18-Wheeler Accident: Lawsuit Deadline

Someone who sustains bodily injuries and/or property damages (“damages”) resulting from an 18-wheeler accident in Louisiana, has one (1) year from the date the “injury or damage was sustained,” to file a lawsuit against the the driver of the 18-wheeler, the owner of the 18-wheeler, the insurance company insuring the 18-wheeler, and any other parties responsible for compensating you for the damages you’ve sustained. The date the “injuries or damages were sustained,” is usually the date that the accident occurred.

Given that you have only one (1) year, it is important to make early contact with a personal injury law firm experienced in handling 18-wheeler accidents in Louisiana if you’ve suffered damages from an 18-wheeler accident. Before filing a lawsuit, it is crucial to collect all necessary evidence from the scene of the accident, the 18-wheeler, and others, which can take months. If some of that evidence is lost or destroyed, it could severely impact the outcome of your case.

The Russell Law Firm represents clients injured in 18-wheeler 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 18-wheeler accident cases. If you have sustained damages from an 18-wheeler accident, contact the Russell Law Firm  today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hands 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.

Mistakes to Avoid in Child Custody Disputes

When you’re in the middle of a bitter custody dispute, mistakes can happen very easily, and it’s hard to bounce back from them. Fathers have to be smart from the get go, and you have to understand what’s at stake and what’s at play when determining custody.

What To Do During Child Custody Cases?

There are several things you can do to help build your case and convince the judge that you’re an effective parent. These include:

  • Be involved – Go to baseball games, take your child out, visit with your child’s teachers. It’s important that you are a large part of your child’s everyday life. Keep track of all the time you spend and all the care you give.
  • Make a schedule – You should establish a set schedule of visitation with your child if at all possible, even before the formal court order is in place. If it’s working, there’s a better chance the judge will not want to interrupt the schedule.
  • Encourage the other parent – Don’t try to negatively impact your child’s relationship with his or her mother. If at all possible, the child should have healthy relationships with both parents, and you shouldn’t try to interfere with the other parent and how they interact with your child.
  • Be consistent – Don’t be late when picking up and dropping off your child. Instill a routine in your child. Also, keep track of the other parent’s consistencies and inconsistencies. If the other parent is never on time, make sure you write that down.
  • Reach out to other parents – It’s always a plus if your neighbors, friends, colleagues and family members can see your parenting and the positive role you’re playing in your child’s life. Keeping relationships with other parents – scheduling playdates, outings and kid-friendly events – is a good way to ensure that others can attest to your involvement in your child’s life.

What Not to Do During Child Custody Cases

There are some pitfalls that every father should avoid when it comes to child custody disputes. Avoiding these things is crucial to your case:

  • Parental Alienation & Badmouthing – As tough as things get with your ex, you should never relay those negative feelings to your child. You should never badmouth your ex to your child, and you should never try to interfere with your child’s relationship with your ex.
  • The Unyielding Parent – You can’t make major decisions about the child’s life without consulting with your ex, no matter how painful that may be. You have to tell your ex about important information when it comes to your child, like school issues or medical problems. Flexibility is key in this fight.
  • Giving Away Temporary Custody – Be careful what you sign before the judge makes a final ruling. Don’t let someone trick you into a temporary agreement that is unfavorable for you and the child. It could end up becoming permanent, and you want to fight for equal access to the child from the start of the case.
  • Losing Your Temper – It doesn’t matter how intolerable or extreme your ex is, if you are convicted of domestic violence or child abuse, it could affect your custody agreement.

There are lengthy lists of things you should and shouldn’t be doing while you’re working on a custody agreement for your child. The most important thing you can do is to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law.

In Need of a Baton Rouge Family Law Attorney?

Danny Russell is a divorce and family law attorney in the Baton Rouge area who has experience in dealing with a wide range of family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and community property partitions. He knows divorce and family law in Louisiana and how courts usually side on family law matters. He will carefully assess those things most important to you, explain how the law applies to your circumstances, and help you make decisions that affect your relationships and financial stability.

