Hurricane Season: Are you covered?

Hurricane season is upon us once again. Although Louisiana has been relatively lucky in terms of hurricanes and tropical storms for the last few years, we were given an unnecessary reminder of their potentially devastating effects by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Michael. In addition to stocking up on supplies and updating your exit plan, now is the time to make sure your insurance coverage on your home/property is in order.

          Although an in depth discussion of insurance coverage is beyond the scope of this post, coverage for hurricane or tropical storm damage usually comes from one of two sources: 1) homeowners insurance, 2) flood insurance. The potential trap for the unwary, is that if there is a lapse in your coverage or you need a new policy written,  coverage does not kick in for thirty days!  Thirty days of watching the weather and praying that a storm doesn’t hit, and that your property is not damaged or destroyed. Do yourself a favor, spend the ten minutes now to confirm that your coverage is current.

          We also always strongly recommend getting flood insurance; even if its not required by your mortgage holder. The relative cost of getting flood insurance is minor in comparison to the value of your home or property and is money well spent. This has been a major issue in Houston and Baton Rouge, where many residents opted not to have flood insurance because they were not in a flood zone, and their mortgage holder did not require it. Ask any of them today, and they will echo my sentiment. Its not worth the risk. Get flood insurance period.  

          Finally, while you are checking to make sure you have homeowners and flood insurance on your property, and that it is current, go ahead and take a look at the coverages afforded. Homeowners typically will delineate coverage for the structure and the contents. Do those amounts make sense for you? Would they provide the necessary coverage if your property was badly damaged or destroyed? Now is the time to make any necessary changes.

If your home or property were to be damaged in a tropical storm or hurricane, its important to document all the damage. The first step is to have before pictures showing your property and personal belongings. You should then immediately report any damage after the storm to your insurance company to get the claims process started. Then, you should contact a lawyer to ensure that you don’t miss a step in the process and to make sure that you are fully compensated. If you have questions about your insurance coverage or need help making a claim for damage, contact us for a free consultation.

  - 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
How do I get a police report after an accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident or bicycle accident in New Orleans, Metairie or anywhere else in Louisiana, it is very likely that the responding officer gave you a piece of paper with a number on it. Following his or her response to the scene of the accident, the officer will issue a full report of his or her investigation, which is available online.

Here are some resources that will help you locate a police report after an accident in New Orleans, Metairie, or anywhere else in Louisiana:

https://policereports.lexisnexis.com//search/ has a comprehensive search of almost all Louisiana parishes.

If you are involved in a car accident in Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, Grant Parish, St. Helena Parish, or Terrebone Parish, you will be able to instantaneously download your report here: https://www.buycrash.com/

If the accident was investigated by the Louisiana State Police, their reports are available here: https://crashreports.dps.louisiana.gov/ladpsecom/SearchCrashes.ts?m=search

An important detail to note is that reports available from these search engines may not be comprehensive. If you want to obtain the written statements that may have been obtained by the officers, body camera footage, dash camera footage, supplemental reports, or any other documentation that the officer may have logged into evidence, you will need to send a FOIA request to the investigating agency.

If you have been involved in an accident, there are other pieces of evidence that are important to secure and steps to be taken in order to preserve a claim. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to review the facts and circumstances surrounding an accident because that is exactly what the insurance company for the other driver is doing. An attorney will be able to open an investigation immediately, and secure evidence such as witness statements and camera footage . We will be able to spend letters advising the other driver not to delete important evidence that will be in his or her possession.

https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/blog/ten-mistakes-following-a-car-accident details mistakes that all of us tend to make following a motor vehicle accident.

We always give free consultations on accident and injury claims. Please give us a call at 504-828-3313 if you believe that we can be of help to you.

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

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Name
Megan Kiefer
What Do I Do if I was Involved in an Accident at Walmart?

Walmart boasts that each week, over 275 million customers and members visit our more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites in 10 countries. They reported 2019 revenue of $514.4 billion. With so much foot traffic, it is common that individuals are injured when on Walmart’s premises.

The attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer have handled cases where a client was injured when they slipped and fell inside the store, when a defective clothing rack caused a client injury, when a client slipped in motor oil that accumulated outside of the store near the entrance, when a client was injured when a Walmart employee hit them as they were attempting to move dozens of shopping carts, and more. Here is a link to a website discussing one of our cases: https://louisianarecord.com/stories/511465185-woman-seeks-damages-following-alleged-fall-at-walmart

Clients and potential clients are left wondering What Do I Do if I was Injured at Walmart?

