Many of us are familiar with the phrase “he said, she said.” This can often refer to a case in family court. Sometimes, an auto accident case can present a similar situation, when there isn’t much evidence, and the testimony of the drivers involved paint two very different pictures. Many times, this type of situation may be challenging for an injured plaintiff to win. That is not always the case, though, if the facts of the case indicate that the injured driver is entitled to the benefit of something called a legal “presumption.” Using various legal concepts like presumptions can be an important part of a successful case. For more information about your case and which presumptions might help you succeed, reach out to a knowledgeable Louisiana truck accident attorney.
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One recent case originating in Lafayette was an example of how this concept of presumptions can help an injured person. James was driving a 35-foot semi truck when he realized he made a wrong turn. He decided to make a left turn into a parking lot in order to turn around. He turned on his turn signal and made the turn. According to James’ testimony, he checked the area and saw only one other vehicle, which was 300-500 feet away and had plenty of room to avoid a collision, so he made the turn.
The driver of that other vehicle, Oliver, gave very different testimony. Oliver testified that he was going the speed limit when the semi truck turned in front of him. Oliver made his best effort to avoid an impact, but the semi and his SUV collided.
Oliver sued for his injuries, but the trial court ruled for James. Oliver appealed, and the appeals court issued an opinion stating that Oliver should have succeeded. The reason the injured man ultimately won came down to presumptions. Louisiana law is clear that performing a left turn is considered to be a “dangerous maneuver.” In terms of an accident situation, that means that, when an accident occurs involving a left-turning driver, the law presumes that the left-turning driver was negligent in causing the accident. In this special circumstance, that means that the left-turning defendant, rather than the injured plaintiff, has the burden of proof. Normally, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant was liable. In this situation, the defendant must prove that he was not to blame.
In Oliver’s case, James’ evidence fell far short of proving that he was not negligent in causing the accident. He had little proof beyond just his testimony, and that wasn’t enough. Oliver should have received an award of damages that included his medical expenses and general damages. The appeals court concluded that Oliver’s medical expenses were $8,300 and that he was entitled to an additional $50,000 in general damages.
In your injury case, the difference between your having to prove that the person who hit you is liable to you versus that person having to prove that he is not to blame can be the difference between success and defeat. It is important to make sure that all available presumptions are used to your maximum advantage in your case.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident involving a semi truck, you know that the harm that results may be enormous. Make sure you have skilled counsel on your side to help pursue everything you deserve. Contact the hardworking Louisiana injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our knowledgeable lawyers have spent many years fighting for people injured in semi truck accidents and other vehicle accidents, so we have the resources and experience you need to give you the representation you deserve.
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