If you are in need of a Baton Rouge family law attorney, contact the Russell Law Firm.

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

 

Don’t fall behind on child support payments. Here’s why:

When it comes to child support payments, the best advice is to keep up-to-date on your payments and don’t fall into what is called “arrearages,” or in otherwords, behind on payments.

If you do fall behind, the Child Support Enforcement agency in Louisiana has several ways to try to get parents to pay up on past-due accounts.

What can happen if you fall behind?

  • Income assignment, which means that your wages will be docked and directed toward the state. If this happens, you won’t see the money before it goes to the state, and you employer will be notified about your arrearages (wage garnishment).
  • Your state and federal income tax returns, as well as lottery winnings, could be turned over to the state and applied to your overdue child support (garnished).
  • The state could suspend your driver’s license, hunting and fishing licenses, and professional and occupational licenses.
  • The state could cancel your motor vehicle registration.
  • Your case could be referred to U.S. Department of State and have your rights to a passport taken away.   
  • You could be forced to go to court and tell a judge why you are not up to date on payments. If the judge determines that you are at fault, he could hold you in contempt. That could mean fines or even jail time.  
  • You could have your custody rights reduced or taken away.

Aside from the above, you may have your name and other identifying information, along with the amount of child support you have fallen behind by, posted online by the Department of Children and Family Service for anyone to see. It could affect your ability to obtain or maintain a job if an employer sees that information or could be embarrassing at a minimum.

What do you do if you are having financial problems?

In some cases, if your financial situation has changed for the worse, there are things you can do to try to modify/reduce your child support payments:

  • You can ask the other parent to agree on a reduction in your child support payments.
  • If you and the other parent can come to a new agreement, then you submit the agreement in writing to the court that implemented your child support order. The court must agree to the updated amount that you and the other parent approved.
  • If you and the other parent are unable to reach an agreement, you can ask the court to intervene directly. If the judge gives the OK on your motion, the judge will issue a new ruling on how much child support you have to pay moving forward.

What steps do you need to take to lower child support payments?

There are a few things you should do when trying to lower your child support payments.

Before you file court papers, you’ll need to gather the following evidence:

  • recent pay stubs and any other documentation showing a change in income.
  • documentation that your financial obligations have changed, for example, you had another child.
  • Documentation of physical disability or other conditions from your doctor.

You can also try to argue before the court that you have been paying above and beyond what the child support order outlines. For example, if you paid your child’s medical insurance premiums or school tuition, that might count as paying substantially more than what the court requires you to pay.

In Need of a Baton Rouge Family Law Attorney?

Danny Russell is a divorce and family law attorney in the Baton Rouge area who has experience in dealing with a wide range of family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and community property partitions. He knows divorce and family law in Louisiana and how courts usually side on family law matters. He will carefully assess those things most important to you, explain how the law applies to your circumstances, and help you make decisions that affect your relationships and financial stability.

If you are in need of a Baton Rouge family law attorney, contact the Russell Law Firm.

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

 

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.

 

What To Do Following a Flood

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1.     Report Your Loss to Your Insurance Company:

If a flood caused damage to your property, you need to immediately call your homeowners or renters insurance company to report your losses. You will need to have the following information available:

  1. Your policy number and
  2. A phone number and/or email where you can be reached at all times.

It is important that you make immediate contact with your insurance company as most, if not all, flood insurance policies require that you make prompt written notice of your loss. Once you get an agent on the phone, he/she will tell you how to file your notice of loss. If you are not provided with that information, you must send a written notice of loss to your insurance company referencing your policy number.  

Within a few days, you should be contacted by an insurance adjuster. If not, contact your insurance agent or an insurance representative. While you have that person on the phone, ask for his/her name and contact information, then request an entire copy of your insurance policy, along with your declaration of coverage.

