Articles Posted in Car Accidents

When you are injured in an auto accident, there may be multiple different bases for your compensation. There may be an award for pain and suffering, for lost wages, and for your past medical bills. But what if a third party, like your employer’s insurer, has already paid your past medical bills? In many cases, that may not matter, and you may still be entitled to recover those damages in addition to your other damages. Making sure that you are getting everything that the law says you are entitled to receive is a key reason why you should take the time to consult an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney about your case.

The Louisiana Court of Appeal recently ruled on a case in which an injured driver had medical expenses paid by a third party. EJ was traveling along the Evangeline Thruway near Lafayette when, for reasons not explained by the Court of Appeal, another driver (Marcus) left his lane and crossed into EJ’s, hitting EJ’s vehicle. The accident caused EJ’s knee to slam into the dashboard. He also twisted his back. Both men were working on behalf of their respective employers when the accident happened.

There is a well-worn stereotype depicting a vehicle passenger or driver who is not injured in an auto accident but, after the fact, starts feigning injury. The stereotype portrays the person as completely unaffected at the scene, only to reappear later in a bulky neck brace. As with many stereotypes, this is often inaccurate and overlooks many important facts. One of those is that a substantial number of people who suffer serious harm as a result of an auto accident may, for one legitimate reason or another, not experience noticeable pain for hours or days after the accident. That delay in noticeable or debilitating pain does not make that person’s injuries any less real and doesn’t make their legal claims any less valid. If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, whether or not your symptoms “hit” right away, be sure to retain a skilled New Orleans injury attorney for your case.

An example of this type of injury was the one suffered by M.A. in his case. M.A. was a man driving his pickup truck in the left lane of eastbound I-20 on a wintry February morning when M.C., who was driving an SUV in the center lane, allegedly lost control of the vehicle after encountering a patch of ice in the road. The SUV allegedly veered into M.A.’s lane and crashed into the right side of his truck. According to M.A., M.C. did not stop, despite M.A.’s numerous attempts to get his attention by using his horn and headlights.

When you’re injured in a vehicle accident, there are several decisions you’ll need to make. One of the key ones will be whether to settle or to proceed with your case all the way to trial. When you make that decision, you’ll want to be armed with as much information as you can obtain. What if, however, you settle your case based upon disclosures made by your opponent and, only after the settlement, discover that those statements may have been false? Whether it is making the choice to settle or not, or responding to potential misconduct by the opposing side, it is well worth your while to have an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney by your side to provide your case with the representation needed, regardless of the twists and turns your case may take.

A plaintiff who found himself in such a situation was Russell, a driver who was pulling a flatbed trailer along Interstate 10 west of Baton Rouge when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by a man named Mark. That pickup truck was owned by a leasing company owned by Mark and his wife and insured by State Farm. After the accident, Mark signed a document stating that he engaged in strictly personal activity when the crash took place and that the State Farm policy was the only insurance that could potentially provide Russell with payment to cover his injuries.

Sometimes, a person who goes into court suing for damages is someone who was nearly 100% healthy prior to her accident, only to suffer serious afflictions after the crash. Proving that the accident caused her injuries may be relatively straightforward for that injured person. Many times, though, reality is not so black-and-white. An injured person may have pre-existing health problems, perhaps even several such conditions. Just because you have pre-existing conditions — even serious ones — doesn’t mean that you cannot win your case and do not deserve to receive damages. You deserve to receive fair compensation regardless of your medical past and you should contact a knowledgeable Louisiana injury attorney to help you make sure you get that compensation.

A recent case from Evangeline Parish involved such a litigant with pre-existing conditions. Two women were driving along a four-lane road in 2013 when they collided. Each described very different versions of the accident, with each pinning the blame on the other. The rear driver, L.A., sued for her injuries, which included harm to her back, both legs, right arm and right shoulder. The case went to trial and the jury found each driver to be 50% at fault. The jury also found that L.A. suffered no injury in the accident and was entitled to no damages.

car accident

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Many types of sports today have an option for a competitor to challenge a ruling made on the field, and to have that ruling analyzed again. Appeals of court rulings are not exactly like that. In the law, a lot of rulings by trial courts are entitled to a certain degree of deference, meaning that many appeals can only be successful (and the underlying ruling overturned) if that lower ruling was clearly unreasonable. What this means for you is that it is of paramount importance to be sure you are putting on your strongest possible presentation and arguments when you appear in the trial court, because it is a lot easier to argue for affirming your successful result than to argue to an appeals court for the reversal of an unsuccessful result in the trial court. To be sure you are making that strongest possible case, be sure you have representation from a skilled Louisiana injury attorney.

