Do you need a lawyer to help me with a bird mite infestation?

What are Bird Mites?

Bird mites are parasites that feed on the blood of birds and tend to live in bird nests. When they no longer have a “host” because the young birds have learned to fly and left the nest or their nest was disrupted for other reasons - by cleaning, falling, or moving, the mites leave, seeking a new animal to feed of of, sometimes landing in human homes and feeding off of humans or pests. To the human eye, bird mites look like moving grounds of pepper, which can be very disturbing.

Although the mites can be an itchy tingly nuisance, they typically can’t survive on humans or in homes for any significant length of time.  The literature suggests that off of their avian hosts, the common bird mites may be able to survive a matter of weeks, but can possible last longer, especially in humid and hot climates.

While bird mites can leave physical injuries - sometimes leaving painful bites causing itching and possibly permanent scarring on their victims, the mental effects of a bird mite infestation can be severe.  Our clients have experienced stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, delusionary parasitosis (thinking that the bird mites are still biting you even after they have been eliminated) and even sustained depression as a result of bird mite exposure.  Additionally, if the bird mites are in your home or apartment, you may face significant expenses trying to eliminate them, or through the loss of your property.

What do you do if you suspect you have been infested by bird mites?

  1. Call pest control that has experience in bird mites - a professional

  2. Get medical attention.  This will help to reduce itchiness from the bird mite bites.

  3. Take photographs of the bird mite bites.

  4. Search the area and take photographs of the bird mites.

  5. If you are staying in a hotel or a hospital, contact the management to file a report of the bird mites.

  6. If you are in your apartment, contact your apartment manager to write a report and to request elimination of the bird mites.

  7. Do not bring your clothes or other items to your home if you have been staying in a hotel or elsewhere.  You may accidentally transport the bird mites to your house

  8. Call us for a free consultation on how to proceed with any claims you may have.

If you suspect you contracted bird mites in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call us for a free consultation on your claim.


Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled many bed bug and bird mite cases.

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
How a New Orleans Bicycle Accident Attorney can Help you Following a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle use is on the rise in New Orleans.  New Orleans adopted a Complete Streets ordinance in 2011.  As we have all seen, since that time, the City has more than doubled its bicycle lanes.  Blue Bikes is a bike share program that has recently launched in New Orleans, and the City has completed construction the Lafitte Greenway, making the use of bicycles for transport even more prevalent. The unfortunate downside to this is that we have more and more clients that are injured while using their bicycle in bicycle accidents and contact a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer for guidance navigating how to make a claim for their damages.

What are the laws that apply to a New Orleans bicycle accident?

In general, New Orleans bicyclists are held to the same laws that apply to motorists. New Orleans updated its bicycle laws in 2017.

https://www.municode.com/library/la/new_orleans?searchText=bicycle&searchContentTypes=CODES

http://www.crpc-la.org/crpc_new/Documents/NMP/LAbicyclelaws.pdf

A good read on Louisiana Bike Laws can also be found here: http://www.bikelaw.com/2014/06/18/louisiana-bicycle-laws/

Louisiana Bike Guide has a compilation of state and local bike laws as well: http://labikeguide.org/rules/

What Should I do following a New Orleans bicycle accident?

  1. Call the police

  2. Seek medical attention

  3. Take Photographs of your injuries, of the bicycle accident scene, the other vehicle, and the roadway

  4. Take photographs of your injuries

  5. Gather the names and contact information of any witness who may have seen the accident

  6. Contact an experienced New Orleans bicycle accident attorney

Why is it important to contact a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer following an accident?

First, your New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer will be able to conduct an investigation into whether there is any insurance that may cover your injuries following the bicycle accident. Although each case needs specific scrutiny, generally, if the bicycle accident is the fault of the other driver, in whole or in part, you can make a claim against them or their insurance or the insurance on the vehicle.  This is true even if you were partially at fault in causing the accident.  If the other driver or the owner of the vehicle do not have insurance or are under-insured, meaning that they do not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, you may be able to make a claim under your own insurance under your UM/UIM coverage even if you were riding your bicycle during the bicycle accident and not driving your car.  This may even apply if the driver flees the scene of the accident and you are unable to identify him or her.  Additionally, your policy may provide for coverage to pay your medical bills even if you are at fault for the accident.

Secondly, It is important to consult a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer soon after your accident so that she may investigate your case and preserve evidence before it disappears. She may obtain the police report from the bicycle accident, interview witnesses who may have witnessed the bicycle accident, and try to obtain video footage from surveillance cameras, crime cameras, or police cameras that may have captured the bicycle accident. She may even conduct a scene investigation and hire a bicycle accident expert. An experienced New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer will be able to perform this investigation immediately. Additionally, she will be able to shield you from the insurance company, who may attempt to resolve your claim early, before you know the extent of your injuries, and for the lowest amount possible.

  If you are involved in a bicycle accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie bicycle accident lawyer or a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with this claim.If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, we provide a free evaluation of your possible claim.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial lawyer at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in New Orleans bicycle accident injury litigation and has handled many bicycle accident cases. 

