Baton Rouge Personal Injury Law Blog

Common carriers and the role of negligence in accidents

Many Baton Rouge residents use their personal vehicles to travel to the locations that they must visit. Whether it is for their daily commute to work, shuttling their kids to school or just getting to the store to purchase groceries they rely on their cars, trucks and SUVs to carry them where they need to go.

From time to time, though, individuals may choose to rely on other forms of transportation. Instead of driving to an event they may choose to take a taxicab to avoid the hassles of parking, or they may ride a bus to work if their personal vehicle is in the shop. When a Louisiana resident pays a transportation entity to take them where they need to go they are enlisting the services of a common carrier.

What role does negligence play in a car accident claim?

Generally, a Louisiana resident cannot sue another person if the other person owed them no duty of care and caused them no harm. In the personal injury context, a victim is considered a person who suffers due to the actions or omissions of another person and who should have been protected from the responsible party's conduct through the presence of a duty between the parties. It is usually when negligence is involved that civil legal claims may arise and victims may pursue their damages.

One of the most common types of negligence-based harm that a person can suffer is an accident while driving their car. A victim may be one their way to work when out of nowhere another car rear ends them, causing their vehicle extensive damage and the victim's body pain and injury-related harm. Drivers who operate motor vehicles on Baton Rouge roads owe each other a duty to act reasonably and avoid causing each other harm; as such, a driver who rear ends another may not have met their duty and the cause of their failure to protect others may have been negligence.

Drivers of commercial vehicles must hold special licenses

It is a rite of passage for most teenagers to obtain their driver's licenses. Most cannot wait to experience the freedom of getting behind the wheel of a car and taking off on their own. Each and every day, Baton Rouge teens earn the privilege of operating motor vehicles on Louisiana road and freeways.

Most individuals maintain their driver's licenses throughout their lives so that they can continue to operate personal motor vehicles. For many, standard driver's licenses are enough to allow them to drive the vehicles they want so that they may travel to where they want to go. However, individuals who want or need to drive large commercial vehicles are required by law to possess additional licenses that demonstrate their capacity to handle massive trucks.

Short days and dark nights pose risks to motorcyclists

Many Louisiana residents enjoyed the time shift that occurred just a few weeks ago. As most Americans fell back an hour and relished in an extra hour of sleep, they were simultaneously forced to transition to days in which the sun sets earlier and the nights start much sooner than they grew accustom to over the summer.

Early nights pose risks to motorists because as the sun sets earlier it can be harder and harder for drivers to see obstacles and each other in the darkness of night. One population of motorists may become especially hard to see in the new early hours of darkness that come with the change of season: motorcyclists.

How your cellphone can help you after a serious crash

When you think of cellphones and cars, you probably think of distracted driving. For years now, accident rates related to drivers engaged with their phones instead of their surroundings have been a real risk for people on the road. Cellphones are a primary source of distraction. However, not all cellphone use in a car is a bad thing. In the immediate aftermath of a collision with another vehicle or a crash, a mobile phone can provide critical assistance.

Proper use of a cellphone in the aftermath of a crash can help ensure you receive the assistance you need and also protect your ability to file an insurance claim in the near future. Carrying your phone in your car can absolutely be a safety precaution, so long as you don't get distracted by it while you're driving.

What can be done to prevent drunk driving accidents in Louisiana?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in the state between the years of 2003 and 2012. This is an upsettingly high number and demonstrates the true extent of harm that senseless drunk driving incidents inflict upon Louisiana communities each year.

Drunk driving deaths in Louisiana exceed national averages in all age and gender categories for the studied ten-year period. For example, in 2012, an average of 5.2 per 100,000 men died in drunk driving crashes throughout the nation, but an average of 8.3 per 100,000 men died in drunk driving accidents in Louisiana. For women during 2012, the national rate of death from drunk driving incidents was 1.5 per 100,000, while in Louisiana it was 2.4 per 100,000.

Federal guidance highlights dangers of operating large vehicles

Truck accidents can be dangerous, damaging and deadly for Louisiana victims. Often when an incident occurs between a large commercial vehicle and a privately owned truck, car or van the failure of the commercial vehicle's driver to spot the smaller automobile contributes to the collision. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has offered guidance to drivers about how to avoid vehicle accidents with large commercial trucks, and from that guidance drivers may learn more about the many dangers associated with semis, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles.

For example, FMCSA recommends that drivers avoid traveling in commercial vehicles' blind spots. Long vehicles often have areas behind and next to them where smaller vehicles may remain unseen to the commercial vehicles' drivers. These blind spots may hide smaller cars and when commercial vehicles fail to make checks of their blind spots before maneuvering between lanes they can cause collisions with other automobiles.

Drinking during the holidays can lead to serious winter accidents

Louisiana residents may have noticed that as soon as the calendar changed over from October to November, all of the pumpkins and witch hats in their favorite stores' displays magically changed into snowflakes and Santa caps. It is November and now the long and celebratory stretch of holidays beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year's Day is on individuals' radars. This period it often marked with happiness and goodwill, celebrated through an increase of parties, get-togethers and other events where people enjoy themselves with good food, entertaining company and spirited drinks.

Holiday drinking is not uncommon but it can be unsafe. When a person indulges in alcoholic beverages at a work celebration or family party they can risk more than making an embarrassing comment to their boss or in-law. They can risk their life and the lives of others if they choose to get behind the wheel of their car.

Woman killed in fatal drunk driving accident in Baton Rouge

Whether it is a workday or a weekend day, many individuals make early morning commutes to work, stores or getaway destinations. While there are many reasons to hit the road during the early hours of the day, some motorists might be en route to their home. Following a late night out at a bar, event or gathering could cause an individual to drive home during the early morning hours. However, these drivers are likely to have alcohol still in their system and could be the cause of a serious and even fatal drunk driving accident.

This is what unfortunately occurred in Baton Rouge recently. According to recent reports, a fatal crash occurred on North Sherwood Forest Boulevard around 6:25 a.m. near the 2000 block. Emergency crews transported the 40-year-old female to the hospital where she later passed.

How do I determine damages after a car crash in Louisiana?

Driving along I-10 or I-12 often requires you to have nerves of steel, especially if you are near the split or about to head over the basin bridge. You might be driving carefully but other drivers may not follow suit.

If you are involved in an accident in Louisiana, there are different types of compensation that you can seek. Understanding the basics of the most common types can help you determine how you are going to proceed with your claim. Here are some common questions about damages:

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