Winter weather brings treacherous driving conditions in its wake. Cities, counties and the state of Louisiana are responsible for ensuring that the public roadways are safe for travel. A woman who was recently involved in a car accident during inclement weather says that the roadway she was traveling was not properly cleared, which led to her injuries.
At approximately 8:12 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2014, the woman was traveling north on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge. Unbeknownst to her, there was a patch of ice on the drawbridge's metal surface. As she crossed it, she lost control of her vehicle. It then slammed into a concrete barrier. She claims the accident left her with serious back injuries.
In the personal injury lawsuit she filed in connection with the incident, she claims that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, among others, failed to properly maintain the bridge. She claims that de-icing chemicals, or other materials, were not used to free the bridge from ice. She further contends that no safety warnings were posted to alert motorists that the bridge could be hazardous, nor was it closed to preserve public safety.
It will be up to the courts to determine whether the woman's injuries in this single-car accident were the result of negligence on the part of one or more of the defendants. When a governmental agency fails to protect its citizens, resulting in serious injury or death, it may face civil claims for not taking appropriate action. If the court finds that an individual's injuries -- or death, as the case may be -- was due to negligence on the part of any institutions that violated a duty of reasonable care, damages may be awarded that could help with documented financial losses.
Source: The Louisiana Record, "Motorist claims accident on icy roadway responsibility of bridge authority", Kyle Barnett, March 12, 2015