Road debris-related accidents are very common on roads across the country. From country roads to highways to city streets, debris can create unpredictable and dangerous situations for motorists in our state. Every year, debris causes an estimated 50,000 crashes.
These accidents can cause a range of outcomes, from minor inconveniences to severe injuries or even fatalities. ABC News reported that road debris causes 440 deaths per year. With these facts in mind, Louisiana drivers need to recognize the impact road debris has on their safety.
If you're in a debris accident, it's important to understand the legal implications. Huber Thomas Law has helped Louisiana victims of debris-related accidents navigate the legal processes. Our first step? Equipping you with what you need to know.
Types and Causes of Road Debris
Driving around Louisiana streets, you’ve probably seen various types of debris on the roads. Tree limbs after major storms, trash and litter in high-traffic areas, and rogue construction materials are all common sights to see.
Causes and types of debris can vary. Knowing each of them allows your legal team to determine the best course of action in seeking compensation.
Types of Road Debris
Road debris refers to any foreign objects or materials that have unintentionally found their way onto roadways. These objects pose hazards to vehicles, drivers, and passengers. These can include items such as:
- Tree branches
- Tire shreds
- Construction materials
- Trash and litter
Debris can also include other objects that can obstruct traffic flow and lead to accidents.
Factors Contributing to Road Debris
Negligence of Individuals or Companies
Road debris incidents are frequently linked to negligence on the part of individuals or companies. This can involve:
- Improperly secured loads: Cargo, equipment, or materials that are not adequately secured on vehicles, leading to spillage on the road.
- Littering: Individuals discarding trash or objects from their vehicles negligently.
- Failure to maintain vehicles: Inadequate maintenance of vehicles can result in parts or debris falling off.
- Construction site oversight: Construction companies failing to adequately manage their worksites, allowing materials to spill onto roadways.
Poor Road Maintenance
Inadequate road maintenance is another common contributor of road debris. This may involve:
- Crumbling road surfaces: Deteriorating asphalt or concrete that generates loose stones or potholes.
- Lack of regular cleaning: Failure by local authorities to clean and clear debris from roadways.
- Overgrown vegetation: Trees and shrubs that overhang roads can shed branches and foliage, particularly in adverse weather conditions.
Responsibility in Maintaining Safe Roads
Everyone plays a part in ensuring the safety of themselves and others on the road. Understanding these legal responsibilities is essential for all parties involved in road debris accidents.
Knowing these responsibilities helps determine liability if an accident occurs. It also highlights the importance of proactive measures in preventing road debris-related accidents.
General Road Users
All road users must practice reasonable caution to prevent accidents. In accidents caused by road debris, it's important to avoid making or adding to dangerous situations.
Government agencies, such as state and local departments of transportation, have a critical role in maintaining safe roads. Their responsibilities include:
- Regular road maintenance: Ensuring that roads are free from hazards like potholes, loose gravel, and overgrown vegetation.
- Prompt debris removal: Clearing road debris and litter to prevent accidents.
- Monitoring construction sites: Overseeing construction projects to ensure materials and debris do not pose a risk to road users.
- Signage and warnings: Providing appropriate signage to warn drivers of potential hazards.
When government agencies fail to fulfill these responsibilities, they can potentially be held liable for accidents resulting from their negligence.
Drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely and with due regard for the road conditions. This includes:
- Maintaining proper following distance: Ensure there is enough space between vehicles to react and maneuver safely if you encounter road debris.
- Staying within speed limits: Adhering to posted speed limits to have adequate time to respond to unexpected road hazards.
- Avoiding distractions: Staying focused on driving and not engaging in activities that divert attention from the road.
If a driver fails to exercise these responsibilities and causes an accident due to road debris, they may be held liable for their negligent actions.
Establishing Liability in a Road Debris Accident
How is negligence proven in a road debris related accident?
Evidence at the Scene of Accident
The first step is collecting and reviewing all evidence at the accident scene. This documentation can help prove negligence. Evidence includes:
- Photographs and videos of scene, road conditions, and position of debris
- Police reports and accident records that may detail the cause of accident
- Vehicle damage assessments to determine the cause of collision
- Road debris samples
Eyewitness Testimony and Expert Opinion
Eyewitness testimony can be invaluable in confirming the circumstances of the accident. Expert opinions can also provide a professional assessment of the events leading to the accident.
Who may be responsible for the debris-related accident?
Sometimes, the driver may be partly or fully blamed for the accident if they couldn't avoid road debris or react properly. Proving their negligence often involves:
- Demonstrating a lack of reasonable care: Establishing that the driver did not exercise due caution when encountering road debris.
- Establishing causation: Showing that the driver's actions or inactions directly contributed to the accident.
Government Agencies or Contractors
If poor road maintenance or inadequate construction site oversight is identified as a factor in the accident, government agencies or contractors may be liable. To establish their liability, we may consider:
- Demonstrating negligence: Proving that the government agency or contractor failed in their responsibilities, such as maintaining safe roads or controlling construction site debris.
- Complying with legal requirements: Ensuring that they adhere to laws and regulations related to road maintenance and construction safety.
Companies Transporting Materials
Companies involved in transporting materials can also be held accountable if their actions contributed to the presence of road debris. To establish their liability, we may need to:
- Examine load securing practices: Determine whether the company properly secured materials on their vehicles to prevent spillage.
- Review safety protocols: Assess whether the company followed safety regulations and guidelines for transporting materials.
How is liability determined in a debris-related accident?
Liability in a debris-related accident depends on how the accident occurred. Below we’ll review the typical scenarios.
Liability of the Driver Who Hit the Debris
When a driver hits road debris, their liability may depend on factors such as:
- The driver's ability to avoid the debris safely.
- Whether they were driving at a safe speed and maintaining an appropriate following distance.
- Their responsiveness to the sudden appearance of debris.
Liability When Road Debris Causes a Chain Reaction
In cases where road debris triggers a chain reaction of accidents involving multiple vehicles, liability can be complex. Determining liability often involves:
- Analyzing each driver's actions leading up to the accident.
- Identifying which drivers could have reasonably avoided the initial debris collision.
- Considering whether the drivers behind the initial collision were following at a safe distance.
Liability When Debris Falls from a Vehicle or Construction Site
When debris falls from a vehicle or a construction site, liability may rest on the responsible parties, including:
- The driver of the vehicle responsible for the debris.
- The construction company or site manager overseeing safety protocols and debris containment.
Compensation Available for Victims of Debris-Related Accidents
Like other types of vehicle accidents, compensation is available for victims. Compensation can cover a range of needs, depending on the physical injury or property damage that occurred. Below are the options available if you’ve been involved in a debris-related accident.
Victims of road debris accidents often incur medical expenses, including:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Hospitalization and surgery
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Medications and ongoing medical care
Road debris accidents can cause significant property damage, including:
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Repairing or replacing personal belongings inside the vehicle
- Damage to other property such as homes or businesses in the vicinity
Lost Income and Future Earnings
Injuries can cause victims to lose income and may also impact their ability to earn money in the future. Compensation may include:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Compensation for time away from work for medical appointments
Pain and Suffering
Road debris accidents can cause pain and suffering, and people may seek compensation for the following damages:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Psychological trauma
Legal Challenges in Debris Accidents
As with any legal case, there are extenuating circumstances that may affect the level of liability and compensation. Below are circumstances you should be aware of regarding your debris-related accident.
Statute of Limitations
Victims must be aware of the statute of limitations, which sets a time limit for filing a legal claim. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the loss of the right to seek compensation.
In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for an accident. Understanding comparative negligence laws is crucial as it determines the distribution of responsibility and compensation.
What to Do After a Road Debris Accident
Taking the following steps after a road debris accident will help protect your rights and interests. Adhering to these steps may also increase the likelihood of a successful legal outcome.
Report Accident to Authorities
If you've been involved in a road debris accident, it's crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the police or highway patrol. This action creates a formal record of the accident, which insurance claims and legal matters may require.
Seek Medical Attention
After a road debris accident, the well-being of all involved parties is paramount. Even if you feel fine immediately after the incident, it's advisable to seek medical attention. Injuries may not show symptoms immediately, so a medical check-up can find and treat any hidden injuries quickly.
Collect Evidence and Documentation
Gathering evidence and documentation is vital for building a strong case if you decide to pursue legal action. This may include:
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene, debris, and vehicle damage
- Eyewitness contact information and statements
- Police reports and accident records
- Medical records and bills related to injuries
- Repair estimates or invoices for vehicle damage
- Any correspondence with insurance companies
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney like Huber Thomas Law is an essential step in seeking compensation and navigating the legal process. An experienced attorney can:
- Assess the strength of your case and potential liability
- Provide legal guidance and expertise throughout the claims process
- Help negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in legal proceedings
- Ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries and losses
Seek Guidance from Huber Thomas Law
In the wake of a road debris accident, the guidance and expertise of a personal injury attorney are invaluable. Our team at Huber Thomas Law helps victims of complex cases seek the compensation they deserve.
We will assess liability, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in legal proceedings. Get started on your journey to justice by contacting Huber Thomas Law today.
Motorcycle ownership has been “revving” up in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, motorcycle sales spiked—and the popularity is still growing. More enthusiasts are enjoying the freedom motorcycling offers on the open road.
Whether you are a prospective or seasoned motorcycle owner, it’s important to follow Louisiana laws in your ownership and operation. Obtaining a Louisiana motorcycle endorsement is your first step. It’s essentially your green light to ride.
As a law firm dedicated to protecting victims in vehicle accidents, we see motorcycle cases often. Riding a motorcycle presents its own set of dangers. To better safeguard yourself if an accident occurs, you must follow all Louisiana requirements for motorcycle ownership.
Read on for our breakdown of everything you need to know.
