When it comes to auto accidents that cause injuries, many can be what you might call “typical.” For example, Driver A rear-ends Driver B, causing injuries to Driver B’s neck, back, or lower body. Or, perhaps, Driver 1 runs a red light, and Driver 2 crashes into Driver 1, causing injuries to Driver 2. Sometimes, though, your vehicle accident may be far from “typical.” Even when that happens, that doesn’t mean you cannot recover damages for your injuries.
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STRANGE SET OF FACTS
People say the truth is stranger than fiction, and that can often be the case when you are involved in an injury claim. As a lawyer, we see many strange cases litigated in court. Facts in cases are extremely important and some lawyers look at a strange set of flags as a reason not to take a case because it will require too much work, other lawyers take them as a challenge.
We would like to take you through a set of strange facts that entitled a woman to a million plus dollar verdict. In the early morning a woman was driving her car down Interstate 12 (“I-12”) following an 18-wheeler carrying a large piece of industrial equipment. As the 18-wheeler approached the Essen Lane overpass intersection in Baton Rouge, the 18-Wheeler snagged a wire suspended above the road causing the wire to fall. As the wire fell, it came in contact with the car behind the 18-wheeler causing the car to whip around violently which ultimately resulted in injuries to the car’s female driver. The driver of the 18-Wheeler did not stop. Neither the owner or the driver of the 18-Wheeler were ever identified. You can read the full set of facts here.
WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL EVEN WHEN YOU THINK THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU
This might seem like a discouraging set of facts. At first glance, it may appear the 18-wheeler would bear full responsibility because the height of the load the 18-wheeler was carrying may have exceeded safe height limits for interstate travel. With all of the unknowns and lack of the seemingly responsible party, one may believe they had no case.
However, even when things may seem unfavorable, it is important not to give up without consulting counsel first. The injured woman talked to a lawyer and ultimately brought a lawsuit against the state Department of Transportation and Development (“DOTD”) arguing the DOTD was solely responsible for her injures. At the end of the trial, the jury found the DOTD 100% at fault for the woman’s injuries and awarded her more than $1.6 million dollars in damages. Even after a reduction due to a statutory cap on damages, the award still totaled more than $1.3 million.
The DOTD challenged the jury’s award, but the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld million dollar award in favor of the injured woman. The facts in the case showed the wire that hit the woman’s car was a traffic signal synchronization wire that the DOTD installed in 1967. The DOTD ceased using those traffic signals in 1976 but left the wire untouched. The appeals court decided that it would not be unreasonable for a jury to conclude that, by allowing a wire to remain over an interstate highway for more than 25 years without any “inspection or any efforts to maintain it,” the DOTD allowed that stretch of I-12 to become an unreasonably dangerous roadway. A reasonable jury, given that the 18-wheeler snagged the wire but did not hit the overpass, could conclude that the department’s abandonment of the wire allowed it to sag dangerously low and pose an unreasonable risk of harm.
The lesson to be learned here are that things are not always as they seem. With the investigation and digging of a good lawyer, your rights can often be protected. Even when your case is unusual and has some facts that may possibly seem unfavorable, these things should not discourage you from pursuing justice. Just as in the case of this woman, there may still be avenues that allow for recovery. The Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have been helping people injured in highway accidents for many years and are here to discuss your case with you. For your confidential consultation, contact us online or #phonecardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Louisiana Pedestrian Recovers $80K Damages Award Despite Stepping in Front of Flatbed Truck, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 6, 2017
Fiery Crash on the Bonnet Carre Spillway, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, June 17, 2014