Popular Questions Resulting from a Car Accident in New Orleans
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans experience a car accident of some kind. From fender-benders to multi-car collisions, car accidents are a fairly common occurrence. Whether your accident has become an annoying pain in the neck or a severe issue in your life, it is vital that you understand your rights and obligations when involved in one.
Here at the Charbonnet Law Firm, we have years of experience handling various car accident cases in New Orleans and throughout the State of Louisiana. Our firm is committed to helping you fight for compensation owed to you after a car accident and ensuring your insurance policy properly pays out your claim. Below is a list of common questions we get from clients daily.
What should I do when I get involved in a car accident?
Although car accidents are a common occurrence, there is a good chance you have never been involved in one yourself. Therefore, when you first experience a car accident, you should not panic. Instead, you should call 911 for medical and emergency assistance. If you feel injured or feel uncomfortable moving, sit tight and wait for emergency services personnel to assist you. Once on the scene, medical personnel will provide you with the proper treatment and determine whether your injuries are severe enough to require further treatment at a medical facility.
Should I apologize to the other driver, passengers, law enforcement, or my insurance carrier if I think I was at fault?
NO. You should never utter the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” to anyone during or after a car accident. Doing so may be seen as an admission of guilt, which could hurt you during any subsequent legal proceedings arising from your car accident. The final arbiter of who is at fault in any Louisiana car accident case is the judge or jury tasked with determining fault in a court of law. Never admit to a fault because you are not able to make that determination.
If, however, you want to check on the well-being of the other driver or any passenger, you are within your right to do so. Just do not apologize for the accident. Instead, let the legal system sort out fault and cooperate with your legal counsel to resolve your car accident case.
Should I call 911 if I am in a car accident?
Yes, you should always notify law enforcement or call 911 when you first realize you have been in a car accident. It is essential to call 911 for two reasons. First, depending on the severity of the accident, you, any passengers, and the driver and passenger(s) of the other vehicle may need medical assistance.
The second reason to call 911 is to create a record of the accident. Although you may think you have a good memory, your recollection of the accident after months or years may fade. This hurts the presentation of evidence during legal proceedings. Unlike your memory, police reports provide fact-finders with a contemporaneous telling of the accident and provide vital evidence for legal proceedings.
Should I report my car accident to my insurance carrier?
Yes, it would be best to inform your insurance carrier that you were in a car accident. This provides your insurance carrier notice about the accident and commences the insurance claim process. However, it is best to contact an attorney before relaying any information to your insurance company. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, having an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney can help counsel you through the process and negotiate on your behalf. Insurance companies will find any number of loopholes or defences not to pay out an insurance claim. In addition, simple misstatements or inconsistencies by a reasonable person can prompt them to challenge paying anything for your accident.
If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, you should inform them to contact your insurance company or communicate directly with your attorney. Any information you provide them is not privileged and can be used against you during subsequent legal proceedings.
What is the insurance claims process like?
Having insurance is a fact of life. Most people cannot live a normal and productive life without insurance: car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, medical insurance, pet insurance, and the list goes on. Insurance gives us peace of mind that we are covered when things go wrong. However, if you have been unfortunate enough to deal with your insurance company regarding a claim, you know the struggle.
Putting in an insurance claim can be a relatively easy process but can quickly become very complex. Typically, once you contact your insurance company, they will want information about your car accident, including documentation like a police report, medical bills, and other driver’s insurance information to process the claim. Next, an insurance adjuster (an agent tasked with processing your claim) may have an investigator come out and inspect any property damage arising from your accident. Then, the adjuster will likely determine the fault and act accordingly. Finally, your insurance company may pay all, some, or none of your expenses, or they may want to pursue action against the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company.
Even if you believe you were 100% not at fault, an insurance company may see things differently. This is why it is best to have legal representation at your side to help advocate on your behalf. Our Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Charbonnet Law Firm have years of experience negotiating on our client’s behalf when addressing insurance claims.
Should I contact an attorney if I am involved in a car accident?
Yes, you should always contact an attorney if you are involved in a car accident. Although there is no legal requirement to contact an attorney, having one advocate on your behalf can protect your interests. Addressing a car accident can be a complicated affair. That is why we suggest always contacting an attorney, which can help you understand your rights as a policyholder with your insurance company, evaluate the level of fault between you and the driver, and appropriately counsel you through complex legal proceedings.
Once I contact an attorney, what documentation should I provide them?
An experienced Louisiana car accident attorney will explain the next steps, including the proper documentation to bring during your first consultation. For most car accident cases, you would typically bring the following documentation: a copy of your driver’s license, your insurance information, a police report of the accident (which you should get from the officer that responded to your 911 call), photographs taken at the scene of the vehicles involved in the car accident, and any notes of the accident.
Further, if you require medical assistance or treatment due to a car accident, you should bring that as well. Finally, if the injuries you sustained required you to miss work, it would be a good idea to bring any relevant information regarding your employment, which can include a description of your job, your current employer, salary information, and the period of time you missed because of the accident.
Can I get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses as a result of my car accident?
Yes. One of the reasons many people pursue legal action resulting from their experience in a car accident is because someone is requiring them to pay out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment or to fix property damage. Although pursuing legal action may not be ideal for your situation, it may be the only way to ensure you are not the one on the hook for expenses that were not your fault. At the Charbonnet Law Firm, we advocate on our client’s behalf to ensure that they are properly compensated based on the circumstances of their accidents.
If I cannot operate my car after my accident, and I need a rental, who pays for that?
We have been asked this question many times before. Many of our clients are regular people with the same responsibilities that you likely experience on a daily basis. Sometimes, the car involved in their accident was their only mode of transportation. Thus, when they are awaiting their car to be fixed or replaced, they still need to travel to work, drop off their kids at school, and go to the grocery store for food and household necessities.
In the State of Louisiana, it is not a legal requirement for your insurance company to offer you unfettered access to a rental car. However, some policies do include provisions for car rental. You may want to take a look at the policy or ask your attorney to determine if you have any right to a rental under your policy.
Do I have a time limit on when I can file a lawsuit?
Yes, many states, including the State of Louisiana, have what is called a “statute of limitations” to file these claims. A statute of limitations is simply a set period of time, established by statute, that requires an injured person to file a lawsuit arising out of an incident that caused their injury. For car accidents, that period of time is one year. So, if you are unable to resolve any outstanding claims with your insurance company and you want to file suit against the other driver, you have one calendar year from the time of the accident to file suit.
Are there alternatives to filing a lawsuit?
Yes, many people involved in car accidents never see the inside of a courtroom. Most cases are so routine that motorists and insurance companies usually reach an amicable solution and settle claims out of court. Filing a lawsuit and pursuing litigation is one avenue to resolve these issues. This is why it is always best to have an attorney advocate on your behalf. Simple claims can be made complicated by a multitude of factors, and an experienced car accident attorney can counsel you through the process to ensure routine claims get handled appropriately, and complex claims are handled with your interests in mind.
How does a court determine who is at fault in car accident cases?
Louisiana is what is known as a “comparative fault” state. For many years, courts in many states would evaluate the law and facts relevant to a particular personal injury case and determine that one party was at fault. However, the trend of the last few decades has been to incorporate a comparative fault framework, allowing a court to render multiple parties at fault and award damages accordingly.
For example, let us say you get in a car accident with another driver. A court finds that the other driver was mostly at fault—80% to be exact. However, because of circumstances involving the accident, the court also finds you were 20% at fault. If the court awarded you $100,000, then you would only get $80,000 because you were 20% responsible for the accident.
Even if you think you were at fault, that still does not mean you were 100% in the wrong. This is why you should always be truthful when interacting with law enforcement, your insurance company, and your attorney. Although you may be at fault, there is no guarantee you were 100% liable and lying will only cause further problems down the road.
What types of injuries can occur because of car accidents?
Car accidents can cause any number of injuries to human—both physical and psychological. Common injuries we see the in course of representation of those involved in these accidents include:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Paralysis and other long-term injuries to the spinal cord.
Can I recover lost wages if I take time off work because of my car accident?
Yes. Louisiana law allows an injured party to seek lost wages as a form of damages resulting from a car accident. Typically, once you sit down with a car accident attorney, they will ask how your life has been impacted by the accident. If you sustained physical injuries that require you to take time off work, you will need to provide documentation.
What does “pain and suffering” mean, and can I seek compensation for it in my car accident lawsuit?
This is a common term in many car accident cases and general tort (personal injury) litigation. “Pain and suffering” is a form of compensation collected by an injured party that has suffered physical ailments and/or emotional distress because of their involvement in a personal injury case. Louisiana, like many states, allows a person injured as a result of a car accident to recover from pain and suffering damages.
Should I settle my case?
The Settlement includes a multitude of factors dependent on the circumstances of each situation. Although settlement allows all parties to amicably resolve legal disputes that could cost thousands in legal fees and months (sometimes years) of time, settlement may not always be in your best interest. Because each case is different, the facts of your case may indicate settlement is not in your best interest. An experienced car accident attorney will counsel you along the way to ensure you can make informed decisions.
I heard this term: “No Pay No Play.” What does that mean?
Louisiana is one of a handful of states with this type of law on the books. In a nutshell, the law states that if a driver is injured and awarded damages because of the driver’s fault but does not have insurance at the time of the accident, the injured driver cannot claim a certain amount of funds owed to them based on that judgment.
Uninsured or underinsured drivers cannot collect the first $15,000 of their judgment for bodily injuries sustained during the accident and cannot collect the first $25,000 for property damage sustained during the accident.
However, Louisiana provides a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if the other driver committed one of the following actions, you may be entitled to partial or full judgment. For an exception to apply, the other driver must have:
Unfortunately, out-of-state drivers or drivers with out-of-state insurance are exempt from this law.
What if I was not the driver but a passenger when I experienced a car accident? Can I still recover damages under the law?
Yes, passengers can recover damages due to their involvement in a car accident. Passengers have many similar rights as a driver in car accident cases. In many cases, a passenger was riding with a family member or friend when another driver hit them. In these cases, the passenger, although injured, may not want to pursue legal action against the driver. Nonetheless, an injured passenger can pursue legal options against the driver’s insurance company, the other driver, the other driver’s insurance, or their own insurance company. An injured passenger of a Louisiana car accident should always contact an attorney to discuss their legal options.
What happens if my car accident aggravated a pre-existing injury?
This is a common question we get often. Depending on the accident’s severity, drivers or passengers with pre-existing illnesses or ailments are most likely to incur injuries because of a car accident. Those with pre-existing injuries should seek medical treatment after a car accident. Further, when contacting an attorney, let your attorney know that you suffer from a pre-existing illness. That way, your attorney can factor your illness into their legal representation.
If I seek medical care because of my accident and later get awarded damages, do I have to pay back my medical insurer?
The short answer is maybe. Some insurers will file medical liens or seek compensation regarding potential judgments for damages arising from your car accident. Every insurer is a little different and will take a different position depending on the circumstances of your accident. It is best to have an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney to help you with these claims in these cases.
What happens if the other driver or I was intoxicated while driving?
Unfortunately, with the litany of public safety announcements and campaigns out there pleading with people not to drink and drive, motorists still climb into their vehicles after consuming alcohol. If you are struck by a driver that has consumed alcohol or is intoxicated for any reason, it is best to call 911 and allow law enforcement to do their job.
If, however, a court finds that the drunk is at fault, the injured party may seek compensatory and punitive damages for the accident. Please refer to the question regarding compensatory damages in the FAQ. Punitive damages are damages usually included on top of existing compensatory damages. Punitive damages are used to monetarily punish a person at fault in many personal injury cases. Although Louisiana has eliminated punitive damages in most cases, those injured in DUI cases may still pursue punitive damages. Further, those damages are used as a deterrent to prevent people from driving while intoxicated.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, contact a member of our team today for a consultation. At the Charbonnet Law Firm, we have years of experience handling all types of car accident cases across the state of Louisiana. Whether a drunk driver hit you, your insurance company denies your claim, or you have suffered a debilitating injury—our experienced car accident attorneys have seen it all. You can trust us to investigate your claim and provide the best quality legal advice to ensure your interests have been covered. Please contact us by clicking here and filling out our contact form or by calling (504) 888-2227.
The most common workplace injuries in the U.S. include:
Motor vehicle accident injuries
Slip and fall accidents
Falls from heights
Lifting and overexertion injuries
Injuries from being hit by a falling object
Injuries from inhaling toxic fumes
Loss of hearing
If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, you owe it to your family to speak with a trusted attorney skilled in Louisiana workplace injury law. It’s important to understand your rights and options under Louisiana workers’ compensation and other laws before you sign any documents that might limit your ability to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Accidents at Louisiana oil and gas refineries
The energy industry employs more than 45,000 workers, from refineries in the energy corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and off-shore rigs and tankers in the Gulf of Mexico to every corner of our state.
