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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.

Driving is a daily occurrence for most of us. It’s as common as eating and sleeping when it comes to our routine. Unfortunately, accidents can happen due to inclement weather, distracted driving, and other unforeseen instances, and many of us simply have no idea what to do after a car accident. 

In the state of Louisiana, a crash resulting in injuries happens every seven minutes, but any type of accident can be traumatic. Panic sets in, especially if you have passengers in the car with you. Even if everyone in your car is safe, what about the other people involved in the crash? How much will this cost you? Is your car a total loss? Your mind will likely be racing as you try to figure out what to do. 

At Huber, Thomas & Marcelle, we're dedicated to helping Louisiana residents make sense of the legal system and this post covers one of the most important aspects of that. In the moments after the crash occurs, these are the vital things you should know about what to do after a car accident to protect yourself and your rights.

What to do after a car accident

One of the most important things to keep in mind after a car accident is to stay calm. This will help you get through a series of steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. 

Keep in mind, though, that while we’re focusing on car accidents in this particular post, many of these tips are relevant for other types of accidents as well. You should follow similar steps for motorcycle accidents or any situation involving a bicycle and pedestrians. You will even find many of them applicable after a boating incident

Here are ten of the most important steps to take immediately after an accident. 

1. Stop and move to a safe area

Always remain on scene after an accident. Leaving the area can result in serious consequences, especially if you are at fault. 

That said, it’s important to get to a nearby safe area. People often get hurt or cause a chain reaction of accidents when they aren’t in a safe area away from the flow of traffic. 

If possible, pull into an adjacent parking lot or at least to the shoulder. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can clearly see that you’ve pulled away from the road. If you have emergency flares, that’s even better, especially at night. 

2. Call for help

Once you’re in a safe area, it’s time to call for help. If you, your passengers, or people in the other vehicle are injured, call 911 and ask for emergency medical assistance. Traumatic brain or head injuries, in particular, should be dealt with immediately. 

If everyone is unharmed, you’ll still need to call police. Even when damage seems to be minor, you’ll want an official car accident report to give to your insurance company or attorney, if necessary. 

3. Exchange information

Regardless of how minimal the damage may seem, it’s essential to exchange information with the other people involved in the crash. You will need their name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance details. 

Although it isn’t a requirement for everyone to show their license, it’s a good idea to ask. This can simply confirm they are who they claim to be. 

4. Find witnesses

Unfortunately, accidents can quickly become controversial. In order to avoid the blame game, it’s important to find witnesses who saw the crash take place. 

Perhaps this is someone who pulled over to help or saw it happen from a nearby crosswalk or sidewalk. Be sure to gather contact information from these people. If they've arrived at the scene, connect them with police officers to give statements.

5. Take photos

In today’s world of advanced technology and smartphones, this step is easier than ever. Take detailed photos of the crash from several different angles, as well as close-up images of any damage. You may also find it beneficial to get a video of the entire scene in order to provide context and a total view of the area. Get evidence of any debris, skid marks, or other damage. 

This can help your insurance company calculate just how much damage has been done to your vehicle or any other vehicles involved. In the unfortunate event that your case does go to litigation, this type of evidence is critical.

6. Contact your insurance company

It’s important to get in touch with your insurance company. Give them a call and inform them that you have been in an accident, BUT don’t give them any details yet. Let them know you will be contacting them again soon once you have spoken to your attorney (see #10).

7. Get professional help

Once the dust has cleared and you've left the scene, it's time to get help. 

Take your vehicle into a reputable shop for an extensive look. Ask them to provide notes about the damage, along with a cost breakdown for repairs. 

Even if you feel fine, visit a doctor for a thorough check-up. You may not feel some injuries due to shock, while others like whiplash, can take a few days to appear. 

8. Keep records of all medical treatment

If you’re suffering from injuries after a car accident, medical bills can pile up quickly. From initial tests and X-rays to hospital stays and subsequent check-ups, keep an extensive paper trail for every medical appointment you have. 

Ask your doctor, the hospital, and even your health insurance company for records of everything. Create a file and keep it in a safe place. You may want to consider scanning these documents in order to keep them on your computer for easy access and emailing.

All of this will be very important if you do go through the personal injury claims process.

9. Proceed with caution 

In the days following an accident, be wary of unsolicited phone calls from the other party’s insurance company or attorney. Remain polite and professional, but explain that you’ll be in touch through your own representation. 

