Articles Posted in Accidents

car_burglary_thief_burglar-scaledIn the legal system, dissenting opinions, i.e., opinions delivered by one or more judges who disagree with the decision, play a crucial role in shaping the interpretation and application of the law. They provide valuable insights into alternative viewpoints, often sparking discussion and debate and ultimately leading to the evolution of jurisprudence. One such notable dissenting opinion can be found in the case of Christopher Blanchard v. Demetrius J. Hicks et al., authored by Justice Cooks. In this blog post, we look at the case, the arguments made in the dissent, and the importance of dissent in the legal landscape.

The case of Christopher Blanchard v. Demetrius J. Hicks et al. arose from an incident in which Officer Blanchard’s patrol car was struck by a stolen truck. The plaintiff, Officer Blanchard, alleged that the defendant, Demetrius J. Hicks, was negligent in leaving his vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition and the engine running, thereby facilitating the theft that led to the accident.

The majority of the court relied on the precedent set by the Supreme Court’s decision in Racine, which held that leaving keys in a vehicle does not create liability for the motorist if a thief steals the car and causes injury to a third party. However, Judge Cooks dissented from the majority’s opinion, arguing that Racine does not dispose of the factual matter at hand.

trampoline_sports_equipment_sport_1-scaledSometimes, those delightful recreational activities we all enjoy carry an inherent risk. Often, we assume the risk of those injuries when we engage in that potentially reckless conduct. Knowing your legal options following these injuries is necessary, mainly because recovering for these somewhat ordinary injuries can be difficult. What does it look like when a party cannot recover for a recreational injury–here, an injury from a trampoline park visit?

Kurt and Tabitha Perkins visited a Shreveport indoor trampoline park, Air U. Kurt was injured while at Air U, and he was relatively young, had no known or apparent medical issues before the injury, and had done some time with the U.S. Marine Corps. The Perkinses filed a lawsuit against Air U and other parties, namely insurance companies and Air U’s unidentified employees. 

Kurt stated in a deposition that he did not know why his left knee gave out when jumping on the trampoline, as he had no other injuries or treatment to his left leg. The other patrons at the trampoline park, mostly young kids, had no trouble jumping on the trampoline. Kurt and Tabitha stated that they did not notice any defects on the trampoline and that Kurt jumped normally when he was hurt. Tabitha also said that an Air U employee did not call an ambulance because he was not a manager. 

boxes_stack_boxes_stacking-scaledSummary judgment is designed to enable judicial expediency and cost-effectiveness in the courts. It is an important and complicated procedure that can occur repeatedly during litigation. When summary judgment is asserted repeatedly in the same case, how do parties prevail in their attempts to get or defeat summary judgment motions? The following case helps answer that question. 

Ozark Motor Lines transported a packed Ozark trailer from Restoration Hardware to Baton Rouge. In Baton Rouge, Exel Inc. received the trailer, and Exel employee, plaintiff, Alex Talbert, was injured by the boxes being unloaded from the trailer. Talbert then brought a personal injury suit against Restoration Hardware and Ozark for damages, arguing that the trailer was negligently packed and thus caused Talbert’s injuries. 

Restoration Hardware was dismissed from the lawsuit, and later, Ozark moved for summary judgment twice. The trial court denied the first motion, but the second motion was granted after Ozark submitted additional documents to the court. Talbert appealed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment for Ozark, arguing that issues of material fact remained and that the court should not have heard Ozark’s second motion. 

war_worlds_movie_car-scaledImagine, for a moment, living a life of normalcy, the humdrum of day-to-day routines, a steady job, a peaceful existence. Suddenly, an unexpected accident shakes your world, thrusting you into the tumultuous tides of legal proceedings. This is the daunting reality Patricia and Calvin Henderson found themselves in, initiating a monumental case against Amy Lashouto and her insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm).

In a startling sequence of events, Patricia and Calvin Henderson found themselves in a legal confrontation against Lashouto. The case revolves around Patricia’s car accident, where a motor vehicle driven by Lashouto rear-ended her. Following the accident, the Hendersons filed a lawsuit against Lashouto, her insurer, and State Farm, contending that they were insured under a policy that could compensate them for their losses. State Farm, however, countered this claim, maintaining that the policy did not provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage for the accident.