How to Get a Motorcycle Endorsement in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, motorcycle endorsements must be indicated on a license in order to drive the following:
- Motor-driven cycles
- Motorized bicycles/mopeds
You must have this endorsement for motorized cycles with more than 5 horsepower, regardless of the speed or size. It’s essentially your green light for navigating Louisiana streets, highways, and roadways on your motorcycle.
To receive an endorsement, you must have:
- A valid Louisiana driver’s license or learner’s permit
- A score of 80% or higher on the Motorcycle Knowledge Test and Skills Test
- Skills Test: Your intended motorcycle and helmet, as well as your current license plate, insurance, and inspection sticker.
- Alternate: Completion of the Department of Public Safety, Motorcycle Safety, Awareness and Operators Training Program.
Below we’ve provided more information on your motorcycle endorsement requirements and options.
For First-Time Endorsement Seekers
Are you wondering if you need a specific license to drive a motorcycle in the state of Louisiana? In fact, a separate license for motorcycle use is not needed.
If you already have a Louisiana driver's license, you will only get a motorcycle endorsement added to it. Of course, you will first need to prove that you are qualified for such endorsement.
Below we’ve broken down your options.
Option #1: Take the Required Motorcycle Skills Tests
To get a motorcycle endorsement, you must schedule two tests at the nearest Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle location.
- Motorcycle Knowledge Test
- Road Skills Test
You can prepare for the Motorcycle Knowledge Test by reading and understanding the Motorcycle Operator Manual. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the information provided in this guide during the test. This guide covers everything you need to know about Louisiana regulations for motorcycles.
To take the Road Skills Test, bring the motorcycle you plan to ride, a helmet and eye protection. Your motorcycle needs to be fitted with a Louisiana license plate. You need to fit your motorcycle with a Louisiana license plate. You must also bring your current driver’s license, proof of insurance, and a current inspection sticker. You must demonstrate your ability to safely operate a motorcycle.
The tests cost approximately $18 with a local fee of up to $6.
Option #2: Enroll in a Motorcycle Training Course
For those seeking motorcycle endorsements, there exists another option in the state of Louisiana. You may also take the Basic Rider Course through the Department of Public Safety. You can do this course instead of the written Motorcycle Endorsement Test and Road Skills Test listed in Option #1. The Basic Rider Course includes:
- Online e-course (5 hours)
- Riding sessions (5 ½ hours on a Saturday and Sunday)
This course will teach you the basics of motorcycle operation, including maneuvering and risk management. These skills are essential for ensuring safety for both you and other drivers on the road. We recommend taking the Basic Rider Course if you're new to motorcycles or haven't bought one yet. In this course, you will be provided with a motorcycle for training.
Apply for Your Motorcycle Endorsement
After finishing your tests or the Basic Riders Course, you can now request your Class M Motorcycle Endorsement. You can make an appointment at your nearest OMV to obtain this endorsement. You will need to bring:
- Your driver’s license or photo ID
- Proof of residency
- Motorcycle insurance cards
- Certificate of completion from your motorcycle training course
At your appointment, you will fill out an application, take a vision test, and pay the necessary fees for the application. Once you receive your class M motorcycle endorsement, you may operate under this endorsement for up to 6 years.
For New Louisiana Residents
The process is simple for new Louisiana residents who already have a motorcycle endorsement from another state.
- Book an appointment at your nearest OMV.
- Bring the following documentation:
- A valid driver’s license
- Social security card
- Proof of insurance
You must do this within the first 30 days of residency. You do not have to take any exams. Once approved, the OMV will provide you with a Louisiana driver’s license with a class M motorcycle endorsement.
The cost for the Basic Rider Course depends on whether or not you have your own motorcycle. The Basic Course is $100 for those borrowing a Department of Public Safety motorcycle. For those with their own motorcycle, the course is $25.
Louisiana Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know
As a motorcycle endorsement holder, there are other motorcycle laws in Louisiana that you need to follow. These laws ensure that you’re able to enjoy your new ride safely and securely, being mindful of other drivers and passengers on the road.
Insurance Requirements for Motorcyclists in Louisiana
As mentioned previously, you will need to show proof of insurance when you apply for your motorcycle endorsement. The OMV will not issue you a motorcycle endorsement without coverage.
As with any other driver on the road, you will also be asked to show proof of insurance if you were to be stopped or involved in an accident. Your insurance coverage is your protection in the event of property damage or bodily harm. Trust us, you do not want to ride your motorcycle without it.
In Louisiana, motorcyclists are required to have a liability policy. Minimum policy amounts include:
- Bodily injury liability for one person: $15,000
- Bodily injury liability for 2+ people: $30,000
- Property damage liability: $25,000
You may want to consider adding other coverages in the event of motorcycle damage and need of repair and replacement.
- Collision: Covers your motorcycle if it becomes damaged and needs repair.
- Comprehensive: Protects your motorcycle in the event of fire, wind, or water damage, as well as theft or vandalism.
- Custom Parts and Equipment: Covers custom upgrades, parts, and modifications.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: safeguards you when you crash into someone without insurance or insufficient funds to cover the costs.
Yearly Motorcycle Inspections for Louisiana Drivers
If it is your first time purchasing a motorcycle, you need to have your motorcycle inspected at a repair shop. You have 40 days from the purchase of your motorcycle to do so. Furthermore, you must complete the inspection at a shop approved by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Those who have moved to Louisiana with a motorcycle will also need to conduct a Louisiana DPS-approved inspection. Motorcycle owners must inspect their motorcycles yearly.
Required Protective Gear for Louisiana Motorcyclists
When driving a car, your windshield protects you from flying objects, including bugs and debris. A motorcycle may not have this layer of protection. To protect your eyes from objects that could cause an accident, you must wear eye protection.
Approved eye protection includes:
- Face shields
- Safety glasses
During the day, motorcyclists may enjoy wearing tinted eye protection to also shield their eyes from the sun. You are allowed to do so. However, you are not allowed to wear tinted eye protection at night.
If your motorcycle has a tall windshield, you might not need to wear eye protection. At Huber Thomas Law, we recommend you still do so.
Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling, yet dangerous, experience. There is a risk of serious injury, including head trauma, when a collision occurs. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to wear a helmet in Louisiana, we’ve got your answer.
Yes, you—and any passenger—will need to wear a helmet on the bike. The helmet must meet the requirements as outlined by Louisiana law:
- Must be manufactured for use on a motorcycle
- Must be secured properly with a chin strap while in motion
- Must also be outfitted with lining, padding, visor, and chip strap
Wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle can protect you and your passenger from brain damage and head trauma.
Requirements for Riding Motorcycles in Louisiana
When operating your motorcycle, there are other laws you need to keep in mind. Below are the regulations as outlined in Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.
- You must only ride on the “permanent or regular” seat attached to your motorcycle.
- Your passengers must also only ride on the “permanent or regular” seat as long as:
- The seat is designed for two riders.
- Another seat is securely adhered to the motorcycle’s rear or side.
- You can only ride with a passenger if the motorcycle is designed for more than one rider.
- You must sit astraddle on your motorcycle (facing forward with one leg on each side).
- Your passengers must not be carried in a way that distracts from safe operation.
- You must not carry any items that keep you from a firm two-hand grasp on your handlebars.
- A child who would normally be required to sit in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat is not allowed to ride in a motorcycle.
- Children 5+ years old may only ride on a motorcycle if they are seated properly and wearing a helmet.
Additionally, Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.3 outlines your requirements for footrests and handlebars.
- A motorcycle must be equipped with footrests for passengers.
- Handlebars must not require the driver to reach above their shoulder height while sitting astraddle and gripping the handlebars.
Laws on Motorcycle Traffic Lane Use in Louisiana
Motorcyclists enjoy riding city streets and country roads without the bulkiness of a car. The open air circling around you can be a freeing feeling. However, safe lane use is a requirement when riding a motorcycle around the state of Louisiana.
Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.1 allow motorcycles to have full use of a lane. This means that another vehicle, such as a car, cannot overtake you while you are riding a motorcycle. You are also not allowed to overtake another vehicle in the same lane.
It is often a very dangerous occurrence when motorcycles weave in between lanes of traffic. For this reason, motorcyclists are not allowed to do so. There is a high probability that a moving vehicle will not see you and crash into you, causing a potentially dangerous accident.
The exception to this is if you are riding alongside another motorcycle. Up to two motorcycles can ride next to each other in one traffic lane. Any more than two is not allowed.
When the Unexpected Occurs, Choose Huber Thomas
At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in equipping motorists with information to keep them safe. We compiled the motorcycle laws listed above to protect both new and seasoned motorcyclists in the state of Louisiana.
By following these laws, you can mitigate the risks that motorcycles can bring. However, the unimaginable and unexpected can still occur. In these cases, you have a team on your side.
When you, your passenger, and/or your motorcycle has been injured in an accident, we can help. Our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you navigate insurance claims, hospital bills, and more—keeping you informed at every step.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
In the city of New Orleans, we have no shortage of spectacle. From parades to costumes to street performers, there are many moments that captivate our attention. We crane our necks to get a better view of the fun and exciting sights that occur day-to-day in our city.
On a more serious note, New Orleans is experiencing a rise in traffic accidents. When these accidents occur on busy thoroughfares, it is common for other drivers to take a peek at what occurred. Curiosity and concern for safety makes it enticing to look at the accident.
However, these distractions have the risk of becoming dangerous, especially if we are driving past them. They are just as dangerous as looking at our phones, falling asleep at the wheel, and other similar disruptions. When other events on the road distract you, many people call these instances "rubbernecking."
At Huber Thomas Law, we help drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists all over New Orleans navigate their claims after a traffic accident. We protect their interests, ensuring they receive the maximum compensation they deserve. Here's some advice on rubbernecking cases and what to do if you're in this kind of accident.
