10 Most Deadly Parishes: Fatal Car Accidents

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10 Most Deadly Parishes: Fatal Car Accidents

According to the data collected by the Highway Safety Research Group from the LA State Police, LA Department of Transportation, and other LA state agencies, the top 10 parishes with the most fatal car accidents over the past 3 years, are as follows:

Top 10 Deadly Parishes – Fatal Car Accidents Over the Last Three Years:

  1. East Baton Rouge – 16
  2. Orleans – 14
  3. Tammany – 14
  4. Calcasieu – 14
  5. Tangipahoa – 14
  6. Jefferson – 12
  7. Lafayette – 9
  8. Webster – 8
  9. Caddo – 7
  10. Acadia – 6

Most Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Louisiana

According to national statistics released by the Insurance Industry Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following are the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Louisiana:

  1. Failure to operate with required equipment, such as seat belts;
  2. Excessive drinking; and
  3. Excessive speed.

Louisiana vs. Other States: Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal car accidents are occurring throughout the United States, but they appear to be occurring more often in Louisiana as compared to other states. Louisiana ranks #4 in the nation for fatalities caused by careless or reckless driving. We also rank #4 for car accident deaths due to speeding and have one of the highest rates of fatalities due to impaired driving by alcohol. Those are national rankings that Louisiana is undoubtedly not proud of.

The Russell Law Firm represents clients in wrongful death cases due to fatal car accidents throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville,    Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

Our firm is experienced and highly skilled in fatal car accident cases. If you have lost a loved due to a car accident, contact a Louisiana fatal car accident attorney at the Russell Law Firm today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hand on and aggressive approach towards getting you compensated for your losses.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

By:      Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

6 Photographs To Take After a Car Wreck

After a car wreck, once you’ve checked everyone’s health and called police to the scene, it is important to take the following photographs:

1.      Damage to All Vehicles Involved – Photographing damage to all vehicles involved may help establish the severity of the impact between the vehicles involved, how the auto accident was caused, and the damages to your vehicle under your property damage claim.

2.      Your Bodily Injuries – You should take photographs of injuries to your body that can be visibly seen (e.g. bruises and cuts) to evidence that you’ve actually suffered those injuries, as they usually heal within days.

3.      Other Vehicle’s License Plate – Photographs of the other vehicle’s license plate may assist the police in identifying the other driver(s) involved, should he or she flee the scene without giving identifying information to you. That information can also be used to identify the insurance carrier for that vehicle.

4.      Entire Scene – Taking photographs of the entire scene at various angles is critical. Pictures of the resting place/positioning of the vehicles, markings (e.g. tire marks, bridge walls or rails), traffic lights, and traffic signs, may assist with reconstructing the accident and determining liability.

5.      Your Vehicle’s Odometer – If your vehicle is totaled, the odometer reading may impact the value of your property damage claim. Many times the vehicle is towed away and the owner of the vehicle does not remember the vehicle’s mileage before the accident.

6.      Damaged Personal Belongings – Photographs of damaged personal belongings, such as phones, smart tablets, car seats, and etc., may be used to support an additional property damage claim for those items.

Lastly, if your camera is broken or you don’t have a camera with you, ask a witness or the police officer at the scene to take photographs for you. Give that person contact information that he or she may use to send the photographs to you. Once received, store them in a safe place and give them to your attorney if you chose to hire one.

For other suggested action following a motor vehicle accident, read our our previous blog, “7 Steps to Take After a Car Accident, or call the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088.

By:       Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge car wreck and personal injury lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies and working towards getting you the proper medical treatment so that you can get back on your feet and maximize your recovery. If you have been involved in a car wreck in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, contact a car wreck attorney at the Russell Law Firm in Baton Rouge. We will immediately begin scheduling treatment for you and dealing with the insurance companies for your vehicle repairs and personal injury claims.

By: Danny Russell

****INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREIN IS ONLY GENERAL AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PERSONALIZED LEGAL ADVICE.

Rear-End Accidents: Know the Law

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Under Louisiana law, if your vehicle is involved in a rear-end collision with another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended you, is presumed to be at fault for causing the rear-end collision. That is because Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81 imposes a duty upon the driver of a following motor vehicle to maintain a “reasonable and prudent” distance from the preceding vehicle, “having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

In other words, a driver must be observant of the vehicle in front of him (or her), leaving enough distance between his vehicle and the leading vehicle so that he can stop safely and avoid a collision, should something happen with the leading vehicle.  

