It’s Raining Cats And Dogs And Crashes

A Bergenfield, New Jersey man died in a serious car accident that took place on a rain-slick Slidell Roadway over Labor Day Weekend.

Authorities state that 66-year-old Milton Frank, of Slidell, lost control of his 2007 Tahoe on the eastbound side of Interstate 10; at the time, the road was already covered with a layer of water and the rain was still falling “heavily,” according to a statement. Mr. Frank crossed over to the westbound side and smacked head-on into a 2016 BMW driven by Steven Fernandez, of Bergenfield. Moments later, 24-year-old Irvin Darensbourg, of New Orleans, crashed into the wreckage in a 2002 Honda.

Mr. Fernandez was pronounced dead at the scene; a passenger in his car – 26-year-old Danielle Carballeira of Staten Island, New York – was seriously injured.

Fact Issues in Car Accidents

The duty of reasonable care basically demands that drivers do whatever is necessary and safe to prevent car accidents, and that includes operating their vehicles at a reasonable speed. The posted speed limit is presumed to be a reasonable speed under ideal conditions: plenty of light, dry pavement, and little wind. It stands to reason that if conditions are less than ideal (poor visibility, slick pavement, and/or high winds), drivers must slow down and drive according to the conditions.

This duty may also vary according to the type of driver and the type of equipment. While experienced drivers have no problem operating at or near the speed limit, new drivers may not yet have that much ability. As for the type of vehicle, some pickup trucks are notorious for their uneven weight distribution when the beds are empty. As a result, drivers must exercise care when maneuvering their vehicles, especially if traction is poor.

Legal Issues in Car Accidents

Whenever there are multiple impacts from multiple vehicles, it can be difficult or impossible to determine which impact caused which injury. In these kinds of car accidents, the foreseeability rule from Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad (1928) often comes into play.

In Palsgraf, a woman at a train station was injured when some large scales fell on her. An investigation later determined that the scales toppled over because fireworks accidentally exploded on the other side of the platform, creating a shock wave that pushed against the scales and caused them to fall. The court ruled that the railroad company was not responsible for Ms. Palsgraf’s injuries, since they were not a foreseeable result of the first accident.

In car accident cases, if the injury was a foreseeable result of the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s conduct), the tortfeasor is generally liable for damages, regardless of whether the injuries were a direct or indirect result of the car accident.

For prompt assistance with a negligence claim, contact an experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorney from Hoffoss Devall. Our firm has a small-town feel and access to nationwide resources.