Louisiana Laws: Statute of Limitations

What Are Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations Laws When Filing A Car Accident Claim?

After you were injured and your vehicle was damaged in a Louisiana car accident, caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you only have one year to file a claim under the state’s statute of limitations law. The Louisiana statute of limitations, Civil Code Article 3492, paraphrased, allows a maximum of one year from the day injury or damage happened to file a claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-the-car-accident-statute-limitations-louisiana.html. If the injuries, or their full extent, are discovered later, the one-year statute of limitations begins when the injuries are discovered.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations Exceptions

Though the Louisiana personal injury or property damage statute of limitations limit is inflexible if the average person misses its deadline, some exceptions can be made to the one-year claim reporting. For instance, the one-year limit may be exceeded if the damaged party is a minor, mentally ill or otherwise incompetent, is incarcerated within the year following the accident, or lives out of state. In the case of a minor whose parents did not file on their behalf, the minor can file a lawsuit within one year after their 18th birthday.

When the at-fault party is a public entity or government agency, a different type of claim must be filed, possibly within a shorter period than a typical complaint.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In the event of a wrongful death caused by an at-fault driver, the one-year statute of limitations’ deadline doesn’t begin until the actual day of the victim’s death, which may occur after the accident.

What if You Filed A Claim On-time, But It Was Denied?

So, you filed your claim on time, but it was denied.  What now?  In Louisiana, you have XX days to appeal the denial. But the appeal process is complicated and must be done correctly, or you may still miss your chance for monetary compensation.

Gordon & Gordon Louisiana Car Accident Attorneys Know the Complex Statute of Limitations Laws

Because understanding the limitations for filing claims under Louisiana’s complex and confusing statute of limitations laws is challenging for the average citizen, hiring an experienced car accident attorney who knows how to handle your claim in a timely manner and guide you through the process is important.

It’s Critical to Act Fast

Acting quickly is imperative. If you delay and miss the statute of limitations deadline, you will lose the opportunity to ever collect any monetary settlement. And once the claim is filed, then begins the arduous and complex process of winning your fair, rightful financial compensation.

Gordon & Gordon Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Can Help Protect Your Rights Before It’s Too Late

To speak personally with a Gordon & Gordon experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney in our Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield office, contact us today. For the quickest response, call 24/7 at 318.716.HELP (318.716.4357) or tell us your story on our contact form.

How to Choose the Right Louisiana Accident Attorney

After you’ve recovered from the initial shock of a serious car accident on Louisiana’s roads, quickly involving an experienced car accident attorney can make the difference between winning a fair monetary settlement or not.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of rehabilitation, and vehicle repairs or replacement, among other expenses.  

But with so many car accident attorneys in northwest Louisiana to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

 

Important Things to Consider

Experience and Reputation    To ensure your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit has the highest chance of success, the law firm you hire must demonstrate an extensive history of winning substantial car accident settlements.  A good car accident attorney should be able to provide you with examples of cases they’ve won. An attorney with a solid reputation for high wins is taken more seriously by insurance companies.

Staff    Filing and successfully settling with an insurance company, or pursuing a personal injury claim, is a complex and time-consuming process. Only a law firm that is well-staffed with attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants can handle the massive workload necessary to win a successful settlement.

Financial Resources    In a serious car accident, it may be necessary to hire investigators & expert witnesses, and interview and depose any accident scene witnesses.   Further medical evaluations may be required to establish the need for current, future and long-term treatment. These necessary but high-cost preparations can only be accommodated by a law firm with the financial wherewithal to support effective case preparation.

Communication and Focus    Any car accident attorney you hire should demonstrate excellent communication skills, listening attentively to your situation, and respectfully explain what can be a confusing and complicated process.  As your case progresses, you should feel comfortable asking questions and have reasonable access to the attorney throughout the process.

Free Consultation, No Up-Front Costs    Any good car accident attorney will only accept your case if they believe your chance of winning is high.   If your case is taken on after a free evaluation, they should only be paid upon winning a settlement.  And they should also be up-front about exactly what fee they’ll take from your final settlement.

 

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm Has Won Multi-Million Dollar Settlements for Our Clients

With more than 30 years of experience successfully winning claims for car accident victims, our reputation is solid.   Gordon & Gordon Law Firm has the necessary support, staff, and financial resources to see your case through to a successful conclusion.  As our client, you can expect consistent, clear communication and respectful treatment. And we will never charge you a penny until we win your case.

To speak personally with one of Gordon & Gordon Law Firm’s qualified Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield car accident attorneys, call 318.716.HELP (318.716.4357) today.

Gordon & Gordon: “You Don’t Need A Lawyer”

“You Don’t Need A Lawyer” Trick

If you’ve been injured because of an individual or a corporation’s recklessness and negligence, you will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster.  The adjuster will start out by saying that they just want to hear your account of what happened, “in your own words.”  You may naively think that if you’re just honest and answer the insurance adjuster’s questions, you will be treated fairly.  Then, they inform you the call is going to be recorded. You say, “Okay, that’s fine.” After all, you’re just going to tell the truth.

 

Don’t Fall for the Insurance Company’s Tricks!

While the insurance company representative may act like they care about the injuries you’ve sustained in an accident caused by their insured, they don’t!  The adjuster may act like he cares about you and your resultant financial losses, but this is far from the truth. They may say that you don’t need an attorney because they want to pay you for your injuries and losses if their insured person or company caused your injuries. “If” is the important word here, because their goal is to prove you were at fault, not their insured.

