NEW ORLEANS, LA — The safety of the personal information we share online comes under question yet again in the aftermath of a cyberattack which targeted the profiles of fifty million Facebook users.
In this instance, hackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s ‘view as’ feature, which allows users to view their profiles as another account would. Through manipulation of this feature, hackers were able to access profiles, and potentially, information from the apps that users signed onto using their Facebook login. To date, Facebook has not stated that they know the identity of the hackers, or what the purpose of the attack might have been.
This is only the most recent Facebook scandal. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, the firm Cambridge Analytica legally acquired data from up to 87 million Facebook users, in order to analyze their personal and political preferences.
By developing an app known as ‘This is Your Digital Life’, agents of Cambridge Analytica accessed data when users downloaded the app in order to participate in quizzes and other time-passers, thereby linking the app to their account. However, users were never informed that their data would be taken and analyzed for political purposes.
At its most basic level, social media sites like Facebook create a clearinghouse for our valuable personal data, which is then “mined and measured, sorted and sold.”
We willingly share this information, because we enjoy networking with others, and because of the convenience in-app purchases. But whether this data is then stolen, or simply sold to marketing firms or behavioral researchers, has Facebook done enough to make users aware of how extensively personal data shared to Facebook is harvested, sold, analyzed, and even potentially stolen by, a wide variety of third parties?
In 2011 Facebook entered into a consent decree with the FTC, which had specifically accused Facebook of deceiving users with regards to the privacy of their data. However, two of the federal officials who helped craft the consent decree now feel that Facebook might have violated it, due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. So far, the FTC has made no comment regarding any violation, but the potential for another investigation cannot be ruled out.
Indeed, it seems only a matter of time before another privacy-related scandal occurs. The entire business model of Facebook, whose ‘free service’ ran up an operating cost of $3.28 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, is to gather personal data from individuals around the world, then sell that data to interested parties. And while Facebook and other social media sites don’t do much to alert the user to this fact, they do design their program in such a way that sharing personal information, whether it be lifestyle choices or political leanings, is rewarding, and studies say, even addictive. There is a clear incentive for any company to encourage users to share as much data as possible; it’s just as easy to see that if users were warned before sharing that their data would be sold, analyzed, and exploited, and that the act of sharing itself was potentially addictive, then social media giants like Facebook might find themselves with a rapidly shrinking number of profitable users.
The law has yet to fully consider all of the complex issues potentially involved social media platforms. In the meanwhile, users of social media should fully consider just how large their audience actually is, before they share or like that post.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Chances are, the car you drive has a black box, also known as an Event Data Recorder, and it’s there to monitor almost all you do behind the wheel. If you’re in a crash, that EDR is able to supply such information as your speed, break use, engine throttle at the time of impact, and data from a dozen other mechanical categories, including whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt at the time of a collision. When a motorist is driving, the EDR continuously records data, but only in the event of a collision is that data stored, so that it can be retrieved by accident reconstruction experts, insurance companies, and even courts.
An Event Data Recorder has many useful functions. In some car accidents, it can be difficult to determine fault. When the EDRs of vehicles involved in a collision are analyzed, accident investigators or reconstruction experts can often determine which party was at fault, helping the victims of careless drivers find justice and compensation for their injuries. Event data recorders also help fight insurance fraud, which helps insurance companies save money and charge lower rates to customers. An EDR can help an insurance company determine the severity of a crash, so that it can analyze a claimant’s injuries and better ensure that the injuries make sense in the context of the crash. Some EDRs also record whether or not a seat was occupied at the time of collision. And finally, an EDR helps fight back against staged accidents.
The EDR can even help save lives. When accident investigators explore the data saved in the EDR of a vehicle involved in a catastrophic collision, they aren’t just able to analyze dangerous driving practices, they can determine if the vehicle encountered any mechanical failure, such as a failed airbag deployment or a faulty breaking system, which led to injury or loss of life. If the failure is the result of some deficiency in manufacturing, an automaker can enact a recall to solve the problem, perhaps saving many lives.
