Baton Rouge Louisiana Personal Injury Law Blog

When commercial trucks hit passenger vehicles, tragedy ensues

Most people understand that there's an element of risk involved in riding in or driving a motor vehicle. Even if you are a very cautious driver, you can always end up in a collision caused by someone else's mistake or negligence. Any crash has the potential to be quite dangerous, but when a commercial truck hits a passenger vehicle, the results can be tragic.

Every day, people across the country and here in Louisiana end up in a collision with a commercial truck like a semitruck or an 18-wheeler. Many of these people incur substantial personal injuries, in addition to the damage to their vehicles. In some cases, sadly, the results of these collisions are fatal.

Adrenaline and distraction can mask injuries

You're on the way home from work when a car drifts over the center line and into your lane. The driver is looking down, texting away on his or her cellphone.

You honk your horn and swerve, and it feels like everything goes in slow motion. The other driver looks up and tries to swerve away, but there's no time. That car still clips your vehicle, sending you spinning out of control. You sail into oncoming traffic, where you're hit by two more cars that had nothing to do with that initial accident.

Determining fault in drunk driving accidents

When someone is involved in a collision with a drunk driver in Louisiana, he or she may immediately think that the drunk driver caused the accident. This may not always be the case, though. It is important to understand how fault is determined in a drunk driving accident.

According to FindLaw, a driver is considered to be at fault for a collision if his or her behavior falls into one of four categories:

  • A driver might be considered responsible if he or she is driving recklessly. This means maneuvering the vehicle without thinking about the safety of other people on the road.
  • A person may also be responsible for an accident if he or she is negligent on the road. This means that the driver may have run a red light or failed to yield to another car.
  • If a defective car part causes the crash, the driver of this car sometimes may be considered responsible, even if he or she was otherwise driving safely.
  • People are also considered at fault for a collision if they were intentionally being irresponsible drivers.

What are the consequences of texting while driving in Louisiana?

As a Louisiana driver, you probably know that it has been illegal to text while driving since 2008. What you may not be aware of, however, is that as of last June, the fines associated with texting while driving increased dramatically. Hands Free Info advises that if a law enforcement officer catches you texting while behind the wheel and this if your first offense, you will face a $500 fine. That fine will increase to $1,000 each subsequent time you are caught texting while driving.

Texting is not the only activity that Louisiana law prohibits you from doing. Other prohibited activities include the following:

  • Using social media
  • Using a cellphone or computer while driving in a school zone during posted hours
  • Using any type of a wireless device any time you are driving if you are under 18 years of age
  • Using a hand-held device any time you are driving if you have a learner’s or intermediate license

Can you have complications from an IVC filter?

You may sometimes use an IVC filter if you need to prevent blood clots. While you need this device to stay healthy, there may be times when you develop complications because of a defect in the filter.

If you use a retrievable IVC filter that is relatively new, this device may sometimes migrate to a different part of your body. According to ConsumerSafety.org, an IVC filter might move because of changes in your body temperature. As your body temperature goes up and down, an IVC filter can develop a different configuration and this can cause it to separate from your veins. A retrievable filter might also fracture if it is left in your body too long. The pieces that break off can sometimes move closer to your heart and pierce different parts of your body. It is estimated that a migrating filter and broken pieces cause 51.5 percent of complications.

Underride guards: the push to make truck accidents less deadly

When a Louisiana passenger vehicle crashes into the back or side of a huge semitrailer truck, the results almost always are deadly. As Forbes reported earlier this year, when a car hits the high-riding trailer of a large truck, the car keeps going, sliding underneath the trailer and shearing off its roof in the process. Everyone in the car, especially the driver and front seat passenger, are at high risk for death by decapitation.

Federal law has required that all large trucks be fitted with a rear underride guard on their trailers since 1998, but the standards for those guards have never been upgraded. Today these 20-year-old standards are ineffective and weak at best. An underride guard is an extra metal bumper that hangs on the back of a truck’s trailer. Theoretically, such guards prevent a car from sliding underneath the trailer when a crash occurs. However, many underride guards are relatively flimsy and can break or buckle during a crash.

A wakeup call about drowsy driving

You might think driving drowsy is an inconvenient fact of life. You have a busy schedule and you do not always get as much sleep as you should, so you grab a cup of coffee before your morning commute and turn up the music to help you stay awake. Unfortunately, common methods of avoiding drowsiness behind the wheel do not always work, especially if you drive longer distances. At the law office of McGlynn, Glisson & Mouton, we feel it is important to let you and other Louisiana residents know about the prevalent danger of drowsy driving.

In recent surveys, most people admitted to having driven while drowsy or nodding off behind the wheel at least once in their lives, reports the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, 13 percent admitted they drive drowsy at least once a month. 100,000 car crashes across the country are blamed on drowsy each year, resulting in about 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

Wrongful death lawsuits may offer justice after a fatal collision

Losing a loved one in a motor can be traumatic. These deaths are unexpected, meaning you don't have a chance to make peace with your loved one or prepare for his or her passing. Instead, you're suddenly confronted with a new world, one in which someone who was invaluable to you is not longer with you.

The negative emotions and grief that come from a fatal motor vehicle collision could be even more intense in cases where it's clear that the other driver was at fault. Whether intoxication, distraction or just poor driving skills played a factor, you may feel that the other driver stole something precious from you. The desire for justice could end up frustrated, however, if there isn't enough evidence for law enforcement to pursue a criminal offense related to the crash or if the penalties are too low.

What is a Medical Review Panel?

If you are a Louisiana resident who is thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor and/or health care facility, you need to be aware of the fact that your claim must be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel before you can file suit. The Louisiana Division of Administration explains that under state law, you must submit a written malpractice claim and request for the formation of an MRP to the Commissioner of Administration in Baton Rouge.

Once you file your claim, the Commissioner has 30 days within which to do the following:

  • Notify you that your claim has been received
  • Verify that your named defendants; i.e., your doctor, health care facility, etc., have been qualified by the State of Louisiana as public health care providers
  • Verify that you have paid your filing fee
  • Notify your defendants that you have filed a claim and request for an MRP

The link between communication and medical errors

Louisiana residents have good reason to be concerned about the quality of their health care as it only takes one misstep by a doctor, nurse or other medical professional to cause serious harm or even death to a patient. In looking at the various factors that may contribute to some medical errors, communication has been identified as one area where improvement can be made.

According to Becker's Hospital Review, a 2015 CRICO Strategies report outlined some disturbing information about communication mistakes made involving nurses. Out of the cases that occurred over a span of five years that were studied, some type of gap or mistake in communicating between medical providers was noted in 72 percent of cases. This might include something like one nurse or a doctor not reading a nurse's notes or a nurse not debriefing another nurse when a shift change occurred. Another 35 percent of cases involved communication gaps between nurses and their patients. Both types of problems were factors in seven percent of the cases studied.

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McGlynn, Glisson & Mouton
340 Florida Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801

Phone: 225-250-1751
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