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Baton Rouge Louisiana Personal Injury Law Blog

Proposed law would close DWI loopholes for Louisiana drivers

Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that drunk driving is a culprit in more than one in three traffic deaths that occur in Louisiana, which is even higher than the United States' average. House Bill 580, currently awaiting a full hearing in the state legislature after passing the Transportation Committee, seeks to tighten the current law regarding ignition interlock devices in the interest of preventing repeat DWIs. 

When installed on a vehicle, an ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into the mechanism before being able to start the car. The device analyzes the driver's breath to determine blood alcohol content, and if the level is higher than a certain benchmark, the driver is unable to start the car. Under the current law, the blood alcohol threshold is 0.2, but the proposed bill would lower it to 0.15. 

What are the dangers of nosocomial pneumonia?

Every day across Louisiana, sick or injured people like you end up admitted to hospitals. Unfortunately, those who go to hospitals are more likely to catch illnesses hanging around the area, especially if your immune system is already compromised. One of these potential bugs is nosocomial pneumonia.

Also known as hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), Medscape defines nosocomial pneumonia as a lower respiratory infection that appears two or more days after you are hospitalized. The disease itself must not have already been incubating at the time of your admission. If symptoms begin to appear before two days, then it's considered to be community-acquired pneumonia instead.

What is the sudden medical emergency defense?

Someone is driving on a Louisiana highway when that person abruptly loses consciousness and collides with another vehicle. The colliding driver later explains that he had suffered a heart attack and was not at fault for the accident. In this scenario, you might wonder if a court would accept this argument as valid. In some cases, courts do recognize such an argument, which is also known as a sudden medical emergency defense.

The Huffington Post explains that a sudden medical emergency defense is invoked when a person claims that a health condition that causes an accident is unforeseen. In other words, the person involved could not have known that he or she was at risk of developing the heart attack, seizure or other ailment that resulted in injury to another party. If a court accepts this argument, there is no party at fault and liability cannot be established.

How the public is notified about drug recalls

While flipping though television channels in Louisiana, at times viewers come across a public awareness advertisement where someone explains that a drug is being recalled because it poses a health risk. These kinds of advertisements are one way drug companies or government agencies let the public know about an unsafe drug on the market that is under a recall notice. However, this is not the only way the public is notified about drug recalls.

In addition to television spots, companies also make use of social media to let the public know that they are recalling a drug. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that over two billion people use Facebook and 600 million people use Instagram, so these, among other social sites, are used as mediums to communicate recall notices. The CPSC advises companies to use images and short videos for recall notices, so you should see at least one image of the product being recalled.

How to deal with your insurance company after a serious crash

Many people don't quite understand how motor vehicle insurance works. When you pay your insurance policy premium in Louisiana, you are not paying for coverage for yourself. Instead, you are specifically protecting yourself from liability in the event that you are responsible for a crash that hurts someone or damages their property.

Their policy, in turn, will cover your injuries and property damage if they are the responsible party for the collision. You can also add riders that provide you with medical coverage and protection from drivers without insurance or without adequate coverage for your injuries or losses.

What must you prove in a medical malpractice case?

When you visit your Louisiana physician or enter the hospital for a surgical or other procedure, naturally you expect your physician and everyone else involved in your health care to competently provide it. The last thing you expect is that your doctor or other health care professional will hurt you or make you sicker than when you sought their medical help.

Unfortunately, however, health care professionals make mistakes all too often. In fact, preventable medical errors account for the third highest number of patient deaths in the United States. Your only recourse if a health care provider injures you is to sue that person, and the facility for which (s)he works, for medical malpractice.

Can a car crash paralyze you?

Should you receive a neck or back injury in a Louisiana car crash, you face becoming paralyzed in part or all of your body. Spinal cord injuries represent some of the most catastrophic injuries your body can sustain, and most of them result in your never walking again unassisted, or worse yet, having to live in a wheelchair.

As you likely know, your backbone really is not one bone. Instead, as the Mayfield Clinic explains, you have 33 vertebrae in your back which surround your spinal cord in the following five regions:

  1. Your cervical region going from your brain’s base to your neck’s base that contains five vertebrae
  2. Your thoracic region going from the bottom of your neck to your waist that contains 12 vertebrae
  3. Your lumbar region going from your waist to the lumbar curve of your lower back that contains five vertebrae
  4. Your sacral region that goes from your lower back to your tailbone that contains five fused vertebrae
  5. Your coccyx region, i.e., your tailbone itself that contains four fused vertebrae

Drugged driver hits, kills elderly man

People in Louisiana and throughout the South may well be known for their love of celebrations but they are also known for their devotion to their friends and families and their desire to keep their loved ones safe. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and can be made even harder when some people refuse to act responsibly. Despite widespread awareness, many drivers continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle even when they are taking medications that would make them incapable of driving safely.

An example of this can be seen in the recent tragic death of a man who was 70 years old. According to a report by Fox10TV, the man was riding his three-wheeled vehicle along a stretch of Interstate 10 near Daphne, Alabama on a Wednesday afternoon when he was suddenly struck by a truck from behind. The impact threw the man from the bike and the road, killing him in the process.

Study looks at ways to reduce medication errors

People who live in Louisiana and who must help a family member manage medications after being in the hospital or who must manage their own medications after a hospital stay know just how difficult this can be. It is not uncommon for a patient to have multiple drugs to take at varying times of the day. There may be a myriad of requirements as well. For example, some drugs may have to be taken with food while others should not be.

These are just some of the nuances that can complicate matters and open the door for a patient to take the wrong medication or the wrong dose at the wrong time. The potential for patient harm if this happens is real. Finding ways to prevent these errors and injuries is important and was a focal point of a study conducted in Ireland. The results of the study were published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Truck drivers need more sleep

Are truck drivers passing through Louisiana getting enough sleep? According to Forbes, line haul drivers all across the United States are suffering from sleep deprivation. There have been a number of legislations proposed, including the 34-hour restart, but many have failed to grab hold and truck drivers and their employers often find ways around the others.

As a direct result of this, there are truck drivers on the road who are blacking out and nodding off. One former driver who racked up more than 2 million miles as a truck driver confessed to routinely nodding off or driving long stretches that he could not recall. This led to a lot of near misses, as well as driving off the road on some occasions. He was lucky not to injure anyone.

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