Who is Liable When a Police Chase Causes an Accident?

It is no secret that we see a lot of crime in New Orleans and its surrounding areas and so the NOPD and its police officers are frequently faced with a suspect who attempts to flee their inquiry, arrest, or capture which can lead to a “police chase.” Sometimes, these pursuits involve NOPD vehicles and, unfortunately, sometimes these high speed pursuits can lead to serious injury.

Just this month, the NOPD pursued a high speed chase of a suspected stolen vehicle through the Broadmoor area. According to the Police Department, the officers spotted the vehicle near South Derbigny and Toledano streets and tried to pull over the driver, who then sped off.  A police chase ensued and the stolen vehicle crashed into a hair and beauty salon, Unity 1 Beauty Supply & Hair Salon, causing the salon to catch on fire. Two of the vehicle occupants died and one of the customers of the hair salon died in the fire with others suffering serious injury.

The Police Department's Public Integrity Bureau has started an investigation into the tragic Broadmoor beauty salon crash. The New Orleans Police Department officers have been temporarily reassigned due to possible violations of the NOPD vehicle pursuit policy. The accident is still under investigation.

https://www.wdsu.com/article/nopd-officers-involved-in-possible-vehicle-pursuit-policy-violation-after-salon-fire-crash-reassigned/26909788

When Should the Police Chase or Pursue a Suspect in a Car Chase?

On 12/6/15, the NOPD adopted a policy regarding suspect pursuit chases due to the federal consent decree and in recognition of the fact that they are inherently dangerous.

It states: “This Department's response to those who unlawfully flee from law enforcement action shall stress a balance between the importance of apprehending offenders and the highrisk nature of vehicle pursuits. Therefore, officers may engage in a pursuit only when they have a reasonable suspicion that a fleeing suspect has committed or has attempted to commit a crime of violence as defined by this Chapter and the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person. Pursuits for property offenses, misdemeanor offenses, traffic, or civil infractions are prohibited. Officers must receive supervisory approval prior to initiating the pursuit. Officers are not authorized to engage in a vehicle pursuit in order to subdue an escaping suspect who presents no imminent threat of death or serious injury. Vehicle pursuits may never be used for the protection of property.”

According to the consent decree, pursuits for property offenses, misdemeanor offenses and traffic or civil infractions are prohibited for the Police Department. Officers need to receive supervisory approval before initiating a pursuit. The policy states:

Upon express supervisory approval, officers are authorized to initiate a pursuit ONLY when:

(a) an officer can articulate that a suspect is attempting to evade arrest or detention for a crime of violence as defined by this Chapter;

(b) the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person; and

(c) the suspect is fleeing in a vehicle after having been given a signal to stop by a commissioned member who has identified themselves as a police officer (e.g., in uniform, in a marked police unit, showing badge and ID. – see: definition of Professional Presence Chapter 1.3 – Use of Force).

10. Officers must receive supervisory approval prior to initiating the pursuit. Pursuits for misdemeanor offenses, traffic, or civil infractions are prohibited. Dangerous driving during a pursuit does not justify a continued pursuit.

11. Factors that shall be considered, both individually and collectively, when deciding to initiate or continue a pursuit include:

(a) The seriousness of the known or reasonably suspected crime of violence as defined by this Chapter and its relationship to community safety.

(b) The importance of protecting the public and balancing the known or reasonably suspected offense, and the apparent need for immediate apprehension against the risks to officers, innocent motorists and others.

(c) The nature of the fleeing suspect (e.g., Whether the suspect represents a serious, ongoing threat to public safety. Reckless driving during the pursuit does not justify a continued pursuit).

(d) The identity of the suspect has been verified and there is minimal risk in allowing the suspect to be apprehended at a later time.

(e) The safety of the public in the area of the pursuit, including the type of area, time of day, the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic (e.g., school zones) and the speed of the pursuit relative to these factors.

(f) The pursuing officer's familiarity with the area of the pursuit, the quality of radio communication between the pursuing units and the dispatcher/supervisor, and the driving capabilities of the pursuing officers under the conditions of the pursuit.

