forklift in warehouseThe Louisiana workers’ compensation system is designed to provide benefits to individuals who are injured on the job or as a result of their job duties. In exchange for these benefits, workers give up their right to sue an employer in civil court for damages, except for a few very limited exceptions. As Louisiana work accident lawyers, we have substantial experience assisting people with determining whether their injury falls into one of these categories and whether they are limited to seeking recourse through the workers’ compensation system.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered the application of workers’ compensation rules to a minor who was injured. The employer was a party rental business that provides inflatable bounce houses and other items for social events. The injured minor was 15 years old at the time he suffered an injury while working for the employer. The employer classified the minor as a helper, and the minor testified during a proceeding that he was never informed that he would require a certificate to work for the employer because of his age. The minor’s job duties consisted primarily of cleaning and delivering the inflatables and picking them up from the rental locations.

According to the minor, he suffered an injury while a coworker was using a forklift to access one of the inflatables that was located on a pallet. The minor climbed on top of the inflatable to provide it with balance, while the coworker lowered the inflatable on the pallet by using the forklift. The minor testified that this was a normal practice. As the inflatable was being lowered, the minor fell to the ground, and the inflatable fell onto his back.

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C. Scott Courrege

Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. proudly welcomes new associate attorney C. Scott Courrege.  After graduating #1 in his law school class, C. Scott Courrege was admitted to practice law in Louisiana on May 10, 2018.   He will work on various types of personal injury and wrongful death cases for the law firm with an emphasis on cases involving car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents.

C. Scott Courrege attended the Southern University Law Center’s evening division program while working for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He was a Senior Editor for the Southern University Law Review, which published his article entitled, “Drugged Driving: How the Legalization of Marijuana Has Impaired the Ability of the Louisiana DWI Law.” C. Scott Courrege received Cali Awards for Excellence in Legal Writing I, Legal Research, Criminal Law, Legal Writing II, Obligations, Torts I, and Advanced Legal Writing.

Orange Dump TruckMulti-vehicle accidents can be some of the most complicated when it comes to asserting your right to compensation. As seasoned Louisiana car accident attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience it takes to ensure that you are treated fairly in a multi-car accident, especially when it comes to working with insurance companies.

In a recent case, the court of appeal discussed whether it was appropriate for the lower court to grant summary judgment in favor of two insurance companies. One of the parties involved was speeding along the interstate in an overweight dump truck when he failed to stop in time while approaching traffic on the highway. The truck was carrying clay for a construction project maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dump truck slammed into several other vehicles, and a 12-car pile-up resulted. There were many serious injuries that resulted from the crash and one fatality. According to the police officer who oversaw the scene of the accident, the dump truck driver was traveling roughly 70 miles per hour at the time of the crash, which was roughly 10 miles over the speed limit.

One of the injured victims and her spouse filed a personal injury claim against the truck driver and his sole proprietorship trucking business. The plaintiffs also filed a claim against the general contractor that was building a levee as part of the project. The parties engaged in discovery, and the general contractor eventually filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal from the lawsuit. The plaintiff countered this motion by providing evidence of contracts that displayed how the defendant driver was hired and involved in the project. The trial court entered a judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that they did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs to ensure that the truck driver and truck company were abiding by applicable weight rules provided by federal regulations. The plaintiffs appealed.

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Dangerous facilities and buildings are a leading cause of injury for Louisiana residents. As dedicated personal injury attorneys, our seasoned team of professionals has assisted many victims with bringing a claim against a landowner who failed to maintain his or her property in a safe and orderly fashion. In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a Louisiana premises liability action that involved Hurricane Isaac.hurricane

In 2012, the hurricane caused serious damage to LaPlace. On the date that the hurricane wreaked havoc, the plaintiff and her boyfriend and their two children were staying at a hotel in the town. Before the hurricane hit, the plaintiff sent her children to stay at a safe location, while she and her boyfriend remained at the hotel. At around 5 am, the hurricane moved over the hotel, and the plaintiff was awakened by the noise. The ceiling and wall of their room collapsed and fell inward. She was then escorted to the hallway and taken to the emergency room.

The owner of the hotel later discovered that there was a locked door at the end of the hallway that had suffered damage. The door buckled, and the lock was dangling. The wind caused a concrete block wall in that area of the building to collapse. The blocks fell onto the joists above the room in which the plaintiff was staying, causing the wall and the ceiling to collapse and land on top of her.

