Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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.

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.

Nov. 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.

In a recent opinion from the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal, the court considered a utility company’s appeal of a jury verdict awarding the plaintiff damages in a wrongful death action. The background facts are as follows. The plaintiff was patronizing a bar in Baton Rouge in 2013 talking with a bar employee and a bar owner. The decedent was on the rooftop when he leaned against a parapet wall and reached out to grab a wire hanging approximately one foot away from the building. Roughly 8,000 volts of electricity flowed through the wire and transferred to the decedent’s body, causing his hand to catch on fire and burn off. The decedent died as a result of the incident.

An investigation revealed that the wire was placed too close to the building and that the placement violated the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). The decedent’s father initiated a wrongful death action against a number of defendants, including the utility company responsible for maintaining the wire. After the close of evidence, the jury returned a verdict apportioning 65 percent fault to the utility company and 35 percent fault to the decedent. The total wrongful death award to the father was $1.35 million. The jury also awarded expenses for funeral and burial costs.

The utility company admitted that the electrical line violated the NESC, but appealed, alleging that the trial court erred when it ruled that it owed the plaintiff a duty to disclose its negligence to the plaintiff after the accident. It also challenged the court’s decision to admit evidence that it described as prejudicial based on this alleged admission. The utility company claimed that these issues tainted the jury’s deliberation and the ultimate verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

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Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. proudly announces it has been selected once again by its peers for inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyers – Best Law Firms rankings in the following practice areas:

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.

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®.