When you are injured on a store or business’ property, there may be several obstacles in your way that potentially block you from success in your premises liability case. One common obstacle is the “open and obvious” rule, which says generally that, if a hazard was something that a reasonable person would have seen, the property owner isn’t liable. The key to winning is finding a way to overcome those hurdles, as one customer at a dollar store recently did in her Louisiana case, getting a renewed chance to pursue the store despite the fact that the hazard that caused her fall was a large box placed on the floor of the store.
According to preliminary reports, the tow truck driver lost control and struck pedestrians waiting at a bus stop as well as four parked vehicles. While investigators are still trying to ascertain what caused the devastating accident, the ultimate question is: Who will be found liable for the damages?
In Louisiana there are two types of damages: 1) compensatory damages and 2) punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish and deter certain types of conduct which the law finds to be particularly egregious. Punitive damages are explicitly provided for only in certain circumstances such as: intoxicated drivers, sexual crimes against children, and domestic violence. Punitive damages are the additional damages, which are received over and above compensatory damages. So if for example, the tow truck driver was found to be intoxicated and the intoxicated state was found to be the cause of the collision, the individuals who were injured could potentially recover punitive damages.
A parent’s worst nightmare, “Mom we were in a car accident”. Thirty-four parents received that call Tuesday when the bus carrying T.H. Harris Middle School’s track team plunged into the canal. According to WGNO, three students were taken to a local hospital complaining of minor injuries after a Jefferson Parish School bus driver careened into a canal. After the accident, students were forced to exit the bus through windows and the back door. While no reports have been issued stating the school bus driver was impaired, the school bus driver was cited for careless operation by local authorities.
Unfortunate events like this school bus accident occur all too often. Parents and children are left with the visible and invisible injuries. Some parents are up in arms about the numerous open canals along bus routes, but one of the overarching concerns is whether school bus drivers are receiving effective and adequate driving training.
Accidents are never easy, but when employees are in the course and scope of their employment, their employers are liable for damages. According to Louisiana Civil Code Article 2320, masters and employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants and overseers, in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed. See full text of Article 2320 here. Our previous blog entry on the theory of Respondeat Superior is a great guide explaining the concept.
The Causeway Bridge has been described as long, scary and an engineering masterpiece. While the bridge may be all those things and more, the condition of the bridge has been a concern for years.
On August 8th, the bridge was closed in both directions for hours due to an auto accident. According to preliminary reports, Michael Gibson clipped Joey Leblanc’s truck from the rear during the process of a lane change. After riding the rails, Leblanc’s truck eventually plunged into Lake Pontchartrain. This was a very serious auto accident which could have resulted in severe injuries, however, the Leblanc was fortunately rescued by police officers.
Unfortunate auto accidents like the one Leblanc endured may not have a specific price tag, but Louisiana Tort Law exists to bring some sort of fair compensation to victims of auto accidents. Louisiana law, La. Civ. Code art. 2315(A), provides “every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.” This Article is known as the “fountainhead” of tort liability and we can use this Article to assess the situation involving Leblanc and the Causeway Bridge. As a result of the auto accident, Leblanc sustained injuries which preliminary reports characterize as bruising and “minor.” Often injuries sustained in an auto accident are not felt immediately, in this instance, emotional trauma may also be present. This begs the question, how will Leblanc be adequately compensated, and from whom?
The City of New Orleans is known for its eccentric, vibrant and welcoming attractions; but with fun comes human error. Tourists come to the city with one thing in mind, partying! On July 30th, tourists were partaking in an infamous tour of the city when a vehicle collided with a mule-drawn carriage in the French Quarter. News outlets reported the vehicle was going at a high speed when the driver turned the corner and exerted so much force that the carriage overturned.
Of the injured, three adults and a child were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to WWLTV. While the driver will likely be held responsible for the damages, many locals can attest that sometimes carriages do not always obey the traffic signals. According to the NOPD, the incident is considered an ongoing investigation.
Carriage rides are an attraction all over the United States. In New Orleans, horse and carriage rides date back to the 19th century. Along with the good comes the bad, as the mule-drawn rides have been the subject of countless lawsuits. In an effort to shield sponsors of farm animal activities from liability, Louisiana has enacted a special statute referred to among those in the legal community as the “farm animal immunity” statute. You can read the full text of the statute here.