However, in spite of all of the benefits of the EDR, some believe that Event Data Recorders invade our privacy. In today’s world, it’s concerning that a computerized device in our vehicles might be used to determine where we go and when, potentially revealing other personal details about our lives. Americans are concerned over who can have access to the data stored in their EDR. Might an employer, or some other third party, be able to access that information? The Driver Privacy Act of 2015 aims to address these concerns. Unless authorized by a court, necessary to provide post accident medical treatment, used to carry out investigations that are authorized by Federal Law, or anonymously used for purposes of traffic safety research, the owner of a vehicle owns his EDR data, and a third party must obtain his consent before accessing his driving data.
Technology such as the Event Data Recorder will continue to evolve and enhance, as will questions and concerns about the potential uses of such data. It’s important for motorists today to realize that their vehicle is most likely equipped with an EDR, and that the EDR will help them understand just how a crash happened, should they be involved in a motor vehicle collision. If you’re involved in any motor vehicle accident, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney like the attorneys at the de Boisblanc Law Firm, who can help you protect your rights, and seek compensation if another party’s negligence has injured you.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of accident-related injuries and fatalities in Louisiana today. From 2012 through 2016, four hundred and thirty-two people were killed in motorcycle accidents on Louisiana’s streets and highways. According to the CDC, wearing a helmet while operating or riding a motorcycle reduces the risk of dying in a collision by 37%, and reduces the risk of head injury by a full 69%. In the state of Louisiana, the law requires that motorcyclists wear helmets. In 2016, almost 1,900 lives were known to be saved by motor cycle helmets, and nearly 3.4 billion dollars in economic damages were saved by the use of motor cycle helmets. However, even when a helmet is used, serious head injury is a likely outcome when a motorcyclist is involved in a motor vehicle collision. Helmets can prevent many penetrating head trauma injuries, such as skull fractures or foreign objects entering the brain. Yet even when a helmet is worn, the forces involved in a collision can cause the brain to be injured, because the brain can be shaken inside the skull, causing swelling, bruising, or bleeding of the brain tissue.
A common outcome of a motorcycle injury is a concussion, which causes symptoms ranging from dizziness and headaches to memory loss. There may or may not be a loss of consciousness involved. Concussions are usually temporary, and may not have lasting impacts on the victim’s health. Yet sometimes, a concussion can be a symptom of a more serious condition, including those conditions categorized as Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBI. Traumatic Brain Injury can have lasting or even permanent effect on the victim’s life, including a loss of economic potential and a requirement for long-term medical care. A third possible outcome of a head injury caused by a motorcycle collision is a hematoma, which is when blood pools inside the brain or between the brain and the skull. A hematoma is a life threatening condition which requires surgery.
The severity and potentially disastrous outcomes involved in a motorcycle collision require cyclists to take precautions, such as wearing a helmet, obeying all traffic laws, and being alert for other drivers. But if the worst happens, and you or a loved one is a victim in a motorcycle collision, it’s important that you seek legal representation to fight for your rights. The costs associated with head injuries are often extremely high: from surgeries to special therapies to lost wages and the potential requirement for long term medical care, the lifetime cost for the victim of a severe traumatic brain injury can reach 4 million dollars. Insurance companies will often try to make a quick and low settlement, leaving the victim and his or her family stuck with the costs. If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle collision, call the experienced attorneys at the de Boisblanc Law Firm and arrange for a free consultation today.
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – The US District Court for the Northern District of Iowa has ordered the city of Sibley not to sue a resident for using social media to complain about the stench of a local dog-food processing plant, causing the internet to wonder, “What was the city thinking?”
