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New Orleans Personal Injury Law Blog

Criminal charges as evidence in a wrongful death claim

In some cases, criminal charges may be presented as evidence in support of a wrongful death claim. In a 2015 accident in New Orleans, a 33-year-old woman drove her car directly into the path of an 18-wheeler hauling a large crane. When the truck driver was forced to slam on his brakes, the crane shifted forwards, crushing the cab and killing the driver.

The woman was hospitalized for her injuries. In a drug screen administered during that stay, the woman tested positive for marijuana, and was therefore charged with negligent homicide. Recently, the day her trial was finally set to begin, she pleaded guilty to negligent injuring. While considered to be a lesser charge that negligent homicide, an injuring charge is still a felony with a hefty sentence. In situations such as these where criminal conviction is present, there are often considerations about using the court record to support a wrongful death claim.

Do truck drivers have driving time limitations?

Most people are unfamiliar with the rules imposed on truck drivers regarding driving time limitations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal agency tasked with ensuring that truck companies and their drivers are held to certain standards of safety on the roads. Where questions exist about what these standards are, the FMCSA provides some guidance.

For example, what are the drive time limits for a truck driver and who enforces them? Trucking is a federally regulated industry in which a set of rules have been put in place. There are a few different rules regarding hours of service regulation enforced by the FMCSA. For example, commercial vehicle drivers should not drive more than 11 hours in a row, and only after a 10-hour break from driving. Of course, just because there are rules does not mean truck drivers, or their employers, may occasionally stray from them.

What is distracted driving?

There is no doubt that New Orleans residents are busy. From getting out the door on time to get to work, get the kids to school, get all the errands done and get dinner on the table there is little time left for many individuals to slow down and simply enjoy their lives. The rapid pace that many people must keep up with in order to stay on schedule has forced some to look for creative ways to multitask. One very dangerous way that some individuals have found to do two things at once is to try to complete other tasks while driving.

When a driver does something other than operate their motor vehicle while they are behind the wheel of a car they are engaging in distracted driving. Distracted driving often involves the use of handheld cellular devices and drivers can engage in distracted driving when they send or receive text messages, use their cellphones to find driving directions, look at pictures or social media accounts or dial telephone numbers with their hands.

A lack of safety on barges can result in serious worker injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration more than 300 barge workers were killed between 1997 and 2006 in on-vessel accidents and explosions. Workers died from drowning after falling off of their vessels without life jackets, suffered fatal injuries when the equipment they were working with shifted due to wakes and became asphyxiated when they were deprived of oxygen and did not have the proper breathing equipment to save their lives.

Practically all of these deaths and the deaths of barge workers that have occurred in the last decade were preventable. The implementation of best safety practices by barge owners and operators could reduce the number of needless deaths in this industry and promote safer working conditions for the men and women who engage in barge work each and every day. Because barges are a common site to New Orleans residents and many find work on them in order to earn their livings, this post will briefly discuss some ways that barges may be made safer for those who work on them.

Hurt in an accident with a semi? Our firm is available for you.

Semis, tractor-trailers and other massive commercial vehicles are a common sight on Louisiana roads and freeways. They can be incredibly frustrating to get stuck behind when drivers wish to operate at higher speeds or when they block drivers from making passes and other safe driving maneuvers. They can be intimidating when they come roaring down the road and appear seemingly out of nowhere in the rear-view mirrors of New Orleans residents.

Dealing with large trucks on the roads is a necessary part of driving in the United States but unfortunately even when the drivers of smaller vehicles make safe and law-abiding driving decisions they can still suffer collisions with big trucks. Big trucks can become unwieldy and when their drivers fail to operate them with consideration and care they can quickly become dangerous hazards on Louisiana roads that put innocent people at risk of injury and death.

Can a fault in a product's design result in a compensable injury?

Products that are released into the stream of commerce are often scrutinized for safety at many levels before they make their way into the hands of New Orleans consumers. The strict review of safety that products are subjected to often catches problems before the products are released and have a chance to harm people. However, from time to time unsafe products slip through and when handled by unsuspecting consumers cause serious injuries due to their inherent defects.

While inadequate warnings and manufacturing mistakes can turn products into dangers for consumers, design defects are also a problem that can result in products liability claims. The producer of a product may be responsible for any injuries the design of the product causes if it was foreseeable that consumers could be at risk and the injured consumers used the products as they were intended.

End-of-life costs can be burdensome after fatal accident

Death is an expected part of life, but for most New Orleans residents death is not anticipated until they have reached a happy and fulfilled old age. Unfortunately, not every person is able to live out their days, and some perish in accidents when they are young. Regardless of a person's age, if they lose their life in an accident or incident caused by another person's negligence, their family may have a host of unexpected end-of-life costs to cover to provide their lost loved one with an appropriate funeral and burial.

Traditional funeral services can involve the following services. It is important for readers to know that costs and services can vary and their funeral-related damages may be different. A funeral will involve fees for the staff of the facility that hosts the service, transportation costs for moving the decedent, embalming and body preparations, costs associated with the casket and crypt or plot space, costs for services at the cemetery, and vehicle rental costs.

Wrong-way crash kills one, sends one to hospital

An early morning collision in New Orleans claimed one life and sent another person to the hospital in critical condition. The deceased party was the driver of a vehicle that was traveling the wrong way on Pontchartrain Expressway. That individual crashed their car into another vehicle in a head-on collision that caused serious injuries to the other driver.

The injured victim in this story was taken to University Medical Center where their current status is unknown. As they fight to recover, their accident-related costs will likely mount as their medical bills add up and their income diminishes from being out of work.

Dangerous pharmaceutical drugs can cause injuries and illnesses

Over the last year, news about the pharmaceutical industry has made headlines. From stories about the skyrocketing prices of life-saving medications to developments in new medicinal treatments, New Orleans residents are able to glimpse into the world of the drug industry. While for the most part individuals who must take prescription medications benefit from their use of pharmaceuticals, there is a small portion of the population that suffers harm when taking medications developed by the drug industry.

These individuals are victims of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. People who have bad reactions to properly made and labeled drugs generally do not fall into this category as these individuals may be allergic to the drugs or otherwise may be unable to tolerate them unlike the majority of others. Dangerous pharmaceutical drugs are drugs that are improperly made or improperly labeled that can hurt the people who take them to improve their health.

Do truck drivers need special licenses to operate their rigs?

Prior posts on this New Orleans personal injury legal blog have discussed truck accident topics such as truck driver fatigue, distracted driving, and trucker log books. How a truck driver approaches the important task of driving their vehicle can play a huge role in whether that rig makes it to its destination safely or if it is involved in a life-threatening incident. One way that state and federal regulators seek to keep truck drivers on task and safely performing their important duties is through requiring them to hold special drivers' licenses to operate large vehicles.

Truck drivers must pass a specialized skills and knowledge test in order to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The examination includes a written portion that ensures drivers understand important safety and operational rules and also requires them to pass a driving test that evaluates their handling of a large vehicle. Drivers who are required to drive even more specialized large vehicles, such as those with multiple trailers, those hauling tanks or hazardous substances, and those that carry passengers must pass additional evaluations to hold license endorsements.