(g) The weather, traffic and road conditions that unreasonably increase the danger of the pursuit when weighed against the risks resulting from the suspect's escape.

(h) The performance capabilities and type of authorized emergency vehicles used in the pursuit in relation to the speed and other conditions of the pursuit.

(i) Vehicle speeds.

(j) Other persons in or on the pursued vehicle (e.g., passengers, co-offenders and hostages).

(k) The availability of other resources (e.g., helicopter, airplane, drone, etc.).

(l) The police unit is carrying passengers other than on-duty police officers (e.g., ride-along, emergency transport of civilians, prisoners, etc.). Pursuits shall not be undertaken with a passenger in the pursuit vehicle.

When Should a NOPD Pursuit that was Lawfully Started by Stopped?

12. Pursuits should be terminated whenever the totality of the circumstances, known or which ought to be known to the officer or supervisor during the pursuit, indicate the present risk of continuing the pursuit appears to outweigh the risk resulting from the suspect's escape. While the Department has restricted pursuits to violent crimes, there are situations where conditions require these pursuits to be terminated.

13. The following factors should also be considered when deciding to terminate a pursuit:

(a) The distance between the pursuing officers and the fleeing vehicle is so great that further pursuit would be futile or require the pursuit to continue for an unreasonable time or distance.

(b) The pursued vehicle's location is no longer definitely known (visual contact is lost).

(c) The officer's pursuit vehicle sustains damage or a mechanical failure that renders it unsafe to operate.

(d) The pursuit vehicle has an emergency equipment failure that causes the vehicle to no longer qualify for authorized emergency vehicle status.

(e) The hazards to uninvolved bystanders or motorists.

(f) When the identity of the offender is known and it does not reasonably appear the need for immediate capture outweighs the risks associated with continuing the pursuit, officers should strongly consider discontinuing the pursuit and apprehending the offender at a later time.

(g) When directed to terminate the pursuit by the pursuit supervisor or a higher ranking supervisor.

(h) When the pursuit is futile, such as when the suspect continues to flee and there is no plan to get him or her to stop.

Additionally, the New Orleans Police Department’s own procedures state the mechanisms the NOPD must use to comply with the pursuit policy:

3. A vehicle pursuit shall be conducted using an authorized emergency vehicle that is equipped with a siren and proper emergency lighting. The officer shall ensure that they have given the suspect they are attempting to stop both a visual and an audible signal to stop by activating their vehicle’s emergency lights and siren (see. La. R.S. 14:108.1).

4. The officer driving an emergency vehicle may, when in pursuit of a suspect (La. R.S. 32:24):

(a) Proceed past a red light, stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.

(b) Exceed the speed limit so long as the officer does not endanger life or property.

(c) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement (however, movement against traffic flow is not authorized by this Department) or turning in specified directions as long as the officer does not endanger life or property.

(d) Park or stand in a roadway, irrespective of traffic regulations.

5. Officers shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons. The failure to drive with due regard for the safety of all motorists can lead to disciplinary action, civil and even criminal charges. No call is of such importance and no task shall be expedited at such speeds or lack of reasonable driving that the principles of safety become secondary. Life is more important than property and protecting and preserving life must be placed above all other considerations.

What Happens if I was Injured During a Vehicle Pursuit by a New Orleans Police Department Officer?

Just like in any case in New Orleans or Louisiana, if you are injured by the negligence of another, you may have a personal injury claim for damages. Louisiana law allows for holding the police department liable for damages that it causes when it recklessly or negligently conducts a police chase. See, e.g., White v. Normand, 222 So.3d 205 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2017). However, just because a police officer conducts a vehicle pursuit that results in injury does not mean that they are automatically liable for the injury or damages. Vehicle pursuit cases involve a specialized analysis of the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will need to evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of the pursuit and injury and determine who are purported responsible parties. Because Louisiana is a comparative law negligence state, even if a party is only partially at fault in causing an accident, they can be held responsible for some of your injuries. It is important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney in these cases because proving who is the at-fault driver, what standard the court will apply (ordinary negligence or gross negligence), and analyzing the police department pursuit guidelines is complicated.