Energy sector workers deliver the power to run Louisiana and the nation. But it doesn’t come easily and the work required can be dangerous. That’s especially true in Louisiana’s oil and gas refineries. In them, typical industrial hazards like heavy equipment, falling objects, noise, and confined spaces come together with extreme pressure and heat, explosive and highly flammable chemicals, and toxic fumes to create a particularly threatening mix to worker safety. We were reminded of these dangers in March 2020 when a fire at Exxon’s second largest refinery in the U.S. located in Baton Rouge burned for more than seven hours, halting production there for the foreseeable future (luckily, no workers were injured). The incident followed recent major fires at two Exxon refineries in Texas that together injured dozens of workers.
If you are a Louisiana refinery worker who has been injured on the job, you owe it to yourself and your family to talk to a skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana workers compensation and negligence law. At Charbonnet Law Firm, our trusted legal team can help you navigate a fair settlement for your injuries so you can focus on recovering.
Workplace Injuries and Maritime Law in Louisiana
The nature of ships and boats create unique dangers for workers. Slip and fall injuries are common because decks and stairs are often wet and uneven. There is of course the risk of going overboard or falling especially as a ship makes contact with a dock, another vessel, or other object. Exposure to toxic chemicals from cargo to cleaning supplies, and the risk of being hit or pinned by moving or falling objects, from cranes to tools, are additional risks. Fire, electrical shock, and being trapped in enclosed spaces are additional dangers aboard a ship or boat. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2018 fishers and related fishing workers had an on-the-job fatality rate that was 20 times that of the average worker, making it the second most deadly industry in the U.S.
While a level of risk is to be expected, often workers are injured because someone else failed to carry out their duties, for example, ignoring safety protocols, not maintaining the vessel, or not training or improperly supervising employees.
If you’ve been injured at work, a complex mix of state and federal laws (including the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act) may apply to your case, each with its own courts, deadlines, rules and procedures. Liability may fall on a ship’s owner, captain, crew or other party. Winning fair compensation for your injuries often requires enlisting the help of a skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana workers compensation and negligence cases, and maritime law.
Construction Accidents in New Orleans
Last year’s Hard Rock Hotel building collapse in downtown New Orleans, a disaster that killed three workers and injured dozens, is a stark reminder of what can go wrong at an unsafe construction worksite.
Construction can be dangerous work that often involves heavy, powerful equipment and tools, dangerous heights, and electrical and fire hazards; not to mention pressure to work quickly under tight construction schedules. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2018, more than 21 percent of all worker deaths in the private sector were in construction, placing it among the most dangerous industries in the U.S.
The leading cause of death in the construction industry (excluding highway collisions) are what OSHA calls construction’s “Fatal Four.” These “Fatal Four” were responsible for nearly 60 percent of the 1,008 construction worker deaths in 2018: falls (338 deaths); struck by object (112 deaths); electrocutions (86 deaths); and caught-in/between accidents (55 deaths). “Caught-in/between” accidents refers to workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment, objects, collapsing structure, or materials.
If you’re a worker who has been injured on a construction site, your employer may have failed in their responsibility to ensure a safe workplace. You owe it to yourself to speak with an attorney before you sign any settlement.
Other Workplace Injuries in Louisiana
Louisiana’s roadways, warehouses, retail outlets, and restaurants are also common sites of on-the-job injuries. If you have been injured on the job, contact the trusted legal team at The Charbonnet Law Firm today.
Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana
Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana can provide compensation if you’re injured on the job. It’s meant to keep you afloat and get your back to work as quickly as possible, but it limits both the amount and type of the compensation you can receive.
The categories of compensation covered by Louisiana Workers’ Compensation are:
Temporary Disability Benefits
Supplemental Earnings Benefits
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
One-Time Award for Catastrophic Injuries
Mileage Reimbursement for Doctor’s Visits
Neither temporary nor permanent disability benefits cover your entire lost salary, and their categories of injuries and percent of benefits can be complex. There also may be means of recovering compensation for pain and suffering and other losses outside of the workers’ compensation system. That’s why it’s so important if you’ve been injured on the job to talk with a trusted attorney who can help you navigate the process of receiving the best possible compensation for your injuries.
Contact The Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you’ve been injured on the job in Louisiana, we can help. Let our dedicated legal team give you a clear picture of your claim and what to expect. Our team will work with you at every step to win the compensation you deserve. At The Charbonnet Law Firm, our clients have the peace of mind of knowing their legal interests are being protected so that they can focus on healing and getting back to their lives. Call us today.
Rental Car Accidents
Rental Car Accidents
There are around two million rental cars in the United States. Automobile rentals are a $36-billion-a-year industry, driven by tourism and work travel. And tourism is big business for Louisiana. More than 51 million people visited the state in 2018, and even as tourism has slowed in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism within the state is up dramatically as are RV rentals.
All those rental cars, vans, SUVs, trucks and RVs on our roadways can be dangerous. A driver of a rental vehicle may be unfamiliar with the area where they are driving. The vehicle they have rented may be much bigger than what they are accustomed to, or the driver may be uncomfortable with the handling, controls or safety features of the vehicle, making safely operating it more challenging.
When an auto accident occurs involving a driver of a rental car, it can be difficult to sort out the various insurance companies involved and what party is responsible for covering the damages. Under Louisiana law, answers to these questions are not always straightforward. If you have been injured and are dealing with recovering your health while managing hospital bills, doctor visits, and calls from insurance companies, along with all your regular responsibilities, the process can feel overwhelming.
You owe it to yourself to speak with a Louisiana attorney experienced in rental car injury cases. Having strong legal counsel can ensure that you receive the fair, timely compensation you deserve.
Don’t rely on insurance or rental car companies to look out for your best interest. They have an army of adjusters and lawyers who will fight to protect their bottom line. Call the Charbonnet Law Firm today and let our skilled legal team stand with you and help you at every step of the process.
Liability in Rental Car Accidents in Louisiana
First, it is important to understand the various Louisiana laws governing rental vehicles, liability and insurance. Liability in rental car accidents is treated similarly to liability in other vehicle accidents, under Louisiana law. If you are injured in a crash involving someone driving a rental car and that person is found to be at fault, then he or she will be liable for the resulting damages. Damages can include medical costs associated with physical injuries, lost wages, vehicle repair or replacement, emotional suffering (from PTSD, for example) and more. As with other car accidents, this liability is usually absorbed by insurance coverage, up to the limits of that policy.
Under Louisiana law, negligence is determined when:
A person or party had a duty of “reasonable care” to the victim (not driving in the wrong direction on a highway, for example).
That person or party failed in that duty (drove in the wrong direction).
That failure resulted in the victim’s injury (an accident happens and the victim suffers injuries).
The victim suffered damages as a result of the injury (hospital bills, lost wages, etc.).
Rental Car Company Insurance
If the rental car driver at fault in the accident does not have personal car insurance, then the rental car company likely sold the driver coverage as part of the rental agreement. This is often a low level of coverage, as rental car companies are only required to “satisfy the minimum financial responsibility requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law” under Louisiana civil law. So your ability to recover damages under this particular policy may be limited. It is very important to get the details of the rental agreement and any insurance purchased from the rental car company as soon as possible if you’ve been injured in a rental car accident. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, how liability is assigned in rental car accidents and options for pursuing damages.
Credit Card Company Rental Car Insurance
If the driver of a rental vehicle used a major credit card to book the rental, he or she may automatically have car rental insurance through the credit card company. Depending on the terms of the credit card agreement, the credit card company may pay for damage that occurs to the rental vehicle during the course of the rental. However, the credit card company almost never provides liability coverage, which would cover damages to victims of an accident.
In some cases, liability can be more complicated and fall on more than one party and/or their insurance company. If a car accident is caused by a mechanical error due to improper maintenance of a vehicle, the rental fleet owner, rental car corporation, or a company contracted to maintain the fleet could be liable for damages. If a rental car company employee rented a vehicle to a visibly intoxicated person and that person caused an accident, the rental car company may share liability for that accident. Under Louisiana law, the rental car company and/or its franchisee or maintenance contractors have a duty of “reasonable care” to protect renters and the public from injury caused by their vehicles.
Contact The Charbonnet Law Firm Today
Accidents involving a rental vehicle are often complicated. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact the skilled, dedicated legal team of the Charbonnet Law Firm today. For the last five decades, our skilled attorneys have helped clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes win the best possible settlement and the compensation they deserve.
Let us help you determine what insurance coverage is available, and give you an honest assessment of your case if negligence played a role in the crash, and how Louisiana civil law governing personal injury and liability may affect your case. Our team will work tirelessly to build the best possible case for you. Call the Charbonnet Law Firm today for a free consultation. You can focus on healing and we will take care of the rest.
Tourism plays a huge role in Louisiana’s economy. In 2018, 51.3 million people visited the state, setting a new record. Tourists spent nearly $19 billion and brought in nearly $2 billion in state and local tax revenue.
In New Orleans alone, more than a million visitors flood the city’s streets for our parades and celebrations during Mardi Gras each year. People from all over the world visit destinations across Louisiana to take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Bayou State. Whether you are visiting for Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, to enjoy world-class dining or fishing, or to tour the bayou or an antebellum plantation, Louisiana offers unforgettable experiences.
Safety Tips for Louisiana Visitors
Disaster can strike anywhere, from a slip and fall in a hotel lobby to a neck injury from a boat grounding or a fender-bender in an Uber. While some accidents are unavoidable, taking precautions can lower your risks while enjoying your Louisiana vacation.
Louisiana has made strides, especially in New Orleans. Still, it consistently ranks among states with the highest rates of violent crime. This crime tends to be localized, and most tourists never encounter a problem. Still, it’s important to exercise caution when traveling in the state:
Avoid walking alone or in small groups late at night.
Don’t consume alcohol in excess or take any illegal drugs during your visit.
Be aware of your surroundings, take extra care, and note anything that doesn’t seem right.
Trust your gut. If somewhere does not seem safe, get out of there.
Leave expensive jewelry and large amounts of cash at home, or in a hotel safe if you must bring them.
Tips for staying safe on Louisiana’s roadways
Rental Cars or RV Rentals
If you are driving a rental vehicle:
Double-check that you are clear on the rental company’s insurance policy and who to call if you have an accident.
Be sure you have your personal auto insurance information with you, either in your cell phone or a paper copy of your insurance card.
Take time to get to know the rental vehicle and be sure that you are comfortable with it before you leave the lot:
Adjust your mirrors.
Learn how to use a vehicle’s safety features and controls (windshield wipers, turn signals, high beam and daylight running lights, etc).
Get a feel for the vehicle’s blind spots and turning radius–both will invariably be different than the personal vehicle to which you are accustomed. This is especially important if you are renting an RV.
Know where you are going before you set out so that you’re not putting an address into your cell phone at a stoplight.
Once you are on the road, follow all Louisiana traffic laws, always buckle up, and drive defensively. Exercising caution is especially important on unfamiliar roads.
Never text or otherwise use a handheld device while driving.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
Understand and observe the rules of the road when it comes to pedestrians and bicycles. For example, bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet if they are over 16 years of age but must have a functional front and rear light for riding at night.
Know where you are going before you set out. This can ensure you will have a manageable route to your destination, not all roadways in the state are safe for travel on foot or by bike. If in doubt, call a cab or use a rideshare app.
Avoid alcohol in excess or use of illegal drugs that can impair your judgment and reaction time.
Boat safety tips for Louisiana visitors
With more than 7,000 miles of coastline and its unique and beautiful waterways and aquatic habitats, Louisiana is a boater’s dream come true. Whether you are chartering a vessel for the amazing saltwater fishing in Bayou Dularge or taking a kayak swamp tour, it’s important to keep you and your family’s safety in mind.
Understand and follow all Louisiana boating regulations. For example, Louisiana law requires a Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device be worn at all times by:
All children age 16 and younger
Everyone onboard a motorboat less than 16 feet propelled by an outboard motor
Anyone in a pirogue, canoe, or kayak
Anyone riding on a personal watercraft or being towed on waterskis, tubes, wakeboards, etc.
Never drink to excess or use illegal drugs when on board. Boat operators found to be driving while intoxicated face the same penalties as someone operating a vehicle on the highway while intoxicated. As a passenger, being impaired also greatly increases your risk of injury.
