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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.

Distracted Driving

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.

Recklessness

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.

Fatigue

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.

Unsafe Weather

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.

Inexperience

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.

Physical Injury

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.

Emotional Distress

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.

Property Damage

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.

Lost Wages

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.

Medical Expenses

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

two motorists contacting authorities after car 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.

Exchange Information

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.

  1. Seek medical attention.
  2. Contact local authorities to file a police report.
  3. Call your own insurance company, even though you were the passenger.
  4. Report the incident to the rideshare company; however, do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel. 
  5. Document the scene and gather contact information of all parties involved, including witnesses.
  6. Keep all medical, insurance, and police records.
  7. 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:

  1. Medical bills
  2. Property damage
  3. Lost wages
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Disability
  6. Loss of consortium
  7. 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

lawyer shaking hands with clientA 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.

nursing home abuseIf 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
  • Bruising
  • Dehydration
  • Malnourishment
  • Poor hygiene
  • Soiled bedding
  • Sudden and unexplained personality changes
  • Changes to a person’s emotions
  • Fear, nervousness, or withdrawal
  • Crying

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.

Medical Malpractice

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Now that summer is in full swing, more and more Louisiana residents are taking time to enjoy their favorite boating activities. At Huber Thomas Law, we want our clients to have a great time – but we want to keep them safe, too.

The bad news is that boating accidents are on the rise. Recreational boating accidents rose 18% from 2019 to 2020, from 105 to 124. In 2020, 24 people lost their lives in boating accidents. These statistics are similar to trends across the country, with a 26.3% overall increase in boating accidents from 2019 to 2020.

The good news is that most of these accidents could be prevented if proper boating safety tips are followed. According to the Coast Guard, five factors contribute to most boating accidents:

  1. Operator inattention
  2. Operator inexperience
  3. Improper lookout
  4. Excessive speed
  5. Machinery failure

Read on to learn the best boating safety tips to follow. Of course, nothing can prevent 100% of accidents. If you suffer an injury in a boat accident, contact Huber Thomas Law at (504) 274-2500 for a free legal consultation.

Wear a Life Jacket

Three out of four people who die in a boating accident drown. About 86% of those who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing life vests. It is essential to wear a life jacket at all times to protect you if you enter the water unexpectedly.

Federal law requires that every boat has at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard the boat. Louisiana boating laws require that children under the age of 17 wear a life jacket if they are on a vessel less than 26 feet.

People of all ages on a motorboat less than 16 feet long with a hand tiller outboard motor must wear a life jacket while the boat is moving. Everyone aboard a pirogue, kayak, personal watercraft, or kayak.

Wear the Right Life Jacket

Remember that the job of a life jacket is more than just keeping you afloat. The best models are designed to turn a person's face up if they are unconscious, and some are even designed to protect against hypothermia.

Before choosing a life jacket, try it on by fastening the vest. Then hold your arms straight above your head and ask someone to pull the top of the arm opening. The vest should fit snugly. Buy a life jacket that fits the specific type of on-water activity you will be doing. For example, if you'll be fishing, find a life jacket with pockets and straps to carry supplies.

Have a Boat Safety Kit on Board

Be ready for everything because you can never be too sure when an emergency will arise. No matter the size of your boat, you should always have your boat safety kit with you, and this kit should have the following items.

  • A Flashlight

    If you run out of gasoline or your boat stalls, a flashlight and additional batteries will help you see around your boat in the dark. It can also make you visible to other boats if you are in distress at night.

  • Duct tape

    If something is leaking on your boat, duct tape can work wonders as a temporary fix.

  • A Bucket

    In the event water enters your boat, a bucket can be instrumental in quickly getting it out.

  • First Aid Kit

    In the event of an accident or medical emergency, having a first aid kit that is fully stocked and knowing how to utilize it is essential. It should include:

    • A first aid guide.
    • Over-the-counter pain medication
    • Eyewash
    • Burn cream
    • Cotton pads or swabs
    • Bandages
    • Antiseptic cream or spray
    • Absorbent pads
    • Rolled gauze
    • Foil blanket
    • Tweezers
    • Alcohol wipes
    • Disposable gloves
  • Ropes

    Ropes are essential for rescuing someone who has fallen overboard, docking your boat, and fastening loose objects in bad weather.