In the Broodmoor Unity 1 Beauty Supply & Hair Salon fire and accident, for example, a personal injury attorney may attempt to make a claim against the NOPD if the NOPD officers violated the pursuit policy or conducted the vehicle pursuit in a negligent matter as well as the driver of the stolen vehicle.

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

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What to do if your landlord will not refund your security deposit in New Orleans or Metairie?

It is no secret that landlords attempt to withhold hefty security deposits from their former tenants when they have no right to do so. Sometimes they give no reason at all, calculating that the tenant writes off the expense instead of pursuing it; other times, the landlord attempts to claim exorbitant repairs or claim that you broke your lease in an attempt to withhold this deposit. The largest victims of this are college students who, at the end of the semester are overwhelmed trying to take finals, move out of an apartment, sell their belongings, and sometimes move across state lines and into a new apartment having to put down a new security deposit, all while dealing with a landlord who has no vested interest in working to get the security deposit fairly analyzed and returned. As we enter the end of the academic school year, we will see an increase in Loyola, Tulane, Xavier, Southern, UNO and Delgado students who are getting deprived of the refund of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars because their landlord refused to return their security deposit and who feel like they have no recourse.

What are the Louisiana Laws regarding When and How your Landlord has to Return your Security Deposit?

The good news is that the Louisiana legislature recognized the tactics that landlords were using to wrongfully withhold security deposits and recognized that it did not make sense for tenants to hire attorneys to fight about a few hundreds of dollars and passed a law to deal with this issue.

In Louisiana, the rules and mechanics governing the return of a lessee’s security deposit is governed by the aptly named Lessee’s Deposit Act. See  La. R.S. 9:3251-3254. Broadly stated, a landlord/lessor must return your security deposit to you within one month after the lease ends. In order to accomplish that, the law requires that you must also leave your landlord an address where they can forward the check. 

That does not mean that your landlord is required to return your entire deposit. Your landlord/lessor may retain any portion of your deposit reasonably necessary to remedy any default/breach of the lease and/or to fix any unreasonable damage or wear to the property. If your landlord does retain any portion of your deposit for damages, they must send you a written itemized statement explaining the amounts they are withholding and why, and returning the remainder of your deposit within thirty days.

If your landlord does not return your deposit or give you itemization of why they are not returning your deposit within thirty days, the law provides that you may be able to recover damages or a penalty, which would require instituting some type of legal claim.  See  La. R.S. 9:3252.

What are the Penalties I can Recover if my Landlord Unlawfully Withholds my Security Deposit?

Refusing to return the security deposit for unlawful reasons shall give the tenant or lessee the right to recover any portion of the security deposit wrongfully retained and three hundred dollars or twice the amount of the portion of the security deposit wrongfully retained, whichever is greater, from the landlord. The court also has the right to award costs and attorney’s fees.

What Can I do to Try to get My Deposit Back Before I move out?


Common sense, and a little foresight can  go a long ways in getting you your security deposit back. Make sure you complete a walk through upon moving in, take pictures, document any damages or non-working items, and let your landlord know about  any damage or problems writing. Similarly, when you move out, make sure to take pictures and videos of the property, showing that you left the property clean and damage free. Make sure you schedule a walk through with your landlord and discuss in detail anything he or she is claiming is damaged and any claims they may have to withhold some of your security deposit. This will give you an opportunity to discuss and fix any of these things before you move out. If the landlord states that nothing is wrong, confirm that in writing - an email is best.

What Do I do if my Landlord simply refuses to return my security deposit?

If you have a true dispute about the return of your security deposit, give us a call. We will not charge you upfront for any consultation and we may write your landlord a legal demand letter if the situation warrants it at no upfront cost to you. What we have found is that oftentimes when your landlord receives a legal letter formally demanding the return of the deposit, they often recognize that they are in the wrong and agree to return the security deposit. If not, we can pursue the recovery of the security deposit and attorney fees and costs in litigation.

We will only collect a fee if you get your money returned.

