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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Jury finds drunk driver guilty of vehicular homicide

After deliberating for under an hour, a jury in Louisiana found a man guilty of vehicular homicide on Oct. 17. The conviction was a result of a fatal accident that occurred on Jan. 21, 2012. Witnesses at the trial included people who knew the victim, law enforcement officials and the second victim who was struck by the man's vehicle. At his upcoming sentencing hearing, the at-fault driver could face between five and 30 years behind bars.

The fatal car accident took place in Baton Rouge near the Pennington Biomedical Center on Perkins Road. After two men were hit by a car, one of the men was pronounced dead at the scene while the other was taken to the hospital with a shattered pelvis. The injured victim required inpatient treatment for almost one month, and he testified at the trial that he has suffered from continued memory problems because of the accident.

Suit in Louisiana filed after nun suffers car crash injuries

After an accident on Aug. 7, 2013, injured a nun, the sister of the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary filed a suit in the New Orleans Parish Central District Court. The claim states that a man struck the nun's vehicle when he attempted to turn left against a traffic light. The nun filed the suit against the driver, the vehicle's owner and the owner's insurance company.

The suit contends that the sister's car was totaled and that the nun suffered injuries after the accident. The sister reportedly suffers from permanent and severe injuries to the neck, shoulder, back and pelvic area. The suit reports that she cannot perform typical daily tasks and says that she has undergone physical therapy and extensive medical treatment for injuries related to the crash.

Louisiana judge raises constitutionality question in oil lawsuit

After the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a lawsuit against just under 100 different oil companies over their alleged maltreatment of wetlands in coastal areas, a judge may be willing to challenge the validity of a law that indemnifies them. According to reports, the Baton Rouge district judge in question requested additional arguments about the lawsuit and Act 544, a 2014 statute that plays a critical role in the case.

Act 544, which was passed with approval from state legislators, bars local government entities from attempting lawsuits unless they have the go-ahead from the state. Some observers maintain that the act was specifically designed to place an obstacle in front of the flood authority that initiated this case, and the judge has noted that the legislation may violate the state's constitutionally mandated separation of powers rule. Her request for additional arguments has resulted in the case being scheduled for a November transfer to the federal judicial system, and it remains to be seen how this may affect judgments in any concurrent personal injury lawsuits against the firms.

What laws in Louisiana apply to motorists following a car crash?

In the event an unexpected vehicle crash happens, Louisiana residents may benefit by knowing beforehand what steps they should take in accord with their state laws. By following proper protocol, car accident victims will be better prepared should legal and insurance liability issues arise.

Drivers involved in a vehicle wreck must take certain actions following the incident whereby damages of at least $500 incurred or if anyone involved suffered an injury or died. First, the driver must immediately notify nearby law enforcement official. Once the officer arrives on the scene, all involved drivers must produce pertinent information such as names, addresses, the vehicles' registration numbers and, when requested, a driver's license. Secondly, drivers must exchange pertinent information with other involved drivers including names, addresses, vehicles' license plate numbers and insurance information and produce a driver's license or permit to drive at another driver's request. In a vehicle accident where a driver incurred damages of at least $100 or caused someone to be injured or killed in the accident, the driver must send a written report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections inside of 24 hours following the incident. Louisiana drivers who fail to comply with any of these stipulations may face a fine of up to $100, a jail sentence of up to 60 days or both.

Louisiana motorcyclist killed in collision

Louisiana State Troopers reported that a motorcyclist was killed in a crash that occurred on U.S. 171 in De Soto Parish at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 27. According to authorities, the accident occurred when a 2007 Toyota Camry pulled into the motorcyclist's path when entering the highway from Ranchland Drive.

The biker, riding on a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, was unable to avoid the car when it pulled out in front of him. The 57-year-old motorcyclist was ejected off his bike and suffered fatal injuries as a result. The 21-year-old female driver of the car had previously been traveling eastbound on Ranchland Drive prior to entering U.S. 171.

Court rules no punitive damages in Jones Act cases

On Sept. 25, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals filed a decision in the case of McBride v. Estis Well Service, LLC, concluding that punitive damages are not available to plaintiffs of lawsuits filed under the Jones Act. Typically, these suits are filed in connection with injuries or fatalities suffered on a sea vessel while working. With its decision, the court affirmed an earlier U.S. District Court decision in the Louisiana case.

The Jones Act allows for claimants in maritime cases to seek pecuniary losses. The appellate court found that punitive damages are meant to punish employers for willful and wanton behavior and thus do not qualify as pecuniary losses. The ruling means that claimants in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits brought under the Jones Act are not eligible to recover noneconomic losses deriving from maritime accidents.

Motorcyclist killed in 2-vehicle collision in Louisiana

A motorcyclist was killed in a 2-vehicle accident in Acadia Parish on Sept. 25. The fatal accident was the result of a collision between the motorcycle and an SUV.

According to Louisiana State Police, the motorcyclist, a 54-year-old Scott man, was headed south on his 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle on LA Highway 343, south of LA Highway 98, when the car accident occurred. A 2002 Mitsubishi Montero, driven by a woman from Scott, traveling the opposite direction made a left turn in front of the motorcycle, causing the motorcycle to crash into the right rear side of the SUV. The motorcycle rolled on its side, slid off the road and fell into a ditch. The Scott man was thrown from the bike.

4-vehicle accident in Louisiana kills 1

An accident near Westlake on Interstate 10 involving four vehicles killed one person on Sept. 17, and the Louisiana State Police have charged a 21-year-old male driver in conjunction with the crash. The Calcasieu Parish collision happened around 4:30 p.m. after the LSP received witness reports about a reckless driver.

The Westlake man driving a 1990 GMC pickup truck reportedly traveled fast while heading east on the highway and ran off the road twice. When the vehicle veered off the second time, the driver over-corrected and lost control of the truck, which sent the vehicle into the median. This also made a bedcover detach from the truck, and two vehicles smashed into each other while trying to avoid the cover.

Oil industry lawsuit supporter re-nominated in Louisiana

A board member for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, who has become known for his support of a lawsuit against the oil industry, was re-nominated for a position on the board on Sept. 18. The controversial suit against pipeline, oil and gas companies alleges that the companies damaged coastal areas that serve as a buffer against hurricanes and that they have not done enough to correct the situation.

The SLFPA-E board member is a geology and marine biology expert. His term formally expired in July, but board members argued that his knowledge of coastal matters and qualifications make him indispensable to the panel. He was re-appointed to the only available technical position, and Governor Bobby Jindal must formally appoint board members who are nominated. The board member's re-nomination is expected to maintain the 5-4 majority in the SLFPA-E that favors the lawsuit.

1 dead in multi-vehicle crash on Louisiana freeway

A 56-year-old New Orleans man was killed in a three-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 in St. James Parish on Sept. 6. Of the two other drivers involved, one was injured with reportedly moderate to serious injuries. Authorities could not immediately determine whether driver impairment may have been a factor. A toxicology sample was taken from the deceased driver for analysis by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

According to the Louisiana State Police, the accident occurred just after 1:30 a.m. near Highway 641. They report that an eastbound Nissan Altima left the road, struck the median and ended up in westbound traffic where it was propelled into the pathway of a box truck after hitting a Jetta.

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Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC
721 Kirby Street, P.O. Box 2125
Lake Charles, LA 70601
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