The Louisiana Court of Appeal recently upheld a jury verdict and nearly $500,000 damages award. The injured plaintiff was able to prevail because he had evidence that established clearly that the defendant driver was negligent. In many Louisiana bus accident cases, it is helpful to have proof that will allow a judge or jury to decide in your favor on multiple bases. In this case, the appeals court made the decision to uphold the lower court because the evidence showed that the defendant driver was either inattentive or following too closely, and, either way, his driving fell below the appropriate standard of care.
The plaintiff was a passenger on a bus that narrowly averted a rear-end collision with a pickup truck in New Orleans. The bus’ sudden braking to avoid hitting the truck threw the plaintiff from his seat in the bus. He landed on his right side on the floor of the bus near the driver’s seat. Shortly after the impact with the floor of the bus, the passenger began experiencing shoulder pain.
The passenger sued the bus driver, the transit authority, and its insurance company. The passenger’s case went forward as a “bench trial,” which means that a judge, rather than a jury, decided the case. The judge entered a verdict in favor of the passenger and assessed $695,000 in damages. Even after a 30% allocation of fault to the driver of the pickup truck, that still meant an award of $487,000.
The case went up on appeal, but the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment for the bus passenger. In a case like this, the key question is whether the bus driver’s driving did or did not fall below the general negligence standard of care. There are multiple different ways that you, as an injured person, can show that your injuries resulted from a defendant’s failure to meet the standard of care.
In this case, the bus passenger used various forms of proof in showing a failure to meet the standard of care. A key part of his case was expert witness testimony. One expert stated that, in buses equipped with anti-lock braking (which this bus had), drivers should not use the “stab braking” method of braking (which the driver testified that he did) because that will actually cause the bus to take longer to stop.
The plaintiff’s other expert testified that, if the bus driver was going at the speed he alleged (15 mph) and was following at the distance he alleged (60-75 feet), he should have been able to stop safely. This bolstered the plaintiff’s contention that the bus driver was inattentive or else was following too closely. Either way, his driving amounted to a failure to meet the standard of care.
Whenever you are injured in an auto accident, there may be multiple pathways to success in your case. For advice and representation upon which you can rely for your accident case, reach out to the knowledgeable Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our team has been helping people injured in accidents for many years in seeking successful resolutions to their cases.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More blog posts:
Court of Appeal Upholds Bad-Faith Damages Award Against Insurer in Central Louisiana Auto Accident, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, July 12, 2017
Injured Louisiana Passenger’s Post-Trial Motion Nets Increase from $58K to $500K in Damages Award, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, May 10, 2017