A recent client stated: “Megan helped me successfully receive my security deposit in full when my landlord failed to return it within 30 days and also failed to give me an itemized statement of deductions. Had it not been for Megan, my landlord would have tried to withhold my entire security deposit for reasonable wear and tear.”

Another said “Megan made a really bad experience with a landlord so much easier. She was able to get the landlord to respond and return my deposit within a week, even though I had been trying for more than a month. Megan was very down to earth and easy to talk to. She responded to all of my emails and calls and made the experience so much easier!”

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


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What to do if you were involved in a Hit and Run accident in New Orleans, Metairie, and beyond and how a lawyer can help

Being in a car accident can be a shocking and traumatizing event by itself. When the other driver flees the scene of the accident without talking to you, it can also be frustrating and confusing. Incredibly, in almost 6% of car accidents in New Orleans, the other driver flees the scene of the accident, which accounted for over 1,000 accidents in 2018 alone - or more than 3 per day. Car accident victims can feel like they are tasked with having to be a detective to locate the vehicle that hit them which, when coupled with an injury can feel overwhelming. The good news is that a personal injury attorney or your insurance company may be able to help you locate this vehicle, taking this stress and responsibility off of you and allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Steps to Take Following a Hit and Run Accident in New Orleans, Metairie, and beyond

If you are involved in a hit and run accident in the Greater New Orleans area, Metairie, or anywhere else in Louisiana, there are steps to take to protect you and your family that you can do immediately following the accident:

  1. Call 911 from the scene of the accident. If you are injured, the dispatcher will be able to get you immediate medical attention;

  2. Attempt to take a photograph of the license plate of the hit and run vehicle or write down the license plate immediately as well as a description of everything you recall about the vehicle or type it into your phone;

  3. Give the police officer all of the information you can recall;

  4. Look for witnesses around the accident scene and take their information;

  5. Call your insurance company - they will start an investigation on your behalf to try to locate the hit and run driver;.

  6. If you carry uninsured motorist insurance, you may be able to make a claim against your own insurance company for personal injuries, even if you cannot locate the vehicle.

  7. Posting the vehicle information on social media and enlisting others to help you to identify the driver can also be helpful.

How a Metairie or New Orleans Personal Injury Attorney can help you find the hit and run vehicle following a hit and run accident

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, we may be able to help you locate the vehicle, so you can focus on your medical treatment, and we do so at no upfront charge to you.

We will be able to open an investigation immediately, and secure evidence such as witness statements and camera footage that may help to identify the hit and run vehicle. We do this while the police are performing their own investigation because we may be able to uncover more information than the police. For example, in previous cases, based on just the time and location of the accident, we have been able to pull surveillance footage from houses or stores, police surveillance camera footage from city crime cameras, and locate witnesses that helped to identify vehicles involved in a hit and run. This information needs to be obtained in the immediate aftermath of an accident or it may be deleted.

It is important to consult an experienced hit and run attorney who is aware of how to obtain and preserve all of this information and evidence and who will begin working on your case immediately.

Louisiana Law Makes Hit and Run Driving a Crime

Under Louisiana law a hit and run accident is a crime. Louisiana Revised Statute 14:100 Hit-and-run driving, provides: A. Hit and run driving is the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing any accident, to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident, to give his identity, and to render reasonable aid.

B. For the purpose of this Section:
(1) “To give his identity”, means that the driver of any vehicle involved in any accident shall give his name, address, and the license number of his vehicle, or shall report the accident to the police.
(2) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.
(3) “Vehicle” includes a watercraft.
(4) “Accident” means an incident or event resulting in damage to property or injury to person.

