Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jones v. Harris case brief

Jones v. Harris case brief summary
896 So.2d 237 (2005)

In a personal injury action arising out of a car accident, plaintiff injured driver and plaintiff husband brought suit against defendant other driver, defendant insurer, and defendant Louisiana State House of Representatives. A jury before the Civil District Court, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, entered a verdict and awarded damages in favor of plaintiffs. The other driver, the insurer, and the State House of Representatives appealed.

The injured driver was preparing to turn into the driveway of her place of employment when she was suddenly rear-ended by the other driver's car. At the time of the accident, the other driver was in the course of her employment for the State. The other driver, the insurer, and the State challenged the jury's awards as to:
(1) general damages;
(2) loss of past wages;
(3) loss of future wages/earnings capacity, including fringe benefits; and
(4) loss of consortium.
As to the award of general damages, physicians testified as to the extent of her lower back injury.


  • The appellate court could not say that the award was an abuse of discretion. 
  • As to lost wages, the straightforward calculation of past loss of wages was the injured driver's income at the time of the accident times the time elapsed between her last day of work and the date of trial. Also, an award for loss of future wages was not erroneous. 
  • The injured driver's physical condition before the accident was good. 
  • She had a stable work history, and she had planned to continue working until she retired. 
  • Finally, the jury's award to the injured driver's husband for loss of consortium was not an abuse of discretion.

The appellate court affirmed the trial court's judgment.

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