Articles Posted in Damages

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).

Normally when a person thinks of an emergency vehicle, such as a fire truck, ambulance, or police car, he or she thinks of the different ways in which these emergency personal can help people in the time of a crises. However, these emergency vehicles do cause crashes and at a rate higher than a person would expect. These emergency vehicles are usually in a rush to another car crash, injury, or crime and forget that they have certain duties to other drivers on the road as well. From 1991 to 2000, the most recent years for which data is available, 300 fatal crashes occurred involving ambulances, resulting in the deaths of 82 ambulance occupants and 275 occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians. The 300 crashes involved a total of 816 ambulance occupants. Statistics also show that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters. Fire truck crashes, occurring at a rate of approximately 30,000 per year, have potentially dire consequences for the vehicle occupants and for the community if the fire truck was traveling to provide emergency services. Due to the sheer size of the ambulance, fire truck, or other emergency vehicles, the injuries sustained from such a collision can be catastrophic. Louisiana law provides different duties for emergency vehicles if certain criteria have been met. Because of the complicated legal issues that arise when dealing with these types of crashes, it is important to have an experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer on your side to know how to handle such a crash.

Louisiana Revised Statute 32:24 holds the key to what duties emergency vehicles have and when they apply. It provides:

In this new age of technology the use of social media has taken over the daily lives of people. As a society, people crave for attention and are constantly posting pictures of their daily activities including where they are, who they are with, and what they are eating each and every day. This constant posting on social media websites has become another arrow in the quiver of legal defense firms. As Judge Richard Walsh stated, “Only the foolish or uninitiated could believe that Facebook is an online lockbox for your secrets.” These social media websites have become very important impeachment tools for the opposing party. The credibility of the plaintiff will be shattered if he or she is caught on the internet running, jogging, or any other physical activities if in the lawsuit they are claiming injuries that will affect this aspect of life.

A recent case shows the ability of the defense to use these websites as evidence to impeach the credibility of the plaintiff(s). In McMiller v. HummingBird Speedway, Inc. the victim filed suit against the defendant for rear ending him during a cool down lap following a July 7, 2007 stock car race. The plaintiff alleged substantial injuries including possible permanent impairment, loss and impairment of general health, strength, and inability to enjoy certain pleasures of life. As the discovery process progressed, the defendants of the law suit discovered pictures and comments from a fishing trip and attendance to the Daytona 500 race in Florida. The Court in the case held that this information was public information and could be used in trial against the victim. The Court also allowed the defendants to receive the login information for the plaintiff to search for any other post or tweets concerning the fishing trip and racing adventure in Florida. Smoking guns such as these pictures or comments will severely affect your case. This is why it is necessary to have an experienced New Orleans attorney on your side to navigate you through these issues that can affect your case.

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A recent lawsuit has been filed by a tenant in an apartment building who allegedly injured herself after she stepped in an uncovered hole. Denise Sanders filed suit against Eagle Investments, Inc. and its insurer in the 24th Judicial District Court of Jefferson Parish. The plaintiff alleges that she is a tenant of an apartment complex in the City of Avondale and that while she was walking in the complex she tripped and fell after stepping in the uncovered hole. She contends that she has sustained serious personal injuries from the incident. The defendant is accused of failing to inspect the property, failing to properly maintain the property, failing to warn tenants of defective conditions, and allowing a dangerous and defective condition to exist. Damages are being sought for pain and suffering, permanent damage, loss of enjoyment of life, and medical expenses.

Many trip and fall lawsuits are complicated and need a highly experienced attorney to prove the necessary elements. These types of lawsuits are usually governed by Article 2317.1 of the Louisiana Civil Code. The article provides that “The owner or custodian of a thing is answerable for damage occasioned by its ruin, vice, or defect, only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the ruin, vice, or defect which caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.” Res Ipsa Loquitur is a legal theory that will allow a jury to use circumstantial evidence to find that there is negligence when there is no direct evidence of the actual happening of the event. A classic example where this legal theory comes into play is in a medical malpractice action when a patient is injured while under anesthesia and the patient was injured in a place that is remote from the surgical site.

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Attorney Cliff Cardone has had the privilege of successfully representing multiple victims in a tragic accident that occurred at the Louisiana Superdome. During a Saints’ football game on December 16, 2007, an elevator crashed with 18 people on board which caused life changing injuries. Mr. Cardone was able to receive settlements for many of the victims, but did go to trial on behalf of the three remaining passengers. Judge Ethel S. Julien presided over the non-jury trial and found in favor of the three women who were parties to the case. The judge awarded over $2 million dollars in damages for surgeries, past and future mental and physical pain and suffering, past and future loss of enjoyment of life, past lost wages, future lost earning capacity, and past medical expenses.

The incident happened at the end of the football game as everyone was leaving the game. As the group of people were in the elevator, it went into a free-fall due to overcrowding. After being lifted back to an unloading position, the elevator fell again with the passengers on board. The judgment is against SMG, which is a private entity that manages the Superdome for the state. In 2012, attorneys for SMG argued that the company was only liable for a maximum amount of $500,000 dollars in damages. Louisiana law provides that there is a monetary cap of $500,000 dollars for claims against the state. SMG tried to argue that since there was a contractual relationship with the Louisiana Superdome and Exposition District that this cap would apply to them and that they could not be held liable for any amount over $500,000 dollars. However, the judge rejected this argument and allowed Mr. Cardone to proceed with their case in which they received an amount vastly greater than the cap.

