Articles Posted in Negligence Claims

workers_construction_worker_work-scaledIf you are injured on the job, one of your primary concerns is likely finding competent medical care. Under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers can select one physician of any specialty without their employer’s approval. What happens if your employer refuses to pay for your selected physician? 

Marvin Ray Scott brought a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, Packaging Corporation of America (“PCA.”) Scott claimed he had lost his hearing because of his work at the Boise Paper Mill in DeRidder, Louisiana. Scott then filed a motion to have an expedited hearing under La. R.S. 23:1121. Scott claimed PCA had not authorized his initial visit to his selected physician. PCA responded, claiming Scott had improperly used summary proceedings because he was not just trying to get approval for his selected physician, but he was also seeking attorney’s fees and penalties. At the hearing, the workers’ compensation judge ruled in favor of Scott and ordered PCA to pay Scott’s relevant medical bills and pay separate penalties and attorney’s fees, totaling $7,000. PCA filed an appeal.

Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act sets forth rights and remedies for injured workers. Under La. R.S. 23:1121, an employee is permitted to select one physician of any specialty without their employer’s approval. If the employer denies that, the employee is entitled to an expedited proceeding. Under La. R.S. 23:1201(F), the employer can also be required to pay penalties and attorneys’ fees if it does not comply with its statutory obligations to an injured worker. 

addiction_bet_betting_casino-scaledLawsuits involving slip and fall accidents are widespread. However, specific requirements must be satisfied to prevail in a slip-and-fall case. The following lawsuit helps answer the question: Can a business be held liable if a patron slips and falls on a wet walkway? 

While walking with her son in the Treasure Chest Casino parking lot, Linda Cangelosi slipped and fell under the outdoor tent that covered part of the walkway entrance into the casino. Cangelosi slipped while stepping from the roadway to the walkway. At the time of her fall, the ground was wet, with puddles. After he fell, employees of Treasure Chest Casino assisted Cangelosi and called an emergency team. Cangelosi declined their offer to transport her to the hospital and continued to the casino. However, about 45 minutes later, she left because her hip hurt. She consulted with a doctor, who provided her with pain medication. Since the accident, Cangelosi had to use a walker and has been in pain. Cangelosi filed a lawsuit against Treasure Chest Casino. Both Cangelosi and Treasure Chest Casino filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted Treasure Chest Casino’s summary judgment motion. Cangelosi appealed. 

Under La. C.C. art. 2317, the owner of a thing is liable for damage if they knew or should have known about the defect that causes damage, which could have been prevented if the owner had exercised reasonable care. Further, under La. C.C. art. 2322, this also applies to building owners. Therefore, if Cangelosi provided sufficient evidence that Treasure Chest Casino knew or should have known about the wet walkway that caused her slip and did not act reasonably, she could prevail in her lawsuit.

nuclear_waste_radioactive_trash-scaledEven in cases involving tragic factual situations, strict procedural requirements must be followed to prevail on your claim. This case involves the time limits in which you must file a lawsuit and the principle of contra non valentem, which is a rule that the time limit in which someone has to file a lawsuit does not start if the other person was hiding information that would allow them to bring their claim.

This case involves the tragic death of a husband and father, Julius Lennie. Tuboscope employed him for over thirty years. Various oil companies hired Tuboscope to clean and refurbish pipes and tubes used in the oilfield. The clean process involved the emission of a naturally occurring radioactive material. In 2010, after retiring, Lennie was diagnosed with lung cancer and died shortly thereafter. Almost four years later, his spouse and children filed a lawsuit against various companies that had hired Tuboscope.

His surviving family claimed Lennie had been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation while working, which caused his cancer and death. They alleged the companies knew naturally occurring radioactive materials were dangerous but had not warned Lennie or taken appropriate corrective actions. The Lennies argued they had filed the lawsuit after reading an article about radiation exposure in pipe yards, so they were not on notice of their claims until September 2013.

boxes_stack_boxes_stacking-scaledSummary judgment is designed to enable judicial expediency and cost-effectiveness in the courts. It is an important and complicated procedure that can occur repeatedly during litigation. When summary judgment is asserted repeatedly in the same case, how do parties prevail in their attempts to get or defeat summary judgment motions? The following case helps answer that question. 

