Low Hanging Wire – $1.6 Million Verdict: Our client was a 31 year old single mother who was traveling I-12 west near the Essen Lane Overpass. As she approached the overpass, an 18-wheeler contacted and tore down a low hanging wire causing it to become entangled in her car and violently pulled her car sideways. The wire then snapped from it’s mounting on a pole and repeatedly whipped about eventually totaling her car.
She under went multiple surgical procedures, including a three-level spinal fusion and the implantation of an electrical spinal stimulation device. After trying to resume her regular employment as a legal secretary, she eventually had to stop working as pain and medication interfered with her ability to perform her job function.
Our investigation revealed the State of Louisiana had abandoned the wire across the interstate 28 years before the accident. The wire should have been suspended at 20 feet above the ground. Applicable safety rules showed the State should have inspected the wire every year to insure it did not sag below 20 feet. It was learned the State never conducted these required inspections. The vertical clearance of the Essen Lane overpass was learned to be 16.1 feet. Therefore, the choice made by the State to not inspect the wire led to the wire sagging to a point below the entrance of the overpass….approximately 4 feet lower than it should have been.
Following a week long trial, and despite the State’s attempt to point blame at the 18-wheeler, a jury returned the above verdict finding the State of Louisiana/DOTD 100% at-fault for our client’s injuries and making the above award to compensate for rendering her disabled.