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

 

Megan Kiefer
Why hiring a Metairie 18-wheeler accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve

Being injured in an 18-wheeler accident or a trucking accident can be traumatizing.  If you have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, a garbage truck accident, a dump truck accident, or a tanker truck accident, it is important to contact the police and seek medical attention and to take immediate action to protect your health and your family well being.  

How can an 18-wheeler accident attorney or truck accident lawyer help me early on in my case?

Hiring a Metairie 18-wheeler accident attorney early on rather than attempting to negotiate with an insurance company directly can severely effect your recovery.  Insurance companies will attempt to take recorded statements of you so that they can use them later to attack your credibility.  Additionally, insurance companies have a team of adjusters whose number one job it is to settle you case early - before you know the full extent of your injuries, and for the lowest amount possible. Because we have decades of experience handling 18-wheeler accidents and trucking accidents, we will be able to evaluate your injuries and any settlement offers and can help to negotiate on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve for the injuries caused by the 18-wheeler accident.

Further, by hiring a Metairie 18-wheeler accident attorney soon after the accident, the lawyer will be able to open an investigation immediately and help to secure valuable information that could disappear if you wait too long. For example, 18-wheelers may contain devices that monitor the speed and travel of the 18-wheeler driver, there could be video of the accident on the dash cam of the 18-wheeler, or the accident may be captured on a crime camera or other surveillance camera.  Additionally, it is important to contact witnesses immediately - because this is exactly what the insurance company is doing.  Waiting to hire an 18-wheeler accident attorney may jeopardize the ability to get this evidence.


Who Can I make a claim against following a Metairie18-wheeler accident or trucking accident?

18-wheeler accident or trucking accidents can be different from car accidents.  Not only can the personal injuries that you suffer be more severe due to the weight and size of the 18-wheeler, but also you may be able to make a claim against multiple parties for your personal injuries. You may have claims against the driver of the 18-wheeler or truck involved in the accident, the company that hired the driver, the insurance company that insured the driver or the company that hired the driver, and possibly other parties. Because these are typically commercial parties that are very familiar with 18-wheeler accident injury claims, you will be met with seasoned negotiators who have unlimited resources to fight your claims.

How can our Metairie 18-wheeler accident lawyers can help you with your case? 

The Metairie 18-wheeler accident lawyers at Kiefer & Kiefer have decades of experience handling trucking accident cases and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for their clients that have been involved in 18-wheeler and trucking accidents.  We know first hand the devastation that a large vehicle weighing many tons can cause to your car, your body, and your life.  Do not make the mistake of hiring a trucking accident lawyer with no experience who is afraid to go to trial if the insurance company does not want to fairly compensate you following an 18-wheeler accident in Metairie. We have a seasoned team of trial attorneys ready to fight for you. 

Megan Kiefer
Hiring a Metairie Wrongful Death Lawyer can help you to get answers following the wrongful death of a loved one

The loss of a loved one is always a tragic event. If you have lost a loved one suddenly and suspect that they died due to the fault or negligence of another person, it is very likely you are looking for answers. When someone dies in an accident, in an attack, or in prison, for example, the investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding their death by the police or the coroner can take much longer, and we have found that families are often kept in the dark during this investigation, compounding their grief. Consulting or hiring a wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family to perform an investigation and to preserve evidence immediately

A wrongful death action provides compensation to the loved ones for the loss they suffered as a result of the deceased victim’s death. Recoverable damages include the loss of love, affection and companionship of the deceased victim as well as the past and future grief and anguish of the surviving family members. Additionally, the family members can recover the loss of support from the deceased victim. The wrongful death action also allows recovery for the funeral and burial expenses incurred for the deceased victim.  

Our attorneys have handled many Metairie wrongful death cases and New Orleans wrongful death cases. We have handled wrongful death actions where a loved one was killed in a car accident and Metairie wrongful death cases where a loved one died in jail. These cases can be very complicated, so it is important to consult an experienced Metairie wrongful death attorney or New Orleans wrongful death attorney to investigate any potential claim that you may have.

Metairie Wrongful Death Law

            Under Louisiana law, the following parties may file a wrongful death or survival action, depending on the circumstances:

1.    Surviving spouse or children of the deceased victim;

2.   The surviving parent or parents;

3.    The deceased victim’s surviving siblings;

4.    The surviving grandparents of the deceased victim

5.    The victim’s estate may file a claim

 For both of these actions, a claim must be made within one year of the victim’s death.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled Metairie wrongful death cases and New Orleans wrongful death cases.

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
What Happens if My Uber Driver was Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?

Recently, three Texas women were passengers in an Uber involved in a serious car accident. The other driver fled the scene of the accident in a hit and run. The below article details the fact that even though the passengers were seriously injured and had loss wages, it has been difficult to recover any compensation even though Uber carries $1,000,000 of uninsured motorist insurance for passengers while riding Uber that is involved in a car accident, and they have directed the passengers to try to get compensation from the hit and run driver.

