Articles Posted in Car Accident

car_accident_accident_dig-1024x775After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, you will likely be left with various damages, including medical injuries. Although you may assume insurance will cover all of your injuries and related damages, this is not always the case. The following Ouachita Parish case demonstrates the importance of understanding your policies and legal rights when it comes to motor vehicle insurance claims and of hiring an experienced attorney if you are left unsure of these rights.  

Alcender Williams, Jr. was injured while crossing an intersection and being hit by a motor vehicle. Williams subsequently filed a claim to the insurance company of the vehicle’s owner, Sharon Davis, where he and the company, Progressive Security Insurance (hereinafter referred to as Progressive), agreed to a settlement amount; Williams, however, resided with his mother, Bernadene Hubbard, at the time of the motor vehicle accident, and reserved his rights under her uninsured/underinsured motorist insurer Affirmative Casualty Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as Affirmative). He then filed a claim asserting the limits of the Progressive policy was not enough to compensate him for his various damages. Williams’ claim was then rejected by Affirmative, who argued he was not included as a driver under the policy.  

Williams then filed a lawsuit against Affirmative, where the trial and appeal courts found in favor of his claims for coverage. Affirmative was subsequently declared insolvent and, as a result, Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (hereinafter referred to as LIGA) took over the discharge of its obligation with regard to claims as provided by law. 

police_car_police_chase-1024x576There are many instances when an employer may be held liable for the actions of their employees, even when the former was completely uninvolved in the tort, or wrongdoing. This scenario is referred to as vicarious liability. The court must take several factors into consideration when dealing with a vicarious liability action, as evidenced by a Caddo Parish case involving a Sheriff and his Deputy.  

In an effort to arrest Damien Pea, who had multiple outstanding warrants, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Department and the Shreveport Police Department put together an operation performed by members of a joint task force, referred to as Street Level Interdiction Unit (henceforth called SLIU). SLIU then requested the help of Pea’s girlfriend, Teketia Pipkins, who was told to bring Pea to a gas station and then exit her vehicle.  

On the day the operation took place, Pipkins drove Pea to the gas station and left her vehicle, as instructed, although she did not remove the keys from the ignition. Pea, who was in the passenger seat, subsequently moved to the driver’s seat and drove away. A high-speed chase between Pea and law enforcement commenced. 

us_navy_021209_n_6-1024x672Countless people are at risk of being in a car accident every day. Imagine you are on your usual morning commute to work, but suddenly someone rear-ends you causing injuries that change your life forever. You deserve to be compensated as much as you can to restore yourself to the state you were in before the accident. However, what happens when the defendants appeal the amount of damages you are supposed to receive?

On December 9, 2013, a traffic accident occurred when the automobile operated by the defendant, Justin Wascom, Jr., owned by his employer, Clean Water Opportunities, Inc. (“Clean Water”), and insured by Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company (“Hallmark Insurance”), rear-ended the automobile operated by the plaintiff, Evette Neal. Mr. Wascom was driving the automobile when he rear-ended Ms. Neal’s vehicle. Her vehicle hit the side concrete wall, left the roadway, flipped over, hit a tree, and finally stopped in a canal. Ms. Neal filed suit against Mr. Wascom, Clean Water, and Hallmark Insurance, seeking damages for injuries to her neck, back, shoulders, legs, chest, sternoclavicular (“SC”) joint, collarbone, hands, and fingers allegedly sustained as a result of the accident. 

On March 15, 2016, a trial was conducted as to the issue of damages. At trial, the parties stipulated to liability and insurance coverage. On April 1, 2016, Ms. Neal was awarded various amounts for general damages, medical expenses, future medical expenses for continued operations, lost wages, and all costs of the proceedings. However, Mr. Wascom and Hallmark Insurance appealed stating there was an error as to the amount of general damages awarded to the plaintiff. The defendants argued that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding $700,000 to Ms. Neal for her injuries. These injuries included a partially dislocated SC joint, a strained shoulder, a strained neck, and a strained back. However, the defendants assert that Ms. Neal already had neck and shoulder injuries prior to the accident and they were only made worse by the accident. The defendants also asserted that she only missed one month of work and she now has full range of motion in her shoulder and arm. 

driving_school_driving_car-1024x685If you want to decline uninsured/underinsured (“UM”) coverage, you might think it is sufficient to merely tell your insurer you do not want UM coverage. However, under Louisiana law, there are strict requirements with which you must comply in order to validly waive UM coverage. What happens if the insured does not follow those formal requirements?  