In 2013, after receiving financial incentives from the city government, Iowa Drying and Processing began operations in the small town of Sibley. According to their website, their product is “food and feed grade products,” created by rendering such appetizing items as “turkey digest.” The plant brought twenty-six jobs to the small town, but unfortunately, it also brought a nuisance that residents couldn’t ignore: a pervasive and gagging stench that permeated the entire town, especially on hot and humid days.
Wade Elerbroek, a Sibley resident and business owner, described the smell as “as rancid and dead animal-like” in the Sioux City Journal. Residents complained that the smell was so noxious, it prevented them from being able to use their air-conditioners, open their windows, or even dine in the small town’s restaurants. They christened IDP’s plant, “The Blood Plant,” and complained to their city government.
In 2015, frustrated by what he perceived to be that government’s inaction, resident and web designer Josh Harms created the website Should You Move To Sibley, Iowa? where he pointed out the town’s attractions, such as hiking trails and his favorite Mexican restaurant, and contrasted those local perks against the asphyxiating aroma of stale blood and processed animal parts.
While it took the city government two years to discover the website, once they did, they were not amused, and they felt compelled to take action against Harms for publishing his critical blog. As reported in The Des Moines Register, an attorney for the city sent Harms a cease and desist letter, advising him he had ten days to remove his website or be sued. The city claimed that Harm’s website “libels Sibley, interferes with the recruitment of businesses and new residents, and negatively affects property rights.” Another attorney also warned Harms against speaking to reporters. Harms went straight to the ACLU, and a complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, where Harms alleged the city was violating his First Amendment and Civil Rights. “Receiving this threat from the city was the first time I’ve ever felt afraid that what I might write and put online would make me a target of my own government,” Harms said in a statement.
The US District Court agreed, and issued an injunction on Thursday, March 29, 2018, preventing the city government of Sibley from threatening legal action against Harms due to his critical website; it also prevents the city from telling Harms he can’t talk to the media.
ACLU Legal Director of Iowa, Rita Bettis, stated “Today’s outcome sends a strong message to the city of Sibley and all Iowa government officials to respect the free speech rights of Iowans. The right of the people to freely and openly criticize their government is the very foundation of democracy. In America, the government cannot threaten legal action against someone for speaking out against it.”
The Constitution thus defended, Harms returned to work on his website, where he now offers a bit of legal advice for governments large and small, concerning the definition of libel, and the illumination of citizens’ rights, in hopes of avoiding future confusion. The city, for its part, has fined the “Blood Plant” and sought its own legal remedies. According to Harms, the odor has improved, although noxious fumes occasionally return to plague the citizens. As for the dog food plant, they state they are actively working to mitigate the fumes, and they’re also considering moving to greener pastures.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a common, costly, and often fatal result of a motor vehicle crash. It can be caused when the head strikes or is struck by an object, or is subjected to the violent jarring motion known as “whiplash” that is often caused in car or truck crashes. The American Academy of Neurosurgeons estimates that nearly 1.7 million brain injuries occur each year, and of these, up to 70% may be caused by motor vehicle collisions. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of TBI death for persons 5-24 years of age.
However, even if the victim survives the brain injury, his or her life will likely be forever changed. In the most severe cases, the victim will require medical life-support or around-the-clock nursing care. Even in minor cases, symptoms such as “confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking” may interfere with or take away the victim’s ability to earn income. Medical science cannot yet reverse injury done to the brain, although rest, and hyperbaric treatments, may help to improve symptoms. This means that the victim may lose their lifetime income following a TBI, just when their medical bills are rapidly piling up.
