Legal Memorandum: Personal Injury Matters in LA

Issue: Whether La. Rev. Stat. 13:5106, 5112, and 5105 apply in a personal injury matter and if so what are the limits of liability.

Area of Law: Insurance Law, Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Personal injury; Limitation of liability
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: 448 U.S. 1; 960 So. 2d 953; 277 F.3d 743; 752 So. 2d 347
Cited Statutes: La. Rev. Code § 13:5106(B)(1); La. Rev. Stat. §§13:5101—5112, § 13:5101(B), § 9:3500, § 13:5112(C); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1); La. Rev. Stat. § 13:5112(A); La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3500, § 13:5112(C); La. Rev. Code § 13:5106(A), (B); 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a)
Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Revised Code § 13:5106 provides that the total liability of the state and its political subdivisions for all damages for personal injury to any one person, including all claims and derivative claims (e.g., loss of consortium), exclusive of medical care and related benefits and loss of earnings, and loss of future earnings, may not exceed $500,000, regardless of the number of claims made for the personal injury to that person.  La. Rev. Code § 13:5106(B)(1) (2010). 

In Brown v. Coregis Insurance Co., 752 So. 2d 347 (La. Ct. App. 1st Cir. 2000), the survivors of a child killed while attempting to exit a school bus filed suit against the driver and school board.  The trial court granted summary judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor, determining that the statutory damages limitation did not apply to the defendant bus driver nor the school board’s insurer.  Id. at 353.  The defendants appealed.  On appeal, the court explained that the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act (LGCA), La. Rev. Stat. §§13:5101—5112, was enacted to limit the liability of public entities.  Id. (citing La. Rev. Stat. § 13:5101(B)).  The Act applies to any suit for personal injuries against a political subdivision*FN1 of the state, or against an officer or employee of a political subdivision arising out of the discharge of his official duties or within the course and scope of his employment.  Id.  The plaintiffs in Brown argued, however, that even so, the section on limitations on liability does not extend to […]

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