Deadly New Orleans 40-vehicle pileup could implicate municipality liability

An investigation following the 40-vehicle pileup in New Orleans East this month revealed that the city’s street lights on the interstate near the scene of the accident were not functioning properly, according to a New Orleans city spokesperson. The pileup killed two people and injured over 50. Investigators believe that low visibility due to fog, poor lighting and possible smoke from a marsh fire caused the pileup.

This tragic accident demonstrates the role that a city’s negligence can play in causing a motor vehicle accident. A person injured in a motor vehicle accident may sue a municipality under limited circumstances when the city’s negligence caused the accident. In determining whether a city may be held liable for an accident in comparative fault regimes like Louisiana, the city’s negligence need not be the sole cause of the accident but must in some way be linked to the cause of the accident. Generally, cities can be held legally responsible for a motor vehicle accident if there is inadequate lighting, poor road conditions, improper signs or malfunctioning street signals.


Bringing a lawsuit against a municipality can be a challenging endeavor. Depending on the jurisdiction, state and local laws typically provide heightened notification requirements and narrower time frames to file the suit. In addition, other statutes and ordinances specifically exempt cities from liability under certain circumstances. An experienced attorney can assist you in navigating through these administrative procedures when filing a personal injury lawsuit against a municipality.

Broussard & David represents people injured in motor vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact Broussard & David to learn about your legal rights. For questions, call 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).