Put simply, this is exactly the type of case where the passengers should consult a personal injury attorney to pursue a claim or a lawsuit. Because any claim against Uber’s insurer is one of UM due to the fact that the other driver was solely at fault, there are many circumstances that must occur before the UM insurer is required to tender any payment even if you are seriously injured in the car accident. The passengers will need to provide the insurer proof of no or limited insurance regarding the hit and run driver, proof that they are solely at fault, and proof of medical damages from the car accident. If the other driver cannot be located, they will need to provide documentation relative to that, such as a police report, property damage proof, and witness statements of anyone who saw the car accident. An investigator may even be obtained to locate the driver and surveillance footage can be pulled. Even with all of this information, insurers may still take the position they are not required to pay out or they need more information to evaluate the claim.

Passenger claims involving hit and run car accidents are complicated. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

https://www.wfaa.com/mobile/article/news/women-involved-in-lyft-hit-and-run-facing-insurance-nightmare/287-626974661

Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a Metairie personal injury lawyer and a New Orleans personal injury attorney who has handled many car accident cases involving Uber and Lyft. See our companion website www.youruberaccidentattorney.com for more information.

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
What Happens if the Insurance Company Fails to Pay my Vehicle Damage?

If you have been involved in a car accident with vehicle property damage, chances are that you have contacted an insurance company - whether it was your own or the insurance company of the at-fault driver to get the property damage to your vehicle paid. In the vast majority of cases, the insurance company inspects your vehicle, and writes you a check to compensate you for an undisputed amount of property damage.  In some cases, however, the insurance company drops the ball, which is when our clients seek counsel about their options. 

In Louisiana, the legislature has passed a law addressing this very issue - La. R.S. 22:1892, which is known generally as a “Bad Faith” statute.  That law requires that an insurance company is required to pay the amount of any claim  - from either their own insured or any third party within thirty days after it has been established that they must pay those claims.  The insurance company must also institute loss adjustment within 14 days after notice of the claim.  

If the insurance company fails to do this, they may be liable for penalties and attorneys fees, and you may have a lawsuit to file against them.  La. R.S. 22:1892 (B)(1) provides for penalties that may be an extra 50% of the amount of damage to the vehicle as well as attorney fees.  Further, you may be entitled to be compensated for you expenses for making alternative transportation, such as taking Uber or Lyft and attorneys fees. 

The full statute provides:

§1892. Payment and adjustment of claims, policies other than life and health and accident; personal vehicle damage claims; extension of time to respond to claims during emergency or disaster; penalties; arson-related claims suspension

            A.(1) All insurers issuing any type of contract, other than those specified in R.S. 22:1811, 1821, and Chapter 10 of Title 23 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, shall pay the amount of any claim due any insured within thirty days after receipt of satisfactory proofs of loss from the insured or any party in interest. The insurer shall notify the insurance producer of record of all such payments for property damage claims made in accordance with this Paragraph.

            (2) All insurers issuing any type of contract, other than those specified in R.S. 22:1811, R.S. 22:1821, and Chapter 10 of Title 23 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, shall pay the amount of any third party property damage claim and of any reasonable medical expenses claim due any bona fide third party claimant within thirty days after written agreement of settlement of the claim from any third party claimant.

            (3) Except in the case of catastrophic loss, the insurer shall initiate loss adjustment of a property damage claim and of a claim for reasonable medical expenses within fourteen days after notification of loss by the claimant. In the case of catastrophic loss, the insurer shall initiate loss adjustment of a property damage claim within thirty days after notification of loss by the claimant except that the commissioner may promulgate a rule for extending the time period for initiating a loss adjustment for damages arising from a presidentially declared emergency or disaster or a gubernatorially declared emergency or disaster up to an additional thirty days. Thereafter, only one additional extension of the period of time for initiating a loss adjustment may be allowed and must be approved by the Senate Committee on Insurance and the House Committee on Insurance, voting separately. Failure to comply with the provisions of this Paragraph shall subject the insurer to the penalties provided in R.S. 22:1973.

            (4) All insurers shall make a written offer to settle any property damage claim, including a third-party claim, within thirty days after receipt of satisfactory proofs of loss of that claim.

            B.(1) Failure to make such payment within thirty days after receipt of such satisfactory written proofs and demand therefor or failure to make a written offer to settle any property damage claim, including a third-party claim, within thirty days after receipt of satisfactory proofs of loss of that claim, as provided in Paragraphs (A)(1) and (4) of this Section, respectively, or failure to make such payment within thirty days after written agreement or settlement as provided in Paragraph (A)(2) of this Section when such failure is found to be arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause, shall subject the insurer to a penalty, in addition to the amount of the loss, of fifty percent damages on the amount found to be due from the insurer to the insured, or one thousand dollars, whichever is greater, payable to the insured, or to any of said employees, or in the event a partial payment or tender has been made, fifty percent of the difference between the amount paid or tendered and the amount found to be due as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. Such penalties, if awarded, shall not be used by the insurer in computing either past or prospective loss experience for the purpose of setting rates or making rate filings.

            (2) The period set herein for payment of losses resulting from fire and the penalty provisions for nonpayment within the period shall not apply where the loss from fire was arson related and the state fire marshal or other state or local investigative bodies have the loss under active arson investigation. The provisions relative to time of payment and penalties shall commence to run upon certification of the investigating authority that there is no evidence of arson or that there is insufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings.

