Jones & Hill - September 2018

The Must-Read, Change-Your-Life Newsletter helping seriously injured people for over 30 years


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We are nothing without the communities we live in. The mothers and fathers who shape our families, the businesses that sustain our economy, and the organizations that serve our people create the paradigm in which we live. But so often, we let the burdens of life stand in the way of helping the community that makes our existence whole. There are groups that rely on the support of good people, but unfortunately, many of them go without the backing they need to continue. At Jones and Hill, we view it as our obligation to support these groups that are on the fringes. So many of the values of our tight- knit community come from organizations like 4-H and FFA. They teach valuable life lessons that promote ownership, respect, and honor in our children and adults. Your support doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Even supplying a local softball team with jerseys can be a way of serving your community. Every need can be an opportunity to foster a culture of respect and tolerance.

While conflict over support can be counterproductive, arguments are necessary to sustain a culture. As attorneys, we are here to protect the people who make up our town. Everyone has intrinsic rights, and without someone to fight for them, there would be no balance. Sometimes that means getting dirty and being scrappy while fighting a case. It’s not always pretty, but it’s crucial to the livelihood of those we serve. When you work in law, the community is everything. That’s why we support as many organizations as we can. Breast cancer awareness, Dixie Youth Baseball Programs, Allen Parish Schools, Christian Legal Society, MD Anderson, McNeese State University Rodeo Club, 4-H, and FFA are just the beginning of the investment we make in local associations. We are proud to support them and will continue to stand by the positive effect they have on our communities. –Cra ig Jon e s & Cra ig Hill


So much is made of what type of organization you support, and in modern society, that can become problematic in the blink of an eye. If you decide to back an association that has values someone else disagrees with, you invite attacks. The potential volatility of the situation turns many people away from lending a helping hand, and that’s unfortunate. It’s impossible to please everyone, and there will always be people who hold a different set of values than you do. Judging others for the support they lend to community organizations only fosters animosity, and that gets us nowhere.


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There’s nothing quite like the rush of hitting the top of a climb on your mountain bike. When you reach the precipice and look down at the trail before you, there’s only one possible outcome: pure, unadulterated fun. As you bomb down the hill with reckless abandon, the lush green of Louisiana cypress trees rushes by your face in a blur. You carve into turns like a wild beast in its natural habitat and navigate the trail like a seasoned cartographer on an expedition. Only the slight fear of the technical terrain keeps your senses grounded as you blister through your descent to the end of the trail. When you think of Louisiana, odds are that your mind doesn’t immediately jump to mountain biking, but our great state has some truly amazing trails. Here are three of them you’ll want to ride. Sam Houston Jones State Park While most people head north from Oakdale for mountain biking, taking a 65-mile trip south to Lake Charles is just as good. Sam Houston Jones State Park offers up some amazing trails where both beginners and experts can have a blast. Some of the single-track trail takes you along the west fork of the Calcasieu River, providing magnificent scenery to go along with the awesome trails. There are so many rumors about jury duty that it can be difficult to know which ones are true. Here are three of the most popular speculations, debunked. Admitting Bias Will Ensure Your Dismissal If you admit that you are biased when you serve jury duty, it does not guarantee your dismissal. In fact, a judge cannot dismiss you for being biased — but an attorney can. In addition, attempting to portray yourself as a biased person can put you in a troubling situation. Attorneys and judges have been selecting jurors for a long time and know when someone is lying to them. Your best bet will be to give honest answers to the questions they ask. No Voting, No Jury Duty According to another circulating myth, if you aren’t registered to vote, you don’t have to serve jury duty. Many people believe this myth because voting enters you into the jury duty pool, but there are other means by which citizens are chosen. Other ways you’re entered into the pool include buying a home, paying taxes, and getting a driver’s license. Even if you aren’t registered to vote, you’re still liable to be summoned. JURY DUTY MYTHS Summoned to Court

Serving Jury Duty Will Get You Fired If you’re worried about getting fired by serving jury duty, you can take a breather. Your employer cannot fire you once you’ve been selected for jury service. In fact, if your boss threatens to fire you for it, they will face the penalties, which include fines and even jail time. Many employers know and understand this, but if yours doesn’t, you can submit a file of complaint to the trial court administrator, and they will take care of the rest for you. The system to select jurors has been around for a while, and those involved know what they’re doing. It’s best to go in with an open mind and be completely honest. After all, it is your civic duty to do so.


