Posts tagged lawyer
Are Waivers of Liability for Activities Enforceable?

Nowadays it is common practice to be required to sign a waiver of liability prior to participation in various recreational activities. You may not even realize you sign one. If you sign up to go to a gym, to play paintball, recreational sports, go rock climbing, play laser tag or go on a tour, it is highly likely that box you check electronically or that document you quickly sign will have a clause that tries to get you to waive your rights to make a claim for damages or to sue if you are injured.

This is done with the intent to limit the legal exposure of the recreational facility related to any possible injuries suffered as a result of participation in these activities. However, we often get clients who are injured while engaging in these activities, and one of the first questions we get asked is whether the waiver they signed is enforceable. 

The good news is that we are able to advise our clients that in Louisiana, any waiver you sign in advance of an activity that purports to waive liability for physical injury is not enforceable. Specifically, Louisiana Civil Code article 2004 states that “any clause is null that, in advance, excludes or limits the liability of one party for causing physical injury to the other party.”

Therefore, if you sustain injuries through participation in recreational activities, you may still be able to bring a suit for your damages even if you signed a waiver. For example, if you are injured while climbing a rock wall as a result of improper instruction or supervision, the facility is still responsible for the negligence of its employees regardless of whether or not your signed a waiver.

 While these waivers do not affect your right to recover damages, the agreement can still be used as evidence that you had notice of the inherent dangers of the activity. This may be relevant to determine whether you have any responsibility for your injuries and may impact the amount of damages awarded, but does not absolve the company of liability for your injuries.

If you have been injured while engaging in paint ball, laser tag, at a gym, through recreational activities or sporting events, dance classes, or any other activity and have signed a waiver of liability, 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.


Amanda Morse is an associate at Kiefer & Kiefer.

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

 

 

Hiring can a New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyer after a motorcycle accident is important

Being injured in a motorcycle accident or a Vespa accident can be traumatizing.  Because driving a motorcycle or Vespa leaves you exposed with less protection if you are involved in an accident, there is a possibility that if you are involved in a New Orleans motorcycle accident or a vespa accident that your damages can be more serious. If you have been involved in a New Orleans motorcycle accident or a Vespa 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.   Hiring a New Orleans motorcycle accident attorney early on in your case can help to secure valuable evidence soon after the accident.

How can a New Orleans motorcycle accident attorney help me early on in my case?

Hiring a New Orleans motorcycle 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 motorcycle 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 motorcycle accident.

Further, by hiring a New Orleans motorcycle 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, the other vehicle may contain devices that monitor the speed and travel of the other driver; you may have one on your motorcycle, there could be video of the accident on the dash cam of the 1other vehicle, 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.  An experienced New Orleans motorcycle accident attorney can also set up an inspection of your motorcycle, the accident scene, and the other vehicle and hire an accident reconstructionist to rebuild the accident. Waiting to hire a New Orleans motorcycle accident attorney may jeopardize the ability to get this evidence.


Who Can I make a claim against following a New Orleans motorcycle accident ?

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to make a claim with any one of the other vehicles involved in the accident. If you have uninsured motorist insurance, you may be able to make a claim with your own insurance company as well.

How can our New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers can help you with your case? 

The New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers at Kiefer & Kiefer have decades of experience handling motorcycle accident cases and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for their clients that have been involved in accidents.  Do not make the mistake of hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer with no experience who is afraid to go to trial if the insurance company does not want to fairly compensate you following a motorcycle accident in New Orleans. We have a seasoned team of trial attorneys ready to fight for you. 

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite.....get in touch with a new orleans bed bug attorney

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.

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.

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.