Articles Posted in Damages

The City of New Orleans is known for its eccentric, vibrant and welcoming attractions; but with fun comes human error. Tourists come to the city with one thing in mind, partying! On July 30th, tourists were partaking in an infamous tour of the city when a vehicle collided with a mule-drawn carriage in the French Quarter. News outlets reported the vehicle was going at a high speed when the driver turned the corner and exerted so much force that the carriage overturned.

A woman whose vehicle was sideswiped obtained a judgment and damages award for herself but not her children in a recent case decided by a District Court in Jefferson Parish. That ruling was affirmed by the Louisiana Court of Appeal. Despite testimony from the children and their chiropractor, the appeals court nevertheless determined that the trial court’s decision was not so unreasonable as to require reversal.

The crash occurred on Williams Boulevard in Jefferson Parish. A vehicle driven by Joel Hashim moved from the left lane to the center lane of the road and, in the process, struck the vehicle driven by Regina Tezeno, who was already traveling in the center lane. The total damage amounted to one lost headlight and scraped paint. Tezeno sued Hashim and his auto insurer for personal injuries on behalf of herself and her two children. At a trial without a jury, the judge heard evidence and found Hashim 100% at fault. The judge awarded Tezeno $5,535 in damages. The children recovered nothing.

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Insurance companies sometimes seek out ways to deny a claim even if the person making the claim is entitled to be paid. Sometimes, even when they pay, insurance companies delay an excessively long time in doing so. Such an excessive delay was the basis of an Ascension Parish man’s lawsuit against his auto insurer. The man lost his case, though, after a trial court and the Louisiana Court of Appeal decided that the insurance company’s payment was made in a timely manner, even though the man’s lawyer did not receive the insurance company’s check until three days after the deadline imposed by the Louisiana Statutes.

The case arose from a 2010 auto accident involving Beau Schexnaildre and Nathan Spicer. Spicer was at fault, and the two sides eventually settled Schexnaildre’s claim through Spicer’s insurance. After that resolution, Schexnaildre also sought payment from his own insurance company, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., under the terms of his underinsured motorist coverage. Thirty-three days after Schexnaildre made his claim, his lawyer received a check from State Farm for $25,000, the limit of the man’s underinsured motorist coverage.

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Most drivers have, at some point, found themselves in the position of sitting at a stop sign and needing to navigate a cross street with stopped traffic. Sometimes, there’s even a “helpful” driver who waves for you to proceed. A woman in that position lost her case before the Louisiana Court of Appeal recently because she did not exercise the required degree of caution before crossing an intersection. The decision highlights that an anonymous driver’s waving does not diminish the level of care that the law requires of drivers at stop signs.

The accident that led to the lawsuit occurred at an intersection of two city streets in Monroe. Betty Blount was driving on North 8th Street and was stuck at the intersection of 8th and Louisville Avenue. As a result of another accident, traffic on Louisville was stopped in the outer lane. After spending several minutes waiting at the intersection, both Blount and her passenger, Joseph Solomon, saw a driver in the outer westbound Louisville lanes wave them through. Blount entered the intersection and was struck by a different driver, Sarah Tugwell, who was in the inner westbound lane.

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Sometimes it is the auto or motorcycle accident you avoid that still leads to an injury. Two men whose vehicles narrowly missed each other on Highway 431 in Ascension Parish eventually ended up in a fistfight that left one man with a bitten nose and both men in court as a result of the bitten man’s injuries. Since the trial court had enough evidence to conclude that the biter was the aggressor, and not biting in self-defense, the Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision to award the bitten man past and future medical expenses.

The source of the incident began when Clifford Barr attempted to turn left from Louisiana Highway 431 into the parking lot of an auto service shop. At the same time, Ray Schexnayder was turning from the lot onto the highway in his truck. The two trucks narrowly avoided colliding, and both men stopped their vehicles in the roadway, and a verbal quarrel ensued.

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An insurance company and an auto auction company will not face being sued for spoliation of evidence based upon their negligent failure to preserve a vehicle involved in an auto accident that injured the vehicle’s driver. The Louisiana Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s law does not recognize a civil claim for negligent spoliation of evidence, although the companies’ failure may allow the injured driver to sue for breach of contract.

