Articles Posted in Louisiana Personal Injury Law

Scott Andrews was recently selected by his peers for the fourth time for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Plaintiff Personal Injury.   Scott Andrews is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C., specializing in wrongful death and serious personal injury cases.

First published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence.  Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation with nearly 87,000 industry leading lawyers from around the world eligible to vote.  For the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 7.8 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 60,000 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.

Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. attorney Kirk A. Guidry was recently recognized by his peers in Best Lawyers as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs in the Baton Rouge area.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer review assessments.

Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Although this process can be straightforward, when an individual suffers serious and complex injuries it can be very difficult to receive the medical treatment and reimbursement that you deserve. Our seasoned team of Louisiana work injury lawyers has seen firsthand just how critical it can be to have a dedicated legal professional on your side.

A recent appellate opinion discusses a situation in which a man suffered serious injuries in an elevator accident. The man worked for a public entity and earned weekly wages of $3,300. In 2011, he left his office on the eighth floor of the building at the end of the day and descended in the elevator. When it reached the third floor, it dropped suddenly and fell to the ground level. The impact was significant and the man suffered injuries to his knees, back, and hip.

The man underwent medical treatment, including an MRI that revealed serious injuries to these areas of his body. As a result of these injuries, he required bilateral knee surgery. Although he underwent significant treatment for his back injury, he was unable to manage the pain. He ultimately underwent surgery, but it was also unsuccessful. There were many additional medical treatments and tests that doctors performed related to the man’s injuries.

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There are many different ways that you can become injured on another person’s property, but one of the most common examples is a slip and fall incident. As seasoned Louisiana premises liability lawyers, we have helped many victims assert their right to compensation after a property owner failed to exercise appropriate care in keeping its premises safe.

In a recent appellate opinion, a plaintiff appealed from a motion dismissing his slip and fall personal injury lawsuit against a grocery store operator. According to his complaint, the plaintiff slipped on spilled rice in the supermarket. The defendant answered the complaint, denying the allegations, and later moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff had not proven that the defendant had actual notice or constructive notice that the rice had spilled. The defendant also contended that the record lacked any evidence that the defendant failed to use reasonable care.

The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a brief opposing the motion but did not attach any evidence or supporting affidavits. After the hearing, the trial court granted the motion, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the lower court erred in granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

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The 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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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.

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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Losing 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.

Although 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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When 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.

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In a recent Louisiana appellate opinion, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal considered an issue involving an accident that occurred on a public bus. In October 2010, the plaintiff boarded a bus in New Orleans and took a seat in the priority seating area behind the bus operator. As the bus departed from the bus stop, it was traveling behind a black truck. Shortly thereafter, the black truck applied its brakes suddenly before executing a turn, and the bus operator stopped the bus quickly to prevent a collision with the truck. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of the sudden stopping, he was ejected from his seat, landing on the floor near the bus doorway. The plaintiff was then taken to the hospital, where he received medical treatment for his injuries.

Following the incident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the bus driver, the transit authority, and additional defendants associated with the incident. The bus authority admitted that the vehicles are equipped with video surveillance devices, but the authority refused to produce the tape recording of the incident. After a bench trial proceeding, which is a trial in which a judge takes the place of a jury, the court returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff against the transit authority. The trial court concluded that the preceding phantom vehicle was 30% at fault and that the transit authority bus driver was 70% at fault and awarded nearly $700,000 in total damages (reduced by the phantom driver’s 30% fault). The plaintiff and the transit authority appealed.

On review, the transit authority alleged that the trial court improperly held it liable for the plaintiff’s damages and that it held the transit authority to the same legal standard of care as a common carrier. Instead, the transit authority alleged that the standard of general negligence should have been applied and that under this theory, the court should have concluded that the bus driver’s conduct did not fall below a reasonable standard of care. Finally, the transit authority alleged that the plaintiff did not prove that his alleged shoulder and knee injuries were caused by the accident.

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