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New Orleans Personal Injury Law Blog

Negligent truck driver causes fatal car accident

Obeying traffic signals is an important part of safely operating one's vehicle on Louisiana roads. Whether a person is driving a personal car or a work vehicle it is important that they follow the rules of the road to keep themselves safe and give other drivers information about what they are going to do. When individuals fail to drive in accordance with the legal mandates of the state then dangerous and sometimes deadly accidents can occur.

Recently a woman lost her life in Praireville when her vehicle was hit by a negligent driver. The woman entered an intersection with a green light and prepared to make a left-hand turn when her vehicle was hit by a Mack truck. The truck failed to stop at a red light at the intersection and plowed directly into the woman's vehicle. As a result of the impact the truck pushed the victim's vehicle into three more vehicles that were stopped at the intersection, causing injuries to the drivers of those cars as well.

Our firm is available to help after a car accident

Accidents occur despite the best intentions of the parties involved. For example, many collisions happen when drivers are unable to give their full attention to the road and. Accidents on New Orleans roads are unfortunately common, but the victims of these occurrences do not simply have to accept them as chance happenings and endure the costs they bear without question.

A significant number of accidents happen because the responsible drivers are distracted from the important task of driving safely. There are a number of distractions that may affect a driver's attention, including cell phone use, conversations with passengers, eating, drinking, personal grooming, and others. When these distractions lead a driver to cause an accident, that individual may be held liable for their negligence.

Who can a victim sue after a truck accident?

This New Orleans personal injury legal blog has dedicated several posts to the dangers of truck driver fatigue; poorly maintained trucks, poorly trained drivers, and other causes of accidents involving large trucks.

When a truck accident happens, it can be confusing for a victim to know exactly which parties they may include in their litigation to pursue their accident-related losses. Is only the driver responsible? Do the owners of the truck or the entity that paid for the truck to be on the road have any truck company liability? Lawyers who work in this area of law can provide their clients with case-specific guidance to help them claim the compensation they are owed from their losses.

Suspected drunk driver injures Mardi Gras partygoers

A suspected drunk driver in a pickup truck plowed through a group of people attending a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, leaving 28 people injured. The victims ranged from small children to adults enjoying the Mardi Gras festivities. Thankfully, it does not appear that any of the injuries will be fatal, although the exact nature of the injuries is unknown at this time. At least three victims had to stay in the hospital, though, and, initially, several hospitals received victims. One victim was a police officer.

After hitting the crowd, the pickup truck then cashed in to another vehicle. The driver was removed from his truck and immediately arrested. He will face multiple criminal charges. According to police, his blood alcohol content was .232 percent, which is well above the legal alcohol limit in Louisiana. His bond has been set at $125,000, and at this time he is being represented by the public defender's office.

The Constitution and admiralty and maritime law

As many residents of New Orleans probably know, admiralty and maritime law refers to the statutes and legal doctrines covering ships and conduct on the ocean, including both coastal waters belonging to the United States and the high seas, also called "international waters." What some might not know is that the Founders of the United States contemplated that the federal government would be involved in admiralty law and maritime law decisions, as the Constitution itself specifically mentions that federal courts have the power to hear cases involving legal questions stemming from conduct on the ocean.

Other provisions of the Constitution give the federal government authority over admiralty and maritime law. For instance, the Constitution's commerce clause allows Congress to pass laws regulating trade that, presumably, would entail shipping and passenger transport over the ocean. Moreover, even at the time the Constitution was adopted, there was already an established tradition of admiralty law which the United States had borrowed from Great Britain and other sources.

School bus accident leaves several children injured

An accident in Greensburg, a small town in Louisiana less than two hours from New Orleans, ended with a school bus being turned onto its side. There were 38 children on the bus at the time of the accident, and 11 of those children reportedly suffered injuries, some of which authorities described as "moderate." Thankfully, there were no fatalities.

According to reports, the school bus driver was trying to make a left turn at an intersection in which the driver was permitted to do so. In the process of the turn, someone driving a pickup truck behind the bus decided to use the left lane to pass several vehicles. The driver trying to pass apparently either did not notice or did not have time to yield to the school bus and hit it, forcing the bus onto its side. The driver of the pickup truck has been cited for illegally passing and also for carelessly operating the vehicle. The exact nature of the children's injuries and their prospects for a full recovery are not available.

Taking fatigued truck drivers to task

As a previous post on this blog discussed, fatigued truck driving is a terrible habit that endangers the other motorists on the roads in and around New Orleans. In many cases, a seriously fatigued truck driver will behave similarly to drunk or drugged drivers.

Obviously, then, someone who is too tired to be driving such a large vehicle has the potential to leave a trail of destruction in his or her wake. Because they do not have the best reaction times, fatigued drivers may not to be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of them.

We will hold overly tired drivers responsible

Last week's post on this blog discussed how on too many occasions, fatigued truck drivers are traveling on the roads in and around New Orleans. As the post discussed, fatigued truck driving is extremely dangerous, as a fatigued truck driver can exhibit the same loss of coordination and judgment as would a drunk driver.

Many accidents likely happen because of truck driver fatigue. Of course, a driver can, in the worst cases of fatigue, simply fall asleep behind the wheel. In other cases, a driver is overly tired and therefore makes a mistake, such as failing to stop, that he or she otherwise would not make. Sometimes, the tiredness is not from lack of sleep so much as it is from staring out on a highway for hours on end. In other cases, a driver may take energy drinks or other supplements, or even drugs, in order to stay awake.

How common, and dangerous, is fatigued truck driving?

A previous post on this blog touched on the federal regulations that require many truck drivers on the roads in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, to take periodic breaks and longer rests in order to prevent a truck accident due to a fatigued truck driver. The question might arise, and in fact has arisen among some politicians, as to whether fatigued driving really is such a huge problem among truckers that these rest rules, and particularly certain new modifications to them, are really necessary.

Even the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which promulgates the rest rules, acknowledges that most truck drivers and trucking companies do not push the envelope when it comes to fatigued driving and stay well within the Administration's rest rules. The Administration's own research suggested fatigue remained a common problem in the trucking industry. Unfortunately, there are several "bad apple" trucking companies out there where safety takes a back seat to getting goods delivered on time.

A fatal car accident could result in a wrongful death claim

Whether in Orleans Parish or elsewhere, traveling in a car can be a dangerous undertaking. Automobile travel is one of the most dangerous modes of travel, statistically more hazardous than traveling by airplane, train or riverboat. For example, over 3,100 deaths in 2014 were in crashes blamed on distracted drivers.

Many automobile-related deaths can be attributed to the negligence of a person other than the victim. Depending on the circumstances, a driver at fault in a fatal car accident may be guilty of a criminal offense. Are there any other options for a victim's survivors to hold the at-fault driver accountable? There may be. The at-fault driver could be held liable to the victim's loved ones in a wrongful death case. If found liable, the driver could be ordered to pay compensation to the victim's family. Damages could compensate for funeral expenses, pain and suffering and more.