Federal judge postpones trial in semi-truck accident that defendant has claimed was staged

By Carrie Bradon | Mar 25, 2019

A federal judge in New Orleans has decided to postpone a civil trial involving a car accident that took place between a truck and car that was flagged as suspicious.

The incident took place on November 13, 2017 when an 18-wheeler allegedly sideswiped a car, but the truck showed no signs of an incident. According to Transport Topics, the plaintiffs of the lawsuit filed affidavits leveraging their Fifth Amendment rights to "not incriminate themselves at a trial due to a possible 'ongoing criminal investigation'" that has been launched into the accident.

Lana Venable of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch commented on the development of the case and what it may mean for the legitimacy of the plaintiff's argument.

"This latest development should give pause to the allegations made in what appears more and more to be an absolutely baseless lawsuit," Venable told Louisiana Record. 

Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Lana Sonnier Venable   Photo courtesy of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch

Louisiana suffers from some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation and this lawsuit, Venable believes, shines a light on one of the reasons for such high rates. 

"With so much advertising dedicated to massive payouts from 'big truck wrecks' it’s hardly surprising that some are looking to take advantage of the system for their own gain – and at the expense of an industry vital to Louisiana’s economy," Venable said. 

The delayed lawsuit will be rescheduled at a later time, but Senior U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle will be conducting a status conference on April 30. 

For Venable, this lawsuit and those like it are a cry for reform which she hopes will come to the state soon.

"These lawsuits are a prime example of Louisiana’s critical need for civil justice reform and continue to drive up the cost of doing business in the Pelican State," Venable said. 

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking $1 million in damages and claim that the truck driver was negligent, though the truck company's attorneys claim that they have found evidence of the lawsuit's illegitimacy.

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