The cost of caring for someone who has suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury will be directly related to the severity of their injury. The CDC estimated that the annual cost of TBI in the United states is around $76 billion dollars. An individual with even minor brain injuries can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars on neurological consultations and rehabilitation. The annual estimated cost in 1991 dollars for a severe TBI was approximately $222,600. When these costs are added to the estimated lifetime loss of income, it becomes clear that the all-to-common TBI is as devastating financially as it is medically.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car collision, emergency medical care may not initially diagnose a Traumatic Brain Injury. While medical science advances and most emergency physicians will examine the motor vehicle collision victim for signs of concussion and brain injury, mild injury has been referred to as “the silent epidemic” due to the alarming potential for missed diagnosis. It is essential that you report any symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, or disorientation to your doctor both at the ER and during your follow-up care. And due to the high costs of medical care, and potential for loss of income, it is equally important that all car crash patients or those who care for them seek immediate legal advice to determine if they are able to recover for the damages, past and future, that are associated with car-crash related TBI.
The de Boisblanc Law Firm is experienced in handling victims of TBI, whether caused by a car crash or another form of accident. If you or a loved one have been in an accident involving a head injury, we can help you pursue financial recovery from the person who caused your injury, which will help you protect yourself or your loved one during this exceptionally challenging and uncertain time.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Is the City of New Orleans liable for August 5, 2017 Orleans Parish flooding?
Before the waters receded, New Orleans residents witnessed an astonishing display of conflicting messages and finger pointing. Initially, residents were told by New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board Director Cedric Grant that the flooding was caused by climate change, and should be considered a new normal. This prompted considerable backlash, and as Jefferson Parish didn’t share in the diluvian nightmare, Orleans Parish residents wondered aloud what properties the Orleans-Jefferson parish border had to stop climate change. At the same time, citizens shared their own live videos and photographs of idle pumping stations, and slowly the city admitted that several pumps hadn’t been in operation, due to “routine maintenance”. Over the course of the next few days, New Orleans witnessed the resignation of Director Grant, who blamed his staff for giving him “bad information.” Heads rolled at the utility, a fire occurred in one of the turbines driving the pumps, and by Sunday, August 9, Mayor Mitch Landrieu told New Orleans that 17 of the city’s 121 pumps were in need of “emergency maintenance”, that “outstanding maintenance issues (could be) hindering even some of the 103 pumps considered to be in working order,” and only two of the city’s six turbines were operational. Echoing Cedric Grant, Mayor Landrieu, the President of the Utility’s Board of Directors, stated that he had not been aware of the issues plaguing the critical flood-mitigation infrastructure.
Not knowing a problem exists doesn’t always prevent a party from being held liable. When considering torts– acts or omissions that cause injury or harm—a party may be held liable if he knew or should have known that his action (or lack of) could cause injury or harm. Negligent torts occur when a party’s actions are unreasonably unsafe, and the party defendant owed the plaintiff a reasonable standard of care. Going further, gross negligence is “a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both.”
In considering whether or not Mayor Landrieu and the Sewerage and Water Board are liable for flood related damages, we must determine if the Mayor and the Utility knew or should have known about the systemic failure of their pump systems. It may have been that the failure occurred immediately prior to the rain event which led to the flooding, and in that case, the Mayor and the Utility might have been able to claim all innocence of the failure. While operational data can be subpoenaed during litigation, we may look to the Utility’s own 2011-2020 Strategic Plan, obtainable at https://www.swbno.org/docs.asp. In this plan, the Sewerage and Water Board states on page four under “Weaknesses” that they have “deferred maintenance of infrastructure.” This suggests a potential pattern of the Sewerage and Water Board, under the direction of Mayor Landrieu, of postponing or even neglecting maintenance. The flooding event occurring six years after this self-identified operational weakness reveals that there is systemic failure in the infrastructure system, which suggests a gradual decline of capabilities only possible if the admitted “deferred maintenance” had not be corrected, after being recognized. Whether or not the Mayor states that he was not aware of any of these issues, as President of the Board of Directors, it is his responsibility to read strategic plans created for the improvement and success of the Utility. By this alone, we see that the Sewerage and Water Board knew that the deferred maintenance of their infrastructure was a weakness, and that Mayor Landrieu should have known that the maintenance of infrastructure was a challenge for the Utility. While only operational details will fully clarify the issue, it stands to reason that the systemic infrastructure failure that caused the flood of August 2017 would only be possible had that infrastructure lacked in critical maintenance. Therefore, the Mayor and the Sewerage and Water Board may be exposed to the allegation that they committed a tort against the citizens of New Orleans.
