Articles Posted in Car Wreck

Seatbelt-150x150Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on September 18, 2019, a two vehicle wreck involving a big rig occurred on US Highway 61 or Airline Highway in St. John the Baptist Parish. The fatal big rig wreck took the life of an unbelted 27-year-old resident of Reserve, Louisiana.

The 27-year-old was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze southbound on Terre Haute Road in an attempt to cross Airline Highway.  A 2020 Kenworth 18-wheeler was traveling southbound on Airline Highway.  As the Chevrolet Cruze crossed Airline Highway, it was impacted on the passenger side by the big rig. The 27-year-old driver of the Chevrolet Cruze was not restrained and sustained severe injuries in the wreck.  She died at a local hospital.

While the Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act requires the use of seat-belts, La.R.S. 32:295.1(E) provides that in any action to recover damages arising out of the ownership, common maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seat-belt shall not be considered evidence of comparative negligence. Failure to wear a seat-belt shall not be admitted to mitigate damages.

Yield-the-Right-of-Way-150x150Louisiana Revised Statute 32:123 provides that a driver shall yield the right of way to all vehicles which have entered an intersection from another highway or which are approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard.  Failing to yield to the favored motorist can have devastating consequences, as was the case on September 12, 2019 in Calcasieu Parish when a two-vehicle wreck claimed the lives of two Sulphur, Louisiana residents.

Around 8:00 p.m., a 2019 Kia Rio traveling east on Louisiana Highway 108 failed to yield while turning left onto Louisiana Highway 27 near Sulphur, Louisiana.  The Kia Rio turned left into the path of a westbound 2014 Ford F-150 resulting in the fatal wreck.  The driver and passenger in the Kia Rio were pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the F-150 sustained moderate injuries.

Under Louisiana law, the left-turning driver who fails to yield is presumed to be at fault for the wreck and is responsible for all damages that follow, including for the wrongful death of a passenger.  Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315.2 provides that a Louisiana wrongful death claim can be brought by the deceased’s (1) spouse and children, or if none, (2) by the parents, or if none, (3) by the siblings, or if none, (4) by the grandparents.  The right to bring a Louisiana wrongful death claim prescribes one year from the death of the deceased.

Scott Andrews was recently selected by his peers for the fourth time for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Plaintiff Personal Injury.   Scott Andrews is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., specializing in wrongful death and serious personal injury cases.

First published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence.  Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation with nearly 87,000 industry leading lawyers from around the world eligible to vote.  For the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 7.8 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 60,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. attorney Kirk A. Guidry was recently recognized by his peers in Best Lawyers as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs in the Baton Rouge area.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer review assessments.

Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

Car accidents can happen almost anywhere and can involve a wide variety of persons, including individuals who are working at the time of the crash. No two car accidents are exactly the same, which is why it is critical to have an experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer on your side.

In a recent court case, the plaintiff was injured in a car accident involving the driver of an ambulance, which was a company vehicle. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from the defendant for his injuries and expenses. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to yield the right of way at a red light. In response to the complaint, the defendant alleged that he had engaged the ambulance’s lights and siren and that, according to Louisiana law, he had the right of way despite the red light. He relied on the emergency responder statute to argue that he was entitled to qualified immunity in the lawsuit and that as a result he could not be held liable.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, relying on the same statute. They cited the provision stating “the driver of an emergency vehicle can be held liable only if his conduct amounts to reckless disregard for the safety of others.” The trial court denied this motion, and the case proceeded to a jury trial. During this trial, the plaintiff was asked to explain what happened as he approached the intersection. He testified that he heard something, but he was not sure at the time whether or not it was an ambulance. He indicated that there was a large truck next to him coming to a stop but that he did not see anything, so he proceeded with the green light.

Insurance policies can be extremely complicated. If you were involved in a car accident, it is important that you understand your rights and whether you are being treated fairly by your insurer and the other parties’ insurers. As seasoned Louisiana car accident lawyers, we have assisted many individuals with ensuring they receive the full amount of compensation they deserve.

In a recent appellate decision, the court considered whether a trial court appropriately denied an injured plaintiff’s claim for penalties and attorneys’ fees for her uninsured motorist (UM) policy insurer’s failure to provide an unconditional tender under the policy provisions of her insurance policy.   The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a rear-end collision while she was stopped at a red light. She filed a lawsuit, seeking damages against the drivers involved and the insurance companies that covered each of them. She also filed a lawsuit against her uninsured motorist (UM) policy provider, stating that her damages would exceed the coverage of the drivers who caused the accident.