  • Trash Bags

    Garbage bags can be used as ponchos in the rain to protect objects on board.

  • Fire Extinguisher

    Just because you're on the water doesn't mean that you can't have a fire inside your boat. Your fire extinguisher should be accessible to all passengers, and they should all know where to use it.

Follow Proper Docking and Anchoring Procedures

Make sure that you adhere to suitable anchoring techniques. It's not enough to have the proper anchor. You might need to drop two anchors in the shape of a V at the front of the boat to prevent it from drifting in the wind. It could be necessary to place your anchor in deeper water, perhaps 20 to 30 feet deep, to help prevent the tide from raising it.

Docking might be difficult depending on the wind, the current, and your type of boat. Make sure your bumpers are out as you go closer to the dock or shore to protect your ship, slow down, and make sure the docking lines are fastened. Bring the boat about two feet from the dock if the wind is blowing in that direction; the breeze will then gently pull it in. Then you can use lines to secure it. Approach the dock at a 20-to-30-degree angle to account for the wind if it is blowing away from the beach. Then tighten the bow line.

Remember that these boating safety tips only cover the basics. If you are not experienced in proper docking and anchoring procedures, consider the next suggestion.

The Best Boating Safety Tip: Take a Boat Safety Course

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, operator error is at blame for 70% of boating accidents. Make sure you are familiar with the guidelines and your obligations before you leave the port. There are many online courses accessible, some of which are free.

A free online boating safety education designed expressly for each state is available from The Boat U.S. Foundation. A further selection of online and in-person courses for boating safety is provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

What Should You Do if You Are Involved in a Boating Accident?

No matter how closely you follow boating safety tips, you cannot prevent 100% of boating accidents. Boating mishaps are terrifying, and it might be challenging to know what to do or how to react in the heat of the moment. It's critical to keep in mind what to do in the aftermath of a boating disaster to protect your legal rights, prevent more injuries, and maybe save lives.

  • Ensure the Safety of Everyone on Board

    Finding out if anyone requires medical assistance should come first in a boating accident if you are on board and the boat is still floating. If you can, help anyone who has fallen overboard get back aboard the boat. If the boat is breaking apart or sinking, you should climb onto any accessible rafts or floating debris and call for assistance. You should put on your life jacket to stay afloat until help arrives.

  • Inform the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident

    If the boat is still moving, pull it away from approaching vessels. As soon as possible, get in touch with the U.S. Coast Guard to report the mishap, its location, and whether any medical aid is necessary. Certain boating incidents must be reported in accordance with federal law, such as when a person is killed or when the damage to the vessel costs $2,000 or more.

    When a boating accident occurs, stay at the scene. Just as in a car accident, you have a responsibility to report the incident and help with the investigation, especially if anyone is hurt.

  • Gather Information

    You should acquire specific information at the accident scene. This includes:

    • Name and contact information of any passengers on your boat or any other boats involved in the collision, and from any eyewitnesses who may have observed the accident from land or other boats
    • Other boats' registration numbers
    • Insurance information, including names, addresses, and policy numbers, for all other vessels involved in the accident
    • Pictures of the boat damage, the accident site, and any other details you want to document or keep track of, if it's safe to do so

 

  • Contact a Louisiana Boating Accident

    Louisiana law allows you to file a claim for damages sustained during your accident if you were injured due to someone else's negligence. This could include medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.

 

We recommend contacting Huber Thomas Law immediately to find out your legal options.

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

How often do truck accidents occur?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What types of injuries occur after truck accidents?

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

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

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

What are spinal cord injuries?

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

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

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

spinal injury diagram

Types of spinal cord injuries

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

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

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

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

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

Recovery and aftercare

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should I do after a trucking accident?

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

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

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

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

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

Get help after a trucking accident

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

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

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

Give us a call today to discuss your situation.

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

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

What is a rear-end accident?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should I do after a rear-end collision?