In determining whether or not the Mayor and Utility were grossly negligent, it is clear that failing to maintain flood-mitigation infrastructure could foreseeably cause harm. New Orleans, a city below sea-level and sandwiched between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, is not only susceptible to flooding, it is prone to intense hurricanes. No resident will forget Hurricane Katrina, which cost an upwards of 1,500 lives mainly due to flooding caused when the levee system failed to protect the city. However, it isn’t enough to be able to foresee harm; the Mayor and the Utility must have engaged in a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care. To determine that possibility, we examine the importance placed upon the Sewerage and Water Board’s pumping infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Utility itself. In the aftermath of the devastation, Congress authorized more than 14 billion dollars in funding to repair and upgrade the flood-mitigation infrastructure, and put in place myriad programs and partnerships between local, state, and federal government agencies to mitigate risk. The Sewerage and Water Board, in charge of the city’s flood-water drainage system, was identified as a partner in Department of Homeland Security flood resiliency training exercises. In 2007, FEMA identified the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans as a partner in complying with The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and earmarked $47,000 for the Utility to develop a compliant hazard mitigation plan. During the creation of this plan, the Utility identified its pumping stations as “critical” in mitigating hazards such as Katrina*. Only two years after the Utility designated the pumping infrastructure as “critical”, the Utility cites its own “deferred maintenance” as an operational weakness. The Mayor and the Utility were well aware of the essential, life-and-property protecting nature of the pumps; funds and direction from federal government partners had been made available to the City; and nonetheless, the Utility engaged in a pattern of deferred maintenance on infrastructure. On August 5, 2017, flood waters revealed that almost every single part of the pump system, from the pumps themselves to the turbines powering them, was significantly compromised. While discovery is needed to help us determine if there was a deficit of time or resources, whereby a more essential piece of flood-mitigation infrastructure, if any exists, took necessary resources away from the pump system, it appears on this examination that an allegation of gross negligence may be made against Mayor Landrieu, and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.
*Found at C:\Users\112589\AppData\Local\Temp\Hazard_Mitigation_Public_Meeting-1.pdf
NEW ORLEANS, LA —Nursing home neglect and abuse is in the news again, with the preventable death of an elderly man in Annandale, Minnesota. In an unimaginable instance of neglect and incompetence, the nursing home had “no system, policies, or procedures in place” to ensure that patients received their medication as prescribed.
Louisiana routinely fares much worse than Minnesota in nursing home evaluations, with patient-advocacy group Families For Better Care ranking Louisiana an “F” on an A-F scale in its most recent survey. States are rated in categories such as licensed nurse-patient ratios, health inspection results, and number of ‘severe deficiency’ citations from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Data is drawn from CMS, and a ranking is assigned based on comparisons with other states. Another group, Medicare Advocacy, states that staffing deficiencies are a leading cause of patient neglect and harm. In a recent years, Louisiana nursing homes have received multiple deficiency citations, including “jeopardy-level” staffing deficiencies.
If your loved one has suffered neglect or harm in a nursing home facility, he or she may be able to recover damages. In any case of medical malpractice, a plaintiff can only win if it is proven that a doctor, or facility, failed to meet the medical standard of care, or in other words, if the doctor or facility failed to provide “the type and level of care an ordinary, prudent, health care professional, with the same training and experience, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community.”
Nursing homes have very specific standards that they must maintain. Facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid must follow strict federal regulations, and are subject to inspections by federal monitors. All nursing homes must be licensed. When selecting a nursing home for your loved one, be sure to check the results of each facility’s most recent inspections. Should you believe that your loved one has been harmed by the neglect or failure of a doctor, or nursing home staff member, an experienced attorney can determined whether or not the harm to your family member was due to the facility’s failure to meet the medical standard of care. If so, you may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice case.
