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Case Results

People just like you make up the clientele we serve. From deckhands to galley hands, housewives to husbands, welders to blasters and painters, ordinary people from all walks of life have sought our help. We are committed to the basic principles of honesty, integrity and hard work, and we also see our clients as friends who are not forgotten when a case is resolved. Presented below are a few of the many types of cases we have handled over the years. You can see from these case spotlights the divergence of the clients themselves and the variety of ways injury and disability strike the unfortunate.


Oilfield

A 65-year-old oiler/gauger at an oil and gas inland separation facility suffered burns over a large part of his body when a corroded high pressure line burst, spewing natural gas into the air which ignited in a fireball where the gauger was performing his work. We discovered records that the owner of the facility had placed underground piping in corrosive and acidic soil conditions without any type of covering or protective tape, causing the pipe to almost disintegrate within five years. Unfortunately for the oiler and gauger, the burst occurred while he was on the premises. A long series of debridements and skin grafting at a special burn unit in Baton Rouge were crucial in the gauger’s ultimate recovery. Although he was not physically disabled from working and could cover up his scars with clothing, the burn was so severe that the case settled for more than $2 million.


Automobile

A 74-year-old man who lost his wife of 50 years to the hands of a drunk driver received $650,000.00 in settlement of his case. The drunk driver, who had left Memphis, Tennessee, early that morning and who had apparently been drinking all day, struck the rear of the client’s wife’s vehicle at more than 90 mph, propelling the wife’s vehicle into the rail of the Hale Boggs Bridge in Luling, Louisiana, resulting in her instantaneous death.


Truck Accident

A Croatian immigrant who was a cross-country 18-wheel truck driver suffered a severe neck injury when his rig was broad-sided by another 18-wheeler on the Airline Highway north of Baton Rouge. The injury resulted in numerous epidural steroid injections and, ultimately, an anterior cervical fusion and discectomy. Restrictions in this man’s neck motion after the accident affected his ability to drive trucks and he was thus relegated to other types of work activity that were not as lucrative as his truck driving business. The case settled for $495,000.00.


Medical Negligence

A sixty-three year old woman was brought by her family to the emergency room of a local state hospital with complaints of abdominal pain. The emergency room physician cursorily examined her, diagnosed mental illness and made a coroner’s commitment. Despite her extreme discomfort and feebleness, she was required to be transported by a Tangipahoa Parish deputy to the local parish health unit where she was examined by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, recognizing that the woman had a serious physical condition, indicated that he would make arrangements to have her hospitalized in another state facility and asked her to come back in the morning. The following morning, while waiting outside the health unit, the woman died. A subsequent autopsy revealed that the woman suffered from an obstructed small intestine which could have been readily diagnosed at the emergency room the day before. If a proper diagnosis and medical attention had taken place, the woman’s life would have been spared. We represented the children and widow of the woman in a claim for medical negligence. The case settled for $450,000.00.


Premises Liability

A roofing contractor who had gone to a loading dock for supplies tripped on a one-inch metal stud sticking up from the concrete walking surface at the dock and fell, injuring his shoulder and knee. When he realized the potential severity of his injuries, he contacted Kopfler & Hermann to handle his case, which was recently concluded for $325,000.00 after intense settlement negotiations.


Medical Negligence

A junior high basketball coach suffered a sprain to his knee in a physical education class. He went to an orthopedic surgeon who, with a minimal exam, indicated the coach should undergo arthroscopic surgery within a week or two. The doctor then injected a steroid solution into the coach’s knee. At the time of the arthroscopic procedure, the orthopedic surgeon recognized that there was something going on in the knee which looked suspiciously like an infection. The orthopedic doctor ordered testing to determine if an infection was there, what was the cause of the infection and what antibiotic to use. Because the orthopedic had a practice in two cities, the lab report showing an MRSA infection never got to the doctor. Despite the coach’s complaint of increased pain following surgery, the physician ordered physical therapy. Two and one-half weeks after the infection misdiagnosis, the doctor realized his mistake and cleaned out the knee joint which had been seriously damaged by the infection. The doctor denied performing the injection which caused the infection despite a charge for the injection. A claim for medical review panel was brought against the physician who admitted his liability and paid the $100,000.00 required under the Medical Malpractice Act. A subsequent proceeding was brought against the Patients’ Compensation Fund and the coach received full compensation for his knee injury and disability.


Medical Negligence

A patient admitted to the hospital for routine gall bladder surgery suffered permanent injuries when the doctor severed her cystic bile duct instead of her common bile duct . The doctor’s failure to detect the surgical error has led to a life of continuing, painful medical procedures and disability. The physician settled for the maximum cap allowed by Louisiana law.


Maritime / Admiralty

A floor hand on an inland drilling barge suffered facial fractures and brain damage when a joint of casing struck him across the face. Finding liability under the Jones Act and pursuant to the maritime doctrine of unseaworthiness, the trial court awarded damages fully compensating the worker for these disabling injuries. Kopfler defeated the barge owner’s efforts to limit its liability to the value of the vessel, opening the way for the severely injured worker to receive fair and just compensation.


Other

A truck driver/trainer who slipped and fell in the diesel bay of a truck stop received fair compensation for his injuries during a meditation at the offices of Kopfler Personal Injury Attorneys. There was no question that a large amount of diesel had been spilled in the bay, that the store employees knew it was there but took no steps to clean it up. Diesel on any surface is very slick, and the lack of appropriate lighting at this particular facility made the condition even more hazardous.


Premises Liability

A tenant of a local landlord busted her knee and back when steps at the rent house collapsed as she was walking down them. Even with the qualified limitation of liability available to landlords under Louisiana law, Kopfler Personal Injury Attorneys achieved courtroom victory when they were able to show that the tenants had reported problems with the steps in the past sufficient to place the landlord on notice of their defect.