Trust your gut. If a vessel doesn’t feel safe, don’t get on board. If a vessel seems in disrepair, overloaded, without proper safety equipment, or otherwise unsafe, better to be safe than sorry. Ask for a refund and report unsafe operators.
Tips for Staying Safe During Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras in New Orleans for the vast majority of participants is a raucous but safe affair. Still, tragedy has struck in years past. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe:
Travel with a group.
Discuss what to do and where to meet up in the event of an emergency or if someone gets separated from the group.
Designate at least one member of your group to remain sober and make sure everyone gets home safely.
Plan plenty of time to get to and from your destination, and dress for the weather and the amount of time you’ll be on your feet.
Use common sense in large crowds. Don’t wear expensive jewelry. Only bring what you need and keep it close.
Observe all posted pedestrian rules and police instructions. Never cross a barricade and exercise extra caution when crossing streets.
Be aware of your surroundings. If something feels unsafe, trust your gut. Watch out for folks who have had way too much to drink. Unfortunately, drunk drivers and parade-goers can put everyone at risk.
What to Do If You Are Injured in Louisiana
It can feel overwhelming when disaster strikes while we’re on vacation. An injury on vacation doesn’t just ruin plans, it leaves a confusing aftermath of hospital and doctor visits, bills, insurance forms, and adjusters calls. Legal elements of negligence, liability, and responsibility–which are complex, to begin with under Louisiana law–are especially complicated when it comes to tourism. Several third parties may share liability for your injuries and the damages you have suffered. The best thing you can do if you or a loved one has been injured is to speak with a skilled Louisiana personal injury attorney right away.
Contact the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If disaster strikes you or a loved one while vacationing in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana, call the Charbonnet Law Firm’s skilled legal team today. We understand how difficult an injury can be while on vacation: you want to get home. You want answers. You want to know who is responsible, how you will be compensated for your injuries, and how long the process will take. Most of all, you want to feel better.
At the Charbonnet Law Firm, we are here to help. We can guide you through your case and the various Louisiana statutes that govern negligence, personal injury, premise liability, and other civil case law that could affect your case. Our skilled attorneys have handled car, rideshare, motorcycle, and boat accident cases, as well as slip and fall and other personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call today for a free consultation. We will help you understand your case and how to pursue it, and help you win the best possible settlement for your damages — so you can focus on getting better and getting back to your life.
Pedestrian accidents are an all too common occurrence in the Bayou State. On average, four pedestrians a day in Louisiana are struck by a motor vehicle. In 2018, Louisiana was ranked as the second most deadly state for pedestrians by the National Highway Safety Administration with a rate of 3.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, nearly twice the national average. That year, 165 pedestrians were killed and another 1,470 were injured on Louisiana roadways, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation at Louisiana State University.
Rates of pedestrian fatalities are shockingly high nationally as well. While overall traffic fatalities continue to inch lower thanks to new motor vehicle safety features and better education and enforcement, there has been a recent spike in pedestrian deaths. Some experts attribute it to more distracted drivers and use of electronic devices. The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways has reached its highest level in three decades, skyrocketing 60 percent from their recorded low in 2009 to 6,283 deaths in 2018.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, risk factors include crossing outside of an intersection, time of day, and alcohol. Three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur outside of an intersection. The vast majority take place at night or in the early morning hours in dark conditions. Alcohol often also plays a role, with half of all crashes in which a pedestrian is killed involving an impaired pedestrian and/or driver.
Common Pedestrian Injuries
Because of the vulnerability of a pedestrian when struck by a motor vehicle, which outweighs him or her by thousands of pounds and is capable of traveling at incredible speeds, pedestrian injuries tend to be very serious and can be life-threatening.
The most common pedestrian injuries include:
Traumatic brain injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Internal injuries, such as internal bleeding or a collapsed lung
Pelvic injuries, often from making contact with the hood of a vehicle or the ground
Broken or fractured bones, such as the bones of the wrist or elbow
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, you owe it to yourself to speak with a trusted attorney with experience winning pedestrian accident cases in Louisiana before you sign any document that could limit your right to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Louisiana Laws and Pedestrians
It is important to understand the rules of the road for pedestrians in Louisiana, especially if you or a loved one has been injured.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Motorists must yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk when no traffic signal is present or when the vehicle is making a turn.
If a pedestrian enters a crosswalk when the pedestrian signal says “walk,” the pedestrian may continue through the crosswalk to the other side or to a safety zone or neutral area if the signal changes.
Pedestrian responsibilities under Louisiana law:
Pedestrians must use a sidewalk where one is available. It is illegal for a pedestrian to walk on a roadway if it has an adjacent sidewalk.
If a roadway has no sidewalk or walking path adjacent, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
Pedestrians are required to obey all traffic control signals and signs. A pedestrian signal takes precedence over a traffic signal. For example, a “do not walk” signal would take precedence over a green traffic light.
Pedestrians must exercise caution when entering a crosswalk. They are required to follow traffic signals at intersections and use the right side of a crosswalk when practical. They may not jump out into a crosswalk in front of a vehicle.
Pedestrians may not cross an interstate highway, except in the case of an emergency.
Vehicle operator responsibilities to pedestrians under Louisiana law:
Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and on sidewalks, as detailed above.
Drivers in Louisiana who encounter a pedestrian in their path are required to use the vehicle’s horn if necessary and drive in a safe manner to avoid causing an accident.
Drivers are required to exercise caution when they observe a pedestrian walking on or near a roadway to ensure his or her safety. In particular, a driver must drive cautiously when encountering a pedestrian who is a child, or who seems lost, intoxicated or confused.
Drivers may not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk or intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the road.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best steps to take to keep yourself safe as a pedestrian are to:
Make yourself more visible when walking at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing, such as reflective vests.
Only cross a roadway at a designated crosswalk or intersection whenever possible.
Walk on a sidewalk or footpath, and not on the road. If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
Avoid walking near roadways if you have been impaired by alcohol or drugs. Use extra caution and keep the volume low enough to hear traffic if you are walking with headphones or electronic devices like earbuds.
Call the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a member of your family has been injured as a pedestrian in Louisiana, don’t wait. Call the Charbonnet Law Firm today. You may feel pressured by insurance companies to settle your claim quickly before learning the full extent of your injuries and the costs that may be associated with them. You may feel overwhelmed with medical bills, doctors visits, recovery and lost work. Let us help you through this difficult time.
Call today for a free consultation with a member of our experienced, caring legal team. At the Charbonnet Law Firm, a skilled attorney can help you understand your rights under Louisiana law, and help you decide how best to pursue your case. If you decide to pursue your case with us, we will be there with you every step of the way, taking care of all the details, ensuring the best possible outcome and the best compensation for your injuries. Let us give you peace of mind that your interests are being protected so you can focus on healing.
Motorcycling can be a relaxing or exhilarating hobby, a cost effective way to commute, and much more. It can also be dangerous. The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped by almost 5 percent to 4,985 in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but motorcycle riders continue to be overrepresented in traffic fatalities. Motorcycles have inherent risks that other vehicles do not, because of their smaller size and lower visibility, and the comparative lack of crash protection (compared to a compact car, for example, with a low center of gravity, crumple zones and airbags).
Still, there are many ways that motorcycle operators can lower their risk of injury, according to experts. These include always wearing proper protective equipment, riding responsibly and never impaired by alcohol or drugs, and making sure your motorcycle is well maintained and that you have the proper license and training.
In 2018, 79 motorcyclists were killed and more than 1,200 were injured on Louisiana roadways, according to the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation at Louisiana State University. Louisiana law requires all motorcycle operators and riders to wear DOT-approved helmets, a law that was reinstated in 2007 and credited with dramatically reducing motorcyclist death and serious injury in the state.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Traumatic brain injury
Widespread use of helmets and new helmet technology have helped reduce motorcycle fatality rate over the last decade. But even with a DOT-approved helmet, a motorcyclist who survives a crash faces high risk of serious brain injury from the force of impact with another vehicle, the road or other object. Riders who have suffered a traumatic brain injury can have lasting impairments to their ability to speak or carry out other functions vital to daily life and in order to work. These injuries can result in the need for extensive rehabilitation and major long-term healthcare costs.
These painful scrapes, abrasions and more serious injuries that can resemble burns are caused when a motorcyclists makes contact with and slides along the road surface. Our skin acts as our primary protective layer, so infection can be a serious risk with road rash injuries. Scaring and permanent nerve damage as well as damage to underlie connective tissue are risks. Severe road rash can require skin grafting and/or physical therapy and other ongoing treatments to heal.
Lower Limb Injuries
Motorcyclists are more likely to injure their legs and feet than any other part of their bodies. The Center for Disease Control studied over a million motorcycle injuries and found that nearly 30 percent of the injuries occurred to the lower extremities.
When you’re on a motorcycle, your legs are very closest to the ground. If you’re in a crash, they are often the first thing to come into contact with pavement. If a motorcycle rolls, it can crush a rider’s leg or foot, and result in fractured or broken bones. Lower limb ligament and tendon injuries are also common for motorcyclists who experience a crash, as is road rash.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Head and neck injuries make up nearly a quarter of all injuries that result from motorcycle accidents. In serious motorcycle crashes, spinal cord injuries can cause the most serious and lasting damage. While helmets provide a significant level of protection from traumatic brain injury, they provide little in the way of spinal cord protection and may actually transfer the impact of a crash toward the spine. Spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain, temporary or permanent paralysis, and in the most serious cases, paraplegia or quadriplegia. Spinal cord injuries almost always involve significant damages to the injured party, including long-term healthcare costs and lost wages.
Injuries to the ribs or surrounding structures (for example, the sternum or clavicles) are very common in motorcycle crashes. Injuries to this area can be life-threatening as the rib cage protects vital organs, especially delicate lung tissue. Trauma to the thorax area (the chest down to the diaphragm) can result in a collapsed or punctured lung and/or internal bleeding. Damaged tissue can result in long recovery times and can lead to secondary injuries from infection.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana, you owe it to yourself to speak with a skilled attorney who can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case and your options, and build a strong case for getting the compensation you deserve.
Louisiana Law Governing Motorcycle Accidents
A number of state laws determine how motorcycle accidents should be handled, who is at fault, the types of damages that can be sought, and award amounts in New Orleans and across Louisiana.
Requirement to Report Vehicle Accidents
By law, drivers in Louisiana must report any vehicle accident immediately, if that accident results in injury to or death of any person, or results in property damage over $500. This typically means calling 911 immediately. A law enforcement officer then investigates and generates an accident report that is publicly available at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Louisiana motorcycle accident judgements are subject to a “comparative fault” law. This means that a court can find you, the victim, partially at fault for your motorcycle accident. You can still recover damages for your case. But the court will reduce your award by the percentage that it decides you were at fault. So, if you would have received a $100,000 award and you are found to be 20% at fault, your award would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. An insurance company will use the same formula to determine what it will offer as a settlement. “Comparative fault” is almost always a judgment call that is subject to your ability to negotiate with insurers or persuade a judge or jury. A skilled attorney with knowledge of past awards and how “fault” is determined under Louisiana law can be invaluable in this process.
You have one year from the date of your auto accident to file a claim in Louisiana, including any claim for injury or vehicle damage. This is a shorter deadline than most states, and if you miss it you likely lose your ability to negotiate for fair compensation. So speak with an attorney experienced in Louisiana motorcycle accident claims and personal injury law right away. This way, you and your legal team can build the strongest case possible for the compensation you deserve.
Other Louisiana Laws
Personal injury, wrongful death, defective product, or other civil case law could play a potential role in your case, as could criminal law if a party is prosecuted for a crime related to the accident, such as driving under the influence or hit-and-run. A skilled attorney with experience winning for victims in Louisiana motorcycle accident cases can help you better understand how these laws affect potential outcomes of your case.
Call Charbonnet Law Firm Today
Even the safest operators can be involved in a motorcycle crash. If you are injured, contact a trusted attorney with experience in Louisiana motorcycle accident cases before you sign any document that could limit your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Charbonnet Law Firm has won strong settlements for clients in the New Orleans area for years. Let our skilled, caring legal team protect your interests while you focus on recovering.
Who could forget the tragic events of Mardi Gras 2019 when a drunk driver plowed into a packed bicycle lane, killing two cyclists and injuring seven others? The crime, for which the driver was sentenced to 90 years in prison, was among the most egregious examples of a driver acting aggressively toward and with wanton disregard for cyclists. Crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles in the Bayou State, however, are far from rare and are a growing problem as more people opt to make cycling their primary mode of transportation.
