stack of mailMany states have very particular laws when it comes to medical malpractice actions, particularly when it comes to the steps you must take before you can file a civil action against the medical professionals who may have caused you damages. Louisiana is no exception, requiring plaintiffs to submit their medical malpractice allegations to a medical review panel before filing a civil claim. As seasoned Louisiana medical malpractice lawyers, we understand firsthand how important it is to ensure that you comply with all of the procedural requirements to protect your right to compensation.

A recent appellate opinion highlights how important these procedural rules can be.  The plaintiff underwent surgery in 2013 by one medical professional and received postoperative care for the surgery from another medical professional. Nearly one year after the surgery, the plaintiff filed a request for a medical review panel to determine whether the physicians committed medical malpractice. The entity responsible for overseeing this process is the Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF).

Pursuant to Louisiana laws regarding medical malpractice claims against private healthcare providers, the PCF must send a series of letters providing notice to the medical professionals that they have been named in a proceeding involving allegations of medical malpractice. The first set of letters was sent to the postoperative doctor’s business address, and the return receipt was signed. The PCF then sent what is known as the “Nine Month Letter” to the defendant’s address. This letter states that the medical review process would be terminated if the parties do not designate an attorney chairperson within one year from the date that the complaint was filed. This letter was sent to the same business address, but the US Postal Service returned the letter, indicating that the address had closed. The PCF attempted to resend the letter one additional time and received the same response. The PCF did not take any additional steps to provide the letter to the defendant healthcare provider.

Continue reading

dented side fenderWhen it comes to injuries on the job, knowing whether you are limited to pursuing worker’s compensation benefits or whether you can bring a civil claim against your employer to recover damages can be confusing. At Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., our knowledgeable Louisiana car crash lawyers have counseled numerous victims about their right to compensation, and we are standing by to assist you. A recent appellate opinion discusses the application of rules regarding whether an injured worker can bring a civil claim against an employer.

The plaintiff and another coworker worked for the City of Shreveport in the Airfield Maintenance Division. One afternoon shortly before 5 pm, the coworker backed a city-owned vehicle into the rear bumper of the plaintiff’s personal automobile. The area where the accident took place was surrounded with barbed-wire fencing and marked with a Restricted sign. A written report was prepared by an airfield employee that day, and the plaintiff went to the hospital for examination.

Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff filed a damages lawsuit against the City of Shreveport, the coworker, and the coworker’s insurance company. After a series of motions and rulings, the trial court determined that the plaintiff’s injury occurred during the course and scope of her employment. In reaching this conclusion, the lower court noted that the accident occurred during the plaintiff’s hours of employment in an area that was not open to the general public and that the plaintiff was technically still on duty at the time of the crash. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim, and the plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading

empty suburb drivewayThere are many complicated issues that can arise in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit. When the driver who causes the accident is working at the time of the crash, you may be entitled to recover damages from his or her employer based on a doctrine called vicarious liability. A seasoned Louisiana auto accident lawyer can assist you in determining whether this doctrine may apply to your claim. The sooner you understand which parties to include in the lawsuit, the better. A recent Louisiana appellate opinion discusses this doctrine and the complex issues that it can involve.

The background facts of the case are as follows. The defendant driver was turning into his driveway when he struck a six-year-old child. Unfortunately, the child did not survive the accident. The child’s parents filed a wrongful death action against the defendant driver, seeking a variety of items in compensation. The parents also named the defendant’s employer as a defendant in the action, claiming that the vehicle the defendant driver was driving at the time of the crash was covered by the employer’s insurance policy.

The employer and its insurance company filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the defendant driver was not working in the course and scope of his job when the accident happened and that they could not be held liable as a result. For an employer to be held liable for the tortious acts of an employee, the employee must be performing his or her usual job duties and acting with the authority of the employer.

Continue reading

https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/images/blf-badge-2018.jpgNov. 1, 2017 –U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the eighth consecutive year, the “Best Law Firms” rankings include the Baton Rouge, Louisiana injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., this year in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs (T1) and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs (T2).
Firms included in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. “U.S. News has decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society—from colleges to hospitals,” says Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role in American life, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to helps individuals and companies alike make important life decisions.”
The 2018 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Over 13,000 attorneys provided more than 1,000,000 law firm assessments, and over 7,500 clients provided more than 65,000 evaluations.  Kirk A. Guidry, Randy A. Piedrahita, and B. Scott Andrews are all recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

Thumbnail image for top100triallawyers.jpgBaton Rouge, Louisiana trial lawyers, Randy A. Piedrahita, Kirk A. Guidry and B. Scott Andrews, have been selected for 2018 membership in The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

According to The National Trial Lawyers criteria, it is a member-driven organization composed of premier trial lawyers from across the country who meet stringent qualifications. Only top trial lawyers from Louisiana who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

When it comes to being involved in an auto accident, recuperating from your injuries is only one of the many challenges that you may have to overcome. Even when fault is clearly established, it can take months or even years to obtain the compensation that you need and deserve from a careless driver and his or her insurance company. Although insurers are meant to provide coverage and protection, they often engage in delay, gamesmanship, and outright evasion when it comes time to pay a claim for damages. Retaining a seasoned Louisiana car accident lawyer from the beginning can help you recover the damages that you deserve in a timely and efficient fashion.

highwayIn a recent lawsuit, a husband and wife were driving when they were involved in a collision with another vehicle that was attempting to change lanes at the time the crash occurred. The wife suffered serious injuries to her neck, hip, and back that required substantial medical treatment, including orthopedic surgery. The doctor concluded that the woman incurred a labral tear in her hip.

