FAQs

It depends. Injured persons can receive compensation for a number of financial losses, including pain and suffering, lost income, medical and care giving expenses, loss of spousal or familial relations, etc. Damage amounts really depend on the amount of losses you’ve actually incurred, the nature of your injury, the seriousness of your injury, and the area in which you live. Occasionally, punitive damages can also be added. These damages are in addition to other damages and are meant to punish bad or negligent behavior. While money cannot restore part of a person’s life, it can help to reduce any additional worries.

Liability insurance is any type of insurance policy that protects an individual from the risk that they may be sued and held legally liable for injuries or damages the policyholder may cause to other people or property. Liability insurance policies cover both legal costs and any legal payouts for which the insured would be responsible if found legally liable. Intentional damage and contractual liabilities are typically not covered.

Negligence is failure to use reasonable care in doing something, resulting in damage or injury to another. In its most simple definition, negligence means someone was careless, and as a result of that carelessness, someone else was injured. To establish negligence, a plaintiff (the person injured) must be able to prove or demonstrate in court that the defendant (person being sued), (1) owed a duty to the plaintiff, (2) breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct, (3) the defendant’s negligent conduct was the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and (4) the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or injured.

Slip and fall injury cases fall under the broad category of premises liability. These types of injuries usually occur on property owned by another, such as at a local business, residence, or governmental property. Based on the particular facts of the case, the property owner may be liable for your injuries. In order to establish the liability of the property owner, the lawyer’s job is to show that you, the victim, exercised reasonable care, i.e. that your own negligence was not the cause of the accident. This can be established by showing that (1) the property owner or manager created the condition; (2) the property owner or manager knew or should have known about the condition; (3) the property owner or manager failed to correct the condition or warn others; and (4) as a result, the victim suffered injuries.

A catastrophic injury is an extremely serious injury that may result in permanent disability, long-lasting medical conditions, or a shortened life expectancy. Such injuries often involve the loss of use of a bodily system or function. These injuries often involve a long hospital stay, rehabilitative treatment, and possible full-time nursing assistance or care. Some examples of catastrophic injuries include brain and spinal cord injuries, severe burns, loss of limbs, amputation or paralysis such as paraplegia or quadriplegia. Such injuries may be a result of traffic accidents, medical malpractice, or any other type of physically damaging incident. Catastrophic injuries affect the life not only of the victim but his or her family. The emotional and financial impact of such injuries is as devastating as the physical impact. Because of this, victims and their families may seek justice under personal injury law to recover financial compensation for the overwhelming losses they face.

Most personal injury lawsuits are filed over accidents, like an automobile crash or a slip and fall accident. Occasionally, a victim’s harm is the result of an intentional action rather than accidental. In such a case, “assault” and “battery” are intentional torts (wrongs) that can form the basis of a lawsuit in civil court. In a typical case, the victim of an assault and/or battery sues the offender, seeking compensation for injuries and other damages stemming from the incident. In a personal injury context, an “assault” is defined as any intentional act that that is meant to cause a “reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact” – that is, an action that made someone (the victim) expect that they were about to be hurt, or at least touched in a harmful way, by another (the offender). A “battery” is simply an intentional and harmful and/or offensive contact by one person (the offender) with another person (the victim).

Unlike accident claims in which the injuries are obvious and objectively verified, such as broken limbs, lacerations, amputations, internal injuries, or disfigurement, a soft tissue injury is essentially invisible. Soft tissue refers to the muscles, tendons, ligaments that connect and support other bodily structures. These injuries produce various symptoms such as nausea, headaches, stiff and painful neck and back movements. It is a strain injury and many soft tissue injuries heal within a few weeks or months, although some so result in herniated disks, joint dysfunction, or chronic pain. If you have suffered such an injury, seeking medical attention is of utmost importance in order to ascertain your injuries and treat them. The value of a soft tissue injury claim will ultimately come down to the injured person’s credibility and demeanor. Ideally, an articulate soft tissue injury victim who has a solid job, little medical history, no prior claims, and a wage loss, and who was treated with medical doctors and can produce testimony from friends and co-workers regarding how the injury has adversely affected him or her, will usually be a case with the most value.