What to Do if You are Injured at Walmart?

  1. The first thing you need to do if you are injured at Walmart is to request an employee get you medical attention if needed. Walmart employees can assist you in calling 911 and securing an EMT to get you immediate medical attention.

  2. Report the accident to an employee of Walmart. Walmart requires that their employees perform an investigation into the accident by taking your written statement, taking photographs, reviewing and preserving video evidence,

  3. Do not write or sign a statement when asked by the Walmart employee. Sometimes after a fall, you may be physically or mentally unable to write a written statement. You do not have to. Either way, Walmart will attempt to use this statement against you if you later make a claim.

  4. Gather your own evidence while you are at Walmart and after you leave Walmart. Even if Walmart is gathering evidence, this does not mean you cannot gather your own. Not every part of the store is able to be captured on surveillance and not every employee gathers witness information perfectly. If you are able to, take your own photographs and video and get the identity and phone numbers of all available witnesses.

  5. Do not give a recorded statement to Walmart or its claims adjusters. Walmart will make contact with you within 24 hours to check on you. They may also have a claims adjuster check on you. You are not required to speak with them. In fact, in the days after a serious injury, it is possibly you are heavily medicated, so it does not make sense to give a recorded statement that can later be used against you.

  6. Do not accept an early settlement. In Louisiana, you have a year before you have to file a claim against Walmart. There is no rush to settle your claim, especially before you know the nature and extent of your injuries.

How Do I make a Claim against Walmart?

Walmart is self-insured for claims against it. What does this mean? Most retail stores like Walmart have a general liability insurance policy. They pay the premiums on the policy and, if someone is injured in the store, the insurance company - not the store - handles the claim. So, most claims would be made to an insurance adjuster. Not Walmart. Because Wal-Mart self-insures, Wal-Mart manages all claims against the store through a company that is controlled and owned by Wal-Mart. This means that Wal-Mart pays claims out with their own money. Walmart has its own team of claims handlers and lawyers that are paid to evaluate Walmart injury claims and to save them money by not paying out the value of the case.  The Walmart injury claims can be anything from slip and falls accidents at Walmart, trip and fall accidents at Walmart, merchandise falling onto customers while they are at Walmart, customers at Walmart falling over boxes or merchandise that was left on the ground, wet or freshly waxed floors, holes in the parking lot, and defective or dangerous products in Walmart’s possession. Walmart is notorious for taking a hard line on injuries that occur at Walmart that are hard to prove and refusing to settle these claims.

What is it so Difficult to Make a Claim Against Walmart?

In addition to being self-insured and taking a hard line regarding the refusal to settle cases that have questions about the facts, in Louisiana, the law makes it difficult to prove slip and fall cases. The Louisiana Merchant Act was passed to help defer claims against retailers, like Walmart.

LA Rev Stat § 9:2800.6 (2015)

§2800.6. Burden of proof in claims against merchants

A. A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition. This duty includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any hazardous conditions which reasonably might give rise to damage.

B. In a negligence claim brought against a merchant by a person lawfully on the merchant's premises for damages as a result of an injury, death, or loss sustained because of a fall due to a condition existing in or on a merchant's premises, the claimant shall have the burden of proving, in addition to all other elements of his cause of action, all of the following:

(1) The condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the claimant and that risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable.

(2) The merchant either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage, prior to the occurrence.

(3) The merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. In determining reasonable care, the absence of a written or verbal uniform cleanup or safety procedure is insufficient, alone, to prove failure to exercise reasonable care.

C. Definitions:

(1) "Constructive notice" means the claimant has proven that the condition existed for such a period of time that it would have been discovered if the merchant had exercised reasonable care. The presence of an employee of the merchant in the vicinity in which the condition exists does not, alone, constitute constructive notice, unless it is shown that the employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of the condition.

(2) "Merchant" means one whose business is to sell goods, foods, wares, or merchandise at a fixed place of business. For purposes of this Section, a merchant includes an innkeeper with respect to those areas or aspects of the premises which are similar to those of a merchant, including but not limited to shops, restaurants, and lobby areas of or within the hotel, motel, or inn.