In some cases, they may try to offer you an early settlement. If you were hurt, this could prevent you from seeking much-needed compensation in the future. It’s important to be sure that you understand the full scope of your condition and any future complications before you accept and sign off on any settlement. 

Furthermore, even property damage estimates take time. What if it turns out your minor car repairs are in fact extensive? In most cases, an early settlement will only provide money for simple repairs. Don’t let the other party or their insurance company pressure you into anything.

10. Contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer

A skilled New Orleans car accident lawyer can navigate complex legal matters with your best interests in mind. The stress of a car accident can be intense, especially if you’re dealing with injuries or extensive vehicle damage that leaves you without reliable transportation. 

How do you know if you need a lawyer? There are three instances when it is critical to find professional representation:

  • You or a passenger in your vehicle were injured in the accident
  • Anyone in the accident was severely injured or killed
  • There's significant and costly property damage

You may also want to contact an attorney even if the damage was minor. A short consultation can give you a better idea of the best way to protect your rights and property after an accident. 

If you work with our team at Huber, Thomas & Marcelle, you can be confident that the best Louisiana car accident lawyers are on your side. Our case victories have resulted in millions of dollars for our deserving clients. If you've been in a car accident and want to ensure that you receive a fair settlement, contact us today for a free consultation. We will be here for you every step of the way.

Car accidents happen across the U.S. every day. While most of them are minor collisions, some have devastating results that can change your life forever. In fact, in Louisiana alone, there are more than 1,300 car accidents that result in serious injuries every year. Severe injuries can lead to long hospital stays, costly medical bills, and permanent damage to your body. A car accident brain injury falls into this category as it can result in long-term issues.

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a car accident, the attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help.

Perhaps you're facing months of rehabilitation or your injuries are so severe that you’re unable to return to work. You may be entitled to compensation that will help you overcome these challenges. A brain injury accident lawyer on our team can discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. If you're in Louisiana or Texas, contact us to schedule a free consultation or read on in this post to learn more.

What causes a car accident brain injury?

A TBI is generally caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Some are mild, meaning there is only a brief change in mental status or consciousness. Alternatively, a severe TBI can result in a permanent or extended period of memory loss or unconsciousness.

According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are among the most common causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 34.

Whether you experience a TBI in a car accident often depends on several factors, as a recent study from the University of Arizona discovered. This includes the direction in which you were hit, speed of the vehicles involved, and whether you were wearing a seatbelt.

Types of car accident brain injuries

There are several different types of car accident brain injuries. Some of the more common include:

  • Concussion: Often referred to as the most common type of TBI, a concussion can take months to completely heal. It can be caused by a direct blow or violent shaking that results in the stretching of the brain’s blood vessels.
  • Contusion: A contusion is generally the result of direct impact to the head that causes bleeding on the brain. Large contusions may require surgical removal.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: This injury leads to bleeding at the site of the blow, as well as the opposite side of the brain. This happens when the impact causes the brain to move and slam into the opposite side of the skull.
  • Diffuse Axonal: When the unmoving brain lags behind the movement of the skull, nerve tissues throughout the brain can tear. A diffuse axonal injury can disrupt brain activity, leading to permanent brain damage, coma, or even death.
  • Penetration Injury: If pieces of metal or debris penetrate the head, it can force these objects or even parts of the skull into the brain. This ruptures and stretches brain tissue.

Symptoms of car accident brain injuries

Beyond type, car accident brain injuries also range in severity. It’s important to know symptoms for each to know if you're dealing with a mild or more severe injury.

A mild traumatic brain injury may result in loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes. However, it’s possible to remain conscious while feeling confused or disoriented. In the hours or days following the accident, other symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Speech problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Mood swings
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression or anxiety

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include the signs and symptoms noted above, along with other issues. Loss of consciousness may take place for several minutes to hours. The following symptoms will usually be present within the first few hours or days:

  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Persistent or worsening headaches
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Loss of coordination
  • Numbness in fingers and toes
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Combativeness or confusion
  • Unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma

What happens after a brain injury?

If you were recently in a car accident and believe you may have a brain injury, it’s important to seek medical care immediately.