Cycling Is Safer Overall, But More Deadly Crashes With Motor Vehicles
As millions more Americans take up cycling to get around, cities and states have increasingly focused on bicycle safety measures, such as creating bike lanes and clarifying traffic laws as they relate to cyclists. Safety efforts such as higher helmet use among cyclists have helped significantly reduce Emergency Department visits due to bicycle accidents, which are down 41 percent between 2009 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, however, fatal crashes involving motor vehicles and cyclists have increased by nearly 40 percent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 857 cyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2018. Most cyclists who are killed are hit by light-weight trucks and most of those are hit from behind. Excessive motor vehicle speed plays a huge role in cyclists fatalities, as does time of day, with the hours between 6pm and midnight being the most dangerous for bicycle riders.
Unfortunately, however, Louisiana also is consistently ranked among the most deadly states for cyclists. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Louisiana was the second most deadly state for cyclists in 2012 and fourth in 2016 with a rate of 4.7 cyclist fatalities per 100,000 residents. A recent report from an auto insurance industry publication found Baton Rouge to be among the top ten most dangerous U.S. cities for cyclists.
Louisiana Laws and Bicycle Safety
It’s important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities when bicycling in Louisiana, especially if you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident. Under Louisiana law, bicycles are treated as vehicles for the most part, and bike riders are generally given the same rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles.
Under Louisiana law, any person under the age of 12 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a helmet.
Rules for Bicyclists Under Louisiana Law
A bicyclist may not cling to a motor vehicle while biking.
A bicycle may carry only the number of people for which it is designed.
Bicyclists must come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and red lights.
Bicycles must ride as close as is practical and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another bicyclist, preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid roadway hazards or vehicles, or when riding in a narrow lane.
No more than two bicyclists may not side by side and in doing so may not impede motor vehicle traffic.
Bicyclists must use hand or arm signals when turning and stopping.
Requirements for Bicycles
Bicycles are required to have the following equipment:
Brakes that allow the bike to skid on clean, level, and dry pavement.
A bell or other device (not a siren or whistle) capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet.
A white front-facing headlight and a red rear light, visible from at least 500 feet when used at nighttime.
Under Louisiana law, an electric-assisted bicycle must be rated no more than 50cc, have an automatic transmission, and have a maximum speed of 25mph on flat surface. E-bikes are considered the same as traditional bicycles under Louisiana law, except that riders must be 16 years of age or older and wear a helmet unless they have a health insurance policy with medical benefits over $10,000.
What Louisiana Bicycle Law Does Not Do
Louisiana’s DUI statute does not apply to bicyclists (only to operators of motor vehicles), but an impaired bicyclist may be charged with public intoxication.
Sidewalk riding is neither allowed or prohibited by Louisiana state law. Local ordinances typically address this issue.
Louisiana does not require bicyclists to use any bike lane or path other than a normal vehicle traffic lane.
Louisiana law does not require state bicycle registration but allows local governments to institute their own bike registration programs.
Other Vehicle Operators & Bicycles Under Louisiana Law
Staying out of Bike Lanes. Motor vehicles are prohibited from operating in designated bike lanes except under very limited circumstances.
“Dooring” Law. Louisiana law states that no person shall open any door of a motor vehicle located on a highway without first taking precaution to ensure that this action does not interfere with the movement of traffic or endanger any other person or vehicle. The law also prohibits leaving any door of a motor vehicle located on a highway open for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Passing Distance. An overtaking driver must exercise due care and leave a safe distance of not less than three feet when overtaking a bicyclist.
Steps to take if you have been injured in a Bike Accident in Louisiana
Call 911. Explain the situation and any injuries in as clear of language as possible: who, what, where. If there are no injuries, you will still need to report the accident to authorities if more than $500 worth of damage occurred.
Take photos and gather information. Get insurance information from all drivers involved and take photos of the accident and damage. Get contact information from any witnesses to the crash.
Contact a trusted attorney with experience in Louisiana car accident cases right away. Don’t admit fault or sign any settlement related documents until you have spoken with an attorney. Charbonnet Law Firm has won strong settlements for clients in the New Orleans area for years. Let our skilled, caring legal team protect your interests while you focus on recovering.
Contact The Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades. At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there every step of the way, protecting your interests and fighting for the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.
Rideshare apps have revolutionized the way we get around. Many of us rely on ride-sharing services to get us where we need to go safely. Nearly 40 percent of Americans have used a ridesharing app, a staggering figure considering both Uber and Lyft have only existed for about a decade. Use of Uber and Lyft have skyrocketed in New Orleans in particular since the apps arrived in the city in 2015. A 2018 Arizona State University study found that New Orleans had the second highest rideshare use per capita of any major U.S. metropolitan area, with a whopping 30 percent of residents using a rideshare app in the last 30 days.
Ridesharing comes with its own dangers, however, for everyone on the road, and it can create legal complications when an accident occurs. For example, a new study by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that ridesharing services may actually increase traffic accidents and fatalities, especially in larger cities, by putting more cars on the road and creating more stop-start traffic. And poorly vetted rideshare drivers can increase the risk to passengers’ personal safety. In fact, an internal investigation by Uber found the company received nearly 6,000 reports from passengers alleging serious sexual assault in the U.S. during 2017 and 2018.
If you have been injured as a passenger or the operator of another vehicle in an auto accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle in New Orleans, protect your legal rights by speaking with an attorney experienced with rideshare accidents today. Below is an overview of how insurance and settlements work when an Uber or Lyft driver is at fault.
Uber and Lyft Driver Classification & Insurance
Uber and Lyft don’t own or operate the cars hailed by their rideshare app. Both of these billion-dollar corporations go to great lengths to avoid classifying their drivers as employees. Instead, they prefer to treat drivers as independent contractors. This allows both companies to avoid responsibility for accidents or damage that happen when drivers are working. Under Louisiana law an employer is usually liable for damages caused by an employee. Independent contractors, however, are normally responsible for damages caused by their own negligence.
Legal challenges and legislative efforts are underway to challenge rideshare driver classification in various states across the country. And it remains to be seen if rideshare companies will continue to shield themselves with the “independent contractor” argument.
Very few Uber and Lyft drivers carry commercial auto insurance policies because they are not required to under Louisiana law and commercial policies tend to be prohibitively expensive. This can create problems because, while premiums are higher for commercial policies, their coverage is better and more appropriate for drivers using their vehicles to earn money.
Rideshare drivers in Louisiana are only required to carry the minimum auto insurance required by the state for personal vehicles:
$15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
$30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
$25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.
Insurance and Ridesharing
In addition to a driver’s personal auto insurance, ridesharing apps carry insurance. For insurance purposes, a driver’s time is divided into three phases and which insurance covers an accident and at what amount depends on which phase the driver is in.
Offline. The driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies to any accident that takes place when the driver app is turned off.
Online. Waiting for a ride request. If an accident happens when the driver’s app is turned on and he/she is waiting to receive a ride request, the rideshare company will provide third-party liability insurance coverage. For example, if a Lyft driver….waiting for a ride request, Lyft’s third-party insurance would cover liability damages up to $50,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 per accident, $25k in property damage.
Uber and Lyft maintain third-party liability insurance for all drivers with the following limits:
$50,000 in bodily injury per person
$100,000 in bodily injury per accident
$25,000 in property damage per accident
Online. En route to pick up riders and during trips. If a crash occurs when a driver is en route to pick up a rider or when a passenger is in the vehicle, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy would apply as would the following auto insurance maintained by the rideshare corporation on behalf of the driver. The ride share company’s third-party insurance would cover liability damages up to $1,000,000.00 per person in liability coverage and Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage.
$1,000,000 third-party liability
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
In 2015, Louisiana passed the Transportation Network Company Motor Vehicle Responsibility Law which was designed to fill gaps in insurance coverage requirements for rideshare app drivers. The law requires specific amounts of insurance for Phases 2 and 3 above. Basically, codifying as a requirement the practice outlined above. It does not change the level of personal auto insurance required for rideshare drivers however.
In general, if you are injured in an accident as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, and the driver of the rideshare vehicle was at fault, the rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance will cover your damages. If you are involved in an accident with an at-fault rideshare vehicle driver and you are a driver or passenger in another vehicle, the rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance will cover your damages. Lastly, if you are a rideshare driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle involved in an accident in which the other vehicle was at fault, the rideshare company’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may apply to your case.
Of course, all insurance companies and corporations have teams of lawyers and adjusters that work around the clock to limit their liability and protect their bottom line. For instance, insurance companies may pressure you to admit that you are somewhat at fault for the accident. This is because, under Louisiana’s “comparative negligence” law, an award for damages can be reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage that a victim is found to be at fault for the accident. For example, if you are leaving work after an overnight shift and your vehicle is struck by an Uber driver making a dangerous left turn, the driver’s insurance company or the rideshare app’s insurer could claim you are partially at fault because you were driving while fatigued.
This is why it is so important to seek out a skilled attorney if you’ve been injured in a rideshare app accident. You deserve a legal team on your side with strong knowledge of Louisiana civil law and decades of experience winning for victims of Louisiana auto accidents.
If you are a rideshare passenger who has been injured in a crash, other complicating factors may exist. For example, Uber and Lyft both require users to agree to “terms of service” that both companies have used to deny passengers the right to a jury trial. “Arbitration” is a common way companies use to try to limit the compensation that victims receive in the event of grave injuries or wrongful death.
Call the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare driver in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at the Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades.
At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there with you every step of the way, standing up to the insurance companies, so you receive the best possible compensation for your injuries. Call today for a free consultation.
New Orleans Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical errors are a frighteningly common occurrence in our hospitals, emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, clinics, long-term care facilities, and even patient’s homes and pharmacies.
A recent Johns Hopkins University study estimates that medical error is the third leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer, resulting in the deaths of 250,000 people in the U.S. every year.
Other studies put that number even higher at closer to 440,000 fatalities. One in seven Medicare patients who receive care in a hospital become victims of a medical error.
A survey of recent studies on medical errors in hospital settings estimated that a staggering 210,000 preventable errors are made each year that contribute to the death of hospitalized patients alone, not accounting for outpatient clinics and long-term care facilities that carry similar risks to patients.
Why are Medical Errors So Common?
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are several human behaviors that are at the root of most medical errors. The best way for hospitals and other medical facilities to prevent medical errors is to create systems that catch these common behavioral mistakes.
The most common behaviors that lead to medical errors are:
Communication problems. Issues with communication between healthcare team members or physician and patient, either written or verbal. This can include failure to obtain consent or insufficient patient education.
Failure to identify or assess the patient properly. When the health care team fails to properly identify the patient or make a complete patient assessment.
Human failures. Human failure to follow standards of care, or hospital policies, processes, or procedures such as poor documentation, verification, or labeling.
Unqualified to perform tasks. When someone performs a task they are unqualified for or lack the knowledge to perform properly.
Inadequate flow of information. When information does not follow the patient as they are transferred to a new facility or service area of a hospital, the new health care team lacks the information they may need to provide the best treatment.
Staffing shortages or poor workflow. When there aren’t enough staff to handle a shift, there is a greater risk of medical error.
Inadequate policies. When a hospital lacks policies to protect patients.
Insufficient training or education. When staff is not properly trained or educated to provide an acceptable standard of care.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a general term that covers a number of systems and human errors in medical care that lead to harm or injury to a patient. It can include action or inaction on the part of a health care worker, such as a pharmacist filling a prescription incorrectly or a physician failing to inform their patients of the risk of a particular medication.
Put simply, it may be medical malpractice when a patient is harmed by a doctor (or another medical professional) who has failed to competently perform their medical duties.
Generally, these are the types of medical malpractice claims:
A prescription drug error is any preventable healthcare event such as the wrong medicine or dosage being prescribed that may cause harm to the patient.
Anesthesia is the medication most often used to keep patients from feeling pain during surgery. When an error is made, patients can suffer from a range of injuries including heart attack or stroke, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and in very severe cases, coma and death.
A birth injury is any type of harm to a baby that occurs during or near the time of birth. Injuries may be temporary or lifelong, mild to severe.
A surgical error is a preventable mistake made by a surgeon or other medical professional during surgery.
Infections acquired in a hospital setting
Hospital-acquired infections are caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens; UTI and surgical site infections are common.
Defective medical devices
Dangerous or defective medical devices such as faulty surgical instruments can cause serious injuries to patients.
Failure to diagnose / misdiagnosis
Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is a specific type of medical malpractice where a physician fails to take the proper steps to diagnose or accurately diagnose the patient’s medical problem.