Cruise ship vacations are not always the relaxing, care-free experiences the advertisements would lead you to believe. Over recent years as the popularity of cruise vacations has increased and cruise ships have increased in size to accommodate the increased number of vacationers, the risk of injury about a ship has increased. Cruise line owners, ship contractors and subcontractors may be held liable for injuries suffered by ship patrons. As with any lawsuit, a claim would depend on the type and severity of the injuries sustained, the law applicable to the claim, and the person or entity responsible for the injuries. Three of the most common causes of cruise ship injuries are (1) assault, including sexual assault, and/or battery by crew members or other passengers, (2) inadequate safety precautions during planned activities, either on-board or during shore excursions, (3) shipboard emergencies, such as fires, collisions, or abandonment. A majority of cruise ship injuries are attributable to negligence related to inadequate maintenance or safety precautions, lack of proper security, or poor hiring practices.

Medical malpractice refers to the failure of a doctor or health care professional to provide adequate care or treatment of a patient, resulting in injury to the patient. The fact that the doctor or health care provider did not provide standard care is usually a technical matter which must be established by the expert testimony of other medical professionals, psychologists, and financial professionals to help determine the extent of the damages the patient has suffered and may continue to experience. Persons that are held to this standard may include doctors, nurses, hospital staff, dentists, or other medical-related workers, even a hospital or clinic, itself.

Louisiana law provides that a person may recover for damages for injuries caused by a wrongful act of another. The “fault” concept of the law includes the intentional torts (wrongs) of assault and battery. A “battery” is any intentional and unpermitted contact with the plaintiff’s (victim’s) person or anything attached to or practically identified with it. In order to receive a battery, a plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that her damages resulted from an unprovoked attack by the defendant. The intention of the defendant need not be malicious nor need it be an intention to inflict actual damage. It is sufficient if the actor intends to inflict either a harmful or physical contact without the other’s consent. Liability for a battery depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Where the defendant relies on provocation as justification for a battery, he must prove some conduct or action by the plaintiff sufficient to provoke and arouse the defendant to the point of physical retaliation. Louisiana’s “aggressor doctrine” precludes tort recovery by a plaintiff if the evidence establishes she was at fault in provoking the difficulty in which he was injured, unless the person retaliating has used excessive force to repel the aggression.
“Assault” is an attempt to commit a battery, or the intentional placing of another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Mere words do not constitute an assault, yet, a combination of threats, present ability to carry out the threats, and reasonable apprehension of a harmful or offensive contact may suffice.
“Self-defense,” unlike the aggressor doctrine, is a true defense in that it operates as a privilege to committing the intentional tort. In such a case, a plaintiff’s conduct must have gone beyond mere provocation under the aggressor doctrine. Under Louisiana jurisprudence, in order to succeed on a claim of self-defense (not involving deadly force), there must be an actual or reasonably apparent threat to the claimant’s safety and the force employed cannot be excessive in degree or kind.

Louisiana has a dog bite statute that requires a dog bite victim to prove that the incident was one which the dog owner could have prevented. The applicable law states, “The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal. However, he is answerable for the damage only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his animal’s behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nonetheless, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog.
A possible defense a dog owner may have to a plaintiff’s claim is that the plaintiff provoked the dog. A dog owner may be able to avoid liability if the plaintiff was given clear warning that the dog may bite and the plaintiff, in some way, provokes the animal. Of course, once a plaintiff establishes the liability of a dog owner, plaintiff must establish the amount of her damages.

