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Louisiana Car Accident Report Basics

Having an auto accident wasn't on today's to-do list between work and stopping at the market, but car crashes don't care about your schedule. Your disrupted itinerary is the least of your problems. Your primary concerns are now about injuries and your wrecked car. What happens next?

The Louisiana car accident report is key to resolving your post-accident difficulties. This police report is a crucial document containing facts and statements from participants in an attempt to recreate the story of the accident. It's an important part of how insurance companies will determine blame and how money should be allocated.

The goal of this article is to teach you everything you need to know about the Louisiana motor vehicle accident police report. You'll also learn about which Louisiana laws may affect your damages, things to do after the accident, how liability insurance works, and much more.

Car accidents are always an unwelcome intrusion into your life. Knowing what to expect and what to do can make things much easier. Let us help prepare you.

Louisiana Motor Vehicle Laws

While the automotive laws of Louisiana are designed to reduce risk to drivers and keep the roads as safe as possible, accidents still happen. Let's take a look at the codes you'll encounter after a crash.

Louisiana Motor Vehicle Accidents - What To Do

The moments after a car crash are often disorienting and chaotic. If you can, take a deep breath to help you regain your composure before reacting. All drivers in Louisiana have certain legal obligations after an accident.

Do not leave the scene of the accident, even if you think the accident was minor. You’ll run the risk of a hit-and-run charge if you do so, with the possibility of fines and imprisonment.

Check on the health of all involved, including yourself. If anyone is hurt, offer first aid at the level of care you're competent at.

You must alert law enforcement about the accident if any of the following conditions apply:

  • There was an injury
  • There was a fatality
  • There was more than $500 of property damage

You may not have to call the police if none of these are met, but it's a good idea to do so anyway. A police officer can help others get heated emotions under control before filling out the police report.

Take pictures of the accident scene from a few different angles before moving the vehicles to a safer location, if possible. When calling the police, inform the operator about any physical injuries and their severity.

Regardless of whether law enforcement is summoned, you should exchange information with the other drivers. While this may be made redundant by the police report, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should get:

  • Name, address, date of birth
  • Phone numbers
  • Driver's license numbers
  • Insurance company name and insurance policy numbers
  • Vehicle identification numbers (VIN) and license plate numbers from all cars

If anyone saw the accident, get their contact information and a witness statement. If any cameras might have caught the incident, try to speak with their owner.

If injured, seek medical attention. Keep copies of all medical bills for your insurance claim.

Louisiana Mandatory Liability Auto Insurance

In Louisiana, your vehicles must carry auto liability insurance to be legal. This insurance follows the car rather than the owner. So, anyone designated to drive the vehicle is covered by the policy. Most damages from auto accidents are covered by auto insurance.

The minimum amounts of coverage permitted by the state are:

  • $15,000 liability coverage for personal injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 liability coverage for personal injury/death to two or more people in one accident
  • $25,000 liability coverage for property damage in one accident

Drivers have the option to purchase coverage above the minimum. This is something to consider—you’ll be responsible for any damages exceeding your coverage. You can also add optional insurance, such as collision insurance and comprehensive insurance.

Louisiana protects its drivers from uninsured motorists via compulsory coverage. This 'pay to play' system states that any uninsured driver in an accident is barred from receiving the first $15,000 in any personal injury settlements and $25,000 from any property damage award.

Dealing with insurance companies, especially those of the other drivers, can be one of the most frustrating experiences in your life. FindLaw's Louisiana Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline article can help preserve your sanity. It provides a step-by-step explanation of insurance company procedures and an idea of how long it'll take.

If you ever feel things are getting out of control, consider getting legal advice from a car accident attorney.

Louisiana Fault and Negligence Laws

Someone must pay for all the damage and medical bills after a motor vehicle accident. Louisiana is an at-fault state, which means that those determined to carry any blame for causing the accident are responsible for compensating the accident victims. In most cases, this is handled by liability auto insurance.

As Louisiana is a fault or 'tort' state, you have the option of pursuing a lawsuit if your injuries or property damages are over the coverage limit of the at-fault driver.

Negligence is determined in Louisiana via the pure comparative fault system. This system states that all awards will be reduced by the percentage of fault the driver carries. If you're 99% to blame for the accident, you can still recover 1% of your damages.

Confused? Consider this example: You're awarded $15,000 in damages but were determined to be 10% responsible for the crash occurring. In Louisiana, you'd receive $13,500 as your final settlement (10% of $15,000 is $1,500, so $15,000 - $1,500 = $13,500).

For an in-depth look at the recovery laws in your state, consult FindLaw's Louisiana Car Accident Compensation Laws article.

Louisiana Car Accident Police Reports

Where your accident scene is will determine which branch of law enforcement will show up. If you're in or near a parish or municipality, local police will respond. On the highways or in rural areas, expect the Louisiana State Police (LSP).

The responding officer will take control of the scene of the accident. They'll speak with all the people involved. When giving your side of the accident, be calm and truthful. Avoid claiming fault.

The police officer will fill in the police report using data observed at the scene. This may include, but is not limited to, the following information:

  • Data from all drivers, including driver's license numbers, addresses, insurance information, date of birth, and contact information
  • Year, model, and VIN from all involved vehicles
  • Diagram(s) showing the positions of the vehicles, the damage involved, and the collision points
  • General information, such as the exact location, time of day, lighting, weather conditions, type of roadway, traffic signals and signs, etc.
  • All injuries, any first aid administered, and where any victims were taken for medical care
  • Details such as skid marks, the sobriety of the drivers, and more

While the statements will carry the bias of those involved, the rest of the report should focus on the objective observations of the officer. As they weren’t witnesses, it's not their duty to determine fault. The insurance companies, and possibly a judge, will make that determination.

You will need copies of the police report for your insurance claim and any lawsuits that may follow. How you get it will depend on who was at your accident scene. Be aware that Louisiana protects the privacy of those in accidents and limits who may get accident reports.

Local law enforcement is required to file their police report within 48 hours of the accident. They'll forward a copy to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, which may contact you for additional details. You can contact the police department in the parish the accident occurred in for your options on getting a copy.

The LSP will have full reports ready 10-15 days after the accident. You can order a copy online for $11.50. You'll need to supply either the seven-digit crash report number or your name, the parish where the accident occurred, and the date of the accident. This will not show accidents that weren't covered by the LSP.

Louisiana Car Accident Report Summary

The table below recaps the information above, along with handy links to the statutes.

Relevant Louisiana Automotive Statutes (Laws)

Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 32

Section 397.1 - Accident reports; citizens right to privacy

Section 398 - Duty to report; crash reports; fees

Section 866 - Compulsory motor vehicle liability security; failure to comply; limitation of damages

Section 900 - State minimums for motor vehicle liability policy

When To Alert Police About an Accident

You must alert law enforcement if the accident results in any of the following:

  • Death

  • Injury

  • Property damage exceeding $500

Information in a Car Crash Report in Louisiana

  • Name, address, driver's license, and contact information of all drivers involved

  • All relevant insurance information of any drivers involved

  • Registration numbers and license plate numbers of any vehicles involved or damaged

  • As much information about the accident as possible, including weather and road conditions, time of day, location, and other information

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Have a Louisiana Car Accident Claim? Talk to an Attorney Today

Most injuries and claims for automobile damage can be handled through insurance companies. But additional legal processes may sometimes be necessary if you're not offered an adequate settlement. Learn more about your car accident claim by contacting a Louisiana car accident lawyer

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