Overview of Rubbernecking
What is rubbernecking?
Rubbernecking is the act of diverting your attention away from the road and towards something of interest. It is a common yet dangerous behavior on the road. It is most often done when people slowly pass by an accident, emergency, or some other unusual or captivating event.
What is the origin of the term “rubbernecking?”
After reading the definition, you can probably guess why it is called “rubbernecking.” When people engage in rubbernecking, they typically crane their necks to get a better view. They stretch and strain to catch the details in front of them. It may seem harmless, but this diversion of attention can then lead to traffic hazard or traffic disruption.
What are the hazards of rubbernecking?
Rubbernecking may seem benign, but it is very dangerous. Rubbernecking can be dangerous as it diverts attention and may cause accidents for those involved.
It can also lead to a ripple effect of accidents and traffic congestion. This is especially problematic on highways and busy roads.
What is the law enforcement stance on rubbernecking?
Law enforcement strongly advises people to keep their attention on the road. There are so many sights that could catch our eye when we’re on the road, but it takes us away from the task at hand.
In some cases, law enforcement may take action. They may issue fines for those who egregiously slow down and stare at accidents or events on the road.
While rubbernecking can sound benign, the consequences are far reaching. It is another reminder that safe and attentive driving is important for our own wellbeing –and the safety of others.
Is rubbernecking illegal?
In most jurisdictions, the simple act of rubbernecking is not typically illegal. Law enforcement strongly advises drivers to stay focused on the road to avoid the problems that result from rubbernecking.
In fact, rubbernecking can lead to serious illegal offenses or violations of traffic laws. Below are a few incidents than can occur from rubbernecking:
Rubbernecking is distracted activity. People divert their attention away from the road and towards something of interest. This distraction can lead to traffic accidents and violations.
Following Too Closely
Slowing down to view an accident on the side of the road may cause issues. Abrupt slowdowns can cause vehicles behind to crash or pile up.
Impeding Traffic Flow
If a driver unnecessarily slows down, it can cause a disruption to the flow of traffic. Disrupting the flow of traffic is a violation of traffic laws.
Obstructing Emergency Responders
Emergency responders will need to navigate through traffic to assist the collision of interest. Rubbernecking can cause them delays and disruptions in accessing the scene of the accident or emergency. Obstructing emergency responders can lead to legal consequences.
What should you do if you’ve been in a rubbernecking accident?
A rubbernecking accident may look like other types of vehicle accidents. Therefore, the procedures you should follow are the same. If rubbernecking caused your involvement in an accident, you must ensure your safety. You will want to comply with all necessary legal and insurance procedures.
Here's what you should do:
1. Check for Injuries: Your top priority is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call emergency services immediately. If it's safe to do so, remove your vehicle out of the flow of traffic. This will help you mitigate additional accidents and injuries.
2. Share Information with Others Involved: No matter who is at fault, you will want to exchange information with all others involved. This involves exchanging names, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration information.
3. Document the Accident: If it safe for you to take photos, document the accident scene. You will want to use your smartphone or camera to capture vehicle damage, license plates, road conditions, and any visible injuries. This documentation can be helpful for insurance claims and legal purposes.
4. Contact Authorities: Report the accident to the police. Even if the accident is minor, you will want an official police report. This will come in handy later when conducting insurance claims and legal proceedings.
5. Collect Witness Information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information in case their statements are needed later.
6. Call Your Insurance: Get in touch with your insurance company ASAP. When you report the accident to them, be sure to provide accurate and detailed information about what happened. Follow their instructions for filing a claim.
7. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don't believe you're seriously injured, it's a good idea to seek medical attention after an accident. Not all injuries are obvious right away. Getting a medical check-up can make sure you get the right treatment and have a record of your injuries.
8. Cooperate with Authorities: Follow any instructions given by law enforcement officers at the scene. Be truthful and provide accurate information.
9. Avoid Blame and Apologies: Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, as this could be used against you in insurance claims or legal proceedings.
10. Consult an Attorney: If the accident resulted in significant injuries, property damage, or disputes with insurance companies, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney. A team like Huber Thomas Law can help protect your rights and navigate the legal process.
Every accident is different, so the actions you should take can vary based on the situation and laws in your area. Always prioritize safety and follow the guidance of law enforcement and your insurance company.
Who is liable in a rubbernecking accident?
Liability in a rubbernecking accident is determined similar to other types of accidents. It depends on the unique circumstances of the incident. Liability will not be determined until all actions and behaviors of those involved are reviewed.
Common situations may include:
The Rubbernecker is At Fault
If the rubbernecker was distracted and driving without caution, they may be found at fault. They will have to work with their liability insurance to cover vehicle damage and passenger or driver injuries.
The Other Driver is At Fault
There may be cases where the rubbernecker shares responsibility with another driver. If another driver follows too closely, speeds, or makes an unsafe maneuver, it may contribute to an accident with the rubbernecker.
A Third Party is Involved
Liability is complex, and situations may involve other parties. Pedestrians or cyclists may also find themselves in these rubbernecking accidents. Liability will be determined based on the specific actions of all who were involved.
There may be some instances where multiple drivers share liability. A rubbernecker and another driver or third party may be at fault. If this is determined, damages will be apportioned according to their degree of fault.
Determining liability is always a complex matter. Your insurance company and legal team will weigh all evidence in order to determine who was at fault in the accident. Sometimes, this isn’t enough. Battles may ensue as a result of disputes or disagreements of liability.
If you find yourself involved in a rubbernecking accident, you need to protect your interests. This begins by following all proper procedures: contacting the police, exchanging information with other drivers, and documenting the scene.
Even further, you will want a legal team on your side. Huber Thomas Law team will guide you, reduce stress, and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Why is it important to seek legal help after a rubbernecking incident?
No matter the type of vehicle accident, legal representation is paramount. In a rubbernecking case, finding a reputable attorney to handle your case is important for several reasons:
1. Determining Liability: Determining fault in a rubbernecking-related accident is not easy. Facts of the case must be reviewed in order to determine liability. Our legal team at Huber Thomas Law investigates circumstances thoroughly, gathers evidence, and interviews witnesses to determine liability. It is how we begin relentlessly pursuing compensation for injuries and damages.
2. Navigating Insurance Claims: Insurance companies notoriously undercut compensation. Attorneys, like those at Huber Thomas Law, can negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive fair compensation. We can also help you understand your insurance policy and any potential limitations.
3. Understanding Your Rights: When you are involved in a legal matter, you need to be aware of your rights and options. Our legal professionals can provide guidance on the best course of action. We'll give you advice on whether to make a personal injury claim, settle, or go to court.
4. Maximizing Compensation: An attorney can help you seek maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident. They can calculate the true value of your claim and ensure you don't settle for less than you deserve.
5. Dealing with Legal Complexities: Legal processes can be complex, with various deadlines, paperwork, and legal procedures to follow. Huber Thomas Law can handle complex tasks for you, ensuring correct document filing and meeting important deadlines.
6. Fighting for Justice: If your case goes to court, our attorneys can represent your interests. We’ll present a strong legal argument on your behalf. We will tirelessly advocate for your rights and ensure that we hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
7. Reducing Stress: Dealing with the aftermath of an accident, including injuries and property damage, can be incredibly stressful. We will shoulder the legal burden, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.
8. Access to Resources: You don’t need to handle this on your own. We have access to resources, such as accident reconstruction experts and medical experts. This access allows us to provide you with valuable insights and testimony to strengthen your case.
In short, seeking legal help after a rubbernecking incident is essential. A legal team can assist you with your rights. They can also increase your chances of fair compensation. Additionally, they can help reduce the stress of legal processes.
Our lawyers at Huber Thomas Law are skilled and will guide you through the entire process. They will work diligently to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Choose Huber Thomas Law to Protect Your Interests
With Huber Thomas Law, you have a formidable ally in your corner. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of rubbernecking accident can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Having a seasoned car accident lawyer in New Orleans by your side can truly make all the difference.
At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in putting our clients first. That's why we offer free consultations to discuss the specifics of your case. It's an opportunity for you to get to know us, and for us to understand your unique situation. We'll provide you with insights, answer your questions, and help you chart the path forward. Don't carry the burden alone – let us stand by your side. Schedule your free consultation today, and let's take the first step toward achieving the resolution you seek.
New Orleans is a walkable city – a feature that both locals and tourists enjoy. The ability to walk through our oak tree-lined thoroughfares and bustling centers of nightlife is a facet of our rich culture. In our city, walking is often easier than driving, especially when you’re heading to the parade route or a French Quarter hot spot.
Yet there are risks that this walkability poses. In recent years, New Orleans has seen more deaths and injuries for pedestrians and motorists alike. This trend isn’t only happening locally. It also follows a trend seen nationally in many U.S. cities. It is alarming to consider that something as enjoyable as walking can become a risk in so many bustling areas of the country.
However, you may be wondering what is causing this increase in injuries and fatalities locally. Recently, city officials have cited a rise in distracted and impaired driving and an increase in larger vehicles on the road. With bigger cars on the roadways, you can imagine there is a higher likelihood of fatality for pedestrians.
With these risks in mind, pedestrians must practice extra caution when navigating our city streets. It may seem benign to quickly cross Magazine Street, hopping from store to store on such a walkable road. However, many locals and visitors may forget the immense threat jaywalking poses. We field many questions regarding this topic, including:
What exactly is jaywalking?
Is jaywalking illegal in New Orleans?
Why is jaywalking illegal?
Do pedestrians have the right-of-way in Louisiana?
What do I do if I was involved in a pedestrian accident?
As a law firm specializing in personal injury, we are your go-to source for questions like these. Read on to learn more about jaywalking and the risks it poses to pedestrians and motorists alike.
What is jaywalking?