            (3) The provisions relative to suspension of payment due to arson shall not apply to a bona fide lender which holds a valid recorded mortgage on the property in question.

            (4) Whenever a property damage claim is on a personal vehicle owned by the third party claimant and as a direct consequence of the inactions of the insurer and the third party claimant's loss the third party claimant is deprived of use of the personal vehicle for more than five working days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the insurer responsible for payment of the claim shall pay, to the extent legally responsible, for reasonable expenses incurred by the third party claimant in obtaining alternative transportation for the entire period of time during which the third party claimant is without the use of his personal vehicle. Failure to make such payment within thirty days after receipt of adequate written proof and demand therefor, when such failure is found to be arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause shall subject the insurer to, in addition to the amount of such reasonable expenses incurred, a reasonable penalty not to exceed ten percent of such reasonable expenses or one thousand dollars whichever is greater together with reasonable attorneys fees for the collection of such expenses.

If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer and Kiefer. She is a lawyer who specializes in car accidents and personal injury and has experience handling bad faith cases when an insurance company acts in bad faith and does not pay timely.

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.


  


Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite.....

Bed bugs are cringeworthy small insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals.  They are called bedbugs because of their preferred habitat in human homes: Sofas, bed mattresses, clothing, and other soft furnishings.  They tend to feed on their hosts while they sleep with peak feeding time between midnight and 5 a.m.  hence the saying “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Bed bug lawsuits typically arise in two instances: either our client contracts bed bugs while staying overnight - at a hotel or at a hospital, for example, or our client gets bed bugs in their own apartment due to a greater infestation in the apartment complex. 

While bed bugs do leave physical injuries - sometimes leaving hundreds of painful bites and permanent scarring on their victims, the mental effects of bed bugs can be severe.  Our clients have experienced stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, delusionary parasitosis (thinking that the bed bugs are still biting you) and even sustained depression as a result of bed bug exposure.  Additionally, if the bed bugs are in your home or apartment, you may face significant expenses trying to eliminate them, or through the loss of your property, because they can travel by crawling into other rooms or even traveling in suitcases or clothing. 

In some instances, depending on the severity of your exposure and the effects, you may be entitled to significant compensation.  In 2018, a California family was awarded $1.6 million in a bedbug lawsuit by a jury. In that case, an infant was permanently scarred by the bed bug bites sustained in their apartment.

What do you do if you suspect you have been attacked by bed bugs?

  1. Get medical attention.  This will help to reduce the risk of infection and help to reduce itchiness.

  2. Take photographs of the bites

  3. Search the area and take photographs of the bed bugs.

  4. If you are staying in a hotel or a hospital, contact the management to file a report

  5. If you are in your apartment, contact your apartment manager to write a report and to request elimination of the bed bugs.

  6. Do not bring your clothes or other items to your home if you have been staying in a hotel or elsewhere.  You may accidentally transport the bed bugs to your house

  7. Call us for a free consultation on how to proceed with any claims you may have.

If you suspect you contracted bed bugs in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call us for a free consultation on your claim.


Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled many bed bug cases.

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Price Shopping Medical Services Online?

A new law went into effect on January 1st, requiring that all hospitals publish an online list of the procedures they offer and their prices. This is a huge step in the very secretive and protectionist health insurance industry. It also means that not only should you be shopping online to make sure you’re getting the best possible price on that sequined Mardi Gras jumper, but should also be shopping around for your non-emergency medical needs.

            Also called a “chargemaster list,” federal law now requires that all hospitals post a list of procedures and the prices for those procedures on their website for patients to review. In reviewing various hospitals lists, hospitals have assigned their respective lists a variety of names, including “Billing Estimator”, “Procedure Bills”, etc. Most of the time the easiest way to find the list is to go the billing section of the website.

             Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act all hospitals were required to release price lists, but the CMS has expanded that duty, which they have explained as follows:

All hospitals operating within the United States are required to establish (and update) and make publica list of their standard charges for all items and services provided by the hospital. Under current guidelines, subsection (d) hospitals are additionally required to establish (and update) and make public a list of their standard charges for each diagnosis-related group established under section 1886(d)(4) of the Social Security Act.   

            Proponents of the new law hope that this first step towards transparent pricing will result in lower prices for consumers, and will drive more competition between hospitals. Proponents hope that with this information being made public,  consumers will be able to find the best possible prices for their needed procedures,  and that eventually it will lead to more standardized pricing.

             Hospitals have countered, arguing that determining the cost to a consumer is not as simple as just looking at the list. They argue that the true cost to the consumer can only be determined by also determining the amount of out of pocket costs under a given plan, and therefore the lists are unnecessary and actually confusing.

             Admittedly, forcing hospitals to disclose their prices will not immediately solve the huge variances in medical costs and billing, but it is certainly a significant first step. The more information consumers are given, the more power they have to ensure that they are getting the best possible deal from their health insurer and health care providers.    

  - Chris M. Short is an associate attorney at Kiefer & Kiefer.  

