testify as to his opinion.
If you have suffered injury from an accident and have questions about fault and liability, contact Law Office of Donald D’Aunoy Jr., LLC today for a FREE consultation: 1000 Veterans Blvd #203, Metairie, LA 70005, Phone: 504-508-6414. Speak directly with an attorney. Attorney Donald D’Aunoy Jr. offers FREE house calls to personal injury clients throughout southeast Louisiana, including Algiers, Amite, Avondale, Belle Chasse, Bogalusa, Boutte, Chalmette, Covington, Cut Off, Destrehan, Edgard, Franklinton, Galliano, Gretna, Hammond, Harahan, Harvey, Houma, Jefferson, Kenner, Laplace, Lacombe, Larose, Luling, Lutcher, Madisonville, Mandeville, Marrero, Marrero, Morgan City, Montegut, New Orleans, Norco, Patterson, Pearl River, Ponchatoula, Prairieville, Raceland, River Ridge, Slidell, St. Rose, Thibodaux, Tickfaw, Westwego. Mr. D’Aunoy is well reviewed on sites such as Avvo and Facebook.