PERSONAL INJURY INFORMATION CENTER

If you have lost a family member or suffered injuries as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct, you could be legally entitled to compensation for your loss. To learn more about your right to damages, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney for straightforward solutions that will work for you.

Maximum Recovery For You and Your Family

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, personal injury attorneys at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger keep your best interests in mind. Contact us now.

We understand how hard it is to deal with a personal injury, on a physical, financial, social and familial level. We are committed to achieving the best possible compensation for you in a timely, responsive and caring manner.

Personal Injury – An Overview

Personal injury lawsuits are filed by people (or their representatives) injured due to the negligence of someone else. The injury may be either physical or emotional, and it can arise from a variety of sources or types of conduct. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include slip and fall, automobile accidents, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, and product liability. In general, the goal of a personal injury action is to determine who was responsible and to compel the responsible party to compensate the injured person for the losses sustained. If you or someone you know has been injured by the careless actions of another, contact a personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, at once to find out how we can help you preserve your rights.

18 WHEELER / TRUCK ACCIDENTS

We’re here to help – when your life changes in an instant

Accidents on Louisiana roads involving semi-trailers or 18 wheelers often result in severe or fatal injuries to the innocent drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles.

When these accidents are caused due to truck driver error or trucking company negligence, it is almost inevitable there will be an immediate investigation by local, state and federal government agencies.

Make no mistake…most trucking companies and their insurers will have a legal team involved in the investigation, and their primary goal is to limit the amount of money the victims receive.

You and your loved ones should not have to face this fight alone, so it is vital you have a skilled personal injury attorney with substantial experience with truck accident cases.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we are dedicated to helping those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a big rig or 18 wheeler.

We will be at your side from the very beginning to protect your rights, and help you recover compensation for losses you may suffer, such as:

  • Medical bills, both presently owed and for the rest of your life
  • Social support services
  • Rehabilitation services to help you adjust to life after the accident
  • Lost work time
  • Pain and suffering

Immediate Action in Serving Victims of Truck Accident Cases

If the person injured or killed in a truck or 18 wheeler accident was the major provider for the family, we will immediately meet with you at the hospital or any other location convenient for you, so that we can provide you with necessary life expenses such as food and shelter.

Our Approach to Serving Victims of Truck Accidents

Our legal team will first examine all the facts of the case, and then share them with you to make sure you know your interests are well-protected.

We will also make sure the insurance companies are fully aware of the extent of your injuries, clearly outlining how the accident has impacted the lives of you and your loved ones.

We want to remind these companies they are dealing with human beings who are experiencing a real tragedy, and who deserve due compensation without unreasonable delays or insulting lowball settlement offers.

If you or a member of your family have been a victim of a serious truck or 18 wheeler accident, contact us to schedule a consultation today. We will charge you nothing unless you win.

Go to mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703.

ANIMAL BITES

Although animal-attack claims most commonly involve dog bites, many other types of domesticated animals, such as ferrets, cats and even birds, can also bite humans. Even non-domesticated animals, such as large cats ordinarily found in the wild, but owned by some people as pets have been known to attack children and adults. An animal owner’s liability for injuries caused by his or her pet, if any, will vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

A lawyer from Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, who is experienced in dog bite and personal injury law is an excellent source for advice and information in animal attack case.

Proving owners’ liability in animal-attack cases

To succeed in most animal attack cases, the injured person must prove that the animal that caused the injury was owned and kept by the defendant. In the past, the injured person was also required to show that the owner knew or should have known that his or her animal was dangerous, mischievous, vicious or prone to such threatening behaviors. Under current law, however, when it is proven that an owner was somehow negligent, such as by not properly restraining or containing the animal, the injured person may often recover damages without proving the animal’s viciousness.

An owner of an animal may be found liable under any circumstances in which he or she had knowledge of the animal’s viciousness but failed to act in order to prevent injuries to others. Accordingly, if an animal exhibits vicious or uncontrollable behavior, the owner should take steps to shield the public from the animal. For example, if an individual owns a pit bull with a propensity to attack and bite without provocation, the owner should probably keep the dog indoors and, while outside, in a yard from which it cannot escape. If an owner does not adhere to these common-sense guidelines and the animal attacks, he or she may be found liable for the resulting injuries.

Those who keep animals generally considered wild, such as lions, bears, and monkeys, are typically liable for injuries caused by such animals regardless of whether the particular animal is known to be dangerous. Because wild animals are generally presumed to have a natural tendency to revert to their wild mannerisms no matter how well trained or domesticated, owners of such animals are often said to be “strictly liable” for any injuries caused by their wild animals. However, strict liability may not apply if the animal injures someone while it is confined or restrained on its owner’s property, but this is a factually dependent argument that will not apply in every case.