While each situation is different, the following is the typical flow of events after a car accident brain injury. However, it’s important to note, you may not feel the effects of a brain injury from a motorcycle accident or car accident right away. Every case is unique. Even if you don't think you need it, get medical attention right away just to make sure.

Emergency care

Emergency care after any type of car or motorcycle accident is critical.

In some cases, an injury may be fatal if left untreated. This is why it’s essential to see a doctor for a thorough check-up. Even if you feel normal, the impact of a serious car crash can be dangerous. Visit your doctor for a professional opinion.

Diagnosis

When you go to obtain emergency care or any type of check-up after a car accident, you will most likely undergo various medical tests. This may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-rays.

Intracranial pressure monitors are also used in some cases. Tissue swelling from a TBI can increase pressure inside the skull, which causes even more damage to the brain. By inserting a probe into the skull, doctors can monitor the level of pressure a patient is experiencing.

These tests allow your medical team to determine whether you have sustained a traumatic brain injury or brain swelling after a car accident. A solid diagnosis is the first step toward treatment.

Treatment

Once your medical team determines whether you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury, you will move forward with a treatment plan.

In mild cases, rest and over-the-counter pain medication should be enough. Your doctor may recommend continuous monitoring for worsening symptoms, both physical and cognitive.

For moderate to severe cases, your emergency medical team may turn to diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in the brain. Anti-seizure or coma-inducing drugs may be necessary in very serious situations.

Emergency surgery is also a possibility, depending on the injury. Doctors must operate in cases involving skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, and extremely swollen brain tissue.

Rehabilitation

Most significant brain injuries require extensive rehabilitation. While this typically begins in the hospital, you will most likely need further care through an inpatient facility. After more serious injuries, you may even need to relearn how to walk, talk, and perform simple daily activities.

In other cases, you will have the option of pursuing ongoing outpatient care. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist, speech pathologist, or even a neuropsychologist.

The type of rehabilitation you undergo, as well as the duration will depend on your specific injury and overall condition.

How can a brain injury accident lawyer help?

All of this information in this post is just a high-level overview of what can happen after a brain injury from a car accident. Such an injury is often life altering and they're among the most costly injuries to heal.

As you navigate through life after this type of accident, costs may add up quickly. You may not be able to work as much as you used to, if at all. Continued care through therapy and rehabilitation may be necessary for an indefinite amount of time.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we understand the serious nature of this type of injury. We’re dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve so you can heal. Our team is here to support you each step of the way. Our goal is for you to focus on your recovery, not how you’ll pay the ongoing bills.

If you’re suffering from a car accident brain injury and want to learn if legal representation is right for you, contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you learn more about your options moving forward.

A car accident can instantly and drastically change your best-laid plans. At that moment, your life and priorities change. From the moment the accident occurs, though, it can feel overwhelming to deal with the fall-out when talking to the police, insurance companies, your healthcare team, and more. A car accident lawyer can bring order to the chaos. Choosing when or if to contact an attorney isn't always clear-cut, but this post gives some general guidance.

Overall, though, if you were recently involved in an accident, our team of New Orleans car accident lawyers at Huber Thomas & Marcelle are always here to help. We offer free consultations so you can protect yourself from the day of the accident and beyond. We'll realistically explain your next best steps, whether that's representation or taking on the case yourself. Contact us for more information or keep reading to learn more.

What should I do immediately after a car accident?

The minutes, hours, and days after an accident can be a whirlwind. Your first priority is you and your loved one's safety. Get immediate medical attention if any one has been injured in any way—even if that injury seems small. After the stress and adrenaline of an accident wears away, what appears to be small injuries can become much more serious. Because of this, it's best to have a doctor check it out.

If you feel safe to do so, gather some basic evidence from the site of the accident. Take photos of the accident site, any property damage to cars, and any skid marks on the road or roadside. Ask for information from the other drivers involved, including name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information.

We cover more information about this in a recent post on the personal injury claims process. However, there are two additional things you should know after an accident.

Postpone talking to the other party's insurance company

An insurance company begins work right after an accident. They know it's in their best interest to talk to you as soon as possible. This is when you're at your most vulnerable. You likely don't understand the full scope of your injuries or property damage. You're exhausted from the accident.

When the other insurance company calls, you are not required to talk to them.

If they contact you, they will likely ask for a recounting of the accident. In your post-accident state, you may neglect to provide details that could be important to your case later on or answer a question in a way that frames you negatively if the matter does go to litigation. They may also ask leading questions that you're not equipped to answer.

