Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- The twisted metal and wrecked vehicles from last Thursday's fatal accident on I-10 in New Orleans East have been hauled away.
As investigators determine what caused the 40-vehicle pile-up that killed two people, attorneys representing victims and potential defendants are already gearing up for what will likely be a ton of litigation stemming from the accident.
'Probably every person who was in that accident is a potential plaintiff against one or multiple parties,' said attorney Danny Becnel.
Becnel was one of the lead attorneys for victims in the Mother's Day bus crash that killed 22 passengers on I-610 in New Orleans.
He said like that accident in May 1999, a constellation of issues led to last week's fatal wreck.
'There were 40 plus cars and trucks in the accident,' said Becnel. 'There are multiple causes. Number one, the highway design. Although, it was just resurfaced in that area, somebody forgot to turn on the lights.'
There was also smoke from a nearby marsh fire that some say mixed with fog, creating zero visibility conditions.
'That area is prone to fog,' said Becnel. 'Everybody knows it and fog is compounded with smoke coming from the marsh.'
There is also potential liability on the part of those involved in the wreck itself.
Tuesday, Quality Transport, a motor carrier with a truck in the accident, filed a petition in Orleans Civil District Court. The trucking firm is asking the court to help preserve certain evidence in the case.
According to the petition the actions expected to be brought will involve wrongful death, personal injury and property damage claims.
Becnel does not expect many lawsuits to be filed until police complete the initial accident report.
'Once everybody tries to figure out the sources of the liability, then all of the plaintiffs lawyers will get together and try to consolidate into one series of cases,' said Becnel.
The city of New Orleans, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the owner of the land where the marsh fire continues to burn are all expected to be potential named defendants in the lawsuits stemming from the fatal accident.