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Car accidentscar accident attorney new orleans are overwhelming and exhausting. In the minutes and hours after a crash, you’re probably shaken up and grateful to be alive. However, injuries and property damage quickly become daunting issues. From mounting bills to calls from the insurance company, there is a lot to juggle.

To make matters more difficult, anything you say may be used against you. This is why it’s essential to have the best car accident attorney New Orleans has to offer.

Read on for details regarding the when, why, and how of choosing a lawyer to represent you after a Louisiana car accident.

What Is the Role of A Car Accident Lawyer?

Lawyers spend years learning the intricate details of different types of law. For a car accident attorney in New Orleans, that means an extensive focus on Louisiana driving regulations. Plus, any nuanced variables that have an effect on New Orleans specifically.

Here are a few ways a car accident lawyer in New Orleans may assist you after an accident:

  • Informing – Because the average person doesn’t regularly encounter legal jargon, they usually aren’t familiar with their unique rights. A lawyer can help you understand the driving laws in New Orleans, explaining whether you were or were not at fault.
  • Advising – Competing interests can quickly complicate the details surrounding an accident. The other party, witnesses, and insurance companies will all likely have different opinions on what happened. It’s important to sort through the differing opinions with an expert. A well-versed car accident attorney in New Orleans will properly advise you.
  • Negotiating – Very few cases go to court, which means negotiation is an important part of the process of securing compensation. A reputable car accident attorney can handle these meetings with the other party, as well as their lawyers and insurance company. This gives you the opportunity to focus on your recovery.
  • Litigating – In the rare case that an agreement can’t be reached through negotiations, you need an attorney to represent you in court. A lawyer who has walked with you throughout the entire process from day one will have the knowledge to bring forth a strong case. This may help secure the compensation you need for medical bills, damages, lost wages, and much more.

3 Signs You Need a Car Accident Attorney

Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to recover from an accident. The good news is, a New Orleans car accident lawyer can be incredibly helpful in these situations.

Here are three instances that definitely require legal representation after a car accident:

  • You were injured in the accident
  • Your passenger(s) were injured in the accident
  • There’s significant and costly property damage

When these factors are at play in a car accident, there will be higher claims. This goes for both medical costs and vehicle repairs or replacement. Compensation to cover these expenses is crucial. An attorney’s job is to look at all of the factors to ensure your settlement covers all of these costs, allowing you to get back to your life.

Alternatively, if you were in a minor accident, but feel overwhelmed by the claims process, you should also contact an attorney. There are times when insurance companies and other parties do not cooperate or act fairly. When you feel in over your head, it’s important to ask for help.

What To Look For In A Car Accident Lawyer

Finding a car accident attorney in New Orleans is easy when you know what to look for. Likewise, most attorneys will provide free consultations. This allows you to have a few meetings and make a choice based on who made you feel the most comfortable.

It’s also important to note that most attorneys will take your case on contingency. That means you won’t pay anything upfront unless the attorney helps you win your case or reaches a fair settlement.

Here are important characteristics to look for in a New Orleans car accident lawyer.

Availability

Organization and availability are crucial when it comes to running a law practice. The attorney you work with should have lines of communication open at all times. Look for a law firm that has a team of legal assistants who are available to provide updates on your case when you need them the most. Likewise, you should be able to schedule a meeting within a reasonable amount of time if you need a face-to-face update.

Experience

Although education is important, nothing can compare to experience. Your team should have many years of work experience in the area of automobile accidents. This allows for a unique perspective and familiarity with traffic laws that are at play after a Louisiana car accident. It’s also important to hire an attorney with extensive courtroom experience in the event that your case requires litigation.

Honesty

It’s important to know the prospects of your case before things get underway. Your New Orleans car accident lawyer should be open and honest about the following:

  • What type of evidence it will take to build a strong case
  • How much compensation you should seek
  • Whether it appears you have any fault in the accident

Your attorney should be upfront about your case from day one. This will allow for the best possible settlement.

Positive reviews

The best compliment is a glowing reference. Search for a legal team that has great online reviews on websites like Avvo and Google, as well as positive testimonials.

When you read through reviews or talk with references, previous clients should note that the attorneys were honest and helpful. As previously mentioned, you also want to look for lawyers who are known for being present and ready to answer their client’s questions with minimal follow-up time.

Huber Thomas Law: Your Partner After a Louisiana Car Accident

After an accident, you need the best car accident attorney New Orleans has to offer. Here at Huber Thomas Law, we provide legal assistance that is approachable. Our goal is to help make sense of the jargon and walk you through every step of the process. Here is what sets us apart from the competition and makes us the best team in town.

Our process and approach

The collaborative team at Huber Thomas Law has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Our unique approach allows us to build cases that result in fair and equitable outcomes.

Although you will have a specific attorney assigned to your case, you will benefit from an entire team of lawyers. By joining together with multiple unique viewpoints and skillsets, our entire team contributes to the end goal. This helps us take your case to the next level.

Further, we have a reputable portfolio of crash experts. These individuals help us recreate scenes, while also shedding light on the unique elements of a crash. This is particularly important in the event that your case goes to court.

Case victories

As previously mentioned, the majority of cases involving car accidents settle outside of court. In fact, 95% of them reach a conclusion through negotiations. Court battles are expensive and time-consuming, which is why it’s never the preferred route.

That said, we are committed to securing fair settlements for our clients, no matter what it takes. We prepare for every case as if it will go before a judge or jury to ensure maximum power at the negotiating table.

For a quick view of our success in the courtroom, consider the following case victories:

Our attorneys have litigated hundreds of cases arising from automobile accidents and secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We have taken numerous cases to trial, and based on our depth of experience, we are always ready to pursue litigation to protect our clients

Call Huber Thomas Law Today

car accident attorney in new orleansIf you are caught up in the aftermath of a car accident, legal representation may help you secure the settlement you deserve.

At Huber Thomas Law, we offer a free and confidential consultation in order to assess your case. We represent clients in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and other states across the country.

Schedule a meeting today to find out more about how our team can help you.

From dangerous hurricanes to tropical storms, the Gulf South often bears the brunt of natural

property damage claims

disasters. The result is destruction that affects homes, businesses, and major resources. These losses underscore the importance of having a comprehensive insurance policy that includes coverage for property damage.

Unfortunately, insurance jargon can be difficult to comb through, especially after disaster strikes. At Huber Thomas Law, we know how to handle property damage claims, and we can walk you through the process. Here’s what you should know about your rights and securing the compensation you’re owed.

What Is Considered Property Damage?

Property damage is defined as an injury to real or personal property. Real property is land and anything permanently attached to it, such as a house. Fortunately, property owners can obtain insurance to protect against the risks associated with these damages. Here are some of the most common types of property damage claims, especially in Louisiana and the surrounding states.

Hurricane damage

Hurricanes are perhaps the largest weather threat in Louisiana, as well as the entire Gulf South region. Driving rain and high winds come together to create catastrophic damage. Hurricane Laura, the most recent hurricane to date, destroyed more than 500,000 homes and businesses. From roofs torn off buildings to electrical fires, these weather events have deadly and disastrous potential.

Flood damage

It only takes an inch of floodwater to cause more than $25,000 in damage. Whether it’s carpet or hardwood, homes and businesses simply can’t withstand that type of moisture. The end result can be any or all of the following:

  • Roof issues, destroyed flooring, and foundation cracks
  • Mold and mildew on flooring, drywall, insulation, and belongings
  • Damaged kitchen appliances
  • Septic and well water clogs due to excess water and debris
  • Damage to electrical wiring

Unfortunately, many homeowners' insurance policies don’t include flood damage. This coverage is provided through a separate policy.

Fire damage

Fires can happen in the blink of an eye. Space heaters and cooking mishaps make them a possibility anywhere. Downed power lines and wildfires are other causes that are commonly cited in property damage claims.

Fire-related property damage examples are broken into two categories. The first is primary damage due to the flames, but secondary damage often occurs due to smoke and the water used to put out the fire.

Tornado damage

Louisiana and other nearby states ranked among the top 10 states that fell victim to tornadoes in 2021. The high winds associated with a tornado can damage buildings, or even level them. Even the lowest-ranked tornado, an EF 0 sustains winds of up to 85 mph. This can lead to broken branches and downed trees that fall onto homes, causing significant property damage.

Willful damage

Vandalism is another aspect of property damage law that is difficult to deal with. Whether it’s your home or business, deliberate destruction is costly. Any intentional act to destroy or damage your property is unacceptable.

Examples include:

  • Broken windows
  • Arson
  • Cutting down trees without permission
  • Graffiti or tagging
  • Mailbox or signage tampering

The Property Damage Insurance Claims Process: 5 Things To Know

Damage to your home or business is devastating. To make matters worse, many insurance companies make the property damage claims process frustrating. It seems they’ll do everything they can to avoid paying out a fair settlement. In these cases, knowledge is power. Here are 5 important things to know about how to handle property damage claims.