Jaywalking is the act of crossing a street where and when it is unlawful to do so. Pedestrians are expected to follow traffic signals and use designated crosswalks safely. Examples of jaywalking include the following:
- Crossing the road outside of designated crosswalks or intersections (mid-block)
- Disobeying traffic signals, such as the red hand or “Do Not Walk” symbol
- Crossing where it disrupts the normal flow of traffic
- Walking where pedestrian traffic is prohibited
Jaywalking can be dangerous for pedestrians and motorists alike. In the scenarios above, a moving vehicle may have little chance to stop or swerve to avoid a collision. Many jurisdictions provide fines or citations to pedestrians who jaywalk as a means of preventing accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
What is the legality of jaywalking in New Orleans?
The New Orleans Code of Ordinances has several statements on what is and isn’t permitted regarding pedestrian and vehicle flow. In summary, jaywalking is illegal when:
- There is an opportunity to safely cross at the nearest two intersections via a crosswalk and/or pedestrian signals.
- It is impossible for the oncoming vehicle to stop or yield.
- One is within our city’s business districts.
It is important for pedestrians to keep local ordinances in mind when walking around our city. Crossing mid-block in the Central Business District without using crosswalks or traffic signals may not seem dangerous. However, these safety measures are in place for a reason. We’ll get into why jaywalking is illegal in the next section.
Why is jaywalking illegal?
There are a few reasons why jaywalking is considered illegal. Many people consider safety as the top priority, but there are other lesser-known priorities as well.
Traffic laws are in place to protect the lives of those using the road, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Crossing the road in unsafe locations can increase the risk of accidents and collisions, leading to injury and/or death. By making jaywalking illegal, we can better ensure our streets continue to be walkable and safe.
Flow of Traffic
In large, bustling cities, the flow of traffic can easily be disrupted. Traffic laws are in place to ensure an efficient movement of traffic. If pedestrians were allowed to unexpectedly cross the road, the flow of traffic could be easily disrupted by congestion and potential accidents.
Traffic laws and signals establish a sense of predictability for everyone on the road. By following these designated pathways, we can better anticipate the movement of others. Unpredictable roadways could lead to confusion and danger for everyone involved.
What makes jaywalking dangerous in New Orleans?
To consider the danger of jaywalking, we must first consider the inherent risks of being a pedestrian. In New Orleans, traffic accidents as a whole are on the rise. City officials recently revealed that there was a 32% increase in traffic fatalities between 2020 and 2021.
This is alarming for those who want to walk around our beautiful city. From 2020 to 2021, pedestrian fatalities increased from 11 to 21, doubling year-over-year. In 2022, 71 deaths from traffic accidents occurred. Half of these were pedestrians.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw over 7,000 pedestrian fatalities from motor vehicle accidents in 2020. That year, pedestrians made up one out of every six traffic accident deaths.
There are several factors that increase the risk of pedestrian injury and death. The CDC has identified the following risk factors:
- Alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian
- Increased vehicle speed by the driver
- Urban environments
- Roadways afar from the nearest intersection
As enchanting as our rich nightlife is in New Orleans, you can see how it poses major risks for motorists and pedestrians alike. For pedestrians in particular, the risk of injury or death increases when disobeying traffic laws and jaywalking into oncoming traffic.
With the growth in reckless driving and the number of larger vehicles on the road, pedestrians and drivers alike must practice caution. Accidents between pedestrians and motor vehicles can cause injuries and fatalities – and make our streets less safe. When walking around our cultured city, pedestrians must consider the risks of jaywalking.
Do pedestrians have the right-of-way in Louisiana?
You may be wondering, “If jaywalking is illegal, when do pedestrians have the right-of-way in New Orleans?” A pedestrian will have the right-of-way when:
- Traffic signals suggest it is safe to walk.
- Crossing via a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
The pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when:
- Crossing a street outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
- Traffic signals suggest it is not safe to walk.
However, there are stipulations that motorists must keep in mind. While it is illegal for a pedestrian to jaywalk or fail to yield to a vehicle, drivers of motor vehicles are still expected to practice caution. We’ll get into the reasons why in the next sections.
What should I do if I was a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle?
Granted that you’ve sought medical attention, recorded all relevant information from the accident, and reported the incident to authorities and your insurance company, seeking legal counsel should be your next priority.
It is important to find an attorney that specializes in personal injury and understands the traffic regulations in New Orleans. Your legal team will be able to review the facts of the case, including where, when, and how the accident occurred. This includes determining whether you as a pedestrian crossed the roadway lawfully.
At Huber Thomas Law, we specialize in recovering damages for injured parties. We understand that you may be navigating stressors, including sustained injuries, expensive medical bills, and an overall loss in quality of life. We aim to take the burden of seeking compensation off of your shoulders.
When you want to take legal action, we'll listen to your story and find the best way to handle your case. Below are the three scenarios we can help you navigate.
If You Crossed the Roadway Lawfully
Legal counsel is your best opportunity to fairly determine liability in the case. If you obeyed traffic signals and crossed the road legally, your team can decide if the driver is responsible. The driver may have acted in a negligent manner with activities including:
- Failing to stop completely at a stop sign or red light
- Failing to yield to the pedestrian's right-of-way
- Becoming distracted by their radio, cell phone, or other device
- Driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs
- Navigating the roadways aggressively
If the driver demonstrates evidence of such negligence, authorities may determine them to be at fault. This is the most favorable case for a pedestrian, as it may be less of a challenge to prove pedestrian liability.
If You Crossed the Roadway Unlawfully
The case may become more challenging if you crossed the roadway illegally. The counsel of the motor vehicle may argue that you were jaywalking and at fault for the accident. If the facts of the case measure up to this argument, it will be hard to recover compensation for your injury.
If Both Parties Are Responsible
Sometimes a pedestrian accident can be the result of negligence from both parties. Louisiana has a comparative fault rule.
In a case, the people involved may receive a share of blame. This share of blame determines the amount of money they can receive as compensation. If you as a pedestrian crossed unlawfully, there is a chance that your amount of compensation may decrease depending on your determined fault in the accident.
What should I do if I hit a pedestrian as a driver?
Drivers and pedestrians alike have a responsibility to practice caution. However, as a driver, be aware that Louisiana law is particularly kind to pedestrians. It is a challenge to prove that a driver did not have a reasonable ability to avoid an accident.
After an accident, you must gather all relevant information, report the incident to authorities and your insurance company, and seek medical attention if you experienced an injury. Once you’ve done so, you must contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law.
If you find yourself wondering who was at fault, reach out to our team at Huber Thomas Law. We’ll listen to your story, review all relevant evidence, and determine the best possible course to take for your case. We have experience in determining the most favorable outcomes for our clients.
When you work with Huber Thomas Law, you have a team in your corner. We’ll start with an initial consultation to determine which of the following three scenarios match the facts of your case.
If You Practiced Caution
Let’s say you were practicing caution and a pedestrian suddenly walked in front of your car. It will be tricky for your legal team to prove you made every accommodation to avoid a collision. The best-case scenario is if a judge or jury agrees that the pedestrian was jaywalking.
If You Did Not Practice Caution
If the pedestrian was crossing lawfully, their legal team may argue the incident occurred due to distraction or negligence. In this example, it will be difficult to obtain a favorable result or compensation for your case. There may be evidence that you participated in the following acts of negligence:
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired
- Failing to yield to the pedestrian's right-of-way
- Neglecting to completely stop at a stop sign or red light
- Being distracted by your cell phone, radio, or other device
- Speeding or driving with reckless or aggressive behavior
If Both Parties Are at Fault
There are many instances where comparative fault may be determined. The case could assign a percentage of fault to both the pedestrian and driver, reducing each party's compensation proportionally.
Your Advocate After a Pedestrian Accident
An accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian can be traumatic for both parties. City ordinances and traffic laws can make these cases even more of a challenge for everyone involved. If you’ve found yourself in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with us today.
Rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, have provided a convenient form of travel for millions of people around the country. In the U.S., Uber alone accounts for 14 million trips taken every day. Rideshare services have made trips to and from airports, restaurants, bars, and concerts faster and safer for travelers in New Orleans – saving time on parking and reducing the risk of drunk driving.
Much like other forms of travel, rideshare services carry potential risks. University of Chicago researchers found that ridesharing services in a city were associated "with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents."
Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in a rideshare accident, it’s important to understand your rights.
What to Know About Rideshare Accidents
In a rideshare service, a passenger is transported in the driver’s personal vehicle in exchange for payment. Think of all of the potential risks of driving your own personal vehicle. You could collide with another car, bicycle, or pedestrian. These accidents also have the potential of occurring when a service like Uber or Lyft is involved.
However, there are additional legal stipulations due to the involvement of the rideshare company, Uber or Lyft, in providing this service. At Huber Thomas Law, we are experienced in handling rideshare accident claims, and we want to empower you with the knowledge below.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Knowing that accidents can occur in your own vehicle, you can quickly understand that these risks also apply to rideshare services. Below are a few of the common causes of rideshare accidents.
An accident can occur between a rideshare driver and another driver as a result of distracted driving. Distractions like phone calls, texting, navigation adjustments, or rideshare app interactions can keep a driver from maintaining focus on the road.
Reckless behavior like aggressive driving and disobeying traffic laws can cause harm on the road. An accident may occur as a result of a rideshare driver or another driver exhibiting aggressive or illegal behavior.
Some Uber and Lyft drivers, and other drivers on the road, may work long days and into the night hours. An accident has the potential of occurring if fatigue has impaired driving abilities.
Improper or Inadequate Maintenance
Rideshare drivers must keep their vehicles maintained and up to date in order to keep themselves and their passengers safe. If brakes, taillights, tires, or other vehicle components become worn, they have the potential to cause an accident.