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
With State Farm Lowering its Car Insurance Rates, it May be time to Increase your Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This week, State Farm, who is Louisiana's largest auto insurer, announced that it will lower auto insurance rates starting in April by an average of 3.2 percent for its roughly 1 million Louisiana policyholders.  This is their third rate decrease in nine months.

This may be a good time to use those savings to up your uninsured motorist coverage.

When you sign up for automobile insurance,  you have the option of purchasing uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist insurance in addition to your liability coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is insurance that you purchase that steps in to cover you when another driver is not insured for injuries that they cause in a car accident or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages that you sustained after being injured in a car accident.  In fact, in Louisiana, you have to specifically reject this type of coverage if you do not want to purchase it.  While it may seem tempting to save money every month by declining this coverage, you may want to think twice.

In Louisiana, it is required under the law to have $15,000/30,000 of automobile insurance on a personal vehicle. Despite this requirement, it is estimated that 13 percent of drivers in Louisiana are not insured at all and an astounding number carry only the minimum amount of insurance on their vehicle and in New Orleans, that number is even higher.  That is, if you are involved in a car accident it is highly likely that the other driver is insured with only $15,000 of coverage if at all, which is not enough to cover even minor injuries in some cases that are caused by the car accident.  Too many times, we have had to break the news to seriously injured clients that the driver that injured them did not have enough insurance to compensate them for their injuries.  Accordingly, securing uninsured motorist insurance can help you to protect you in these situations. It will provide you the peace of mind that even if you are seriously injured in a car accident, you will be able to recover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss wages for any time you may have missed from work due to your injuries.

Call your insurance agent today to assess whether you are protecting yourself and your family adequately and if you can use these State Farm savings to re-invest in your security.

Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial attorney at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in Metairie personal injury and New Orleans personal injury litigation and uninsured motorist litigation following a car accident. 

 This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

What to Do if You are Injured by a Drunk Driver During Mardi Gras

Now that the Saints season ended with a city-wide Boycott/celebration, that means that Mardi Gras is officially upon us. The Krewe of Chewbacchus is set to roll through the Marigny and Bywater on February 9, and then it’s non-stop revelry until March 5. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras does lead to an uptick in impaired driving, which can cause serious personal injury in a car accident. It is important to know your rights if you suspect you have been injured by a drunk or impaired driver in a car accident.

In Louisiana, a car accident victim is typically able to recover only compensatory damages to help put them back in the same position they were in prior to the accident. One exception where you can collect punitive damages is if a person is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. The punitive damages are designed to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior and deter similar behavior in the future and can sometimes be amounts ten times the amount of what you could recover in a normal accident.

               An injured person can recover punitive damages under Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.4 by proving the following three elements:

 1.            The at fault driver was intoxicated or impaired

2.            The intoxication was the cause in fact of your injuries

3.            The injuries were caused by the at fault driver’s wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others.

The other driver need not have received a DWI or DUI and did not need to have been arrested on the scene of the accident in order to make a claim for punitive damages. If you suspect that you have been injured in a car accident and the other driver was impaired, please give us a call so that we may begin an investigation.

Typically, your accident or injury claim is limited to the driver who injured you. At times, especially in Louisiana where the vast majority of drivers carry minimum insurance policies, your ability to recover the full worth of your injuries can be limited or difficult unless you carry significant uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. Further, it is possible that an insurance policy could exclude punitive damages altogether. We are always analyzing our client’s cases to locate additional coverage or insurance that may be available to them.

One possibility in these cases is filing suit against the bar or restaurant where the individual consumed alcohol. In Louisiana, there is an anti-dram shop statute holding that the intoxicated driver, not the business or bar who supplied him alcohol, is liable for these actions. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9:2800.1 There are some exceptions, however, to this law. A business may be liable for the driver who (1) served alcohol to a minor; (2) forced consumption of alcohol; (3)misrepresented the alcoholic drink as non-alcoholic.

As you can see, these can be very complicated cases, entailing an analysis of insurance policies, and necessitating filing a lawsuit and conducting extensive depositions and discovery. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call the police and seek medical attention immediately. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with this claim.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial attorney at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in car accident and personal injury litigation

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
Cruise Ship Accidents and Injuries Can be Complicated

New Orleans is one of the most popular destinations to embark on a vacation cruise, and it is the sixth largest port in the nation. In 2017, New Orleans serviced 1.15 million cruise passengers, which was a to date record.   We welcomed a 4,000 passenger Norwegian cruise ship in November of 2017, which was the largest passenger cruise ship to arrive in New Orleans ever. 

It is so popular, in fact, that Carnival has just debuted a New Orleans themed cruise ship called “Mardi Gras". This 180,000 ton ship is scheduled to set sail in 2020, and will service 5,000 passengers.  It will have a French-Quarter themed deck lined with bars, a traditional jazz club, and even a roller coaster.

Although the worst thing that happens to most cruisers will be a sunburn or a hangover, there are many instances where a passenger is injured on a cruise ship, sometimes seriously.  These injuries can include food poisoning, sexual assault and rape, battery, a slip and fall accident, injuries while on excursions, or even death or a missing person.  Unfortunately, legal regulations of cruise ships are complex, there is no traditional “law enforcement” on board, safety personnel onboard are limited and medical attention (often contracted out by the cruise line) is scarce.  