In some states, it is not always necessary for the animal to actually bite or attack the victim to hold the owner liable for an injury. For example, a pedestrian who breaks his or her ankle in a frightened attempt to get away from a fenced in dog’s snapping, barking, or other aggressive behavior, may nonetheless be able to sue the dogís owner successfully if he or she can show that the actions of the dog led to the injury.

Defenses to liability in animal-attack cases

People who are injured in animal attacks are not always entitled to recover damages. If the injured person provoked the animal, for instance, recovery may be denied. Similarly, if a pet owner informs his or her neighbor that his or her pet parrot is not friendly and should not be touched, but the neighbor does not heed this warning and is thereafter pecked or bitten, recovery may be denied. If the owner merely stated that the parrot was not always friendly, on the other hand, but still encouraged the neighbor to pet it, the owner could likely be liable.

People who are injured by an animal while on the owner’s property are generally unable to recover if they are trespassing at the time of the attack. In many states, in order to successfully bring suit under a dog bite statute, the injured person must show that he or she was lawfully in the place where the injury occurred. If the injured person was a trespasser at the time of the attack, the animal’s owner may not be liable for injuries caused by his or her animal. If, for example, someone jumps over a fence into an enclosed junkyard with “Beware of Dog” warnings posted and taunts the German shepherd guard dog with a stick, the junkyard owner may not be liable if the dog bites the trespasser.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Persons injured by biting or attacking animals should seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer who can explain the complexities of their case and provide guidance through the legal system. If you or someone you know has suffered personal injuries as a result of an animal attack, the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on whether you may have a claim against the animal’s owner and can help you pursue the maximum damages to which you are entitled.

ASSAULT & BATTERY

In civil court, assault and battery are intentional torts, and can be the basis of a personal injury lawsuit against the person who commits them. Assault and battery are different from other personal injury claims in that the person accused of assault or battery must have acted with the intent to cause a certain result ó either fear in the victim or physical contact to the victim’s person.

It is important if you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault or battery that you contact a knowledgeable, skilled personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, to discuss your legal options.

Assault and battery

While the torts of assault and battery are similar and can go together in one lawsuit, it is important to note that they are actually two separate claims. A defendant can commit an assault without a battery, and vice versa. However, a battery usually includes an assault, and an assault can be characterized as an attempted or uncompleted battery. In general terms, an assault occurs when a person is placed in apprehension or fear of a harmful or offensive contact, and a battery occurs when that harmful or offensive contact actually occurs.

It is important to note that a battery plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant meant to cause physical injuries through the harmful or offensive contact. This means that even in a situation where the defendant was playing a practical joke and meant to scare the plaintiff, he or she can still be liable for battery as long as harmful or offensive contact resulted. What’s more, the defendant himself or herself does not have to come into contact with the plaintiff in order to have committed a battery, nor does the contact need to be applied directly to the plaintiff, as long as the defendant supplied the force that caused or resulted in contact with plaintiff.

Damages in assault and battery cases

Damages in assault and/or battery cases may be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for the losses you suffered as a result of defendant’s conduct. They may include your medical expenses and lost income, damages for pain and suffering, and loss of your future earning capacity. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. The availability of punitive damages may differ from state to state, but, when available, punitive damages typically require proof that the defendant acted with “malice” (out of hatred or ill will) and set out to deliberately injure the victim.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured as a result of an assault and/or battery, it is important that you speak with an attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights and options

BACK/NECK/SHOULDER INJURIES

When someone has been injured in an accident, there are long-term and possibly permanent effects that are often not readily apparent.

This is especially true in injuries such as:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Strains and sprains
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Recreational accidents
  • Trip and fall injuries
  • Slip and fall injuries

Often victims will not seek legal representation, saying “It wasn’t a big deal”, “I’m just sore, it will heal on its own”, or “a lawyer will just try to convince me to sue.”

But the reality is an injury could permanently affect your health and career, and if someone is responsible for your injuries, then it is extremely important for these victims to find an experienced attorney – and as soon as possible.

For over twenty years, Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger has served the legal needs of accident victims in Louisiana.

As a small firm, we are better able to get to know you personally. But despite our size, we have a reputation for being tough trial lawyers, knowledgeable in insurance law, and effective at getting things done.

  • We fight for your rights when you are unable to fight for yourself
  • We make sure you get the medical help you need
  • We demand the insurance company does what it is supposed to do:
  • pay your medical bills ñ and compensate you for the pain and suffering
  • We make sure you duly file for compensation within the time allowed by law
  • We make sure you pay nothing to us, unless we obtain a settlement or trial judgment for you.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, do not speak to any insurance adjuster, or sign any papers until you consult with a qualified, experienced attorney.

Schedule a consultation online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703 today.