Adverse conditions, such as rain or fog, can cause risks on the road. If a driver is unequipped to handle such weather, they may be at fault for any accidents that occur when driving during these conditions.
Uber and Lyft require that all drivers maintain the minimal requirements to operate an automobile. However, a rideshare driver or another driver on the road may lack experience or qualifications which can lead to an accident.
Many factors are usually at play when a rideshare accident occurs. An experienced legal team like Huber Thomas Law can evaluate the facts of the case and determine whether negligence was at play.
Potential Harm Resulting from Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents can lead to physical, emotional, and financial harm. Below are a few of the impacts of a rideshare accident.
A physical injury from a car accident may be minor, including cuts and bruises, to major, such as broken bones, head injuries, or internal injuries.
An accident is a very traumatic experience. Those who have been involved in major vehicle accidents often experience emotional impacts afterward, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
Accidents can occur that not only cause damage to one or more vehicles but also to surrounding structures, such as fences or poles. These may require replacements or repairs.
If an injury occurs that keeps an individual from working, lost wages are considered damages resulting from an accident. These lost wages can cause financial strain and impact a person’s livelihood.
The cost of ER visits, hospitalization, surgeries, and other medical treatments can add up. Medical expenses can be considered in a rideshare accident claim, as they impact the financial health of an individual involved.
After an accident, your safety should be your number one priority. Not only is it important to seek qualified medical evaluations, but also legal evaluations. A dedicated team like Huber Thomas Law can assess the damages that occurred as a result of the accident and determine the right compensation for you.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
As more people use rideshare services, accidents are more likely to occur. The legal field is quickly acclimating to this new area of law, and Huber Thomas Law has been at the forefront of representation in these cases. We bring our specialization in personal injury to these unique cases, helping our clients recover emotionally, physically, and financially.
Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in the accident, it’s important to know the proper steps to take.
Seek Medical Attention
Safety is the number one priority after an accident. Call for medical assistance if you or anyone involved has been injured as a result of an accident. Even if you do not feel injured at the moment, medical evaluation is essential. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms.
Call Law Enforcement
It’s necessary to contact the police and file a report that details the incident. This will be a vital document when submitting a claim for damages. Be sure to provide detailed information about the incident, including parties involved, location, and injuries sustained.
Report the Incident to the Rideshare Company
Rideshare companies have a process for reporting incidents. You will need to report the accident within your rideshare app, following their guidelines for doing so. The only information you need to provide is the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as any injuries or property damage incurred.
Gather Photos and Videos
Be sure to take photos and videos of the accident scene. Documenting the scene is important for both insurance and legal claims.
Make sure to gather all parties involved in the incident's names, contacts, insurance, and license plate information. In a rideshare accident, be sure to document who is who between the driver, passenger, and third-party involved – and identify the name of the rideshare company.
Get Witness Information
If there are any observers of the accident, obtain the name and contact information of these witnesses. Their stories may be valuable in legal testimony determining liability in a rideshare accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
Whatever you do, do not admit to any fault in the rideshare accident. This may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. If you believe you are at fault, withholding this sentiment is still important. An accident is complex, and it’s important to not make any assumptions.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance
Be sure to call your insurance company to report the accident, even if you were a passenger. Provide information and details about the accident and follow the directions your insurance company provides. Do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel.
Find Legal Counsel
Your next step is to get a legal team in your corner. Huber Thomas Law will help you understand your rights and navigate the complexities of the incident and resulting claims.
Keep All Documents
As you navigate reporting the incident and recovering from injury, keep all documentation safe and secure. Documents like medical records, police reports, insurance correspondence, and other information may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
Follow All Medical Treatment and Expenses
Be sure to keep up with your prescribed medical treatments and document all medical expenses related to the accident. These records will be useful in establishing damages and pursuing compensation.
How an Attorney Can Help After a Rideshare Accident
When dealing with insurance claims, medical bills, and lost wages after a rideshare accident, it’s important to find legal support. Rideshare accidents can be devastating, whether you were the passenger, rideshare driver, or even someone else on the road.
Our experienced team at Huber Thomas Law can walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. We have helped bring numerous cases to trial, securing millions for our clients. We’ll help you navigate the complexities of rideshare accidents, deal with insurance companies, determine liability, and understand legal procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I’m a passenger in a rideshare accident?
If you were the passenger in a rideshare accident, follow the steps outlined above and summarized below.
- Seek medical attention.
- Contact local authorities to file a police report.
- Call your own insurance company, even though you were the passenger.
- Report the incident to the rideshare company; however, do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel.
- Document the scene and gather contact information of all parties involved, including witnesses.
- Keep all medical, insurance, and police records.
- Seek legal counsel.
What should I do if the rideshare driver is at fault?
If you believe the rideshare driver was at fault, follow the steps outlined above. It’s important that you fully document the scene, including photos of the rideshare signage within their vehicle.
Remain calm and do not assume fault. Bring all evidence and a description of the incident to a legal representative. An attorney will be able to review the facts of the case and determine the responsible party's liability.
How can I determine liability in a rideshare accident?
Determining liability in a rideshare accident is a complex issue. It requires reviewing all evidence, including photos and videos taken at the scene and police reports. To determine liability, you must also understand local laws and regulations, as well as rideshare company policies.
A legal representative with experience in rideshare accidents can take this stressful analysis off your shoulders. At Huber Thomas Law, we fully understand the complexities of navigating rideshare accident cases. We’ll review all of the facts of the case and help you determine liability.
What damages can I recover in a rideshare claim?
The full amount of damages that one can receive in a rideshare claim depends on local laws and regulations, the extent of the harm, and facts regarding the incident. A few of the damages that one could seek compensation for include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
By working with Huber Thomas Law, we’ll take into consideration all of the harm done and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to file a rideshare accident claim?
For the state of Louisiana, the statute of limitations for all vehicle claims is one year from the date of the accident. Do not hesitate if you have been injured in any way following a rideshare accident.
Seek Legal Support from Huber Thomas
A rideshare accident is a stressful experience. We seek to resolve your case and help you recover through clear communication, informed guidance, and personal attention. Choose Huber Thomas Law to represent your best interests in a rideshare accident case.
We know how personal, business, and property damage can disrupt your world. You suddenly have to handle the physical, emotional, mental, and financial stressors resulting from the incident. And, if you were wronged or harmed by another party, there may be legal ramifications to sort through.
Finding an attorney to be in your corner is valuable, as long as they are the right advocate for you. If you don’t know where or how to begin, follow our 10 steps below. We at Huber Thomas Law want to help simplify this overwhelming process for you.
1. Determine if it’s the right time to hire an attorney.
If you have recently been harmed by the negligence or carelessness of another, it may be time to seek the support of an attorney. It’s important to begin the process of hiring an attorney as soon as possible, giving your legal team ample time to protect your best interests.
When the following events occur, be sure to get your search started immediately.
- Physical injury due to negligence, including vehicle accidents or slip and fall
- Wrongful actions against your business
- Injury due to a product’s design, manufacturing, or label defect
- Property damage following a natural disaster
2. Decide what type of attorney you need.
Many attorneys specialize in a specific type of law, whether through a certification or a long history in a specific practice area. Deep knowledge and experience set clients up for better case success. There are many attorney specialties, including estate planning, intellectual property, and personal injury, to name a few. Below are a few specific cases and the type of attorney needed for each.
Physical Injury Due to Negligence
If you were injured in an automobile, rideshare, trucking, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian, or boating accident, you need a personal injury attorney. You will also need to seek a personal injury attorney if you’ve experienced a slip and fall on someone else’s property.
Wrongful Actions Against Your Business
If you and your business have been financially harmed through the negligent or fraudulent acts of an individual or another business, you must hire an attorney who deals with business torts. These actions could include contract interference, restraint of trade, theft of trade secrets, misrepresentation, trade libel, or defamation.
Injury Due to a Product’s Design, Manufacturing, or Label Defect
When a product has caused you harm, you must hire a product liability attorney quickly. Injury caused by a product could be due to a design, manufacturing, or label defect. A product liability attorney will help you navigate the complexities of these cases and hold companies accountable for any damage.
Property Damage Following a Natural Disaster
In the Gulf South, we are all too familiar with the profound losses natural disasters can cause. There are ways to recover if you have a property damage attorney in your corner. A property damage attorney can help you navigate insurance claims after the flood, hurricane, fire, and tornado damage. Hiring a property damage attorney can also be advantageous in the event of willful damage, including graffiti and arson.
3. Research attorneys in New Orleans.
Once you understand what type of attorney you need, it’s time to do your due diligence before hiring one. By searching “personal injury attorneys near me” or “property damage attorney New Orleans” online via Google, you’ll find listings and websites that match your search. Take a glimpse at the websites of the firms and attorneys listed to get an idea of whether they match the type of assistance you need.
4. Evaluate attorney experience.
Many attorneys and firms include their “resumé” of experience on their websites. However, experience is about more than where the attorneys went to law school. Review each firm's history and success stories to get an idea of their level of experience in your specific area of need.
5. Read attorney reviews and ask around.
A firm’s reputation is an important factor to consider when choosing an attorney to hire. By asking personal connections, such as family and friends, and reading online reviews, you can get a good idea of their trustworthiness, integrity, and success rate. Community reviews can be found in places like Facebook business pages and Google listings.
6. Schedule more than one attorney consultation.
To be your best advocate, and find the best advocate for you, scheduling more than one consultation with a list of attorneys is key. This is a time when you can ask your potential attorney all of your most pressing questions before hiring them. Many firms provide free consultations for this reason, allowing potential clients to fully evaluate their firm’s approach, fee structure, and compatibility.
7. Prepare a list of questions to ask each attorney.
Before your consultations, prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask each attorney. Asking each firm the same set of questions will give you an idea of their comfortability with your type of case, compatibility with you as a client, and communication style in educating you about your case. Common questions include:
- What is your experience with my type of case?
