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Lafayette Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Legal help in filing a boat injury claim based on the Jones Act

Since Louisiana has such a thriving maritime industry, there are certain protections that people who work as seamen have available to file a claim after injury. The Jones Act is in place so a lawsuit can be filed against an employer to receive higher compensation than what would be available under other laws. Maritime law allows workers in this industry to utilize the Jones Act. Alternatively referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this lets a worker who was injured file a lawsuit against an employer for negligence while they were working.

This could be negligence stemming from the employer or another employee. The employer is obligated to have a safe working environment for employees, make certain the proper training has been given regarding safety, and the workers are given safety equipment. Under the Jones Act, a worker can seek compensation for pain and suffering, mental and emotional aftereffects and lost wages. Maritime workers have much more to gain under the Jones Act than they do under a workers' compensation insurance claim.

Head-on collision in Louisiana kills man, age 22

There are many reasons for an auto accident in Louisiana and all can lead to injuries and fatalities. When these car accidents occur, those who have been affected need to make sure that they understand their legal rights. An integral factor in any case involving a car accident is the investigation as to its cause. This is particularly important when there is a fatality and it is believed that there was impairment involved.

A head-on collision claimed the life of a 22-year-old man in an overnight crash. The incident happened at around 3:40 a.m. as a pickup truck being driven by a 21-year-old man went out of control and crossed the center line. It crashed into the northbound vehicle. The 22-year-old was wearing his seatbelt, but suffered severe injuries and died. The driver of the pickup and his 24-year-old passenger did not have their safety belts on, but suffered only minor injuries. Upon investigation, law enforcement conducted toxicology tests on the driver of the pickup. They are waiting for the results, but it is believed that he was driving under the influence.

U.S. experiencing troubling rise in number of car accidents

Louisiana drivers are keenly aware of the dangers of being in a car accident every time they go out on the road. However, statistics are useful to provide information as to how often these accidents occur, what the accident investigation says as to how they happened and what can be done to decrease the risk of being in one. Research by the National Safety Council examining preliminary data from 2016 shows that there could have been as many as 40,000 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes during the year. This is a rise of 6 percent from 2015.

As the statistics are examined in depth and proven accurate, that would be a rise of 14 percent from 2014. 2016 will be the worst year for road fatalities since 2007. Not only are the fatalities a concern, but the injuries that accompany a crash are also problematic. Approximately 4.6 million people were injured in a car crash in 2016. The accrued cost with property damage, injuries and fatalities came to $432 billion. That is an increase of 12 percent from 2015. Included in the calculation is lost wages, medical costs, property damage, costs to employers and administrative costs.

Everyone on the road should be aware of truck dangers

There are many factors that can lead to a motor vehicle accident. When it comes to trucks on the road, there are additional factors that should be taken under consideration. This is even more important, considering the additional risks of a truck accident and the likelihood that the accident will lead to more serious and potentially catastrophic or even deadly results.

Trucks on the road, whether they are dump trucks, garbage trucks or 18-wheeler semi-trucks, due to their sheer size and weight, have inherent risks and more dangers than traditional cars on the roads. Although cars have numerous safety provisions including seat belts, airbags in many vehicles, and the car itself, which can act as a shield or barrier against other objects during an accident, they are far more vulnerable to trucks on the road.

Hydroplaning can cause a serious auto accident

Last week in this blog, we talked about a car accident which seriously injured three Lafayette High School students. The accident was caused by another car hydroplaning. In this post, we'll talk about what causes hydroplaning and give some tips on how to prevent it.

Hydroplaning occurs during wet weather when the tires of a car lose contact with the pavement and ride on a film of water. Contrary to popular belief, hydroplaning does not occur only at high speeds. New tires can lose contact with the road at 35 miles per hour. And, hydroplaning does not require a thick layer of water on the road. As little as one-twelfth of an inch of water can cause the tires to displace one gallon of water every second.

Three Lafayette High students survive head-on collision

Three seniors from Lafayette High School are lucky to be alive after a serious car accident on New Year's Eve. The crash occurred when an oncoming car hydroplaned, crossed the centerline, and hit the students' car head on. The airbags in the students' car deployed and they survived. But, all three sustained serious injuries.

One of the three, a varsity cheerleader, suffered fractures in the bones of his foot, requiring the installation of plates. Another student, a piano major at the school, suffered a lacerated spleen and required surgery for a broken collarbone. The third student, also a piano major, fractured both ankles and a wrist and sustained damage to two vertebrae.

Whiplash from a car accident is a serious injury

Whiplash is one of the most common types of injuries sustained in car accidents. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are thrown rapidly back and forth. This violent motion can cause injury to the soft tissues - ligaments, muscles, nerves and the disks between the vertebrae of the neck. In particularly serious cases, the bones in the neck can be injured.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of whiplash is rear-end car accidents. Many Louisiana residents who have been in a car that was hit from behind know first-hand what whiplash is like.

Injured seamen's right to maintenance and cure under maritime law

Many Louisiana residents make their living on the high seas. It is tough work, and it can be dangerous. Seamen who are injured during their service on a vessel have the right, under maritime law, to recover unearned wages, as well two forms of compensation known as maintenance and cure.

When a seaman is injured and no longer able to serve on the vessel, he or she loses not just wages but the room and board that was provided on the vessel. Maintenance is financial compensation for the loss of this room and board. The maintenance rate is somewhat low, usually in the range of $20 to $30 per day. Maintenance payments commence when the seaman departs the vessel, not when the injury occurs. When the seaman attains maximum medical cure, meaning additional medical treatment will not result in an improved medical condition, the right to collect maintenance ends.

What is the most time a truck driver can travel without rest?

A previous post on this blog discusses the serious hazard driver fatigue causes on Louisiana's highways and other roads. For instance, a fatigued truck driver can start taking on the driving of habits of someone who is drunk or buzzed. Not surprisingly, fatigued driving is a contributing factor to fatal accidents, including fatal truck accidents.

Although not everyone who drivers a commercial vehicle is necessarily subject to these rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict "rest rules" that many drivers, as well as the trucking companies for whom they work, must make sure to follow.

Fighting for fair compensation for brain injury victims

In recent years, many people in Louisiana and around the country have become more aware of the serious nature of head injuries. This is in part due to news reports about the long-term effects of concussions on professional football players.

But football is far from the only cause of traumatic brain injuries. Many people suffer serious brain injury in car accidents. When the head strikes a dashboard or steering wheel with sufficient force, the fragile structure of the brain can be damaged.

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