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A recent incident occurred that could have easily been prevented. David Jackson, 26, became involved in a road rage incident with a 50 year old male driver of a 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck. The incident started when Jackson flung a cigarette butt outside of his vehicle hitting the side of the pickup truck. When this occurred, the driver of the pickup truck followed the car and cut it off on purpose. The dispute raged on for a few miles on Interstate 10 until the driver of the car, Jackson, pulled out a gun and fired three bullets at the truck on I-10 near Williams Boulevard. Inside the truck was the driver’s 10 year old son, who suffered a graze wound and is in stable condition. After the shots were fired, the driver of the pickup truck rammed into Jackson’s car to make sure he would not get away. Jackson was eventually arrested by the police and charged for multiple felonies.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for gathering with family and friends. The holidays are also, regrettably, a time of increased incidences of people drinking and driving. If you or a loved one is injured by a drunk driver, it is important to understand what the law allows you to do, and what steps you should take.

Recent accidents in Calcasieu and Washington parishes highlight the risks, and potentially tragic consequences, of driving while intoxicated. When someone is injured in Louisiana as a result of another’s drunk driving, that person is entitled to recover for the damages caused by the drunk driver. Article 2315 of the Louisiana Civil Code generally provides a right to sue for damages, and Article 2315.4 specifically adds a right to seek exemplary damages in cases where the injured person proves that the driver acted with “wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others.”

You may be unfamiliar with the term “exemplary damages,” but may recognize them as “punitive” damages. Injured persons rarely recover exemplary damages in auto accident actions, except in cases involving drunk drivers. To succeed in receiving exemplary damages, you must show that the driver, in deciding to get behind the wheel in an impaired state, acted with conscious indifference to the consequences of his or her actions. This means that he or she knew or should have known that getting behind the wheel would likely lead to harm, but proceeded to drive anyway.

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A few months ago, the Cardone Law blog covered additional settlement funds available to businesses affected by the BP oil spill. Recently there has been significant litigation and settlements revolving around Louisiana’s recent disasters.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Mexican government against BP Oil for damages arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP disclosed on May 1 that the firm has been named as a defendant in over 2,200 suits filed by Mexico since March 6.

Automobile accidents come in every shape and size, and victims who are lucky enough to survive this encounter can’t always easily just walk away. The Cardone Law firm just recently secured a settlement for a client for $430,000 for her soft-tissue injuries. One of the most common forms of injury suffered as a result of an automobile accident is called a soft-tissue injury. A soft-tissue injury is an injury affecting nearly anything except bones and organs.

Typically when the term soft-tissue is used in the personal injury field, it is referring to an injury to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or other similar tissue which usually presents itself in the form of sprains, bruises, or shallow abrasions. Whiplash is a common form of a soft-tissue injury as it strains the neck and back of the victim. The most common form of treatment for a soft-tissue injury is embodied in the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)

Leah, commuting in New Orleans, was involved in a low-impact accident when the defendant, driving a BMW, disregarded a stop sign and crashed into Leah’s vehicle. Leah had extensive pain associated with her injuries plus unexpected medical costs that she needed to now pay. The defendant insurance company didn’t feel that Leah could have possibly sustained such painful and longstanding injuries from such a minor accident.

Our experienced legal team was able to secure a settlement for Leah in the amount of $430,000.00. This amount ensured Leah received proper compensation for the injuries she suffered, both short and long term. As such, justice was served.

Things to remember:
If you are injured in a car accident it is important to exchange insurance information (even in minor fender benders should future injuries present themselves), contact your insurance company and contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Remember, in Louisiana you only have one year within which to file a lawsuit. Should you fail to file a suit timely, you will forever lose your rights to recover any compensation whatsoever. An experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with this prescriptive period in Louisiana.
By the way, if you have suffered property damage to your vehicle along with your personal injury, you not only have a right to recover for the repair to your car, but you may also recover money for the diminished value of your repaired automobile! Typically, most attorney’s fail to make a Diminished Value claim on behalf of people who have sustained property damage to their vehicles. We at the Cardone Law Firm always determine if such a claim exists for our clients..

As a side note, Louisiana is a “comparative fault” jurisdiction with regard to personal injury negligence. “Comparative fault” means that even a party partially at fault in a personal injury action may recover for their damages. However, this amount may be reduced by the amount of responsibility of that party. You should not settle away a valid claim because you feel partially responsible.

Negotiations with experienced and savvy insurance adjusters should not be taken lightly. Those coming to the table against insurance companies must be reminded that they are settling and ending any possible suit for property damage, personal injury, medical costs, and many other remedies available under Louisiana law. A knowledgeable Louisiana car accident attorney is vital in calculating all applicable forms of compensation.

We at the Cardone Law Firm can handle all of your needs when you’re involved in a life-altering car wreck. So, if you, a friend or a loved one is involved in a wreck, simply Phone Cardone at 504-522-3333 or 1-888-89-CARDONE(1-888-892-2736)

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