You’re sitting at a red light after a long day at work, eager to get home to your loved ones. It’s beautiful weather outside and you have you have the windows rolled down. This is going to be a great weekend.
Suddenly, you hear screeching wheels. You glance in your rearview mirror and all you see is an SUV roaring towards you. There’s little you can do before your body and neck are launched forward. The pain has only begun…
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.
We have the pleasure of representing a family who lost their mother in a tragic car accident with a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy. The car accident occurred on April 11, 2016, approximately 4 months ago – and to date, the family has been denied access to the vehicle, denied access to the findings of the investigation and denied access to any other evidence. The Sheriff’s Office has still not returned their mother’s vehicle to the family, nor granted the family access to view the vehicle. This begs the question, is 4 months a reasonable time period to withhold evidence from a family who is seeking answers?
The Sheriff’s Office has declined to allow the family access to the evidence and information they are seeking based on La. R.S. § 44:3. La. R.S. § 44:3 is a special law in Louisiana which allows the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney to deny access to evidence “pertaining to a pending criminal litigation or any criminal litigation which can be reasonably anticipated…” Per our communications with the Sheriff’s Office, it is standard operating procedure for every accident involving a deputy to be presented to the District Attorney’s Office. Once presented to the District Attorney’s Office, the reviewing attorney will determine whether anyone involved in the accident will be prosecuted. Other than this law, their are no other guidelines which govern the timeliness of an accident investigation or the District Attorney’s review period.
If Driver A tries to pass Driver B while B is making a left turn and a collision results, who is at-fault for the accident? At an intersection with a green light, when Driver B is turning left and collides with oncoming Driver A, who is traveling straight, who is at-fault for that accident? Under Louisiana Law it is Driver B, the left-turning driver, who is presumed to be at fault for both. However, the left-turning driver does have the opportunity to overcome this presumption of fault.
A left-turning driver may only be free from fault when he executed his turn after first ascertaining that the turn can be executed safely and without danger to the normal overtaking or oncoming traffic. Thus, the left-turning driver must always yield to the right-of-way of other vehicles. Accordingly, the left-turning vehicle must properly and timely signal that he is turning left and also check traffic behind him and traffic that is oncoming. Only then can he assert that he is free from fault if there is a collision between him and the passing vehicle. Ponthieu v. Dubroc, 108 So.2d 25 (La. Ct. App. 1958)
Under Louisiana Law the rear-ending driver is actually only presumed at-fault and has the opportunity to prove that he was free from fault by showing the Court the following:
1) He had his vehicle under control prior to the collision;