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

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

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

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

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

Get help after a rear-end accident in Louisiana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to do after a car accident

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

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

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

1. Stop and move to a safe area

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

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

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

2. Call for help

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

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

3. Exchange information

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

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

4. Find witnesses

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

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

5. Take photos

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

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

6. Contact your insurance company

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

7. Get professional help

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

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

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

8. Keep records of all medical treatment

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

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

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

9. Proceed with caution 

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

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

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

10. Contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

Car accidents happen across the U.S. every day. While most of them are minor collisions, some have devastating results that can change your life forever.

In fact, in Louisiana alone, there are more than 1,300 car accidents that result in serious injuries every year. Severe injuries can lead to long hospital stays, costly medical bills, and permanent damage to your body. A car accident brain injury falls into this category as it can result in long-term issues.

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

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

What causes a car accident brain injury?

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when the head experiences a bump, blow, or jolt. This disrupts the normal function of the brain. Some are mild, meaning there is only a brief change in mental status or consciousness. Alternatively, a severe TBI can result in a permanent or extended period of memory loss or unconsciousness.

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

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

Types of car accident brain injuries

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

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

Symptoms of car accident brain injuries

young man suffering injury after car accident

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

A mild traumatic brain injury may result in loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few

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

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

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

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

What happens after a brain injury?

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

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

Emergency care

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

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

Diagnosis

When you seek emergency care after a car accident, you may undergo various medical tests. This could include a check-up. This may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-rays.

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

These tests help diagnose if a person has sustained a traumatic brain injury or brain swelling after a car accident. They provide crucial information to the medical team. A solid diagnosis is the first step toward treatment.

Treatment

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

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

In cases of moderate to severe brain swelling, medical teams may use diuretics to reduce fluid in the brain. This is an emergency medical intervention. Anti-seizure or coma-inducing drugs may be necessary in very serious situations.

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

Rehabilitation

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

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

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

How can a brain injury accident lawyer help?

This post provides a high-level overview of the possible effects of a brain injury resulting from a car accident. These effects can range from physical to cognitive, and can vary in severity. It is important to remember that each individual's recovery will be unique. Such an injury is often life altering and they're among the most costly injuries to heal.

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

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

Are you suffering from a car accident brain injury? Do you want to find out if legal representation is right for you? Contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you learn more about your options moving forward.

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

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

What should I do immediately after a car accident?

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

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

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

Postpone talking to the other party's insurance company

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

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

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

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

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

Be aware of Louisiana car accident laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Huber Thomas & Marcelle

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

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

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

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

Why is Louisiana school bus safety so important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Do your research and stay updated

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

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

5. Always be on the lookout

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

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

6. Slow down in neighborhoods and school zones

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

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

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

7. Talk to your children about school bus safety

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

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

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

Find support after a school bus related accident

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

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

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

If you've recently been in an accident, here's what you should know about the personal injury claims process, from immediately after the accident to hours, days, and weeks after. If you have more questions, our New Orleans personal injury attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle are here to help you make sense of the process. Contact us today for more information.

1. Document the accident

What you do in the minutes or hours after a car accident can make a big difference when it comes to a personal injury claim.

To start, make sure you're safe. Check yourself and any passengers for any injuries. If necessary, call for immediate emergency care. However, even if you have no visible injuries, plan to visit your primary care doctor or an urgent care promptly within the day.

If you feel safe to do so, take pictures of:

  • The overall scene of the accident
  • The surrounding roadside or barriers
  • Any dangerous road conditions or inadequate signage
  • Both your car and any other involved cars, including close-up views of damage
  • The license plates of involved vehicles

Also write down the name, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information of other drivers involved. If there are witnesses nearby, ask for their name and phone number as well.

Once police arrive, thoroughly explain what happened and ask them to take photos before they move vehicles out of the way of traffic. If you have a dash cam, ensure that you're able to access video of the accident. Are there businesses close by? Ask if they have surveillance cameras pointed to the area that you can use, if needed.

While a lot will be going on at once, gathering this clear evidence at the scene of the accident can help your personal injury claims process if your case does eventually go to court.

2. Reach out for professional help

A car accident is a major event, one that you should always get professional help for. Reach out to a few important resources within hours after the accident.

Medical care

This is your first priority. As noted, even if you feel fine after the crash, get checked by a doctor. Don't shrug off symptoms like pain, tingling or numbness, or dizziness. Be honest with your doctor about all of your symptoms and the forces you experienced during the accident. They can test for signs of concussion or other injury.

