Demonstrating Injuries to Children in Auto Accidents: Understanding the Requirements and Legal Proceedings

children_s_children_asian-scaledWhen accidents involve children, gathering factual information regarding their physical health becomes even more crucial for building a solid case. This is particularly evident in a vehicle collision that took place in Lafayette, Louisiana. The case highlights the specific requirements for demonstrating injuries to children in an auto accident and what is and isn’t required to prove injuries to a child.

On January 19, 2015, Bradley Quoyer was backing out of a driveway onto a street in Lafayette, Louisiana, when his vehicle collided with the rear passenger side of Neosha Robertson’s vehicle. At the time of the collision, Ms. Robertson’s two minor children were in the back seat. She filed a lawsuit against the driver, Clement Bradley Quoyeser,  and his insurance company on behalf of herself and her children, claiming that they both suffered injuries.

Quoyer filed a motion asking that the children be dismissed from the lawsuit, and the trial Court granted this motion. Robertson disagreed with the ruling and therefore appealed.  

At the The Court of Appeal Third Circuit Quoyeser argued that expert testimony is required to prove the injury of the children. Because Quoyeser challenged whether the children were injured at all, he contended that there must be proof by a doctor. 

Hoping to support this argument, Quoyeser attached records of letters from Dr. Mack, who saw the children nine months after the accident and reported the collision did not cause either child’s changed behavior. Robertson then pointed the appeals court to testimony from her deposition, where she explained the children were “shaken up in the wreck, were crying, and suffered injuries” due to the impact. 

The appellate Court explained that this testimony did create a factual dispute regarding the children’s injuries, in addition to the excerpt from her deposition stating that Quoyer struck the part of the car where her children were riding. Robertson also noted testimony that showed how the children were affected by the accident and exhibited abnormal behavior, like nightmares and crying after the accident occurred.

The Appeals Court explained that, as Carrier v. Nobel Ins. Co. points out that whether an accident caused a person an injury is a question of fact. Here, the Appeals Court found the testimony of abnormal behavior and severe changes to the children’s day-to-day lives was sufficient to show a genuine issue of material fact. Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and ruled in favor of Robertson, allowing the children’s claims to proceed. 

The appeals court did not rule that deposition testimony proved the children were injured. It also did not endorse Quoyser’s argument that expert testimony would be required to prove the children’s injuries. The appeals court ruling stated that facts concerning their injuries remained in dispute, allowing them to be presented at trial. 

Ultimately, this case reveals that courts still value the importance of knowing specifics regarding injuries from a vehicle crash, especially when children are involved. It’s essential, however, to make sure you hire the best attorney when these kinds of legal matters arise to ensure you AND your children receive the legal justification they deserve.


Written by Berniard Law Firm Writer Brianna Saroli

Additional Berniard Law Firm Articles on the presentation of facts at Trial in Louisiana: How Genuine Issues of Material Facts Can Impact a Personal Injury Case & Judicial Notice of Facts, When Can and Can’t it Be Used in Louisiana Trials

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