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beerWhen someone engages in improper conduct that injures you or a loved one, you’ll need to clear several hurdles to obtain compensation. Sometimes, the specific hurdles in your case may appear extraordinarily challenging or even impossible. Fortunately, though, many cases provide multiple different avenues for securing a verdict and damages award in your favor. With skilled counsel, you may be able to clear what seem like insurmountable obstacles. A case involving a tragic auto accident from Central Louisiana provides an illustration of this point.

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rabbit-holeA man who seriously injured his ankle when he was walking across a grassy lawn was unable to recover damages for the injuries he suffered. He lost because the owner of property was a public entity, and, according to the law of premises liability as applied to public entities, the hole did not represent an “unreasonable risk of harm.” The ruling by the Louisiana Court of Appeal highlights the differences that can exist in pursuing a premises liability case against a public entity as opposed to a private one.

The injured man in this case, Marcushawn Smith, was walking across a piece of property that was owned by the City of Ville Platte’s Housing Authority. The property contained a grassy lawn and also some sidewalks around the lawn. Smith bypassed the sidewalks and chose to walk through the grassy area when he stepped into a hole that was 4-5 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Smith fell and seriously injured his ankle in the incident. The man sued the housing authority for premises liability, specifically for failing to maintain the grassy area in a proper and safe manner. The housing authority asked the court to throw out the case, and the trial judge did so.

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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.

The Cardone Law Firm has handled cases very similar to this horrible tragedy that occurred on the Belle Chasse Bridge. Our firm successfully represented a high school student who suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a car on the Crescent City Connection. On July 10, 1993, the victim was injured in an accident on the Eastbank approach to the Crescent City Connection when he, along with others, was attempting to push a vehicle which was stalled in the left lane of travel. The evidence of the case showed that the victim had gone bowling on the Westbank with five of his friends. The friends’ ages ranged from 16 years to 18 years old. Sometime after 11:00 p.m., the group of friends left the bowling alley, stopped at a convenience store for soft drinks and snacks, and headed home. As the group of friends were traveling across the Crescent City Connection, they noticed a stalled vehicle in the far left lane on the approach to the bridge. The victim and his friends then noticed a woman walking towards them from the direction of the bridge. They also saw that the woman was pregnant and that she had a young child with her. Once the boys saw the dangerous situation the lady was in, the driver of their vehicle pulled the automobile in the right hand emergency lane, put on his emergency blinkers, and the boys then left to help her and move the stalled vehicle to a safer position. The testimony in the case also established that before three of the boys began pushing, the group noticed that a police car had pulled into the right emergency lane, on the other side of the bridge. The facts established the police officer looked at them, that at least two of the boys waved to the police officer trying to indicate that they needed help, and that when the police officer pulled up there was no stalled or congested traffic that would have prevented the officer from seeing or hearing them. The police officer did nothing to assist them, nor made any action to move his vehicle from the right side of the bridge to the left side of the bridge, so thinking they had the police officer’s approval, three of the boys began pushing the stalled vehicle.

As the boys began to push the vehicle, the victim was positioned at the right rear of the stalled car. Two of the friends pushed the car as one was steering the vehicle; the three others remained on the far left side of the bridge. Shortly after the boys began pushing the automobile, and while the officer was parked across the bridge, a vehicle driven by the defendant crashed into the right rear of the vehicle striking the victim. The victim was thrown into the air and landed further up the bridge approach. As a result of the injuries received in the accident, the victim’s left leg was amputated above the knee. He went through numerous subsequent surgeries and skin grafts. He underwent physical therapy to relearn how to walk, and his doctors advised him that he still would be required to undergo additional surgeries in the future. Our personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm were able to receive a settlement in the case in excess of $1 million dollars. The money that we were able to receive for the victim paid for his medical injuries, future medical expenses, and for mental pain and anguish.

Pulled from the pages of a science fiction novel, the future of medicine has a new technological twist. As the old fashioned human surgeon takes a step away from the patient and a step towards the computer, robotic-assisted surgery has been sweeping the world by storm and revolutionizing the method operations are performed. However, like many technological innovations, robotic surgery is not human-proof and the errors can be deadly.1114470_robotic.jpg

The prominent system for robotic surgery is the Da Vinci Robotic System. This system has been designed to facilitate typically complex surgery with computer assisted precision. The surgeon controls the device from a computer console and the robot arm can go beyond human physical capabilities in delicate procedures. Intuitive Surgical is the company responsible for the system, getting FDA approval in 2000. Since approval, the system gained ground and it is estimated that over 200,000 surgeries were performed by the Da Vinci system in 2012 alone.

