The last bill to change how auto accident claims are handled failed after the governor vetoed it, but now there are two new efforts in the Louisiana House to change how auto accident cases are handled in the courts. The Center Square reports. House Bill 44 is the most similar to the previous bill. It would lower the right to a civil jury trial from $50,000 to $5,000. Also, for cases worth between $5,000 and $35,000, a reduced jury size would be used. Six people would serve, of which five would need to agree to reach a verdict. Proponents say this would reduce the amount of time and money needed for cases. The bill also allows for new admissible evidence in court and would allow plaintiffs to sue insurance companies directly. Other changes in this bill would include limiting medical damages to the true costs of the care, and also extend the deadline to file a lawsuit from one year to two. Insurance companies would also be required to reduce their rates by 10% unless that would make them insolvent. The second bill, House Bill 57, is similar but not as sweeping. It sets the threshold to $10,000, allow certain kinds of evidence, and also adds a process for moving accident cases to district courts. Time will tell if the Senate and the governor decide to enact one of these bills. The last bill failed because the governor didn’t see enough evidence that these changes would reduce premium rates.
Baton Rouge Legal News
The Governor of Louisiana has extended the statewide stay-at-home orders until May 15 because the state hasn’t met the necessary goals. ArkLaTex reports. The Governor made an announcement yesterday about the reasons for the extension. While areas like New Orleans have met the White House guidelines, there are several parts of the state where the numbers of cases are still increasing. The order is receiving some modifications on May 1st. Malls will be able to run retail from curbs, and restaurants will be able to have patio services without table service. However, all public-facing workers will now be required to wear masks. There are also strong recommendations for everyone to wear masks in public. Baton Rouge and Monroe have seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations. Other areas are remaining steady. The state hopes to increase testing during the next two weeks so that, when the orders are lifted further, new hotspots aren’t created. Once Phase 1 starts, hopefully on May 16, several business types will be able to reopen and restrictions on public spaces will also lift. However, there will be occupancy restrictions and there will still be requirements for social distancing. Louisiana hopes to make a final decision on the matter on or by May 11.