A recent Louisiana car accident lawsuit can teach personal injury victims an important lesson about the many routes to justice that can be taken by an experienced legal team. In the Turner v. Iafrate case, plaintiff Turner was struck by a car while riding as a passenger. 35-year-old Turner, who is a homemaker, was in the passenger seat when the driver of the vehicle made a left-hand turn across an intersection whose signs had been removed due to construction. The impact of another vehicle caused a fracture in her C4-6 vertebrae, causing quadriplegia and partial paralysis.
Paralysis isn’t the only thing that Turner suffered – she not only accrued medical expenses in excess of $435,000 but will need nearly $4 million in lifelong medical care and has lost potential future earnings of nearly $500,000. Though the vehicle in which Turner was injured was only struck by one driver, Turner’s legal team decided to sue the parish, construction contractor, and project engineers whose negligence caused “no left turn” and “one way” signs to be removed during construction.
In court, Turner faced an uphill battle. The defendants claimed that the car’s driver was completely at fault for Turner’s injuries and said that the driver should not have attempted the turn. After Turner’s counsel argued that the driver was confused by existing signs, the parties decided to settle the lawsuit.
Ultimately, the contractor’s insurance company settled with Turner for $1 million; the engineers also settled for this amount. The contractor’s excess liability carrier also engaged in a settlement with Turner, paying $2 million dollars, while the parish paid $500,000 (it is limited in payouts by Louisiana state law). All in all, Turner received $4.5 million in settlement.
Though the settlement will never allow Turner to walk again, she has the satisfaction of seeing the insurers for negligent parties pay money. Though some might think this is the “easy way out” for corporations who merely pay money instead of preventing negligence in the first place, a settlement can be an extremely positive outcome for a personal injury lawsuit, presenting a “win-win” to both parties.