BP OIL SPILL SETTLEMENT CLAIMS

The BP Oil Spill of April 2010 was an environment and economical disaster of far-reaching consequences, with billions in losses felt from the Gulf to around the world.

Many individuals and companies may not know BP has agreed to pay economic loss claims filed by those who experienced a reduction in income following the oil spill, and that they may be eligible for significant compensation.

The Baton Rouge law firm of Manasseh, Gill, Knipe and Bélanger can help process economic loss claims arising out of the sinking of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

We have a long history of representing and securing compensation for countless businesses and individuals who have suffered loss of income, as well as for victims of environmental/toxic negligence.

Loss of income is generally based on income earned during the years of 2007 through 2011, and claimants may choose certain months during those years to use in the comparison.

To be eligible for possible economic compensation, claimants do not necessarily need to be located near the Gulf Coast, nor is it required that the income source be related to seafood or tourism.

We receive no fees, costs or expenses unless you get paid for your claim, so there is no risk in determining if we can help. To schedule a consultation contact one of our experienced attorneys today. Go online to mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703.

CAR WRECK/DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we offer exceptional legal service from experienced lawyers who are dedicated to fighting for maximum compensation for those who have suffered serious injury, or the loss of a loved one, due to someone else’s negligence.

An Established Louisiana Personal Injury Law Firm

For over twenty years, we have helped hundreds of clients injured in car accidents, and have a proven track in obtaining financial settlements and won trial verdicts.

Thorough and Aggressive Representation

Our reputation for being prepared and trial-ready sends a clear message to the insurance companies when negotiating – we will not settle for less that what is fair.

We will listen carefully to the circumstances in your case in order to plan the best course of action, whether your case goes to trial or is settled out of court.

Whether your case goes to trial or is settled out of court, our goal is to maximize your recovery – with thorough investigation, aggressive settlement negotiation and determined representation.

Responsive Personal Service

We understand the needs of the family when making settlement recommendations or preparing for trial, so our attorneys routinely make home or hospital visits to clients who are seriously injured.

We are personally invested in the outcome of each case, and work hard to obtain financial justice for victims who were injured or lost a loved one in a fatal auto crash or drunk driving accidents.

All cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front fees or out-of-pocket costs to you. We only get paid when we obtain a financial settlement or judgment in your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

To schedule a consultation, go online to mgklawyers.com or call our Baton Rouge offices at 225-383-9703.

DANGEROUS OR DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS

A person injured while using a product that was manufactured or marketed in a defective or dangerous way may be able to recover the resulting damages from the responsible party in a products liability-based personal injury suit.

Products liability law is based on the responsibility of a manufacturer or other provider of goods to compensate users of the goods for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products that it placed into the stream of commerce. The basic idea underlying products liability law is that the companies providing the products are usually in the best position to prevent defective products from entering the marketplace, so if they fail to do so, they should be held accountable.

An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise injured persons on whether they may have a claim against a product manufacturer or seller and can help them recover the damages to which they are legally entitled.

The plaintiff’s burden in a dangerous or defective product personal injury case

The personal injury plaintiff still has a challenge although products liability law has evolved over the years. At one time “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) was the standard to which manufacturers were held. Today “strict liability” is imposed in appropriate cases. Under this standard manufacturers are responsible for injuries caused by their defective or unreasonably dangerous products even if they were not negligent. In a products liability action, the injured person, or plaintiff, must prove, for instance, that there was a design or manufacturing defect in the product or that the manufacturer did not adequately warn consumers about the product’s possible dangers. In addition, he or she must establish, through relevant and credible evidence, that the product caused the injuries and that he or she was using the product in the way it was intended to be used or even that the manufacturer should have anticipated that the product would be “misused” in the way that it was.

Manufacturing defects are usually easier to prove than design defects. If a particular consumer’s gas fireplace explodes when first lit, for example, it is evidence that the fireplace was not manufactured as the designer intended it to be. A design-defect case, on the other hand, could arise if many or all fireplaces of a manufacturer’s particular model posed a threat of explosion. Proving a design defect involves passing judgment on technical choices and usually requires expert testimony. In a design defect case, the product may have been manufactured as it was intended to be, but the design was inadequately planned in such a way as to pose unreasonable hazards to consumers.

Proving causation in a products liability case can be tricky. The plaintiff must establish that the product was defective when it left the hands of the defendant manufacturer, distributor or seller, and that the defect was the cause of the accident that led to the plaintiff’s injuries. If the injuries could have arisen from several potential causes, the plaintiff usually must establish that the product defect had a substantial role in bringing about the injuries.