- How many cases have you handled in [insert type of law]?
- What have been some of your case outcomes?
- What is your typical approach or process?
- Do you have trial experience?
- Can you send me references from past clients?
- What is your current assessment of my case?
- How will you keep me updated on my case?
- What outcome do you expect for my case?
- When do you expect this case to be resolved?
- What is your fee structure?
- Are there any additional costs I should be mindful of?
No question is off the table when it comes to finding the right attorney for you. A trustworthy attorney will want to make sure you are equipped with knowledge regarding your case.
8. Compare attorney fee structures and affordability.
Financial affordability should be considered before hiring an attorney. Fee structures differ depending on the attorney or firm. Some may charge a flat fee or by the hour, and some will charge a fee based on a percentage of the winnings in your case.
Payment By the Hour
Some attorneys charge their clients based on the number of hours worked. These hours accumulate through client meetings, case research, document drafting and reviewing, and time spent in court. The hours spent on these activities will then be multiplied by the attorney’s hourly rate and billed to you on a predetermined schedule. Some attorneys may even charge a retainer fee that can be withdrawn as they bill you for services.
When working with an attorney who has an hourly fee, be sure to review the itemized bill carefully for any discrepancies. This bill will contain a total of the hours spent, a description of the work done, and the hourly rate charge.
Payment Through Flat Fee
For uncomplicated matters, some attorneys charge a flat fee. This flat fee will cover the service and the specific activities it requires, no matter how long the case takes. You’ll receive an agreement with all service and flat fee details and be expected to pay this flat fee upfront. You will not be charged additional fees unless you request additional services, the scope of work shifts, or unexpected issues arise. In the event of these circumstances, your attorney will revise the agreement and require your approval before pursuing additional services.
Payment Through Contingency
Of all fee structures, contingency is the most cost-effective for the client. The attorney will not charge you an hourly or flat fee, but they will charge you based on the case outcome. This means your attorney will only get paid if they are successful in recovering money for you. If the case is not successful, you are not responsible for paying your attorney.
Typical contingency fees are 33.33-40% of recovered compensation and will be agreed upon before the work begins. Your contract will outline all of the contingency terms, including how the attorney fee is calculated and any additional expenses that may be deducted. These additional expenses may include fees for depositions, witnesses, or filing. Please note that a contingency fee is not permissible in every type of case.
9. Choose the attorney that is the most compatible.
If you’ve found attorneys who have the right specialty, experience, reputation, and fee structure, but still can’t decide whom to choose, go with your gut. Ask yourself if the attorney made you feel seen, heard, and reassured. Their resumé and reputation mean nothing if they cannot treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve. An attorney who is truly in your corner will be a fierce advocate who listens to your needs.
10. Understand your Representation Agreement.
When you’ve made your choice, be sure to fully understand the agreement between you and your attorney. All of the terms of your relationship will be documented in an easy-to-understand, one-page contract, your Representation Agreement, that will outline all of these topics.
Scope of Work
Your engagement letter will detail the services your attorney will provide and stipulate any services or activities that may be deemed “out of scope.”
Whether hourly, flat, or based on contingency, your attorney’s fee structure, including hourly rates and/or contingency percentages, will be outlined in the engagement letter. The payment schedule will also be outlined and agreed upon.
Your engagement letter will also express what is expected of you in working toward a successful case. You will be required to cooperate fully, including supplying documents and information that will support your case.
Your attorney should reassure you that your case will be kept confidential. However, there may be cases in which information must be disclosed. The parameters regarding case confidentiality will be detailed in the engagement letter.
Termination of Contract
If either party needs to end the case, a termination clause will outline guidance for doing so. This clause will specify how the contract may be terminated and the fees associated with termination.
Add Huber Thomas to Your Attorney Search
The process of finding an experienced attorney you can trust can be overwhelming. At Huber Thomas Law, we want potential and current clients to be equipped with knowledge and confidence. This sense of trust is how we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients within our practice specialties:
- Personal Injury
- Business Torts
- Products Liability
- Property Damage
We take the stress off of you through clear communication, informed guidance, swift action, and personal attention. Contact Huber Thomas Law when you’re ready to work with a tireless advocate for your case.
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or nursing home negligence then you must take swift action to get to the bottom of it. If you believe they are in immediate physical danger, call 911 to alert the authorities. Then contact a Louisiana nursing home abuse attorney who can help you file a legal claim.
By working with a successful law firm like Huber Thomas Law, you will have help from a law firm that cares about justice and putting an end to the abuse. We also believe in holding the nursing home accountable and recovering compensation for the damages suffered. Contact us today to get justice for you and your family.
Nursing Home Abuse is More Common Than Many People Realize
No one wants to think about the most vulnerable people in our population being the victims of neglect or abuse, yet it is all too frequent. According to a study by the World Health Organization, one in six people over the age of 60 report being the victim of some kind of abuse within the last year.
As alarming as it is, that statistic is general to elders in general – when you home in on abuse in nursing homes, the data is staggering. According to the same WHO study, two out of three nursing home and long-term care staff report having committed abuse in the past year.
How can we stop nursing home abuse?
There are two main steps that can be taken. First, those who are guilty of this abuse can be held accountable. Filing civil lawsuits to hold their employers financially liable is the first step in doing this. Law enforcement can file criminal charges when appropriate.
Second, steps can be taken to ensure proper staffing. According to a study from the Human Rights Watch, much of the abuse and neglect that occurs is the result of understaffing or improperly trained staff. They point to a reduction in staffing during COVID-19 – which has continued to be an issue and is expected to be an issue for years to come – as one of the biggest causes of an increase in elder abuse in nursing homes.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you know how to spot nursing home abuse, then you can be the one to put an end to it. Our elderly population is at a higher risk of abuse than younger populations due to physical or mental health issues that can make it difficult for them to stand up for themselves, and are less likely to be taken seriously when they do.
This is why it is essential for everyone to be aware of the signs that a person is being abused or neglected in a nursing home. They include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Repeated physical injuries
- Broken bones
- Serious, untreated bedsores
- Head injuries
- Poor hygiene
- Soiled bedding
- Sudden and unexplained personality changes
- Changes to a person’s emotions
- Fear, nervousness, or withdrawal
While many of these signs are not substantial evidence on their own, several of these signs together should prompt a worried party to contact the authorities – and an attorney. For example, a person who suddenly has a mood change, has an unexplained injury, and seems withdrawn might be the victim of abuse.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can be called in to help with many types of nursing home abuse, including medical malpractice such as medication errors. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice in a nursing home, contact an attorney immediately.
Nursing Home Neglect
Louisiana law makes it clear that nursing home neglect is unlawful and that victims can sue to recover damages caused by their neglect.
There are three general types of nursing home neglect
If the staff of the nursing home does not uphold a reasonable standard of care and a resident suffers harm as a result, then the resident has been the victim of neglect. Generally speaking, nursing home neglect falls under one of three categories:
- Medical neglect. Failing to provide residents with medication on time, not attending to broken bones or bedsores, or not calling 911 in an emergency are all examples of medical neglect.
- Living needs neglect. Examples of this type of neglect include not providing food or water to residents, not giving them enough bathroom visits, or other actions that lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and even death.
- Hygiene neglect. Allowing residents to stay in beds that are soiled, not bathing residents, and not changing their clothing are examples of hygiene neglect.
Who can sue the nursing home for neglect?
The elders who themselves were the victim of the neglect can sue, as can their family members in certain cases.
Is nursing home neglect the same thing as nursing home abuse?
Not exactly. Negligence is generally not intentional and occurs when a person fails to take actions that they should take. Abuse is generally intentional and comes from direct action. Regardless of the intention of the guilty party, both types of abuse can have serious consequences.
Physical and Sexual Abuse
A person who is physically or sexually abused while a resident of a nursing home or care facility should contact the police for immediate help. They should also contact an attorney who can determine if there are grounds for a civil lawsuit.
The Worst-Case Scenario is Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one has passed away due to neglect or abuse by a nursing home, then you are living with a terrible burden. Depending on the circumstances in your case, we might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit that would hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Your Claim Has the Best Possible Chance When We Build the Strongest Possible Case
In order to win your claim, your nursing home abuse lawyer will need to prove the following:
- That the nursing home had a legal duty of care for the victim
- The nursing home did not meet the minimum level of care required
- The staff’s abuse and/or neglect harmed the victim
- The victim suffered injuries and/or damages due to the harm
- The victim or their family is owed compensation to cover medical costs, to heal from emotional pain and suffering, to pay for funeral costs, and other damages
Civil Lawsuits Hold Nursing Homes Accountable
To file a lawsuit against a nursing home or long-term care center, you’ll need to work with a nursing home abuse attorney. Our first step will be to file a complaint that includes:
- Details of how the injury occurred
- All the facts related to the incident
- The names of all parties who took part in the abuse
- A list of all witnesses
Evidence is Crucial to Winning Your Case and Holding the At-Fault Parties Accountable
You will not win your case if you do not have evidence. Your nursing home abuse attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence such as:
- Pictures of the neglect
- Pictures of injuries from the neglect or abuse
- Medical records
- Contact information for witnesses of the abuse
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Surveillance footage
- Log books and records from the nursing home
When can a nursing home be held liable for neglect or abuse?
Nursing homes are not always responsible for abuse or neglect that occurs within their walls. For example, if a visitor abuses a resident of a nursing home and the staff was not made aware of the abuse nor did anything to lead to the abuse, then the nursing home might not be held accountable.
In order for the nursing home to be held liable for the abuse, we must show that the nursing home or its employees acted negligently. This might include:
- Negligent hiring. If the nursing home did not do adequate background checks, did not require necessary academic degrees or training, or hired people with a record of abuse or violence, then they could be found negligent in their hiring process.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the average staff in a nursing home is one for every 1.64 residents. If a nursing home does not staff enough people to reasonably care for their residents, then they could be found negligent for understaffing.