1. You must report the incident as soon as possible

Property damage claims generally take time. From that first call to receiving a payout, it can be weeks or even months. Nonetheless, it’s essential to get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you’ve assessed the damage. Your policy may actually provide guidance regarding how much time you have.

This first phone call doesn’t have to be lengthy. In most cases, you’ll simply provide information that helps the employee locate your policy, and answer questions about what happened. You’ll also provide details about the damage and how extensive it is. From there, the company will most likely assign an employee to your case and have that individual touch base at a later date.

As always, be open and honest about the property damage and what caused it.

2. It’s important to document everything

After you’ve contacted your insurance company, take photos and thoroughly document the damage. Be sure to get clear photos from different angles. A video is also helpful in certain situations. Keep a log of the property damage, how it appears, and how it changes (if at all) as the days go on.

If you’re reading this before you’re in the midst of property damage claims, it’s a good time to do a value assessment of your home. If you’ve recently invested in a renovation or have acquired high-value items since you first purchased insurance, be sure to update your policy. This will help you secure the compensation you need in the event of a disaster.

3. Your adjuster is an important piece of the puzzle

Once you’ve filed a claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. This individual likely has experience assessing many different types of property damage claims, including ones similar to yours. This person will investigate the damage, negotiate the coverage you receive, and hopefully resolve the claim.

While adjusters are sympathetic to what you’re going through, it’s important to remember that they work for your insurance company. Try to foster a cordial relationship with this person. Do your best to remain professional and courteous, even when you disagree with certain conclusions.

As always, dealing with adjusters and other insurance representatives can be draining. This is why it’s ideal to have a property damage lawyer in your corner.

4. Major local disasters may result in a different process

When a major disaster hits an entire geographical region, the process of securing insurance money can be different.

For one, there may be public adjusters offering to assess your property damage. These individuals work for policyholders, rather than insurance companies. However, it’s important to know that there are fees associated with using a public adjuster.

Further, in the event that your damages exceed the amount of coverage you receive, federal agencies may provide grants or low-interest loans. These are designed to aid in recovery efforts after a major disaster.

Again, a skilled property damage attorney is your best bet for navigating after a major local disaster.

5. An experienced property damage attorney can help

Property damage claims should be simple and straightforward. You pay your insurance premium with the expectation that your insurance company will cover costs when you need it the most. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. After decades of experience navigating property damage law, we’ve been disappointed to see many insurance companies act in bad faith.

Hiring a property damage attorney is beneficial for many reasons. Consider the following:

  • Your attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company, which means you won’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
  • A lawyer may enlist experts from a range of different industries to build a strong case regarding your losses.

In the event that negotiations aren’t successful, your lawyer can represent you in court with full knowledge of prior events and correspondence.

Huber Thomas Law: Your Property Damage Attorneys

At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in holding insurance providers accountable. We will thoroughly review your property damage claims, pinpointing exactly what you’re entitled to. We lean on guidance from the attorneys within our own team, as well as the expertise of property damage inspectors. This approach allows us to build a winning case that will help us secure the money you need to repair or replace your property.

Our courtroom success stories

The team at Huber Thomas Law has decades of combined experience in the courtroom. We are diligent and unrelenting when it comes to pursuing fair settlements for our clients. Simply put, our previous case victories speak for themselves. Highlights related to property damage law include:

  • $26.2 million settlement for owners of a Louisiana high-rise office building that suffered extensive hurricane damage
  • $4 million in a jury verdict for a retail center owner after another Gulf South hurricane
  • More than $15 million in settlements for Hurricane Laura and Delta homeowners

To read through more of our success stories in a range of different practice areas, we invite you to review our case victories.

Don’t let property damage devastate your family or business. Huber Thomas Law will serve as your tireless advocate every step of the way. We represent clients in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and across the nation. Schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Consultation and Mediation of business team arguing over commercial-disputes

Litigation is defined as the process of taking legal action. From individuals to companies, the issues that lead to litigation are usually solved through mediation, formal arguments in a court hearing, or trial.

When it comes to business litigation, the issues at hand involve business entities, such as companies and their employees. Likewise, the parties involved may also be sole proprietors or even business partners.

These lawsuits require extensive evidence in the form of documentation, as well as research and witnesses. What’s more, it can take years to reach a settlement, especially when large sums of money are at stake. The good news is, that a business litigation attorney can assist when these issues arise.

Types Of Business Litigation

From workplace discrimination to a breach of contract allegations, business litigation encompasses a wide range of different issues. Some may involve a large company with hundreds of employees. Others may be an issue between a single employee and a small family-owned business. Here are some of the most common examples of issues that lead to a need for business litigation services.

Employment

We spend much of our lives doing our jobs, so perhaps it’s no surprise that employment issues are common. Most of these issues require us to navigate both federal and state law. Examples of employment disputes include, but are not limited to:

  • Issues over wages, hours, and breaks
  • Workplace harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination or retaliation
  • Breach of non-compete or nondisclosure agreements
  • FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) violations

Don’t see your particular employment issue listed here? Please note, that this is not an exhaustive list. At Huber Thomas, we understand that every industry and workplace is unique. Contact us to learn more about how we may represent you in a business litigation case.

Partnership

In some cases, the issue isn’t between an employer and employee, but between business partners. Issues may arise over misappropriated funds, wrongful activity, or simple disagreements regarding how to run the company.  These claims often involve one partner breaching a fiduciary duty to another partner.

While the perfect scenario would be internal problem solving, some disagreements become full-blown feuds. This type of case requires a business litigation attorney to represent the interests of each party.

Breach of contract

Contracts are a part of everyday life, especially in the world of business. Terms of employment and transactions for services are just a few aspects of companies that are contractual in nature.

The success of your business depends on everyone fulfilling the obligations they are contracted for. Unfortunately, breaches of contract are common, and they can have a serious impact on all parties.

This is another area of business law that can vary greatly from state to state. For this reason, it’s important to have an experienced business litigation attorney in your corner. This person can properly navigate the issues at hand and build a case for companies and/or individual parties.

Intellectual property

Businesses and independent contractors depend on the right to own intellectual property. This is often the reputation an entire career is built upon. It’s also the source of continued revenue and financial stability. Examples include:

  • Trade secrets – Confidential business information that gives you an edge against other companies in your industry
  • Trademarks – Words, symbols, or colors that distinctly differentiate your brand from other competitors
  • Copyrights – Rights to distribute your intellectual property, such as software, graphic arts, books, etc.
  • Patents – Utility or design rights to an invention that prevents others from stealing your ideas

To learn more about your rights when it comes to these types of intellectual property, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office.

Class actions or product liability

For businesses providing products or services, there is a lot of pressure and responsibility. Even with the best processes in place, issues may arise. When many customers, clients, or even employees have been affected, the result can be a class-action lawsuit.

Examples include:

  • Injuries or illness due to a product
  • Data breaches
  • Employment practices

These types of lawsuits can be devastating for a business as they drain finances and consume a lot of time. A business litigation attorney can help you protect and defend your business by building a strong case. If settlements are necessary, you will have someone to advise you and help negotiate a fair sum.

Why Hire A Business Litigation Lawyer?

Lawsuits take time and money. Unfortunately, it’s common for legal battles to drag on for years. This is both costly and exhausting. Don’t let this complicated process distract from your career and disrupt your personal life.

A business litigation lawyer will handle the delicate process of navigating a lawsuit. From filing papers with the court system to communicating with the other party, your attorney will bear the burden for you.

In most cases, you can expect your attorney to:

  • Research the facts, circumstances, and documentation
  • Determine what type of experts or witnesses will be necessary
  • Identify case law and any prior lawsuits that have set a precedent
  • Communicate with the other party and/or their legal counsel
  • Schedule and coordinate court dates in addition to preparing briefs for submission

When you have legal representation, you can focus on keeping your business or career on track. A business litigation lawyer is one of the best investments you can make when you’re facing a lawsuit. This advice stands for both plaintiffs and defendants.

What is the difference between business litigation and corporate law?

The legal industry is incredibly diverse. In addition to various areas of practice, lawyers also separate when it comes to litigation and corporate law. What is the difference? In theory, one spends more time in the courtroom than the other.

Business litigation attorneys spend the vast majority of time tied up in legal battles. Whether they’re in the courtroom or in mediation, they’re actively dealing with lawsuits. If you are planning to sue, or you’re being sued, you want a litigator in your corner. These attorneys have the experience necessary to help companies and individuals win cases.

On the other hand, corporate law is a term that encompasses advising and preparing a business. They will draft contracts, provide advice on business structuring, and help business owners understand their legal obligations. This is an important practice that usually calls for an ongoing relationship between a business owner and a legal team or adviser.

