Can the negligence of government agencies lead to deaths?

State, county and city government agencies are all responsible for maintaining public roadways and waterways of Louisiana. If hazards are not adequately addressed when those agencies should have known or should have been on the lookout for them, the lives of the state's residents and visitors could be in danger. A woman claims that the negligence of four government agencies led to the death of her father and stepmother.

In the early morning hours of March 27, 2015, the woman's 38-year-old father and 48-year-old stepmother departed from the boat launch at Bayou Chevreuil, which is off Louisiana Highway 20. She claims that her father was driving the boat at a reasonable speed. As he steered the boat into the right hand bend, he also turned right.

Unfortunately, a large tree extended out from the west bank around that turn. The boat struck it, and the resulting accident led to their deaths. The woman alleges that the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources,Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the governments of Lafourche and St. James parishes knew that the tree was a hazard. As part of her lawsuit, she seeks to have the tree cut down.

She accuses the agencies of gross, reckless and/or willful negligence since no warnings were posted about the danger the tree posed to boaters, nor was it simply removed. Reports indicate that she is seeking damages such as mental suffering and funeral/burial costs. If she prevails in her claims, she could be awarded those and other damages.

Source:, "Woman sues over boat crash that killed father, stepmother", Bridget Mire, March 8, 2016

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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