A delayed diagnosis is when a patient’s health condition, disease, or illness is not diagnosed within a reasonable amount of time, causing an avoidable treatment delay that injures the patient.
Medical record errors
A medical record error is when a reporting mistake is made in a patient’s medical records such as missing lab results or allergy information. In medical malpractice cases, medical record errors are responsible for incorrect medical evaluation and treatment.
Mental health medical malpractice
A mental health malpractice claim may come about when a mental health practitioner such as a marriage counselor or psychiatrist has a disregard for professional boundaries, treats their patient in a negligent manner, or otherwise abuses the power that they have over their patient.
Nursing home abuse
When a nursing home, rest home, or long-term care facility abuses or neglects a resident and causes injury, they may be legally liable for nursing home abuse or eldercare malpractice.
Failure to order appropriate tests
When a medical professional fails to order appropriate test(s) to confirm or rule out a diagnosis, a patient’s health condition might not get diagnosed. This can lead to an untreated illness and irreparable harm to the patient. Failure to order medical tests is one of the leading causes of missed and delayed diagnoses.
Failure to follow up or act on test results
If a physician gets test results and fails to inform the patient of the results or advise next steps for treatment or diagnosis, it can cause serious injury to patients that may rise to the level of malpractice.
Technical medical errors
Medical errors caused by healthcare technology include robotic surgery errors, electronic medical record mix-ups, and defective infusion pumps. The hospital or healthcare facility responsible for managing the equipment may be held liable for injuries.
Inadequate monitoring after a procedure
Inadequate postoperative care can lead to infections and other serious injuries. When the lack of care rises to the level of negligence, the hospital may be held liable for damages.
If the patient is treated for an illness in an incompetent way, or in a way that no reasonable doctor would treat for that illness, resulting in injury, then the patient may have a medical malpractice claim. Patients may also have a medical negligence claim if the correct treatment was offered but then administered incorrectly, causing harm.
Failure to warn a patient of known risks
A medical professional is obligated to warn patients of the known risks of surgery and undergoing anesthesia, medical procedure, or prescription drug; this is called the duty of informed consent. If the patient would have requested an alternate treatment had they known about the risks, the doctor could be held liable if the treatment provided causes injury.
Hospital and emergency department errors
There is a wide range of hospital and emergency department errors that can be the cause of a medical malpractice suit, such as sending a patient home when they should have been admitted for care.
In the context of medical malpractice, sexual misconduct is any non-consensual sexual relationship that occurs between a doctor and a patient under their care. When a medical professional commits sexual misconduct against one of their patients, the physician intentionally violated the standard of care and can therefore be held liable for their actions.
How Do I Know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Determining if and how medical malpractice took place can be challenging. It is important to speak with a skilled, trusted attorney experienced in Louisiana medical malpractice cases right away if you believe you or a loved one was harmed by a medical error or negligence.
Four Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
The plaintiff – typically with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer – has the burden of proof for the following four elements to prevail upon the action of negligence:
A duty of care. A healthcare provider owes a duty of care to their patients. Proving that there was a duty of care is usually straightforward and shown through the existence of a doctor-patient relationship at the time the patient received healthcare services.
The healthcare provider was negligent. The plaintiff must prove that the doctor was not reasonably skilled, competent, or careful in the diagnosis or treatment of their healthcare needs and that the physician’s actions or lack of action caused harm that a competent doctor would not have caused in similar circumstances.
The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. With the help of medical expert testimony, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury; not the illness that they were seeking treatment for.
The injury led to specific damages. In order to bring a medical malpractice claim, the patient must have suffered specific damages as a result of negligent care.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A successful medical malpractice claim results in a settlement that compensates the victim (or their loved ones) for damages. The three categories of damages available in medical malpractice cases are general, special, and punitive.
General damages (non-economic damages)
General damages are non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of quality of spousal relationship. Non-economic damages don’t come with a definite cost so the dollar value is usually determined after evidence of the suffering is provided by family members and an expert witness.
Special damages (economic damages)
Special damages are economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, in-home care, and physical therapy related to the injury. Calculating the value of economic damages is fairly straightforward, though there is usually some guesswork involved in estimating future medical expenses.
Punitive damages are much harder to prove and more rarely awarded. The State of Louisiana does not allow punitive damages in most cases. The law varies from state to state but in essence, your Louisiana lawyer must prove that the doctor knew that they behaved in a particularly egregious manner that was harmful to the patient.
Louisiana Laws Governing Medical Malpractice
Louisiana’s Patient Compensation Fund automatically covers all public hospitals and associated healthcare workers. It also covers private “qualified healthcare providers” who can become members of the Fund if they meet certain requirements. Louisiana law caps medical malpractice damages for healthcare providers who are members of the Fund to $100,000 plus interest per patient per incident. Awards over that amount are paid directly by the Fund. Total medical malpractice damages in Louisiana are capped at $500,000 plus the cost of any future medical expenses. The PCF pays for future medical expenses directly, as they occur.
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana court is one year from the date of the malpractice, or within one year of the “discovery of harm.” So, for example, a doctor may have prescribed you a combination of medications known to cause liver damage, but you might not discover that damage until months later. In Louisiana, all medical claims must be filed within three years of the date of the injury or malpractice, regardless of when they are discovered. In general, surviving family members have one year to file a wrongful death case in Louisiana.
Before filing a medical malpractice suit in Louisiana, victims of medical malpractice must submit a written request to the Patient Compensation Fund for the review of the case by a group of experts. The request details the events, injuries, and allegations of the case. The Fund reviews the request and notifies the victim if the offending doctor is a “qualified healthcare provider” covered by the Fund and if a panel will be convened to review the case. If so, a panel of three doctors and one attorney (the attorney serves only as an advisor) is convened to review the case. The doctors on the panel are charged with determining whether the evidence supports the conclusion that malpractice occurred, and whether that malpractice caused the injuries in question. The panel’s report is considered medical expert testimony. Panel reports are admissible evidence at trial and can be used in alternative dispute resolution, and any party may call any member of the panel as a witness.
If your case goes to trial, Louisiana law gives individual judges wide discretion to interpret statutes and decide medical malpractice awards. Regardless of how your case is resolved, don’t try to navigate the complex medical malpractice system alone. If you or a loved one has been injured by medical error or negligence, you owe it to your family to speak with a skilled Louisiana medical malpractice attorney right away.
Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries in Louisiana
Errors made during the birth of a child are a particularly egregious form of medical malpractice. Medical errors during gestation, during delivery, or in the first crucial moments outside the womb, can result in a lifetime of costly care, the lost potential of an individual, and untold pain and suffering for the victim and their family members.
Common birth injuries include:
Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that causes issues with movement, muscle tone, or posture; it is often caused by abnormal brain development that happens before birth.
Brain Injuries caused by oxygen deprivation
When the brain experiences deprivation of oxygen, it suffers injuries such as Cerebral hypoxia and anoxia.
Facial paralysis can be caused by nerve damage from congenital conditions, birth trauma, or disease.
Cephalohematoma is a minor condition that occurs during the birth process when pressure on the fetal head ruptures small blood vessels. This can happen when the head is compressed against the maternal pelvis during labor or because of pressure from forceps or a vacuum extractor used to assist the birth.
Nerve Damage such as brachial plexus
Brachial plexus birth injuries are typically caused by trauma to the neck during the birth process.
Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common type of fracture that occurs during labor and delivery. The clavicle is most likely to break during a breech delivery or during a difficult delivery.
Seizures, shock, or coma caused by perinatal asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia—also called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy— is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in slowed-down mental processes. The decrease in brain energy causes excessive nerve impulses in the brain, which leads to seizures, coma, and sometimes irreparable brain damage.
Subarachnoid or intracranial hemorrhage
Among the types of intracranial hemorrhage caused by birth trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhages are one of the most common types of intracranial hemorrhage. A subarachnoid hemorrhage causes bleeding between the brain and the membranes that cover it.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord damage happens when mechanical force or an illness affects the infant’s spine during labor and delivery.
When the birth of a child turns into a waking nightmare of unexpected medical challenges and needed care, it can be difficult for loved ones to think clearly and understand exactly what happened and who is responsible. As your new baby recovers, you owe it to your child to speak with a caring, trusted birth injury attorney with knowledge of and experience with Louisiana medical malpractice law. Charbonnet Law Firm has medical malpractice lawyers in New Orleans who can help guide you through an injury claim for this unimaginably difficult experience and make the best possible decisions about your legal rights to protect your family after experiencing birth trauma.
What To Do If You Suspect Medical Error
Medical error or negligence is not always obvious, and healthcare providers very rarely admit an error that may have caused harm. A hospital or medical group may actively work to correct an error its staff made without ever letting you know something went wrong. Or if an obvious error takes place, the physician, facility, or insurance company may pressure a patient or legal guardian to sign a hasty settlement.
If you witness, learn about or suspect medical malpractice that has caused you or a loved one harm:
Find a new health care provider. Seek care and advice from another healthcare provider who you trust to be honest and competent.
Document everything. Keep all written communications (diagnoses, insurance claims, prescriptions, and directions) and write down everything that you can remember about the circumstances of your care and your interactions with healthcare staff, including dates and times.
Find a medical malpractice lawyer. Speak with a trusted medical malpractice attorney who can provide legal advice to help you understand your case and your options.
How to Choose a New Orleans Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Here are some steps to choosing the right Louisiana personal injury lawyer for you:
Build a list of options. Search online, contact a local bar association or ask for referrals from a doctor who you trust, your personal contacts, or a local attorney who works in another practice area.
Research each attorney. Spend time reading through each attorney’s website, checking customer reviews or testimonials, and assessing their relevant experience. You are looking for an attorney with a proven record of success with medical malpractice claims. They should have years of experience handling claims like yours and have many positive client reviews or testimonials.
Narrow down your list. Once you have weeded out attorneys who do not meet your criteria, narrow down your list to two or three options.
Schedule a call. Schedule a call with each of your final candidates to get the feel of each attorney; you want to feel comfortable with the person you will be working with.
Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC Can Help. No win, no fee. Guaranteed.
It takes time to gather evidence, prepare and argue a medical malpractice case. It also requires resources such as retaining expert witnesses to testify, medical evaluation of the case, financial review for loss of future earnings, among many other issues.
Contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney in New Orleans with experience winning Louisiana medical malpractices cases today for an initial consultation. At Charbonnet Law Firm, our skilled legal team will be by your side every step of the way, helping you navigate the legal and insurance systems, and building the strongest case possible to win the compensation you deserve. Should you need a trial lawyer to take your case to trial, we will be there.
Call us today for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team. We will help you understand your medical malpractice case or wrongful death claim, your options for compensation, and what comes next. And if you choose to work with our trusted, experienced team, we will handle all the details and fight for the best settlement possible, so that you and your family can focus on healing.
The death of a loved one can be incredibly difficult. You can feel depressed, anxious, angry, and overwhelmed. If that death happened unexpectedly as a result of an accident, or the negligence or actions of another party, it can be all the more overwhelming and awful.
As you grieve your loss and find the strength to live without your loved one, you may be feeling pressured by insurance companies to settle any legal claim you have around your loss. Before you sign anything, you owe it to yourself and to your family to talk with a caring, compassionate team of attorneys experienced in Louisiana wrongful death law. No amount of money can repair the loss or take away your pain. But one of the best ways to seek justice and make sure no other family goes through what you have is to hold the party at fault financially responsible.
Wrongful Death Under Louisiana Law
The Louisiana Civil Code that governs wrongful death and survival action cases makes clear that “every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.”
Wrongful death can be the result of a number of different scenarios. Medical malpractice can lead to wrongful death, in cases such as surgical error or medication errors. Negligence can cause wrongful death, for example, if a party fails to make reasonable repairs to a stairway that leads to a slip and fall death. Traffic accidents involving distracted driving, disregard for traffic laws, or drunk driving are other examples. Wrongful death can result from a workplace injury or a defective product.
In general, in order to prevail in a wrongful death case, the surviving family member/s must meet a similar burden of proof as would be necessary to show liability if the victim had lived. So, for example, in the case of negligence, the victim’s family or estate would need to show that: 1) the party at fault had a duty to exercise “reasonable care,” 2) that party failed in its duty, and 3) that failure caused the death of the victim. The victim’s family must then show that damages were suffered by themselves (and the victim in the case of survival actions) as a result of the death and circumstances surrounding it.
Who May Seek Wrongful Death Damages In Louisiana?
