Verdicts and Settlements
$2.4 Million—Traumatic brain injury: Car accident
Husband and father of two boys was hit head on by a drunk driver who crossed the center line on Willow street in Lafayette. He suffered massive traumatic brain injury, in addition to other bodily injuries. (The drunk driver walked away). The traumatic brain injury left him totally disabled for life and unable to support his family. The drunk driver (whose blood alcohol was over three times the legal limit) only had $10,000 of liability coverage on his vehicle. Fortunately, my client’s car was covered under his employer’s multimillion-dollar auto liability policy. Through investigation, we were able to discover that although the employer had not purchased uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, a UM rejection form required by state law had never been filled out. That meant that UM coverage automatically existed and provided coverage for my clients’ injuries. The insurance company refused to admit the existence of UM coverage. And it took a long hard battle both in and out of court to finally compel a fair settlement. But in the end, we prevailed. We put the settlement into a structure that will pay for all of his medical care and attendant care for the rest of his life, plus provide him and his family a monthly income of over $5000 per month for the rest of his life or 15 years, whichever is longer. In addition, we got enough up front money to purchase for cash a $250,000 two story brick home in Breaux Bridge, a significant improvement over the small trailer they had been living in before the accident. It was a tragic injury. But at least he and his wife and kids will be able to live comfortably for the rest of his life and until his kids are in college.
$230,000—Neck injury: Car accident
Client was rear ended by a negligent driver and suffered a neck injury. As a result of a ruptured disc in her neck, she had to have neck surgery to remove the disc and fuse two of her vertebra. She is the wife of a local industry executive, and did not work prior to the accident. So she suffered no loss of income. And she had a very good result from the surgery, removing all of her pain and leaving her with only modest restrictions on her activities. We were able to recover her medical expenses of approximately $40,000, plus obtain $190,000 for her pain and suffering, for a total of $230,000.
$570,000—Lower back injury: Cattle/car accident
Client was driving his employer’s “lay down” truck before dawn on a Cameron Parish highway when he suddenly came upon some black Angus cattle in the road. Unable to avoid them, client collided with several before losing control of his rig completely and running off the road in a violent accident. Client barely escaped the truck before it exploded into flames. The owner of the cattle was identified, but they denied fault, claiming that vandals must have cut the chain on the gate from which the cattle had escaped. Our investigation revealed that there were no vandals after all. We found out that the gate had instead been negligently left open by someone accessing the field. And this was supported by the physical evidence at the scene. Client had lower back surgery to remove ruptured discs and fuse three vertebras. Although the surgery reduced his pain, he could not go back to heavy manual labor. His income earning ability was significantly reduced. We recovered for him his medical bills, his pain and suffering, and money for his future lost income earning ability, for a total of $570,000.
$1.1 million—Wrongful death: Seaman/Jones Act
Client was a husband and father of two young girls. He worked offshore as a commercial diver for one of the biggest diving operators in the world. His employer owned the ship from which he worked, so he was considered by the law to be a seaman, and protected by the provisions of the “Jones Act.” One day, he was cutting a pipe deep under the ocean. He was cutting the pipe from inside the pipe because the place where he was cutting was under the ocean floor. Unfortunately, hydrogen gas built up outside the pipe from the cutting operations and exploded, killing client when the sudden pressure caused the mask of his dive hat to imploded. We were able to show that his employer was negligent in not taking steps which could have avoided this tragic accident. The client died almost instantly. So there was very little recovery for pain and suffering. The $1.1 Million will provide for his wife and daughters for years, until they are old enough to support themselves.
$220,000—Cattle/car accident: IDET procedure neck
Client is a young man in the car audio installation field. While driving home late one Saturday night on a St. Martin Parish highway, he collided with a dark brown cow which had escaped its field. As a result, his truck flipped and landed in a ditch. He was lucky to escape with only a neck injury. Although the owner of the cow denied fault, we were able to show through expert testimony that the fences around the cattleman’s fields were not being kept in acceptable condition. It was because of failure to provide proper maintenance of the fences that the cow was able to escape on that fateful night. Although he client did not have neck surgery, he did have an IDET, in which an electrode is placed in the disc and heated, resulting in shrinkage of the disc bulge. Client was able to return to his previous employment.
Client was a guest passenger in a one car accident caused by the negligence of the driver. The car had $250,000 of liability insurance, but the insurance company denied coverage, claiming that the driver did not have permission to drive the car. We had to take the insurance company to court on the coverage issue, and even had to take the case up to the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal before we prevailed. The recovery represents the insurance company’s $250,000 of coverage plus $38,000 of judicial interest.
Two clients each suffered neck injuries and had to have cervical surgery. Both were retired and had no lost income as a result of the injury. Both also had good results from their surgery. But we were able to collect $200,000 for one and $209,000 for the other, which covered their medical bills and pain and suffering. The accident occurred when clients got a flat tire on I-10 in Iberville Parish. While pulled over to fix the flat, client’s car was rear-ended by a commercial truck. The truck driver did not see the vehicle pulled over and rear ended it without even slowing. The vehicle exploded. Fortunately, clients had exited the vehicle and did not suffer more serious injuries.
Recovered for wife after death of her husband. The insurance company denied coverage on the grounds that the husband died as a result of being shot by the wife. The husband had beaten the wife in the past, and this shooting occurred just after another beating. But we were able to show that the shooting was accidental (wife was only using the gun to make him back off when it fired accidentally), and so recovered the life insurance for the client.
$190,000: Neck injury from car accident
Client had good results from neck surgery and returned to previous employment.
$175,000: Client had shoulder surgery after being broadsided in a car accident.
$124,000: Client had knee surgery after being injured in car accident.
$125,000: Client did not have surgery, but suffered chronic back pain because of injuries suffered in a car accident.
$130,000: Client was broad sided in a car accident and injured elbow. Client had to have elbow surgery and had a good recovery.
$100,000: Elderly client was knocked down in the street by a neighbor’s dog which had gotten loose from the yard. Client required surgery to repair multiple fractures at the elbow. Client was retired and suffered no lost income because of the accident. We were able to recover policy limits from the neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance company.
$100,000: Client suffered a collapsed lung and several fractured ribs when a vehicle ran off the roadway and hit client in her yard while she was cutting the grass on her riding mower. Although she started in ICU, she eventually made a full recovery.