Articles Tagged with Damages

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).

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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