Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

dented side fenderWhen it comes to injuries on the job, knowing whether you are limited to pursuing worker’s compensation benefits or whether you can bring a civil claim against your employer to recover damages can be confusing. At Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., our knowledgeable Louisiana car crash lawyers have counseled numerous victims about their right to compensation, and we are standing by to assist you. A recent appellate opinion discusses the application of rules regarding whether an injured worker can bring a civil claim against an employer.

The plaintiff and another coworker worked for the City of Shreveport in the Airfield Maintenance Division. One afternoon shortly before 5 pm, the coworker backed a city-owned vehicle into the rear bumper of the plaintiff’s personal automobile. The area where the accident took place was surrounded with barbed-wire fencing and marked with a Restricted sign. A written report was prepared by an airfield employee that day, and the plaintiff went to the hospital for examination.

Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff filed a damages lawsuit against the City of Shreveport, the coworker, and the coworker’s insurance company. After a series of motions and rulings, the trial court determined that the plaintiff’s injury occurred during the course and scope of her employment. In reaching this conclusion, the lower court noted that the accident occurred during the plaintiff’s hours of employment in an area that was not open to the general public and that the plaintiff was technically still on duty at the time of the crash. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim, and the plaintiff appealed.

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empty suburb drivewayThere are many complicated issues that can arise in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit. When the driver who causes the accident is working at the time of the crash, you may be entitled to recover damages from his or her employer based on a doctrine called vicarious liability. A seasoned Louisiana auto accident lawyer can assist you in determining whether this doctrine may apply to your claim. The sooner you understand which parties to include in the lawsuit, the better. A recent Louisiana appellate opinion discusses this doctrine and the complex issues that it can involve.

The background facts of the case are as follows. The defendant driver was turning into his driveway when he struck a six-year-old child. Unfortunately, the child did not survive the accident. The child’s parents filed a wrongful death action against the defendant driver, seeking a variety of items in compensation. The parents also named the defendant’s employer as a defendant in the action, claiming that the vehicle the defendant driver was driving at the time of the crash was covered by the employer’s insurance policy.

The employer and its insurance company filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the defendant driver was not working in the course and scope of his job when the accident happened and that they could not be held liable as a result. For an employer to be held liable for the tortious acts of an employee, the employee must be performing his or her usual job duties and acting with the authority of the employer.

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https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/images/blf-badge-2018.jpgNov. 1, 2017 –U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the eighth consecutive year, the “Best Law Firms” rankings include the Baton Rouge, Louisiana injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., this year in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs (T1) and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs (T2).
Firms included in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. “U.S. News has decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society—from colleges to hospitals,” says Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role in American life, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to helps individuals and companies alike make important life decisions.”
The 2018 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Over 13,000 attorneys provided more than 1,000,000 law firm assessments, and over 7,500 clients provided more than 65,000 evaluations.  Kirk A. Guidry, Randy A. Piedrahita, and B. Scott Andrews are all recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

public bus In a recent Louisiana appellate opinion, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal considered an issue involving an accident that occurred on a public bus. In October 2010, the plaintiff boarded a bus in New Orleans and took a seat in the priority seating area behind the bus operator. As the bus departed from the bus stop, it was traveling behind a black truck. Shortly thereafter, the black truck applied its brakes suddenly before executing a turn, and the bus operator stopped the bus quickly to prevent a collision with the truck. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of the sudden stopping, he was ejected from his seat, landing on the floor near the bus doorway. The plaintiff was then taken to the hospital, where he received medical treatment for his injuries.

Following the incident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the bus driver, the transit authority, and additional defendants associated with the incident. The bus authority admitted that the vehicles are equipped with video surveillance devices, but the authority refused to produce the tape recording of the incident. After a bench trial proceeding, which is a trial in which a judge takes the place of a jury, the court returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff against the transit authority. The trial court concluded that the preceding phantom vehicle was 30% at fault and that the transit authority bus driver was 70% at fault and awarded nearly $700,000 in total damages (reduced by the phantom driver’s 30% fault). The plaintiff and the transit authority appealed.

On review, the transit authority alleged that the trial court improperly held it liable for the plaintiff’s damages and that it held the transit authority to the same legal standard of care as a common carrier. Instead, the transit authority alleged that the standard of general negligence should have been applied and that under this theory, the court should have concluded that the bus driver’s conduct did not fall below a reasonable standard of care. Finally, the transit authority alleged that the plaintiff did not prove that his alleged shoulder and knee injuries were caused by the accident.