Huber Thomas Law: Your Business Litigation Team

business litigation lawyerBusiness litigation is no easy feat, regardless of how big or small the issues are. When you’re facing this type of lawsuit, you need a team of experts you can trust.

At Huber Thomas Law, we have extensive knowledge and experience on our side. In addition to working tirelessly for our clients, we make it our mission to clearly explain the legal process. Business litigation often involves confusing jargon and lengthy contracts. Our attorneys will take the time to clearly explain everything you need to know.

What Sets Us Apart

When you partner with Huber Thomas Law, you benefit from a collaborative approach that yields victorious results. Our entire team of highly-experienced business litigation attorneys will work together, bringing individual unique knowledge to the table. This diversity allows us to see a case from several different angles.

In reality, most cases settle outside of court. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, even for the largest corporations. This is why mediation and negotiating are the first choice for most individuals and companies. That said, we still prepare for every case as if it is going before a jury or judge. This means thorough research and expert witnesses help us build your case, resulting in better chances of securing the compensation you deserve.

Our Case Victories

We take great pride in our case victories because they demonstrate tireless efforts that produce serious results. We’ve helped our clients secure millions of dollars in a range of different business litigation cases, including:

  • Over $50 million in assets for a business owner who was defrauded by business partners and employees
  • A $7 million jury award for a business owner who was unjustly written out of a business deal by his partners
  • $3 million for a client who suffered extensive damages from a failed joint business venture
  • $42 million for victims harmed by home health companies and physicians committing Medicare fraud

To learn more about how we can assist in your case, we encourage you to read about our previous success stories.

Schedule A Consultation

It’s normal to feel anxious when legal troubles are on the horizon. At Huber Thomas, our goal is to take that burden on for you. With our team of business litigation attorneys, you won’t have to worry about the outcome of your case. Are you living outside of Louisiana? Members of our team are licensed to practice in Mississippi, Texas, and Washington D.C. If you’d like to discuss the details of your case, please contact us for a free and confidential consultation. This is the best way to determine the next steps that will help you reach a conclusion.

From festivals to football games, it seems there are always opportunities to enjoy alcohol in Louisiana. Unfortunately, there are people who take the risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking. The results of drunk driving accidents can be devastating, often resulting in serious injuries and even death.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our attorneys always aim to remind people the cost of drinking and driving is too high. However, even with the best intentions, we can’t control everyone else on the road. If you notice a driver has little control over their vehicle or delayed reactions, they may be under the influence.

Accidents with drunk drivers require a timely response. Here’s what you should know if you ever find yourself in this serious type of incident.

How Common Are Accidents with Drunk Drivers?

drunk driving accidentsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people die in drunk driving accidents every day. That amounts to one person every 52 minutes. While this is on a national level, the numbers aren’t much better in the state of Louisiana. In fact, authorities recorded 216 alcohol-impaired fatalities and close to 6,000 DUI arrests in 2018.

How do drunk drivers cause these accidents? Every situation is unique, but we know that drinking alcohol can cause blurred vision, delayed reactions, and poor coordination. Some common types of drunk driving accidents include:

  • Wrong-way accidents where drunk drivers can’t accurately comprehend which side of the road to drive on
  • Head-on collisions resulting from drowsy drunk drivers who veer into oncoming traffic
  • Rear-end accidents because drunk drivers can’t accurately determine distances

All of these drunk driving accidents can have deadly consequences. Likewise, it’s not uncommon for pedestrians to fall victim to drunk drivers who don’t see them crossing the road.

When someone makes the decision to drive impaired, they aren’t just putting their own life at risk. Everyone on the road can fall victim to their actions. When do most drunk driving accidents happen? According to Department of Transportation research, 31% of fatal drunk driving accidents take place over the weekend. Further, drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road between midnight and 3:00 a.m.

What to Do If You've Been in An Accident with A Drunk Driver

A car accident is always frightening, regardless of the details, but accidents with drunk drivers are even more challenging. Try to stay calm and follow these steps to secure your physical and financial safety.

Take note of important identifying information

If you suspect the driver in an accident is drunk, it’s important to jot down identifying information.

It’s not uncommon for drunk drivers to flee the scene of a crash. This is why it’s critical you take note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as the license plate number.

If you can see what the driver looks like, even better. These details will help you if the driver does leave the scene before police arrive.

Call the police

Next, find a safe place to park while you call for help. Make your way to the shoulder of the road or an adjacent parking lot to ensure you’re out of traffic. If the accident has occurred at night, remember to turn on your hazard lights for increased visibility.

Call 911 and ask for an officer to come to the scene. If you or someone has been injured, tell the operator that you also need emergency medical assistance. If you suspect the driver is drunk, share this information with the 911 operator on the line.

Gather any details and evidence

Again, if the driver appears to be under the influence, it may be difficult to communicate in a constructive way. If they are cooperative, ask to take a photo of their driver’s license and insurance card. You can also exchange contact information.

Take photos or a video of the crash from different angles. Include close-up images of damage, as well as a video of the entire scene to provide context. Don’t forget to take photos of skid marks, debris, and other details.

If there are witnesses in the area, gather their contact information and try to record a statement about what they say. This testimony may be important later in the event of a lawsuit.

Seek medical help

Even if you feel completely fine, it’s important to see a doctor for a thorough check-up. Some injuries and medical issues may seem non-existent or minimal at first due to shock, only to worsen later. X-rays and other tests can confirm whether you need medical treatment.

If you are suffering from injuries, be sure to keep detailed records of your medical appointments. Bills can add up quickly and you’ll need a paper trail to get compensation from insurance companies.

Call your insurance company

Let your insurance company know that you’ve been in an accident without providing too many details. Your attorney can provide the necessary information later. Likewise, do not agree to speak with the other party’s insurance company yet.

Hire drunk driving accident attorneys

The aftermath of a car accident is stressful, especially if the other party was intoxicated. In addition to facing a lawsuit from you, they are probably handling DUI charges (and possibly injuries).

By hiring an attorney, you’re actively protecting yourself, especially if you’re in one of the following situations:

  • You or a passenger in your vehicle was injured
  • The other party was injured or killed
  • There is costly property damage

As experts in the field, lawyers can secure the compensation you need to cover property damage and medical bills. The process is less daunting when you have someone in your corner fighting for what you deserve.

From crawfish boils to Mardi Gras parties, there is so much fun to be had in Louisiana. If you’re feeling tipsy after, call a friend, rideshare, or a taxi to pick you up. The risk of drunk driving is too high, as the consequences could be deadly or life-altering.

Beyond the seriousness of an accident, drunk driving is a misdemeanor charge in Louisiana, commonly referred to as a DWI. Penalties for a first offense may include:

  • 10 days to 6 months of jail time
  • $300 to $1,000 in fines
  • Judge-ordered ignition interlock devices (IIDs)
  • License suspension

In short, driving while drunk is simply not worth it.

Huber Thomas & Marcelle: Your Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

Most accidents with drunk drivers have devastating results. Perhaps a loved one was killed or you sustained life-altering injuries. Whatever situation you’re in, the drunk driving accident attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help. This is not a time when you should have to deal with insurance companies or documents full of legal and medical jargon alone. You need a team you can trust to walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve.

Our Approach

An in-depth investigation is the key to securing a victory in the courtroom. Along with police reports and expert witnesses, our team will complete a collision reconstruction. This helps everyone see the extent of an accident and the resulting injuries.

Further, we always schedule interviews with other parties, including doctors, police officers, and witnesses. This important documentation is essential to proving the extent of an accident that has caused serious harm.

Courtroom Success

drunk driving accidentsMost cases involving car accidents will settle outside of court. This is simply due to the expensive and time-consuming nature of a lawsuit. However, the seriousness of drunk driving accidents can often lead to a more prolonged process. Our drunk driving accident attorneys prepare for every case as if it is going before a judge or jury to ensure excellent preparation.

Our previous case victories demonstrate our intensive approach to pursuing fair settlements for our clients. The team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle has litigated hundreds of cases arising from automobile accidents, resulting in millions of dollars for our clients.

Here’s a look at some of our courtroom success stories:

  • $2.3 million for a woman who was injured when an airport shuttle van moved while she was boarding
  • $1.6 million as a result of a jury verdict for a client who underwent back surgery after a car accident in Jefferson Parish

Because of our advanced experience, we are always ready to take a case to trial and fight for our clients. If you or someone you care about is coping with injuries after a drunk driving accident, we can help. To discuss the details of your case, schedule a complimentary consultation today.

After decades of litigation and thousands of consumer complaints, the Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit has finally reached a tipping point. The product is now out of production and the company will pay $2.1 billion to individuals who claim the talc-based product caused their ovarian cancer. Read on for details regarding the ongoing case and find out how Huber Thomas & Marcelle can assist in similar cases.