The other insurance company will probably offer a small amount of money to settle your claim, too. Unfortunately, after an accident, you simply won't know the full extent of your injuries or property damage. This settlement will generally only cover the most basic repairs or medical costs. This settlement offer also includes a release that will make it impossible to bring a later claim against them.

For these reasons, it's best only to talk to an attorney, your own insurance company, your medical team, and the police after an accident.

Be aware of Louisiana car accident laws

Louisiana has multiple laws governing car accident matters. According to Louisiana Revised Statutes §32-398, you should immediately report any accident that results in injury or death to a person and results in more than $500 in property damage. When you call the police after an accident, they'll write up this report and guide you through any other steps.

If you can, you should also clearly document any evidence and gather witness testimony to better and more clearly define who was at fault during an accident. Louisiana is a "comparative fault" state according to Civil Code Article 2323. If you are awarded damages after litigation for a car accident, they'll be reduced by your level of fault in the crash.

What does this mean? Let's say you have damages equaling $200,000. If it's determined that you were 25% at fault for the accident, the total of your damages ($200,000) is reduced by your amount of fault in the accident (25%). This leaves you instead with $150,000 in awarded damages. That being said, even if you were partly at fault, you can still be entitled to compensation after an accident.

How do I know if I need a lawyer after a car accident?

After you've received medical attention and documented the accident as much as possible, it's time to think about asking a car accident lawyer for help.

To start, most attorneys offer free consultations. Highly-respected attorneys with good online reviews will be honest about your case. They'll explain if a case is worth representing or if you're better handling a small accident claim through the insurance process.

However, always contact a lawyer as soon as possible if any of the following occurs:

  • You or a passenger were injured in the accident
  • Anyone in the accident was severely injured or killed
  • There's significant and costly property damage

When an accident leads to significant damages, it means there will be higher claims for medical costs and repairs. Ensuring you receive compensation to cover these from the insurance company will be difficult. It's best undertaken with the help of an attorney who knows the process. They'll start work immediately, gathering evidence and guiding you on the best way forward.

There are other times when you should contact a lawyer after a car accident. If you ever feel overwhelmed or in over your head, ask for help. If any professionals in the matter—your insurance company, the other insurance company, healthcare providers, or the police—aren't dealing fairly, it's time to get support.

An attorney's job is to guide you through the complex legal process. They're experts in what they do, and having a great lawyer by your side can mean the difference between a settlement that barely covers your medical costs and one that helps you recover financially and personally from an accident. An attorney also deals directly with insurance companies on your behalf and takes over your case so you can return back to your life after an accident.

How to find a lawyer after a car accident in New Orleans

If you've been in an accident, it is important to talk to an attorney as quickly as possible.

Look for legal teams that have good reviews online, either through a site like Avvo or Google. Previous clients should note that the attorneys were transparent and helpful throughout the whole process. Especially look for lawyers who are known for being present and ready to answer their client's questions with minimal follow-up time.

Most attorneys will provide free consultations and will take your case on contingency. You won't pay anything upfront unless the attorney helps you win your case or reaches a fair settlement.

Learn more about Huber Thomas & Marcelle

After a car accident, you need the best New Orleans car accident lawyers on your side. We're dedicated to providing legal assistance that makes sense, for every person. Our team will walk you through every step of the process, empowering you to recover after a traumatic event.

Our team is proud to say that we've recovered millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and in trial verdicts. We know how to bring a case against large insurance companies or make sure they offer a settlement that's fair and equitable for you.

If you've been in a car accident and want to learn if legal representation is right for you, contact us today for a free consultation. We're here to help.

It’s that time of year. Lunches are packed and backpacks are stashed with supplies. The kids are going back to school, which means buses will rule the roads across New Orleans. Are you up to date on the most recent laws and guidelines surrounding Louisiana school bus safety for drivers, though? At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we care about the children in our community. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of important school bus safety tips designed to keep everyone safe. Here's what you need to know going into this school year, whether you're a parent or simply another driver on the roads.

Why is Louisiana school bus safety so important?

As the summer months fly by, it’s easy to get used to a fast morning commute. No more crowded streets or busy sidewalks.

When fall rolls around, though, everything changes. Students flock to bus stops, waiting for that big yellow bus. About 25 million students across the country ride the bus to and from school every day.