Theories of recovery in dangerous or defective product personal injury cases

The following are some possible legal theories that can be argued in a products liability case:

  • Negligence. Negligence is a lack of reasonable care in the manufacture or sale of a product or in warning about the product.
  • Breach of warranty. Breach of warranty is the failure to fulfill the terms of a promise regarding a product’s performance.
  • Misrepresentation. Giving consumers a false sense of security about a product’s safety is a type of misrepresentation.
  • Strict liability. Where a product’s defect, although not the fault of the defendant, rendered the product unreasonably dangerous, the defendant is therefore responsible under the theory of strict liability.

Although there is no limit to the list of products that could form the basis of a products liability suit, some of the more common product categories include apparel, asbestos, chemicals, cosmetics, firearms, food, machinery and tools, medical products and devices, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, recreational products and tobacco.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Persons injured by dangerous or defective products need the counsel of skilled veterans of personal injury and products liability law to advise them on the complexities of their case and guide them through the legal system toward the most favorable outcome. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as a result of using a dangerous or defective product, the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on whether you may have a claim against the product manufacturer or seller and can help you recover the maximum damages recoverable under the applicable law.

MARITIME OFFSHORE ACCIDENTS

Experienced Representation in Serious Maritime Accident and Injury Cases

Maritime offshore accidents can range from a slip and fall to a traumatic brain injury, and any one of them could result in a life-long physically challenging disability.

For many of these victims, that could mean retraining, surgeries, and physical rehabilitation.

Laws governing maritime or offshore accidents are different from most land-based laws governing personal injury or workers’ compensation, which makes it vitally important to have an attorney experienced in maritime accident and injury law.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, our attorneys have substantial experience representing the rights and interests of injured seamen and land-based maritime workers who are seeking maintenance and cure or other compensation and disability benefits in:

  • Jones Act claims
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) act
  • General maritime law claims relating to negligence or seaworthiness

Our thorough understanding of maritime accident and injury cases enables us to fight for the full financial compensation and medical benefits you deserve and need to recover from a work-related injury, including financial settlements for pain and suffering, when appropriate.

Former Admiralty Defense Lawyer Uses His Knowledge to Help You

Our maritime and offshore accidents lawyer, André Bélanger uses his experience as an admiralty defense attorney to create a powerful case on your behalf. He and his team know the terminology and processes underwriters can employ to minimize your case and recovery, and how to advance your claim forcefully and with dispatch.

You are entitled to medical care for your injury, and you do not need to use your company doctor. Even if you work on a fixed platform and do not qualify as a Jones Act case, we can help you file a claim and seek compensation.

If you have been injured on the job in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Mississippi River or any of Louisiana’s other rivers, lakes, bayous or waterways, schedule a consultation today. Online at mgklawyers.com or 225-383-9703.

MILITARY ADMINISTRATIVE REPRESENTATION & APPEAL

Baton Rouge Military Administration Representation Attorney

Fearless, Focused and Effective Military Administrative Representation

When a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine is injured or falls ill, they have the right under military law to hire an independent civilian military law attorney.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we offer sound legal advice and experienced representation in physical evaluation board (PEB) and medical evaluation board (MEB) hearings.

Our goal is to ensure you receive the respect, full medical care and financial benefit you deserve for your injuries.

Former Military Lawyer in Baton Rouge

W. Robert Gill served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in a leadership position for the United States Military in California and Hawaii. During that time, he handled hundreds of cases for soldiers in the military.

If any military personnel, or for those soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, W. Robert Gill and his team can provide the sound legal representation you require.

Schedule a Consultation

Whether you are seeking placement on the temporary disabled retirement list (TDRL) after a traumatic injury, or appropriate medical and psychiatric care for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the skilled team will be at your side.

To schedule your consultation, contact us online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703. to discuss your rights and legal options in a consultation with an independent and knowledgeable military administrative representation attorney.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Motor vehicle accidents cause the loss of time, property, health and even life. Such accidents occur because of elements including driver error, negligence, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result, a crash can turn a normal day into a prolonged struggle. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help you sort out your rights, your options, and your future.

At-fault, negligent and aggressive drivers

When you have been in an auto accident, you may have a sense of who caused it. Issues of fault, however, can be complicated by who acted when and which laws governed the situation. If the other driver was negligent, you may have to prove that the driver breached a duty of care to you and that the breach caused your damages. The assistance of an attorney can be immensely valuable at this time, whether you are battling an insurance company, seeking compensation for your injuries or defending yourself in court.

Sources of information on the accident include police reports, witnesses and the condition of the vehicles involved in the accident. They could reveal what happened and why.

Actions, on the part of either driver, that may have contributed to the accident include:

  • Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to compensate for dangerous weather conditions
  • Driving above or below the posted speed limits
  • Driver distraction caused by a cell phone, passenger, radio or another source
  • Failure to obey traffic laws regarding turn signals, rights-of-way and other rules

Sometimes the at-fault driver is more than merely negligent; he or she may have acted recklessly or even intentionally. A reckless driver acts with conscious disregard for the probable consequences of his or her actions. Road rage incidents often involve reckless behavior, and they can escalate into intentional behavior. Road rage, in particular, can be extremely dangerous, leading to injuries and criminal charges. Generally, aggressive drivers are a serious threat to safety. Speeding and taking other risks contributes significantly to highway and other driving fatalities.