J&J loses $417 million in California’s first talc verdict case

johnson and johnson baby powder lawsuitIn the 2017 case of Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, the company was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $417 million to 62-year-old Eva Echeverria.

Echeverria started using Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder products when she was 11 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. According to Echeverria’s attorneys, the lawsuit stemmed from the company's alleged ignoring of studies that linked the baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to ovarian cancer. Further, they maintain that the company failed to warn customers about the risk.

Today, Johnson and Johnson continues to claim that these allegations do not hold weight when it comes to sufficient scientific evidence. A New Jersey state court tossed out two similar cases set for trial after the judge said that evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer was inadequate. This was a temporary boost in the messaging Johnson and Johnson had attempted to push in fighting related lawsuits.

However, in the end, the $417 million verdict in Los Angeles included $347 million in punitive damages and $70 million in compensatory damages. What’s more, it marked the beginning of clients getting justice in their own Johnson and Johnson lawsuit matters. The trial in Los Angeles was the first before a state jury outside of Missouri. That’s where the company lost four out of five trials over two years, resulting in verdicts as high as $110 million.

Unfortunately, Echeverria passed away shortly after the trial came to an end.

Updates on the Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit

While there was sufficient evidence to uphold the jury’s finding in Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, an appeals court granted the company a new trial in 2019. The Los Angeles-based court cited conflicting evidence about the baby powder’s cancer links.

According to California Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson, Johnson and Johnson could not be held liable for failure to warn, only the subsidiary that manufactured the product would have the duty of disclosing any and all risks. The appeals court also made claims that the evidence failed to support a finding of malice, which is a legal requirement for cases involving punitive damages.

Regardless of her death, Echeverria’s attorney has vowed to follow through and continue the fight, and he’s not alone. In June 2020, a Missouri appeals court ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.1 billion to more than two dozen women.

Much like Echeverria’s case, Johnson and Johnson appealed the verdict, requesting the court throw out the decision. Fortunately, the court declined, citing “significant reprehensibility” in the company’s conduct.

Evidence from as far back as the 1960s demonstrated that the company’s talcum products contained asbestos, a known carcinogen. The ruling stated:

“A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”

The plaintiffs “showed clear and convincing evidence defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference,” the court said.

The attorney representing the women noted that several of them passed away before the ruling, as well as immediately after. This has only furthered the mission of attorneys across the U.S. to seek justice for their clients. For those who have suffered from cancer as a result of using these products, each Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit is a critical step in the right direction

Lawsuits lead to a big win for consumers

While different lawsuits for damages are still underway in various states, there has been another recent victory for consumers. In May 2020, Johnson and Johnson announced the discontinuation of talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada.

The company still maintains the position that these lawsuits are the result of confusion and misinformation. However, winding down the commercialization of the baby powder has begun. Existing inventory on the shelves will only remain until it runs out, but production in the U.S. and Canada has stopped.

For consumers, this is exciting news. It demonstrates the important role plaintiffs play in holding companies accountable. This type of victory ensures the safety of adults and children alike as it removes a harmful product from the shelves. There is the hope that production will end worldwide, thus removing these products from shelves globally.

Were you affected?

johnson and johnson baby powder lawsuitAt Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we have years of experience dealing with matters of product liability and harmful products. We pride ourselves on being tireless advocates for our clients when they deserve support. It’s always our goal to help you reach an outcome that will help you move forward with your life.

While we were not directly involved in the original Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit, we can assist in a search for class-action lawsuits that may be available to you. Even as related cases come to a close, there are still more victories to be had.

If you have cancer and believe it may be tied to the use of the products discussed here, you may have grounds for filing a Johnson and Johnson lawsuit. Contact us today to learn more.

Contact Our Team

Our approach to product liability cases in healthcare

The Johnson and Johnson talc lawsuit is particularly noteworthy, but there are many other healthcare and personal care companies facing similar claims of unsafe products.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we fight for victims who have been harmed by defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, and other unsafe products. We're prepared to take on large companies by working with a team of world-class experts. Our goal is to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and that those who have done harm are held accountable.

We represent clients in the following types of cases.

Unsafe product claims

Unsafe product claims can involve automobiles, watercraft, children’s toys, child safety seats, industrial machinery, recreational products, tires, safety or sporting equipment, and more. When manufacturing defects, design flaws, and lack of proper warning labels and information lead to injury or harm, compensation may be in order.

For example, Huber Thomas & Marcelle represented hundreds of military service members against 3M for providing allegedly defective earplugs. These claims arise from the fact that the 3M earplugs, distributed as the sole earplug to U.S. military service members between 2003 and 2015, were too short for proper insertion into the ears, putting users at risk for permanent hearing loss, hearing impairment, and tinnitus.

In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the earplugs without disclosing defects that hampered their effectiveness.

If you are a service member who was diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus after serving in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, we encourage you to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Huber Thomas & Marcelle today. Learn more about this case here.

Pharmaceutical liability

If a drug is irresponsibly marketed, insufficiently tested, or incorrectly prescribed, the outcome can be devastating. The repercussions of dangerous drugs and practices can include birth defects, illness, and even death.

Admittedly, all medications come with a risk of side effects. But one Yale-led study found that “Nearly one out of every three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a new safety issue detected in the years after approval.”

Patients expect prescription medication companies to thoroughly test drugs before they go on the market (and clearly explain their risks). When this doesn't happen, patients may be entitled to compensation from drug companies. This can help cover long-term costs related to:

  • Ongoing medical care
  • Specialized medical equipment
  • Surgeries
  • Lost wages and productivity
  • Emotional and mental health challenges

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we take these cases seriously because they represent a breach of the trust we hold for our medical professionals. We have advanced experience working with prescription drug injury cases and can advise you on your legal rights.

Defective medical devices

While mistakes happen, manufacturers are obligated to test medical devices extensively before they become a source of serious injury to patients.

Product defects are often the result of rushing a product to market without careful product design and testing. In some cases, individual components are the source of the deficiency. Any device can cause harm, but certain types lead to more adverse events than others.

The Expert Institute found 20 products that lead to the most adverse events. These include:

  • Insulin pumps
  • Blood glucose tests
  • Pacemaker electrodes
  • Coronary stents
  • Surgical mesh
  • Knee prostheses
  • Hip prostheses

If you've been harmed by a company's failure to properly test a product, you could be entitled to compensation. Our team of defective medical device lawyers is committed to helping you understand the complexities of bringing a case like this to court.

We’re here to help

When faced with pursuing litigation, you need a team you can trust.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we pride ourselves on being tireless advocates for our clients. We make it our mission to clearly explain everything you need to know. We're always available if you have questions. In fact, we return most calls within 24 hours. With our firm on your side, you can expect help from a team of attorneys with a proven record of success. And, in many cases, you don't pay anything unless we win your case.

You can find more information about our practice areas here, or read answers to some of our most frequently asked questions here. In addition to Louisiana, members of our team are licensed to practice in Mississippi, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York. If you’d like to discuss the details of your case, please contact us for a free consultation.

 

Originally posted on August 22, 2017.

Summer is a wonderful time of year. The weather is warm, school is out, and it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy time with family. Unfortunately, preventable summer accidents are an issue across the U.S. According to the National Safety Council, fatal accidents spike in July and August. From car crashes to drowning, summertime accidents can be dangerous and even deadly. Our team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle compiled these important summer safety tips to keep you and your family safe, no matter where you’re headed this summer.

Avoid summertime accidents in the car

Resources from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration consistently illustrate high fatalities during the summer months. In light of social distancing concerns, it’s possible that even more families will be opting for a road trip over air travel this year.

Keep these tips in mind before you hit the road to keep you and your family safe.

1. Don’t drive during high traffic times

summer-accidentsIf you can, try to drive during times that are less busy. Mornings are generally quieter on the roads, except for Sunday, when people are returning home after the weekend.

When it comes to a long holiday weekend (such as the 4th of July), consider taking a few extra days off to avoid the rush. According to AAA, one of the worst days for travel in multiple metropolitan areas is July 3, typically from 12-4 PM as people leave for their holiday destinations. Nationwide, delays may increase by up to 9% leading to more people on the road, all of them in a hurry to get out of town. That unfortunately means more car accidents.

Other high period times are July 4 afternoon, as people head out to local events, and July 5 when they return home.

2. Focus on the road

There are so many distractions when it comes to driving. Whether you’re trying to look at directions on your phone, driving after a night of little sleep in a new hotel, or listening to your children fight in the backseat, losing focus can be deadly.

Commit to focusing your attention on the road while you’re driving. If possible, have someone navigate for you or use turn-by-turn voice guidance. As always, never text or talk on the phone while driving.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous. If you're not in shape to drive after a sleepless night, reconsider your plans or ask another driver to take the steering wheel.