C.(1)(a) Whoever commits the crime of hit-and-run driving where there is no death or serious bodily injury shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
(b) Whoever commits the crime of hit-and-run driving where there is no death or serious bodily injury shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or both when: (i) there is evidence that the vehicle operator consumed alcohol or used drugs or a controlled dangerous substance prior to the accident; (ii) the consumption of the alcohol, drugs, or a controlled dangerous substance contributed to the accident; and (iii) the driver failed to stop, give his identity, or render aid with the knowledge that his actions could affect an actual or potential present, past, or future criminal investigation or proceeding.
(2) Whoever commits the crime of hit-and-run driving, when death or serious bodily injury is a direct result of the accident and when the driver knew or should have known that death or serious bodily injury has occurred, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than ten years, or both.
(3) Whoever commits the crime of hit-and-run driving where all of the following conditions are met shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than five years nor more than twenty years:
(a) Death or serious bodily injury is a direct result of the accident.
(b) The driver knew or must have known that the vehicle he was operating was involved in an accident or that his operation of the vehicle was the direct cause of an accident.
(c) The driver had been previously convicted of any of the following:
(i) A violation of R.S. 14:98, or a law or an ordinance of any state or political subdivision prohibiting operation of any vehicle or means of transportation or conveyance while intoxicated, impaired, or while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any controlled dangerous substance on two or more occasions within ten years of this offense.
(ii) A violation of R.S. 14:32.1-vehicular homicide.
(iii) A violation of R.S. 14:39.1-vehicular negligent injuring.
(iv) A violation of R.S. 14:39.2-first degree vehicular negligent injuring.

If the Driver of the Hit and Run Vehicle was Intoxicated, you may be entitled to punitive damages

If a driver flees the scene of the accident, it is very possible that they were intoxicated.

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.

If the case involves a hit and run accident, proving the driver’s intoxication will be more difficult because there will likely be no benefit of a DUI arrest or any BAC or field sobriety tests. An experienced hit and run injury attorney will be able to explore and develop this claim in litigation and through discovery and depositions.

If you have been involved in a New Orleans hit and run accident or a Metairie hit and run accident or a hit and run accident anywhere in Louisiana, give us a call for a free consultation on how we can assist you with your claim and help you find the driver who hit you at no additional charge and no up front fee.

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

    if you are interested in scheduling a free consultation, call (504) 608-1851

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What is a Traumatic Brain Injury and How Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Help you After an Accident

Hiring a Metairie Brain Injury Lawyer or New Orleans Brain Injury Attorney can help you following an accident where you sustained head trauma.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury, also known as a “TBI” usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.


Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer brain injuries. Some head injuries can be minor - bumping your head when you are getting out of the car and feeling it throb with a mild headache. More than half are serious enough to require the injured person to be rushed to the hospital. The worst injuries can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Following an accident, head trauma can lead to serious brain injury. Many of us may minimize symptoms that could indicate you have a mild traumatic brain injury or a more serious traumatic brain injury.

What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Half of all traumatic brain injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may not appear until days or weeks following the injury. Serious traumatic brain injuries need emergency treatment. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention, 1.5 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year, and 50,000 die as a result of the traumatic brain injury. Over 1 million people are treated in hospitals for their traumatic brain injury.

Common events causing traumatic brain injury include the following:

  • Falls. Falls from bed or a ladder, down stairs, in the bath and other falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury overall, particularly in older adults and young children.

  • Vehicle-related collisions. Collisions involving cars, motorcycles or bicycles — and pedestrians involved in such accidents — are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.

  • Violence. Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse and other assaults are common causes. Shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury in infants caused by violent shaking.

  • Sports injuries. Traumatic brain injuries may be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports. These are particularly common in youth.

  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries. Explosive blasts are a common cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Although how the damage occurs isn't yet well-understood, many researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function.

    Traumatic brain injury also results from penetrating wounds, severe blows to the head with shrapnel or debris, and falls or bodily collisions with objects following a blast.

What do I do if I suspect I have a Traumatic Brain Injury following an accident?

The signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes

  • No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fatigue or drowsiness

  • Problems with speech

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sleeping more than usual

  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Sensory symptoms

  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell

  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Memory or concentration problems

  • Mood changes or mood swings

  • Feeling depressed or anxious

The signs and symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury may include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as these symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours

  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea

  • Convulsions or seizures

  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes

  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears

  • Inability to awaken from sleep

  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes

  • Loss of coordination

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Profound confusion

  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior

  • Slurred speech

  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

Children's symptoms

Infants and young children with brain injuries might not be able to communicate headaches, sensory problems, confusion and similar symptoms and they may be more susceptible to a head injury. In a child with traumatic brain injury, you may observe:

  • Change in eating or nursing habits

  • Unusual or easy irritability

  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled

  • Change in ability to pay attention

  • Change in sleep habits

  • Seizures

  • Sad or depressed mood

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activitiesIf you suffer any of the following symptoms after an accident, you should consult with a medical professional.