Chicot State Park For those looking for something less than a daylong expedition, there’s no denying Chicot State Park has some fantastic options. The trail is a bit of a challenge, but not because it requires expert maneuverability. Totaling 23 miles, the single-track trail is a long jaunt for novice riders. However, the second you barrel across one of the narrow wooden bridges famous to the park, the adrenaline jolt should help get you through the long distance. Kincaid Lakeshore Trail If you’re not afraid of a little climbing, the trails surrounding Kincaid Reservoir are a must. From banked turns to elongated downhill stretches, the trails in this area are some of Louisiana’s finest. With the option to connect to more leisurely rides in the area, the 45-minute trip north is perfect for riders of all abilities. Bring your bathing suit, because when you’re done biking, you’ll want to hop in the water. 2

What Does the Law Say About Drunk driving in Self-Driving Cars?

Autonomous driving vehicles are the technology of the future, but that’s not always a good thing. As this new technology rapidly takes off, the laws governing it haven’t fully caught up. The questions always seem to outpace the answers. For example, can you get a DUI in a self-driving car? Fortunately, that is one question that does have an answer. Current Events When Tesla announced autonomous driving capabilities in their new vehicles, they made sure the law could keep up. For the self-driving feature to work, a passenger had to be sitting in the driver’s seat. Including this requirement meant that anyone behind the wheel would now be classified as an operator and could, in fact, be arrested for driving under the influence. In January of this year, this exact situation played out on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. After drinking, a man took a nap in the driver’s seat of his Tesla on the commute home. Local police monitor the bridge pretty heavily, so once a call came in about a man asleep at the wheel, they were on the scene quickly. When the driver

was pulled over, he assured the officers everything was okay by explaining that the car was on autopilot. He did not understand the law and ended up being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Future Passengers are also classified as operators in a self-driving car because the vehicle has to be started by human interaction, and the autopilot feature has to be activated in the same manner. In these cases, the intent is factored in along with the interpretation of the law. It’s still plausible that a passenger riding home could take control over the vehicle, in which case certain physical control laws could come into play that would still result in a DUI. Now, if a passenger couldn’t take control of the car and was not in the driver’s seat, they would be in accordance with most state DUI laws. For the foreseeable future, all self-driving cars will require a driver who is alert and awake at the wheel. Whether that will change has yet to be decided. Until then, safe travels, whether your vehicle is in control or you are.


Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese

Want to take your grilled cheese game to the next level? This recipe calls for cheese both inside and outside the sandwich, adding a crispy crunch to the grilled cheese experience. It’s a quick, delicious weekday dinner option the whole family will love.


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8 slices of bread (Pullman works best) 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano- Reggiano)

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8 ounces ham, thinly sliced 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup apricot preserves


1. Butter each slice of bread on the outsides and sprinkle with Parmesan. 2. Layer ham and cheese evenly on top of 4 slices of bread. 3. Spread apricot preserves and mustard across the other 4 slices. Press sandwiches together. 4. In a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium heat, grill sandwiches until golden, about 3 minutes per side. 5. Cut in half and serve.

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine

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Phone: (888) 481-1333 Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Jones & Hill Injury Lawyers 131 Highway 165 South Oakdale, LA 71463


Plaintiff, who was 53 at the time of the wreck, was a passenger in a pickup truck stopped on La. 1153 while waiting to make a left turn. The pickup was pulling a stock trailer. Defendant driver drove her van into the rear of the stock trailer. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his neck in the wreck and sought treatment from numerous doctors, who tried injections and nerve blocks. Plaintiff eventually underwent a cervical fusion in his neck. The wreck occurred at night, and defendant driver claimed that lights on the stock trailer were not working properly at the time of the wreck. Through extensive investigative work, plaintiff’s counsel located five witnesses who recall seeing the trailer lights working up to five minutes before the wreck. An agreement was not reached during an October mediation, but the parties continued to discuss a settlement in the weeks following the mediation. The parties agreed to settle the case for $1,173,185.39 seven days before trial.

NO. C-2016398 B, 33RD JDC, ALLEN PARISH, 1/22/18

Plaintiff’s counsel: J. Craig Jones and Craig R. Hill of Jones and Hill, LLC, Oakdale

Plaintiff’s Experts: Charles Bettinger, Ph.D., statistics and economics, Lake Charles; Cornelius E. Gorman II, Ph.D., life care planning and vocational rehabilitation, Cypress, Texas; Joyce Beckwith, vocational rehabilitation, Lafayette; Dr. Shelley N. Savant, medical life care planning, Lafayette; Dr. Troy Vaughn, neurosurgery, Alexandria.


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