Sometimes, the facts of your case may look ominous, giving you the fear that your case is hopeless. You should not give up without consulting an attorney first. An experienced injury attorney may have knowledge of the law that could make your case more viable than you might initially think. In a recent case, an injured woman’s lawsuit against two business entities was revived based upon a favorable Louisiana Supreme Court ruling issued back in 2013 that forced the lower courts to allow the case to proceed.
The accident that triggered this case took place along Interstate 10. A woman was driving eastbound across the Mississippi River Bridge into Baton Rouge when another woman, who was in the process of changing lanes, crashed into her and forced her vehicle into the guard rail, causing injuries.
The injured woman sued for the damages she suffered. In this situation, the woman who had allegedly caused the accident was working for a company that brokered courier and messenger services and was en route to making a delivery when the accident occurred.
When you are injured by someone who was working at the time of an accident, this may create liability on the part of more defendants than just the at-fault driver. In this case, the injured woman sued not only the driver, but also the broker and the messenger service.
The broker and the service each asked the trial court to issue summary judgments in their favor, and the trial judge agreed. The trial judge ruled that the driver was an independent contractor and, based on that status, the broker and the service couldn’t be liable for the driver’s negligence. The orders removed those two parties from the case.
The injured woman appealed and she was ultimately successful. Generally, if a worker is an employee, then the employer may be liable, but if the worker is an independent contractor, then the employer isn’t liable.
One of the keys to determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is the degree of control the employer exerts. In this case, the contract that the at-fault driver had signed gave her significant freedom in the conduct of her job. It also gave significant responsibilities, like paying her own tolls, fuel, garaging and taxes.
In many circumstances, this high degree of independence might have worked in favor of the broker and the client. Here, however, the injured woman had a “trump card” on her side. Back in 2013, the courts had faced a similar accident involving a driver working for the same broker and messenger service. The trial court and appeals court in that case sided with the broker and service, finding them entitled to summary judgment. The Louisiana Supreme Court, however, overturned those decisions, concluding that issues of material fact remained and, as a result, the injured driver should be allowed to continue pursuing her case.
Because the facts of this driver’s case were so similar to those of the previous case, the appeals court was obliged by precedent to rule in favor of this injured driver and reverse the summary judgments in favor of the defendants.
Your case may contain many twists and turns. Success isn’t just about knowing the facts; it’s also about knowing the law. The Louisiana injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have spent many years helping people injured in highway accidents achieve successful legal results. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).
More Blog Posts:
The LA Bridge is Falling Down: Who can bridge accident victims sue, and what evidence can they introduce?, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 1, 2016
The Theory of Respondeat Superior, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 9, 2015