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The problem of distracted driving is a massive one that, each year, takes a major toll on people traveling the country’s roads and highways. Although the number of people killed in distracted-driving deaths dropped from 2015 to 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded more than 3,400 such deaths in 2016. A major cause for distracted-driving wrecks is cell phone usage. If you have been hurt due a driver who was distracted by his/her cell phone, the law may allow you to recover substantial damages. Be sure you have an experienced New Orleans injury attorney on your side to help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.

Back in June, yet another fatal vehicle accident allegedly caused by distracted driving occurred in Louisiana. Police arrested a Terrebonne Parish man in connection with a fatal head-on accident on Highway 659 in Terrebonne, according to nola.com. At around 2:00 A.M., B.M. and R.N. were traveling in opposite directions on the highway when B.M.’s full-size pickup truck crossed the center line and slammed head-on into R.N.’s sedan. The accident caused minor injuries to B.M., moderate injuries to R.N.’s passenger and fatal injuries to R.N.

B.M. was arrested after law enforcement searched his cell phone. The search held “evidence of distraction,” according to the report. The report did not indicate if the proof showed B.M. to be texting while driving or using some other app or feature on the phone when the fatal crash took place.

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UNINSURED & UNDER-INSURED (“UM” & “UIM”) MOTORIST COVERAGE IN LOUISIANA

One of the most beneficial types of auto insurance coverage to have in Louisiana is uninsured motorist coverage. You can call on this coverage in your auto insurance policy when you are not at fault for the accident and have sustained damages caused by another driver who has no insurance, or whose insurance limits are insufficient to cover your damages.  You can also use your uninsured motorist coverage if you are the victim of a hit and run accident or if you are injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian. Uninsured motorist coverage and under-insured motorist coverage is the same thing in Louisiana, so if you have uninsured motorist coverage you also have under-insured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is abbreviated as “UM” or “UIM” insurance. Any claim made under this insurance is known as a nonfault claim.

car accident

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Since Louisiana law considers a left-hand turn at an intersection one of the most dangerous moves a driver can attempt to make, and since “an oncoming driver has a right to assume that the left-turning motorist will… yield to her right-of-way,” the law establishes a very strong presumption that an accident involving a left-turning driver is legally the fault of the left-turning driver. Even if you were the left-turning driver, however, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in some situations. The key is, if you’ve been hurt, to consult an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney and find out more about the options available to you.

A real-life example from St. Tammany Parish, reported by nola.com, illustrates just how dangerous left turns can be. The collision took place at the intersection of Louisiana Highways 22 and 1085 near Madisonville. According to the report, a 16-year-old who was driving south on 1085 made a left-hand turn onto 22. While the girl fully stopped at the stop sign, she failed to yield to oncoming traffic when she pulled out and made her turn onto Highway 22. A full-size pickup truck slammed into the girl’s car on the driver’s side. The impact caused the truck to spin into another lane of traffic and hit a third car.

The driver of the third car and the driver of the truck were not hurt. The girl driving the turning car, along with her mother, who was riding alongside, died from their injuries. All involved were wearing seat belts, and none of the drivers was suspected of driving while impaired, according to the nola.com report.

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Each type of auto accident case comes with its own unique set of challenges. Multi-car accidents that cause injury can be especially tricky when it comes to asserting your legal rights. It may take skillful investigation to assess which driver was at fault and, therefore, liable to you for the harm you suffered. An experienced New Orleans injury attorney can help you collect the information you need and then apply it to pursue compensation for your damages.

A recent accident case from Lafayette was an example of how these factual differences can influence who is liable for your injuries. The accident involved a three-car rear-end crash where G.M. was the driver of the lead vehicle. T.S. was operating the second vehicle and B.G. was the driver of the third.

Read more about rear-end collisions.

If you’re injured in a multi-car accident, it is very important to retain counsel quickly so that your lawyer can get to work on your case. If you were in a three-car rear-end crash (as G.M. was) and the third car crashed into the second and that impact slammed the second car into you, then that may create a situation where the driver of the third car is 100% at fault. Alternately, if the driver of the second car crashed into you first, and then the third car crashed into the rear of the second car, that may create a situation where the driver of the second car bears 100% of the blame. It is also possible that the two drivers share legal liability.

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There can be many different elements that go into achieving the legal outcome you need in your auto accident injury case. For some injured people, one of those elements is being allowed to pursue not only the other driver, but that driver’s employer. This option can be very important because many drivers may be individuals with limited assets and an auto insurance policy with a low policy limit. It is entirely possible that the harm you suffered exceeds the driver’s assets and the insurance policy’s limit. However, when your case also names an employer like a major national corporation, you have an improved chance of obtaining the full amount of damages that you proved. A knowledgeable New Orleans injury attorney can help you to provide the court with the proof and argument you need to establish this essential “vicarious liability.”

K.T. was a driver who found herself in this type of situation. She was driving in Lafayette when her vehicle was hit by another vehicle (the latter driven by V.B.). V.B. was headed home at the time of the accident, and she also received a citation for “failure to yield” as a result of the incident.