Louisiana law allows the following people to bring a wrongful death or survival claim:
1- The victim’s spouse and children
2- The victim’s parents, if the victim left no surviving spouse or child
3- The victim’s brothers and sisters, if the victim left no surviving spouse, child, or parent
4- The victim’s grandparents, if the victim left no surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling
These definitions include immediate family members through adoption. If a parent has effectively abandoned the deceased during their childhood, that parent is not entitled to seek wrongful death damages.
Damages In Louisiana Wrongful Death Cases
Louisiana law demands that a person or party responsible for causing the death of another must compensate the deceased’s family for damages endured and future losses.
Damages can be economic or non-economic and can include:
Loss of support
Loss of services
Loss of love and affections
Lost wages and benefits
Loss of society
Mental anguish and emotional suffering
Funeral and burial expenses
Under Louisiana law, certain family members may also seek damages through a “survivor action” for all medical costs and other damages, as well as the pain and suffering that their loved one endured prior to his or her death.
If a wrongful death is proven to have been caused by egregious, malicious, willful, wanton or reckless action or gross negligence, a Louisiana civil court may also award punitive damages separate from economic and non-economic damages. Damages for a wrongful death caused by a drunk driver, domestic abuse, or a hazing incident may also include “exemplary damages” under Louisiana law. The surviving family members of an unborn child can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages against parties found to be liable for his or her death under Louisiana Law.
Criminal Cases & Statute Of Limitations
Some wrongful death cases may involve the same facts of an ongoing or prosecuted criminal case. For example, if a drunk driver kills a pedestrian, the state may prosecute that person on criminal charges, and the family of the victim may also file a wrongful death claim against that person. A criminal case does not prevent a wrongful death claim, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two cases and how each may influence the other.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Louisiana is one year from the time of the death. If you have lost a loved one and believe another party to be at fault, speak to an attorney with experience in Louisiana wrongful death cases as soon as possible to ensure proper time to prepare a strong case before filing in court if it becomes necessary.
Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today
If you have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, a car, truck or motorcycle accident, a slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice or any other action or negligence on the part of another, you owe it to yourself to speak with a trusted, skilled attorney today. The Charbonnet Law Firm is a family firm that has been winning for victims in Louisiana for more than five decades. Let us help you understand your legal rights and the options you have in your wrongful death case. We will be with your family every step of the way, taking care of all the details and ensuring the best possible resolution of your case, so that you can focus on healing.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and Fall Injuries
You can have a slip or trip just about anywhere, from a grocery store or restaurant to a friend’s house or neighbor’s yard. While many falls result in no injury at all, many are very serious. You may know immediately that you’ve been injured, from dizziness or immobility, or the tell-tale snap of an ACL, for example. You may however feel fine immediately after a fall, but you may still have suffered serious injury that only becomes apparent after the fact.
There are a number of Louisiana statutes that can come into play in the case of a slip or trip and fall injury, each with their own rules, deadlines and processes. Two important sets of Louisiana laws to understand if you are injured are premise liability and negligence.
Louisiana premises liability law can apply when the condition or use of a property causes someone to be injured. Under this law, the owner or person responsible for a property has a duty to exercise “reasonable care.” By failing in their duty, the responsible party caused damage that could have been prevented. For example, an apartment building’s wheelchair accessible ramp that is damaged over time and not repaired in a timely manner could cause a senior resident to fall and fracture her hip. The building owner, building operator, or other third party may share liability for the senior’s injuries.
Louisiana negligence law may apply when a party fails in their duty to exercise reasonable care and creates a situation that leads to injury that could have been prevented. Similarly to premise liability, negligence law requires establishing a duty to exercise reasonable care that the responsible party failed to meet through action or inaction, and showing that the breach caused the injury and as a result of this the injured party suffered damages. For example, if grocery store workers were not trained in proper protocol for spill cleanup and a patron slipped and fell as a result of an improperly cleaned spill, the grocery store chain could potentially share liability.
What To Do If You Have A Slip And Fall Accident In Louisiana
We’ve all experienced it: slipping or tripping can feel embarrassing. Most people want to brush it off, forget it happened, and quickly move on. We blush, jump to our feet (if we can), and assure everyone, “no, no, I’m fine.” But you should pause and follow these essential steps if you’ve had a slip and fall; your health is more much important than saving face:
1- Seek medical care right away–even if your injuries seem minor. Your body can take time to show serious damage caused by a slip or trip. For example, feeling light-headed or dizzy after a fall could be your only initial symptom of a traumatic brain injury that could have lasting consequences for your health and quality of life. Or what feels like a deep bruise could, in fact, be a fractured hip or pelvis. A herniated disc may not show symptoms until your body’s endorphins from the accident wear off (hours or sometimes even days later). It is always best to err on the side of caution and seek treatment right away.
2- Document the accident. If the accident occurred at a business, ask for a written incident report. If you are with someone, ask them to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident and photos of the area around the accident. If the fall happened at a private residence, ask for the homeowner for insurance information.
3- Don’t make any public statements about fault or blame for the incident. You may be asked by an insurance claims adjustor or corporate designee to explain the details of the events surrounding the slip or trip and your fall. Try to limit your statements to only the facts of the event–don’t take the blame or assign any blame. For example, we tend to say things like, “I guess I should have been more careful” or “Phew, I’m clumsy” to smooth over any uncomfortable situation. Remember that insurance companies and corporations and those who represent them are going to work hard to protect their interests, and they count on most people who are injured settling for the first offer they are given. They allocate lots of money to compensate accident victims, but their job is to keep each claim as low as possible to protect their bottom line.
4- Speak with a trusted attorney skilled in Louisiana premise liability and personal injury law before you sign anything. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from understanding your rights and options and having a dedicated team looking out for your interests if you are injured in a slip or trip and fall accident.
Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, regardless of where it occurred, call now for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team.
The insurance companies and big corporations have an army of adjusters and lawyers looking out for their bottom line. You deserve a trusted, skilled attorney on your side, looking out for your family’s interests and fighting for the best possible compensation for your injuries.
At TheCharbonnet Law Firm, our first priority is you. We are proud to have served clients in Louisiana for more than five decades. Call today. We can help you understand your case and your options, and what comes next.
Estate Planning / Successions / Wills
Estate Planning / Successions / Wills
Louisiana law governing wills and succession is a complex mix of statutes, including very old concepts such as the right of usufruct and forced heirship. Without an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney, it can be next to impossible to ensure that your wishes or those of a loved one are carried out.
A succession is the process, under Louisiana law, of settling one’s estate upon death and distributing property to the heirs after debts are paid (sometimes called probate in other states). Succession can also refer to the estate a person leaves behind at death.
Not all property goes through a succession in Louisiana. Assets that have a named beneficiary (for example, retirement assets, like IRAs and 401(k)s, life insurance policies and annuities) do not have to go through a succession. Instead, they are passed to the named beneficiary, so it is very important to ensure that beneficiary designations on all your accounts are up to date.
Louisiana Law And Wills
To protect your family, it is essential to sit down with a skilled, trusted attorney with experience in Louisiana estate planning law and create a legally sound last will and testament. A will helps ensure that you have a say in what happens to the fruits of a lifetime of your hard work. With it, you can determine to a large extent how your property will be distributed. You can also name a guardian for minor children (called a “tutor” in Louisiana law). You can create a trust for grandchildren, heirs with special needs, or heirs who are not yet financially responsible enough. A will allows you to make provisions that can reduce or eliminate the burden of an estate tax. A will also allows you to name an executor who collects the assets of your estate, pays any debts, and distributes your estate to your heirs.
In order to be legally binding, it is essential that a last will and testament follow the exact form and formalities prescribed under the Louisiana Civil Code. Otherwise, a will is considered void. Such a situation can create a legal nightmare for loved ones seeking to carry out the wishes of the deceased.
A well crafted will allow you to specify to whom you want to leave your property, regardless of your marital status. You can leave everything that is yours to your spouse, your children or your Uncle Joe. The only exception being cases involving a “forced heir.”
A “Forced Heir” Under Louisiana Law
Under the Louisiana Civil Code, any child of the deceased who is under the age of 24 or who is permanently incapable of taking care of himself or herself, regardless of age, is considered a forced heir. A forced heir is entitled to a portion of your estate that the forced heir can claim even if you have left all of your property to someone else, including your spouse. Married couples can, however, leave a lifetime usufruct to the surviving spouse over the forced heir’s inheritance so that the surviving spouse can benefit from the asset during the remainder of his or her lifetime.
Determining What Is Included In Your Estate Under Louisiana Law
If you are married, under Louisiana law, your estate generally consists of your separate property and half of the community property of the marriage.
Under Louisiana civil law, separate property includes:
1) property owned before marriage.
2) property inherited by one spouse during marriage.
3) property gifted to just one of the spouses during marriage.
Community property, according to the Louisiana Civil Code, is any and all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage that is not “separate property” as defined above. Generally, each spouse owns half of the community property acquired during marriage. What is considered community property, however, can be limited by a prenuptial agreement that both parties enter into prior to their marriage, called a “marriage contract” under Louisiana law.
Default Succession Under Louisiana Law
In Louisiana, generally if a person dies without a legally binding will or with no will at all, a specific succession is followed that treats separate and community property differently and includes the legal right of usufruct.
In general, separate property is inherent in the following order:
1. Children (or their descendants, if children are deceased)
2. Brothers and sisters (or if any of them are deceased, their descendants) with a usufruct to the living parent(s)
5. Grandparents or other ascendants
6. Closest living relative
7. The State of Louisiana
At each step, the listed heir/s would inherit the entirety of the separate property of the estate. If no such heir/s exist, then all separate property goes to the next heir/s down the list.
Similarly, the deceased’s portion of the marriage’s community property is inherited in the following order:
1. To children (or their descendants, if the children are deceased), with a usufruct to the surviving spouse
2. To the surviving spouse
If there are no surviving direct descendants or spouse, the deceased portion of the marriage’s community is treated as separate property and is inherited according to the order above.
Usufruct and usufructuary are important legal terms as they make Louisiana wills and estate planning unique. A usufruct is the right to use property and receive the income from that property; a person who inherits this right is called a usufructuary. It is not uncommon in Louisiana for one person to inherit the usufruct and another person to inherit the underlying ownership of a property. This underlying ownership right is called “naked ownership” and entitles its holder to sell or mortgage this ownership (without affecting the usufructuary) and to the right to full ownership of the property after the death of the usufructuary. For example, a person could leave “naked ownership” of a home to his or her children and a usufruct to his or her spouse. The surviving spouse could live in or rent the home until his or her death at which time the children have full ownership rights to it.
The legal definition and interpretation of usufruct rights are complex and ever-changing under Louisiana civil law. It is essential to consult a trusted, experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney when considering including a usufruct in your will.
Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today
Give yourself the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after your passing. At the Charbonnet Law Firm, we have helped Louisiana families plan for the succession of their estates for more than five decades. No other firm knows more about the intricacies of Louisiana law that governs the transfer of property at the time of death. Call today to discuss the details of your personal situation with a member of our dedicated, skilled legal team.
AATA-Certified Truck Accident Attorneys in New Orleans
Did you know there are special laws set up by the federal government that apply only to 18-Wheelers and big trucks? The attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm are members of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. We are specifically trained to represent those injured by 18-Wheelers and big box trucks. We know that we may need to recover black box data from the truck and obtain evidence from the scene of the wreck, which is why it’s so important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after an 18-Wheeler accident.
Louisiana Truck Accident Statistics
Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of Louisiana commerce. They transport everything from the food and clothing we buy to construction equipment for our road and crude oil to Louisiana refineries. Sadly, motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks occur every day in Louisiana. These crashes can be very dangerous and often deadly.
A third of all fatal crashes that involve a large truck are head-on collisions.
Another 30 percent involve the front of the truck hitting the back or side of another vehicle.
More than one in four fatal large-truck crashes occurred on interstate highways.
Nearly 60 percent of truck accidents occurred in rural areas.
Deadly crashes involving large trucks typically happen on weekdays during daylight hours.
More than 21 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding conviction, roughly the same as drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes.
A comprehensive study of the causes of large-truck crashes that involved injury or death by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that in 55 percent of crashes the large truck was the “critical reason” or the cause of the accident event. Nine out of ten of these critical reasons involved driver error on the part of the large truck operator.
