Louisiana Court of Appeal Upholds Application of Collateral Source Rule to Workmens’ Compensation Benefits in Automobile Accident Case

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.

On review, the appellate court affirmed some of the lower court’s rulings and reversed some of the lower court’s rulings. For example, the Department argued that it should have been given a credit for the benefits that the workers’ compensation insurer paid and that the collateral source rule could not bar the department from receiving credit because it would result in a windfall to the plaintiff. The appellate court upheld the lower court’s rejection of this argument, finding that the collateral support rule prevents a negligent party from attempting to reduce a plaintiff’s damages based on other sources of financial payment, including workers’ compensation benefits. The appellate court also upheld the lower court’s affirmation of the jury’s damages award but found errors with the lower court’s conclusions regarding the payment of future medical expenses and judicial interest.

If you were harmed in a car accident, you likely have many questions regarding whether you are entitled to compensation and the best way to go about protecting these rights. At Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C., our seasoned car accident lawyers are prepared to put our dedication and tenacity to use for you. We have counseled clients throughout the region on a wide variety of matters. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at (225) 929-7481 or contact us online.

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