Whether it’s on the internet or on TV, chances are you’ve seen one or more videos of the wild scenes that sometimes unfold when drivers decide to try to outrun the police in their vehicles. While these videos can be entertaining to watch, they are, as law enforcement officers will attest, incredibly dangerous to anyone in the chase’s path. So, what happens if you’re harmed by a driver who’s trying to escape officers? The range of people (and insurance companies) you can sue depends on many facts, including the way that the relevant insurance policies are written. In a recent Louisiana Court of Appeal decision arising from a Jefferson Parish incident, an injured woman could not pursue an auto owner’s insurer because of the exception language in that insurance policy.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, such as an ATV crash, there may be multiple parties that could, depending on the facts of your case, be liable for your injuries. They might include the vehicle manufacturer, the driver, the vehicle owner, or the owner of the property where the crash occurred. In a recent case involving a woman whose arm was crushed in an ATV accident on a public street, the courts decided that she could not pursue a claim against the insurance company of the ATV’s owner. Due to who was driving and where the accident took place, the Louisiana Court of Appeal decided that the insurance company was, in this circumstance, entitled to conclude that its insurance policies did not cover the accident.
The woman’s injuries arose from a weekend birthday celebration gone wrong. Danielle Schelmety, her boyfriend, Michael Smith, and Smith’s roommate, James Johnson, decided to drive from their law school in Jackson, Miss. to Ruston, La. to attend a crawfish boil as part of Smith’s birthday celebration. Once in Ruston, the trio stayed at the home of Smith’s parents for the weekend. On Friday, Johnson took Schelmety for a ride in a Yamaha Rhino (a type of “side-by-side” four-wheel ATV) owned by the Smiths, with the Smiths’ permission. Johnson drove along several public streets and, while navigating a turn at the end of a cul-de-sac, flipped the vehicle, which pinned Schelmety’s arm to the ground. The accident shattered and crushed her forearm, wrist, and hand.
A woman injured in a New Orleans wreck recently recovered more than $640,000 in damages. But it could have been more. If the jury that decided her case had not held her 15% at fault, the award would have exceeded $750,000. Despite an appeal, the damages award remained unchanged. The opinion issued by the Louisiana Court of Appeal in the case is a useful reminder about the amount of discretion the law gives juries in injury cases. In the case, the injured woman was determined to be 15% at fault, based upon her decision to use the highway and her failure to exercise “greater caution” while driving. The appeals court upheld this jury verdict, stating that the evidence in the case did not indicate that the allocation of fault was “clearly wrong.”
The case involved Hieu Phuong Hoang, who was injured when the car she was driving on US Highway 90 was struck by a dump truck driven by Kenneth Thornton. Hoang sued Thornton and his employer for her injuries. At trial, Hoang put a variety of witnesses on the stand. She called her neighbor, an expert witness, and herself to testify that the stretch of highway where the accident occurred was a dangerous area, due to heavy truck traffic and road construction. The parties also submitted photographs of the area where the wreck occurred.
In a recent case from south-central Louisiana, a shopper who slipped and fell in a grocery store aisle near a “Wet Floor” sign was unable to pursue her case against the store. Although the shopper’s evidence included contradictory testimony about the basis for the sign’s placement, her case still fell short. The Louisiana Court of Appeal‘s decision reminds businesses and patrons that, to succeed in a Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute case, the injured person needs proof that the store caused the hazard and that the hazard had existed for “some period of time.”
The source of this case was the injuries Regina Williams suffered while shopping at a Super 1 Foods store in New Iberia. Williams and her daughter were walking down the frozen foods aisle when they spotted a “Wet Floor” sign. The women passed the sign, and, a few steps later, Williams slipped and fell on what she described as a puddle of water. Williams sued the store’s owner, Brookshire Grocery Co., for her injuries.
The Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld a driver’s conviction and sentence to 25 years of hard labor for DWI, fourth offense, even though the jury in the driver’s trial consisted of only six people. The high court’s decision clarified that, in situations like this, when the driver’s mandatory hard labor sentence only arose from a multiple-offender sentencing enhancement, and the crime charged on the original indictment contained a range of possible sentences both with or without hard labor, the trial court’s empaneling of a six-person jury was not an error and did not require giving the driver a new trial.
The events leading up to this decision started with a traffic stop in Bogalusa in 2011. A state trooper pulled over a pickup truck that had been weaving erratically down the road. The driver, Gerald Dahlem, smelled of alcohol, slurred his speech, and displayed glassy, bloodshot eyes. A blood alcohol level test revealed that Dahlem’s BAC was .180.