Joey Higginbotham worked as a truck driver for Dupre Logistics. He was involved in a car accident while on the job. He filed a lawsuit against the other driver and his insurer, USAgencies. He also added Dupre’s liability insurer, Zurich, and sought UM coverage under its policy. 

Zurich claimed Dupre had waived its UM coverage and moved for summary judgment. Higginbotham also filed a summary judgment motion, arguing Dupre’s supposed waiver was not valid under Louisiana law. 

transportation_manila_philippines_388826-1024x768We all expect the government to take appropriate measures to keep roads safe. If you or a loved one has been harmed from an unsafe road condition, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation and Development. 

Lacy Johnson was driving a car that was involved in a tragic accident near Oakdale, Louisiana. While driving through a curve on the road, she went into the opposing lane of traffic and hit a tree stump. The accident killed Johnson and Breann Sonnier, who was a passenger in the car. 

Sonnier’s surviving family members filed lawsuits against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (“DOTD”), alleging there was faulty construction and maintenance of the road. Before trial, the court ruled that plaintiff’s traffic experts could not testify about whether the DOTD project was a “major reconstruction” and if the roadway where the accident occurred was an unreasonable risk of harm. The trial court also ruled a lab report showing Johnson had a 0.10% blood alcohol concentration at the time of her death would be admissible. The jury ruled against plaintiff and found the roadway where the accident occurred did not have defects that created an unreasonable risk of harm. Sonnier’s mother filed an appeal.

surgery_eye_health_operation-1-1024x681“Causation is an issue of fact.” “It is the test for determining the causal relationship between an accident and an ensuing injury.” D’Angelo v. Guarino. This definition was vital in the following case.

In this case, court records revealed that Dwayne Levine (Plaintiff) was involved in an accident in 2012 that required two surgeries to his right ankle: one to help stabilize it and the other to fuse his bones to his ankle. In early 2013, the Plaintiff was recovering and about to transition from a boot to a shoe, though he still reported faint pains. 

However, on July 26, 2013, before the Plaintiff’s six-month follow-up, he re-injured his right foot when he slammed on his car brake to avoid a road collision. Soon after the incident, the Plaintiff experienced pain and went to the hospital. There, he received a splint and medication. At his follow-up visit, he did physical therapy and was given more pain medication. When his pain continued, a CT scan revealed the sub-talar joint had not fused since his initial surgery. As a result, a revision surgery was done in October 2013 to fuse the joint and remove the metal implant. A skin graft procedure was also done to stop an infection and care for the injury. 

accident_auto_crash_car-1-1024x768Car accidents can often give rise to lawsuits with complicated issues of causation and damages. Often, one or both sides will have expert witnesses to help explain complicated issues to the jury. What happens if one side argues the other side’s expert witness should not be allowed to testify as an expert witness?

Sherman Turner was driving an 18-wheeler owned by AAA Cooper, his employer. While on the job and making a delivery in Alexandria, Louisiana, he accidentally missed where he was supposed to turn. Turner turned into another street to turn around the 18-wheeler. Chelsea Mace claimed she turned on to the same street as Turner, saw the 18-wheeler, and stopped her car five feet behind it. She claimed while her car was stopped, Turner started to reverse the 18-wheeler and ran into her car. Mace claimed as a result of the accident, she injured her back and her doctor recommended she undergo a lumbar fusion. A jury found Turner was not at fault for the accident. Mace appealed.

