The state’s Republican lawmakers are pushing forward with a proposal to limit the amount of damages claimed against a business in personal injury lawsuits. This picks up a previous attempt before the coronavirus pandemic, while state Democrats argue that such a bill would be inappropriate at this time.

Both House and Senate committees approved these “tort reform” measures, which could mean sweeping changes for personal injury and civil litigation. The goal is to lessen the liability of insurance companies and businesses. The changes include:

  • More frequent jury trials
  • A cap on the amounts for certain damages
  • A limit on how directly liable insurance companies are
  • An increase in the window of when claimants can file, thus allowing the two sides more time to negotiate

If the proposals become bills, there would be new rules for claimants to get a court date and suing for injuries. Supporters include business lobbying organizations.

Why is this a good idea?

According to the Associated Press, Louisiana drivers pay the second-highest motor vehicle insurance rates in the country with an average of $2,200 per year. Advocates of the new proposals claim that these rates are due to personal injury lawsuits with big paydays for Louisiana plaintiffs – insurance companies need higher rates to protect themselves from these expensive lawsuits. Ideally, the prices have a chance to come down if the suits are limited.

Critics, on the other hand, do not believe that the premium rates will go down. They cite previous changes to civil litigation two decades ago that were supposed to do the same, but rate reductions never happened.

Those with questions should talk to an attorney

Potential claimants or those potentially liable are advised to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney practicing here in Louisiana. These legal professionals can provide insight based on the details of the individual case.