6 Reasons to Choose Herman, Herman & Katz
At Herman, Herman & Katz, L.L.C., our reputation is our most valuable possession. The following are some of the reasons that our clients choose to trust us:
We are streetwise: Despite the stellar academic performance of our attorneys, we are the first to realize that intelligence, as it matters in practice anyway, is about more than just IQ – especially when you are negotiating against tricky insurance adjusters or anticipating your opponent’s next move in court. We are all “students of human moves” in service to justice for our clients.
We are personally involved: Representing personal injury victims is not just our job – it is our mission. That is why we represent victims, not defendants. As far as we are concerned, your problem is our problem too. We will tackle your case with the same intensity that we would if one of our own family members had been injured.
After all these years, we still respond with outrage when a defendant thinks they can just walk away after turning someone else’s life upside down through their misconduct. However, we never let our emotions overwhelm us – instead, they energize and motivate us.
We are relentless: We. Absolutely. Will. Not. allow anyone to bully you, no matter who they are. Put simply, we won’t back down and we won’t quit until we secure justice for you. Although it sometimes happens that compromise is the best solution, a solution is exactly what it is – not an excuse to settle your claim for less than what it’s worth. If our firm had a mascot, it would be a bulldog.
We are compassionate: It takes more than street smarts and a brilliant legal mind to successfully conclude a personal injury case. You may find your emotions reaching a breaking point as you struggle to deal with a stingy or evasive defendant and deal with mounting medical bills – all while trying to recover from a serious injury. We try to address the emotional aspects of your situation so that the entire experience will be as stress-free for you as possible.
We know our way around the courtroom: This fact, ironically, keeps our clients out of court more often than not. Defendants and insurance adjusters laugh behind the backs of legal practitioners who boast “expert” negotiation skills but who cannot win in court. Why should an opponent settle a claim when the victim’s lawyer hasn’t proved that he has the ability to compel payment through a court judgment?
We never have that problem. Billions of dollars in courtroom judgments tend to wipe the smirk off the face of an overconfident insurance adjuster – at least once he finds out you have retained Herman, Herman & Katz to represent you. Once that happens, an out-of-court settlement is by far the most likely result.
We WIN. At the end of the day, results are all that matter; all the rest is just conversation. And results are measured in only one way – cash in your bank account. That’s OK with us. While other law firms are boasting about how many millions of dollars they have won for their clients, we can point to recoveries in the billions. The total amount we have won for all of our clients combined, $35 billion, exceeds the aggregate annual GDP of more than one hundred of the world’s nations.
About Herman, Herman & Katz
We’ve been helping personal injury victims since 1942 – longer than most people have been alive. The following are some examples of recoveries we have won for our clients:
- Over $85 million for losses caused by an industrial explosion
- Over $47 million for losses caused by the sinking of a barge
- Over $24 million for a brain injury suffered by a child
- Over $11 million for injuries suffered in a collision with a train
- Nearly $600 million against cigarette manufacturers in a class action lawsuit.
Trusted and Talented Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers
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.
The skilled Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Herman Herman & Katz, L.L.C. (HHK) are committed to fighting for families devastated by a 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 skilled and proven Louisiana personal injury attorneys.
Some of Our Personal Injury Practice Areas
Our Louisiana personal injury lawyers 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.
- Auto Vehicle 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 attorney.
- 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 Site 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 Negligence – 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 Claim – When the victim of a personal injury dies, a wrongful death claim is a 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)
Can I file a personal injury claim if I am intentionally assaulted?
Yes, you can. In addition to winning compensatory damages, it is possible that you might even win punitive damages. Unfortunately, however, very few insurance policies cover intentional assaults. Even most auto insurance policies won’t cover “road rage” damages. However, you might be able to claim against a third party. For example, you might claim against a bar for a beating inflicted by a bouncer.
How can I collect compensation if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured?
There are three main approaches you might try:
- Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, if you have one (Louisiana law does not require you to)
- The defendant’s personal assets
- A third-party defendant such as the defendant’s employer – if he was on-duty at the time of the accident, or a manufacturer if a defective auto part caused the accident.
Can I win a claim against a business owner if I was injured in the establishment because his employee disobeyed an order from him?
Yes, it is possible, because employers are generally liable for the wrongful acts of their employees – even if they themselves were not at fault. In fact, you can probably seek damages against both the employer and the employee in this situation.
How can I recover damages in the case of a hit and run accident?
Hit and run accidents are problematic when you are seeking compensation, of course. You can file a claim against your own uninsured motorist (UIM) policy if you have one since Louisiana UIM policies generally cover this. Otherwise, you may have to locate the offending driver.
Can I still recover for a drunk driving accident if the driver was acquitted in criminal court?
Yes, it is certainly possible. In criminal court, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a very high standard of proof. In a civil claim, you only have to prove the defendant’s liability by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a much lower burden to meet.
The disparity between these two standards of proof allows you to pursue a civil claim against a driver who was acquitted in criminal court.
Can I sue the defendant's employer?
Theoretically, you can, at least if the defendant was acting in the course of his duties at the time of the accident. But you need to be careful. Not everyone who works for a boss is considered an employee under the law. Workers that enjoy a high degree of freedom in the performance of their duties (a plumber you call in to fix your sink, for example) are usually classified as independent contractors, not employees.
Employers are liable for the on-duty negligence of their employees, but they are not liable for an independent contractor’s negligence.
Can my claim be resolved through an out-of-court settlement?
Yes, it can be, if the defendant is willing to settle (most of them do eventually). Nevertheless, at some point, a lawsuit may have to be filed simply to motivate the defendant to settle. Another situation in which a lawsuit would have to be filed would be if the statute of limitations deadline were looming. Even then, the defendant might settle before trial.
I fell on a slippery floor in a restaurant and broke my arm. Do I have a claim against the restaurant?
It’s difficult to say without knowing more about your case. If the restaurant (its employees, in other words) had a reasonable opportunity to dry the floor before you slipped, you might have a good case. Another favorable situation would be if an employee forgot to erect a “Wet Floor” sign after mopping.
I signed a medical consent form. Can it be used against me in a medical malpractice claim?
Probably not, although it is possible. No one is deemed to “consent” to medical malpractice. It might matter if you had no opportunity to consent to a dangerous treatment that later caused you damages.
Can I still file a claim if I don't discover the true cause of my injury until a long time after my accident?
Normally, you have only one year after an accident to file a lawsuit (minors have until their 19th birthday). If your claim is based on product liability or exposure to toxic substances, however, the one-year period doesn’t begin to run until you discover or should have discovered the true cause of your injuries.
What kinds of damages am I eligible for?
Depending on the nature of your losses and the defendant’s conduct, you might be eligible for:
- Economic damages – easily quantifiable expenses such as medical bills and lost wages (both current and anticipated future losses)
- Non-economic damages – emotional trauma such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and disfigurement
- Punitive damages – an extra amount awarded very occasionally if the defendant’s conduct was outrageous (against a surgeon who operated on you while intoxicated, for example)
If I can prove that the defendant was breaking the law at the time of the accident, will I win the case?
Not necessarily, although it might help your case. If the defendant was breaking a safety law and if the violation caused the accident, your chances are much better than if the defendant was, say, simply driving on a suspended license.
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, L.L.C., 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 Louisiana personal injury attorney 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 Louisiana personal injury lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no-obligation case review form. We offer free consultations.