According to studies completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this is the safest method of transportation for children. Students of all ages are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car. This is because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They’re designed with the highest safety standards in mind. And, traffic laws exist specifically to keep them safe.

Want to do your part to maintain a safe commute for students? These are the school bus traffic laws that other drivers must follow.

1. Come to a full stop when children are loading or unloading

Every state in the U.S. has laws surrounding this topic. When a bus is loading or unloading children, you must come to a full and complete stop. Generally, the bus will display red flashing lights in addition to a stop-arm sign that extends out from the left side of the bus. This is your signal to stop immediately.

If you see yellow flashing lights on a school bus up ahead, this is an indication that the bus will be coming to a stop soon. In general, the driver will turn on this signal no less than 100 feet before stopping. When you see these lights, you should begin to slow down.

Violating these stop-arm laws can be dangerous and costly. For a violation that does not involve the injury of another person, you could face fines of up to $500 and may be subject to a driver’s license suspension. Violations involving serious injury or death can lead to increased fines and jail time in addition to suspension of your driver’s license.

2. Stop, even if you're on the other side of the road

This is where drivers tend to be confused about how to proceed. Do I still have to stop when I’m driving on the opposite side of the road? In short, the answer is yes.

You must make a full and complete stop if the red lights are flashing and the stop-arm sign is on display. The only exception is when the bus is on the opposite side of a clearly divided highway. When it comes to the definition of a clearly divided highway, the law varies by state. In Louisiana, the roadway must be separated by a concrete barrier, ditch, or grassy median.

It’s also important to note an exception regarding specified loading zones. If the bus is completely off the roadway and pedestrians are not allowed to cross, you do not have to stop.

3. Leave plenty of distance between your car and the bus

The area ten feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for students. With this in mind, Louisiana law dictates how much space you must leave between your car and a school bus.

Stop thirty feet away from a bus that is loading and unloading students or displaying red flashing lights along with a stop-arm sign.

This is the best way to ensure that you are out of the bus driver’s blind spots. It will also provide you with a better view of any children who may be attempting to cross.

4. Do your research and stay updated

Stay aware of the school bus schedule in your area. Take note of when you see children out and about near bus stops. Find out when buses arrive and depart in the areas along your commute.

In general, there are about three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon when you may see school buses traveling along school routes. Keep this in mind as you go about your daily routine.

5. Always be on the lookout

Before backing out of your driveway, pause to take a look around your street. Are children making their way to the bus stop? Are parents walking back from drop-offs with younger children?

The morning can be hectic for everybody. Children running to catch the bus can appear quickly and with little warning. It’s essential to pause and take a look at your surroundings before you proceed. Approach every stop sign with the same caution.

6. Slow down in neighborhoods and school zones

Kids will gather at local bus stops across your community, sometimes spilling into the streets. Their safety should be your number one priority.

Reduce your speed as much as possible in neighborhoods and school zones. Speed limits are often as low as 15 miles per hour in these areas, and for good reason.

The chances of getting into an accident are less likely if you’re going slow enough to see a potential hazard. Plus, accidents that take place while traveling at a low rate of speed are less likely to be severe or life-threatening.

7. Talk to your children about school bus safety

While pedestrians always have the right-of-way, some drivers simply don’t follow the law. Educating your children on school bus safety will help them remain vigilant when they’re getting to and from school.

Here are some important tips if you have children of your own:

  • Remain visible at all times. If they must cross in front of a bus, make eye contact with the driver and leave plenty of space. Never walk behind the bus.
  • Be on time. No one likes to miss the bus, but it’s more important to stay safe. Running late can cause students to move too quickly and with little regard for who or what is around them. Encourage your child to get out the door as early as possible for a safe walk to the bus stop.
  • Keep a safe distance. Stand several feet away from the curb at all times. Don’t engage in games or playing in or near the street. Wait for the bus to come to a stop before approaching to board.

Find support after a school bus related accident

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our hope is to create safer communities, especially when it comes to matters that involve children. Unfortunately, accidents happen and drivers make mistakes.

If you or your child has been in a school bus related accident, we can help. Our goal is to treat every client with the same care we would expect for our own families. In addition to Louisiana, members of our team are licensed to practice in Mississippi, Texas, Washington D.C. and New York.

Contact us to find out how we can provide guidance and support when you need it the most.