Four people were seriously injured after a possibly reckless driver crashed through the front doors of the Post Office in downtown Youngsville.
The driver – whose name was not released – apparently hopped a curve, smashed through the doors, barreled through the lobby, and eventually came to rest against the front counter. One victim was pinned between the car and the counter for quite some time before first responders arrived. Authorities believe that the other three victims were all postal workers or post office patrons.
The crash is still under investigation.
Louisiana has a very broad reckless driving law that prohibits operating a motor vehicle “in a criminally negligent or reckless manner.” The maximum penalty for a 14:99 violation is ninety days in jail and/or a $200 fine.
Almost any moving violation can be considered reckless driving, and crashing into a building certainly qualifies as such. Many times, such incidents are related to a:
Damages in these cases normally include compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses.
Negligence Per Se
Since reckless driving carries a possible jail sentence, lawmakers evidently considered the practice to be a serious threat to the safety and property of other individuals. As a result, the negligence per se shortcut is often available in these matters.
Ordinarily, a plaintiff must prove five elements to win damages in a negligence case. However, if a Louisiana tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety-related law, such violation is conclusive proof of negligence. So, in these cases, the plaintiff need only prove two elements: violation of a statue and damages.
Negligence per se is rather subjective in Louisiana, because in most cases, the judge decides whether or not the principle applies. As a rule of thumb, judges are more likely to give juries a negligence per se instruction in rather serious cases, like reckless driving, as opposed to more everyday cases, like running a stop sign. Additionally, if alcohol was involved, juries are more likely to award punitive damages in these instances.
Reckless driving cases often involve the negligence per se shortcut. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. We routinely handle cases in Calcasieu Parish and nearby jurisdictions.