Articles Tagged with Damages

One of the most frequently asked questions our New Orleans personal injury attorneys receive from car accident victims is – “How much is my personal injury case is worth?” As every individual case is different, with a variety of factors taken into consideration to evaluate the value of the suit, it can be challenging to provide a simple answer that covers every unique scenario.

Generally speaking, however, we understand which factors are taken into account when determining the value of your case, as well as the types of damages (or compensation) that you may receive from your claim. Trust in the dependable Louisiana personal injury attorneys of Cardone Law Firm to provide you with the most valuable information and stability you deserve to get your life back on track.

When it comes to understanding the value of your personal injury case and the type of damages that you may receive, consider the following information.

Recently Tow truck a tow truck rammed into a mid-city parking lot killing three and injuring one.  The tow truck driver was also transported by EMS to a local hospital for injuries he sustained.

According to preliminary reports, the tow truck driver lost control and struck pedestrians waiting at a bus stop as well as four parked vehicles. While investigators are still trying to ascertain what caused the devastating accident, the ultimate question is: Who will be found liable for the damages?

In Louisiana there are two types of damages: 1) compensatory damages and 2) punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish and deter certain types of conduct which the law finds to be particularly egregious. Punitive damages are explicitly provided for only in certain circumstances such as: intoxicated drivers, sexual crimes against children, and domestic violence. Punitive damages are the additional damages, which are received over and above compensatory damages. So if for example, the tow truck driver was found to be intoxicated and the intoxicated state was found to be the cause of the collision, the individuals who were injured could potentially recover punitive 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.

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.

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).

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in Portillo v. Progressive Paloverde Insurance Company recently had to decide whether or not respondeat superior would be applicable in the case. The victims of the car crash filed a lawsuit against the defendants for personal injuries sustained in a three-vehicle crash that occurred on July 8, 2011. The petition alleges that Mr. Robert Masters rear ended the victims while driving a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The petition further alleges that Mr. Masters was in the course and scope of his employment with Walker Volkswagen when the accident occurred, thereby imputing to Walker Volkswagen the fault and negligence of Mr. Masters under the theory of respondeat superior. Defendants subsequently moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted on April 11, 2013.

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:

A. The driver or rider of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call, or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, or when responding to, but not upon returning from, a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this Section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.

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.

Aggressive driving has been a problem on American roadways for a while, and it seems to only be getting worse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when a driver ‘commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property or is an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.’ Many road rage incidents occur when a driver is under stress in other areas of their life. The addition of congested traffic can add and multiply to this existing stress. This will then explode when a driver perceives that someone else on the road has acted in an aggressive way, whether intentional or not.

There are many behaviors that can cause road rage and should be avoided, including:

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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