Lake Charles
Baton Rouge

Jury finds Louisiana DOTD partially responsible in fatal accident

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is responsible for designing and constructing roadways and their intersections in a way that promotes public safety. Even so, many of the state's drivers will agree that some intersections are not laid out well and lead to accidents. A jury agreed with this general assessment, at least with regard to one specific locale, when it found DOTD to be at least partially responsible for a fatal accident that took place in April 2011.

The jury agreed that the woman was partially responsible for her own death when she pulled out into an intersection even though another vehicle obstructed her view. However, the DOTD was found responsible for not heeding warnings from concerned citizens that the intersection was hazardous. A traffic signal was erected at the intersection in March 2012, but only after three other people suffered fatal injuries in crashes that took place at the same intersection in Dec. 2011.

The woman's daughters filed a lawsuit against the DOTD, alleging it was responsible for their mother's death. The jury agreed and awarded the woman's daughters $2.5 million in damages. Perhaps now, her daughters will find some closure regarding the incident and have the satisfaction of knowing that something was done to improve the safety at that intersection.

This is often at least one reason why a family files a wrongful death claim with regard to a fatal accident. The loss of a family member can be devastating, and achieving some closure and peace can help with the grieving process. If negligence on the part of the party or parties deemed responsible can be proved, the court may award a family damages permissible under Louisiana law.

Source:, "Les Miles' nieces get $2.5 million in mother's death", Ariana Triggs, Oct. 17, 2014


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