The husband and wife eventually entered into a settlement agreement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which agreed to pay the policy limit of $25,000. Since the woman had sustained damages that far exceeded this amount, she filed a personal injury claim with her auto insurance company, claiming benefits based on her underinsured motorist (UM) coverage policy. This policy had a limit of $30,000, but her insurance company did not agree to pay the benefits.

Continue reading

insurance policy headerAlthough you may have a clear understanding of how another driver caused you to suffer injuries in a car accident, there may be substantial hurdles to overcome before you can obtain compensation from the other driver. One of the biggest impediments that you may face is your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer can mean the difference between a long, drawn-out ordeal with the insurers or an efficient and timely resolution of your claim. There are ways to use the legal system to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve, as a recent appellate opinion illustrates.

In the case, a woman and her son were driving along a major road in Baton Rouge in June 2015 when the vehicle in which they were riding was struck from behind at a stoplight. The driver brought a legal action against the individual driving the vehicle that struck her car, and her son joined in the action. The woman and the son also sued the defendant’s auto insurance company.

In response to the lawsuit, the insurer argued that it was not liable for the injuries that the mother and son sustained, noting that the policy it provided to its insured was financed through another company. The insurer then pointed out that the defendant had failed to stay current with his insurance premiums and that the insurer terminated the policy one week before the collision occurred.

Continue reading

wet floor signWhen Louisiana residents suffer a serious accident, they often have many questions about how the legal process works and which steps are involved. One of the most important parts of a negligence lawsuit is discovery. This is the phase of the trial in which the parties are allowed to request information from the other side about the facts, legal assertions, and witnesses on which they plan to rely at trial. In some cases, the discovery process is relatively straightforward. In other cases, however, it can be very protracted and lead to disputes regarding whether a requested item of discovery is relevant and should be produced. If the parties do not agree about whether a requested document or piece of information is discoverable, they can involve the judge, who will then make a determination.

A recent lawsuit demonstrates why retaining a seasoned Louisiana slip and fall lawyer can help the discovery process run as smoothly as possible. The plaintiff was walking inside a hospital at the time the slip and fall occurred. He was traversing a sloped ramp that joined a skybridge when he slipped and then fell down. The man later brought a lawsuit against the hospital, seeking damages for the injuries that he sustained during the fall. In response to a set of Requests for Admission from the plaintiff, the hospital admitted that the plaintiff slipped on a puddle of water that had resulted from the custodian’s mopping before the plaintiff walked by and that the custodian did not leave the caution signs posted long enough.

Three years later, the hospital asked the court if it could change its response to the Requests for Admission, but the trial court declined the request. The plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment, which he won. The defendant then appealed, arguing that it should have been allowed to change its response to the Requests for Admission and that the court improperly granted the motion for partial summary judgment. The court again rejected the defendant’s attempt to change its responses and upheld the ruling for the plaintiff.

Continue reading

big oak treeWhen it comes to evidence presented at trial, there are different categories. A witness to an accident is considered a layperson witness, while an accident reconstructionist, doctor, or lab technician can be classified as an expert witness. A recent Louisiana Court of Appeal opinion demonstrates how retaining an expert witness to testify on your behalf during trial can be vitally important to your claim. An expert witness can help you establish liability, or show that a defendant’s lack of appropriate conduct was the cause of the injuries that you sustained. An experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer can assist you with locating the appropriate expert witness.

In the case, the plaintiff was traveling as a passenger in a vehicle passing through Northeastern Louisiana when a thunderstorm erupted and caused serious roadway hazards. The driver was forced to take a detour, and while traversing that unanticipated pathway, a tree fell across the driver’s car. It crushed the roof, striking the passenger in the head. As a result of the blow, the passenger was rendered a quadriplegic.

The tree limb that fell onto the vehicle was from a tree located on a property line. Part of the tree was on a parcel of private property, while the remainder was on a city-owned parcel. The passenger filed suit against both the private parcel owner and the city. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that they did not know or have reason to know that there was a defect or issue with the tree. They alleged that the tree had looked fairly healthy, producing green foliage. In a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must show that there are no genuine issues of material fact, alleviating the need for a jury and allowing the court to decide the dispute as a matter of law. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading

ladder on roofMedical malpractice actions can arise in a variety of contexts. The following lawsuit demonstrates why it is essential to retain a seasoned Baton Rouge medical malpractice attorney the moment you think that you may be entitled to damages.

According to a recently published decision from the First Circuit of Louisiana, an employee was injured at work after he fell eight feet from the top of a ladder. The employee was brought to the emergency room promptly, where it was determined that he sustained injuries to his knee, hip, and elbow. The emergency room medical staff addressed his injuries, and he was discharged later that day. Shortly after his discharge, however, the hospital staff noticed that he may have suffered a hip fracture, and they recalled him to the facility, where they took additional x-rays of his elbow, which they had not x-rayed initially. The elbow laceration contained foreign material that the hospital failed to identify, and the infection contained flesh-eating bacteria. The employee nearly lost his life as a result of this aggressive infection. Although he was able to recover, the employee developed a chronic condition from the infection known as CIDP. This condition requires ongoing medical care. At the time the accident took place, the employee was 49 years old.

On review before a medical review panel, it was determined that the treating physician failed to use appropriate care when treating the employee’s injuries, but this failure was not the ultimate cause of his injuries. The doctor’s failure to order the x-ray did not change the fact that the wound was contaminated with flesh-eating bacteria. The employee and his wife filed a medical malpractice action against the physician, alleging that his malpractice caused them to incur $268,000 in expenses and that they would continue to incur financial expenses related to the malpractice.

Continue reading