On appeal, Mace argued the trial court erred in allow defendant’s expert, Joseph Peles to testify as an expert in accident reconstruction and biomechanical engineering. Article 702 of the Louisiana Code of Evidence governs whether given expert testimony is admissible. At trial, Mace filed a Daubert challenge, arguing Peles should not be allowed to testify as an expert. Prior to being qualified as an expert, Peles explained his education and professional background involving biomechanical engineering and reconstruction. 

car_accident_bellingham_fire-1-1024x683If you purchase an under or uninsured insurance policy, you might expect it to cover you if you are involved in a car accident. However, such insurance policies only apply in limited circumstances. By understanding your under or uninsured insurance policy and what evidence is required to establish your damages, you can avoid surprises down the road.

Tracy Brumfield was driving near Independence, Louisiana in her pickup. As she slowed to a stop, a car that Jacob Currier was driving hit into the back of her truck. Although Brumfield tried to turn to avoid hitting another car, her front door to hit into the rear bumper of the car in front of her, which allegedly hurt her leg and back. 

Brumfield filed a lawsuit against Currier, his insurer, and Allstate, who was the carrier for her under or uninsured motorist policy. She claimed Allstate was liable to her for all available relief under La. R.S. 22:1892 and 22:1973, including attorney fees and costs. At trial, Allstate stipulated Currier was solely at fault for causing the accident. However, Allstate moved for an involuntary dismissal of Brumfield’s claims for attorney fees and penalties. Allstate argued Brumfield had not proven her claim’s value exceed Currier’s liability policy limits. Allstate also claimed it had not been arbitrary capricious in failing to pay Brumfield, so she was not entitled to recover penalties and attorney fees. 

accident_auto_crash_car-1024x768Why would you appeal a judgment when the jury ruled in your favor? The following case involves a situation where the jury ruled in favor of an injured person, and he was awarded substantial damages. Still, instead of basking in the glow of victory, he chose to appeal the judgment. Why would anyone appeal when the scales of justice have tilted in their favor? The answer to this question lies in the intricate dance of legal strategy, discretion, and the quest for justice. Let’s delve into Kupke’s case to unravel why one would appeal a judgment even when the jury ruled in their favor.

Walter Kupke was rear-ended by a truck Jorge Silva was driving. Rader’s Insulation owned the truck. After Kupke’s vehicle was first hit, it got pushed into an intersection, and another car hit it. Kupke suffered various injuries, including back pain, and complained of hearing loss. He filed a lawsuit against Silva, Rader’s Insulation, and Rader’s insurer, Shelter Mutual Insurance Company. Kupke settled with all the defendants besides Shelter Insurance. At trial, the jury awarded Kupke $79,455.80. Despite prevailing at trial, Kupke filed an appeal claiming the jury had not awarded him sufficient damages based on the evidence presented. 

A jury has wide discretion in awarding both general and special damages. See La. C.C. art. 2324.1.  The appellate court cannot determine what it thinks is the appropriate award only if the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded the plaintiff damages. See Guillory v. Lee

calculator_calculation_insurance_1680905-1024x683Although money can never replace a loved one, if you find yourself in the tragic aftermath of a loved one’s death, you might be looking to recover damages from the responsible parties. However, the process of recovering damages can be difficult and emotionally charged. This is especially true if an insurance policy is involved and the insurer argues it is not required to provide coverage. 

Austin Trombley died while working at Rowdy Adventures, a zipline park owned by Howard Prince Jr. and located in Arkansas. While working during the summer at Rowdy Adventures, Trombley was living at a nearby camp, which Prince also owned. On the night he died, Trombley got drunk and was killed in a one-car accident while driving in a car owned by Abigale Williams. Williams was also in the car at the time of the accident, but she survived. 

Trombley’s parents filed a lawsuit against Prince, Rowdy Adventures and the owner of the camp’s land, which was owned by Prince. His parents accused Prince of negligent supervision. ASI Lloyds was Prince’s homeowners’ insurance carrier. ASI claimed its policy did not cover Prince because of the business pursuit and motor vehicle exclusions in his insurance policy. 

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