ida-300x125Dealing with the insurance claims process can be almost as stressful as facing the mess left behind from Hurricane Ida’s wake. Some insurers will act fairly, reasonably, and in good faith in adjusting and paying their policyholder’s claims. Unfortunately, many do not. In order for you to maximize your chances of getting a claim treated fairly by the insurer, we offer some general insurance claim tips to help get you started:

1. Notify your insurance company immediately.

There will be thousands of Hurricane Ida claims filed, so you want to get yours in the “hopper” as soon as possible.

During a 2016 declared state of emergency due to flooding, a Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Master Sergeant was supervising inmates engaged in sandbagging activities. While transporting sandbags and several inmates in a loaded state-owned pick-up truck, the DPSC employee hit a water-filled hole in the roadway, causing injury to the inmates.

The inmates sued the DPSC and its employee for damages. These defendants moved for summary judgment because La. R.S. 29:735(A)(1) provides immunity to the State, its agencies, and political subdivisions for injury or death resulting from emergency preparedness activities. Representatives and employees of the State, its agencies, or political subdivisions are also immune unless they engage in “willful misconduct.”

The Louisiana Supreme Court held “as a matter of law” that the DPSC employee’s actions in overloading the truck with sandbags, struggling to maintain control of the truck, looking at his phone while driving, and wearing sunglasses did not rise to the level of willful misconduct.  The Supreme Court defined “willful misconduct” as follows:

Best-Law-Firms-Standard-Badge-2021-150x150Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. is proud to be recognized in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best LawyersBest Law Firms” for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.  The Baton Rouge, Louisiana boutique law firm received Tier 1 recognition in Baton Rouge in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation -Plaintiffs and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiff.

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, for the 11th consecutive year, collaboratively announced the release of the “Best Law Firms” rankings on November 5, 2020. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes 5% of lawyers practicing in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.  Firm members, B. Scott Andrews and Kirk A. Guidry, are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© for Baton Rouge in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation -Plaintiffs and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiff.

“U.S. News has more than three decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society and their service to consumers,” said Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to help individuals and companies alike make important decisions.”

Scott-Courrege-Headshot-scaled-e1604432175666C. Scott Courrege of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana boutique law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. has been selected to the 2021 Louisiana Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.  The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

This is a great honor for Scott, who finished #1 in his law school class in the Spring of 2018. Scott has also worked with the United States Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

Kirk-and-Scott-BR-150x150Kirk A. Guidry and B. Scott Andrews of the boutique law firm, Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., were selected once again by their peers for inclusion in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana litigation practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs and Product Liability Litigation-Plaintiffs.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 108,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and we have received over 13 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 9.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 67,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

HighStakes-2020-150x150B. Scott Andrews of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana boutique law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. has been selected among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® in Louisiana for 2020.  Selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high value, high stakes legal matters.

To be initially considered for selection, a plaintiff personal injury attorney must have litigated a matter with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake.  Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.

According to America’s Top 100 Attorneys, only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state are selected for membership among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®.  Because of the extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

In Caldwell v. St. Charles Gaming Company, 2019-01238 (La.1/2/2020), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that an employee injured in 2015 on the Grand Palais Riverboat casino in Westlake, Louisiana, was not a seaman under the Jones Act because the riverboat casino was no longer a vessel in navigation for purposes of the general maritime law.

In 2001, the Grand Palais Riverboat casino was moored in Westlake, Louisiana, by nylon mooring lines and steel wire cables, with its primary purpose being dockside gambling.  The riverboat casino has not moved since being moored, is serviced by shore-side utility lines that have not been disconnected since 2001, and the casino computer system is located on land.

After an injured riverboat technician filed suit under the Jones Act, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether the injured employee was a Jones Act seaman.  The critical factual issue was whether the riverboat casino was a vessel in navigation.  The trial court denied the motions.

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in Blair v. Mary Coney, 2019-00795 (La.4/3/20), affirmed the trial court’s order excluding the expert opinion testimony of Dr. Charles E. “Ted” Bain because it was not based on sufficient facts or data.

According to the Supreme Court opinion, Dr. Charles E. “Ted” Bain is an injury causation consultant and partial owner of Biodynamics Research Corporation (“BRC”). Dr. Bain obtained a degree in nuclear engineering, but has never been licensed as a professional engineer. Dr. Bain received his medical degree in Canada and practiced in emergency medicine and family medicine. Dr. Bain completed three weeks of Traffic Accident Reconstruction Courses.

In 2014, George Blair filed a lawsuit in Louisiana for injuries he allegedly sustained in a car wreck. In an effort to disprove a causal connection between the alleged injuries and the wreck, the defendants hired Dr. Bain as an expert witness in the areas of biomechanics, injury causation analysis, and accident reconstruction. Dr. Bain issued a report concluding that the low speed rear-end collision subjected Mr. Blair to minimal forces and accelerations that would not cause serious or long-lasting injuries.

On April 13, 2020, around 10:30 p.m., a fatal car wreck occurred on Louisiana Highway 14 in Vermilion Parish.  The Louisiana State Police report that a truck being driven by Michael Savoy crossed the center line and crashed into an SUV being driven by Melinda Harrington of Kaplan, Louisiana.   Melinda Harrington died at the scene.

The pertinent provision of the Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act, La.R.S 32:79, provides that a vehicle must be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane of traffic and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.  When a vehicle crosses the center line and crashes into an oncoming vehicle in its lane of travel, the driver who crossed the center line is presumed to be at fault for  causing any injuries and damages sustained.

The experienced Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm of Due’ Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. specializes in car wreck injury and wrongful death cases.  If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of a car wreck, contact one of our experienced lawyers for a free consultation.

Scott-Andrews-1-150x150B. Scott Andrews has been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the 2020 Top 50 lawyers in the State of Louisiana across all practice areas. The determination was made based on Super Lawyers’ patented multi-phase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Louisiana lawyers who received the highest point totals during this selection process were recognized as the 2020 Top 50 Louisiana Super Lawyers.

B. Scott Andrews is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana boutique personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews, L.C. The law firm specializes in handling complex and catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims exclusively on behalf of injured victims and their families.

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