After Lashouto and her insurer settled their case with the Hendersons, the couple found themselves embroiled in a legal dispute with State Farm. The latter moved for summary judgment, arguing that Calvin Henderson had validly rejected UM coverage on the policy. Despite the Hendersons’ absence from the hearing, the trial court sided with State Farm, dismissing the UM coverage claims.

inflatable_obstacle_course_1455632-scaledInjury in the workplace can usually be avoided with proper safety measures in place. Safety measures, however, become hard to enforce when minors and adults work in conjunction. This was the case for Austin Griggs, an illegally employed minor injured in a forklift accident while working.

Bounce N’ Around Inflatables, LLC (BNA) supplies rentable party inflatables for personal or corporate events. When not in use, the inflatables are stored on racks that are 10 feet high. To move the inflatables, a battery-operated pallet jack was required. Griggs began working for BNA at the age of 14. BNA employed about 12 minors at the time Griggs was injured. Griggs testified that he had never been told that a work permit was required to work at BNA.

On the day of injury, Griggs was helping another employee pick up and sort the inflatables. This required Griggs to get the inflatable onto the forklift, and then the other employee would use the forklift to move the inflatable into the rack. During this process, Griggs was required to use his weight to counterbalance the inflatable as the forklift lifted the inflatable upwards. Griggs testified that this was standard practice at BNA. During the lift, Griggs fell off the forklift. Then, the inflatable followed, landing on Griggs’s lower back. 

paramedics_doll_hospital_medical_0-scaledA visit to the hospital is a stressful and anxious time for patients and family members. Most people, however, assume that their doctors are competent and will administer the proper standard of care. This was not the case for Richard Smallwood. 

Smallwood fell at his home and sustained bilateral patella tendon ruptures. He was admitted to the Ochsner-Baptist Hospital for surgery to repair the ruptures in his tendon. After a complicated postoperative course, Smallwood was discharged to another Oschner unit. After some time in the nursing unit, Smallwood died. The autopsy revealed that he had suffered a pulmonary embolism, a secondary result of his deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Since Smallwood had been in “generally good health” before the surgery, his sudden death was shocking. The petition for this case alleged that Smallwood was not given the appropriate prophylactic anti-coagulant medication in violation of the standard of care.

Since pulmonary embolisms are a common secondary result of DVT, Dorothy Pennington alleged a medical malpractice claim against the doctors and nurses in charge of Smallwood’s care. This included Dr. Todd, Dr. Hawawini, Dr. Jones, Dr. Ulfers, and the Ochsner Clinic Foundation. After moving for a directed verdict, the trial court found that all parties except Dr. Hawawini were liable for medical malpractice. Since Dr. Hawawini acted as the Hospital Director at the time of Smallwood’s death, it was challenging to show that Dr. Hawawini had breached a standard of care. This case centered around whether Pennington had properly established the standard of care and breach with respect to Dr. Hawawini. 

tourists_driver_couple_mini-scaledSome accidents are unpredictable, while others appear to be accidents waiting to happen. Having reliable witnesses, qualified experts, and an excellent attorney in either unpredictable or predictable cases could be the dividing line in determining your liability when an accident arises. For Larry Jeane, Sr. (“Mr. Jeane”), the deceased party in a two-car accident along Louisiana Highway 107, whose vehicle crossed the centerline and collided with another car carrying six adults and one minor, the courts were positioned to consider his liability after the accident. 

Mr. Jeane was transported by ambulance to Rapides Regional Medical Center (“RRMC”) after the accident. He reportedly had no recollection of the accident. Mr. Jeane had a history of heart disease and type-II diabetes, but it was likely his injuries from the accident that resulted in his death less than a week later. While at RRMC, his attending physician, Dr. Jeremy Timmer (“Dr. Timmer”), noted that Mr. Jeane had been on the phone with a friend and started talking “funny,” possibly due to low blood sugar when he collided with the other vehicle.  The seven passengers of that other vehicle, namely Sarah Barber, Jamie Turner, Racheal Spivey, Elizabeth Spivey, Dana Spivey, Wallace Spivey, Racheal Spivey, and Jamie Turner on behalf of the minor, Abigail Turner (collectively “the plaintiffs”) eventually sued Mr. Jeane’s estate and his insurance company for damages resulting from the accident. 

