Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
Personal Injury Law
Admitted to practice in Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and *Florida
Free Consultation
Lake Charles 337-494-5757 Baton Rouge 225-763-7777 Toll Free 855-755-5757

Crash kills motorcyclist: Louisiana wrongful death claim next?

Two Louisiana men from the same town were involved in a two-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of one and likely unalterably changed the life of the other. Both men were from Kentwood in Tangipahoa Parish. Now one of them is dead, and the man's surviving family may be thinking about pursuing a wrongful death claim against the driver that survived.

The fatal accident happened on La. Highway 38 at approximately 10:30 a.m. on a recent November Saturday. Louisiana State Police say the preliminary evidence suggests a 51-year-old man was headed eastbound on the highway when he lost control of his pickup truck. In trying to regain control, he apparently overcompensated and spun toward the westbound lanes. He then struck a motorcycle driven by a 70-year-old man. The biker was thrown off the machine and declared dead at the scene of the crash.

Authorities suspect the pickup driver, who suffered only minor injuries, of impaired driving. Toxicology reports on both drivers are apparently still pending from the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. In the meantime, the pickup driver was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide and careless operation of his vehicle.

The surviving family of the deceased victim is now left to cope with the shock of the accident and their grief. As the family members struggle to move forward, they may assert their right to assess the viability of a wrongful death claim against the pickup operator. This type of civil legal action is not dependent on the outcome of the criminal charges, though if a criminal conviction is obtained, proof of that may be offered as evidence of liability in a related civil lawsuit.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "State Police arrest driver in crash that killed 70-year-old motorcyclist," Richard A. Webster, Nov. 10, 2012