Generally speaking, defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm. Slander involves the making of defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral (spoken) representation. Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine or newspaper.
Defamation is a tort which involves the invasion of a person’s interest in his or her reputation and good name. Four elements are necessary to establish a defamation cause of action: (1) a false and defamatory statement concerning another; (2) an unprivileged publication to a third party; (3) fault (negligence or greater) on the part of the publisher; and (4) resulting injury. The fault requirement is often set forth in the jurisprudence as malice, actual or implied. Thus, in order to prevail on a defamation claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant, with actual malice or other fault, published a false statement with defamatory words which caused plaintiff damages. If any one of the required elements is not sufficiently proven, the cause of action fails. Even when a plaintiff makes a prima facie showing of the essential elements of defamation, recovery may be precluded if the defendant shows either that the statement was true, or that it was protected by a privilege, absolute or qualified.
The courts in Louisiana have held that a communication is defamatory if it tends to harm the reputation of another so as to lower him in the estimation of the community, deters others from associating or dealing with the person, or otherwise exposes a person to contempt or ridicule. Words that convey an element of personal disgrace, dishonesty, or disrepute are defamatory. Defamatory words have traditionally been divided into two categories: those that are defamatory per so and those that are susceptible to defamatory meaning.

The tort of invasion of privacy is directed at redressing the damage which an individual suffers when legally-recognized elements of his right to privacy have been violated. The right to privacy is defined in Louisiana as “the right to be let alone.” A tort of invasion of privacy can occur in four ways: (1) by appropriating an individual’s name or likeness; (2) by unreasonably intruding on physical solitude or seclusion; (3) by giving publicity which unreasonably places a person in a false light before the public; and (4) by unreasonable public disclosure of embarrassing private facts. An actionable invasion of privacy occurs only when the defendant’s conduct is unreasonable and seriously interferes with the plaintiff’s privacy interest. The reasonableness of the defendant’s conduct is determined by balancing the plaintiff’s interest in protecting his privacy from serious invasions with the defendant’s interest in pursuing his course of conduct.

The liability of a merchant for injury sustained by a person while on the premises of the merchant is governed by a three-part test: The claimant shall have the burden of proving that (1) the condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm and that risk was reasonably foreseeable: (2) the merchant either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage prior to the occurrence; and, (3) the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. Furthermore, “constructive notice” means the condition existed for such a period of time that it would have been discovered if the merchant had exercised reasonable care.
In determining whether a condition is unreasonably dangerous, courts have adopted a four-part test. This test requires consideration of: (1) the utility of the complained-of condition; (2) the likelihood and magnitude of harm, which includes the obviousness and apparentness of the condition; (3) the cost of preventing the harm; and (4) the nature of the plaintiff’s activities in terms of social utility, or whether it is dangerous by nature.
As it relates to private residences, a homeowner has a duty to discover, and either correct or warn a guest of any unreasonably dangerous conditions on his premises. However, this duty does not make the owner an insurer of his guests, against all possibility of accident. Neither is this duty breached by failure to repair or warn a guest, unless there is some inherently dangerous condition on the premises, which could foreseeably cause an unreasonable risk of harm, under the circumstances.

When an individual is hurt while “on the job,” that individual can bring an action against the employer under a normal Workers’ Compensation procedure. When an individual who works for a railroad company is hurt, the injured worker must bring a claim for benefits under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, or “FELA,” for his injuries.
FELA is a federal law giving railroad employees and their families the right to sue the railroad employers for compensation or, the more legal term, damages, when the worker is injured or killed on the job. Under FELA, railroad workers are able to collect for past and future wage losses, other financial or economic losses, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Besides giving railroad workers and their families justice through monetary damages, the FELA demands that railroads provide their employees with a reasonably safe place to work. It forces the railroad industry to be accountable to its employees for safer working conditions with the ultimatum: Make the workplace safe or pay.
When the workplace is not made at least reasonably safe by the railroad, and an employee has a railroad related injury or accidental death, the railroad is said to be negligent. That word, “negligent,” is key to personal injury claims under FELA. There must be proof of negligence on the part of the railroad– negligence that either caused or contributed to cause the injury to the employee. When negligence can be proven, the railroad is liable to the injured railroad employee for damages.

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