Your doctor will also record any changes over time. Some injuries, like whiplash, can take up to 48 hours to appear. Talk to your doctor about all changes, and schedule follow-up appointments if your symptoms persist.

Your insurance company

File a claim with your auto insurance company as soon as you can. You pay for their help all year. Make the best use of any resources they offer, such as collision coverage or rental cars. Depending on the coverage you chose, they may cover all or a portion of any accident costs.

You'll likely also receive calls from the insurance company of the other driver. If their driver was at fault, the insurance company's goal is to have you settle for a small cash payment quickly. This isn't a good idea. In the hours and even days after an accident, you won't have a clear understanding of the amount of damage done, both bodily and to your property.

At this point of the personal injury claims process, it's time to talk to someone who does understand the common costs of an accident.

A personal injury attorney

While your insurance company is a valuable resource, sometimes you'll need additional legal help after an accident. Attorneys, like the team of New Orleans personal injury attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle, understand the true costs of an accident.

The injuries that result after a car accident cost money. Beyond medical care, there may be rehabilitation costs, additional childcare, or lost income. A personal injury attorney reviews the facts of your case and projected costs, along with insurance coverage.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we provide support after a life-changing event. We can manage contact with the other driver's insurance company, help coordinate your medical care, calculate a fair settlement, and more. Your initial consultation is completely free and, in many cases, you don't pay anything unless we win your case.

3. Determine a fair settlement

We make sure to get the full story for an automobile accident case. With police and medical reports, your photos, video footage, and witness observations, we reconstruct what happened before and during the accident. We also examine other contributing factors, like dangerous road conditions or manufacturer defects.

Once you have a better idea about any ongoing symptoms or pain, our team works with economic experts to calculate a fair settlement to compensate you for any damages. Then, we typically submit a demand letter on your behalf to the other insurance company.

This demand letter is a document that lays out our arguments about:

  • Who is at-fault for the accident based on our evidence
  • The extent of financial damage the accident caused: medically, to property, and in lost wages
  • Any additional damages you experienced, such as pain and suffering

At this point, the insurance company can agree to our demands and settle the case, negotiate for a lower settlement, or outright deny your claims.

Most insurance companies will negotiate. Our attorneys negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get a full and fair settlement. If the insurance company won't agree to a fair settlement, and you choose to pursue litigation, our team will file an official case against the insurance company or drivers at fault.

4. Prepare your case

We prepare every case as if it could go to court, even though most don't. Because of this, we're ready if you do decide to pursue litigation. At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we know that when a car crash happens, your world changes. There are unforeseen costs and damages you never expected. We're ready to be your legal advocates so you can get the fair settlement you deserve.

Our legal team will enter the discovery phase once we file your case. Discovery typically includes:

  • Sending written questions to the other party for clarification or more information
  • Requesting documentation to support your case
  • Using state of the art technology to reconstruct the timeline of your accident
  • Scheduling formal interviews (called depositions) with other parties in the accident, like witnesses, your doctor, or police officers

During the discovery phase, we may also be actively working with the other party's insurance company to reach a settlement. This is often done with mediation. With mediation, an impartial third party (the mediator) guides the conversation between the two parties. The mediator doesn't make a final decision like a judge does in a court case. Instead, they help both parties reach a fair settlement together.

5. Take your case to court

The end of the personal injury claims process is with a trial in front of a judge. The vast majority of cases never make it to this point, though. Sometimes insurance companies will even settle the night before or immediately prior to a court case to avoid presenting the case before a judge.

If your case does go to trial, we'll present the evidence and make our arguments for the judge. This can be a complicated and long process, with multiple testimonies and hours in court. Nobody wants to go to trial after a car accident, but if you don't receive the fair compensation you deserve to cover medical and other costs, doing so can save your family's financial health.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we're proud to say that we've recovered millions of dollars for our clients, in hundreds of cases. After a car accident, you need the best New Orleans personal injury lawyers on your side. We're dedicated to providing legal assistance that makes sense, for every person and every matter.

If you've been in a car accident and want to discuss the details of your case, we're here to help. Contact us today for more information.