As the matter proceeded, it was determined that the second vehicle behind the plaintiff was entirely at fault for the accident. She settled her lawsuit against the driver of this vehicle and his insurer for $50,000, which constituted the limits of his policy. She then dismissed her claims against them. She next dismissed her claims against the second driver, who was deemed not at fault for the accident.

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C. Scott Courrege

Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. proudly welcomes new associate attorney C. Scott Courrege.  After graduating #1 in his law school class, C. Scott Courrege was admitted to practice law in Louisiana on May 10, 2018.   He will work on various types of personal injury and wrongful death cases for the law firm with an emphasis on cases involving car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents.

C. Scott Courrege attended the Southern University Law Center’s evening division program while working for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He was a Senior Editor for the Southern University Law Review, which published his article entitled, “Drugged Driving: How the Legalization of Marijuana Has Impaired the Ability of the Louisiana DWI Law.” C. Scott Courrege received Cali Awards for Excellence in Legal Writing I, Legal Research, Criminal Law, Legal Writing II, Obligations, Torts I, and Advanced Legal Writing.

Multi-vehicle accidents can be some of the most complicated when it comes to asserting your right to compensation. As seasoned Louisiana car accident attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience it takes to ensure that you are treated fairly in a multi-car accident, especially when it comes to working with insurance companies.

In a recent case, the court of appeal discussed whether it was appropriate for the lower court to grant summary judgment in favor of two insurance companies. One of the parties involved was speeding along the interstate in an overweight dump truck when he failed to stop in time while approaching traffic on the highway. The truck was carrying clay for a construction project maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dump truck slammed into several other vehicles, and a 12-car pile-up resulted. There were many serious injuries that resulted from the crash and one fatality. According to the police officer who oversaw the scene of the accident, the dump truck driver was traveling roughly 70 miles per hour at the time of the crash, which was roughly 10 miles over the speed limit.

One of the injured victims and her spouse filed a personal injury claim against the truck driver and his sole proprietorship trucking business. The plaintiffs also filed a claim against the general contractor that was building a levee as part of the project. The parties engaged in discovery, and the general contractor eventually filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal from the lawsuit. The plaintiff countered this motion by providing evidence of contracts that displayed how the defendant driver was hired and involved in the project. The trial court entered a judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that they did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs to ensure that the truck driver and truck company were abiding by applicable weight rules provided by federal regulations. The plaintiffs appealed.

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Louisiana can experience some extreme weather, which can make driving dangerous. It is not unusual for our region to experience serious rainstorms that can cause flooding and other damage. Heavy rain creates specific dangers for motorists, including the possibility of hydroplaning or otherwise losing control of the vehicle. As knowledgeable Louisiana car accident lawyers, we specialize in representing individuals in motor vehicle accident cases, and we are ready to assist you.

A Louisiana court of appeal recently issued an opinion regarding a case involving a hydroplaning accident. The plaintiff alleged that he was seriously injured when he lost control of his vehicle and hydroplaned on Highway 1 in Natchitoches. The plaintiff was working in the course and scope of employment when the crash took place. The plaintiff brought a civil claim against the Department of Transportation and Development, alleging that the highway was in an unreasonably dangerous condition and that this caused him to suffer injuries. The workers’ compensation insurer that provided the plaintiff benefits intervened in the lawsuit, seeking repayment of benefits.

After additional procedural issues and a three-day trial, the jury concluded that the defendant was completely liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The department sought a new trial and filed other post-verdict motions, seeking to have the verdict overruled. The trial court denied these motions, and the department appealed, assigning several errors to the trial court.

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If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably have many questions regarding whether you are entitled to receive policy benefits from any insurance companies that insure the parties to the crash. Insurance policies are complex and difficult to understand. Many personal injury cases involve lengthy disputes about how coverage should be applied and whether or not injured parties are entitled to coverage. As seasoned Louisiana car accident lawyers, we know how to navigate complex insurance issues on behalf of our clients. A recent appellate opinion provides an example of how insurance disputes can arise in car accident cases.

On the day of the accident, the plaintiff and her daughter were walking home from church along a road that did not have a sidewalk or a paved shoulder. The plaintiff and her daughter were instead traversing an area that was grass and gravel. The shoulder was sloped downward from the road toward a culvert. The defendant was driving along this same road at the time of the crash when the front right side of his vehicle struck the plaintiff and threw her into the ditch. The plaintiff was unresponsive. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene, and the plaintiff regained consciousness. Then, she was sent to the hospital, where she stayed for at least one night.

The plaintiff and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their daughter against the defendant, the owner of the vehicle that he was driving, and a number of insurance companies that provided various policies to each party. This included the two of the plaintiffs’ own insurers that provided them with an underinsured motorist or UM policy.

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