Fatal Car Crash Near Natchitoches

A man is dead after a high-speed, head-on crash on Interstate 49 that may have been either speed or alcohol related.

According to Louisiana State Police, 18-year-old Deytwan Demetrius, of Fort Polk, was southbound on Interstate 49 just south of State Highway 485 when he lost control of his vehicle, careened through the median, and smashed into a northbound automobile driven by 39-year-old Jabe Maddox, of Longview. Mr. Maddox was declared dead at the scene; Mr. Demetrius and a passenger – 18-year-old Trevon Lewis, of Leesville – were both transported to a local hospital with various injuries.

Charges against Mr. Maddox, as well as the results from toxicology tests, are pending. [Read more…]

RIP Jimmy Long Sr.

The 84-year-old statesman died shortly after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash near his home in Natchitoches.

Authorities report that the former state Representative was backing out of a private driveway when a 16-year-old driver in a Jeep Wrangler smashed into with Mr. Long’s vehicle. The driver’s name was withheld due to his age, and Natchitoches Police Detective John Greely indicated that charges may be forthcoming as the investigation continues. Mr. Long served in the state House from 1968 to 2000, and served as chairman of the House Education Committee for sixteen years. A year after leaving that body, Mr. Long joined the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors, where he had served ever since. [Read more…]

Animal Attack Raises Landowner Liability Questions

A disturbing incident at a Walt Disney World beach highlights the danger that victims may experience this summer.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says his office will not press charges against Melissa and Will Graves, of Omaha, Neb., after a giant alligator snatched their 2-year-old son off a beach that was marked “No Swimming.” However, the park owners did not post any warning signs about alligators, and a Walt Disney World representative said that the park would “thoroughly review” the situation. Sheriff Demings said that both his agency and the state wildlife department would look into the matter as well.

Divers found Lane Graves’ lifeless body about 16 hours after his parents reported the initial incident. [Read more…]

Child Sports Injuries

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, more than 38 million children under 14 are involved in some sort of organized sports activity, whether in a neighborhood league or a scholastic sports team, and of those, 3.5 million incur sports-related injuries annually.  Of those, more than 775,000 are injured badly enough to earn a trip to the emergency room.

The problem with children and sports is so acute that children between the ages of 5-14 account for about 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. While death from a sports-related injury is thankfully rare, the leading cause of the deaths that do occur are brain-related injuries, while sports account for more than one out of every five incidents of traumatic brain injuries among children in that age group.

Children’s sports injuries vary widely in both severity and cost. While most sports injuries are strains and sprains, a significant number are more serious. For example, according to one study, nearly 100,000 children between the ages of 8 and 13 are admitted to emergency rooms every year with concussions and half of those are related to organized sports. Also, about 40 percent of all traumatic brain injuries suffered by children are linked to participation in sports activities. On that rare occasion when a child dies participating in sports, TBIs are the number one cause.

There is also the potential for growth plate injuries to consider. The term “growth plate” refers to the developing tissue at the end of some bones in growing children and injuries to these areas can have a lasting and often permanent effect on a young athlete’s growth.

If your child was injured during the normal course of the sport they were involved in, it may be difficult to hold anyone else legally responsible, due to the doctrine of “assumption of the risk,” which means that willing participants assumed the inherent risks that come with playing the game. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to hold a negligent party, like a school, a league or even an equipment manufacturer responsible, especially if the injuries were caused by something other than the game.

For instance, the facts of the case might make it possible to allege that your child’s injuries were caused by some other factor, such as:

  • A coach who failed to take the same precautions during practice as during a game.
  • Failure to monitor the health conditions of the players.
  • Failure to properly supervise the players.
  • Facilities had been improperly maintained, such as a field with holes in it from a storm or something either sticky or slippery on a court.
  • A lack of sufficient available medical care.
  • Sports equipment that was either defective or poorly maintained, or wholly inadequate.

In some cases, if the injury was incurred due to an intentional act by another player or another coach, there may be a cause of action directly against that player or coach. In some cases, their action may even constitute an assault.

