In some states, a serious and/or fatal drunk-driving accident might allow you to go after the person or entity that served alcohol to the person who eventually drove drunk. In Louisiana, though, the law makes it relatively difficult to win a case where you sue the provider of alcohol in a situation like that.
So, you might suspect that, if you’re hurt (or a loved one killed) by a drunk driver, your options are very limited, probably allowing you only to pursue the driver and her insurer? Not necessarily! Each case has its own unique and sometimes peculiar facts. Having the Louisiana personal injury attorney you need to do the proper in-depth discovery required can be essential to a full recovery. Sometimes those unique and/or peculiar facts may shed extra light on the events leading to the crash and may open the door to other avenues of recovery.
As an example, take a case that arose from a tragic crash in St. Charles Parish. Reportedly, R. M.-F. and E.C. were riding along Airline Highway one night when a car driven by J.E. veered across the median. The two cars collided and R. M.-F., E.C. and E.C.’s unborn child died. A man riding with J.E. also perished as a result of the crash. Tests eventually revealed that J.E. was drunk. In fact, her blood-alcohol content was roughly twice the legal limit.
In this St. Charles Parish crash, the plaintiffs’ legal counsel did that level of in-depth “digging,” and it produced results. The facts revealed that, hours before the tragic crash, St. John the Baptist Parish deputies responded to a 911 call about a group of “highly intoxicated” people leaving a daiquiri shop by car. The deputies caught up to the quartet and stopped them. They arrested one woman who had an outstanding warrant. They, however, let the rest go on their way.
That information ultimately mattered a great deal. The plaintiffs decided to include, in their legal action for damages, the St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff among the defendants. The plaintiffs asserted that the sheriff’s deputies were negligent, and that this negligence was a factor that contributed to the later fatal crash in St. Charles Parish.
The plaintiffs had evidence that the deputies suspected that J.E. was drunk but left her in possession of an unsecured vehicle anyway, according to the court. This proof plus all the other proof that the plaintiffs had presented to the trial court was enough that, according to the appeals court, “reasonable minds could, under the particular facts of this case, foresee that an automobile accident might happen as the result of the allegedly negligent conduct of the deputies on the night in question.”
In other words, the plaintiffs were allowed to go to trial. In a case like this, a successful jury verdict could possibly include punitive damages, which are allowed in certain cases involving drunk drivers.
So, what might have seemed on the surface like a regularly case of negligent/reckless conduct by a drunk driver actually turned into a broader and more multi-faceted case. What that should tell you is (1) never assume and (2) always be prepared. Being prepared starts with having skilled legal counsel. Cardone Law Firm and our highly experienced Louisiana injury attorneys are here to provide that kind of knowledgeable and aggressive advocacy. We have many decades of experience handling a wide array of auto accident cases, including crashes involving drunk drivers.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.