Articles Posted in Negligence

louisiana_shrimp_boats_grand-1024x709In the realm of lawsuits, there are always two sides to the story, presenting challenges in determining who will emerge victorious. However, even when faced with factual disputes, there is still hope for success in your worker’s compensation claim. The case of David Thibodaux, a truck driver for Grand Isle Shipyard, serves as a prime example of overcoming obstacles in the pursuit of justice. Despite skepticism about the origin of his injuries and facing resistance from his employer, Thibodaux’s perseverance and the support of a skilled attorney led to a favorable outcome. This story emphasizes the crucial role of legal counsel in guiding individuals through the complexities of workers’ compensation claims and ensuring the presentation of compelling evidence to support their case.

Thibodaux was allegedly injured while working as a truck driver for Grand Isle Shipyard. He was driving a truck in Isabel, Louisiana picking up sand. His truck stalled in a pothole he had attempted to drive through, and the front axle of his truck broke. Thibodaux claimed the truck bounced around, and he hit his arm on an armrest. He was eventually able to stabilize the vehicle. 

Within a few days, Thibodaux informed his supervisor he was injured. He claimed his supervisor did nothing in response. Approximately eight days later, Grand Isle Shipyard terminated Thibodaux. He claimed at the time of his termination, he had not filed a workers’ compensation claim, nor had anyone at Grand Isle Shipyard informed him of how to file such a claim. However, before his termination, Thibodaux had visited his doctor related to the accident because of ear and neck pain. His doctor prescribed him various pain medications. Nevertheless, Thibodaux continued to have pain and sought additional medical treatment. 

green_mold_harmful_mold-1024x768A pre-existing illness requiring time off is difficult, especially if one believes the work environment is worsening the condition. However, proving the environment is the cause of the worsening condition is difficult to do. So, how can a pre-existing illness affect a worker’s compensation claim? What happens if you cannot prove a causal link between a work environment and a worsening condition? The following Louisiana Court of Appeals case helps answer these questions. 

Amy Duplechin was a teacher at St. Landry Parish School beginning in 2000. She suffered from a respiratory condition causing several absences from work. After a semester-long sabbatical, Duplechin claimed her condition worsened due to alleged exposure to mold in her classroom. She claimed she found mold on the back of a bookshelf and growth along the air conditioner’s side. 

According to the School Board, the mold was cleaned by Duplechin and the custodial staff, and she was moved to a new classroom. Duplechin claimed the School Board failed to pay indemnity benefits and medical benefits timely and sought payment of penalties and attorney fees. Still, the workers’ compensation judge decided the law favored the School Board. 

leon_congress_parliament_180330-768x1024Dreaming of your day in court? Understanding the crucial elements necessary to succeed in your claim is essential. When pursuing a negligence lawsuit, one of the most challenging elements to establish is proving that the other party caused your injuries. Failure to provide sufficient evidence demonstrating a factual dispute regarding the cause of your injuries may lead to the dismissal of your lawsuit at the summary judgment stage, even before stepping foot in a courtroom. This case highlights the significance of meeting the burden of proof on causation and the potential consequences of failing to do so.

Jerome Mackey fractured his clavicle and injured his hand when he fell off the roof of Ronald and Kim Thompson’s house while climbing down a ladder Ronald Thompson had provided him. The Thompsons had hired Mackey earlier in the day to put a new roof on their house. Mackey filed a lawsuit against the Thompsons. 

The Thompsons filed a summary judgment motion, arguing Mackey had no evidence establishing they had caused his accident. The Thompsons provided deposition testimony from Mackey and an individual working with Mackey but not involved in the lawsuit. The Thompsons claimed this deposition testimony established Mackey and the uninvolved individual were responsible for Mackey’s fall. To counter this evidence, Mackey also provided deposition testimony and an affidavit from a contractor hired to inspect and photograph the ladder and roof following the accident. The trial court granted the Thompsons’ summary judgment motion and dismissed the case. Mackey appealed. 

medical_care_medicine_health-1024x683When pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana, adhering to the necessary procedural requirements is crucial for a successful case. Failure to comply with statutory obligations can lead to legal battles centered around procedural technicalities rather than the merits of the claim.

