Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Jerry D. Franklin, Jr., has brought suit against his employer, Lebeouf Bros. Towing, LLC, for injuries resulting from their negligence.

According to the lawsuit, the Tangipahoa Parish resident was a crewman aboard the H. J. Dupre when it was offshore in 2014.  On or about July 11 of that same year, Franklin alleges that he was instructed to manually move a 20-foot crossover asphalt transfer hose from the deck of one barge to another without an adequate lifting device.  In complying with these instructions, Franklin states that he suffered severe lower back injuries.  The injuries are alleged to be so serious as to require extensive medical treatment and surgical intervention.

The suit alleges negligence on the part of Lebeouf Bros. Towing, and that they breached their duty when it failed to provide safe equipment, adequate crew and proper supervision owing to the un-seaworthiness of the vessel.  The plaintiff seeks maintenance and cure, alleging sever physical and psychological pain, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages and earning capacity, and permanent disability.  The total sum sought in relief and expenses is $3.65 million.

Eighteen-year-old Richard Billingsley of Prairieville was pushing a disabled vehicle off of the highway when he was hit by a speeding vehicle operated by a drunk driver.  Billingsley was pronounced dead at the scene on LA 42 west of LA 44 in Ascension Parish.  The intoxicated operator, 41-year-old J. Thomas Bowers, suffered no injuries.

Prior to the accident, Billingsley was riding with an unidentified woman when the SUV they were riding in broke down.  Authorities reported that the driver turned on her emergency flashers and Billingsley got out to push the vehicle off to the side of the road.  Unfortunately, according to the report, Bowers was traveling east on LA 42 and did not stop, striking Billingsley while traveling above the speed limit.  The SUV driver received minor injuries while Bowers, despite not wearing a seat belt, was unharmed.

After Louisiana State Police arrived at the scene, Bowers refused to submit to a breathalyzer and was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital a blood sample was obtained.  Bowers was charged with vehicular homicide, DWI, vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation, open container, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt.  This is Bowers’s second DWI offense.

Two different drunk driving accidents claimed three lives in Louisiana this week.  The first accident occurred in the town of Loranger.  Bruce Pierre was driving his vehicle on Hwy. 40 with Charles Harper in the passenger seat.  The police report states that Pierre was speeding when he collided with the end of a utility trailer being hauled by a pickup truck.  The vehicles collided with such force that Harper, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

After arriving on the scene, authorities gave Pierre a blood sample test, which he failed.  He was arrested for DWI, vehicular homicide, careless operation, and driving without a license.  The driver of the pickup truck was not inebriated.

The second accident occurred in Washington Parish and resulted in the death of both parties involved, 84-year-old Marjorie Orr and 35-year-old Justin Farley.  Police reported that Farley, who was believed to be inebriated at the time of the crash, veered off the road after missing a turn, overcorrected, and hit another vehicle in which Orr was a passenger.  The impact was enough to tear Farley’s vehicle in two and eject him from the vehicle, despite the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt.

A Macy’s Department Store in Metairie recently became the subject of a premises liability action filed by a customer who reportedly slipped on a rug while shopping in the store.

The plaintiff reported that, in early December of 2013, she tripped and fell on a rug that was placed on the floor. As a result of her fall, the plaintiff claims that she injured her knee in the process. Attorneys for the plaintiff claim that the placement of the rug “created and represented an unreasonable risk of harm,” as well as demonstrating the merchant’s failure to properly inspect the premises and maintain a reasonably safe condition. The plaintiff seeks over $50,000 in compensatory damages.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit falls under the recognized theory of liability known “premises liability.” Premises liability against merchants is recognized in Louisiana and governed by Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:2800.6. This statute provides: “A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition. This duty includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any hazardous conditions which reasonably my give rise to damage.”

When an individual suffers an injury at the hands of another, it can be a devastating experience to both the individual and his or her family. It can impose unforeseen medical costs, result in an inability to work, create a dire financial hardship, or otherwise create a very difficult experience for everyone involved. But this is why we have the civil justice system: to make the victim “whole” by providing a means for obtaining legal relief against the wrongdoer.

