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car accidentMany types of sports today have an option for a competitor to challenge a ruling made on the field, and to have that ruling analyzed again. Appeals of court rulings are not exactly like that. In the law, a lot of rulings by trial courts are entitled to a certain degree of deference, meaning that many appeals can only be successful (and the underlying ruling overturned) if that lower ruling was clearly unreasonable. What this means for you is that it is of paramount importance to be sure you are putting on your strongest possible presentation and arguments when you appear in the trial court, because it is a lot easier to argue for affirming your successful result than to argue to an appeals court for the reversal of an unsuccessful result in the trial court. To be sure you are making that strongest possible case, be sure you have representation from a skilled Louisiana injury attorney.

An example of how this process worked, and how one family won their injury case, was the accident involving a fifth-grader named C.T. C.T. and his seventh-grade brother were running near the edge of their front yard when a neighbor, S.M., struck C.T. with her SUV. Although the harm C.T. suffered was not life-threatening, he nevertheless suffered substantial injuries, including a concussion, a badly bruised leg and a hairline fracture of his hip. Due to the injuries, it took the boy 1-2 months to return fully to normal activities.

C.T.’s father sued S.M. and her auto insurer. The case proceeded as a “bench trial,” which means that the case was decided by a judge and not a jury. The defense’s primary argument was that the boy was to blame for the accident, as he “suddenly and without warning” ran into the path of S.M.’s SUV, and did so too late for the woman to avoid crashing into the child. After both sides presented their evidence to the court, the judge entered a ruling. The judge found S.M. 100% at fault for the accident and awarded almost $30,000 in damages to C.T.’s father.

wet floorSlip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents in Louisiana are, in some ways, somewhat similar to those types of cases in other states. In order to obtain compensation for your injuries, you need proof that the person or entity you’ve sued either caused the problem, knew about the problem (and did not act), or reasonably should have known about the problem (and did not act). Getting the evidence you need to succeed in your case is vitally important because a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury can be serious and can have life-altering effects on you. To make sure that you are amassing the proof you need, be sure you have retained the services of a knowledgeable New Orleans premises liability attorney.

One nearby slip-and-fall case that demonstrates what it takes, in terms of proof, was the lawsuit filed by D.F. D.F. was a shopper in a supermarket in Mandeville when she slipped in Aisle 12 on a clear liquid substance, suffering injuries as a result. When you go to a store, you probably presume that the store you’ve entered is safe for shoppers in all relevant areas. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

In Louisiana, the law says that you must prove one of three things in order to succeed in your slip-and-fall accident litigation against a merchant. You have to show that the store caused the hazard, that the store had “actual notice” that the hazard existed, or else that the store had “constructive notice” of the hazard. You can meet this last option (“constructive notice”) by showing that the store didn’t use sufficient care in inspecting the premises, and, if it had used reasonable care, it would have known about the problem.

distracted drivingThe problem of distracted driving is a massive one that, each year, takes a major toll on people traveling the country’s roads and highways. Although the number of people killed in distracted-driving deaths dropped from 2015 to 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded more than 3,400 such deaths in 2016. A major cause for distracted-driving wrecks is cell phone usage. If you have been hurt due a driver who was distracted by his/her cell phone, the law may allow you to recover substantial damages. Be sure you have an experienced New Orleans injury attorney on your side to help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.

Back in June, yet another fatal vehicle accident allegedly caused by distracted driving occurred in Louisiana. Police arrested a Terrebonne Parish man in connection with a fatal head-on accident on Highway 659 in Terrebonne, according to nola.com. At around 2:00 A.M., B.M. and R.N. were traveling in opposite directions on the highway when B.M.’s full-size pickup truck crossed the center line and slammed head-on into R.N.’s sedan. The accident caused minor injuries to B.M., moderate injuries to R.N.’s passenger and fatal injuries to R.N.

B.M. was arrested after law enforcement searched his cell phone. The search held “evidence of distraction,” according to the report. The report did not indicate if the proof showed B.M. to be texting while driving or using some other app or feature on the phone when the fatal crash took place.