That is the situation Lori Franks found herself in after she sent a letter to the Division of Administration at the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board (“PCF”) requesting a medical review panel. Franks sought review related to the medical care provided by Dr. Charlotte Hollman and a nurse practitioner, Deborah Gahagan, to her two minor twin sons, A.F. and C.F. She included a payment of $200 for the filing fee, which is $100 per defendant under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, La. R.S. 40:1231.8

The PCF assigned two file numbers to the request, one for each of the twin son’s claims. It allocated the entire $200 payment to A.F.’s filing fee. PCF then mailed a letter to Frank acknowledging they had received her claim and to go ahead with appointing an attorney chairman. PCF sent a separate letter the same day that only referenced C.F.’s claim and told Franks that she needed to pay a $200 filing fee for the claim within forty-five days. After PCF did not receive any additional funds within the forty-five-day period, PCF sent her a letter stating C.F.’s claim was invalid because the period for paying the filing fee had expired. 

casino_game_play_argentina-1024x683Business trips can provide opportunities for networking and leisure, but unexpected injuries can turn the experience into a nightmare. One such example is the case of Jonathan Peters, who attended a business convention in New Orleans and stayed at Harrah’s Hotel.

Peters visited New Orleans for a business convention and stayed at Harrah’s Hotel. Around midnight, Peters exited the hotel to get something to eat. Peters walked on the hotel’s brick sidewalk as it was raining. When he began to slip, he moved to step on a hose to prevent himself from falling, yet he slipped and broke his wrist. After the fall, Peters underwent surgery at Tulane Medical Hospital, but this procedure did not rehabilitate him. Peters alleged he permanently lost the range of motion in his wrist.

Peters sued Jazz Casino and JCC Fulton Development, L.L.C. (“Jazz Casino”), the owners and operators of the hotel. Jazz Casino asked the lawsuit to be placed in the federal district court and filed a motion for summary judgment. The motion for summary judgment was granted. Unhappy with that decision, Peters appealed.

Accidents happen daily, and when they do, they can be overwhelming and stressful. If you’ve been in an accident and filed a claim for damages, but it gets dismissed due to the granting of a motion for summary judgment in favor of the defendants, you may feel like there’s no hope. However, this is not the end of the matter. The trial court’s decision can be appealed, and the appellate court will review the decision to ensure whether the motion was properly granted. The following lawsuit shows how the appeals process can alter a trial court’s decision.

Stephen Ledet and his young son were sailing on a 16-foot recreational boat (“Ledet vessel”) being operated by Stephen’s brother, Kent Ledet. They were sailing on the Intracoastal Waterway near Berwick, Louisiana. The M/V Miss Cissy (“Miss Cissy”), a 46.5-foot commercial vessel owned by Parker Drilling Offshore USA, LLC (“PDO”), was sailing on the waterway at the same time ahead of them. Its employee, Captain Richard Rowe (“Rowe”), operated it. 

Kent Ledet could see the ship approximately 200 yards away as the weather was sunny and clear. However, Miss Cissy was traveling much slower than the Ledet’s vessel. The Ledet’s vessel eventually caught up to Miss Cissy’s rear. Miss Cissy then suddenly accelerated its engine and created large swells and wakes. Kent Ledet was unable to avoid the large wakes. The boat tossed and slammed against the water, and the whole family sustained alleged physical and mental injuries. 

auto_wall_breakthrough_art-1024x683If you need to file a lawsuit, obtaining the opposing party’s accurate service of process address is crucial. Otherwise, you may face challenges similar to those encountered by Veronica Gordon. Gordon was an independent contractor for A-1 St. Bernard Taxie & Delivery, LLC, when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving one of their cabs. Three days after the accident, she went to the emergency room for treatment of pain in her arm, shoulder, neck, and back.

Three months after the accident, Gordon filed a claim against A-1, alleging that they had failed to pay her wage benefits and authorize necessary medical treatment. She also sought penalties and attorney’s fees. Initially, Gordon listed an incorrect address for service on A-1, and even after amending her claim with an updated address, service could not be perfected.