In pursuit of fairness and equity, however, the law sometimes recognizes considerations in favor of the wrongdoer. One of the most prominent of these considerations are statutes of limitations—or, as we say here in Louisiana, “prescription”. Prescription describes the procedural device that places a time limit on a plaintiff’s right to pursue a claim. So, for instance, if you were injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you have one year to file the claim in court before prescription bars you from filing the lawsuit altogether. While there are many nuances to this general rule and different prescriptive periods for different causes of action, it generally operates in this way. As mentioned above, prescription works in favor of the wrongdoer and for good reason. It ensures that injured plaintiffs pursue their claims with reasonable diligence, it gives defendants certainty about the timing of a potential claim against them so they can adequately prepare a defense, and it keeps the lawsuit temporally close to when the injury occurred so that potential witnesses and evidence to be presented at trial are still available.

But lawsuits can sometimes get overly complicated, leading to oversights and inaccuracies by parties to the suit, attorneys, and judges. One classic instance of such an oversight is where the plaintiff names the improper defendant in the lawsuit, and in the meantime, prescription on the claim against the proper defendant runs. What happens in this situation? Do the courts let procedural rules trump the overarching goals of equity and fairness in the justice system?

Reduction of traffic accidents—particularly fatal traffic accidents—has long been at the center of public debate and the ambition of state and federal policymakers. The 1960s proved a watershed decade for transformation of traffic safety. With traffic fatalities on the rise in the 1960s, spiking at 49,000 traffic fatalities in 1965, public concern over traffic safety began to dominate the national discussion. Culminating with the 1965 publication of Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed”—a book that issued scathing criticisms of vehicle manufacturers for their willfully rejecting the addition of safety features into their automobiles—policymakers reacted. By calling on states to erect highway safety measures, the Highway Safety Act passed by Congress in 1966 was the first of many concentrated efforts to reduce this increasing problem. One important feature of this legislation was that it created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, which primarily operates as a safety administrator, promulgating rules designed to increase safety on highways, but also to increase safety of the vehicles themselves by imposing regulations on manufacturers.

With the bulk of this debate happening from the 1960s forward, traffic safety has long been on the minds of citizens and policymakers. Improving safety based on readily observable causes—prohibiting intoxicated driving, reducing speed limits, requiring operating traffic signals, etc.—is one thing, but as a recent study reveals, sometimes the causal or correlative connection between a phenomenon and traffic safety is more mysterious.

A recent study by University of Colorado-Boulder PhD candidate Austin Smith revealed a curious correlation between daylight savings time and increased traffic fatalities. This study reviewed data on fatal vehicle accidents from 2002 to 2011 and compared the number of fatal accidents that occur just before and after daylight savings time changes took effect.

A tanker truck flipped on its side and collided with an RTA bus carrying numerous passengers in Algiers, sending many to the hospital with injuries. The 18-wheeler swerved to avoid hitting the bus when it tipped on its side and collided with the driver’s side of the bus, pushing the bus into a taxicab. The truck quickly burst into flames, but the two truck occupants left the scene unharmed.

18-wheeler truck and bus accidents can be especially dangerous for motorists considering the size of those vehicles and the tremendous force exerted when they collide with smaller motor vehicles.

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Louisiana’s first-time drivers will now be legally required to undergo more classroom and behind-the-wheel training. State lawmakers passed this legislation last session with little opposition.

The new rules require 30 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds. In addition, 18-year-olds must undertake six hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel training. Lawmakers believe the legislation will make roads safer and lower insurance rates across the state.

Car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Last year, car accidents claimed the lives of almost 6,000 teens. Statistics show that teens are more likely to speed, use cell phones and succumb to distractions inside and outside the vehicle.

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A study released by the University of Oklahoma indicates that the symptoms of traumatic brain injury can persist for years. The study followed over 500 veterans who suffered from post-concussion syndrome. Their research found that almost half of the veterans’ symptoms did not improve until eight years after the injury.

Post-concussion syndrome is a disorder that follows a blunt impact to the head or brain. The symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, memory loss and sensitivity to light and noise. For years, doctors have believed that these symptoms were only temporary.

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Authorities arrested a boater after his fishing boat crashed into a pontoon boat, tragically killing a 9-year-old boy, injuring three others and leaving one teen missing. Authorities allege the man was intoxicated at the time of the collision. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources charged the man with boating under the influence of alcohol.

Studies suggest alcohol contributes to 34 percent of fatal boat accidents each year. Louisiana’s vehicular homicide penal statute applies to both motor vehicles and watercrafts. State law further carries strict criminal penalties for people who boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including hefty fines, driver’s license suspension and imprisonment.

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