Drunk driving

Drunk driving can lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Additionally, the business that sold alcohol to the drunk driver may be held liable if it served the driver when he or she was visibly intoxicated. This, however, does not take any responsibility from the driver who drove while intoxicated. If you have been in an accident involving alcohol or drugs, seek the help of a personal injury attorney who will explain your legal options.

Auto accidents not caused by the drivers

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you cannot avoid an accident. In certain cases, a vehicle’s manufacturing or design defect causes the accident or makes it worse. This might happen if, for instance, the brakes on your car fail or the airbag does not deploy when it should. The law of products liability applies in this situation, protecting consumers when products create an unreasonable risk of harm. If a product defect caused your injuries, you may have a case against the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the product.

Another responsible party could be a mechanic who improperly repaired the car that caused the accident. Both the mechanic and the mechanic’s employer could be liable in such a case.

Finally, poorly maintained roads, messy and confusing construction, unclear signage, improperly designed roads and similar problems can contribute to an accident. Government entities are typically responsible for the roads and highways; they may, therefore, be liable for accidents caused by the above factors. Special rules, however, apply to lawsuits against government entities; a lawyer will be able to explain them in detail.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

It is important to take prompt action when you have been in a motor vehicle accident. This will help you preserve your rights and seek proper compensation. Contact Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, to schedule a consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer.

MOTORCYCLE/BOAT/RECREATIONAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

When a loved one has died in a motorcycle, boating, ATV or other recreational vehicle accident due to negligence, families need sound legal advice and representation to hold the responsible party accountable to the full extent of the law.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we have a successful track record throughout Louisiana for helping families and victims of serious ATV injury or wrongful death.

We possess the required skill, flexibility and keen understanding as to when to employ aggressive tactics, and when to take a more strained approach.

You Have a Right to Seek Monetary Compensation

While insurers routinely fight to award only the most minimal of payments, the law provides for people who have suffered serious injuries caused by another’s negligence to seek recovery of monies for medical costs, surgery and other related expenses.

We believe you need sound legal representation so you can focus your efforts on healing, and receive justice under the law. Our experienced trial lawyers know how to identify key facts related to an injury, and how to aggressively pursue compensation from those parties who are legally responsible to pay it.

Schedule a Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss in an accident, you need to learn more about your rights and legal options for obtaining fair compensation.

To schedule a consultation, contact us online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-903 today.

PERSONAL INJURY DAMAGES

Personal injury lawyers can help ensure that their clients receive the damages to which they are entitled by law. Some of the items for which injured parties are legally entitled to compensation include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, damages for both physical and emotional pain and suffering, and damages for disfigurement. Sometimes, a close family member of the injured person, such as his or her spouse, may also be entitled to damages. This award is often referred to as loss of consortium damages, which is intended to compensate the loved one for the loss of the injured or deceased person’s services and companionship.

Other kinds of damages that may be awarded, depending on the laws of the state where the lawsuit is brought and the facts of the particular case, include hedonic damages, which are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of activities that he or she once valued but can no longer participate in as a result of the injuries suffered. In addition, punitive damages may be awarded when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious and the court or jury determines that the defendant should be punished by paying an amount above and beyond the plaintiff’s actual damages. Punitive damage awards may also serve to deter others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.

“Legal causation” of personal injuries

Not every injured plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for the injury he or she sustains. Besides the injury, the plaintiff must also establish, through credible and relevant evidence, that the defendant is legally responsible for his or her injuries. The plaintiff must present proof of causation both in terms of actual causation and proximate (legal) causation. Actual causation is determined by literal cause and effect. Whether legal causation is established depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular matter in question.

In some personal injury actions, legal causation may be established if the plaintiff can show that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. This means that the wrongdoer intentionally or purposefully harmed the plaintiff or knew that the conduct in which he or she engaged gave rise to a substantial likelihood that harm would result.

Negligence and strict liability

Other personal injury actions are based on a looser concept of fault called negligence. Under the negligence theory, a defendant is held liable for the results of action, or inaction, when an ordinary person in the same position should have foreseen that the conduct would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. Still other types of personal injury actions are based on strict liability, which is a no-fault system under which liability may be established regardless of the fault of the various parties, including the injured party. Strict liability may be applied in products liability cases, such as when a manufacturer or seller of a defective product puts that product into the hands of consumers and users of the product are injured.