3. Be vigilant about drunk driving

Between sun exposure and all-day events, fatigue and dangerously high levels of intoxication can come on fast. Be vigilant about avoiding and preventing drunk driving.

Whether it's you, a family member, or a friend, discuss who will be the designated driver before you leave for an event. This person should avoid all forms of alcohol as they'll have to be vigilant about other drivers on the road.

If everyone in your party wants to drink, book a taxi or rideshare option. Rideshare companies often have more drivers on the road during busy times, ready and available to bring you home. Book one ahead of time to beat the rush after an event or leave at an off-time.

4. Maintain your vehicle

Getting stuck on the side of the road after a breakdown is incredibly dangerous, especially on busy highways. Take your car in for service before you leave on a trip. Oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations will ensure your car is in good condition.

Take this tip a step further by preparing an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. You should always have a cell phone charger, first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables. Throw in a few water bottles and nonperishable food items as well.

5. Never leave pets or children in the car

On average, 39 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Louisiana ranks high on the list of states where this is most prevalent. In many cases, it comes down to confusion over a disrupted routine. Unfortunately, family members often assume that someone else brought the child into the house after a car ride.

Check your car to make sure that everyone is out of the vehicle before going into the house. If you see a child unattended in someone else’s vehicle, call 911 and remove the child immediately.

Be aware of motorcycle dangers

With relaxed schedules and warm days, summer is a great time to go out on a motorcycle ride. Unfortunately, there is always an uptick in motorcyclist deaths during this time of year. Due to a variety of factors, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than car passengers.

This is what you can do to protect yourself if you choose to spend the summertime on your bike.

6. Wear appropriate safety gear

Louisiana requires helmets for all motorcyclists and passengers. Look for a DOT sticker on the inside or outside of your helmet to ensure it meets these safety standards. These helmets provide appropriate shock-absorption and peripheral vision capabilities.

To protect yourself in the case of a motorcycle accident, you should also wear:

  • Clothing that fully covers your arms and legs, in a thick material
  • Boots or shoes that cover up to your ankles or higher
  • Gloves for a better grip and to protect your hands
  • Eye protection, such as a full helmet or goggles
  • Reflective materials for better visibility on the road

7. Do a safety check before each ride

Before you hop on your bike, do a quick safety check. Is the weather conducive to riding? If possible, you should always avoid slippery conditions.

From there, check your tire pressure, brakes, headlights, and turn signals. Make sure all cargo is properly secured and balanced for a smooth ride.

8. Recognize the most common causes of crashes

RideApart offers an excellent resource, along with videos, that explains how to avoid and respond to the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. This knowledge can help you avoid summer accidents on your motorcycle. The most common accidents occur when:

  • Another vehicle turns left in front of you
  • You hit an unsafe or slippery patch of road
  • Another vehicle changes lanes into you
  • Someone opens a car door into your oncoming bike
  • You were traveling too fast
  • Another driver stops suddenly, or rear-ends you
  • Anyone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

This summer be aware of these risks and ready to respond if they occur.

9. Never drive under the influence

When it comes to intoxication, driving a motorcycle is no different than driving a car. Make it a rule to avoid driving if you've had even one drink.

Likewise, avoid driving after any use of prescription sedatives, pain medications, or other drugs. For example, while marijuana may be legal in some states, it can still lead to a change in your driving skills.

10. Practice active awareness during every ride

Riding a motorcycle is fun, but it's also more dangerous. It’s simply more difficult for other drivers in large vehicles to see you. With this in mind, practice being as actively aware as possible. This means:

  • Proceeding cautiously at intersections, where most accidents take place
  • Keeping your headlights on at all times to increase your visibility
  • Leaving plenty of braking distance between yourself and other vehicles
  • Using extra caution in heavy traffic or inclement weather
  • Watching ahead for any potholes, gravel, or puddles

Stay accident free while boating

summer accidentsBoating is a popular summer activity in Louisiana and other Gulf states. While it’s a great way to cool off and enjoy time on the water, boating can also be dangerous. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating incidents that resulted in 658 deaths and 2,629 injuries.

Here are our tips for staying accident free while boating.

11. Always watch the weather

Keep an eye on the forecast before you head out for a day of boating. Summer is also hurricane season, which can be a serious concern when you’re on the water. Even a little rain can be incredibly dangerous. Reschedule if there's any change in the forecast.

Once you’re out on the water, be consistently aware of your surroundings. Storm clouds or a sudden temperature drop can result in high winds and risky conditions. If you find yourself in this situation, get off the water as soon as possible.

12. Take a boating safety course

Many people assume that operating a boat is similar to driving a car. How hard can it be? This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends enrolling in a boating safety course before you get behind the throttle. These courses are offered for all types of recreational boaters. The most popular basic courses generally have six to 13 lessons that cover everything from boat handling to reading the weather.

Beyond these courses, boating laws can vary from state to state. Familiarize yourself with specific regulations based on where you’re traveling.

13. Wear a life jacket

While life jacket regulations vary from state to state, all boaters should opt to wear one, even good swimmers! It’s easy to become disoriented after falling off a boat, especially if you’ve been injured. A life jacket will help you avoid drowning in the case of a serious accident.

When it comes to children, life jackets should be mandatory at all times. Always use life jackets that are U.S. Coast Guard approved and fit correctly.

14. Avoid alcohol

Like driving a car, operating a boat while under the influence is illegal. You could face jail time, fines, and even have your driver’s license suspended.

In worst case scenarios, drinking while operating a boat can lead to accidents that result in serious or even fatal injuries. Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States. Even one drink puts everyone at risk as the nature of boating magnifies the side effects of drinking.

If you’re in control of the boat, it’s best to simply stay hydrated with water. Be mindful of how much your passengers are drinking to ensure everyone stays safe while on board.

15. Be cautious while participating in water sports

Boating and water sports go hand in hand! From water skiing to tubing, summer sports are fun for the whole family. Take these necessary steps to ensure a safe day:

  • Learn how to safely use a tow rope
  • Always have a spotter using hand signals and a flag to indicate when someone is in the water
  • Wait for the propeller to stop before getting in or out of the water

Get help after a summertime accident

Even while closely following these tips, summer accidents can still happen. If another party was involved, and you’re searching for a motorcycle or car accident lawyer, our team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help. We are also skilled in boating and other maritime legal matters.

Our team is dedicated to helping victims recover after an accident, no matter the circumstances. We represent clients in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and nationwide. We can walk you through your legal options if you've recently been in an accident.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

An open road with the wind streaming past you on a motorcycle can be one of life's great joys. However, as every motorcyclist knows, there are very real risks to this activity. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May is a great time to spread awareness about ways motorcyclists can stay safe on roads across Louisiana and the U.S.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we're dedicated to making sure your time on the open road is as safe and enjoyable as possible. That's why we compiled this list of tips on motorcycle safety, for both motorcyclists and others on the road. Please share it with others to help make our roads safer for all.

Why is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month so important?

With relaxed schedules, long vacations, and beautiful days, summer is a great time to go out on a ride. Unfortunately, this means there's also an increase in motorcyclist deaths during this time of year.

Over 60% of all motorcyclist deaths in 2018 took place between May through September, with fatalities peaking in June. Due to a variety of factors, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than car passengers.

There is some good news: public awareness efforts are working.

In 2018, there was an almost 5% decrease in motorcyclist fatalities. This followed a dip in 2017 as well. For each of those nearly 5,000 riders, though, every single death was one too many. This is what you can do to help protect yourself and others on the road.

1. Follow Louisiana motorcycle laws

If you've ridden across different states, you know that motorcycle laws vary widely across the U.S. For example, most states have helmet laws in place but only cover underage riders. Other states, like Illinois and Iowa, have no helmet requirements at all.

We're thankful that Louisiana is a state that requires helmets for all motorcyclists and passengers. Even if you live in a state without this law, you should absolutely wear a DOT-compliant helmet as they're the best way to protect yourself from a traumatic head injury or death. In 2017, helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives.

Other Louisiana motorcycle laws stipulate that you must:

  • Complete a road rules and skills test to receive a motorcycle endorsement
  • Wear appropriate eye protection while driving, such as goggles or safety glasses, unless you have a proper windshield or full helmet
  • Never overtake or pass other vehicles in the same lane (a practice known as lane-splitting)
  • Keep both hands on your handlebars while driving

Further, you can only carry passengers if your motorcycle was made for multiple people. Children must be five years or older, in an appropriate seat.

