Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Deputies with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office were looking for a 30 year old woman operating a 2010 Chevrolet truck who was reported to be driving in an unsafe manner, when the woman caused a four vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 27. The truck crossed the center line and sideswiped a couple of vehicles and then collided head-on with another truck, resulting in the woman’s death.

According to the Louisiana State Police, 65% of vehicle occupants killed in 2009 in Louisiana wrecks were not properly restrained.
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On March 16, 2011, a 39 year old Galliano, Louisiana woman was killed and her passenger critically injured, at the intersection of Louisiana 3161 and Louisiana 3235 in Cut Off, Louisiana, when the Lafourche Parish woman failed to yield to oncoming traffic and turned left in front of an 18 wheeler.

Under Louisiana law, a left turning motorist is presumed to be at fault if the collision occurs in the favored lane of travel. A high burden is placed on the left turning motorist to exculpate himself or herself from civil liability for injuries and damages caused by the left turn.
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In Louisiana, “[t]o establish a claim for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the standard of care applicable to the defendant; (2) the defendant breached that standard of care; and (3) there was a causal connection between the breach and the resulting injury. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2794.2.

Expert testimony is generally required to establish the applicable standard of care and whether or not that standard was breached, except where the negligence is so obvious that a lay person can infer negligence without the guidance of expert testimony. ***

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, we are not free to simply disregard the … unopposed expert medical evidence.”

Schultz v. Guoth, 2010-0343 (La. 1/19/01), citing Samaha v. Rau, 07-1726 (La. 2/26/08), 977 So.2d 880, 883, and Pfiffner v.Correa, 94-0924 (La. 10/17/94), 643 So.2d 1228.

Based on the foregoing, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and granted summary judgment in favor of a defendant obstetrician who offered a unanimous medical review panel opinion in his favor and an affidavit of one the medical review panel members in support of his motion. The plaintiff, whose baby was still born allegedly as a result of the medical malpractice, produced no expert testimony or counter-affidavit.
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Shortly before midnight on January 6, 2011, a 65 year old California man was struck by an 18 Wheeler on Interstate 20 in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, as he exited the driver’s side of his parked vehicle.

Parking on the shoulder of a busy highway is extremely dangerous and should be avoided unless there is a serious emergency and parking on the shoulder is unavoidable. In that instance, one should consider exiting the vehicle on the side away from the highway to avoid walking into the path of another vehicle.
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The Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews was selected for first tier (those firms that scored within a certain percentage of the highest scoring firms) inclusion in the 2010 inaugural rankings of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”, in the practice areas of Personal Injury Plaintiffs and Product Liability Plaintiffs. “The selection involved surveying thousands of law firm clients; leading lawyers and law firm managers; partners and associates; and marketing officers and recruiting officers. Each were asked what factors they considered vital for clients hiring law firms, for lawyers choosing a firm to refer a legal matter to, and for lawyers seeking employment.”

“Client and lawyer surveys collected mostly reputational data. Using a scale of 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest), clients voted on expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to a firm. Lawyers voted on expertise, responsiveness, integrity, cost-effectiveness, and whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor.”

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in Guillot v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2008-1485 (La. App. 4 Cir. 9/24/10), upheld awards of $2,775,000 to a mother and $2,100,000 to a father for the death of their 17 day old brain damaged baby who was surgically removed from the mother’s abdomen following an accident, and was removed from life support 17 days later. The mother was pinned between the vehicle door and a brick column when the defective Jeep Cherokee rolled backwards.

The Court of Appeal reasoned as follows: “We do not find that the trial court abused its vast discretion with respect to the general damage award, nor do we find that the award shocks the conscience. It is indisputable that the unique facts of this case are extraordinarily tragic. Additionally, the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that ‘[t]he determination of the severity of mental anguish of distress resulting from the death of another is a fact question which depends upon several components, including, but not limited to, the closeness of the ties between the parties, the degree of love in the relationship, and the length of the relationship.’ Herbert v. Webre, 2008-0060 (La.5/21/08), 982 So.2d 770, n. 7 (citing Hill v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co., 05-1783 (La.7/10/06), 935 So.2d 691, 695).”

A Kinder, Louisiana man on a Honda three-wheel motorcycle was killed on August 26, 2010 on U.S. Highway 165, when a 2004 GMC truck operated by a Lake Charles man allegedly made an illegal left turn across the motorcycle’s path from the shoulder of the highway in an attempt to access a cross-over.

All too often motorcycle operators are injured or killed because vehicle operators “did not see” the motorcycle.” This is no excuse. Vehicle operators are required to keep a proper look out and see all other vehicles on the road, including motorcycles.
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A St. Charles Parish woman burned last Wednesday in Paradis, Louisiana, has died as a result of her severe burn injuries. The victim was found by the local volunteer fire department outsider her home and was transported to the Baton Rogue General Mid-City Burn Center. Investigators believe natural gas piping in the kitchen leaked, resulting in a gas vapor explosion.

Since 1970, Baton Rouge, Louisiana has been fortunate to be the home of the Baton Rouge General Burn Center. The Burn Center cares for more than 800 burn victims every year suffering from flame, scald, electrical, chemical and other burn-related injuries. The burn center is one of only 125 specialized burn centers in the United States.
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On August 20, 2010, another Yamaha Rhino rollover accident claimed the life a Louisiana woman and injured a Louisiana teenager. The accident occurred on La. Highway 124 around Harrisonburg, Louisiana. The Louisiana woman lost control of the 2004 Yamaha Rhino and exited the right side of the road, and then reentered the road and began rolling over.

The Yamaha Rhino is increasingly the subject of product liability lawsuits alleging instability because abrupt maneuvers or aggressive driving cause rollovers even on flat, open areas.
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A motorcycle accident in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, claimed the life of a Minden, Louisiana woman on August 15, 2010. The motorcycle accident occurred on U.S. Highway 80. A wet roadway from a recent rain is a suspected factor in the crash. According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, there have been 29 deaths from Louisiana motorcycle accidents in 2010.
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