- Lack of training. Employees at nursing homes must be adequately trained in order to do their jobs correctly. If they are not, then the nursing home that employs them could be found negligent.
- Third-party abuse. While a nursing home is not always found negligent in the event that a third-party unaffiliated with the nursing home abuses a resident, they could sometimes be. For example, if there was a lack of security at the facility that allowed third-party access to the victim, then the nursing home could be found negligent.
These are only a few examples of the many ways a nursing home could be found negligent for the abuse or neglect their residents endure.
Time Could Be Running Out – Call Today for a Free Legal Consultation with a Louisiana Nursing Abuse Attorney
You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file your complaint. In most cases, the statute of limitations for Louisiana personal injury claims is just one year from the date of the injury. Acting fast is essential to ensuring you can pursue all available legal remedies to the abuse or neglect you or your loved one has sustained.
Huber Thomas offers a comprehensive approach to your case
The key to winning your case is an in-depth investigation that can uncover all available evidence. We look at all potential factors that were involved in the abuse or neglect, including staffing issues, unsafe practices, and background checks.
We will also schedule depositions with other parties involved, including witnesses, doctors, the police, other residents, and anyone else involved. The more information we’re able to gather about a particular case, the better our chances of success.
Trust our long history of courtroom success
About 95% of personal injury claims settle outside of court. Though we know that this is the most likely outcome, we treat every case and prepare every case as though it is going to trial. We are committed to aggressively seeking fair settlements that hold guilty parties accountable. If the at-fault parties are not willing to agree to a fair settlement, then we will be ready to take them to trial.
You can read our long list of previous case victories to learn more about the hundreds of cases we have successfully litigated and the millions of dollars we have secured for our clients. We believe that holding companies financially accountable is an essential part of stopping and preventing elder abuse.
Contact Huber Thomas Law today and let us help you find the best way to respond to this terrible situation.
Living in the Gulf South brings enormous benefits, but it comes with its challenges, too. Dangerous tornadoes, sweeping fires, and hurricanes are just a few of the natural disasters that can cause various types of property damage claims – not to mention criminal destruction of property.
As a homeowner, you pay your insurance premium each month with the understanding that if the unthinkable happens, your insurance company will be there for you. Unfortunately, it is often not that simple.
If you’ve tried to read through your insurance policy, you likely came away more confused than before you started. Full of legal jargon and confusing language, these contracts are not written for the layperson to understand.
That’s where Huber Thomas Law comes in. We can help you through the process of filing an insurance claim with a singular goal: getting you the compensation you are owed. We know this can be a confusing topic, and we are here to answer your questions so you can get through this difficult time and start rebuilding as soon as possible. Here are 5 things to know about property damage claims.
If you’re ready for a free legal consultation or have further questions about handling various types of property damage claims, contact Huber Thomas Law at (504) 274-2500.
According to Louisiana law, willful damage to property refers to “the simple criminal damage to property is the intentional damaging of any property of another, without the consent of the owner.” This includes vandalism and malicious disruption affecting your home, business, or vehicle.
What are the common examples of willful damage?
Common examples of willful damage include:
- Damage to windows
- Broken exterior lights
- Cutting or damage to trees, bushes, and other landscaping
- Knocking down mailboxes, signs, and other property
Does my homeowner’s insurance cover willful damage to my home?
Homeowner’s insurance should cover this type of damage, but you will need to read your policy to determine your specific coverage. In most cases, homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of repairs or replacement of the damaged or destroyed property.
Does my auto insurance cover willful damage to my vehicle?
It depends on your insurance policy. If you have full coverage, then it is likely that willful damage to your vehicle is covered.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, insured losses from tornadoes top about $17 billion in the average year. Even a relatively weak EF0 tornado, which reaches maximum wind speeds of 85 miles per hour, can result in downed trees and other property damage. The most serious tornado, an EF5, has wind speeds of greater than 200 miles per hour and will destroy nearly every building in its wake.
Is the tornado damage to my home or vehicle covered by my insurance policy?
Your homeowner’s policy should cover tornado damage. Unfortunately, that does not mean that your insurance company will simply hand over a check for 100% of the cost of repairs and replacement. You may have to fight to get a speedy and fair payout.
If your vehicle is damaged in a tornado, it might be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy if it was being kept in a garage at the time it was damaged or destroyed. Otherwise, your auto insurance policy might cover damage, depending on the level of coverage you elected to purchase.
Is debris removal included in my insurance policy?
Most homeowners’ policies will pay “reasonable expenses” for debris removal of your covered property. This would include removing damaged shingles, siding, etc. While there is likely no compensation for lost trees or bushes, your policy likely covers “reasonable expenses” to remove critically damaged trees and bushes from your property.
Fire damage in your home or business can be caused by everything from arson to downed power lines. In 2021, there was nearly $16 billion of direct property damage in the United States. This does not include the significant costs of secondary property damage from the smoke itself, or from the water or chemicals used to put out the fire.
Is fire damage included in my homeowner’s policy?
Fire damage is standard in most homeowners’ insurance policies. However, there might be exceptions for certain types of fires or for a homeowner’s actions that the insurance company claims led to the fire. You can purchase separate or additional coverage if you live in an area at high risk for fire.
What are the most common causes of fire damage?
Many things can cause fire damage in a home. Some of the most common causes include:
- Poor electrical work
- Lightning strike
- Overloaded electrical systems
- Ovens and other appliances
- Defective washing machines
Should I clean up the fire damage as soon as possible?
Many homeowners want to get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible and want to clean up the debris immediately. Remember that there could be evidence your attorney needs to prove your claim. Before removing anything, get written confirmation from your insurance company that they have fully inspected the site. Talk to an attorney if you are not sure.
What Do I Do if I Have One of the Abovementioned Types of Property Damage Claims?
The first step is to contact your insurance company and file a claim. The insurance company will then assign an adjuster to your case, who will start working on it. They will talk to you directly and inspect the property you are making a claim for. When they have completed their inspection, they will decide how much the insurance company is going to pay you
What Do I Do if My Property Insurance Claim is Denied?
In the unfortunate event that your insurance provider denies your claim, you should make sure you get the denial in writing. Then contact a Louisiana property damage attorney for help.
What Do I Do if the Insurance Adjuster Offers Less Than the Actual Cost of Repair?
Insurance companies often give the impression that you have no choice but to accept their offer. This is not necessarily true. If you do not believe that what they are offering is fair, you have the legal right to obtain fair compensation.
Why Isn’t the Insurance Company Offering Me Fair Payment for My Property Damage Claim?
Remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company – not you. Insurance companies make money by taking in more money in policy premiums than they pay out in claims. Their goal is to pay as little as possible without triggering a lawsuit.
It is Taking My Insurance Company Forever to Pay Out My Property Damage Claim – Is There Anything I Can Do?
At Huber Thomas Law, we have seen insurance companies delay claims in the hope that the insured will either give up on collecting their claim or be willing to accept less than their claim is worth to get the process over with. Do not fall for this tactic – contact a property damage attorney instead.
What is Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage?
Most homeowners, renters, and condo insurance policies will include additional living expense (ALE) coverage. It is designed to pay for extra expenses a homeowner faces if they are unable to live in their home due to a covered insurance claim.
What expenses does ALE cover?
ALE aims to bridge the gap between what your typical household expenses would have been if your property had not been damaged, and the additional expenses you incur due to the damage. It can cover things like:
- Hotels or rent for other temporary housing
- Additional food costs related to not having a kitchen (i.e., the cost of eating in restaurants)
- Paying for laundry services
- Boarding your pets
- Replacing your clothing
- Storage costs
- Renting furniture
Renters insurance and condo insurance also typically have additional living expenses insurance.
What are the limits for ALE?
It depends on your specific policy, but generally, it will not be higher than 20% of your dwelling coverage. For example, a 20% ALE limit on a home insured for $200,000 would be $40,000. This coverage aims to keep you at your “normal standard of living.” What this means could be negotiated between you and your insurer.
There might be time limits to your ALE coverage as well. Your insurance policy’s declarations page will outline the specifics of your ALE coverage.
What happens if my home is only partially damaged?
If you suffered damage from a hurricane or have other types of property damage claims in which it is not obvious that your home is uninhabitable, your insurance provider might claim that ALE coverage does not apply as you can live in your home.
Your property damage attorney can help you win a claim for ALE coverage in the event of such a denial.
Is There a Deadline to File a Lawsuit for Louisiana Property Damage Claims?
Yes. You do not have an unlimited amount of time to decide what your next step is. The statute of limitations on property damage claims in Louisiana is generally two years from the date the damage occurred. This is just one of the reasons to talk to a successful property damage attorney as soon as possible.
How Can an Attorney Help with Different Types of Property Damage Claims?
When you contact Huber Thomas Law, we will begin by reviewing your claim and the damage to your property. Our next steps will depend on the specifics of your case but could include the following:
- Working with expert witnesses
- Using cutting-edge technology to recreate the conditions of the cause of the damage
- Extensive research to build a strong claim on your behalf
More than nine out of ten cases will settle out of court, but we prepare for every case as though it is going to trial. This shows the insurance company that we are serious about recovering the maximum compensation we can. It also ensures that we can take your case to trial to get a fair outcome if required.
Call Today for Help with These and Other Types of Property Damage Claims
The above covers three of the many types of property damage claims you might face. At Huber Thomas Law, we can help with other insurance claims, including those related to hurricane damage including the most recent Hurricane Ida which made landfall in 2021. If you are ready to hold your insurance company accountable and get help recovering the maximum compensation you are eligible for, contact us today for a free legal consultation.
