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Lake Charles Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Blog

Claiming damages after a car accident

The injuries and damages you suffer in a car accident can turn your life upside down. With the bills piling up, you may need financial support as you recover. If your car accident was caused by a negligent driver, Louisiana law allows you to recover compensation to cover these bills by filing a personal injury suit.

The compensation you receive may cover various expenses and damages, both economic and non-economic. First, the jury may award you damages for your medical bills. These bills can cover hospital stays, rehabilitation, treatments, surgeries, physical therapy, and other expenses. You may also be awarded damages for medical treatments that you may need in the future.

How does a patient's privacy factor into wrongful death suits?

Any time you visit the doctor, you have a right to privacy when it comes to your medical treatment. The physician-patient privilege prevents a patient's private medical information from being disclosed without the patient's consent. That privilege does not dissolve when a patient dies. However, there are exceptions that may allow for medical records to be released.

When someone dies as a result of negligence in Louisiana, his family may want to file a wrongful death suit against those liable for what happened. In order to file a successful case, the family will need to prove that there was in fact a death and that it occurred as a result of negligence and that the surviving family members have suffered monetarily because of the death. A personal representative must also be appointed for the decedent's estate. If all of these elements can be established, the family may recover damages to help them recover financially from the loss of their loved one.

Drowsy driving is a major cause of accidents nationwide

Every day, we hear about how distracted driving is responsible for countless accidents on the roadways. But there is another common cause of accidents that we don't pay as much attention to. The AAA Foundation estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for an average of 328,000 car accidents each year. In a survey by the AAA Foundation, 43.2 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives.

Drowsy driving is difficult to diagnose and drowsy drivers may be afraid to report their sleepiness after an accident. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drowsy driving has caused a minimum of 72,000 accidents from 2009 to 2013. These crashes caused approximately 800 deaths and 41,000 injuries.

Wrongful death suit filed after fatal Louisiana accident

Recovering damages in a personal injury or wrongful death suit will rest on determining who is at-fault for the accident. Three people filed a wrongful death suit claiming that an on-duty officer was responsible for their Louisiana mother's death.

The officer was heading toward the scene of a burglary when he was notified that the intruders had escaped. He then turned off his siren and lights and turned the vehicle around. The accident occurred shortly thereafter when he collided with the woman's vehicle, killing her. The officer suffered multiple lacerations and a broken leg.

Pokémon GO is a popular form of distracted driving

By now, you have probably heard of the popular smartphone app Pokémon GO. However, you may not be aware of how many Louisiana residents will stop at nothing to catch as many Pokémon as possible.

Close to two-thirds of car accidents involving young drivers are caused by distracted driving. Pokémon GO appears to be the latest distraction for these young people on the road. The game makers have warned users against driving while playing, but many do not heed their warnings. A recent study by San Diego State University shows that thousands of drivers are putting themselves and others at risk while playing Pokémon GO while driving.

Nursing home neglect causes countless injuries among residents

Every day, Louisiana families make the difficult decision to put a loved one in a nursing home. These long-term care facilities offer services to older men and women who suffer from physical and mental illnesses. However, some facilities do not provide their residents with the best quality care, resulting in injuries and deaths. The nursing home is generally liable for injuries caused by negligent or abusive caregivers employed by the home. Nursing home negligence can affect victims and their families for years to come.

Residents injured in a nursing home may be able to file a negligence lawsuit against the home and their employees. In order to hold a nursing home or their employees liable for an injury, you will need to prove that there was negligent supervision or care, negligent hiring or negligent maintenance of the home or equipment. As with any negligence claim, you will need to prove that the defendant owed a duty to the injured person, that the duty was breached and that the injury was caused by the breach. These elements can be established with medical testimony about proper practices or procedures or referencing the applicable standard of care. Nursing homes typically must follow certain regulations implemented by the state. If employees have not adhered to the applicable standard, they may be found negligent by the court.

Maritime worker files suit against shipbuilding company

Maritime workers in Louisiana are often at risk for on-the-job injuries due to the negligence of those who hire them. A maritime worker is filing suit against a Louisiana shipbuilding company for mental and physical injuries he suffered while working. The suit alleges negligence and violation of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. This federal law requires that those who employ maritime workers provide workers' compensation to those that are injured while on-the-job. Those who have suffered a dockworker injury are protected by this law.The man claims that he was negligently exposed to toxic fumes or loud noises while aboard various vessels belonging to the defendant. As a result, he reports serious injuries leading to permanent disability. The man also claims lost wages, medical expenses, mental anguish and pain.

Maritime law is intended to protect those who work at sea and those who work with boats in general. Crew members, as well as employees who are not considered seamen, have certain rights that ship captains and companies have a duty to protect. Seamen, longshoremen, shipbuilders, ship repairmen, dock workers and other employees may be covered under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

U.S. traffic deaths surge, according to NHTSA

It is hard to imagine what it feels like to lose someone in a car accident. In 2015, the families of over 35,000 people learned exactly what it is like. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35,092 people were killed in fatal car accidents last year, which is a 7.2 percent increase from 2014. There has not been a single-year increase this large since 1966.

Why the significant increase? Authorities say that more people drove in 2015 as a result of job growth and lower gas prices. The NHTSA found that the number of miles traveled has increased 3.5 percent since 2014. This has played a role in the increase in pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcycle deaths.

Brain-machine interfaces may improve the lives of paraplegics

According to the World Health Organization, over 280,000 people in the United States suffer from spinal cord injuries. Most were caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls and acts of violence. Damage to the spinal cord can result in paraplegia, or paralysis of the legs and trunk. The effects of paraplegia can be long-term or, in many cases, life-long. However, some paraplegic patients may be able to move again with recent research developments.

A study published in Scientific Reports reveals that participants were able to regain some feeling and neurological control in major muscle areas. The eight patients in the study were paraplegics with spinal cord injuries who were completely paralyzed for a minimum of three years. The patients trained on various brain-machine interfaces for at least two hours a week for an entire year.

Star Trek actor's parents file wrongful death suit

It is hard to imagine what goes through a family's mind when they lose a loved one. In addition to grieving the loss, they may wonder who was responsible for what happened. Parents of Star Trek: Beyond actor Anton Yelchin believe that the maker of Yelchin's Jeep may be responsible for their son's death.

Yelchin was killed on his driveway when he was crushed by his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. His parents have filed a wrongful death suit against manufacturer Fiat Chrysler, dealership AutoNation and ZF North America for punitive damages. The suit is based on the belief that the electronic transmission shift in the vehicle was defective, causing the vehicle to roll in Yelchin's accident.