How Juries Determine Fault for Injuries Caused by Hurricane Katrina Damaged Floors

Many floors were damaged in Hurricane Katrina. A Louisiana, jury was asked the question: when a floor is rotten, who is at fault when a person visiting the home is harmed?

Juries are often asked to determine liability for an accident. When a person is injured, a jury determines who is liable by listening to both sides of the story and determining who was at fault. If the liable party is insured; insurance companies have to pay big dollars to the person injured. Determining who is at fault can be very difficult.

Sharon Lewis was visiting her father, Clifton Lewis, when she sustained a fall in her father’s home in Marrero, Louisiana. Sharon was walking on the floor in the dining room when she stepped into a soft spot. The floor collapsed and her foot fell through the floor, causing substantial injuries.

Before the accident, Sharon was very active. She would spend her time visiting her children and grandchildren. Following the accident, Sharon Lewis was unable to complete daily activities, including cooking and cleaning, because of the pain from her injuries.

Sharon blamed her father for her physical pain and damage. Her father, Clifton Jones, is insured by Allstate Insurance Company. If Clifton is found to be at fault, his insurance company becomes liable for her damages. Clifton was living in the home for over fifty years, and therefore, Sharon believed her father should have known about the soft spots and should have warned her of the danger. Clifton Jones’ other daughter, Lana Thompson, also testified that Clifton Jones was aware of the damage. Lana stated that Clifton had made a claim with Allstate for damage to his home following Hurricane Katrina, and that she was present when the insurance adjuster visited the home. There were holes in the floor. Lana stated that Clifton was aware of the soft spots and holes.

Clifton Jones passed away before jury trial. Despite objections by Sharon, the trial court allowed Clifton’s recorded statements be played for the jury as evidence. In the recording, Mr. Jones stated that the floor in his home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina but he did not know the floor was rotten and did not know he has a duty to warn his daughter of the condition. Lana Thompson also provided testimony in support of Clifton. Lana testified that Sharon fell through a different part of the floor in a nearby area of the same room and Clifton was not aware of holes in that particular area.

The jury determined that Clifton and Sharon needed to share responsibility for her damages. Following trial, the jury determined Mr. Jones was negligent and this was a contributing cause to her injuries. His fault was determined to be at 50%. The jury also found that Sharon’s own negligence contributed to her injuries; and her fault was determined to be 50%. Ultimately, Sharon Jones was awarded $40,000 in general damages and $7,500 in medical expenses.

If you have been injured call the Berniard Law Firm today to speak with an attorney immediately.

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