Because of the lack of services on the ship, it is most often incumbent on the passenger to take the investigation of their case into their own hands to document what occurred.  If you are injured on a cruise ship, make sure you seek medical attention, report the injury to cruise ship personnel, file a written report with security, collect the information of any witnesses, such as their names, phone numbers, and addresses, try to take photographs and video evidence, and contact an attorney so that they can protect your rights.

While each case is different, typically the ticket that you purchased to go on the cruise will govern what claims you can make, where you need to make them, and the timeline you agreed to make them within.  That is, your ticket may limit the time to bring a suit to just a year or less rather than the three years you may have otherwise had under maritime law.  Additionally many of the tickets require a lawsuit to be filed in Florida.  That’s right, even if you buy your cruise ticket in Arkansas, drive to New Orleans, and go to Mexico without ever getting near Florida, and get injured on your way back to New Orleans, you may have to bring claim in Florida.

If you have been injured on a cruise ship in New Orleans and are in search of a cruise ship lawyer, please give us a call. We are licensed in Louisiana, New York, California, and Florida.  We can handle these claims even if you do not live in Louisiana.

— Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer who handles cruise ship injury litigation.

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  

Be Careful if you are Driving for UberEATS?

UberEATS is a new venture from Uber that allows people to order food seamlessly through their phone from various local restaurants (and even ones across town).  The platform is run by Uber’s subsidiary, Portier, LLC, and the contract between Portier and their drivers attempts to make very clear that their drivers are not employees of Uber or Portier but rather Portier is simply a technology service connecting the restaurants with “for hire” delivery drivers through its platforms.  For the service, the customer pays the driver a delivery fee and a tip.  Uber then takes a percentage fee from the restaurant.

As it is becoming more commonly known that Uber provides significant insurance coverage to its drivers who are involved in car accidents, we are seeing more and more cases come to our office where drivers for UberEATS assume that the same coverages apply if they are involved or seriously injured in a car accident whether they are transporting an individual or a burrito. 

We have found that often times this is not the case in the greater New Orleans area, unfortunately. While the insurer for UberEATS does provide significant liability coverage of $1,000,000* if you are involved in a car accident while you are on the way to pick up or to deliver an order, they do not provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage at all if you are involved in a car accident.  That means that if you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault and you are injured, you may be limited in what money you can recover to what insurance the other driver involved in the car accident has.  This is a significant restriction given that the vast majority of Louisiana drivers are either uninsured or carry only $15,000 of insurance and the number of uninsured drivers in New Orleans is even higher. Meaning, if you are involved in a car accident in New Orleans, it is very possible that the other driver is not insured properly to cover your injuries.

Even more problematically, even if the driver personally carries uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, if they were driving for UberEATS at the time of the accident, it is possible that their own insurance will refuse to pay out on the claim claiming that these accidents are excluded under a personal insurance policy. We are currently handling a case litigating these exact exclusions where our client was seriously injured in a car accident by another driver and her insurance company is refusing to pay her claim for damages under her UM policy. 

Of course, every case is different, and we need to assess the facts and circumstances of each particular accident to determine applicable insurance coverages.

Some drivers are curing this problem by purchasing “gap” commercial insurance that will fill this coverage void.  

If you have been involved in a car accident involving UberEATS or have questions about your insurance coverage, give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible.


Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled many cases involved Uber and Lyft. More more information, please visit our companion site at www.youruberaccidentattorney.com

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  



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Megan Kiefer
Adopt a Cop this Mardi Gras 

The smell of king cake is in the air and the excitement of all that Mardi Gras brings has finally arrived. While most of us spending Mardi Gras season on the parade routes  eating, drinking, and celebrating with our family and friend, NOPD officers work hard to keep the public safe. Many officers work up to twelve hour shifts during Mardi Gras and have little to eat and drink. 

 The New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation has created a great way for us all to give back to the "Krewe in Blue" with their annual Adopt-A-Cop during Mardi Gras. The donations provide NOPD officers and other visiting officers with hot meals, snacks and beverages to keep them going during the long days and nights of Mardi Gras. 

 With a small donation of $10, we can help ensure each cop remains fueled up and ready to second line in the streets. Please visit the link below to adopt-a-cop by donating any amount.

 https://nopjf.org/adopt-a-cop/

Megan Kiefermardi gras, nopd, police, cop
What Type of Insurance Coverage is Available to my Uber?

If you are involved in a car accident involving Uber, involving personal injury or property damage, you will likely be making an insurance claim against Uber’s commercial insurer for the injuries you sustained in the car accident. This is the case whether you are an Uber driver, an Uber passenger, or in another vehicle involved in an accident with an Uber driver.

While we would need to review the facts and circumstances of each case and each car accident to evaluate insurance coverage available, Uber’s insurer typically provides the following insurance coverages in the greater New Orleans area:

If your Uber app is turned on and you are available to take passengers, Uber’s insurer provides liability coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident as well as $25,000 in property damage.