Always see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a recent blow or other traumatic injury to the head.

Hiring an Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer or Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help You

While many traumatic brain injuries resolve in the months following a motor vehicle accident, traumatic brain injuries can be permanent, life-changing, and affect the lives of both victims and their families. If your traumatic brain injury is the result of an accident or caused by the negligence of another, it is important to consult a Metairie Brain Injury Lawyer or New Orleans Brain Injury lawyer for a consultation. These cases can be complicated and it is important to consult a Metairie Brain Injury Lawyer or New Orleans Brain Injury lawyer who has experience handling these cases. Our attorneys have successfully handled dozens of traumatic brain injury cases in the greater New Orleans area. If you suspect you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, call us for a free consultation on how we can assist you with your claim.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial lawyer at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in personal injury law and has handled many traumatic brain injury cases.

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

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Can I Sue a Pharmacy if they gave me the wrong prescription?

It is estimated that in 2019, 4.25 billion retail prescriptions will be filled throughout the United States in 2019. Often times, the patient notices the pharmacy had given a wrong prescription and never takes it. Other times, the patient may take the incorrect medication and it be harmless. In some unfortunate cases, patients unknowingly take the wrong prescription and it can cause severe damages, even death. If you have been provided the wrong prescription from your pharmacy and suffered injuries, you may be able to sue your pharmacist for filing the prescription incorrectly.

How often does a Pharmacy fill the wrong prescription?

An estimated 30 to 50 million prescriptions are filled incorrectly each year, said Allen Vaida of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, an organization that independently monitors pharmacy errors nationwide. That's about 2 percent of all the over 4 billion prescriptions filled annually.

According to Gerald Gianutsos, an associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, a prescription label with incorrect directions is the most frequent type of prescription error, but, occasionally, a patient will also receive either the wrong dosage of the correct medication or the wrong medication altogether. Many drugs have names that sound similar and that use similar spellings, and when they’re arranged alphabetically on the pharmacy shelf, “it’s very easy to grab the wrong one by mistake and look at it real quick … and think that you’re dispensing the right drug,” Gianutsos says. See https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2014/07/03/how-to-deal-with-prescription-mistakes.

What Happens in Cases Where the Pharmacy Gives the Wrong Prescription?

Often times, the filling of a wrong prescription is harmless. At other times, however, it can be very tragic. For example, the two suits below highlight how serious pharmacy errors can be.

In 2015, a Louisiana jury returned a verdict of $1,000,000 against Walgreens. In that case, the Plaintiff, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, was given another customer's prescription of Zyprexa, a potent anti-psychotic medication. Unfortunately, due to the fact that she was not taking her blood pressure medication, she suffered a stroke and sustained disabling injuries, including left-sided neural deficits and paralysis as a result of the stroke. The jury found Walgreens to be primarily responsible for her injuries.

In 2017 in Illinois, a Plaintiff filed a wrongful death claim against Walgreens claiming that Walgreens failed to instruct her on the proper administration of a prescription resulting in the death of her son. She claimed she and her mother, who was also caring for the boy, were told by both Walgreens employees and the label the employees placed on the medication that tacrolimus was to be kept refrigerated. Additionally, she claims that she questioned the directions and informed the staff that previous tacrolimus prescriptions had come with warnings not to refrigerate it, but that the staff “carelessly and negligently rebuked and misled” her and her mother.

How can I Protect Myself from Getting the Wrong from Getting the Wrong Prescription from my Pharmacy?

While there is no 100% certain way to protect you from another person’s negligence, there are some steps you can take to try to avoid taking the wrong prescription even if the pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription.