Often times, our elderly cannot speak up and advocate for themselves. It’s essential that we ensure that our elderly, if they must be in a nursing home, are in a facility that takes its responsibilities seriously, and meets all state and federal requirements. It is equally important that we help our elderly loved ones to find justice if they have been injured due to the neglect, incompetence, or abuse of a nursing home facility or its staff. Should you feel you or your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call The de Boisblanc Law Firm today, and speak to an attorney who will fight for the justice you deserve.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — When it comes to teens and car crashes, there are special risks involved. Teens make up approximately seven percent of the population, but according to the CDC, teenage drivers account for eleven percent of the costs of motor vehicle collisions. Even more disturbing, in 2015, six teenagers died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
Louisiana has taken steps to reduce the involvement of teenage drivers in car crashes, such as instituting a Graduated Driver’s License program, and forbidding teenage drivers from using cell phones while driving. But even with these proactive steps, Louisiana ranked 33rd in a recent study of teen driver safety by state.
Parents of teenage drivers need to make themselves aware of the risks involved when their child gets behind the wheel, so that they can take sensible steps to prevent teen car crashes. When inexperience combines with distractions such as having other teens in the car, or giving in to the temptation to use a cell phone, the chances of a teen’s involvement in a car crash raise significantly. Parents can take several actions to promote safe driving behavior which might reduce the risk that their child will be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Experts recommend talking to your child early and often about responsible driving, and modeling good driving habits for your child. It’s also important to set concrete rules about when your teen is allowed to use his or her vehicle, and what responsibilities he or she must fulfill in order to maintain driving privileges. Parental involvement is a key risk-prevention factor when it comes to teenage car crashes, and parents should discuss driver safety with their children early and often.
Parents should also be aware that they can be held legally liable for their teen’s car crash. In Louisiana, the doctrine of vicarious liability means that parents can be sued if their teenage driver is responsible for a car crash. If your teen has been involved in a car accident, it’s extremely important that you contact an attorney who can determine your risk of being sued due to any negligence your child may have committed leading to his or her crash. An experienced personal injury attorney at The de Boisblanc Law firm can help you recover damages if your child has been injured in a car crash, and will know how to best protect you and your teen should your child share any liability for the accident. Call The de Boisblanc Law Firm at (504) 586-0005 to schedule your free consultation today.
You’ve been injured in a car accident, and you’re ready to have an initial consultation with an attorney. You want to come prepared to this crucial appointment, but you’re not sure what to expect, or what information your attorney will need to get started.
Every personal injury case is different, but at your initial consultation you can expect to discuss the following three things: the accident itself, your health care needs, and your property damage.
At your initial consultation, your attorney will ask you important questions about the accident, and gather the contact information for any witnesses you may have. If you’ve taken pictures of the accident scene, you’ll be asked to text or email them to your lawyer’s office, so that the photographs can be used to help determine liability, or to help reconstruct the accident should your case go to trial. If you were wise and called the police, you’ll need to give your attorney the item number on the “auto accident information exchange” form, which will have been filled out by the responding officer, so that a full crash report can be obtained.
Securing proper health care is the next step at your initial consultation. An established law firm should be familiar with local health care providers, and will be knowledgeable about providers best suited to your particular injuries. According to Medscape rear-end collisions are most likely to cause injury to the neck, while front and side collisions commonly injure the spine or back. Neck and spine injuries often require expensive diagnostic imaging tests. The right attorney will be able to assist you with making arrangements for the funding for your treatment, without directing you to take high-fee “legal funding loans” that quickly deplete your future recovery. At your initial appointment with your attorney, you’ll need to sign a HIPPA release form authorizing your attorney to communicate with your doctors. Regular attendance at your medical appointments is essential to the success of your case, so at your first appointment with your attorney, be sure to mention any possible obstacles you may have to medical treatment, such as lack of transportation or regularly anticipated scheduling difficulties. This way, arrangements can be made–such as finding a provider with more convenient hours, or assisting you in obtaining a rental car–to make it easier for you to see your doctor.