The defendant can be held liable for actions taken or for actions not taken. A driver who fails to stop at a red light and hits another vehicle and injures the other driver or passengers is liable based on her negligent acts. A property owner who fails to clear the ice and snow from the front steps of a business open to the public may be liable for his inaction if a patron falls and breaks her leg when attempting to enter the premises.

Defenses to liability in personal injury cases

In some situations, the defendant’s conduct, while questionable, may not give rise to damages. If, for instance, a plaintiff knowingly and willfully chooses to encounter a known hazard, then the law provides that he or she has assumed the risk of injury and therefore the defendant should not be liable. The assumption of the risk theory may apply also in a case in which the plaintiff engaged in a friendly game of tackle football and another player broke his arm; in such a case, the plaintiff may be unable to recover for his injuries because he knew of the risks inherent in the game and willingly chose to encounter them.

The following are possible defenses to personal injury claims.

  • Statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations are laws setting forth the period within which the lawsuit must be initiated.
  • Sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity provides that certain government officials are immune from civil liability for their official conduct.
  • Intentional misuse. Injuries caused by a plaintiff’s intentional misuse of a product may be a defense to liability in a products liability case.
  • Contributory or comparative negligence. Contributory or comparative negligence exists where the plaintiff’s own conduct caused or contributed to his or her injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can explain these and other defenses and determine whether they apply to a particular case.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Personal injury actions often require a lawyer’s careful examination of the surrounding facts and circumstances to determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. A personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can look at the facts of your case and determine whether you have a legally valid claim, how soon you must act to preserve your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before your lawsuit is even resolved. Additionally, in many personal injury cases, you owe no legal fees unless and until the defendant pays the damage award.

PERSONAL INJURY/ WRONGFUL DEATH FAQ

What is Negligence?

If you have a been injured in an accident of some kind you may have a claim for the personal injuries you have suffered. When you have a personal injury action (or any tort claim), you must be aware of negligence. The defendant may be the negligent party and his or her negligence caused your injury. However, if you were injured as the result of your own negligence, this may also affect your claim. Negligence is failing to provide reasonable care for the safety of others or yourself. The court considers the level of care a ìreasonably prudent person would have employed in the same circumstances. If an individual fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would, he or she may be shown to have failed to protect others (or him or herself) against foreseeable harm and may be seen as contributing to the injury that occurred as a result.

Can I Get Compensation for My Injuries if an Accident Might Have Been Partly My Fault?

If you may be partly to blame for your injuries, you may or may not be able to recover damages. It depends on the jurisdiction you are in. A minority of jurisdictions follow contributory negligence: Under this rule, if your own negligence caused your injury, or played a part in causing your injury, you may not be able to recover for your injuries. However, the majority of jurisdictions follow comparative negligence. In comparative negligence, you may still recover damages for your injuries if your own negligence was a partial cause of those injuries. The amount of damages you may receive will be lessened in comparison to the amount of your own negligence. You will still be able to recover for your injuries, but the sum is contingent on your amount of fault.

Can I Get Compensation for My Accident Injuries if I Have a Preexisting Medical Condition?

Generally, if an individual has a preexisting condition, he or she may not recover damages for injuries related to that condition. However, the preexisting condition does not bar an injured person from recovering damages that were caused by the accident and not the preexisting condition. For example, if a person has a permanent back injury and is hit by a car while crossing the street, that person may recover damages from injuries sustained from being hit by the car, but not for the previous permanent back injury. Likewise, if a person already has a condition that is worsened by an accident, he or she may be able to recover damages for the injuries sustained by the worsened condition and medical treatment for the worsened condition, but not the original condition that they already had. In some jurisdictions, there may also be a separate claim for aggravating a preexisting disease, illness or condition. It is important to speak to an attorney to find out how preexisting conditions are treated by the court in your area.

PLANT ACCIDENTS/TOXIC CHEMICAL EXPOSURE

Much like a plant’s technology and equipment, the laws relating to plant accidents are complicated. Which is why victims of a workplace accident require legal representation from attorneys with an in-depth knowledge of those laws, as well as the willingness and preparedness to take your case to trial.

The law office of Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger has vast experience representing those who have been injured or disabled due to a workplace accident, and will aggressively help seek compensation for your suffering and loss of income.

Workplace accidents include:

  • Crane accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Defective products that cause accidents or harm
  • Toxic chemical releases
  • Electrical accidents
  • Fires and explosions
  • Falls from scaffolding
  • Falls into pits
  • Factory and assembly line accidents

You should not have to go through this alone. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or wrongful death due to negligence, schedule a consultation today. Go online to mgklawyers.com, or call our Baton Rouge office at 225-383-9703.

SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY

Mississippi and Louisiana Serious Personal Injury Attorneys

Thousands of Mississippi and Louisiana residents are seriously injured each year due to someone elseís negligent actions. If you sustained serious injuries in an accident on the road, at work, outdoors or because of a defective product, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.