So, it is a common experience that a person who is injured in a store gets left in the dark. No one from the store contacts the injured person, and phone calls to the number go unreturned. Paperwork gets lost, and the claim gets delayed. It is also common that if you do get to talk with someone, they are telling you that your claim is denied and they will pay you nothing.

What Should I do If I am Injured at Walmart and Want to Make a Claim?

Many people get discouraged if their claim is denied and give up, and then Wal-Mart does not have to compensate these people for the injuries they caused because they “go away”. This is one reason why it is so important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after you are injured. Because Walmart will fight you on any type of claim you attempt to make, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who knows the best way to litigate these cases. Basically, to win against Walmart, you need to fight back and show them you mean business. Your lawyer will help you to

  1. Evaluate your injury and fall and let you know if it is a case that is a valid claim.

  2. Gather evidence and make sure that Walmart does not destroy evidence.

  3. Negotiate your case with Walmart and try to resolve it prior to filing a lawsuit.

  4. Filing a lawsuit and taking your case to trial to get you the compensation you deserve.

At Kiefer & Kiefer, we have handled many of these cases. We know what we have to prove to get you compensation, and we will gather the evidence to pressure Walmart to give you what you deserve. And if they do not, we have a team of experienced trial lawyers ready to take your case to trial.

https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/blog/neworleans-slip-and-fall-accident-lawyer

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

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What Are the Ten Mistakes Made Following a Car Accident?

It is no secret that when you are involved in a car accident, no matter how severe, it is a stressful event. The shock of being in a car accident has us not thinking clearly. Here are the ten mistakes we see our clients and others make following a car accident.

  1. Not Calling the Police. Even if you are not injured in an accident, it is a good idea to call the police and document it. We have had too many cases where the other driver later denies an accident occurred at all when our clients attempt to get their property damage paid. Calling the police, even if it is inconvenient, allows for a record to be made of an accident.

  2. Not Taking Photographs. After an accident, it is important to move your vehicles so as to not disrupt traffic, but also to make sure you are safe. Before you move your car, take photographs of the vehicle positioning and the property damage.

  3. Not Securing Insurance Information. If you are involved in an accident, make sure you get a photograph of the other driver’s license, license plate, insurance card, and the car’s registration. If you suspect the driver is on a mission for a business, driving for Uber or Lyft, or working for another person, secure that information as well. We have handled cases where our client only obtained a name and telephone number from the other driver, which can turn out to be false!

  4. Not Collecting Evidence. It is important to get the above information, but also important to take photographs and videos of the surrounding areas, to get witness’s names and telephone numbers before they may leave the scene of the accident.

  5. Admitting Fault. While it is encouraged to check on the occupants of another vehicle after an accident, there is no reason to state the accident was your fault.

  6. Skipping a Doctor Visit. Put simply, if you are in pain, go to a doctor. It is important to get checked out after an accident to allay any concerns about a severe injury and to get instructions and medications you may need to start the rehabilitation process.

  7. Settling with the Insurance Company. There is no rush to settle with an insurance company. In Louisiana, you have one year before you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. The most important thing following an accident is not to negotiation compensation with the insurance company, but to make sure you are ok.

  8. Paying a Traffic Ticket. If you receive a traffic ticket following an accident and you do not believe you are at fault, you should fight the ticket, even if it is inconvenient.

  9. Not Consulting an Attorney Early. If you believe you were injured in an accident, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney gets involved in your case, the more likely that important pieces of evidence will be preserved.

  10. Not Consulting the Right Attorney. If you turn on the television, you know that there are too many attorneys out there that want to take your car accident case. But, what is difficult to sort out is what attorneys actually have experience litigating these cases and what attorneys care about YOU and not just your claim. The attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer have been working on car accident cases for 60 years. The secret to our continued success in this city is that we know the law and we care about our clients, not just their cases. We are happy to give you a free consultation on an accident claim.

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

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Name
Megan Kiefer
What Do I Do if My Car is Flooded?

Once again, we are experiencing a deluge of flooding here in New Orleans. If you are one of us unlucky ones this morning who woke up to your car flooded, you are probably wondering what to do.

  1. DO NOT START YOUR CAR. Even though this may be your first instinct, this could cause even more damage if there is water in the engine.