However, the driver who caused the rear-end collision, may free himself of fault by proving:  

  1. He had his vehicle under control;
  2. He closely observed the vehicle in front of him; and
  3. He followed at a safe distance under the circumstances.

Louisiana courts have recognized several situations where the rear-ending driver may not be presumed to be at fault for causing the collision. An example is when a driver rear-ends another vehicle after that vehicle veered into his lane, leaving him with no opportunity to avoid the collision. Additionally, if a driver unsafely enters a highway from a private driveway or from the shoulder, then gets rear-ended, the rear-ending driver may be free of fault for causing the accident.

The Russell Law Firm represents clients in rear-end collision throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville. Mr. Russell is an experienced and skilled attorney in rear end collision cases, who has aggressively represented

If you have suffered a personal injury from a rear-end accident, call the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We are experienced in handling the complex legal issues, losses, and medical needs of rear end collision cases. Mr. Russell will take a hands on and aggressive approach at getting you the medical treatment and compensation you deserve.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

 

What is a bad faith claim?

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In the insurance world, you may have heard the term “bad faith claim,” but do you know what it actually means and how it could affect any pending insurance claim you may have?  

An insurer has a legal duty to act in “good faith” when handling claims, which means that it must conduct a fair and prompt investigation of those claims, and it must also take reasonable steps to settle them. When the insurer decides to take certain action or no action that conflicts with its duty, without a reasonable or justifiable excuse, it is usually considered to be acting in “bad faith,” and you may be able to recover additional damages.

Your right to recovery from a “bad faith” claim partially depends on your relationship with the insurer. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company, which creates duties for both of you. For the insurance company, a legal duty is imposed upon the insurance company to act in good faith when handling any claim that you file with it (e.g. property damages under your collision coverage, medical bills under your policy’s medical payment coverage, losses filed under your uninsured motorist coverage,  & etc.)..

When you do not have a contractual relationship with the insurance company handling your claim, the duty of good faith in your favor does not exist. That is the case when you file a claim against an insurance policy that does not provide coverage to you. For example, if you are involved in an accident with another driver who is at fault, you must initially file your claims against the other driver’s insurance policy. Because you are not a named insured/covered under that policy, there is no contractual relationship between you and the insurance company who issued that policy. Therefore, the insurance company has no duty to act in good faith when handling your claim. In fact, has the right to take action adversarial to your claim.

Louisiana law lists a number of things that insurance companies do — or don’t do — that are considered bad faith, which are:

  1. Misrepresenting important facts or insurance policy language that relates to the insurance coverage at hand.
  2. Failing to pay a settlement within thirty days after the settlement agreement is put in writing.
  3. Denying coverage or attempting to settle a claim using information from an insurance application that the insurance company knows has been altered, but did not tell their insured about or try to get his/her consent to take that action.
  4. Misleading a claimant about the length of time that person has before he/she has to file a lawsuit to preserve a claim.
  5. Failing to pay any amount of its insured’s claim within sixty days after insured provides proof of his/her losses, when such failure is arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause.
  6. Failing to pay other claims listed under Louisiana law in a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause.

Can you get damages from a bad faith claim?

If you are able to prove that the insurance company has acted in bad faith, some of the additional damages you may be entitled could include:  

  • Enhanced Compensation – An enhancement by the court of the monetary sums that the court found was owed to you in damages prior to the insurance company’s bad faith. For example, the court may determine that the $100,000 that you were already owed, should be increased by 20%, bringing your claim for those damages to $120,000.
  • Attorney fees;
  • Excess Judgment – Award in damages over and above the recovery limits that the insurance company would have enjoyed in the absence of its bad faith;
  • Interests – award of interest on amounts in penalties that the court is imposing against the insurance company due to its bad faith; and
  • Additional Amounts – Any other amounts in damages and penalties that the court may decide to impose against the insurance company.

Bad faith claims are often very difficult to prove. That’s why those claims should be handled by an experienced car accident attorney who is knowledgeable of the Louisiana bad faith laws. If you or someone you love believes you are falling victim to an insurance company’s bad faith handling of your automobile accident claims, contact Danny Russell’s office today.

****Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

 

What is the personal injury claim process?

If you’ve been in a car accident, there could be a long road ahead to settling the claim and getting what you are owed. It’s a complicated process, which is why one of the first things you should always do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

What happens when you meet with a personal injury attorney?