2. Be alert to the most common causes of crashes

Motorcycle crashes most commonly occur when:

  • Another vehicle turns left in front of you
  • You hit an unsafe or slippery patch of road
  • Another vehicle changes lanes into you
  • Someone opens a car door into your oncoming bike
  • You were traveling too fast
  • Another driver stops suddenly, or rear-ends you
  • Anyone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

RideApart offers an excellent resource, along with videos, that explains how to avoid and respond to the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. We recommend reading and watching these videos in full, whether you're a new or experienced driver.

3. Never drive under the influence

We're noting this twice because it's that important.

At night, up to 46% of all motorcyclist fatalities occur when the motorcyclist had a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08%. Never drink and drive. Make it a rule to avoid driving if you've had even one drink.

Likewise, avoid driving after any use of prescription sedatives, pain medications, or other drugs. For example, while marijuana may be legal in some states, it can still lead to a change in your driving skills.

4. Know your risks

Before you ever step up to your bike, be aware of and proactive about your specific risks.

If you're an inexperienced driver, plan to ride in slower, safer conditions until you build your skills. If you're on a newer bike, get used to it off the road and, again, practice in safer conditions until you build confidence.

Age also plays a role in motorcycle accidents. Those 50 years and older made up 36% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2017, up from 14% in 1997. The reasons for this are many. Often, older drivers are "re-entry riders." They rode when they were younger and assume that they still know how to handle a bike. With more traffic, more powerful bikes, and diminished physical skills, this simply isn't the case.

If you're an older adult who hasn't ridden in a while, it pays to take a safety class to refresh your skills. Follow the other safety tips too, like getting used to your bike and practicing in safer areas before hitting the open road.

Finally, know that riding with a passenger takes much more skill. You can learn how to ride safely with a passenger here.

5. Wear appropriate safety gear

We already discussed how DOT-compliant helmets can save lives. These helmets provide appropriate shock-absorption and peripheral vision capabilities. Look for a DOT sticker on the inside or outside of your helmet to ensure it meets safety standards. You can learn more about choosing a helmet here.

To protect yourself in the case of an accident, you should also wear:

  • Clothing that fully covers your arms and legs in a thick material, like leather
  • Boots or shoes that cover up to your ankles or higher
  • Gloves for a better grip and to protect your hands
  • Eye protection, such as a full helmet or goggles
  • Reflective materials for better visibility

6. Do a safety check before each ride

You've received your motorcycle endorsement, practiced in a secure area, and found the right safety gear. Even so, you should still do a quick safety check before each ride. At the very least check:

  • The weather to ensure there won't be any slippery or unsafe conditions
  • Your tire pressure
  • Your bike's brakes, headlights, and signal indicators
  • For any signs of oil or gas leaks
  • That any cargo is properly secured and balanced
  • That your protective gear is in good shape and worn correctly

7. Practice active awareness during every ride

Finally, if you drive a motorcycle, always ride responsibly and as actively aware as possible. This means:

  • Watching ahead for any potholes, gravel, or puddles
  • Proceeding cautiously at intersections, where most accidents take place
  • Keeping your headlights on at all times to increase your visibility
  • Leaving plenty of braking distance between yourself and other vehicles
  • Using extra caution in heavy traffic or inclement weather

Not sure if you're aware of the best ways to protect yourself out there? We highly recommend taking a safety class. The Louisiana State Police offer a variety of motorcycle training programs, ranging from basic rider courses to more advanced lessons. There are a variety of other high-quality safety programs as well.

8. Practice motorcycle awareness on the road

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is about reducing accidents and raising awareness about motorcycles with all drivers. Even if you don't drive a motorcycle, you can do your part to help all people on the road arrive at their destination safely.

Here's how:

  • Practice caution when approaching a left turn, ensuring you use your turn signal and the road is clear of motorcyclists or allowing them to pass before turning
  • Become aware of motorcycle turning and braking patterns
  • Give motorcyclists the same (or more) space as you do other vehicles, allowing them a full lane width
  • Yield to motorcyclists and give them plenty of space—even the smallest nudge can lead to a crash
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before changing lanes or making turns
  • Avoiding any and all distractions while driving, such as texting, eating, or playing with your car radio

The Washington Motorcycle Safety Program released a video that shows how to be more aware of motorcyclists on the road. It gives good examples of what to look for and motorcycle movement patterns.

Get help after a motorcycle accident

Even if you practice all of these safety guidelines, you could still be in an accident. Unfortunately, an earlier report notes that in two-thirds of passenger car and motorcycle collisions, the car violated the motorcyclist's right-of-way.

If the worst happens, there is help.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we're dedicated to helping victims recover after an accident. We’re tireless advocates for our clients, helping you secure the compensation you need to cover any long-term costs after an accident. We also help you make sense of the insurance claims process. You can learn more about our approach to motorcycle accidents here.

If you've recently been in a motorcycle accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We can walk you through your legal options.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a trucking accident, we know how drastically they can change your life. These massive vehicles, also known as big rigs, semi-trucks, or 18-wheelers, can cause devastating crashes. In the most serious cases, they are fatal. In others, they can lead to lifelong issues, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. After any trucking accident, you need support. Fair compensation can help you cover your medical costs and ongoing care after a trucking accident. At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we can help you navigate the complex trucking industry laws and regulations so you can find the support you need. Here’s what you need to know about spinal cord injuries and trucking accidents.

How often do truck accidents occur?

A semi-truck is the largest type of vehicle you’ll find on the road. Some are carrying mail packages, while others may be transporting produce to your local grocery store. Some trucks are even transporting hazardous materials.

With a full tank and cargo load, this type of truck can weigh up to 30 times more than a regular car. While that alone is a cause for concern for surrounding drivers, there are several other issues.

For example, these are some of the major risks that can lead to truck accidents:

  • Driver fatigue due to long stretches of work, especially at night
  • Large blind spots around the sides and rear of a large truck
  • Lack of ability to brake at high speeds, especially while traveling on wet roads or steep hills
  • Longer acceleration distances, which are especially risky while attempting to merge into traffic
  • Hazardous material cargo, including corrosive agents, explosive materials, or nuclear waste

While the trucking industry is federally regulated, there are still many issues to sort through. Truck accidents occur much too often, and in the worst cases, they have fatal outcomes. More than 4,100 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 67% of them were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, statistics show that the problem is only getting worse. In fact, trucking accidents are on the rise. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31% higher in 2018 than it was in 2009, the lowest it had been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975.

What types of injuries occur after truck accidents?

If a trucking accident isn’t fatal, it is still likely to be catastrophic in terms of injuries and property damage. There are several different types of injuries that may occur after truck accidents, including, but not limited to:

  • Whiplash: If you are hit from behind, your head may be thrown violently back and forth causing whiplash and a range of other neck injuries
  • Back injuries: When your back is struck or twisted around in a trucking accident, the results can lead to chronic pain and debilitation
  • Broken bones: The impact of a big rig can break bones all over the body, including your ribs, arms, and legs
  • Head injuries: When you hit your head against a dashboard or are struck by debris, serious head injuries can occur, including brain injuries
  • Internal trauma: Blunt trauma from the powerful blow of a truck can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs
  • Lacerations: Most trucking accidents involve flying debris that can pierce the skin and lead to deep cuts as well as scrapes

Beyond this list, the most serious and prevalent injuries after trucking accidents are spinal cord injuries. This type of injury can change the course of your entire life. The spinal cord is significant because it helps your body function by sending and receiving messages from the brain. Let's look at the impact of this type of injury more closely.

What are spinal cord injuries?

We walk around every day completing basic tasks. From getting a plate out of the cupboard to reaching for your wallet, these everyday occurrences are seemingly mindless. Most of us don’t give too much thought to the fact that the spinal cord makes all of this possible.

In basic terms, your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of your back. It transmits sensory information from your body to your brain, which means it is an integral part of your life. It enables you to move your limbs, control your bladder, and so much more.

The bony vertebrae of your spinal column protect this cord of nerves from damage. However, severe trauma can fracture, compress, or even sever the spinal cord. When communication between the brain and spinal cord fails, paralysis occurs. This is why spinal cord injuries are so dangerous.

spinal injury diagram

Types of spinal cord injuries

As with any injury, there are varying levels of severity of spinal cord injuries. This will largely depend on the location of the impact. In general, the higher up the injury takes place, the more severe the outcome.

For example, an injury to the neck, first and second vertebrae, or mid-cervical vertebra could affect your ability to breathe. An injury that occurs lower than this in the lumbar vertebrae may affect nerve and muscle control to the bladder, bowel, legs, and sexual organs.

Spinal cord injuries are classified into three different categories or types:

  • Quadriplegia: Refers to loss of movement and sensation in all four limbs, but may also affect a person’s respiratory system
  • Paraplegia: Loss of sensation and movement in both legs
  • Triplegia: Involves motor and sensory loss in both legs and one arm

Doctors must also determine whether a spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete. A complete injury refers to a total lack of movement or feeling below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury means there is still some degree of feeling or movement below the level of the injury.