If you are in route to pick up a passenger or if you have a passenger, Uber’s insurer provides $1,000,000 in total liability coverage as well as $1,000,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and coverage for property damage.

If you have been involved in a car or trucking accident involving Uber, give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with your claim. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

https://www.youruberaccidentattorney.com/updates/2019/1/11/what-type-of-insurance-coverage-is-available-to-my-uber

Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled many car accident cases involving Uber and Lyft.

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
What to do if you are a passenger in an uber involved in a hit and run CAR accident

Recently, three Texas women were passengers in an Uber involved in a serious accident. The other driver fled the scene. The below articles detailed the fact that even though the passenger side were seriously injured and had loss wages, it has been difficult to recover any compensation even though Uber carries $1,000,000 of uninsured motorist insurance for passengers while riding Uber, and they have directed the passengers to try to get compensation from the hit and run driver.

Put simply, this is exactly the type of case where the passengers should consult an attorney. Because any claim against Uber’s insurer is one of UM due to the fact that the other driver was solely at fault, there are many circumstances that must occur before the UM insurer is required to render any payment. The passengers will need to provide the insurer proof of no or limited insurance regarding the hit and run driver, proof that they are solely at fault, and proof of medical damages. If the other driver cannot be located, they will need to provide documentation relative to that, such as a police report, property damage proof, and witness statements. Even with all of this information, insurers may take the position they are not required to pay out.

Passenger claims involving hit and run accidents are complicated. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

https://www.youruberaccidentattorney.com/updates/2019/1/9/1xt844wqmyycsg1gdpr0nfn5jxk08m

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Megan Kiefer
What to Do if You are Injured by a Drunk Driver During the Holidays

As we approach the holiday season, we unfortunately see an uptick in automobile accidents that are caused by drunk or impaired drivers.

In Louisiana, a car accident victim is typically able to recover only compensatory damages to help put them back in the same position they were in prior to the accident. One exception where you can collect punitive damages is if a person is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. The punitive damages are designed to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior and deter similar behavior in the future and can sometimes be amounts ten times the amount of what you could recover in a normal accident.

               An injured person can recover punitive damages under Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.4 by proving the following three elements:

 1.            The at fault driver was intoxicated or impaired

2.            The intoxication was the cause in fact of your injuries

3.            The injuries were caused by the at fault driver’s wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others.

Typically, your claim is limited to the driver who injured you. At times, especially in Louisiana where the vast majority of drivers carry minimum insurance policies, your ability to recover the full worth of your injuries can be limited or difficult. Further, it is possible that an insurance policy could exclude punitive damages. We are always analyzing our client’s cases to locate additional coverage or insurance that may be available to them.

One possibility in these cases is filing suit against the bar or restaurant where the individual consumed alcohol. In Louisiana, there is an anti-dram shop statute holding that the intoxicated driver, not the business or bar who supplied him alcohol, is liable for these actions. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9:2800.1 There are some exceptions, however, to this law. A business may be liable for the driver who (1) served alcohol to a minor; (2) forced consumption of alcohol; (3)misrepresented the alcoholic drink as non-alcoholic.

Additionally, during the holidays, many people attend company holiday parties and it may be possible that the company can also be held liable for the actions of its employee.

As you can see, these can be very complicated cases, entailing an analysis of insurance policies, and necessitating filing a lawsuit and conducting extensive depositions and discovery. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call the police and seek medical attention immediately. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury lawyer or a New Orleans personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with this claim.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial attorney at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in car accident and personal injury litigation in New Orleans, Metairie, and beyond.

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
HOW RETAINING A NEW ORLEANS Wrongful Death LAWYER CAN HELP YOU

While there is no true compensation following the loss of a loved one, certain family members may be able to file a legal action for monetary compensation for their loss caused by someone else’s negligence. When someone dies in an accident, in an attack, or in prison, for example, the investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding their death by the police or the coroner can take much longer, and we have found that families are often kept in the dark during this investigation, compounding their grief. Consulting or hiring a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family to perform an investigation and to preserve evidence immediately. Louisiana law recognizes two actions: wrongful death and survival, which can be used by a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer to help you following a tragic event.

            A New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can bring a survival action, which allows recovery of damages that the deceased victim would have been able to pursue if they were still alive. In New Orleans, this includes, but is not limited to, the victim’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages incurred from the time of the accident until their death.

            A New Orleans wrongful death attorney can bring an action for wrongful death, which would provide compensation to the loved ones for the loss they suffered as a result of the deceased victim’s death. Recoverable damages include the loss of love, affection and companionship of the deceased victim as well as the past and future grief and anguish of the surviving family members. Additionally, the family members can recover the loss of support from the deceased victim. The wrongful death action also allows recovery for the funeral and burial expenses incurred for the deceased victim.  

            WHO CAN BRING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM UNDER NEW ORLEANS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWS

Under Louisiana law, the following parties may file a wrongful death or survival action, depending on the circumstances:

1.    Surviving spouse or children of the deceased victim;

2.   The surviving parent or parents;

3.    The deceased victim’s surviving siblings;

4.    The surviving grandparents of the deceased victim

5.    The victim’s estate may file a claim

 For both of these actions, a claim must be made within one year of the victim’s death.