  1. Talk to the Pharmacist. The moment you pick up your prescription, go ahead and open the bag at the counter. “Don’t just pay and walk away. Open it up, look at it, ask any questions ... If nothing else, verify it’s what’s supposed to be there, and confirm and understand what you’re taking,” says Natasha Nicol, director of medication safety at Cardinal Health, a health care services company.

  2. Make sure your name is on the bag and the prescription. One of the top pharmacy mistakes is medication going to the wrong customers, says Michael Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Even though your name may appear on the outside of the bag, somebody else’s name could show up on the containers within.

  3. Make sure the dosage amount matches your original prescription. We have handled cases where our clients were prescribed one dosage and the pharmacist filled a higher dosage.

  4. Make sure the pills inside of the bottle match your prescription. If you have been taking the medication and the pills look different, confirm with your pharmacist that they are the correct medication. You can also look the pills up by description on a pill finder as an added layer of protection.

  5. Say yes to counseling. Beside giving you critical information about your medications, pharmacist-patient counseling sessions can sometimes uncover prescription errors. But customers may not realize they have a right to receive counseling before signing the form that says they received their meds at the cashier. Don’t hesitate to pause the checkout process and say, “Wait a minute, I want to talk to the pharmacist first.”

What Do I do if I think my Pharmacist Gave me the Wrong Prescription?

If you think that your pharmacy gave you the incorrect prescription, make sure you do the following:

  1. Call the doctor who prescribed you the medication immediately;

  2. Seek emergency medical attention;

  3. Call the pharmacy to report the error;

  4. If the pharmacy offers you compensation, do not accept it until you consult an attorney about whether the offer is fair;

  5. Take photographs of the incorrect prescription bottle;

  6. Do not throw away the incorrect prescription bottle;

  7. Contact a personal injury attorney to explore your rights;

    If you think you have suffered injuries due to the pharmacy filing your prescription all a personal injury attorney to discuss whether or not you have a claim against your pharmacy.

- Megan C. Kiefer is a partner and trial lawyer at Kiefer & Kiefer, who specializes in personal injury law.

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


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Can I Change My Lawyer and Do I have to Pay an Extra Fee if I Fire My Attorney?

There is a belief that once you hire an attorney and sign a contract with him or her that you are not allowed to change your lawyer or fire your attorney for that case unless you have a very serious reason for doing so. This could not be further from the truth. In Louisiana, you can change your lawyer or fire your attorney for any reason whatsoever or even no reason at all. We often get clients asking “if I want to change my lawyer, won’t I have to pay more money?” “If I fire my attorney, does that mean I have to pay two times the legal fees?” The good news is that if you change your lawyer, it will not cost you any extra legal fee.

That’s right you can change your lawyer at any time, for any reason, without any notice, and for no additional cost, as explained more below.

Do I have to Pay an Extra Fee if I Change my Lawyer or Fire My Attorney?

If you change your lawyer or fire your attorney, you do not have to pay your new lawyer another fee or pay double the fees. In Louisiana, all attorneys who you hire work on your case, if they are entitled to a fee, will share ONE FEE between them and the contract with the highest fee applies even if you changed your lawyer multiple times in the case. For example, if your case settled for $30,000.00 and there were no expenses and there is a 1/3 fee, the attorney would set aside $10,000 for all of your attorneys, both your old lawyer and new lawyer, to split up. So, you keep to keep as much money as you would have if you did not change your lawyer at all.

At Kiefer & Kiefer, if you want to change your attorney, we agree to match our contract contingency fees to your previous attorney’s fee. That is, we guarantee that if you change your lawyer and hire us, the fee will not be one penny more if you change your lawyer.

Do I have to Fire My Lawyer? How do I Fire My Attorney?

Additionally, we get a lot of questions from our clients asking “Do I have to fire my attorney?” “Can I just change my attorney?” or “How can I fire my lawyer?” Under Louisiana law, you can change your attorney at any time and for any reason and without any notice. So, you do not have to “fire” your attorney. If you are unhappy with the services of your lawyer, you can tell them you want to change your attorney and keep a good relationship with your lawyer. On the other hand, if you want to fire your lawyer and do not want to speak with him or her further, you don’t have to. If you want to change your lawyer, you can send a letter to your old attorney and we will work out the file transfer for you.

