Trusted and Talented New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer
Dealing with the aftermath of a tragic accident can be overwhelming. Many families with seriously injured loved ones must tap into savings and retirement accounts to pay for necessary medical care. A family’s income may be drastically reduced if a father or mother is unable to work as a result of an injury or death. The financial and emotional strain imposed upon a family can be unbearable.
A skilled New Orleans personal injury lawyer at Herman Herman & Katz, LLC (HHK) is committed to fighting for families devastated by personal injury caused by the negligence of others.
Negotiation vs. Litigation
You may have heard that most personal injury claims are resolved out of court. Strictly speaking, this is true. Most defendants would rather avoid the time and expense of a trial if they think there’s a significant chance they might lose. However, don’t let this fact deceive you – it is said (quite wisely) that “all bargaining takes place in the shadow of the law.”
No defendant or insurance company is likely to offer you a fair settlement unless you prove that you are substantially likely to win at trial. Of course, that means assembling evidence that is admissible under court rules just as it would if a trial were already underway. In many ways, preparing for negotiations is similar to preparing for trial. Let us handle negotiations for you while you make the major decisions.
The HHK Advantage
Our successful track record proves we can handle ourselves, and your best interests when the gloves come off. All told, we have recovered over $35 billion for our clients over the years, both in court and at the negotiating table. We are the go-to law firm when looking for a skilled and proven New Orleans personal injury lawyer.
Some of Our Personal Injury Practice Areas
Our New Orleans Personal Injury Attorneys handle the following types of personal injury cases:
- Brain Injury – A brain injury can produce extensive long-term disability, as well as some of the highest damages awards available for any type of injury. Our brain injury practice group is led by Dr. Joseph Kott, a retired neurosurgeon.
- Burn Injury – A serious burn injury can cause immense pain and suffering, and it can leave its victim disfigured for life. Even more moderate injuries can generate tremendous personal losses.
- Car Accidents – Car accidents are perhaps the most common cause of personal injury. However, to win an adequate recovery against a stingy insurance company, you are likely to need the services of a skilled personal injury lawyer.
- Contamination – Toxic contamination, produced by a disaster such as an oil spill, can cause economic devastation, serious public health problems, and even wrongful death. At HHK, we have dealt with these issues before (during the BP oil spill litigation, for example).
- Industrial Accidents – Industrial accidents are surprisingly common, especially in Louisiana. Compensation may be sought through workers’ compensation, the Jones Act, or ordinary personal injury law – depending on the circumstances.
- Dangerous Products – Louisiana law grants consumers and other people injured by an unreasonably dangerous product the right to damages. Products liability is distinct from other areas of personal injury law and is in some ways more favorable to the victim.
- Electrocutions – Electrical accidents, some leading to death, are far more common than most people realize. While many of these accidents befall skilled tradespeople such as electricians whose jobs expose them to an elevated level of risk, members of the general public also suffer this kind of injury.
- Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice is perhaps the most terrifying form of personal injury. This is because it forces us all to realize that even the professionals we are forced to rely on for our very lives are human just like us – prone to error.
- Offshore Maritime – Offshore maritime law is a system all its own. Its rules are in many ways different than the rules that apply to other types of personal injuries. Louisiana’s large petroleum industry ensures that maritime law claims will always be common here; especially in coastal areas of the state.
- Wrongful Death – When the victim of a personal injury dies, a wrongful death claim is the result. Although damages for a wrongful death claim can be immense, the law works differently than it does for an ordinary personal injury claim.
- 18 Wheeler Trucking – 18-wheeler trucks act like highway missiles when the driver loses control, and the damage that they can do is nearly comparable. Truck accident claims can present unique questions of law that do not arise in ordinary car accident claims.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a public establishment (such as a business) obligated to institute security measures to protect guests from criminal acts by third parties?
Yes, a public establishment is obligated to institute security measures that are reasonable under the circumstances. If the establishment fails to do so and you are thereby injured by a third party (a thief, for example), you might be able to hold the establishment liable for damages.
What makes a product “unreasonably dangerous” in the context of a products liability lawsuit?
A product is “unreasonably dangerous” for the purposes of a products liability personal injury lawsuit if its design, composition, construction, or product warnings render it likely to injure someone during the “reasonably anticipated use” of the product. It can also be considered unreasonably dangerous if it violates a manufacturer’s expressed warranty.
Is there a limit to how much I can win in a medical malpractice case?
Yes. Louisiana imposes a limit of $500,000 (plus interest) on a medical malpractice award, excluding future medical expenses and related expenses. This limit applies even if the patient dies from the malpractice.
If I am injured by a negligent truck driver, can I sue the company that hired him?
Not necessarily. It depends on whether the truck driver is considered an employee of the company or an independent contractor. A court will make this decision if the case goes to trial, regardless of how the defendant characterizes the driver.
If I am injured by a drunken driver, can I sue the bar that sold him alcohol?
Probably not. Unlike other states, Louisiana has not enacted a dram shop law. Because of this, a bar owner or social host generally cannot be held liable for serving alcohol to a patron who later causes a DUI accident; even if the patron was under 21 or was already visibly intoxicated at the time he was served.
What is the Jones Act and how might it affect my maritime injury claim?
The Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, governs personal injury claims filed by injured “seamen” (as defined by the law). The provisions of the Jones Act differ from both workers’ compensation and ordinary personal injury law, and these differences can significantly impact your recovery.
What is a “never event” and how does it affect a medical malpractice claim?
A “never event” is something that should never happen, such as operating on the wrong body part or on the wrong patient.
Can I still win if the accident was partly my fault?
It depends on what you mean by “win.” Under Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence system, you can always recover something unless the accident was 100 percent your fault. Your percentage of fault, however, will be subtracted from your recovery. For example, you will lose 35 percent of your damages if you were 35 percent at fault. In this case, the other party can also claim against you for 35 percent of his damages
Why shouldn’t I accept a quick settlement from the insurance company?
If the insurance company is offering you a quick settlement, it is likely that either
- You have an open-and-shut case;
- They are offering you much less than the amount your claim is worth; or
Insurance companies are profit-seeking businesses, and it is highly unlikely that an early settlement offer will reflect the true value of your claim.
What are some tricks that insurance companies like to play to avoid paying the full value of a claim?
Some of their favorite tricks include:
- Making a “lowball” offer before you have even left the hospital
- Dragging out negotiations until the statute of limitations deadline expires
- Taking a recorded statement from you and asking you trick questions
- Asking for your written permission to see your entire medical history (don’t do it!)
No Recovery? No Fee
At Herman, Herman & Katz, we understand that you aren’t going to hand over your hard-earned money in exchange for smooth talk and promises – you pay for victory, and nothing less. Consequently, we won’t charge you any fees in a contingency case unless you receive a recovery, and nothing will come due until you actually receive your recovery. You will want a very experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyer on your side.
Start Fighting Back Today
We know that families come to us because a tragic event has changed their lives. Most families come to us anguished and exhausted. We understand that they depend upon us to aggressively pursue justice on their behalf. We consider this to be a sacred trust. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form. We offer free consultations.