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Yellow School BusesLosing a child is one of the most horrific experiences that a parent can face in his or her lifetime. As experienced Louisiana wrongful death lawyers, we have assisted many individuals with exploring their legal rights and options after a loss of this nature.  In a recent appellate case, the court considered a case in which a six-year-old child died as a result of a school bus crash in Youngsville, Louisiana. When the victim attempted to board the school bus, the door shut on his arm. He was not able to free his arm from the door, and he tripped and fell. Then, as the bus departed, it ran over him. The child was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. The parents of the victim filed separate claims against the driver of the school bus, the insurance companies, and the Lafayette Parish School Board.

One insurer settled the mother’s claim for $275,000.  Thereafter, the trial court granted one of the defendant insurance companies’ partial motion for summary judgment and limited the damages claim for both of the victim’s parents to a single amount of $500,000, pursuant to the cap on damages afforded the political subdivision and its insurers pursuant to the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act, La. R.S. 13:5106.  Many more motions were filed, trying to adjudicate whether the damages cap applied to other defendants in the matter.  Then, after a bench trial, the parties stipulated that the driver was solely at fault for the victim’s death.  The trial court issued a verdict in favor of the father and awarded him $50,000 for his child’s survival claim and $250,000 for his wrongful death claim.  The defendants appealed.

On review, the appellate court concluded that the statute should be interpreted as limiting the claims against the defendants to a maximum of $500,000.  he court interpreted the statute as providing a cap for the total amount of damages paid by the defendants, in lieu of allowing a separate cap for each parent’s claim. The appellate court affirmed the judgment against the defendants, but it remanded the case for additional proceedings regarding whether any of the damages needed to be reduced in order to comply with the statutory cap since record contained insufficient evidence of the amount of the payment to the mother.  Miller v. Thibeaux, 2013-541 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1/27/16), 184 So.3d 856, writ denied, 2016-353 (La.4/15/16), 191 So.3d 1035.

car in rainLouisiana can experience some extreme weather, which can make driving dangerous. It is not unusual for our region to experience serious rainstorms that can cause flooding and other damage. Heavy rain creates specific dangers for motorists, including the possibility of hydroplaning or otherwise losing control of the vehicle. As knowledgeable Louisiana car accident lawyers, we specialize in representing individuals in motor vehicle accident cases, and we are ready to assist you.

A Louisiana court of appeal recently issued an opinion regarding a case involving a hydroplaning accident. The plaintiff alleged that he was seriously injured when he lost control of his vehicle and hydroplaned on Highway 1 in Natchitoches. The plaintiff was working in the course and scope of employment when the crash took place. The plaintiff brought a civil claim against the Department of Transportation and Development, alleging that the highway was in an unreasonably dangerous condition and that this caused him to suffer injuries. The workers’ compensation insurer that provided the plaintiff benefits intervened in the lawsuit, seeking repayment of benefits.

After additional procedural issues and a three-day trial, the jury concluded that the defendant was completely liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The department sought a new trial and filed other post-verdict motions, seeking to have the verdict overruled. The trial court denied these motions, and the department appealed, assigning several errors to the trial court.

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crane in lotAlthough most people commonly associate personal injury cases with car accidents, dangerous products also constitute a substantial number of serious accidents each year. As dedicated and experienced Louisiana product liability lawyers, we have witnessed how much an injury caused by an unsafe product can affect a victim’s life. If you were hurt as a result of a dangerous product, we are ready to help you assert your right to compensation.

Recently, a Louisiana court of appeal considered a dangerous product case involving a large construction crane. The operator was injured while in the course and scope of his job. He brought a lawsuit against the crane manufacturer and the party that leased the crane. The matter proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately returned a verdict that assigned some portion of fault to all three parties, including the plaintiff. The jury also awarded the plaintiff compensatory damages. All three parties appealed.

Information at trial revealed many different aspects of the crane’s origins and usage and the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff’s injury. After the crane was leased, information came out from the manufacturer noting an issue with a component of the crane. The company that leased the crane informed the wholesaler that it would make the modifications because it was familiar with using the crane’s components. The plaintiff was one of the employees whom the company that leased the crane assigned to make the modifications. In deciding how to perform his role in removing the boom from the crane, the plaintiff relied on a label affixed to the crane. The plaintiff was injured when the part was removed.