  2. Take photos of the damage. This includes the outside and the inside of your car. Take as many photographs as possible to try to show the extent of the water damage.

  3. CALL A TOW COMPANY to get your car to higher ground if needed so that you can start drying the car out as soon as possible.

  4. Inspect your car - look under the hood to see if you can identify how extensive the damage is, check your oil dipstick (which should indicate whether there is water in your engine), check your electrical components, check your fuel tank.

  5. Remove all of the water you can inside your car. Use a wet/dry vacuum to collect standing water, use towels to soak up water, take out your carpet, seats, or seat cushions.

  6. If you have paid for comprehensive insurance coverage, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible. Your auto insurer will open a claim with you and arrange for you to have your car inspected. Because there is likely to be a lot of claims following this widespread flooding, you will want to do this as soon as possible to get your car repaired or replaced as soon as it is feasible.

If you open a claim with your insurer, under Louisiana law, your insurer owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing in adjusting your claim. Under LA R.S. 22:1892 and 22:1973, your insurer must adjust your auto claim within 14 days of being notified of the claim. If your insurer does not timely initiate an adjustment of your claim and timely pay any damages you have suffered, you may have a bad faith claim against your insurer. If you think your insurance company is not handling your property damage claims properly, you may have additional claims that you can bring against them, including a claim for penalties and a claim for attorneys fees in addition to your property damage claim. Please give us a call for a free consultation.

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


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Name
Megan Kiefer
Do I Get the Engagement Ring Back if the Wedding is Called Off?

“Popping the question” and asking for someone’s hand in marriage with an engagement ring can be one of the most important questions asked in one’s lifetime.  Presenting someone an engagement ring will likely be one of the most expensive gifts you can give another person.  According to recent surveys, most American couples expect to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on an engagement ring with the average cost for an engagement ring over $6,000.  Alex Rodriguez just spent up to $5 million on his engagement ring given to Jennifer Lopez.

Even following a “yes” answer to a proposal, it is the unfortunate reality that sometimes engagements and weddings are called off.  After that happens, our clients are often left wondering “Do I have to give my engagement ring back?” or “Can I force my fiancé to return the engagement ring?”

Even if the ring didn’t set you back as much as A-Rod, you will be happy to know that in Louisiana, your fiancé is required to return your engagement ring if the wedding is called off.  

Louisiana courts have held that an engagement ring is a conditional gift.  That is, one of the conditions of the engagement ring is that you have to get married and if you do not get married, the gift must be returned.  See Wardlaw v. Conrad, 18 La. App. 387 (La. App. 2 Cir 1931); Roy v. Florane, 239 La. 749 (La. 1960)   

What Do You Do When a Client Does Not Pay: Recovering Outstanding Debts for Goods or Services and Open Accounts

Of the many hardships faced by small business owners, collecting on outstanding accounts for the goods or services they have provided when their customers have not paid those invoices, is among the most frustrating. It’s a double whammy, not only have you not been paid, but you have already outlaid your time and money and you may not have an entire billing department dedicated to collecting on outstanding invoices. As a small business, we know first hand the frustrations of having open accounts. Thankfully, Louisiana Law provides some measure of protection for your unpaid invoice, or “Open Account,” which even allows you to recover the attorney fees directly from the debtor rather than you having to pay those fees. 

 Louisiana Law broadly defines an “open account” as any account on which purchasers customarily purchase goods and services on credit. Specifically, Louisiana Revised Statute § 9:2781 provides the following extremely broad definition:

 “Open account” includes any account for which a part or all of the balance is past due, whether or not the account reflects one or more transactions and whether or not at the time of contracting the parties expected future transactions. “Open account” shall include debts incurred for professional services, including but not limited to legal and medical services.

 So long as the outstanding debt falls within that broad definition, you are entitled to the protections of § 9:2781. That distinction is important, because it allows you to recover most or all of your attorney’s fees from the debtor, or person that failed to pay, rather than having to pay those fees out of your own pockets. 

Broadly speaking, the statute requires that you make an amicable written demand on the debtor. If the debtor does not pay that amount within thirty (30) days, you are entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in recovering the outstanding amount or “open account.”

Though it is simple in theory, there are a number of exceptions and specials rules that apply depending on the type of debt. Failure to comply with those provisions can drastically effect your ability to recover or amount of recovery. Because of these rules, it is importation to consult an attorney to discuss your open accounts as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know has outstanding balances and would like to speak with someone about trying to recover those amounts as an “Open Account,”  please give us a call today for a free consultation.  


