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COMMON MYTHS: PARKING LOT CAR WRECKS

parking lot car wrecks

 

Private parking lots often become obstacle courses for drivers. They are usually filled with heavy vehicle traffic moving in and out parking spots, turning from every which angle, and inattentive pedestrians looking down at their phones or shopping lists, the ingredients for car wrecks.

As a car accident lawyer, I often receive calls from victims of private parking lot wrecks. The beginning of the conversation usually begins with the individual saying something to the effect of: “My mom/friend/co-worker said that because my accident happened in a private parking lot, I can’t make the other driver’s insurance company pay for my damages.” A recent call prompted this article, which provides information debunking that misconception.

I.      What Are My Rights in a Parking Lot Car Wreck? 

Although many Louisiana statues regulating motor vehicles on public roadways don’t apply to motor vehicles on private lots, Louisiana courts have imposed duties on motorists driving in private parking lots. For instance, motorists traveling in private parking lots must use “due caution” by being attentive and maintaining a slow driving speed while driving through and backing up in private parking lots. Therefore, if someone driving at a fast pace in a parking lot hits you, that person and his insurance company will likely be held liable for your damages. Among many other circumstances, the same would be true if someone wrecks into you because he/she is distracted by something else (e.g. phone).

II.     Do Officer’s Even Respond to a Parking Lot Car Wreck? 

Another common misconception is that law enforcement officers are told not to respond and never do respond to calls involving parking lot car wrecks. However, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged by the State of Louisiana to respond and usually do respond to such calls. In fact, most local agencies have crash report forms designed specifically for parking lot wrecks. Those forms are used during the local agency’s investigation of the crash scene, to record key facts relating to the circumstances surrounding the car wreck, names of drivers involved, vehicle information, each driver’s insurance policies, and etc.

III.    Other Implications

Furthermore, under Louisiana law, motorists are required to maintain the minimum automobile liability insurance while operating a motor vehicle, whether on public roadways or private lots, to cover damages from any at-fault wrecks of the motorist. If a law enforcement officer learns that one involved has no automobile liability insurance, the officer can cite that individual for not having insurance.

Lastly, if you operate your vehicle unsafely on a private lot, you could be cited for violating the Louisiana “Reckless Operation of a Vehicle Statute.” Because that statute is a criminal statute, it is applicable everywhere, including private parking lots.

The Russell Law Firm represents injured clients involved in private parking lot car wrecks and those with underinsured/uninsured motorist claims 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 handling private parking lot car wreck and uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. If you or someone you know has been involved in a private lot car wreck in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, make the Right Call, Right Now and contact Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Russell Law Firm today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hands-on, 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.

****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization. 

 

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
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization. 
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.
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

As previously discussed, Wrongful death claims allow certain family members to seek financial compensation for the losses they have sustained due to the death of another family member as a result of an accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another person, such as in a car wreck, trucking accident with an 18 wheeler, offshore accident, or any other incident.

Louisiana law places a value on the guidance, love, and support that a loved one provides to others during his or her lifetime. As such, it understands that the untimely death of that loved one can cause his or her family members to suffer losses. The Louisiana wrongful death statute intends to compensate family members for those losses.

Wrongful death claims are litigated in “civil” court – not to be confused with “criminal” charges that are litigated in criminal court. If the responsible party committed a crime in the process of killing your loved one, such as in a drunk driving accident, any criminal charges that he or she might face are in addition to the wrongful death claim and are litigated separately.

Who can file a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Although there are multiple people directly affected by the death of a loved one, not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Louisiana Wrongful Death Statute provides a list of certain individuals who can bring wrongful death claims. However, not everyone falling on the list can bring one at the same time. The list prioritizes classes of individuals having that right, beginning with the lower numbered class and moving to the higher numbered class (top to bottom), as follows:

  • Spouse and Children: The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased, or either the spouse or the child or children.
  • Parents: The surviving father and mother of the deceased, or either of them if he left no spouse or child surviving.
  • Siblings: The surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, or parent surviving.
  • Grandparents: The surviving grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, parent, or sibling surviving.
  • Representative of the Decedent’s Estate.

If a member of a lower numbered class is living, then that member can bring a claim, but none of the members of the higher numbered classes can do so. For example, if any spouse and/or child or children of the deceased is living, both or either of those individuals can bring a claim, but no parent, sibling, or grandparent can do so because they fall under a class with less priority than the child and spouse.

If there are no surviving family members, and no one has been named to represent or manage the decedent’s estate, there can be no wrongful death claim. It is also worth noting that adopted and illegitimate family members may file a claim, while certain family members may be excluded from filing. You should consult with an attorney to discuss whether you fall under the class of individuals who have the right to bring a wrongful death claim.

If you have recently lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing and are a qualifying survivor of the wrongful death victim, you may be eligible to compensation.

The Russell Law Firm represents clients in wrongful death cases 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 handling wrongful death cases. If you have suffered the death of a loved one, contact the Russell Law Firm. We will take a hands on and aggressive approach at compensating you for your losses.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization. 

LEGAL ALERT – Louisiana House Bill Seeks to Cut Divorce Wait in Half.

  1. House Bill 136

On Tuesday (4/18/17), a Louisiana House committee advanced House Bill 136 to shorten the wait time to get a divorce from one year to six months, in no-fault divorces of couples with children.

In 2006, Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed a measure extending the waiting period to one year. The purpose of the legislation was to slow down the divorce process, giving spouses an opportunity to “cool off” and seek reconciliation.

The House Civil Law and Procedure committee first tried to kill House Bill 136 but that failed on a 3 to 5 vote. The committee then voted without objection to advance the bill to the full House for consideration.

  1. Votes

Voting to involuntarily defer HB136 (3): Chairman Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette; Reps. Greg Cromer, R-Slidell; and Julie Emerson, R-Carencro.

Voting for HB136 (5): Reps. Robby Carter, D-Amite; Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace; Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport; Tanner Magee, R-Houma; and Gregory Miller, R-Norco.

House Bill 136 will be sent to the House floor for a vote in the House of Representatives. Should it pass out of the House floor, it will then be sent to a Senate committee. The Russell Law firm will be providing updates on this bill as developments occur.

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, give the Russell Law Firm a call.

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

By:      Danny D. Russell, Attorney at Law, Louisiana Licensed.