Will Changing my Lawyer Make My Case Last Longer?

One of the main concerns our clients have is asking “WIll Changing my Attorney delay my case?” The good news is that in the very vast majority of cases, the answer is “No.” At Kiefer & Kiefer, if you change your lawyer, we will work with your other attorney to get all of your file materials to get up to speed on your case as soon as possible. We also have access to all of the Court records and, if necessary, pull all of that information ourselves so that we can give you advice immediately. In fact, one of our partners just inherited an eight year old case that was set with major hearings less than one week after our new client changed his lawyer to us. She reviewed thousands of pages of documents, filed additional briefs in the court and handled (and won) the hearing without having to ask for a continuance.

Why Should I hire Kiefer & Kiefer? Will it be Different than my Other Attorney?

At Kiefer & Kiefer, we know litigation is stressful on our clients, and so our main goal is to not delay anything if we can avoid it, even if it means reviewing your file after you change your lawyer over the weekend. We give you our cell phone numbers so that you can reach us at all times. Additionally, we have almost 100 years of experience that we apply to our cases and so we are able to get you better results.

This year alone, we were able to quickly resolve cases that were brought to us after our clients were unhappy with their prior attorneys. In a case we just took from another attorney, we realized the attorney had made a major mistake and missed a crucial argument to be made against an insurance company. When we got the file, we made that argument and the case quickly resolved for over $300,000 more than the previous lawyer agreed to settle for! In another case we just took over, our client was told by her previous attorney that she did not have a case and they fired her! We disagreed and got her over $20,000 almost immediately. Additionally, in another case we just took over, we realized the previous attorney had made a mistake and did not even serve the lawsuit on the defendants for over a year and so nothing had happened in one year of the litigation while the client sat thinking that her case was being worked on.

Some of our most recent client reviews state:

“Megan is AWESOME!! She was very attentive to all of my needs and concerns. She answered all questions I had and went out of her way to make sure I was throughly taken care of. She was always available when needed. she was a pleasure to work with!!!” —- Sierra, February 2019

“The absolute best experience I could have hoped for. Superseded my own expectations and I got the attention and professionalism at the highest level. I highly recommend Kiefer & Kiefer!” — Jonathan, February 2019

“Very pleased with Miss Kiefer. She kept me updated through e-mails on a regular basis since I live in Texas and explained what I could and should expect to come. I would recommend her and hire her again if ever needed.” —- Anonymous, 2019

“Love the attention we got when negotiating my settlement for my left shoulder. Thank you so much Kris.” — Leylana, March 2019

At the end of the day, all attorneys want their clients to be happy. If you don’t like your lawyer because she does not return your calls, has messed up your case, has made comments that you don’t like, he talks down to you, he is trying to get you to see doctors you don’t want to see, or you just don’t think he is doing a good job, then it is perfectly fine under Louisiana law to change your lawyer and, if you change to us, you will get better compensation and will not spend a penny more on legal fees.

If You Are Interested In Scheduling

A Free Consultation, Call: (504) 608-1851

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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.

 

 

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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. 

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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.

 

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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. 

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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.

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A Metairie uber accident attorney can help you if your Uber Driver was Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?

Recently, three Texas women were passengers in an Uber 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 or an Uber accident 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; similarly, Uber accident claims can be complicated and involve specialized interpretation of insurance policies. If you are involved in an Uber accident in Metairie or New Orleans, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie Uber accident 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 Uber accident attorney 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.

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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.


  


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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a new orleans uber accident attorney can help 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.  These clients are looking for an experienced New Orleans Uber accident attorney to help them navigate all of the insurance coverage issues that come with being involved in an Uber accident while driving for Uber EATS and hoping that the same insurance applies to UberEATS as when they are driving for Uber.

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 an Uber accident in New Orleans or any New Orleans car accident, 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 personal 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 claiming that since this is an Uber accident, they should not have to pay. 

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. It is important that you consult with an experience New Orleans Uber Accident attorney to discuss all of the insurance coverage that may be available to 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 New Orleans Uber Accident Attorney 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