Sometimes it is the auto or motorcycle accident you avoid that still leads to an injury. Two men whose vehicles narrowly missed each other on Highway 431 in Ascension Parish eventually ended up in a fistfight that left one man with a bitten nose and both men in court as a result of the bitten man’s injuries. Since the trial court had enough evidence to conclude that the biter was the aggressor, and not biting in self-defense, the Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision to award the bitten man past and future medical expenses.
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The source of the incident began when Clifford Barr attempted to turn left from Louisiana Highway 431 into the parking lot of an auto service shop. At the same time, Ray Schexnayder was turning from the lot onto the highway in his truck. The two trucks narrowly avoided colliding, and both men stopped their vehicles in the roadway, and a verbal quarrel ensued.
Both drivers probably should have simply driven away, but they didn’t. Schexnayder tried to exit his truck, but his door was blocked by the side of Barr’s truck. Schexnayder backed his truck into the service shop’s parking lot. Barr pulled forward into the lot. This time, Schexnayder did get out and confronted Barr through the open window of his truck. Words led to punches, and punches eventually led to Schexnayder biting Barr on the nose, requiring medical attention to treat the injury.
Barr sued Schexnayder, and Schexnayder countersued. Regarding who was at fault, the trial judge found Barr very credible and Schexnayder less so. Schexnayder was the aggressor and 100% at fault, the court ruled. Barr received an award for his past and future medical expenses, plus pain and suffering, for $25,000. Barr also sought damages for property damage, loss of income, and physical disability, but his case did not bring forward the necessary evidence to support awards on these bases.
Schexnayder appealed, but to no avail. Schexnayder renewed his assertion that he only fought and bit Barr in self-defense after Barr put him in a headlock and started punching. The appeals court concluded that there was plenty of evidence to point toward a conclusion that Schexnayder was the instigator. Schexnayder was leaving the shop when the near-collision happened, yet he decided after the verbal confrontation to back his truck up and return to the parking lot. Once both vehicles were in the lot, Schexnayder was the driver who exited his vehicle and approached Barr, who was still in his truck. At trial, Schexnayder admitted that Barr never advanced toward him. Schexnayder also admitted that he stuck his head inside the window of Barr’s truck because he was angry.
The appeals court also rejected Schexnayder’s argument that Barr failed to prove that the bite caused Barr’s injuries. Schexnayder centered this argument on the fact that Barr visited an urgent care clinic the day of the fight but did not see another doctor about his nose for more than 14 months, when he visited a VA hospital. This gap between medical visits did not disprove causation, unless Schexnayder had evidence of Barr’s suffering another injury to his nose during that period of time, which Schexnayder did not have. Barr had considerable evidence, including graphic photographs, showing a bite to the nose with bleeding and swelling. In other words, without proof that Barr had been bitten on the nose by someone else in the 14 months between the fight and the VA visit, Barr’s evidence was sufficient to establish that Schexnayder’s bite caused the injuries.
Whether it is an auto accident or a road rage injury, vehicular travel can be dangerous. For keen advice and hard-working representation in your auto accident case, get in touch with the Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our attorneys have many years of helping people injured in Louisiana obtain the recovery they deserve.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Louisiana Jury Entitled to Rule Against Injured Driver Despite Multiple Doctors’ Testimony at Trial, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 28, 2015
Shortage of Proof Stymies Louisiana Family’s Negligence Suit in Fatal Motorcycle Crash, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 27, 2015