If your child has been seriously injured while playing any type of sport, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at the Hoffoss Devall. It may be possible to file a third-party insurance claim to cover any damages your child suffers. Contact us right away to find out how we can protect your rights under the law.

Speed Suspected to be a Factor in Fatal Accident on LA 3062

It can be easy to lose control of a vehicle at high speeds. Drivers have less time to react to a change in traffic, road or weather conditions. This is one reason why Louisiana’s law enforcement officials attempt to determine if speed was a factor in any fatal accident.

For example, a single vehicle crash recently occurred on Louisiana Highway 3062. The investigation at the scene revealed that at approximately 11:18 p.m. on a Saturday night, a car occupied by the 24-year-old driver and a 24-year-old passenger was heading east on the highway. As the vehicle neared U.S. Highway 79 Bypass, the driver somehow lost control of the vehicle.

The car then careened through the shoulder and off the road, where it flipped over before slamming into a tree. Both of the occupants suffered severe injuries in the impact, to which they succumbed. The investigation is ongoing. Troopers with the Louisiana State Police believe that speed might have contributed to this deadly crash. In addition, a toxicology sample was taken from the driver to determine whether impairment was a factor as well.

In the meantime, the family of the deceased passenger might exercise its right to file a wrongful death claim against the estate of the driver and any registered owner of the car involved. Surviving family members are not required to wait for the conclusion of the official investigation into this fatal accident to file such a claim. As long as the evidence presented by the family to the civil court establishes negligence on the part of the driver, an award of damages can be considered.

Recent Fatal Accident Might Have Been Preventable

The more that Louisiana residents drive, the greater the possibility is that they could become lax when it comes to their duty to their passengers and others on the roadways. Most people become comfortable with their driving abilities and may allow themselves to become distracted or to believe they can drive while impaired. Unfortunately, some of these drivers cause a serious or fatal accident that was preventable if only they had been paying attention or not gotten behind the wheel while impaired.

A warning about the failure to meet this duty was included in a recent report regarding an accident in which one person died and another suffered injuries. The Louisiana State Police are not yet sure whether impairment was a factor in the crash, but a blood sample taken from the driver was sent for analysis. Troopers are still investigating.

Preliminary reports, however, show that the vehicle was heading north on LA 308 in Lafourche Parish. The driver failed to negotiate a curve, which caused the vehicle to go through the intersection and hit a driveway at an angle. The angle of impact caused the car to become airborne and slam into two utility poles on the side of the vehicle where the passenger was sitting.

At some point during the crash, the driver was ejected from the vehicle. He suffered only moderate injuries, though his current condition is not known. The passenger initially survived the crash and was taken to a local hospital. During transport to University Medical Center in New Orleans, she succumbed to her injuries.

The deceased passenger’s family retains the right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver. Successfully establishing that his negligent actions caused or substantially contributed to the death of their loved one could result in the consideration of a monetary judgment by the court. The family could use any restitution received to defray the financial losses incurred because of this fatal accident.

Fatal Accident Between Car and Train on LA HWY 88

A recent crash gave the Louisiana State Police the chance to remind motorists that they are required heed warning devices at railroad crossings and yield the right-of-way to trains. This may seem obvious to some readers, but fatal accident statistics from around the country often include vehicle vs. train crashes. Unfortunately, the state’s statistics for 2015 will include this crash in which three people died, including two 12-year-old girls.

Troopers with the Louisiana State Police report that a vehicle occupied by two adults and four children was heading north on Louisiana Highway 88. For some reason, the vehicle stopped on the railroad tracks. At the same time, an eastbound Amtrak train rapidly approached the intersection and struck the vehicle.

The vehicle’s driver, a 70-year-old woman, died in the crash along with the two preteen girls. Also in the vehicle were two boys and a 49-year-old man. All three of them survived the crash, but they suffered critical injuries. Their current conditions are not known.

The two adults share a last name, but at last report, police were unable to determine if or how they were related. No one on the passenger train was injured, and it resumed its trip at around 8:45 p.m. Authorities do not suspect impairment as a contributing factor, but they are continuing to investigate the accident.