Ozark Motor Lines transported a packed Ozark trailer from Restoration Hardware to Baton Rouge. In Baton Rouge, Exel Inc. received the trailer, and Exel employee, plaintiff, Alex Talbert, was injured by the boxes being unloaded from the trailer. Talbert then brought a personal injury suit against Restoration Hardware and Ozark for damages, arguing that the trailer was negligently packed and thus caused Talbert’s injuries. 

Restoration Hardware was dismissed from the lawsuit, and later, Ozark moved for summary judgment twice. The trial court denied the first motion, but the second motion was granted after Ozark submitted additional documents to the court. Talbert appealed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment for Ozark, arguing that issues of material fact remained and that the court should not have heard Ozark’s second motion. 

building_company_glass_building-scaledWhen an individual sustains an injury while on the job, the anticipation of receiving workers’ compensation to tide them over during their recovery is natural. Regrettably, situations arise where companies are unwilling to shoulder this responsibility. The scenario becomes more intricate when a parent company distances itself from its subsidiary’s actions, attempting to evade liability for workplace injuries. This particular Louisiana Court of Appeals case delves into corporate responsibility, illuminating the circumstances under which a parent company is held accountable for the safety measures enacted by its subsidiary entities.

Plaintiff, Truman Stanley, III, had his arm tragically severed at work when a defective oxygen cylinder exploded, and steel fragments broke off. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against Airgas USA seeking tort recovery. He later amended his complaint to include Airgas Inc., the parent company of Airgas USA, claiming it developed safety procedures and protocols and instructional materials/safety training that was inadequate and flawed, creating an unsafe workplace. Therefore, Stanley believed Airgas, Inc. should be liable in tort. The parent company moved for summary judgment stating it was immune from tort liability under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation exclusive-remedy provision. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant and granted summary judgment. Stanley appealed, claiming the trial court erred in finding the parent company immune from tort liability.

Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:1032 contains the exclusive-remedy provision under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, which states the employer and anyone who may act as the employer are immune parties. However, for the immunity to apply, it “must have been engaged at the time of the injury in the normal course and scope of the employer’s business.” Under Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:13, an employer’s legal duties that cannot be delegated include providing safe working conditions for employees. That being said, providing a safe work environment falls within the course and scope of every employer’s business. If the parent company took on Airgas USA’s role, Airgas Inc. would be immune from tort liability.

sugar_cane_fields_okinawa-scaledUnfortunately, accidents in the workplace are not uncommon. What happens, however, if you unknowingly signed an agreement making your employer immune from a liability claim? The following Lafourche Parish case outlines this predicament. 

In September 2013, Neville Patterson signed multiple documents with Raceland Raw Sugar, LLC (RRS) and Raceland Equipment Company, LLC (REC) to haul sugar cane for the former. Included in this paperwork was an indemnification agreement identifying Patterson as the contractor and RES and RRS as statutory employers. 

Two months later, Patterson created N-A-N Trucking, LLC (N-A-N) and started to operate his truck. Following this development, RRS began making checks from hauls payable to N-A-N. These checks were endorsed by Patterson, who continued to receive driver wages from REC. 

old_medical_device-scaledMedical professionals are expected to uphold a standard of care in their practice. Unfortunately, life can present us with unfortunate circumstances where this standard is not met. When we experience injuries or worse due to the actions of those responsible for our treatment, healing, or diagnosis, medical malpractice claims can serve as a means to seek compensation and justice.

In a recent legal battle that captured attention, a lawsuit between Randy A. Roberts, Sr., Johnson & Johnson, Inc., and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc., took an intriguing turn. Roberts alleges that he suffered injuries caused by a defective medical device manufactured by J&J, leading him to file a product liability lawsuit. However, a district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, prompting an appeal. 

