Louisiana’s Watson Factors for Assigning Percentages of Comparative Fault

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in Watson v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Ins. Co., 469 So.2d 967, 974 (La. 1985), adopted the following factors (now known as the Watson factors) for determining the percentages of fault to be assigned to culpable tortfeasors, the trier of fact shall consider both the nature of the conduct of each party at fault and the extent of the causal relation between the conduct and the damages claimed. In assessing the nature of the conduct of the parties, various factors may influence the degree of fault assigned, including:

(1) whether the conduct resulted from inadvertence or involved an awareness of the danger;

(2) how great a risk was created by the conduct;

(3) the significance of what was sought by the conduct;

(4) the capacities of the actor, whether superior or inferior; and

(5) any extenuating circumstances which might require the actor to proceed in haste, without proper thought.

And, as evidenced by concepts such as last clear chance, the relationship between the fault/negligent conduct and the harm to the plaintiff are considerations in determining the relative fault of the parties.