The most common factors involved in truck driver error that led to a crash were:
Traveling too fast for conditions (23% of crashes)
Unfamiliar with the roadway (22% of crashes)
Over-the-counter drug use (17% of crashes)
Inadequate surveillance (14% of crashes)
Driver Fatigue (13% of crashes)
An average semi-truck weighs 40 tons, compared to 1.5 tons for a typical compact car. This weight difference makes semi-trucks the most hazardous vehicles on the road. Semi-trucks require more stopping and merging distance, and they have large blind spots at their front and sides. They often carry massive loads long distances across a variety of road types and conditions.
Louisiana Truck Accident Law
Liability Under Louisiana Law
Because of the inherent risks of large trucks, especially to other motor vehicle operators, truck drivers have a duty to other drivers to use “reasonable care” in operating vehicles. Essentially, an injured party seeks damages based on a truck driver’s negligence that caused the accident.
Damages under Louisiana Law
When a trucker causes an accident, that duty is breached and injured parties hold him or her liable for failing to use such care. Injured parties may seek compensation for medical expenses incident to the accident, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as future treatment and rehabilitation expenses.
Louisiana car accident judgments are subject to comparative negligence law. This means that a court can find you, the victim, partially at fault for your car accident. You can not recover damages for your case. But the court will reduce your award by the percentage that it decides you were at fault. So, if you would have received a $100,000 award and you are found to be 20% at fault for the car accident, your award would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. An insurance claims adjuster will use the same logic in determining what it will offer as a settlement.
Obviously, there is no empirical measure of fault, so any assignment of liability is really a judgment call that is subject to your ability to negotiate with insurers or persuade a judge or jury. A skilled, experienced attorney with knowledge of past awards and how “fault” is determined can be invaluable in helping you through this process.
Statute of Limitations Under Louisiana Law
The statute of limitations to bring a civil suit for damages in Louisiana is one year from the date of the accident.
Commercial Truckers Insurance Requirements
Under current state and federal laws, commercial large truck drivers are required to have minimum liability coverage from $300,000 (up to 10,000 lbs) and $750,000 (over 10,000 lbs), rising to $5 million for certain hazardous cargoes.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
While typically the driver of a vehicle is liable for the damages they cause in an auto accident in Louisiana, there can be special circumstances when a commercial truck is involved. It is important to understand your rights if you’ve been injured in a crash with a large truck. A skilled attorney with experience winning Louisiana truck accident cases can help you navigate the process to ensure the best possible compensation for your injuries.
Louisiana Law When The Truck Driver Is An Employee
Louisiana law holds employers responsible for wrongful acts, including negligent driving, when they are committed by an employee while the employee is performing job duties. When two parties have a certain relationship with one another, the law can hold one party liable for the misconduct of another. For example, if an employee runs a red light and hits another car while driving a company truck during work hours, the employer could be responsible for the damages caused by the employee.
Louisiana Law and Truck Fleet Owners and Operators
Truck drivers are often classified (and sometimes misclassified) as independent contractors by the companies that employ them. This allows a company to shift costs onto truck drivers and avoid federal labor standards like overtime pay and workers’ compensation. This does not nullify the company’s responsibility as a fleet owner or operator when a victim is injured by a driver under their employ.
Damages suffered by victims of a truck accident can quickly exceed a truck driver’s insurance policy limits. Because of this, federal regulations require that trucking companies carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance.
Call the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck-involved crash in Louisiana, you owe it to yourself to find a strong legal advocate. Insurance and trucking companies will always work to protect their bottom line. That can mean pressuring accident victims to settle quickly for less than the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries.
Call today for a free consultation. Let our team of experienced, trusted attorneys at the Charbonnet Law Firm evaluate your case and help you decide the best possible course of action to take. If you decide to work with our firm, we collect nothing unless we prevail, and we will fight tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome of your case, so you can focus on healing.
Personal Injury Law In Louisiana
Every day, on our roadways, in our public spaces, or in medical facilities or other businesses, people are injured in Louisiana. Some require medical attention for their injuries. Some injuries result in lifelong disability or death.
Charbonnet Law Firm may be able to help you if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident. We specialize in help Louisianans win compensation for their injuries, in the following areas of personal injury law:
Louisiana personal injury law can be a complicated system to navigate with overlapping statutes and unevenly updated laws. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate this system and understand your rights if you’ve been injured.
Damages In Louisiana Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, damages are the dollar amount meant to compensate the injured person for all financial losses, as well as pain and suffering, from the accident.
If you have been injured by the actions, negligence, or malpractice of another, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Compensation can include the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering, the cost of modifications or equipment to help you live with or heal from injuries, and more.
Who Determining Damages In A Personal Injury Case?
In order to win compensation that accurately reflects the seriousness of your injuries, you must build a case that documents those injuries, any pain and suffering, lost wages, projected lost future wages, and more. Insurance companies always protect their bottom line and will almost certainly not account for all of your damages when offering you a settlement. They count on most accident victims settling quickly and taking the first offer made to them. That is why contacting a skilled personal injury attorney knowledgeable in Louisiana case law is so important.
Most cases are settled without going to court, in which case a negotiation between the insurance company and the injured party (and your legal representation) will lead to an agreement on damages and the terms of a settlement. If a case goes to trial, a judge or jury will determine liability and the amount of any damages.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Louisiana is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning the injured party in a case may be found to be partially at fault for the accident. For example, if you are injured in a car accident in which the other driver ran a red light but you were found to be speeding, you may be assigned a percentage of liability for the accident. Your award would then be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault.
Determining who is at fault, who must pay compensation, and how much that compensation must be is a complex legal process. Winning the best outcome is often based on experience, specialized knowledge, negotiation skills and persuasion. That is why it is so important to find a trusted, skilled attorney experienced in Louisiana personal injury law right away if you are injured in an accident.
Are There Caps On Damages In Louisiana Law?
A cap is a limit on the amount or type of damages a person can receive. In Louisiana, medical malpractice damages are typically capped at $500,000. Providers found liable for medical malpractice only pay $100,000 if they are covered by the state’s Patient Compensation Fund, and the injured patient receives any amount over $100,000 directly from the fund. It is important to note that this cap does not apply to future medical expenses, and it does not apply to injury cases that do not involve medical malpractice.
Common Injuries Covered Under Personal Injury Law In Louisiana
Each area of personal injury law has a set of common injuries associated with it, while uncommon injuries are always possible. If you have experienced any of these injuries as a result of another party’s actions, negligence or medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an attorney knowledgeable in Louisiana personal injury law to determine if another party is legally liable for your injuries.
Common vehicle accident injuries include whiplash, brain and spinal cord injuries (e.g. traumatic brain injury or herniated disc), broken or fractured bones (especially ribs and knees), internal bleeding and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Injuries from medical malpractice can vary widely in their type and severity but most are caused by the following medical errors: misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, errors made during childbirth, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, errors in prescribing medication, and negligence in care.
Patients injured in Slip and Fall accidents often present with head injuries (e.g. traumatic brain injury), broken bones, hip fractures, sprained ankles or wrists, spinal cord injuries, knee damage, shoulder injuries or nerve damage.
When To Talk To An Attorney
While you are recovering, you may not fully understand the long-term consequences and the full costs of your injuries. Dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices and insurance companies when you also must focus on getting well can feel overwhelming.
You should not rely on an insurance company to protect your best interests. In fact, in cases that would be costly to their bottom line, an insurance company might press injured parties for a quick settlement. The insurance company may offer you a much smaller settlement than what is in line with the seriousness of your injuries.
One thing is certain: If you are injured, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before you sign any settlement. Without getting sound legal advice, you could be signing away your right to compensation that you and your family need for years to come.
There is a one-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases under Louisiana law. This means that any lawsuit for damages must be filed with the court within one calendar year from the date of the accident. But building a strong case can take time and the closer to that deadline the less leverage you have to negotiate with insurers.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact a skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana personal injury cases today. At Charbonnet Law Firm, our skilled legal team will be by your side every step of the way, helping you navigate the legal and insurance systems, and building the strongest case possible to win the compensation you deserve.
Call Charbonnet Law Firm Today
Call Charbonnet Law Firm today for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team. At Charbonnet, our first priority is you. We will help you understand your case and your options, and what comes next. Let us give you the peace of mind of having a trusted, experienced attorney fighting for you.
If you have recently been involved in a car accident or lost a loved one to a negligent driver, speak to a New Orleans car accident attorney as soon as possible. A successful legal claim can make all the difference in getting the compensation you need to cover high medical bills, property damage, and other expenses
The attorneys of Charbonnet Law Firm are New Orleans natives and well-versed with Louisiana car accident law. We will fight to get you the funds you need to cover accident-related expenses and can also help enforce the terms of your policy if your insurance company is refusing to honor your claims. Reach out now for a free consultation and case evaluation.
A University of Michigan study comparing states by traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents found that Louisiana came near the bottom at 42nd for traffic safety. The driving factors behind these motor vehicle accidents included vehicle occupants failing to wear seatbelts, driver speed, distraction, and impairment.
While Louisiana as a whole can be dangerous for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike, New Orleans faces particularly high rates of motor vehicle accidents. According to that same LSU data, nearly one in three of Louisiana’s traffic injuries occurred in the New Orleans metropolitan region. Even more alarming: New Orleans and the surrounding parishes accounted for 22 percent of traffic fatalities in the entire state. Impaired drivers, traffic congestion, and roads in need of repair have all contributed to New Orleans residents experience more than their fair share of vehicle crashes.
I Got Into a Car Accident—What Do I Do?
The clock starts ticking immediately once the accident occurs. Wait too long and you may miss important timeframes or steps, which could make it impossible for you to pursue a car accident claim. Although swift action is necessary, it’s important to go about it the right way. Follow the steps below to give yourself the best chance at successfully pursuing a car accident claim.
1. Remain at the scene
Leaving the scene before you have been cleared by police is one of the worst mistakes you can make after a car accident in Louisiana. Not only is it a crime (one that can be punished with jail time if someone is injured), but it may make you ineligible for any injury claims or even coverage by your insurance policy.
2. Call 911 for injuries & get everyone involved to safety
Start by calling emergency services, and explain the situation and any injuries. Use simple and clear language when possible: who, what, where.
If you can, attempt to make the scene as safe as possible for others. Verify that other drivers aren’t experiencing medical emergencies. Then, attempt to move damaged vehicles out of the way so they won’t be struck by people passing the scene.
Provide immediate medical assistance if necessary and possible. If vehicles or persons with neck injuries can’t be moved, set up flares.
If there are no injuries, you will still need to report the accident to authorities if property damage occurred. You may not be able to pursue property damage claims from accidents if police reports do not properly back them up.
3. Gather information and take photos of the incident
Get insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident. Having this information will make it far easier for you to process any claims. If you fail to gather this information at the accident, you may not be able to contact the other parties at a later time.
If you cannot collect information from the other drivers (for example, because you’re injured), ask a witness at the scene if they can collect the information for you. Consider calling a friend to collect the insurance information if you need to be transported to a hospital.
You should also take as many photos of the accident and damage as you can. Take photos of the damaged areas of all vehicles involved and the directions from which these vehicles arrived at the scene of the accident. These photos may be used as evidence to prove your claims at a later date.
4. Seek medical treatment immediately if injured
Many insurance companies consider the fact that you sought emergency treatment the day of the accident when determining the severity of your injuries.
If you fail to seek treatment, the full extent of your injuries may not be properly documented. You should not assume that you don’t have serious injuries just because you don’t feel unwell. The pain of many injuries may be dulled by adrenaline at the time of the accident.
Seeking treatment immediately can help you provide evidence that the injuries occurred as a result of the accident and not at a later time.
Even if you just get checked out at urgent care, this is important for your case. Be sure to use your health insurance if you have it. Keep track of any payments you make, as you may be able to get compensation at a later date.
5. Contact a local car accident attorney in New Orleans
You should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after being involved in an accident. They will guide you through the process and help with everything from medical evaluations to negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer right away can help you avoid serious mistakes by:
Protecting you from making statements that are dangerous to your case
Help you collect evidence that may not be available at a later time
Observe the proper deadlines for filing
Charbonnet Law Firm has won cases for clients in the New Orleans area for decades. Let our skilled, caring legal team take care of all the confusing details and protect your interests while you focus on recovering.
Louisiana Car Accident Laws & FAQs
In Louisiana, car accident case law is generally governed by the same statutes governing personal injury, though this is not always the case. Depending on your case and injuries, there may be different legal requirements, caps to awards for damages, and other complicating factors.
A skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana car accidents and personal injury law can help you understand your rights and options when navigating this process.
If you’ve never been in a car accident before or have lived in another state, familiarizing yourself with Louisiana car accident laws will help you determine what to do immediately after getting into a car accident and what your options are.