  • The attorney will initially ask you questions related to how the accident occurred, to determine who was at fault for causing the accident. That is important because if the other driver was 100% at fault, then you’re entitled to be fully compensated for all of the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. However, if you were at fault, you may not be entitled to any compensation, depending on facts.
  • Once fault is assessed, the attorney will likely begin asking you questions about the pain you are suffering with. He will be interested in what areas of your body you are experiencing pain in and symptoms of injuries, such as numbness in your fingers or toes, pain radiating down your arm, tingling, numbness, & etc. An experienced personal injury attorney usually has a good idea as to whether you have soft tissue injuries or more severe injuries, based upon your symptoms. That is important because your attorney will usually be the person assisting you in setting up treatment.
  • The attorney will also ask you about information related to the other driver’s insurance. Most importantly he will want to know what that person’s liability coverage limits are, to determine the chances of you getting fully compensated for your damages. For instance, if the other driver’s liability coverage limits are $100,000 and the value of your case is likely $50,000, then the attorney knows that you’ll be made whole from that person’s insurance and there is no need to look elsewhere for compensation.
  • If the other driver has no insurance or not enough insurance, the attorney will be interested about whether your have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If the other driver had no insurance and you have uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile insurance policy, then you can still be compensated for your damages from your policy. If the other driver had insurance but not enough to fully compensate your for your damages, and you have underinsured motorists coverage, then you can file a claim against your policy to compensate your for damages that the other driver’s policy could not compensate you for.
  • Your lawyer will also want to know what, if anything, you have said to insurance adjusters, and if you have given any recorded interviews or written statements.

What happens after you hire a lawyer?

Once you hire a lawyer, he or she will usually notify the other driver’s insurance company that your are being represented by that attorney and that any and all communications related to your case need to be sent directly to that attorney.

The lawyer will also assist in scheduling treatment for you and obtaining police reports, medical records, and medical bills that have been issued to date.

Once you have completed treatment and have been discharged by your medical providers, the attorney will then send a letter, usually to the other driver’s insurance company, demanding that they pay you for the full value of your claims, according to your injuries, medical bills, treatment, and any work missed due to the accident/injuries. If that party agrees, the your case is settled. If an agreement can’t be reached, then the attorney will usually advise that a lawsuit be filed.

Here are a few things to note about litigation:

  • It starts with you filing a lawsuit.
  • Once the lawsuit is filed, you must serve the defendant with the lawsuit.
  • The defendant usually has 15 days to file an Answer to the lawsuit, admitting or denying the allegations you made in it.
  • Once the Answer is filed, you move into the “discovery phase” where each side has an opportunity to discover important evidence in support or in defense of any of your claims. This can be done by sending the other side questions or requests for documents that they have to respond to under oath within a limited amount of time or your attorney can set depositions to cross examine other parties.
  • Once you’ve gotten through the discovery phase, the attorney will usually file various pleadings to set the case for trial if it isn’t settled yet. However, the chances of it going all the way to trial are slight. Roughly 90% or more cases settle without ever going to trial.

What should I ask my attorney when discussing any possible settlement?

Here are some things to talk to your attorney about when discussing any possible settlement:

  • How have settlement amounts and jury verdicts been for other cases that were similar to yours?
  • What are your chances of winning if you do go to trial?
  • Are there any special circumstances that make it harder to try your case in court?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your case? How does the evidence hold up to your claims?
  • What are the strength and weaknesses of your opponent’s case?
  • What does your attorney think your claim is worth – talk specifics, including exact dollar amounts and how that amount compares to the amount you could receive if you went to trial.
  • What is the minimum amount of money you are willing to accept in an effort to avoid going to court?
  • What are the specifics of your opponent’s insurance policy? Are you seeking more than the insurance policy is able to pay out?
  • What about your opponent’s own personal financial resources? Is he or she able to compensate you out of pocket?

 

If there’s anything you learned from reading this, it’s that personal injury cases are very complex legal matters, and they should always be handled by an experienced injury lawyer. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact the Russell Law Firm today.

 

Deadline to File a Lawsuit: Auto Accident Related Claims

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Someone who sustains bodily injuries and/or property damages (“damage”) resulting from a motor vehicle accident has one (1) year under Louisiana law, from the date the damage was sustained, to file a lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for causing the damage. The date the damage was sustained, is usually the date that the automobile accident occurred.

Too often I speak to individuals having a hard time getting the other driver’s insurance company to pay for medical bills incurred for treatment of their injuries or property damages. The insurance company is either not willing to pay the full costs or the insurance adjuster will not return their calls. By the time I am contacted, the individual is either nearing the one year deadline to file a lawsuit or the deadline has already passed.