Recovery and aftercare

The moments immediately following spinal cord injuries are critical. Remain still and avoid moving your spinal column. In a serious case like this, it is best to wait for emergency care to arrive. This will increase your odds of a better recovery.

From there, you will most likely be transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Doctors there will work to stabilize you with oxygen, blood transfusions, and a brace to keep your neck and back still. The following hours are critical and will have a serious impact on your recovery.

While every spinal cord injury is different, there are several methods of treatment your medical team may recommend. This could include all, or a combination, of the following:

  • Surgery to repair tears and damage to the spinal column
  • Physical therapy to improve your range of motion and strengthen the damaged area
  • Injections to reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and repair damaged tissue
  • Occupational therapy and rehabilitation to allow you to return to work
  • The use of assistive devices and braces

Aftercare will look different for every person. In cases of severe spinal cord injuries, you may require a wheelchair, either temporarily or permanently. This will depend on the extent of your injury and any paralysis you’re experiencing.

Furthermore, you may require special in-home care in order to accomplish daily tasks. While this is a worst-case scenario, it is still the reality for many spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury during a trucking accident can truly alter the course of your life.

What should I do after a trucking accident?

Any accident is frightening, but a run-in with a truck of this size can leave you feeling completely shaken and overwhelmed. Your first priority should always be to call for help, especially if you or any of your passengers are hurt. It doesn’t matter if it seems to be minor, it’s always best to have emergency officials evaluate the situation. As noted, it's best to remain still if there's any evidence of spinal cord injuries. Ask nearby witnesses to complete the following tasks in this case.

If there aren’t any evident injuries, you’ll still need to call police. An officer will come out to the scene to write up a formal crash report. This document can be very helpful when dealing with the truck driver, the company they work for, and insurance representatives.

Once you’ve called the local police department in your area, follow these important next steps:

  • Get contact information for the driver involved: Don’t leave without getting information from the truck driver involved in the crash. This should include their name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information. Jot down any details about the company they work for and their employee ID number as well. If they're subcontracting for a larger shipping company (such as Amazon), get the names of both companies too.
  • Talk to witnesses: Did anyone see the crash happen? Perhaps someone was in a nearby parking lot or restaurant. Maybe another driver saw the crash happen and pulled over to help. Exchange information with these witnesses. You'll likely need firsthand accounts later on to support your case.
  • Gather evidence: If you’re in a safe place, begin to gather evidence from the site of the accident. Take photos of the entire area, as well as any damage to your vehicle or skid marks on the road, sidewalks, and guardrails.

Whether you are returning home or being admitted to a hospital, you or someone you love should consider hiring a truck accident lawyer right away. This will help you determine the next steps. An experienced car accident lawyer will be open and honest about the best plan for your specific situation and can help protect your rights after a crash.

Get help after a trucking accident

Recovering from a spinal cord injury is a lifelong effort. If a truck driver is responsible for your injury, you have the right to fair compensation so you can heal. This financial support will usually be necessary to cover rehabilitation, lost wages, continued medical care, and any medical equipment your doctor deems necessary.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we understand the trauma that occurs with spinal cord injuries. As your car accident attorney, we will work closely with expert medical witnesses to calculate a fair settlement based on the physical, work-related, and mental damages you are suffering from.

Our New Orleans car accident lawyers have brought hundreds of personal injury cases to trial. We pride ourselves on our excellent trial success record and client-centered focus. In many cases, you don't pay anything unless we win your case.

Give us a call today to discuss your situation.

Rideshare companies are becoming a way of life, especially for those who live in big cities. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 36% of adults say they have used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft. For people who travel often, it’s an easy and convenient option. Gone are the days of renting a car or hailing a taxi. Unfortunately, with every advancement in technology, there are always issues that arise. While any car accident can be traumatic, those involving rideshare companies are particularly complicated. Uber lawsuits and Lyft lawsuits are difficult to navigate because you’re dealing with the driver, as well as the ride-share company and multiple insurance companies with individual interests.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we have the necessary experience to help you navigate the complexities of rideshare accidents and issues. We can walk with you through the process, fighting for you every step of the way. The following profiles of Uber lawsuits show just how complex and varied these cases can be.

$20 million settlement reached for Uber TCPA violation

In August of 2015, a woman named Maria Vergara filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Uber. The suit claimed that Uber sent her continuous, unwanted texts over the course of several weeks. According to Vergara, they were urging her to complete the app’s sign-up process. Other named parties included Jonathan Grindell, Jennifer Reilly, James Lathrop, Sandeep Pal, and Justin Bartolet.

So why was this an issue? The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also known as “TCPA,” forbids companies from sending automated text messages to individuals without consent. In 2018, Uber settled the lawsuit for $20 million. If an individual received one or more text messages from Uber between December 31, 2010 and August 17, 2017, they were potentially eligible for a payment from this class-action Uber lawsuit.

The $20 million settlement had three separate settlement classes:

  • Class A: Everyone Uber texted about its Refer-a-Friend program
  • Class B: Potential drivers who partially completed the company’s application and continued to receive unwanted texts from Uber, even after they asked the company to stop
  • Class C: Everyone who did not provide their information to Uber, but received unwanted texts

As of August 2018, all checks were sent to eligible Settlement Class Members who filed a valid claim. However, in addition to paying $20 million in settlement money, Uber also agreed to make several changes.

First, the company discontinued its Refer-a-Friend automated text messages. They also made changes to the opt-out system to automatically unsubscribe recipients who reply with certain opt-out words. Furthermore, Uber improved their sign-up technology to reduce the likelihood of texting or calling wrong phone numbers in the future.

Updates to the case

Even with changes put into place, Uber continues to face ongoing allegations of TCPA violations. One of these suits came up just months after the $20 million settlement. In April 2018, a lawsuit filed in Florida challenged Uber’s alleged practice of sending template text messages to former drivers. According to the plaintiff, these text messages urge former drivers to come back to Uber and continue working.

Further, in late 2019, the District Court for the Southern District of California ordered another Uber TCPA case to arbitration. The plaintiff was a user of Uber’s ride-sharing service. However, the plaintiff began receiving unwanted calls regarding Uber’s other application, “Uber Eats.” This particular app enables users to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to them. The problem was that the plaintiff did not own or operate a restaurant and had no interest in the calls. Furthermore, the plaintiff contacted Uber at least three times in an effort to stop the calls but was unsuccessful.

Were you affected?

The original TCPA Uber lawsuit is now closed and all Settlement Class Members who filed a claim have been paid. However, Huber Thomas & Marcelle can assist if you’ve been affected by similar matters.

No one wants to be on the receiving end of endless solicitation. Due to the costly nature of TCPA violations, most businesses use verification codes and advanced systems to ensure the accuracy of information on file. Unfortunately, others continue to ignore their responsibility to uphold the guidelines set forth in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

If you’re receiving continuous calls and/or text messages you didn’t sign up for, our team of lawyers can help. We work hard to obtain fair settlements for our clients.

Other rideshare and Uber lawsuits

Beyond issues of unwanted communication, there are additional lawsuits playing out against Uber and other rideshare companies. As the popularity of this mode of transportation grows, both passengers and drivers encounter issues that lead to litigation.

Here is a look at some of the other Uber lawsuits and rideshare lawsuits making their way through the court system.

Wage issues

Perhaps the Uber issue most frequently reported in the media deals with wages.

For example, in November 2019, drivers in New York City filed a lawsuit against Uber for millions in lost wages. The suit claims Uber deducted money from the paychecks of 96,000 drivers for both the state’s sales taxes and a surcharge meant to apply to rides between states. According to the drivers, their contract requires them to be paid the full fare minus Uber’s service fee. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Uber required passengers to pay a higher fare than what was being reported to drivers. In turn, the company would pocket the difference.

Prior to this, New York City approved minimum wage protections for rideshare drivers. The new law requires Uber to pay them $17 an hour for their work. Other cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, are also considering the implementation of minimum wage requirements for rideshare drivers.

Employment classification

Beyond the issue of fair wages is the challenges over employment classification. Uber, Lyft, and other similar rideshare apps classify their workers as independent contractors. If true, this means that they do not have to provide health insurance, overtime pay, and other benefits that are required for employees.

O’Connor v. Uber has made waves in the court system since 2013 about this issue. This initial case was nearly over in 2016 when Uber agreed to pay $100 million in a class action lawsuit. The catch? Uber would be able to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors. A federal judge argued the amount was insufficient, and since then, things have shifted. The Supreme Court issued a ruling that supports employers forcing workers to use arbitration, as opposed to class action lawsuits. From there, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the size of the class that will participate in the settlement.

