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Legislation to Lower Insurance Costs May Affect Car Accident Injury Claims

A bill recently approved by the Louisiana House of Representatives could lower the cost of car insurance. At the same time, it could also severely restrict an injured car accident victims’ access to relief through the court system. An article on the legislation is available here.

House Bill 372—the “Omnibus Premium Reduction Act of 2019”— has passed the House. The bill now moves to the Senate for further debate. Insurance companies support the bill as a way to lessen costs in Louisiana—where insurance rates are among the highest in the U.S.

A Look at the Bill

HB 372—sponsored by Representative Kirk Talbot of River Ridge—extends the time period in which accident victims are able to file a lawsuit. It doubles the time period from one year to two years. Advocates say this gives plaintiffs more time to complete medical treatment—and to potentially extend negotiations.

The bill lowers the “jury threshold” from $50,000 to $5,000. If a claim is below this threshold, a judge can decide the case. Values in excess of the threshold require a jury decision. The bill also offsets damages paid by defendants through collateral sources—including the plaintiff’s medical insurance, Workers’ Compensation, and more.

Representative Talbot says the legislation includes requirements for insurance companies to review costs each year, noting that premiums should go down if costs decrease. The complete text of the bill is available here.

Potential Concerns

Critics of the proposed law include plaintiff’s attorneys who say it ignores important reasons for high premiums, such as distracted drivers. At the same time, state trial judges suggest changes made under the legislation could potentially create a backlog within the court system.

A representative speaking on behalf of the state’s 236 district judges indicates a judge can handle a case in one day, while a jury typically requires three. In addition, courthouses in smaller parishes often have only one courtroom capable of jury trials, which could contribute to potential delays.

We Can Help

Our legal team will examine every detail of your case and provide the experienced, compassionate and dedicated representation you need to secure the maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We’re here to work hard for you and to make sure that your rights are fully protected. If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, call the experienced Louisiana Car Accident attorneys at Gauthier Amedee today at 225-647-1700 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.

Don’t delay. Get the help you need today with Gauthier Amedee.

May 13th, 2019