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grassy road shoulderIf you have been injured in a car accident, you probably have many questions regarding whether you are entitled to receive policy benefits from any insurance companies that insure the parties to the crash. Insurance policies are complex and difficult to understand. Many personal injury cases involve lengthy disputes about how coverage should be applied and whether or not injured parties are entitled to coverage. As seasoned Louisiana car accident lawyers, we know how to navigate complex insurance issues on behalf of our clients. A recent appellate opinion provides an example of how insurance disputes can arise in car accident cases.

On the day of the accident, the plaintiff and her daughter were walking home from church along a road that did not have a sidewalk or a paved shoulder. The plaintiff and her daughter were instead traversing an area that was grass and gravel. The shoulder was sloped downward from the road toward a culvert. The defendant was driving along this same road at the time of the crash when the front right side of his vehicle struck the plaintiff and threw her into the ditch. The plaintiff was unresponsive. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene, and the plaintiff regained consciousness. Then, she was sent to the hospital, where she stayed for at least one night.

The plaintiff and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their daughter against the defendant, the owner of the vehicle that he was driving, and a number of insurance companies that provided various policies to each party. This included the two of the plaintiffs’ own insurers that provided them with an underinsured motorist or UM policy.

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old fashioned clockIf you believe that you may have a personal injury claim against someone who caused your injuries, the first thing that you need to consider is the prescriptive period or prescription that may apply to your claim. Louisiana law applies time limits that require litigants to assert their claims within a specific period of time or waive their right to recovery forever. As seasoned Louisiana medical malpractice lawyers, we have guided numerous victims in determining the prescriptive period that applies to their claim, and we are ready to assist you. A recent appellate opinion illustrates the importance of keeping prescription in mind.

The plaintiff had been seen by a physician for gynecology and obstetrics treatment since 2005. At some point, she was diagnosed with endometriosis after a biopsy came back positive. The plaintiff was then sent to an infertility specialist to treat a number of conditions, including pelvic pain, desired contraception, endometriosis, and infrequent menstruation. The plaintiff had two cesarean births and then elected to have a bilateral tubal sterilization to prevent further pregnancies. After the procedure, the plaintiff continued to complain of pelvic pain.

The plaintiff presented to the emergency room in 2008, complaining of severe pelvic pain. The plaintiff alleged that she signed a consent form agreeing to a surgical procedure while she was in severe pain and while under the influence of pain medication. The following day, the obstetrics and gynecology physician performed a hysterectomy. Complications arose after the surgery, including bladder issues. She continued treatment with the surgeon and also saw a number of other physicians in an attempt to resolve her chronic pelvic pain. One of these physicians informed the plaintiff that it was his opinion that it was negligent for the surgeon to suggest and then perform a hysterectomy on a 24-year-old patient.

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car keysUnderstanding how your insurance policy will affect your financial situation after you are involved in a motor vehicle accident can be incredibly confusing. The policies are written in complicated terms, and it can be difficult to know when you should contact your insurer. As seasoned Louisiana car wreck lawyers, we have assisted numerous victims with ensuring that their insurance company plays by the rules. As a recent appellate opinion demonstrates, this can have a serious impact on your ability to recover policy benefits.

In the case, the plaintiff maintained an auto insurance policy from an insurer that was effective from May 13, 2012, to May 13, 2013. On June 25, 2012, the plaintiff purchased another auto insurance policy from another insurer that began on the same date that she contacted them. A few weeks later, the plaintiff contacted her original insurer to cancel the policy. The first insurer performed a policy review with the plaintiff on the phone, and after the review, she asserted her verbal request to cancel the policy. At the plaintiff’s request, the insurer backdated the cancellation to June 25, 2012. The first insurer sent the plaintiff a prorated bill for her canceled policy.

The plaintiff did not pay the final bill from the first insurer, and it was sent to a collections agency. The plaintiff paid the bill in September 2012. In July 2012, the plaintiff was involved in a car wreck when her vehicle collided with a motorcycle, resulting in devastating injuries to the motorcyclist that ultimately caused his death. The motorcyclist’s surviving spouse filed a wrongful death action against the plaintiff and her new insurer.

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