Repairing your vehicle will also be discussed. Your attorney will contact the responsible driver’s insurance company to make arrangements to pay for the repair work, or to reimburse you for as much of your property damage expenses, should you have already had your vehicle repaired.
When you show up at your initial consultation, it’s important to have the following things:
- Your valid identification, along with your social security number
- A copy of the police incident report
- Any photographs you were able to take at the scene of the accident
- Any property damage repair bills you’ve had to date
- Discharge papers from the hospital emergency room
- All names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident
- Proof of automobile insurance, as without valid insurance, you will be unable to recover any damages, even if the other party was completely at fault
Being prepared for your initial consultation helps to get your case in motion. Recovering compensation for damages you received in a motor vehicle accident can be a lengthy and complicated process, but when you come prepared to your initial consultation, your attorney is able to go to work right away on your case. At The de Boisblanc Law Firm, our attorneys are well experienced and will assist you through every step of the process of getting you the recovery you deserve. And as always, your initial consultation is free of charge, and our attorneys only get paid when you do.
BATON ROUGE, LA – The Department of Transportation states that “speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes”, costing motorists $40.4 billion in crash-related expenses, along with 10,219 lives lost in 2012 alone. In an effort to cut down on truck crashes, Louisiana Representative Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) authored a bill before the legislature this session, which would lower speed limits for trucks on elevated interstate roadways extending five miles or longer. Carter’s bill passed through the House of Representative’s Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works unanimously on May 11, and is scheduled to be debated on the House floor on May 24. Studies from the National Highway Cooperative Research Program indicate “that higher speed limits were associated with an increased likelihood of deaths and incapacitating injuries”, supporting the argument that reducing speed limits for trucks will reduce the fatalities, injuries and expenses associated with truck crashes. And since speeding is one of the major causes of truck crashes, it stands to reason that lowering speed limits for trucks might significantly improve safety for all motorists.
However, Cathy Gautreaux of the Louisiana Motor Transportation Association criticizes the bill, which would also confine truck drivers to the right lane. Telling committee members, “there’s no way we could expect a truck driver to stay behind a mobile home,” Ms. Gautreaux argued that preventing truck drivers from passing slow motorists in the right line could actually cause a safety hazard. She believes that one of these hazards would be a line of trucks “queuing up” behind a slow right lane vehicle, without any provision in the legislation which would allow truck drivers to legally pass such an obstacle.
Currently in Louisiana, the speed limit for all motor vehicles is 75 mph on rural interstates, and 70 mph on urban interstates. Along with reducing the speed limit by ten miles per hour for large trucks, Representative Carter’s bill would also create a new initiative to research speed differentials as they relate to motor vehicle safety, and the reduction of collisions.
If you are involved in a truck crash, the most important thing to do is check yourself and your passengers for injuries. No matter what other motorists tell you to do, you shouldn’t move your vehicle unless your safety requires it. It’s important to take photographs of all of the vehicles involved in the collision, from multiple angles. Include photographs of the truck’s license plate and any other identifying information. The police should always be called, and it’s highly recommended that you allow emergency medical response personnel to examine you and transport you to the hospital. Finally, it’s important that you find legal representation. Insurance companies often try to offer small sums to accident victims, which rarely cover a victim’s ambulance ride expenses. An experienced lawyer like those at The de Boisblanc Law Firm can protect your rights against big insurance companies, and help you obtain the recovery you need after a serious truck accident. If you’ve been the victim of a truck crash, call The de Boisblanc Law Firm at (504) 586-0005, so that our attorneys can help you protect your rights and recover your damages.