Articles Posted in Semi Truck 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. 

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. 

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. 

vehicle_cargo_industry_1562094-1024x785Licensed and professional commercial truck drivers usually carry heavy materials on their journey. Keeping these materials secured for any type of roadway issue is paramount. But what happens when these large trucks roll over and you think the weight shift was due to faulty or improper packaging? The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals addresses the question as to whether there is enough evidence to bring a claim for a packaging malfunction that leaves you injured.

On January 17, 2014, Danny Barefoot exited the highway in his vehicle in Shreveport, Louisiana, lost control of his eighteen-wheeler truck, and rolled over. The exit rant was looped, and as he exited, the lumber he was carrying shifted, causing Barefoot to crash. Barefoot filed suit against Weyerhaeuser, claiming the company did not package the joists properly, causing the bands to break and the lumber to shift, which led to the truck rolling over.

Weyerhaeuser attempted to move for summary judgment. When a defendant moves for summary judgment, the plaintiff must make a positive showing of facts to support their claim. See La. R.S. 9:2800.6(A). In this instance, Barefoot would have to prove with enough evidence that Weyerhaeuser caused his injury from the truck rolling over.

car_accident_bellingham_fire-1024x683Ordinarily, when one is involved in an automobile accident, the injured party files a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  When a person is involved in an accident with a co-worker in the course of their employment duties, however, the injured party may collect workers’ compensation instead. Can the injured employee “double-dip” and also collect under a Uninsured/underinsured motorist policy?  This was the issue in a recent case out of Delcambre, Louisiana.   

Annique Johnson, Wanda Theriot, and Emily Laester were employees of Le Bon Manger, Inc. While acting within the course and scope of their employment; the employees were in a car accident while Laester was driving.  Laester was at fault, and the employees sustained injuries.  Johnson and Theriot filed claims for workers’ compensation benefits and settled those claims.  Later, Johnson and Theriot (Plaintiffs) filed a civil lawsuit against their employer, Laester, and State Farm under separate policies for each party.  State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the case because the Plaintiffs already collected under workers’ compensation law.  The plaintiffs appealed to the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal.       

Under Louisiana law, fellow employees have statutory immunity from lawsuits brought by co-employees for which workers’ compensation laws provide the sole remedy.  See La. R.S. 23:1032.  This lack of standing to bring a lawsuit automatically means there can be no lawsuit against the co-employee car insurance company.  See Hebert v. Clarendon Am. Ins. Co.  Essentially, the availability of workers’ compensation erases the existence of an uninsured/underinsured motorist and erases the availability of that coverage.  

texas_flag_texas_flag-1024x683It’s pretty common for large corporations to conduct business across multiple state lines. So, too, it’s expected that employees for these types of companies will also have connections with multiple states based on their employment with the corporation. In these situations determining which state and Court has jurisdiction over legal claims when such issues arise can become an incredibly fact-specific inquiry. This was the case for one Workers’ Compensation Judge (“WCJ”), who found that the Office of Workers’ Compensation (“OWC”) located in Lafayette, Louisiana had subject matter jurisdiction to decide the legal claims of a former Tyson-employed truck driver.

Frank Verret (“Mr. Verret”), a Louisiana resident, was hired as a long-haul truck driver for Tyson Foods, Inc. (“Tyson”) in 1999. Initially, he drove to a Tyson facility in Center, Texas, to apply for a position and later called to inquire about the status of his application from his home in Louisiana. During that phone call, Mr. Verret claimed that Tyson hired him for the long-haul truck driver position. Afterward, he drove back to Texas, picked up his truck, and began employment.

Years later, in 2015, while driving his Tyson truck through Oklahoma, Mr. Verret crashed into the median barrier. Mr. Verret was hospitalized and treated for his injuries in Oklahoma, then was sent to Texas for an employer-mandated drug screening before returning to Arkansas, where he had begun his route before the crash. A few months after the crash, a then-retired Mr. Verret filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation against Tyson.

statues_amiens_cathedral_pic5-1024x768At the end of a trial, you are focused on whether or not the Judge ruled in your favor. However, it is not enough to only know who won the case, especially if you are considering an appeal. This case indicates the importance of paying attention not only to the outcome but also to the language in the final judgment the trial court issues. Louisiana has strict requirements for language that must be included in a final judgment for it to be valid so that an appellate court can hear the appeal. 

While Christopher Causey Jr. and Priscilla Hopkins were riding on a New Orleans Regional Transit Authority bus, they were allegedly injured following an incident involving hard braking. Their parents filed a lawsuit against the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Following a bench trial, the court entered a judgment in favor of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. The written judgment stated the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence that the defendant had been negligent and caused the injuries. Notably, the judgment did not name any parties in the lawsuit but used the general terms, plaintiff and defendant. Additionally, the judgment did not explicitly state the relief the trial court granted or denied.

Before an appellate court in Louisiana can hear an appeal, it must first determine if there is a valid final judgment. See Urquhart v. Spencer. For a judgment to be a valid final judgment, it must include decretal language. That means the decision must be clearly and explicitly spelled out in the judgment and be precise and definite. It must also include the name of the party in whose favor the judgment is ordered and any relief granted or denied.  See Bd. of Supervisors of Louisiana State Univ. v. Mid City Holdings, LLC

school_bus_canada_highway-1024x1024It is well known that every court order contains a physical copy declaring what the verdict of the case is, otherwise known as a final judgment. However, the order must contain what we call “decretal language.” But what in the world does that mean?  The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal discusses this question and when a final judgment can be amended to contain all the necessary language crucial for the order.

Upon appeal, in the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in the State of Louisiana, Cedrick Laundry alleged that his son, Sengal, was injured when the school bus he was riding hit a curb and ran into a pothole. Defendants (the School Board and others) filed for summary judgment as they believed they were not responsible for Sengal’s injuries.

Summary judgment is when there is no genuine issue of material fact as it pertains to the case. Under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if the School Board cannot prove its case, the court will dismiss it. The trial court granted their motion for summary judgment but did not state the dismissal of any or all of the claims against the School. The judgment simply stated:

coins_currency_investment_insurance_0-1024x683Receiving compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after a car accident can bring relief. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential complications if the awarded amount exceeds the other driver’s insurance policy limits. This case serves as an example of what can happen in such situations and highlights the importance of understanding the legal implications.

Claudio Larios was waiting to find a parking spot at her apartment complex in Metairie, Louisiana, with Marlon Funez riding in her passenger seat. Lindsay Vehorn was stopped behind them in her car. A truck came around the corner and tried to get in front of Vehorn and her car, apparently not seeing Larios in her car. The truck hit the back left of Larios’ car. The truck passenger was drunk. Larios could see the driver of the truck before he drove off. Larios and Funez had to receive medical treatment due to the incident. 

The day after the accident, Larios encountered the truck passenger. She gave the passenger her contact information and asked that it be passed along to the driver of the truck. Julio Martinez, whom Larios recognized as the truck driver that had hit her car, subsequently contacted her and provided her with insurance documentation. Because Larios and Funez could not locate and serve Martinez, they voluntarily dismissed the claims against Martinez and brought all claims against Imperial under Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute, La. R.S. 22:1269. At trial, the court found in favor of the plaintiffs. Larios was awarded $21,318 ($6,218 for past medical expenses and $15,100 for past pain and suffering). Funez was awarded $21,267 ($5,267 in past medical expenses in $16,000 for past pain and suffering). The court ordered Imperial to pay the amounts. Imperial appealed. 

Contact Information