  - 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
New Orleans is Taking Affirmative Steps to Curtail Bicycle Accidents

 New Orleans officials have announced they will begin enforcing a $300 fine for blocking bike lanes by the end of April. Currently the fine is only $40 dollars for parking in a bike lane but the city has increased the cost of the fine as part of its plan to improve bike safety in New Orleans. When vehicles are parked blocking bike lanes, it forces cyclists to leave the protection of the designated bike lane and risk their safety by entering the traffic lanes to go around the violating vehicle.

Officials have stated this is only the beginning as they intend to announce a bike safety master plan by the end of the summer. While New Orleans is working on plans to improve city streets for biking, cyclists can take the following steps to ensure their own safety on New Orleans’s busy streets, littered with distracted drivers.

  • Do not bike distracted - avoid wearing earbuds or talking on the phone while cycling.

  • Stay alert to the traffic around you, especially when crossing intersections.

  • When approaching intersections, look out for cars turning in front of you. Distracted drivers may not see you approaching from behind them.

  • Ride with the flow of traffic.

Megan Kiefer
New Orleans Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

If you were in a business, store, hotel, or other place and slipped or tripped on a hazard and were injured, you may have a claim against the insurer of the store for those injuries. If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in New Orleans, Metairie, or elsewhere, it is important to consult a New Orleans slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss your rights.

What Causes a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and Fall Accidents can be caused by a number of hazards and every slip and fall case is different. Some common slip and fall accidents in New Orleans can be caused by:

  • A substance that is left on the floor, such as a spilled drink, melted ice, or water;

  • Uneven surfaces of a floor such as cracks, loose floorboards, or uneven decking;

  • Uneven surfaces of a parking lot, such as cracks, potholes or sidewalks

  • Wet surfaces such as slippery floors and spills

  • Broken steps or handrails

  • Debris or items that were left dangerously in a walkway, such as pallets or boxes

  • Inadequate lighting

  • Spilled food on the ground of a restuarant

What should I do if I am involved in a Slip and Fall Accident in New Orleans or Metairie?

Slip and Fall accidents can cause serious injury. You should do the following things if you have been involved in a slip and fall accident:

  1. Seek medical attention if you are injured

  2. Report the slip and fall accident immediately to the store manager

  3. Take photographs of what you fell on

  4. Get the names and contact information of anyone you talk to or anyone who may have witnessed the slip and fall

  5. Call a New Orleans slip and fall accident lawyer to consult with you on whether you have a claim

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in New Orleans or Metairie, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries, including economic damages such as medical bills and missing wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.  These cases are very difficult to prove; before you accept a quick settlement from the insurance company, contact a New Orleans slip and fall accident lawyer for a consultation on your case.

How can Kiefer & Kiefer New Orlean Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer help me with my slip and fall accident?

We have a team of experienced trial attorneys who can help you with your slip and fall claim. We have successfully handled many slip and fall accident cases. These cases include slip and fall accidents in parking lots, slip and fall accidents at the Wyndham Hotel, slip and fall accidents in Dillard’s and other department stores, slip and fall accidents at Walmart, slip and fall accidents at Intown Suites, slip and fall accidents in an elevator, slip and fall accidents at Chili’s and other restaurants, slip and fall accidents at Touro and other hospitals, slip and fall accidents in Bayou Beer Garden, Tipitina’s, Southport Hall and other bars, as well as slip and fall accidents in the Smoothie King Center and Superdome.

Here are some articles about cases we have litigated as a result of slip and fall accidents in New Orleans and slip and fall accidents in Metairie:

https://louisianarecord.com/stories/511465185-woman-seeks-damages-following-alleged-fall-at-walmart

https://louisianarecord.com/stories/510582193-touro-infirmary-sued-by-visitor-in-slip-and-fall

https://louisianarecord.com/stories/511644953-woman-seeks-damages-after-falling-at-caki-too

https://louisianarecord.com/stories/511281854-women-allegedly-injured-by-fall-at-wyndham-hotel

https://louisianarecord.com/stories/510585088-tipitina-rsquo-s-music-club-sued-by-man-injured-in-fall-down-stairs

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Megan Kiefer