Below are some of the state laws that govern motor vehicle accidents in New Orleans and Louisiana which could determine your rights in making an accident injury claim. An experienced attorney can help you better understand how these laws shape your rights and responsibilities and how they can affect the outcome of a case if you are injured in a car accident in Louisiana.
Requirement To Report Vehicle Accidents
Statute Of Limitations (Prescription)
At-Fault Driver’s Personal Car Insurance
No Requirement to Carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
If a non-life-threatening emergency occurs, the operator may instruct you to call 311 or another service to report the accident. It is important that you follow through with the reporting even if the accident isn’t an emergency.
The accident will then be investigated by a law enforcement officer directed to the scene by emergency services. The officer will take down the details of the crash and may have some questions to ask you.
When the investigation is complete, a crash report will be publicly available. Our office can secure it for you once the law enforcement officer completes and releases it.
When is the deadline to file a claim for a car accident in Louisiana?
Louisiana has different motor vehicle laws than the rest of the country. The Pelican State also uses different terms for standard legal concepts. For example, in Louisiana, we say “prescription” instead of “Statute of Limitations.”
The prescription for filing a car accident claim is one year. What does that mean?
Louisiana drivers have one year from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. This is one of the shortest limits in the country. It is a limit that can pass very quickly while you’re recovering from car accident injuries or waiting to receive reports from any investigations.
This limit applies to any claim for injury or vehicle damage by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist. Missing it almost certainly means losing your ability to negotiate for fair compensation. To avoid this, speak to an experienced as soon as possible after the car accident. This will give you and your legal team plenty of time to build the strongest case possible before the one-year deadline.
I was partially at fault, am I still eligible for compensation?
Louisiana car accident judgments are subject to comparative negligence law. This means that a court can find you, the victim, partially at fault for your car accident. You can still recover damages for your case if you are found to be partially at fault. However, the court will reduce your award by the percentage that it decides you were at fault.
Let’s explore this with an example. Imagine that you successfully make a claim for an injury in the amount of $100,000. If you received a $100,000 award and were found to be 20% at fault for the car accident, your award would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. An insurance claims adjuster will use the same logic in determining what it will offer as a settlement.
Obviously, there is no empirical measure of fault. Any assignment of liability is really a judgment call that is subject to your ability to negotiate with insurers or persuade a judge or jury. Evidence that you or your lawyer collect from the accident scene can be crucial to this process. So can the witnesses that you collect and what is said to your insurance company.
How much compensation will I get from the insurance company?
If you are in an accident involving a driver who is at fault for the accident, chances are the driver has personal car insurance. Like most states, Louisiana requires drivers to carry this insurance. Failing to carry this insurance can lead directly to fines and loss of license. That existing personal liability insurance will extend to rental cars and cover injuries as well as damages suffered by others.
All insurance policies only pay up to the policy limits. The amount that your insurance or the insurance of other drivers covers will vary based on the cost and the quality of the policy. Your insurance may only cover a small portion of the damages that you suffer in an accident.
In Louisiana, drivers of personal use vehicles are required to maintain at least the following levels of liability insurance coverage:
$15,000 for bodily injury per person
$30,000 for bodily injury per accident
$25,000 for property damage per accident
The car insurance policies that you can buy on the open market will not carry less than this amount. However, you have the option of buying car insurance that covers significantly more. Many policies also include comprehensive and collision coverage. Some rental car companies require renters to provide proof of insurance coverage from a personal car insurance policy in order to waive their liability or collision coverage. The level of coverage will depend on the state requirements in which the policy was issued.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
PIP is a type of insurance that is available in no-fault states. It covers the policyholder’s medical bills regardless of who was found to be at fault for the accident. Unlike many states, Louisiana does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP).
Personal injury protection is not available in Louisiana. However, while this coverage is unavailable from any car insurance policy, you may be able to find a policy that provides similar protection in the form of a provision called “MedPay.”
If your policy includes MedPay, you can get coverage for your injuries even if you are found to be at 100% fault for the accident. MedPay typically covers less than the PIP protection that you can get from policies in other states. This makes it all the more important that you make a successful claim if you need coverage for medical bills.
What is the “No Pay No Play” law and what does it mean?
Louisiana is one of a few states that has passed a “No Pay No Play” law. This law bars uninsured and under-insured drivers from collecting the first $15,000 dollars of any claim of bodily injury and the first $25,000 of any claim of property damage.
that means that if you drive without insurance, you cannot make claims before a certain limit—even if another driver is found to be completely at fault for the accident. Neither they nor their insurance will be responsible for your damages unless those damages exceed the limits listed above.
While the “No Pay No Play’ applies to most car accidents, there are some important exceptions. Even if you drive without insurance, you may still be able to make full claims against the other driver if that driver:
The Charbonnet Law Firm team is made up of a group of attorneys who were all born and raised in the New Orleans area and are extremely knowledgeable about local car accident laws. Our lawyers and staff are well-connected and respected within the community which allows us to achieve better results for our clients.
Our team has more than 50 years of combined legal experience serving families in the New Orleans area and surrounding Louisiana communities. We take pride in providing every client with personalized legal services that are tailored to their personal circumstances.
With a focus on complex injury cases, we take a collective team approach when handling cases that require thorough research and medical experts.
The lawyers at our law firm work together on serious injury cases. By combining the experience of multiple attorneys, we can do more to be prepared for trial should a case need to be litigated. In addition to injury cases, our team represents families that need other legal services. We are also available to help you with probate services such as drafting wills and handling successions and estate planning.
Our Car Accident Case Results
We are proud of the fact that we have been able to produce some amazing outcomes for our clients. In the past, we have secured:
$2.75 million for a client after a drunk driver caused the client to have cervical and lumbar surgeries
$2.4 million for a client who suffered injuries after an 18 Wheeler crash and required multiple surgeries
$1.5 million for a client who suffered severe injuries after an 18 Wheeler crash
$575k for a client who required extensive neck surgery after being involved in an 18 Wheeler crash
Contact Experienced Car Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys
Have you been involved in a car accident, truck accident, or other personal injury matter? Contact the team at Charbonnet Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our dedicated legal team will give you a clear picture of your claim and what to expect and work tirelessly to build the best possible case for you so that you can focus on healing. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their legal interests are being protected by trusted New Orleans car accident attorneys.
Aggressive Driving. Driving aggressively includes speeding, failure to yield, tailgating, ignoring passing rules, disobeying traffic control signs, and overall carelessness.
Not wearing a safety belt.
Distracted driving. The most common distractions in 2021 car accidents in Louisiana included cell phones, other electronic devices, and distractions both inside and outside the vehicle.
Alcohol, which when combined with the previous three reasons can compound the problem and have deadly consequences.
8. Drinking and driving is a major factor in car accidents in Louisiana Between 2017-2021, a total of 40% of all crashes involved alcohol. Last year, 86 drivers in fatal car accidents had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit.
9. Traveling on two wheels in Louisiana also has its risks. In 2021, 82 motorcyclists and 32 bicyclists lost their lives in car accidents. In total, there were 1,538 crashes involving motorcycles and 637 crashes involving bicycles.
10 . According to an analysis by the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety, the number of crashes in Louisiana between 2011-2019 increased due to more economic activity. But some good news is that injury rates dropped significantly because of better safety features in cars, and a 10% increase in seat belt use.
By wearing your seatbelt, abstaining from alcohol, driving defensively and not aggressively, and avoiding distractions, you can help keep yourself out of these sobering statistics about car accidents in Louisiana. However, sometimes no matter how cautious a driver you are, you can still be injured in an accident. Our expert team at Charbonnet Law are available for a free consultation to discuss your needs. Contact us today.
Uber and Lyft arrived in New Orleans shortly after a city ordinance permitting those companies to operate in 2015. Charbonnet Law Firm got its first Uber accident case the following week! Since then, the popularity of rideshares has exploded with the number of trips taken using rideshare apps quickly overtaking traditional taxi trips.
Our experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyers have represented hundreds of drivers, passengers, and bystanders in rideshare accidents. We know the attorneys who represent these companies and we have good working relationships with them.
New Orleans Ridesharing Accident Statistics
Rideshare apps have changed the way many of us get around. We use Uber or Lyft because of their convenience. Whether we are on vacation, heading to the airport or The Big Game, or making the responsible transit choice after a few too many drinks, many New Orleans residents rely on ride-sharing services to get us where we need to go safely. In fact, a 2018 Arizona State University study found that New Orleans had the second-highest rideshare use per capita of any major U.S. metropolitan area (beat only by San Francisco). A whopping 30% of New Orleans residents reported using one of the rideshare apps in the last 30 days.
According to a 2018 survey, 36% of Americans say they have used a ridesharing app. Another 61% say they have heard of Uber or Lyft but hadn’t taken a ride yet, and just 3% of Americans said they hadn’t heard of them at all. The same survey taken in 2015 found that just 15% had used the apps and 33% had never heard of Uber or Lyft. Founded in 2009 and 2012, respectively, Uber and Lyft now account for 5.5 billion vehicle trips worldwide each year.
This enormous growth comes with new dangers on the road and new legal complications when an accident occurs. In 2018 Uber released a U.S. Safety Report that found that there were 107 total traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018 involving Uber. The company estimated its fatality rate to be roughly half the average for U.S. drivers. Analysts, however, point out that the company doesn’t report any data on non-fatal traffic accidents involving its drivers. A new study by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that ridesharing services may actually increase traffic accidents and fatalities, especially in larger cities, by putting more cars on the road and creating more stop-start traffic.
Determining who is the responsible party in an accident involving Uber or Lyft isn’t always straightforward. If you are injured in an accident, it might seem like the driver’s auto insurance company or the multibillion-dollar rideshare company involved will protect your interests as a rider, pedestrian, or driver. Don’t count on it. Both want the fastest possible resolution and will work to protect their bottom line first and foremost.
In general, if the rideshare driver is at fault, his or her insurance will cover damages up to the maximum amount of that policy. If this policy is exhausted, then the ridesharing app’s third-party liability insurance should kick in up to $1,000,000. But, of course, the devil is in the details. Both corporations will use complicating factors in Louisiana law, like comparative negligence and personal injury caps, to protect their interests and keep their costs to a minimum. Furthermore, Uber and Lyft both require users to agree to “terms of service.” The amount of insurance coverage a rideshare vehicle has can vary minute by minute depending on whether there are passengers in the vehicle
It can be a very complex process to sort out who is responsible for paying out compensation and in what amounts when an accident involves a ridesharing app driver. You owe it to yourself and your family to speak with a skilled and dedicated legal team with a strong track record of winning for clients who have been victims of Uber or Lyft accidents.
What to do if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident in New Orleans
Even if an accident seems relatively minor, following these steps will protect your interests and give you peace of mind down the road. In the event of a traffic accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
1. Make sure you and others involved are physically okay. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if anyone is injured. Make sure you and others are not at immediate risk from oncoming traffic or other roadway hazards.
2. Make sure the accident is reported immediately. Call 911 and explain the situation. If the emergency is non-life threatening, the operator may advise you to call 311 or another local service. Under Louisiana law, a driver must immediately report any traffic accident that results in an injury to any person, a death, or damage to property over $500. Drivers must further provide detailed information to a member of law enforcement who investigates the crash. Crash reports are available at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety website.
3. Gather information and evidence at the scene. Use your cellphone to take photos at the scene that show the angle of impact, damage to vehicles and other property. Get the contact information for all witnesses at the scene. Take photos of insurance cards from any drivers involved. This step may prove invaluable later on as your legal team prepares evidence to build the strongest possible case.
4. If you are a driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, report the crash through the Uber or Lyft app within 24 hours. You may have to go take a drug test within 24 hours of the crash. REMEMBER: Being in an accident can be confusing and scary. Do not admit fault or make other statements about your injuries or those of others to anyone until you have gained a full picture of what happened.
5. If you are injured, contact an attorney with a strong track record of winning for clients in Uber and Lyft crash injury cases in Louisiana.
Car accidents are complicated enough, but when a rideshare app is involved, things can get even more complex. You can find yourself dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices, your own insurance, the rideshare driver, his or her auto insurance, the ridesharing app, its third-party liability insurance, and any other involved parties and their insurance. It can feel like trying to find your way out of a maze. Let an experienced Uber car accident attorney at Charbonnet Law Firm help you sort through this tangled web and get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Charbonnet Law Firm About Your Rideshare Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades. You deserve the peace of mind of knowing a skilled, trustworthy law firm is on your side.
At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there with you every step of the way, protecting your interests and fighting for the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.