For nearly 25 years, the lawyers at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger have helped personal injury victims hold others accountable for the damage they have caused. We fight hard to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. We have helped many families cover a loved one’s lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and any other damages he or she might have incurred.

Contact our Baton Rouge law office online today or call 225-383-9703 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you do not pay a fee unless we negotiate a settlement or obtain a judgment in your favor at trial.

Louisiana Catastrophic Injury Lawyers

Serving Baton Rouge, Louisiana and now parts of Mississippi, our team of attorneys thoroughly prepares personalized negotiation and trial strategies that focus on our clients’ goals. We have proven time and time again that we protect our clients’ rights and aggressively pursue compensation from all liable parties.

Schedule a consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer if you were injured in a:

  • Car accident including accidents involving alcohol
  • Offshore accident
  • Motorcycle, boat or RV accident
  • Slip-and-fall accident and other premises liability claim
  • Jet Ski accident
  • Workplace accident

We have worked with clients who have suffered all types of injuries. Clients who have endured broken bones, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries and other severe damage have helped find relief after retaining our firm. We will also help you file a wrongful death action if you tragically lost a loved one because of another person’s careless actions.

Contact a Mississippi or Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we realize how traumatic serious injuries are for individuals and their families. Contact our law office online today or call 225-383-9703 to speak with a compassionate, dedicated lawyer during a free initial consultation.

SLIPS, FALLS, AND OTHER PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIMS

Premises liability law involves the legal responsibilities of property owners and occupiers to prevent injuries to persons on their property. One of the most common causes of such injuries is a trip or slip and fall, such as on an icy sidewalk, a loose or uneven stair tread, or a piece of debris or spilled liquid on the floor. Property owner liability varies depending on the rules and principles adopted in the jurisdiction where the injury occurred.

An experienced personal injury lawyer at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can evaluate the strength of your premises liability claim and help you recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Premises liability: general principles

Some states’ premises liability laws focus on the status of the visitor to the property. In such states, the injured person is generally defined as either an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser.

  • Invitee. An invitee is someone who is expressly or impliedly invited onto the property of another. The owner owes the invitee the highest duty of care, which includes taking every reasonable precaution to ensure the invitee’s safety.
  • Licensee. A licensee, by contrast, enters the property for his or her own purposes but is present at the consent of the owner. The owner is required to warn a licensee of hidden dangers, but is not necessarily required to fix them.
  • Trespasser. A trespasser enters the property without any right whatsoever to do so. In the case of adult trespassers, the owner generally has no duty of care and need not take reasonable care of his property or warn of hidden dangers. Even if a person was trespassing at the time of his or her injury, he or she may still be able to recover, however, if he or she can show that the owner knew it was likely that trespassers would enter the property. Children are owed a higher duty of care, regardless of whether they are considered trespassers. A landowner’s duty to warn is also heightened with respect to children.

In states where consideration is given to the condition of the property and the activities of the owner and visitor, a uniform standard of care is applied to both invitees and licensees. This uniform standard requires the exercise of reasonable care for the safety of visitors other than trespassers. To satisfy the reasonableness standard owed to invitees and licensees, an owner has a continuing duty to inspect the property to identify dangerous conditions and either repair them or post warnings as appropriate.

Proving owners’ liability in premises liability cases

In proving a premises liability case, an injured person must show that the standard of reasonableness required by an owner has not been met. Perhaps the most difficult element an injured person must prove is the owner’s knowledge of the condition causing his or her injury. The injured person must prove that the owner knew or should have known the condition in order for liability to attach, which is often quite difficult to establish.

Defenses to liability in premises liability cases

One of the commonly applied theories to limit an injured person’s recovery is comparative or contributory fault. A visitor has a duty, in most cases, to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety, and when that degree of care is not exercised, an injured person’s recovery may be limited or reduced by an amount attributable to his or her own negligence.

In the cases where a person’s injuries are the result of slipping on an icy sidewalk in front of a business or on a grape, lettuce leaf, banana peel or other food item that has fallen on a grocery store floor, the property owner may or may not be liable for the person’s injuries. Although property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain the premises in such a way to prevent injuries to lawful visitors, if a condition of the premises is noticed by a customer or other visitor or should be readily apparent, the property owner may avoid liability because the injured person has also a duty to protect himself or herself against the injury.