With the rise in robot surgeries, a disturbing amount of litigation has developed around the system. Lawsuits alleging burns, lacerations, heat damage to arteries and organs, nerve damage, sepsis, and other injuries caused from the Da Vinci system has created a new futuristic genre of medical malpractice. But like any other technology, the injuries can be traced back to human error. The FDA has even launched an investigation to probe several recent deaths as a result of Da Vinci surgeries. If you or a loved one has encountered pain, suffering, or injury as a result of or in the aftermath of robotic-assisted surgery, you are best advised to contact a knowledgeable Louisiana medical malpractice attorney.

Injuries have spanned the gamut of minor, such as a patient being struck in the face by the robotic arm of the Da Vinci system during surgery as Time magazine reported in their survey of bizarre injuries experienced during robotic surgeries, to more serious injuries including death.

A typical splenectomy that ended fatally for the patient led to a much publicized wrongful death suit against the Da Vinci system. In 2012, a jury awarded the family of an Illinois man $7.5 million in damages after a surgeon, performing his first Da Vinci-assisted surgery on a human patient, accidentally punctured the man’s intestines which led to an infection and ultimately death post-op in 2007.

Another wrongful death suit out of Washington state revealed the deep running flaws in how the Da Vinci surgical system is operated. During the trial, the Director of Marketing for the company responsible for the system, Intuitive Surgical, testified before the jury that the company researched, identified and targeted doctors and surgeons who had a limited surgical history and/or were marked as “lacking in surgical skills”. The system would supposedly aid their abilities and allow hospitals to permit more surgeries. The attorneys for the plaintiffs also alleged that Intuitive Surgical consulted with hospitals to lower standards on who may operate the robotic systems.

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Home damage and personal injuries
In the last weeks of March, rainstorms and flooding led to extensive damage for many homeowners. Currently, the estimate is over 75 houses in the surrounding areas of Baton Rouge were damaged.Volunteers for Red Cross and Salvation Army were on the scene to assist needy residents.1359070_rainy_day.jpg

Not all homes are accounted for that may have suffered rain damage, and it is important to know what may and may not be recoverable from home insurance in the case of home damage as a result of rainy weather. Generally, homeowner insurance does not cover flooding damages but water damage that was due to a storm, or was permitted to get into your home because of damage made by the storms winds, may be covered. Water damage that was the result of possibly negligent upkeep, such as leaky pipes, would not likely be covered. It is a homeowner’s responsibility to limit and mitigate damages in the event of a storm. Two major steps are the safe removal of water to prevent mold and the attentive repairing of holes and broken windows caused by the storm.

In the insurance process, you will want a qualified attorney to assist in the report of your potential claims to ensure prompt and accurate insurance payout and limit potential personal negligent liability for your damages.

Rain storm damage does not cease at property damage bur rather many personal injury cases are founded on slip and falls or other injuries from rain created hazards. This month a Louisiana woman filed suit against a grocery store for an injury sustained from a slippery floor wet from the rain.

Automobile damage
Slippery roads and hazardous driving conditions leave many people with auto damage from a number of sources. Falling tree branches, flooding, and weather related accidents can often lead to thousands of dollars in repairs if you can properly file suit against responsible parties and secure your deserved insurance settlement. Furthermore, personal injuries can amount to additional short term and long term costs. In severe cases, wrongful death suits may need to be brought on behalf of someone involved in one of these accidents. Tragically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 11% of traffic fatalities stem from accidents involving hazardous weather. Contact a qualified attorney to assist you in getting what’s rightfully yours and defending you from wrongful liability.

Quick What-to-do
Most Louisianans rely on their vehicle to get to work and home, rain or shine. However, should you be unable to operate your vehicle in hazardous weather conditions it is vital to limit your risk to others and yourself. Remain in your vehicle and stay calm. Keep one window cracked for air circulation and ensure the vehicle is off or, if on, the exhaust pipe is clear of obstruction. Carefully attach a bright visible signal, such as a plastic bag or cloth, to your vehicle to alert other drivers in reduced visibility.

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The BP rig explosion caused the worst environmental disaster in U, S. history. While the Gulf of Mexico may be back according to most environmentalists, there are thousands of businesses along the Gulf Coast that have not been compensated for their losses.

Now, because of the settlement confected by and between all of the parties to the litigation that has ensued, there is a fund of money set aside to pay for economic business losses and you DON’T even have to prove that the spill caused those losses!! If you can show a drop in gross revenues in 2010 compared to 2011, you may be eligible for money compensation.

Realtors, Medical Practices, Lawyers, Retailers, Contractors, Hotels, Bars, Restaurants, Suppliers, CPAs and others may qualify for a recovery!!