Fatal Vehicle Crash in Hammond Illustrates Potential Liability of Surviving Driver

On June 23rd in Hammond, Louisiana, there was a fatal vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55. A Mercedes SUV, driven by Gwendolyn Jackson, was heading the wrong way and collided with a Hyundai driven by 18 year-old Caleb Perricone. The vehicles collided head on and both Jackson and Perricone were transported to Northoaks Hospital, where Jackson was treated for moderate injuries but Perricone was pronounced dead.

Jackson is suspected of drug impairment and the results of her toxicology test should be soon forthcoming. After she was released from the hospital, she was charged with Vehicular Homicide, Traveling the Wrong Way on a One Way Roadway, and 1st offense Driving While Intoxicated. She was booked at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail in Amite. Though Jackson will have to answer to the State of Louisiana for her allegedly criminal conduct, the result of those proceedings will hardly address the harm and grief inflicted on Perricone and his family.

In order to compensate the people in Perricone’s life for the loss of his love, affection, companionship, support, and funeral expenses, the Perricone family might want to consider filing a lawsuit against Jackson and her insurance policy under the theories of Wrongful Death and Survival.

Wrongful Death
A Wrongful Death lawsuit would allow Perricone’s family members to recover for the damages they sustained through the wrongful death of the decease: “nonpecuniary loss, variously described as loss of love, affection, companionship, care, attention, nurture, guidance, society, consortium, and like terms.” [LAPRAC-PI Sec. 4:210]. Though it’s unclear from the story, we know that if Perricone had a spouse, children, or his spouse had children, they would have a primary right of recovery for his Wrongful Death. If he had none, his parents, if surviving, would possess the same right. If he didn’t have any surviving parents either, his siblings would possess the right. In the absence of siblings as well, the right to recover for Perricone’s Wrongful Death action would fall to his grandparents. [LAPRAC-PI Sec. 4:194].

Survival Action

In the same order, Perricone’s family could also potentially recover in what’s known as a Survival Action: compensation for damages sustained from the time the injury is known to the deceased up until his death, including damage to his property. Damages would include compensation for Perricone’s pain and suffering, which was likely considering the unfortunate fact that he was not pronounced dead until he arrived at the hospital.

The negligence of the potential defendant is important to establish Jackson’s liability for the accident. Here, however, there is very compelling evidence because she violated several laws. The prosecution of Jackson for the offenses noted above would help the Perricone Family’s cause.

The toll of the death of a loved one, in addition to the knowledge that they did not pass immediately, is an immense burden of loss and pain. Thankfully the law can provides relief to ease some of the financial burdens during this difficult time.

The attorneys at Berniard Law Firm are capable and compassionate professionals who can pursue your interests and help see you through it to the end. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed at the fault of another, please contact the Berniard Law Firm: Toll-Free at 1-866-574-8005 or on the web at www.laclaim.com.

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