How Do New Government Regulations Impact a Personal Injury Claims?
When the government promulgates new regulations or updates older regulations, often, the effect is to impose new duties on those entities being regulated. This is important to Louisiana personal injury claims because accident victims must prove negligence in order to successfully recover compensation and “duty” is one of four legal elements that must be proven. The other three legal elements that must be proven are: breach of at least one duty, causation and actual injury, damage, or death.
Duties can be imposed generally such as the duties of Louisiana drivers to keep a proper and good lookout for dangers and drive with caution. But, many duties are imposed by statutes and by regulations. For example, it is a statutory requirement here in Louisiana that drivers must obey the speed limit and traffic control signals (like stop signs and traffic lights). The statutes and regulations impose the duty and if the statute/regulation is violated, then the duty is breached. In this way, two of the necessary elements for negligence have been proven. So, to continue the example, if a person was speeding or failed to stop at a red light, then the driver has breached one or more duties imposed by law. If a crash and injuries are caused by that breach (or those breaches), then the driver will be liable to compensate the victim(s) for injuries and property damage. When a new law or regulation goes into effect, then new duties are often imposed.
This applies just as well to laws and regulations involving businesses. For example, as reported here, in November 2021, the Louisiana Office of Conservation introduced regulations with respect to oil storage tanks. Owners of oil storage tanks must now comply with several new rules including:
● Building fences at least four feet high (with gate to be locked when the tank site is unattended)
● Warning signs must be posted about the flammable contents
● Access doors, hatches and other points must remain securely sealed (unless part of a pressure relief system)
As also reported, the new regulations apply to any oil storage tank site within town or city limits, within 500 feet of homes and highways and within 1,000 feet of a church or school.
The new regulations were imposed in response to the death of a teenager who died in February 2021 in an oil tank explosion in Beauregard Parish.
As noted, new regulations impose new duties and failure to comply with the new regulations will be a breach of those duties. So, going forward, if a person is injured or killed in an oil tank explosion, and, for example, the owners and operators did NOT build the four-foot fence or post the warning signs, then, legally, it will be much easier to hold the owners and operators liable for the resulting injury or fatality.
Our Attorneys Can Help
For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases including car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.