What is the duty of care on Louisiana’s roads?

Baton Rouge, LA – When someone is named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit, there needs to be a review of their actions to determine if the plaintiff will be able to collect damages or compensation. One of the most significant aspects of this analysis in a negligence case is to apply the standard duty of care, and see if the way the defendant actually behaved violated this duty. If the plaintiff can prove this lack of care, plus all of the other elements of the negligence case, they will prevail. 

Duty of care and the reasonable person

The concept of a duty of care comes from the structure of negligence cases. Negligence lawsuits have four elements, and establishing a duty of care is the first one. There is a concept in tort law that centers around a hypothetical reasonable person to determine if the duty of care was breached and the analysis can continue to the other elements of negligence. The reasonable person is supposed to appreciate risks nearby and consider other factors such as dangers and any other obstacles that may require attention. This means that drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and try to take basic measures to avoid accidents while on the roads

The defendant’s actual conduct based on the facts of the case is measured against this standard in trying to tell whether they breached the duty of care. In a lawsuit involving a car accident, the reasonable person is essentially an average driver. 

Jury instructions

At the end of any trial, the jurors are always given specific instructions that dictate how they will determine the outcome of the lawsuit. The judge essentially tells them to consider how the defendant behaved versus this reasonable person. If there is enough of a deviation, they are to find that the defendant did in fact breach their duty of care while driving

The rest of the negligence lawsuit

Aside from the standard duty of care and a breach of that duty, the plaintiff must still show actual and proximate causation and damages. These two final elements are necessary to prove that the defendant’s actions were the actual cause of an injury, as well as show that the plaintiff suffered some kind of tangible harm and losses. Damages are also the legal term for the specific amount of loss, which can include things like lost wages and income, medical treatment, and pain and suffering. 

Help with accident cases in Louisiana

There are lawyers who focus on helping people after car collisions and other types of injury cases in the Baton Rouge area. Hiller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf are experienced personal injury attorneys. 

Firm contact info:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806



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