Legal News GavelWhile you may not necessarily realize it, any elevator accident has the potential to be massively harmful. A fall of just a few floors can be extremely dangerous and damaging, especially if your accident involves an elevator stopped by an impact with the ground. The sudden stop can exert a profound jolt on your body. This can cause serious damage to feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips and your back. These injuries can include both broken bones and soft tissue damage. Regardless of how far you fell, you should take timely action to protect your rights and your ability to recover compensation for the harm you suffered. Reach out to put an experienced New Orleans injury attorney on your side.

One recent elevator accident case originated in the state’s capital. G.T. worked for the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals at the Bienville Building in downtown Baton Rouge. One day in early 2011, G.T. left his eighth-floor office at the end of the work day and took the elevator down, as usual. The trip was far from typical, however. As the elevator reached the third floor, it fell suddenly, plummeting all the way to the ground floor. The powerful impact caused G.T. to suffer serious injuries to his spine, hip and both knees. The injury forced the worker to undergo a bilateral knee arthroscopy. He also eventually needed multiple lumbar fusion surgeries to address his spinal injuries.

If you are injured in an elevator accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffered. The correct avenue for seeking that compensation may vary based upon the facts of your case. In G.T.’s situation, because the elevator accident that injured him occurred in the office building in which he worked, he was able to pursue, and obtain, compensation in the form of workers’ compensation benefits.

uninsuredclaim-300x200UNINSURED & UNDER-INSURED (“UM” & “UIM”) MOTORIST COVERAGE IN LOUISIANA

One of the most beneficial types of auto insurance coverage to have in Louisiana is uninsured motorist coverage. You can call on this coverage in your auto insurance policy when you are not at fault for the accident and have sustained damages caused by another driver who has no insurance, or whose insurance limits are insufficient to cover your damages.  You can also use your uninsured motorist coverage if you are the victim of a hit and run accident or if you are injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian. Uninsured motorist coverage and under-insured motorist coverage is the same thing in Louisiana, so if you have uninsured motorist coverage you also have under-insured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is abbreviated as “UM” or “UIM” insurance. Any claim made under this insurance is known as a nonfault claim.

Uninsured motorist coverage is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of liability coverage. Although the cost of uninsured motorist coverage has been increasing like all other auto insurance rates in Louisiana, comparatively speaking, uninsured motorist coverage is worth the cost considering the rising number of individuals driving without insurance because they cannot afford to pay their premiums. When I say uninsured insurance coverage is relatively inexpensive, I will give you my own personal frame of reference. For my Louisiana auto liability coverage, I personally pay $817.00 per year in premiums. For my uninsured motorist coverage, I pay $157.70 per year in premiums. To see if you have uninsured motorist coverage, you should check the declarations page of your auto insurance policy which you can download online or which you can get from your insurance agent.

Since Louisiana law considers a left-hand turn at an intersection one of the most dangerous moves a driver can attempt to make, and since “an oncoming driver has a right to assume that the left-turning motorist will… yield to her right-of-way,” the law establishes a very strong presumption that an accident involving a left-turning driver is legally the fault of the left-turning driver. Even if you were the left-turning driver, however, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in some situations. The key is, if you’ve been hurt, to consult an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney and find out more about the options available to you.Legal News Gavel

A real-life example from St. Tammany Parish, reported by nola.com, illustrates just how dangerous left turns can be. The collision took place at the intersection of Louisiana Highways 22 and 1085 near Madisonville. According to the report, a 16-year-old who was driving south on 1085 made a left-hand turn onto 22. While the girl fully stopped at the stop sign, she failed to yield to oncoming traffic when she pulled out and made her turn onto Highway 22. A full-size pickup truck slammed into the girl’s car on the driver’s side. The impact caused the truck to spin into another lane of traffic and hit a third car.