In March 2008, a multi-vehicle wreck left Richard Reynolds injured and his car totaled. Reynolds sued one of the other drivers, Robert Bordelon III, for negligence for his role in the accident. In addition to suing Bordelon, Reynolds also advanced claims against the manufacturer of his 2003 Infiniti G35, stemming from the car’s failure to deploy its airbags in the crash. Despite the driver’s alleged requests to the contrary, the auction company that took possession of the Infiniti on behalf of Reynolds’s insurer did not preserve the car, which meant that it was never inspected for defects.

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In a recent Southeastern Louisiana case, the expert testimony of two doctors, along with a driver’s own testimony, was not enough to secure a verdict in the driver’s injury lawsuit against the owner of her trailer park. Since a jury’s finding can only be overturned when it is blatantly erroneous, and evidence existed in the driver’s case that cast doubt on the credibility of the driver’s testimony and that of her doctors, the Louisiana Court of Appeal concluded that the verdict was not reversible.

The case centered around Wendy Richardson’s single-car accident in July 2011. Allegedly, the driver’s vehicle lurched when the right rear tire landed in a hole in the surface of one the entrances to the trailer park where Richardson lived. The driver claimed that the accident caused her to suffer serious neck injuries that required spinal surgery to address.

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A Jefferson Parish couple received a damages award in excess of $300,000 after their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter broke her arm while playing on a piece of playground equipment meant for children ages five and up. The fact that the child’s daycare satisfied the state’s standards for the minimum teacher-to-child supervision ratios did not automatically shield it from liability. Even though the daycare was adequately staffed, the Louisiana Court of Appeal decided that it could be found liable for not preventing the child from playing on equipment unsafe for someone of her age.

The accident victim was Kaitlyn Skillman, a toddler who attended the daycare facility owned and operated by the Riverside Baptist Church in Jefferson Parish. In September 2010, the 19-month-old girl fell from some playground equipment and injured her arm. The playset from which the child fell was recommended for children no younger than age five.

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A recent tragedy has occurred that could have been easily prevented. A crash on the Belle Chasse Bridge caused one man to be seriously injured and another to be killed. On the morning of the crash the conditions were cold and rainy causing the roads to be dangerous. A 2007 Ford F-150 driven by Ruben Vela Rodriguez of Pharr, TX was traveling north on Highway 23 around 8:10 a.m. when he lost control of the truck while crossing over the metal drawbridge grating. State Police believe that the Ford F-150 was traveling at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle. The truck spun into the left lane and struck the bridge. The vehicle then caught on fire, and the driver was partially ejected from the truck. Both the passenger and driver were not wearing seatbelts. The passenger, whose identity is being withheld, was pronounced dead on the scene. A 2007 Ford Fusion, driven by Michelle Sylve of Port Sulphur, LA was driving behind the truck and could not stop in time. She crashed into the truck and suffered minor injuries. The personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have over 40 years of experience handling auto accidents. These car crashes can leave the victim and friends emotionally, financially, and physically devastated. Our personal injury team understands that when a person is looking for an attorney they are looking for someone to guide them through the legal process and, at the same time, avoid the pitfalls that will arise. That is why we have dedicated our careers fighting for injured people and their struggles securing the best possible financial recovery.

Louisiana Civil Code article 2320 is the foundation for the theory of respondeat superior, which in Latin means ‘Let the Master Answer.’ It states, “Masters and employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants and overseers, in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed.” Therefore, employers are only responsible for their employees’ actions if it occurs in the course and scope of their employment. Louisiana case law has created different factors and tests to apply this theory; however, there is no bright line rule in use.

Generally, an employee’s conduct is within the course and scope of his employment if the conduct is the kind that he is employed to perform (Orgeron v. McDonald). An employer will be responsible for the negligent acts of its employee when the conduct is so closely connected in time, place, and causation to the employment duties of the employee that it constitutes a risk of harm attributable to the employer’s business, as compared with conduct instituted by purely personal considerations entirely extraneous to the employer’s interest. In determining whether the employee’s conduct is employment related, the court assesses several factors, including the payment of wages by the employer; the employer’s power of control; the employee’s duty to perform the act in question; the time, place, and purpose of the act in relation to the employer’s service; the relationship between the employee’s act and the employer’s business; the benefits received by the employer from the act; the employer’s motivation for performing the act; and the employer’s reasonable expectation that the employee would perform the act (Woolard v. Atkinson).