As the investigation into this fatal accident continues, the families of the two deceased girls and the injured parties may also end up conducting their own investigations as part of civil actions. In order to prove negligence, it will be necessary to provide the court with evidence that establishes it. Successfully doing so could result in an award of damages.

Louisiana Highway 17 Scene of Fatal Accident, Alcohol Suspected

Most Louisiana readers are already aware that accidents involving alcohol or drug use on the part of the drivers believed to be responsible are some of the most preventable on the state’s roadways. This is one of many factors that often elevates any charges filed in these crashes to homicide by vehicle. Suspicion by law enforcement officials in a recent fatal accident that the driver was intoxicated could account for the fact that he was booked into jail for vehicular homicide and other charges.

The Louisiana State Police responded to the scene of the single-car crash on Louisiana Highway 17 at around 1:15 a.m. Upon arrival, it was discovered that the passenger in the vehicle, a 57-year-old woman, suffered severe injuries in the impact to which she succumbed at the scene. Preliminary reports show that the driver somehow lost control of the vehicle as it traveled south.

The vehicle went off the highway, flipped over and landed on its roof in a ditch full of water. It is not known whether the driver suffered any injuries for which he received treatment prior to being taken to the West Caroll Parish Jail. As part of the ongoing investigation, a toxicology sample was taken from the driver.

The results of that test may be useful in any wrongful death claim filed by the deceased woman’s family. Proof of negligence is required before a court will consider awarding any damages sought. Therefore, successfully establishing that the death of their loved one was caused by the negligence of the driver could result in an award of damages seen in similar fatal accident cases.

Fatal Accident Deaths Down in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development tracks the number of fatal accidents and deaths that occur on the state’s roads. Researchers at the Louisiana State University gathered information from those reports. The good news is that the risk of being involved in a fatal accident here has dropped.

The data indicates that in 2007, there were 900 deadly crashes, and in 2008, there were 916. By 2013, the number dropped to 651, and in 2014, the number went up to 737. Overall, the number of fatal wrecks here in Louisiana dropped 28 percent, and the number of deaths has decreased by 20 percent.

Even though any reduction in deaths on Louisiana’s roadways is encouraging, the numbers are still higher than the national average. Nearly 42 percent of fatal crashes in these figures involve alcohol, and no less than 27 percent included speeding as a factor (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Furthermore, it is alarming to know that distracted drivers are outpacing aggressive and drunk drivers when it comes to causing these crashes.

Regardless of the fact that the numbers are declining, far too many people still die in deadly wrecks across the state. Families who have lost loved ones in a fatal accident retain the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties deemed responsible. Proving negligence could result in a monetary judgment to help defray the costs of the financial losses incurred as a result. In addition, surviving family members will never get back the loved one they lost, but they could receive some justice and closure at the end of a successfully litigated claim.

Driver Arrested in Fatal Car Accident, Alcohol Suspected

Repeat offenders are responsible for a significant number of drunk driving accidents. When Louisiana State Police troopers looked into the background of a driver recently arrested in connection with a fatal car accident, they discovered that the man was convicted three previous times for driving under the influence. The first time, he went through a diversionary program at the age of 18. The second time, he was also underage and pleaded to a misdemeanor for which he was sentenced to 32 hours of community service and six months’ probation. No information regarding the third incident was available.

The man, who is now 27 years old, is suspected of being impaired when he recently ran a stop sign on westbound La. 620 at La. 983 at approximately 5 a.m. The driver of a pickup truck on La. 983 was unable to avoid colliding with the man’s car. After the impact, the allegedly intoxicated driver fled the scene. A brief search resulted in his arrest about a half mile away in a cane field.

The 53-year-old driver of the pickup did not survive the crash. Even though it is not believed that the victim was impaired, a routine toxicology test is being processed. A sample was also taken from the accused driver for testing. He faces charges including vehicular homicide and a fourth DUI and felony hit-and-run, among others.

The victim’s family may separately exercise its right to file a wrongful death claim against him. If he is found guilty of a crime in connection with this fatal car accident, proof of the conviction may be used as evidence of negligence in a Louisiana civil court. Successfully litigating such a claim could result in an award of damages.