In California, Uber recently joined forces with Lyft and other food delivery apps to fight legislation that forces them to classify drivers as employees. Assembly Bill 5 states that a worker is considered an employee unless they are free from the employer’s control, their work is outside the usual course of the company’s business, and they work as part of an independent job or business. As a result, Uber is rolling out changes to the app to prove that drivers truly are in control. They can view all of the details about a ride in order to decide if it is worth the time and rate. However, discussions will still continue about this contentious issue.

Sexual assault allegations

Both Lyft and Uber have also been at the center of lawsuits involving sexual assault. In Washington, DC, a woman is suing Uber for $10 million after being sexually assaulted by her driver. According to court documents, she confided in a social worker who contacted the police. After collecting DNA evidence that linked the driver to the assault, he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse and is currently in jail.

Last year, 20 people filed a similar lawsuit against Lyft. They each claim they were raped or sexually assaulted by their drivers. The plaintiffs and their lawyers sued not only to seek damages, but also to demand that Lyft install cameras in all of their cars. In a statement, Lyft said they've launched more than 15 new safety features to combat these types of situations. However, lawyers say eight of the cases took place after these changes were put into place.

Uber accidents

Finally, with easier access to a ride, you would think the prevalence of car accidents would go down. After all, rideshare services present an affordable and convenient way to avoid distracted and impaired driving. However, some statistics show that rideshare programs lead to more miles on the road, which could mean more Uber accidents.

University of Chicago researchers found that new rideshare services in a city were associated with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents (involving both passengers and pedestrians). As it turns out, the convenience may actually result in higher risk.

While any car accident is frightening, and potentially life-changing, rideshare accidents can be tough to navigate. Uber does carry insurance, but it still generally places the blame on drivers. That means your driver is typically responsible for any accident that occurs, not the rideshare company.

In March of 2018, a Philadelphia woman was injured after her Uber driver ran a red light. She suffered a fracture to her spine, along with a concussion and traumatic brain injury. Uber argues that by approving their “terms and conditions” when you sign up, you agree to resolve legal disputes only through binding arbitration. In short, this forces you to waive your rights to sue. However, a Philadelphia judge ruled that Uber can’t prove someone has actually read through the terms and conditions. Today, the woman continues to fight for a jury trial.

Unfortunately, data surrounding the prevalence of rideshare accidents is difficult to come by. While Uber does release safety reports, they typically leave out accidents that are non-fatal. According to representatives from the company, these numbers are simply too difficult to track.

Get help after a Lyft or Uber accident

Put simply, issues with these rideshare companies are complicated, contentious, and difficult to manage. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a Lyft or Uber accident, we can help. At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we work to obtain the fairest settlement for our clients and have dedicated experience with rideshare issues.

Whether you have mounting medical bills or have lost the ability to work, we understand the effect a car accident can have on your life. This is the case if you're a passenger, rideshare driver, or someone else on the road when the accident occurred.

Regardless of your involvement in this type of crash, you need an attorney with experience in these types of cases. Rideshare companies are giants in the transportation industry. You should never face them alone. Our experienced team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. We have helped bring numerous cases to trial, with millions awarded to our clients.

For any potential rideshare or Uber lawsuit, you need the best legal team on your side. Call Huber Thomas & Marcelle for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

 

Originally posted August 17, 2017.

It can happen while you’re sitting at a stoplight or slowing down for traffic. Suddenly, a car from behind slams into you. Even with the best intentions and a great driving record, you can become the victim in a rear-end accident. In serious cases, injuries from rear-end accidents can change the course of your life, forcing you to receive costly medical care.

Unfortunately, many drivers don’t take the dangers of the road seriously, and in turn, don’t pay attention as much as they should. Fortunately, the team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can provide guidance on the best ways to recover after an accident, including rear-end collisions. Whether you’ve recently been in an accident or simply want to be prepared if the worst happens, here’s what you should know.

What is a rear-end accident?

While collisions can happen in a variety of ways, a rear-end accident is one of the most common. In 2019, there were more than 50,000 rear-end crashes in the state of Louisiana. Approximately 34% of them resulted in injuries, while another 35% caused property damage. Shockingly, 12% of these rear-end collisions were fatal, which speaks to the seriousness of this type of accident.

This type of crash involves a car hitting the one in front of it. This can be due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Driver inattention or distraction
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Weather conditions that lead to icy or slippery roads

In some cases, the initial force can lead to a domino effect. On highways, pile-ups are caused by the first accident that leads to several others cars colliding with the vehicle in front of them. This chain reaction can lead to high levels of injury and property damage.

What types of injuries are common after rear-end accidents?

When it comes to accidents on the road, the resulting injuries can be devastating. Victims often deal with long-lasting side effects and mounting medical bills. Some of the most common types of injuries after rear-end accidents include:

  • Whiplash: This occurs when your head is violently jolted in one direction and then the other, often leading to neck pain and headaches
  • Lower back injuries: Ruptures, tears, fractures, or dislocation of the ligaments and muscles in the lower back region can occur after a collision
  • Spinal cord injuries: In severe cases, an accident can lead to damage to the bony vertebrae of your spinal column—the structure that transmits sensory information from your body to your brain
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Brain damage can result from a violent blow, blast, or jolt to the head, with often long-lasting effects
  • Broken bones: Broken ribs to broken legs, arms, and even shoulders and pelvises are all possible during a collision

While these are some of the most common injuries after rear-end collisions, this list is just the beginning. Victims of car accidents can suffer from a range of different injuries and conditions after a crash. It’s important to seek emergency care immediately in order to improve your chances of making a full recovery.

It’s also worth noting that many injuries can appear over time. You may walk away feeling fine, but really be in shock. In the days or weeks to come, pain and soreness can crop up or you may finally feel the effects of whiplash or injuries. For this reason, we always recommend that you visit your doctor for a check-up after an accident, even if you feel okay. Seemingly invisible effects of a car accident can be dangerous if they're allowed to get worse over time.

Who is at fault after a rear-end accident in Louisiana?

In most rear-end collisions, the fault will come down on the trailing driver because he or she created the initial impact. Simply put, every driver is expected to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them in order to avoid rear-end collisions.

Louisiana law (R.S. 32:81) clearly states:

“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

While it is rare, there are instances when the driver who was hit may be partially to blame for a rear-end accident. Some examples that could lead to this scenario include:

  • Failing to repair a broken tail light or forgetting to turn on hazard lights after a mechanical failure or accident
  • Stopping for no reason in the middle of the road
  • Reversing without reason or without adequate notice
  • Driving erratically, such as going much faster than the speed limit, darting in and out of traffic, and cutting other drivers off

Every rear-end accident is different. A variety of factors can lead to the initial impact and any subsequent damage done to surrounding vehicles.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our skilled car accident lawyers can review the specifics of your crash and discuss your options. If you're injured or have extensive property damage, they can discuss potential remedies and legal solutions for getting the compensation you need to recover fully.

What should I do after a rear-end collision?

Any type of car accident can feel overwhelming in the moment, but it’s important to keep a clear head and complete a few tasks. Your first priority should always be to call for help, especially if you notice any injuries right away. It doesn’t matter if it seems to be minor, it’s best to have a doctor take a closer look.

If there aren’t any evident injuries, you’ll still need to call police. An officer will come out to the scene to write up a formal crash report. This document can be very helpful when dealing with the other party and insurance companies.

Once you’ve called your local police department, follow these three important next steps:

  1. Get contact information for the drivers involved: Don’t leave without getting information from the other drivers involved in the crash. This should include their name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information.
  2. Talk to witnesses: Did anyone see the crash happen? Perhaps someone was in a nearby parking lot or restaurant. Maybe another driver saw the crash happen and pulled over to help. Exchange information with these witnesses. You may need firsthand accounts later on to support your case.
  3. Gather evidence: If you’re in a safe place, begin to gather evidence from the site of the rear-end accident. Take photos of the entire area, as well as any property damage to cars or skid marks on the road.

We cover the other important steps you should take after a car accident in our earlier post.

Get help after a rear-end accident in Louisiana

Once you’ve returned home, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer. This isn’t the time to go it alone. Too often people believe they can go through this experience without representation, only to miss out on the compensation they need to recover fully.

It’s also important to note that even if you were partially at fault during a crash, you may still be eligible for compensation, whether it’s for medical bills or vehicle damage. Don’t let insurance companies shift all of the blame onto you.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, you’ll have a skilled car accident attorney by your side to guide you through the complex legal process. Plus, you'll always benefit from multiple viewpoints and areas of expertise through our team's collaborative approach. Beyond car accidents, we also have experience helping our clients with accidents that involve pedestrians, motorcycles, semi-trucks, and more.

To learn about how we can help after an accident, we encourage you to browse our previous case victories. If you've been in a rear-end accident and want to ensure that you receive a fair settlement, contact us today for a free consultation.