The property owner may also avoid liability by establishing that the debris had so recently fallen on the floor or that the ice had so recently accumulated that the responsible persons had no reasonable opportunity to correct the condition and avoid the hazard before the plaintiff fell. In other words, the plaintiff in a slip and fall case, whether it occurs in a grocery store or elsewhere, must show that the owner had a reasonable period of time in which to discover the dangerous condition and in which to remedy it. The determination of what constitutes a reasonable time will vary from case to case.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Even common accidents such as slips and falls can present complex legal issues and complicated questions of both fact and law. Accordingly, if you have been injured in a premises-related accident, an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on your rights and work with you to pursue a favorable outcome.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

The Center for Disease Control reports that every year, 1.5 million people suffer from some form of brain injury due to an accident, resulting in:

  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Blunt Trauma
  • Brain Damage
  • Coma
  • Memory Loss
  • Paraplegia
  • Cognitive Deficits
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage (Brain Bleed)

These kinds of injuries are costly to treat, can devastate families and often leave the victim with permanent, life-altering disabilities.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another, it is vital you seek the knowledgeable legal guidance and experienced representation of a personal injury attorney.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we understand the challenges faced by the survivors and their families, and are dedicated to helping those who have been injured obtain maximum recovery.

We have over twenty years experience in personal injury cases, and can help you take immediate and decisive action to ensure you receive the full and fair financial compensation you deserve, which includes:

  • Basic necessities such as food and shelter
  • Medical bills, including hospital and surgery and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Future care and ongoing medical needs for treatment such as physical rehabilitation,
  • Speech therapy and occupational retraining
  • Pain and suffering

We are powerful advocates for victims and their recovery after a Traumatic Brain Injury.

To schedule your consultation, learn about your rights and legal options, and receive an evaluation of your personal injury case, contact us today – online at mgklawyers.com or by calling 225-383-9703.

WRONGFUL DEATH

In general, a wrongful death claim is one in which it is alleged that a person died as a result of another’s negligence. The deceased person’s surviving relatives, dependents or beneficiaries may bring suit against the responsible party or parties, seeking monetary damages for their losses. Each state has its own wrongful death laws and not every state follows the same guidelines, principles or rules.

A personal injury attorney from Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on whether you have a valid wrongful death claim and help you pursue that claim against the responsible party or parties.

Wrongful death laws vary from state to state

Some states have “true” wrongful death acts in which the deceased person’s survivors or next of kin are entitled to bring a cause of action for their damages resulting from their family member’s death. Other states have acts that are more properly called “survival actions.” In general, survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased person for the deceased person’s pain, suffering and other damages resulting from the injuries that caused his or her death.

The individuals who are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim also depends on the jurisdiction. Generally, the primary beneficiaries of the person who has died (often the spouse and children) are able to bring a claim, and in some states the parents of the deceased person may be also designated as beneficiaries. In most states, if the deceased person did not leave behind a husband or wife, children or parents, there may be no one who may bring a wrongful death claim.

In many jurisdictions, it is not necessary that the defendant’s conduct be the sole cause of death. Even when the defendant’s negligence contributes only in part or in tandem with other circumstances to a person’s death, liability may still attach.

Wrongful death damages

Types of damages. When a defendant is found legally liable for the death of another, the types of damages that may be recovered can also vary greatly. For example, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case may be able to recover the deceased person’s medical expenses; funeral and burial expenses; lost earnings; and lost benefits (such as pension benefits or medical and health insurance coverage). Additionally, in a few states, the plaintiffs may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish that they experienced as a result of the death as well as punitive damages.

Calculating damages. The method and manner of calculating damages in a wrongful death action can be complicated. This potential complexity is especially true when trying to calculate the monetary loss to which the plaintiffs are entitled. Monetary loss, sometimes called pecuniary loss, generally includes the survivor’s lost support, contributions and services of the deceased person. The computations for these damages are typically based on the deceased person’s life expectancy and work life expectancy as well as the life expectancies of the beneficiaries and, where necessary, the remaining period of minority of any beneficiaries.

Multiple beneficiaries. In cases where there is more than one beneficiary, the damages will be distributed among those beneficiaries. Most states allocate the damages among the beneficiaries in accordance with their losses. However, in some states the recovery is divided as spelled out in its wrongful death or intestacy laws.

Defenses to liability in wrongful death cases

In general, a defendant is entitled to raise any defenses in a wrongful death action that could have been raised in an action brought directly by the decedent, had he or she not died. Therefore, if the decedent was contributorily negligent in causing his or her own death, the defendant may assert that defense in the wrongful death action. Also, in most states, if the decedent had already recovered damages, such as in a case where the death was not immediate and the decedent was able to bring his own successful personal injury claim, the survivors may not then successfully bring a wrongful death action and recover for the same injury. There are limitations to this prohibition, and in some situations the survivors may still be entitled to bring a wrongful death action in their names.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

When a loved one dies, the complexities of a legal claim against the wrongdoer can be overwhelming. At this already stressful and emotion-laden time, the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, who can guide surviving family members through the complex legal maze and help secure compensation for their devastating losses, can be invaluable.

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