Louisiana is known for always doing things a little differently. For example, Louisiana has parishes instead of counties, like the other 49 states. Another difference is the state’s legal system. While the other 49 states have based their legal systems on common law, Louisiana bases theirs on the Napoleonic Code.
Common law is based on the legal system brought over by Great Britain during colonization, but Louisiana law derives its system from both French and Spanish law. Before America purchased Louisiana, it was occupied by both the French and Spanish, who were responsible for colonizing the area. During that time, they adopted their legal system, Napoleonic Code or civil law.
Since Louisiana doesn’t adhere to common law, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney familiar with Louisiana’s civil law. At the Greenwald Law Firm, Joseph W. Greenwald, Jr. has practiced law in Louisiana for almost 20 years. When you need a Shreveport personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of the Louisiana civil law tradition, look no further than Attorney Joseph Greenwald at the Greenwald Law Firm.
If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, contact the Shreveport personal injury attorneys at the Greenwald Law Firm by calling (318) 219-7867 today.
What is the Napoleonic Code?
Napoleon Bonaparte created the Napoleonic Code in the early 1800s to unify France with one set of written laws. Prior to this, France had been using a myriad of different legal systems throughout the country. The French legal system was so confusing that French writer Voltaire stated that a “traveler would change laws as often as he changed horses.”
In 1804, the Civil Code of France was established, later renamed the Code of Napoleon in 1807. The main purpose of the civil code was to address issues regarding property and families. It ignored the royal privileges and instead worked in favor of all citizens being equal. It also included legal rights such as freedom of speech and worship and the right to a public trial by jury.
How Does the Napoleonic Code Affect Louisiana’s Legal System?
Louisiana law today relies heavily on the Napoleonic Code, or civil code, which uses legal structures from both France and Spain. Civil law is known as codified law, which means that Louisiana law is a compilation of laws and statutes. During a judicial hearing, Louisiana courts allow judges the freedom to interpret these laws and statutes as they understand them and base their rulings on their judicial interpretation instead of basing them on previous rulings or precedents.
Since the French primarily ruled Louisiana during this time, Louisiana law is also referred to as French civil law. Many researchers have argued how much the Spanish actually influenced Louisiana civil law, with many believing it was mostly influenced by the French.
What is the Biggest Difference Between the Louisiana Napoleonic Code and Common Law?
The most notable difference between civil law and common law is the interpretation of the law. Common law refers to legal precedence when determining a verdict in a case. This civil procedure evaluates the judicial decisions from previous cases and documents them as case law. Case law then becomes the legal precedent for future proceedings. The judicial decision is then based on relevant precedents that the judge determines are applicable to the case.
On the other hand, Louisiana civil law does not reference prior judicial decisions when determining a ruling. Instead, Louisiana judges are able to use their interpretation of the law instead of solely relying on previous outcomes in similar cases. Louisiana judges do not completely ignore case law when making their decisions but use discretion and interpret the law in their own way. This means different judicial interpretations of the same law can occur.
Common Law vs. Louisiana Civil Law
While civil law and common law systems differ in their use of legal theory and legal precedent, they also differ in their terminology. Just like Louisiana is the only state that uses the term “parishes,” while everywhere else uses “counties,” Louisiana law also has different terms for certain legal concepts.
For example, common law systems use the term “statute of limitations” when referring to the amount of time a person has to pursue certain legal actions. However, the same concept is known in Louisiana as “liberative prescription” or just “prescription.” Another difference in terminology is civil law uses the term “damages,” while civil law refers to them as “torts.”
Another way that Louisiana civil law and common law differ is the procedures handling trust and estates law, real estate law, and inheritance. These legal proceedings are considered “Trust and Estates,” but in Louisiana, they’re categorized as “Succession and Donations.”
How Does Louisiana Law Affect My Personal Injury Case?
While the Louisiana civil code differs from common law in several ways, the impact it has on personal injury cases, or torts, is very minimal. Louisiana law is often considered a hybrid legal system that is primarily based on civil law, with some influences taken from common law. The Louisiana law system does comply with The U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, according to the Louisiana Law Library.
Despite common and civil law having many notable differences, both legal systems handle personal injury cases similarly. However, working with an experienced Louisiana lawyer when pursuing a personal injury case is crucial because Louisiana laws are confusing and require extensive knowledge of the state’s specific laws.
Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Shreveport
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you could have grounds to pursue a personal injury case. Attorney Joseph Greenwald, Jr., has been helping residents throughout Shreveport with their personal injury lawsuits, criminal defense cases, and estate planning.
Not only is Louisiana law complicated, but so are personal injury lawsuits. Oftentimes, insurance companies make negotiations difficult by only offering the minimum compensation for damages incurred. When you’re involved in a personal injury case, you need a Louisiana lawyer that you can trust will fight for your rights and recover the maximum compensation you deserve. Whether you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or other accident, you can trust attorney Joseph Greenwald, Jr., who will always fight for your rights and have your best interest in mind.
To schedule a free consultation with the Shreveport personal injury attorneys at the Greenwald Law Firm, call (318) 219-7867 today.