Louisiana Court of Appeal Reverses Summary Judgment in Favor of General Contractor in 12-Car Highway Accident Case

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.

On review, the appellate court reversed, finding that there were genuine questions of fact regarding whether the general contractor owed a duty to the plaintiffs and whether its conduct was a causal factor in the harm that the plaintiffs suffered. Specifically, the court of appeal pointed to facts in the record indicating that the general contractor paid each truck driver based on the weight of the load and that it was common knowledge and practice that the trucks would be overloaded. The court also noted that there were substantial travel distances between the designated sites for sourcing the clay and the project construction site. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the action for additional proceedings.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash, our seasoned team of trial lawyers is standing by to ensure that you assert your right to compensation to the fullest extent possible. We have seen how devastating and stressful an accident can be for a victim and his or her family. With clients throughout Louisiana, we offer a free consultation to discuss your potential claim and how we can assist you. Call us now at (225) 929-7481 or contact us online.

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