Articles Posted in Pain And Suffering Claims

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.

medical_ultrasound_monitor_doctor-768x1024When you go to the doctor, you expect they will help you feel better. However, if your doctor worsens your condition, it is essential to understand the legal requirements for bringing a medical malpractice claim. Otherwise, you find yourself unable to recover.

Milton Harris visited Dr. Breaud, an ophthalmologist, after experiencing difficulties with his vision. Breaud performed multiple procedures on Harris, including laser procedures and surgeries. Unfortunately, following a surgical vitrectomy, Harris suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be hospitalized in the ICU.

 Just under a year later, Harris requested a Medical Review Panel to evaluate his medical malpractice claim from the treatment his ophthalmologist provided. The panel found there was no evidence that Breaud did not meet the required standard of care and pointed to improvements in Harris’ vision. Harris and his wife then filed a lawsuit against Breaud for medical malpractice and negligence. 

business_signature_contract_962358-1024x768To avoid a lengthy trial, many lawsuits will be solved through settlements. Settlements may have their requirements, like signing a release. If presented with a release make sure you read it carefully and ensure it includes limiting language if other parties may be at fault. This is a lesson learned by Raymond Cressy when he signed a release form through his power attorney, severely hurting his claims. 

In 2010, Raymond Cressy was a passenger in a 2006 Dodge Durango driven by his brother and owned by his sister, Yolanda, in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The driver swerved to avoid a tire in the roadway when control of the vehicle was lost. The vehicle consequently entered the median and rolled several times. The accident left Raymond a quadriplegic. 

Yolanda, later in 2010, was granted power of attorney over Raymond. In late 2011, acting as Raymond’s power of attorney, Yolanda signed a document titled “Release In Full of All Claims” on Raymond’s behalf with the understanding this was to settle claims against the GEICO insurance company.

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. 

hospital_bedside_beds_ceiling-1024x768Having a sick child can be a nerve-racking time. Having a sick infant is even scarier as you, as a parent, feel helpless. In these times, caregivers turn to the experts in medical centers to help. But, unfortunately, a hospital can’t always help before it is too late. 

In June of 2012, 13-month-old Landon Lee was transported via ambulance to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL) due to vomiting and respiratory distress. Landon was treated in the emergency room by Dr. Boudreaux, where he was determined to have cardiac issues. He was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at OLOL. Later the same morning, Landon Lee was transferred via helicopter to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans to be placed in an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation unit (ECMO). Within an hour of arriving at Ochsner, Landon died. The autopsy determined 13 month-old Landon passed from cardiomegaly or an enlarged heart. 

Landon’s mother filed a lawsuit on her behalf and for her deceased son against both OLOL and Dr. Boudreaux, the pediatrician and emergency room physician who treated Landon at OLOL. Lee asserts in her claim that Boudreaux and OLOL failed to properly care for and treat her son while at OLOL. Along with the allegations in her lawsuit, Lee attached an affidavit from Dr. Meliones, a board-certified pediatric cardiologist specializing in pediatric critical care, to support Ms. Lee’s negligence claim. 

texture_airbag_car_vehicle-1024x683Car manufacturers have a duty to provide safe vehicles for drivers and passengers. A safe car includes an airbag that can help lessen the effects of an auto accident. What happens when your airbag doesn’t expand during a wreck? Can you sue the manufacturer of that airbag? An Ascension Parish lawsuit shows why the absence of a car that has a defective airbag will cause major headaches for your product liability lawsuit.  

While traveling through Ascension Parish in the summer of 2012, Joseph M. Dortch (“Dortch”) swerved off the road and into a ditch after trying to avoid another vehicle crossing over the centerline of the highway. Dortch was transported to the hospital by ambulance and sustained several injuries. His car was totaled and eventually sold by his insurance company, State Farm Mutual Automobile

Following the accident, Dortch sued the other driver and FCA US LLC. Against FCA US LLC, Dortch claimed that the airbags in his vehicle were “unreasonably dangerous” because they failed to deploy during the accident and were, thus, the proximate and contributory cause of his injuries. FCA US LLC  filed a motion for summary judgment in response to these claims, arguing three points to undermine Dortch’s allegations. 

padlock_grating_insurance_security-1024x768Protection from on-the-job injury is vital to any employee, especially those doing manual labor. But when so many types and subtypes of insurance coverage are involved in a single policy, how can you know when you’re covered? And what happens when you can’t tell if specific coverage applies to you? Can you still get protection and justice?

In August 2011, plaintiff William Weems was an employee of Cane River Construction LLC (Cane River). While on the job, Weems was driving a car owned by Cane River when another vehicle struck him from behind, and he suffered severe injuries. Defendant Houston Speciality was the automobile insurer for Cane River, and following the accident, Weems and his family sought uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage from Houston Speciality for his injuries. Houston Speciality denied that its policy extended UM coverage to Cane River and instead filed a third-party complaint against its insurance agent employed by Moreman Moore

Moreman Moore’s agent Mr. Dickerson was responsible for completing Houston Specialty’s insurance file. Mr. Dickerson is the agent with whom Cane River’s owner, Mr. Moran, secured the insurance agreement. The Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance requires insurance companies to employ UM waiver forms in their policies and allow their clients to accept or reject UM coverage. Dickerson delivered this waiver to Mr. Moran, and Mr. Moran denied UM coverage via the release. Therefore, Cane River’s insurance policy with Houston Speciality on the accident date thus did not include any UM coverage.

craftsmen_building_scaffold_19584-1024x679The evolving nature of employment now means the relationship between employer and employee can be indirect and through different contracting methods. In addition, many people employed by one company are, in fact, on the job doing work for another. A recent case in Louisiana highlights these distinctions and the risks posed to workers and their families when seeking compensation.

While working in 2013, Michael J. Louque Jr. was crushed to death by a piece of heavy machinery that rolled off the truck it was being loaded onto. Mr. Louque was employed by River Parish Maintenance (RPM) but was working at the Motiva Enterprises, LLC (“Motiva”) manufacturing complex. Upon his death, the family of Mr. Louque filed a lawsuit against Motiva and others, seeking compensation for his wrongful death. 

The contract that brought Mr. Louque to the Motiva manufacturing complex was actually between RPM and Shell Oil Products US (“Shell”). This point is crucial in understanding the state of the Louque’s litigation, as Louisiana law prohibits employees from directly suing their employers in a tort claim rather than pursuing worker’s compensation benefits. See Deshotel v. Guichard Operating Company, Inc.

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