2.     Account for All Damaged Property/Losses

The person adjusting your claim will need evidence of your losses, so you need to do the following:

  1. Make a list of all damaged or lost items with their values, serial numbers (if any), brand names, model, where they were purchased, and their costs.
  2. Make a list of all items that were not damaged.
  3. Take photographs of each damaged item on your list.
  4. Take photographs of the standing floodwater levels.  
  5. Gather receipts or other documentation establishing the values and dates of purchase for each damaged item.

Don’t throw away any of the damaged items before an adjuster has evaluated it, unless officials require you to do so. If you are required to do so, take any samples of the damages items that you can, such as carpet, wood from the structure, sheetrock, and others.  

3.     Complete & File a “Proof of Loss”

Your adjuster should be able to provide you with the appropriate proof of loss document to be completed. The proof of loss must be filed within 60 days of the flood, which is required before any claim can be paid out. Once that is filed, you should receive a settlement offer for the payment of your losses. If you accept the offer, the insurance company will send you a check in the amount of the offer you accepted. If you reject the offer and cannot form an agreement with the insurance company, you may need to hire an attorney as there are certain time limitations for filing property damage claims with the courts.

What If I Don’t Have Flood Insurance?

If you don’t have flood insurance, you should immediately file an application for assistance with FEMA by visiting https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or calling 1-800-621-3362.

Selecting a Contractor to Rebuild or Perform Repairs

Before hiring and paying a contractor to rebuild or perform repairs, I strongly suggest that you research whether the contractor is properly qualified, licensed, and insured. You can perform a search by visiting the following website, which provides some of that information: http://www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/contractor-search/. Additionally, ask the contractor to provide you with proof of insurance and addresses to properties that he/she performed work on in the past. If the owner of the properties allows, you may want to take a look at that property before hiring the contract to examine the quality of his/her work.

By:       Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area insurance litigation attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies and evaluating his clients’ damages. If you have suffered property damage as a result from the recent floods in Louisiana, call the Russell Law Firm. We will contact your insurance company and demand that they make payment for your damages.

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

Flood Insurance Policies – Know Yours

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I believe that I speak for most in the Baton Rouge and Acadiana areas when I say that these recent storms and the resulting flooding has completely taken me by surprise. The photos on Facebook of flooding are devastating.

If your property has been damaged due to these floods, I highly suggest that you call your insurance company and ask for a copy of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy so that you can determine whether you have the appropriate flood coverage. You are only covered up to the policy limits that you selected for your policy, and, unfortunately, if any losses exceed those limits, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the repairs to your home and replacement of your belongings. Therefore, it is very important to immediately review the terms of your policy so that you can begin to plan how to repair whatever damages you have sustained.

Many flood insurance policies provide the following coverage limits/maximum amounts that you can claim for payment of whatever flood-related damages you have sustained:

Coverage Type                                                          Coverage Limit

One to four-family structure                                       $250,000

One to four-family home contents                              $100,000

Other residential structures                                         $500,000

Other residential contents                                           $100,000

Business structure                                                       $500,000

Business contents                                                        $500,000

Renter contents                                                           $100,000

Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, while the latter covers your possessions; neither covers the land they occupy. Building and contents coverage usually includes the following, but you need to see what your particular policy provides:

Building coverage usually includes:

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • The electrical and plumbing system
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring

Contents coverage usually includes

  • Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  •  Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwaves and dishwashers
  • Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
  • Clothing washers and dryers

If you purchased your flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, you may have a maximum coverage of $250,000 for property damage to the home and $100,000 for contents/personal belongings in the home. However, those coverages must have been purchased separately, and any excess coverage has to have been purchased by private insurance providers.

Lastly, it is important to note that most policies do not go into effect until 30 days after you purchase them. If you are unsure about whether or not your policy is active, call your local agent.

If you have any additional questions related to this topic and your circumstances, please feel free to contact the Russell Law Firm.

By:       Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area insurance litigation attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies and evaluating his clients’ damages. If you have suffered property damage as a result from the recent floods in Louisiana, call the Russell Law Firm. We will contact your insurance company and demand that they make payment for your damages.

****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.