Louisiana Court of Appeal Upholds Apportionment of Fault to Plaintiff in Crane Injury Case

Although most people commonly associate personal injury cases with car accidents, dangerous products also constitute a substantial number of serious accidents each year. As dedicated and experienced Louisiana product liability lawyers, we have witnessed how much an injury caused by an unsafe product can affect a victim’s life. If you were hurt as a result of a dangerous product, we are ready to help you assert your right to compensation.

Recently, a Louisiana court of appeal considered a dangerous product case involving a large construction crane. The operator was injured while in the course and scope of his job. He brought a lawsuit against the crane manufacturer and the party that leased the crane. The matter proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately returned a verdict that assigned some portion of fault to all three parties, including the plaintiff. The jury also awarded the plaintiff compensatory damages. All three parties appealed.

Information at trial revealed many different aspects of the crane’s origins and usage and the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff’s injury. After the crane was leased, information came out from the manufacturer noting an issue with a component of the crane. The company that leased the crane informed the wholesaler that it would make the modifications because it was familiar with using the crane’s components. The plaintiff was one of the employees whom the company that leased the crane assigned to make the modifications. In deciding how to perform his role in removing the boom from the crane, the plaintiff relied on a label affixed to the crane. The plaintiff was injured when the part was removed.

The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motions in limine before trial, which sought to exclude evidence about a number of things, including information about the labeling on the boom. The jury assigned 25% fault to the wholesaler, 35% fault to the plaintiff, and 40% fault to the company that leased the crane.

On review, the appellate court upheld the jury’s verdict, finding that the evidence presented at trial reasonably supported the jury’s assignments of negligence. It first reviewed the rule regarding comparative negligence in Louisiana, which requires the jury to assess various factors before concluding whether a party was negligent at the time of the alleged incident. These factors include whether there was an awareness of the danger, the extent to which the plaintiff’s conduct contributed to the injury, and more. The appellate court noted that had the lessee company allowed the crane manufacturer or the wholesaler to perform the repairs, the plaintiff would not have suffered injuries. The court also noted that the plaintiff to some extent assumed some responsibility by being part of the team that volunteered to make the repairs.

If you were harmed as a result of a dangerous product, it is essential that you speak to a professional Louisiana defective product lawyer as soon as possible. These claims can be complicated, especially if they involve highly technical products or machinery. At Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C., we can ensure that you understand the full extent of your legal rights and that you feel confident in your legal representation. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at (225) 929-7481 or contact us online.

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