The Jones Act is a federal statute that requires that goods transported between United States ports are to be carried on vessels that are owned and operated by citizens or permanent residents of the United States. The full copy of the Jones Act can be found in Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
But the Jones Act doesn’t only apply to maritime commerce—it also provides significant protections to maritime workers classified as “seaman” under the Jones Act by allowing them to bring direct negligence actions against their employers following a workplace injury. This is a stark contrast to the traditional workers’ compensation scheme that prevents most land-based workers (and longshoremen) from maintaining negligence claims against the companies they work for.
All manner of commercial vessels may fall under the Jones Act, including but not limited to tugboats, tankers, oilfield service vessels, container and cargo ships, cruise ships, and commercial fishing vessels. The Jones Act even extends to some offshore drilling rigs, drilling ships, and production platforms designed to a reasonably practical degree for transporting persons or cargo over navigable waters.
Three Requirements Must Be Met for the Jones Act to Apply
There are three requirements that must be satisfied in order to be eligible for Jones Act compensation:
- The person must fit the definition of a “seaman” as outlined in the Act;
- The incident must occur within the course of the person’s job ; and
- The person’s illness or damage must be the product of their employer’s or another employee’s negligence.
The Definition of a “Seaman”
Only those who are deemed “seamen” are covered by the Act. Under the Jones Act, a person qualifies as a seaman if they have a connection to a vessel or a fleet of vessels that is substantial in both time and nature.
Courts generally consider whether a person’s labor supports a ship’s function or the attainment of the vessel’s goals or missions when deciding whether that person meets the Act’s definition of a seaman.
Contract employees, longshoremen, and port workers are not eligible for the Jones Act seaman status, though they may be able to file lawsuits for their injuries under other maritime statutes or general maritime law.
There Are Three Types of Actions You Can Assert as a Jones Act Seaman
Under the Jones Act and general maritime law, a seaman may assert claims for (1) Jones Act negligence, (2) unseaworthiness and/or (3) maintenance and cure. These claims are described below.
(1) Jones Act Negligence
The seaman’s first claim, under the federal law known as the Jones Act, is that his/her employer was negligent, and that this negligence was a cause of his/her injuries. Jones Act employers can be negligent for:
- doing an act that a reasonably prudent person would not do,
- failing to do something that a reasonably prudent person would do, under the same or similar circumstances,
- failing to provide for the safety of the crew,
- failing to comply with a duty required by law,
- assigning the seaman to perform a task that he/she was not adequately trained to perform and/or
- failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work
Significantly, in a Jones Act claim, the word “negligence” is liberally interpreted. For example, Jones Act employers bear the responsibility for any negligence that played a part, however slight, in causing a seaman’s injuries. Further, the fact that an employer conducted its operations like that of other companies is not dispositive of whether it was or was not negligent.
The seaman’s second claim is for unseaworthiness of a vessel that caused his/her injuries. A shipowner owes every member of the crew employed on its vessel the absolute duty to keep and maintain the vessel and all its decks and passageways, appliances, gear, tools, parts, and equipment in a seaworthy condition at all times. A seaworthy vessel is one that is “reasonably fit for its intended use.”
The duty to provide a seaworthy vessel extends to the duty to supply an adequate and competent crew. And a vessel may be unseaworthy even though it has a numerically adequate crew, if too few persons are assigned to a given task.
The duty to provide a seaworthy vessel is said to be “absolute” because the owner may not delegate that duty to anyone else. Significantly, liability for an unseaworthy condition does not in any way depend on negligence or fault or blame—if an owner does not provide a seaworthy vessel, no amount of care or prudence excuses the owner from liability.
(3) Maintenance and cure
A seaman’s third claim is for what is called “maintenance and cure.” “Maintenance” refers to the cost of food, lodging, and transportation. “Cure,” on the other hand, refers to the medical care owed to a seaman who suffers an injury or illness while working in the service of the ship. Cure is owed until the seaman reaches what’s known as “maximum medical improvement.”
A seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure even if he/she is not injured as a result of any negligence on the part of his employer or any unseaworthy condition of the vessel. To recover maintenance and cure, a seaman need only show that he/she suffered injury or illness while in the service of the vessel on which he/she was employed as a seaman.
If, after investigating a maintenance and cure claim, the employer unreasonably rejects the claim, the employer is liable for both the maintenance and cure payments and for compensatory damages caused by the unreasonable failure to pay. Additionally, the employer may have to pay punitive damages and attorney’s fees if it is determined that its failure to pay maintenance and cure was not only unreasonable but was also a willful and wanton disregard of the seaman’s claim for maintenance and cure.
If a judge or jury finds that an employer is liable for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness, then the seaman is entitled to compensation. The following damages can be recovered:
- past and future physical pain and suffering, including physical disability, impairment, and inconvenience, and the effect of the seamen’s injuries and inconvenience on the normal pursuits and pleasures of life;
- past and future mental anguish and feelings of economic insecurity caused by the disability;
- income lost in the past;
- impairment of earning capacity or ability in the future, including impairment of the seaman’s earning capacity due to his/her physical condition;
- past medical expenses; and
- future medical expenses
Even Seamen Who Were Partially at Fault for Their Injuries Could Be Eligible for Compensation Under the Jones Ac
Even if they contributed to the accident or incident that led to their injuries, seamen are nonetheless eligible for compensation under the Jones Act. Even if they played just a small part in the harm, vessel owners may still be held accountable. The total amount of damages, however, may be reduced to account for the percentage of fault attributed to the injured seaman.
Family Members Can Assert Jones Act Claims on Behalf of their Loved Ones Involved in Fatal Maritime Accidents
When a family member passes away due to a sickness or injury sustained at work on a vessel, the Jones Act gives the family the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The seaman’s death must have happened while he or she was working for the employer in connection with the vessel, just like with other Jones Act claims, and as a result of that employer’s carelessness.
Get in Touch with a Reputable Maritime Law Attorney Today
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one were hurt while working in the service of a vessel.
And, whatever you do, please do not accept any settlement offers from your employer or their insurance carrier before speaking with a qualified maritime attorney like those at Huber Thomas, LLP.
When you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence , you may have grounds to bring a personal injury claim against them.. But you do not have an unlimited time to do so; you need to bring the action before the deadline for filing expires. We call that filing deadline the “prescriptive period” here in Louisiana, while the rest of the country refers it as the “statute of limitations.” Missing the deadline could mean that you are time-barred from bringing the claim altogether.
While other states allow injured parties to file suits as long as four years after the accident, in Louisiana, you generally have just one year to file a personal injury claim. That is why it is important to talk to an attorney sooner rather than later. You do not want to lose out on the compensation you deserve due to personal injury statute of limitations.
What is the Purpose of the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
The main reason there are statutes of limitations is due to the erosion of evidence over time. If you are involved in a car accident today but do not bring a lawsuit for ten years, it would be difficult for either party to build a case.
They would likely not have access to witnesses, all physical evidence would likely have been destroyed, and their memory might not be clear about what happened either. The personal injury statute of limitations aims to ensure that both parties can build their strongest possible case so that justice can be served.
When Does the Clock Start on the Statute of Limitations
The "clock" of the statute of limitations generally starts ticking in most personal injury claims on the day the harm occurred. For instance, the date the collision happened in an automobile accident case.
What Happens if I File After the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
Although there are a few exceptions, you should know that a court may dismiss your case if you bring a lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations period has expired. You could lose your chance to get a judgment ordering compensation for your losses and injuries.
What Are the Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations in Louisiana?
For most personal injury cases in Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the accident to bring the case. However, several exceptions to that general rule may apply.
What Are the Exceptions to the Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations in Louisiana?
Cases Involving Minor Children
The statute of limitations for accidents involving a child permanently injured by defective products begins on the child's 18th birthday, not the day of the event. Accordingly, regardless of their age at the time of the accident, they lose their right to submit a claim when they turn 19.
Multiple At-Fault Parties
The statute of limitations may be interrupted when a plaintiff brings a personal injury claim against one of several culpable parties before the deadline for filing. The plaintiff may then file a lawsuit against additional at-fault parties if an inquiry turns up further proof. A multi-vehicle collision is one illustration of this.
The Discovery Rule
After an accident, you can often quickly tell that you are injured and what caused that injury--consider an automobile or truck accident for example. Some injuries, however, do not have a "reasonably discoverable" underlying cause until years later.
When an injury or damage is not immediately obvious, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim "knows or should reasonably know" that their injury is related to the person or entity that caused it. In other words, the victim must genuinely become aware of the problem before the time begins to run.
This is known as "the discovery rule," and it frequently applies to situations involving defective products, exposure to dangerous substances, and medical malpractice. A good example of this would be a products liability case where a particular chemical compound caused a plaintiff to experience injuries that were not immediately apparent.
Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Various other exceptions could apply, including:
- The plaintiff is deemed mentally incompetent
- The claimant is a prisoner
- The accused filed for bankruptcy
- The defendant is not within the state's or the county's purview
- Negotiations for a resolution are still going on between the two parties
Your injury attorney can help you determine if your case qualifies for one of the exceptions.
Does the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Apply to Wrongful Death Cases Too?
Yes. However, there is one main distinction. While the clock on a typical personal injury case will begin on the date of the injury, a wrongful death case's clock begins on the date of the death.
For example, if your loved one suffered an accident on June 1st but survived for another six months, the clock to file a wrongful death case would start on the date of their death – not on the June 1st date of their accident.
Timely Lawsuits in the State of Louisiana
It’s important that you act quickly if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Louisiana. Your inability to file in a timely manner ultimately hurts you and your family if you’re seeking compensation for your damages.
If you believe you have grounds for a personal injury case, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you have questions about statutes of limitations, or a personal injury claim, we at the Huber Thomas, LLP want to hear from you.Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have at 504-274-2509.