Roberts claims that during a hernia repair surgery in 2006, a Prolene Hernia System (PHS) produced by J&J was implanted in his body. Subsequently, he experienced debilitating pain, requiring three surgeries in 2015 to remove the PHS due to an infection. Dissatisfied with the outcome, Roberts initiated legal action against J&J, seeking damages under Louisiana law.

car_racing_crash_accident-scaledIn the aftermath of a car accident, the quest for justice often extends beyond determining fault, delving into the intricate realm of calculating damages. Even when the liability is undisputed, securing compensation can be laden with legal complexities. The following case unveils the story of Shelley Cooley, a collision victim navigating the labyrinth of litigation to ascertain the rightful compensation for her injuries. The journey sheds light on the indispensable role of compelling evidence, from medical testimony to personal accounts, in establishing the magnitude of damages in the aftermath of an accident.

Shelley Cooley was involved in a car accident where her car was hit from behind by a car driven by Timothy Adgate, who worked for the City of Shreveport. Cooley had to obtain medical treatment after the accident for pain in her knee, back, and neck. Cooley filed a lawsuit against Adgate and the City of Shreveport. The parties agreed the City of Shreveport was liable because Adgate was completely responsible for the accident while working as a police officer. The only issue at trial was the amount of damages owed to Cooley.

Cooley was the only witness to testify at trial. Medical evidence was presented through the deposition transcripts of various doctors. The trial court ruled the accident had exacerbated Cooley’s pre-existing medical issues but declined to award any damages for future medical expenses because the evidence about future medical expenses was speculative. The trial court awarded Cooley $50,000 in general damages and $79,508.66 for past medical expenses. Cooley filed an appeal.

workers_road_workers_site-scaledSettling a lawsuit can have many far-reaching effects. Not only will it result in the dismissal of your lawsuit, but it could also affect things such as your social security benefits. Therefore, it is important that you consult with an attorney and carefully consider if a settlement is in your best interest. Additionally, as seen in this case, if you accept a settlement offer, you must ensure the related court order includes all required aspects so you do not have to deal with unintended consequences. 

Kenneth Clark and his employer, Walgreens, reached a settlement related to Clark’s workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation judge approved the settlement and entered a judgment dismissing the claim. Clark then petitioned the workers’ compensation judge to amend the judgment to include language to divide the indemnity part of his settlement across his lifetime. This proposed amendment would not change the total amount of the settlement. Clark wanted this amendment so the Social Security Administration could pro-rate the settlement so it could calculate the required disability offset. Walgreens objected to this amendment. After a hearing, a workers’ compensation judge entered an amended order reflecting Clark’s requested language. Walgreens appealed. 

On appeal, Walgreen argued the trial court did not have jurisdiction to amend the initial order approving Clark’s settlement with Walgreens. La. R.S. 23:1272 governs the settlement of workers’ compensation claims. This statute has many safeguards for preventing an employee from being pressured to improperly settle his or her claim. Courts are to liberally construe workers’ compensation law in favor of workers to protect them from the burden of workplace injuries. 

feet_tangerm_c3_bcnde-scaledIf part of a car falls on you at a vehicle yard, you should be able to recover damages for your injuries from the yard owner. However, if you do not provide sufficient evidence, you will likely be unable to recover for your injuries.

While Rico Lee was a customer at a Pull-A-Part vehicle yard in Harvey, Louisiana, he was injured when the rear of a pickup propped up on rims fell on his foot. He filed a lawsuit against Pull-A-Part and their insurer, claiming he was injured when the pick-up truck in Pull-A-Part’s control and control fell on his foot, injuring him. At trial, the jury found Pull-A-Part was not negligent. Lee appealed.

On appeal, Lee argued the jury erred in finding in favor of Pull-A-Part, and the trial court erred by not instructing the jury about res ispa loquitor. Res ispa loquitor is a legal doctrine that allows a court to find negligence by the mere fact that the accident occurred by using circumstantial (not direct) evidence. See Cangelosi v. Our Lady of the Lake Reg’l Med. Ctr. Here, La. C.C. art. 2317.1 required Lee to show the truck was in Pull-A-Part’s custody or control; it had a defect that resulted in an unreasonable risk of harm, Pull-A-Part knew or should have known about this unreasonable risk, and the defect caused his injury. 

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