In December 2015, the Louisiana Office of Worker’s Compensation (OWC) ordered Gordon to explain why her complaint should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. A week later, Gordon filed a motion to appoint a special process server, which was granted. However, after several failed attempts to serve process on A-1, Gordon filed a motion in February 2016 to appoint the Louisiana Secretary of State as the Agent for Service of Process for A-1, which was also granted. The Secretary of State sent the second amended claim to A-1’s last known address.

tilt_trucks_truck_kieswerk-1024x768Workplace accidents can be devastating, and determining fault can be complex and challenging. Clark Nixon, a dump truck driver, recently found himself in this situation after a workplace accident left him injured. While working at a job site for the Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District (“TLCD”), Nixon was involved in an accident with David Danos, an employee of TLCD, acting within the course and scope of his employment. The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the Trial Court’s holding of both parties at fault, and the defendants filed an appeal challenging the allocation of 50% fault to Danos and TLCD. 

At the time of the accident, Nixon was hauling dirt to the job site, where dirt was being stockpiled to build a levee at a later date. The dump truck drivers backed their trucks to unload dirt, and a bulldozer operator would then push the dirt from the pile up a ramp, travel in reverse back down the ramp, and then repeat the process. TLCD also employs a spotter who verifies the dump truck’s load of dirt, documents it, and directs the dump truck drivers where to dump the load of dirt.

Under Louisiana law, courts have adopted a duty-risk analysis in determining whether to impose liability under the general negligence principles. La. C.C. art. 2315. Nixon alleged negligence on the count that he was injured because of the accident and that Danos and TLCD’s negligence was the cause of his injuries. The defendants had denied liability and claimed the accident occurred because of Nixon’s fault. 

truck_yellow_toy_dump-768x1024It may not be uncommon to recover less than you had hoped in a personal injury lawsuit. However, challenging the amount of money you are awarded to get more is a challenging feat. A recent case out of the East Baton Rouge Parish explains why courts tend to defer to the jury when awarding damages. 

Stephen Gordon was driving his car on Interstate-10 with his wife, Melissa Gordon, in the passenger seat on the Mississippi River bridge in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. While Gordon was driving in the middle lane, a Mack dump truck was traveling eastbound in the left lane. The truck driver merged into the middle lane and hit Gordon’s car. The Gordons alleged that they were injured in the accident and filed suit. They sued Paul Wright, the driver of the dump truck; Vision Trucking, LLC, the owner of the dump truck; Joseph W. Wright, Jr, the driver’s employer; the owner of Vision Trucking, LLC; and the liability insurer of the driver and Vision Trucking, LLC. Ms. Gordon then settled all her claims against the defendants, and Mr. Gordon’s claims proceeded to trial. 

At trial, the court determined that Mr. Gordon lacked credibility and appeared to exaggerate the extent of his injuries because much of his testimony about his injuries and treatment was contradicted by other evidence. However, the trial court still noted that Mr. Gordon had extensive treatment to his back, neck, and right leg before the accident, which intensified his pre-existing condition. The court awarded Mr. Gordon $15,000 in general damages and $5,092.07 in special damages, and Mr. Gordon appealed. Mr. Gordon argued the trial court failed to award him the full amount he claimed in special damages for his past medical expenses, failed to award future medical expenses for recommended surgeries, and abused its discretion in awarding general damages that were “unreasonably low.” 

casino_note_roadway_mark-1024x683Casinos can be a chaotic mix of adrenaline and alcohol. While a cultural staple of sportsmanship and skill, it is unsurprising that injuries often occur at casinos. The casino may be liable in some instances, but casino guests are also responsible for acting reasonably and taking precautions to ensure their safety, such as moderating alcohol consumption. When a guest under the influence is injured while on casino property, a required showing of causation may be absent due to the contributory factor of intoxication.

Lee Edminson suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling down an escalator at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino in the early hours of the morning. Edminson’s blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was over three times the legal limit in Louisiana. He brought suit against the casino, alleging negligence in the maintenance of the escalator. The cause of action of the premises liability claims was La. Civ. Code article 2322, damage caused by building ruin, and article 2317, acts of others and things in custody. 

The trial court found in favor of the defendants on a  motion for summary judgment. The court, therefore, held that there was no causation because of the intervening cause of Edminson’s extreme intoxication. The plaintiffs appealed that judgment because they felt there was a dispute of fact about whether the escalator created an unreasonably dangerous condition that was not open and obvious. 

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