After a series of lawsuits regarding accidents at a Gentilly truck stop, some lawyers are raising questions about the lawsuits, especially given the fact that commercial truck drivers, who are alleged to the be parties at fault in the accidents, are required to carry a $1 million insurance policy.
Louisianans already pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation, and the addition of these questionable lawsuits are likely to only increase rates for residents.
"These are exactly the kind of unfounded lawsuits that hurt our taxpayers and businesses," Lana Venable, executive director of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, told the Louisiana Record. "Based on the deep pockets of those targeted, these suits generate exorbitant fees for trial lawyers and should be investigated."
Venable said that insurance payouts are one of the biggest factors in the high costs and limited availability of auto insurance in the state, regardless of whether the insurance is for personal or commercial purposes.
"The average premium in Louisiana is about $600 more than the national average. New Orleans, specifically is the second-most expensive city in the U.S. for auto insurance, with Baton Rouge coming in at No. 5," Venable said. "These kinds of lawsuits reinforce Louisiana’s reputation as one of the most litigious states in the country."
Venable went on to comment about the suspicious nature of the lawsuits.
"The truck driver apparently did not even realize he had been involved in a collision until approached in the parking lot by a plaintiff," Venable said. "Add to that the fact that all incidents were nearly identical and occurred at the same location, no one claimed to be injured at the scene and the damages to the plaintiff’s vehicles were relatively minor – and this begins to look more like 'jackpot justice' than a legitimate claim," Venable said.