Our attorneys have handled many New Orleans wrongful death and survival actions as well as cases in the surrounding areas. We have handled wrongful death actions where a loved one was killed in a car accident and wrongful death cases where a loved one died in jail. These cases can be very complicated, so it is important to consult an experienced New Orleans wrongful death attorney to investigate any potential claim that you may have.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a personal injury lawyer who has handled wrongful death cases .

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
Louisiana Law Allows Presumption Injuries Are Related to an Accident

When you are injured in a car or trucking accident, a slip and fall accident, or any other type of incident and file a lawsuit or a claim, it is your burden, through your lawyer, to prove that your injuries were more likely than not caused by the accident. Louisiana law allows for an injured person to prove that their injuries are related to an accident based on an evidentiary presumption, making it easier on an individual to get compensation from a tortfeasor and their insurance company. The Supreme Court of Louisiana affirmed this in a decision in Housley v. Cerise, stating:

“A claimant’s disability is presumed to have resulted from an accident, if before the accident the injured person was in good health, but commencing with the accident the symptoms of the disabling condition appear and continuously manifest themselves afterwards, providing that the medical evidence shows there to be a reasonable possibility of causal connection between the accident and the disabling condition.”

We have used this doctrine in many cases at trial to show simply and cost effectively how a car or trucking accident caused injury to our clients. Using the opinions or testimony of the injured client’s treating physician, we have been able to easily establish that a car accident, a slip and fall injury, or other trauma, caused their pain and suffering, and have been able to secure them compensation at trial.

If you were involved in an accident and suffered injury, give us a call for a free consultation on how we can help you with your claim. If you are involved in a car accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury lawyer or a New Orleans personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with this claim.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial attorney at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in car accident and injury litigation

Megan Kiefer
But Officer I Wasn’t Driving, My Tesla Was, and It Hadn’t Been Drinking.

While we have not quite reached the flying self driving vehicles promised by the Jetsons, the self driving function of Tesla and other new vehicles promises to change the way we get around for good. As with many areas of the law, as these technologies advance and become more common place, so to must the law and policing of the new technologies.

Just last week, California Highway Patrol spotted a Tesla Model S traveling down Highway 101 at 70 miles per hour. The police noticed that the driver appeared to be asleep, and only after they were able to bring his vehicle to a stop, by slowing down in front of his vehicle, were they able to wake the apparently intoxicated man by banging on his window. The man was subsequently arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Tesla attempts to avoid the potential liability of those types of situations, or any other self driving incidents/accidents, by telling its customers that they are ultimately responsible for driving the vehicle and any resultant accidents. But it is not hard to see how this type of technology invites its drivers to sit back, relax, and rely on the technology while they undertake any number of non-driving related activity. Tesla attempts to counteract those inclinations with various sensors and alarms, but users report that these are easily defeated by drivers’s, raising questions about what duty manufacturers like Tesla have to other drivers on the road.

As technology continues to improve, and self driving systems become more ubiquitous, the law will have no choice but to change as well, both in the criminal and civil arena. Likewise, insurance coverages will have to change to address the new technology as well. While I have not yet had a case involving a self driving vehicle, I have a suspicion that it wont be long before I do.

Wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. And if you see a Tesla speeding down the highway late at night, maybe give them a wide berth until we get this self driving thing figured out.

 - Chris M. Short is an associate at Kiefer & Kiefer.  

This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Megan Kiefer
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - Louisianans Overwhelmingly Vote to Require Unanimous Verdicts.

Louisianans have overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment No. 2, meaning that all felony convictions in Louisiana will now require a unanimous guilty vote from all twelve jurors. The amendment enjoyed bipartisan support, and passed with a resounding 64% of the vote.

               In approving the amendment, Louisiana voters abolished a law dating back to 1898, and brought Louisiana in line with every other state in the US; other than Oregon. The amendment will not take effect immediately, and will only apply to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2019.

               The original bill which was introduced by state Sen. JP Morrell, did not initially appear to have much chance of passing. However, strong bi-partisan support for the bill ultimately carried the day, and allowed the amendment to go to Louisiana voters. In fact, a number of lawmakers acknowledged that they had not planned on voting for the bill until they heard the arguments of Republican Senator Dan Claitor, a former assistant district attorney.

               Sen. Claitor acknowledged that when he served as an assistant district attorney in the 1980's, there was a practice of filing more severe felony charges in order to avoid having to get a unanimous verdict which have would have been be required for a conviction on the lesser charges which have a juror of only six and required a unanimous verdict. In essence, he explained that district attorney’s were so concerned about avoiding a unanimous verdict requirement, that they would perform an end run to avoid it.    

             The bill, and ultimately the proposed amendment, were strenuously opposed by most of the state’s district attorney’s who attempted to spin the amendment as a danger to public safety by allowing criminals to go free.

               However, Louisianans saw through that fear mongering, and recognized that the amendment instead merely recognized the full extent of one our most important constitutional protections, requiring that a defendant be found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and not by 10 jurors out of 12.    

 

Megan Kiefer