Throughout the litigation, the plaintiffs then moved for partial summary judgment solely on the issue of liability. To support the motion, the plaintiffs submitted three supporting documents: (1) an affidavit from Sandra Shannon (“Ms. Shannon”), who was driving the vehicle directly in front of the plaintiffs and witnessed the accident; (2) an affidavit from Sarah Barber (“Ms. Barber”), who was driving the other vehicle involved in the accident; and (3) a record of the deposition taken of Pineville City Marshal, Sarah A. Smith (“Ms. Smith”), who responded to the scene after the accident occurred. Ms. Shannon’s affidavit stated that she saw “[Mr. Jeane] was slumped over” at the wheel as his vehicle “veered gently.” Ms. Barber testified in her affidavit that she saw Ms. Shannon’s vehicle swerve off the road “suddenly, without any prior warning” before she saw Mr. Jeane’s vehicle approaching her, but she could not avoid the collision. Finally, Ms. Smith noted that she did not witness the accident but rode with Mr. Jeane to the hospital when he told her he did not know what happened. 

tyre_burst_karoo_flat-scaledAllocating fault in a car accident is especially difficult when involving multiple individuals. This case illustrates how the allocation of fault affects how damages are awarded and illustrates what type of expenses are compensable. 

While driving on Highway 28 East in Louisiana, Erin Wright rear-ended Christina Dauzat. Before they reached the intersection where the accident occurred, an unrelated accident occurred involving Joanne Marlow and Darrell Paulk. Paulk refused to move his car, which resulted in one of the lanes of traffic being blocked. Before the accident, a truck driven by an unknown driver drove towards Dauzat as it tried to go around the Marlow/Paulk accident. 

Dauzat filed a lawsuit against Wright and her insurer, State Farm. At a trial, the court allocated 80% fault to Wright, 10% to the unnamed truck driver, and 10% to Paulk. The trial court awarded general damages of $8,000 (after the 20% reduction from the fault of the unnamed truck driver and Paulk, neither of whom Dauzat filed a lawsuit against) and $9,741.51 in special damages. These damages did not include the $1,440.86 cost of transporting Dauzat via ambulance following the accident. Both Dauzat and Wright appealed.

auto_defect_car_wreck-scaledWhat happens if you are involved in a car accident where your damages exceed the auto insurance policy limits of the person responsible? One possible option is seeking coverage under your uninsured motorist insurance policy. However, questions can arise about what, if any, coverage you are entitled to if it appears the accident did not cause your injuries. Determining the scope of injuries caused by the at-issue accident can be especially complicated if you have previously been involved in other car accidents that injured you or if you have other preexisting conditions. The following case helps shed some light on these issues.

Jacqueline Gaspard was rear-ended while she was stopped at a red light. She filed a lawsuit against the drivers and insurers of the cars that were also involved in the accident and Allstate Insurance Company, her uninsured motorist insurer. She claimed the damages exceeded the liability coverage of the other individuals involved in the accident. 

The second vehicle’s driver behind Gaspard was found to be 100% at fault for the accident. She settled the claims against that driver and his insurer for $50,000, the limits of that driver’s liability policy. She then dismissed her claims against the vehicle’s driver and insurer. 

car_racing_crash_accident-scaledIn the aftermath of a car accident, the quest for justice often extends beyond determining fault, delving into the intricate realm of calculating damages. Even when the liability is undisputed, securing compensation can be laden with legal complexities. The following case unveils the story of Shelley Cooley, a collision victim navigating the labyrinth of litigation to ascertain the rightful compensation for her injuries. The journey sheds light on the indispensable role of compelling evidence, from medical testimony to personal accounts, in establishing the magnitude of damages in the aftermath of an accident.

Shelley Cooley was involved in a car accident where her car was hit from behind by a car driven by Timothy Adgate, who worked for the City of Shreveport. Cooley had to obtain medical treatment after the accident for pain in her knee, back, and neck. Cooley filed a lawsuit against Adgate and the City of Shreveport. The parties agreed the City of Shreveport was liable because Adgate was completely responsible for the accident while working as a police officer. The only issue at trial was the amount of damages owed to Cooley.

Cooley was the only witness to testify at trial. Medical evidence was presented through the deposition transcripts of various doctors. The trial court ruled the accident had exacerbated Cooley’s pre-existing medical issues but declined to award any damages for future medical expenses because the evidence about future medical expenses was speculative. The trial court awarded Cooley $50,000 in general damages and $79,508.66 for past medical expenses. Cooley filed an appeal.

Contact Information