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truckaccident-200x300In the recent appellate court decision of Marable v. Empire Truck Sales of Louisiana, LLC, 2016-0867 (La. App. 4 Cir. 6/23/17), the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a $50 million general damage award in a products liability case for a 69 year-old plaintiff who suffered anoxic brain injury and other permanently disabling injuries requiring 24-hour care.  Plaintiff was injured when she lost her footing and became pinned underneath the two rear tires of an over-the-road tractor while running alongside the moving tractor attempting to turn the ignition key to shut off its engine.  After a six-day trial, the jury returned a verdict finding the manufacturer of the tractor 90% at fault for the unreasonably dangerous design of the tractor, which was a proximate cause of the accident.  The jury awarded nearly $11,500,000 for past and future medical expenses and $10,000,000 for past and future physical pain and suffering, $10,000,000 for past and future mental pain and suffering, $10,000,000 for past and future loss of enjoyment of life, and $10,000,000 for scarring and disfigurement.  The total verdict was for $51,448,174.77.

The manufacturer appealed, alleging that pursuant to La.R.S. 9:2800.56 of the Louisiana Product Liability Act (LPLA) the plaintiff had failed to prove: (a) that the tractor’s design was unreasonably dangerous because she presented no evidence that the manufacturer could have foreseen the accident, and (b) that the tractor’s design proximately caused her accident.

The court of appeal agreed with the jury’s finding that at the time of the accident, the plaintiff’s husband was performing the required pre-inspection of his tractor before leaving on his trip.  As specifically instructed to do in the manufacturer’s driver’s manual, the engine of the tractor was running while he was checking safety features on the outside of the vehicle.  The tractor was defective in design because it was not equipped with dual brakes on the rear drive axles – which were available and routinely used by the manufacturer on other models and would have stopped the tractor from moving suddenly, ultimately preventing this accident.

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Kirk Guidry, Randy Piedrahita and Scott Andrews have been selected to the 2017 Louisiana Super Lawyers list in the practice area of Personal Injury.   According to Thomson Reuters, no more than 5% of Louisiana Lawyers are selected each year by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of lawyers from multiple practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.  The Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Louisiana.

Pedestrian awareness urged by Louisiana State Police after Baton Rouge fatality: Precautions such as wearing reflective materials, avoiding distractions, and walking a safe distance from travel lanes while facing oncoming traffic could help prevent many pedestrian related crashes.  Troop A News Release.

Karen Tullier was killed in Baton Rouge around 9:00 p.m. on Sunday May 22, 2016, while walking westbound on Burbank Drive near its intersection with Gardere Lane, after being struck by a westbound 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle.

Louisiana law requires that when sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the left side of the highway or its shoulder, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction. La. R.S. 32:216. Louisiana law also requires every driver to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a highway. La.R.S. 32:214.

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Super Lawyers 2016 selected every member (Kirk A. Guidry, Randy A. Piedrahita and B. Scott Andrews) of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. for inclusion in the 2016 Louisiana Super Lawyers list in the practice area of Personal Injury.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. and all firm members also enjoy the prestigious AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell and have been recognized by Best Lawyers® and U.S. News – Best Law Firms®.

Congratulations to our newly elected Governor – John Bel Edwards!!

As a faithful husband, dedicated father, unwavering public servant, proud veteran, humble man of religion, and small business owner, John Bel Edwards will be a Governor who will finally put Louisiana families and Louisiana workers first and get us back on the right track after eight years of failing policies.

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The campaign released the following statement: “We won because of you. Thank you for voting to put Louisiana first. You believed in our campaign to bring honor and integrity back to the state of Louisiana. My campaign slogan has been ‘put Louisiana first’ from the start, and that is exactly what I plan to do for the next four years. To me, that has always meant bringing our people together, regardless of party, to celebrate the things that make our state strong and solve our greatest problems. I promise you tonight that I will always do what is best for all Louisianians — for our children, our veterans, our senior citizens. I believe Louisiana is worth fighting for. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead our state. Louisiana’s future doesn’t belong to a political party — it belongs to all of us. I will work every day to make you proud of your vote and of your state.”

Absent serious injury or death, Louisiana law generally prohibits parking or leaving a non-disabled vehicle standing upon the traveled part of the highway, even after a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately for Lafayette, Louisiana man, 50 year old Alton Ortega, two 18 wheelers involved in an accident on I-10 in Iberville Parish parked their big rigs in the right hand travel lane of the interstate following an accident. According to the Louisiana State Police, around 4:00 a.m on November 6, 2015, Mr. Ortega was traveling on I-10 when he encountered the parked 18 wheelers. He avoided hitting one of the 18 wheelers, but rear-ended the other 18 wheeler. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Louisiana Revised Statute (La.R.S.) 32:141 provides that no person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon the paved or main traveled part of the highway when it is practicable to stop, park or so leave such vehicle off such part of said highway, unless the vehicle is disabled to the point that it is impossible avoid stopping and temporarily leaving the vehicle in that position. La.R.S. 32:141(C) further provides that between sunset and sunrise, the driver of any vehicle left parked, attended or unattended on any highway shall display appropriate signal lights thereon, sufficient to warn approaching traffic of its presence.

And, contrary to the belief of most drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident, La.R.S. 32:141(D) provides that if the driver is not prevented by injury and the vehicle is not disabled by the accident, or the accident has not resulted in serious injury or death of any person, the driver shall remove the vehicle from the travel lane of the highway to the nearest safe shoulder.
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