That is why it is important to make early contact with a personal injury law firm like the Russell Law Firm, if you suffer damages from an automobile wreck. Not only can such a law firm address any questions that you may have, but they may also assist you in dealing with the insurance companies and making sure that you don’t lose your rights forever by failing to file a lawsuit within the one year deadline.

By:       Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge car accident and personal injury lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies and working towards getting you the proper medical treatment so that you can get back on your feet and maximize your recovery. If you have been involved in a car accident in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, contact a car accident attorney at the Russell Law Firm in Baton Rouge. We will immediately begin scheduling treatment for you and dealing with the insurance companies for your vehicle repairs and personal injury claims.

****INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREIN IS ONLY GENERAL AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PERSONALIZED LEGAL ADVICE.

 

Car Wreck: Do I Really Need to Seek Medical Attention?

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The weight of most vehicles on the roads, range from 2,000 – 4,600 pounds. If one of those vehicles hit something, even at low speed, a lot of force is involved in the impact. When you are involved in a car wreck, that force is exerted against your body, which can result in injury. 

If you have suffered an injury, you may not always feel the pain right away. Car accidents are traumatic experiences which can cause the body to release adrenaline and endorphins, making you experience increased energy and possibly, lack of pain. You may feel fine right away, but it doesn’t mean you are. Once the adrenaline and endorphins subside, the pain can set in.  

If you are feeling pain, it is important to seek medical treatment right away. By seeking treatment, your medical providers will be able to run tests to determine whether you are suffering with “soft tissue” injuries or something more serious. They may order x-rays to see if you have suffered any fractures/broken bones. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with concussions (i.e. dizziness, nausea, headache, blurry vision, etc.), they can also order CT scans and run other tests to determine if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury. They may also order MRIs to look for injuries to the spine and discs. Those tests will assist the doctors in providing a diagnosis and set the best course of treatment for you, so that you can get back to or close to, the physical state you were in before the accident.

Additionally, if you are filing a claim for personal injuries, any delays in undergoing treatment can adversely affect your recovery. Insurance adjusters usually refer to such delays as “gaps in treatment,” and often refuse to pay claims that have “gaps” or will pay them at a reduction. From an adjuster’s standpoint, if you’re not treating, you must not be in pain.

Lastly, by filing a personal injury claim, you will have to prove that you actually suffered injuries and pain, as a result of the car wreck. You can prove that by way of documentary evidence, in the form of medical records. By seeking treatment, it will allow your doctor to provide diagnosis and detail the pain that you reported. He/she can then relate those injuries to the car wreck that you were involved in.  

By:       Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer who has experience dealing with insurance companies and handling personal injury claims. If you have been involved in a car accident in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, contact a car accident attorney at the Russell Law Firm in Baton Rouge. We will help you schedule the proper treatment and deal with the insurance companies for your vehicle repairs and personal injury claims. 

****INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREIN IS ONLY GENERAL AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PERSONALIZED LEGAL ADVICE.

 

7 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

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  1. Remain at the Scene: You should remain at the scene until it is appropriate to do so. If you leave, you may face criminal charges for “hit-and-run” or other penalties, especially if someone sustained injuries or was killed.
  2. Check Everyone Involved: Make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. If you or someone else has been injured, call 911 or a local emergency medical service (EMS). If someone is unconscious or is in pain, do not move them unless an imminent emergency or hazard requires doing so.
  3. Assess Property Damage: Assess and take pictures of all property damage to all vehicles involved in the crash.
  4. Speak to Witnesses: Ask all witnesses what he/she saw, then get their names and contact information.
  5. Call the Police: Call the local or state police if physical or property damage has been sustained. Upon arrival, obtain the name and badge number of the responding officer. Also, request an incident number and ask that a police report be filed.
  6. Exchange Information: Get the names, phone numbers, email address, physical and mailing addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance information, and make and model of the vehicles from all drivers and passengers involved in the automobile crash. In talking to the other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative.
  7. Consult an Attorney: Once you have been allowed to leave the scene and/or have sought medical attention, it is best to consult with an experience attorney. The attorney will inform you of your rights and will relieve you of dealing with insurance companies. The attorney will also help you maximize your recovery if you have suffered damages.

By: Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer who has experience dealing with insurance companies and handling personal injury claims. If you have been involved in a car accident in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, contact a car accident attorney at the Russell Law Firm in Baton Rouge. We will help you schedule the proper treatment and deal with the insurance companies for your vehicle repairs and personal injury claims.

****INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREIN IS ONLY GENERAL AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PERSONALIZED LEGAL ADVICE.