Louisiana residents have for years paid some of the nation's highest auto-insurance rates, a burden the Coalition for Common Sense (CCS) says is the result of the state's rampant culture of litigation.
But lawmakers expect to file bills in the upcoming legislative session that could decrease the high number of lawsuits and the subsequently high insurance rates, according to Fox News. Jim Harris of the CCS says he has long seen a disparity between the number and severity of accidents and the number of claims filed relating to such incidents, which has put those seeking reform on alert.
"The number of accidents in Louisiana is slightly higher than the national average and the number of general accident claims is in line with the national average," Harris told Louisiana Record. "Bodily injury claims, however, are nearly twice the national average."
Louisiana's $50,000 jury-trial threshold is the highest in the country, which leads Harris to question the correlation between the number of claims filed below that amount.
Jim Harris of Louisiana Coalition for Common Sense. Courtesy of Coalition for Common Sense
"Perhaps it is no coincidence that 53 percent of claims in Louisiana are under $50,000, allowing trial lawyers to go ‘judge shopping’ for favorable venues and denying many citizens their fundamental right to a trial before a jury," Harris said.
Relatively short statutes of limitation in Louisiana — just one year to file — has led to a rush of claims from individuals seeking to ensure that they receive an award after an accident. Most other states offer longer periods of time to file a complaint, often from two to six years.
The number of claims filed in Louisiana compared to neighboring states is also concerning. According to Fox News, 234 lawsuits are filed per 100,000 people in Houston. In New Orleans, however, there are 853 suits filed per 100,000 people — a statistic that underscores the litigation-happy culture of the state.