The driver of the third car and the driver of the truck were not hurt. The girl driving the turning car, along with her mother, who was riding alongside, died from their injuries. All involved were wearing seat belts, and none of the drivers was suspected of driving while impaired, according to the nola.com report.

Legal News GavelEach type of auto accident case comes with its own unique set of challenges. Multi-car accidents that cause injury can be especially tricky when it comes to asserting your legal rights. It may take skillful investigation to assess which driver was at fault and, therefore, liable to you for the harm you suffered. An experienced New Orleans injury attorney can help you collect the information you need and then apply it to pursue compensation for your damages.

A recent accident case from Lafayette was an example of how these factual differences can influence who is liable for your injuries. The accident involved a three-car rear-end crash where G.M. was the driver of the lead vehicle. T.S. was operating the second vehicle and B.G. was the driver of the third. Continue reading

Legal News GavelWhen you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it is undoubtedly a stressful time. You should not, however, lose sight of the fact that you and your family may have certain rights and that you’ll may encounter a business entity on the other side seeking to get you to sign away those rights. Commercial trucking and insurance companies have skilled lawyers looking out for their interests. Make sure you have a knowledgeable New Orleans truck accident attorney on your side to help you protect your rights and get the compensation you and your family deserve.

Central Louisiana was the site of a recent crash that illustrated just how serious these collisions can be. KALB-TV reported that a large box truck driven by a 30-year-old man was headed westbound on Highway 28 when the driver crossed the center line. The box truck driver was attempting to pass another westbound vehicle on the two-lane road.

The box truck slammed head-on into an eastbound pickup truck. The damage was extensive. The pickup truck’s 86-year-old driver died at the scene. The crash also impacted two other cars, with one of those drivers suffering minor injuries, according to KALB.

Cliff-Cardone-DWI-Checkpoint_Redacted2-1-300x225On July 19, 2018, the court ordered our client’s driver’s license be reinstated because he was improperly arrested at a DWI checkpoint on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. DWI checkpoints on Tchoupitoulas Street are frequently conducted by the New Orleans Police Department, in part, because their station is nearby which makes transportation of the arrested fairly quick and easy.

When clients come to us and have been charged with a DWI, the first thing we do is look into all aspects of the arrest and charge. When a person is charged with a DWI at a checkpoint, an important consideration is the client’s constitutional rights.

In this case, our client was charged with a DWI after entering a checkpoint and his license was suspended. We challenged the DWI and license suspension based on the failure of the New Orleans Police Department to follow proper and necessary protocol for DWI sobriety checkpoints. When a client is stopped at a checkpoint and then charged with a DWI, we turn to the case law and Louisiana statutes to see if appropriate procedures were followed.

car crashThere can be many different elements that go into achieving the legal outcome you need in your auto accident injury case. For some injured people, one of those elements is being allowed to pursue not only the other driver, but that driver’s employer. This option can be very important because many drivers may be individuals with limited assets and an auto insurance policy with a low policy limit. It is entirely possible that the harm you suffered exceeds the driver’s assets and the insurance policy’s limit. However, when your case also names an employer like a major national corporation, you have an improved chance of obtaining the full amount of damages that you proved. A knowledgeable New Orleans injury attorney can help you to provide the court with the proof and argument you need to establish this essential “vicarious liability.”

K.T. was a driver who found herself in this type of situation. She was driving in Lafayette when her vehicle was hit by another vehicle (the latter driven by V.B.). V.B. was headed home at the time of the accident, and she also received a citation for “failure to yield” as a result of the incident.

At this point, you might think that K.T. has a strong case against V.B., but that the only compensation K.T. could obtain would be from V.B. (and her insurer). K.T.’s case is an example of how in-depth legal knowledge can take you (and your case) further. A skilled advocate knows to “dig deeper” and the additional information unearthed may produce an even stronger case. In this accident, V.B. was only her way home from a training course that her supervisor recommended to her. That information led K.T.’s counsel to sue, not only V.B. but also V.B.’s employer (a major nationwide chain of pharmacies).