When you’re injured in a vehicle accident, there are several decisions you’ll need to make. One of the key ones will be whether to settle or to proceed with your case all the way to trial. When you make that decision, you’ll want to be armed with as much information as you can obtain. What if, however, you settle your case based upon disclosures made by your opponent and, only after the settlement, discover that those statements may have been false? Whether it is making the choice to settle or not, or responding to potential misconduct by the opposing side, it is well worth your while to have an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney by your side to provide your case with the representation needed, regardless of the twists and turns your case may take.
A plaintiff who found himself in such a situation was Russell, a driver who was pulling a flatbed trailer along Interstate 10 west of Baton Rouge when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by a man named Mark. That pickup truck was owned by a leasing company owned by Mark and his wife and insured by State Farm. After the accident, Mark signed a document stating that he engaged in strictly personal activity when the crash took place and that the State Farm policy was the only insurance that could potentially provide Russell with payment to cover his injuries.
Acting in part based upon the content of that document, Russell and his wife decided to settle their claim for $50,000. In exchange, they agreed to forfeit all claims against Mark, his wife, the leasing company, and State Farm.
Four weeks later, Russell and his wife filed a lawsuit related to the crash. In their lawsuit, they named three different companies that Mark and his wife owned. They also sued the insurance company that insured those three business entities. Subsequently, Mark claimed that he was conducting business on behalf of the leasing company when the accident happened.
The defense moved for summary judgment, which the trial judge granted. The appeals court reversed that ruling and revived Russell’s case. The evidence Russell presented of Mark’s inconsistent statements was enough to allow him to proceed. The crux of Russell’s assertion was that Mark, when he signed the document stating that he was not acting on behalf of the leasing company at the time of the crash, committed an act of fraud. Louisiana law says that, when you are attempting to show that an opposing party has committed fraud in your civil case, you are allowed to do so with circumstantial evidence, and you only need to prove your claim by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means you only have to convince the court that it was more likely that the fraud happened than that it didn’t.
In other words, Russell had ample evidence to raise a viable claim that the whole truth was improperly withheld from him when he signed the release of his claims.
Russell’s case teaches that any injury case, even a seemingly straightforward rear-end collision case, can have unexpected events occur. To make sure that you are ready for whatever happens, retain the knowledgeable Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our skilled lawyers have spent many years fighting for injured people and are ready to go to work representing you at every step along the process.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Louisiana Interstate Crash Leaves Two Dead and Questions Unanswered, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 12, 2018
Louisiana Court of Appeal Upholds $30M Damages Award for a Man Paralyzed in a Collision with an 18-Wheeler, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Dec. 26, 2017