If you agree to speak on their recorded line, that’s when they can strategically set you up to say things which will be used to deny your claim or at least hold you comparatively responsible for the accident. What’s more? If necessary, they’ll get it all on tape to use against you. And once you do this, you may compromise your right to a fair monetary settlement.

 

The Insurance Adjuster’s Only Real Job is to Gather Information That Works in Their Company’s Best Financial Interest, Not Yours!

The primary responsibility of an insurance adjuster is to collect information that facilitates a claim denial.  Or, at the least, to pay you as little as they can get away with. They are specifically trained to ask questions designed to either prove you were at fault or at least shared responsibility for the accident.  And, shockingly, they are deliberately trained to “be nice” and act like they genuinely care about your well-being. Though not nice or fair, they hope you’ll let down your guard and provide evidence that will help them, not you.  

 

“You Don’t Need An Attorney – We’ll Work This Out With You”

Don’t believe them!  Insurance companies have many strategies designed to deny your claim and your rightful settlement.  After they’ve recorded your account of the accident, especially when it’s obvious that you weren’t at fault or only shared some responsibility for the accident, they’ll delay paying you.  It’s another trick they use so they don’t have to pay your claim. While you’re waiting for a settlement check, they’re doing nothing about sending it.  So, you call or email them, perhaps multiple times, only to hear excuses about why they haven’t paid you yet. They hope you’ll give up, and just go away. But with Gordon & Gordon fighting for you, we won’t let them get away with such unfair tactics.

 

Yes, You Do Need An Attorney – Here’s Why  

As shocking and unfair as it is, the only important thing to insurance companies is protecting their financial interests.  Rest assured, they are not concerned about your financial well-being.  

To protect your interests, you need an attorney who’s on your side.  The personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon know insurance companies’ strategies, which are designed to deny your claim or, at least, hold you partially responsible for the accident.

Gordon & Gordon attorneys don’t want you to fall for their tricks.  With over 30 years handling personal injury and insurance claims, we know how to handle insurance company lawyers and their adjusters so you receive the largest financial settlement legally allowed.  And when the insurance company’s settlement offer isn’t enough, we have the knowledge, resources, and skills to pursue a personal injury claim through the civil courts.

Is My Case Big Enough For An Attorney To Handle?

Gordon & Gordon: IS MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE BIG ENOUGH?

After you’ve suffered injuries in a Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield, Louisiana, accident, even if you think your injuries are minor, you should still immediately contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to evaluate your case.   Until an attorney hears what happened and reviews your medical records, it’s too soon to decide whether your case is big enough for an attorney to handle.

What seems to be a minor injury may create serious complications and problems for you in the future.

For instance, what someone considers as insignificant, negligible pain can be the beginning of severe nerve damage or internal injuries, the symptoms of which could only manifest over time.   Or if you have lacerations that you assume will heal, you could still develop an infection or disfiguring scars.   Many times, minor injuries can become major injuries.

To add to your accident trauma because of someone else’s negligence and recklessness, your damages may become more substantial if they create long-term psychological issues, and even more so, could potentially impact your enjoyment of life.

 

Let Gordon & Gordon Attorneys Review Your Case to Determine Whether You Should File A Claim or Pursue A Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, a toxic or environmental spill, on the job, in an oil field or construction site, or because of a dangerous product, many opportunities exist for monetary compensation.   Even if you think your injuries are minor, it takes a knowledgeable, qualified, and experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether your injuries are serious enough to require legal representation, so you can monetarily recover.

When you personally meet with one of our seasoned personal injury attorneys during a FREE consultation, he will evaluate what reasonable course of post-accident action you should take.   

 

No Case Is Too Small to Discuss with A Gordon & Gordon Personal Injury Attorney

To determine whether your injuries are significant enough to warrant hiring a Gordon & Gordon attorney, all you have to do is call or email us to discuss your potential case.   When you contact our office, no matter how mild you think your injuries are, you will be treated with respect, patience, and compassion.  Be sure to check out our website and do not hesitate to contact us.

Because we’ve handled cases like yours for over 30 years, we know that even when an injury appears minor right after an accident, it doesn’t always stay that way.   Unforeseen complications can arise.  In the early days following an accident, you may not be aware of how serious your injuries are.   With the passage of time, serious effects and more symptoms may show up.   

What you consider an insignificant injury can become a multi-million dollar financial win that will make the damages your injuries have caused more manageable.

 

Accident Injury Monetary Recovery Options

What’s more, just because you consider your injuries minor doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to be financially compensated, especially when you’ve been injured through the carelessness and negligence of someone else.   There are several courses of action to take even if you think your case is too small.   Three ways to be compensated for your injuries include:

▪ Insurance claim
▪ Mass tort lawsuit
▪ Class action lawsuit

After you’ve been injured in an accident because of someone else, your Gordon & Gordon attorneys can advise what’s best for you to do.

 

Free Consultation/No Up-Front Cost

When you meet with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys, we will review your case, advise you about your rights, and determine whether your case is “big enough” for us to handle. If we take you on as a client, you will never pay a penny up-front. You can be confident we’ll work aggressively and diligently on your behalf because we only get paid when we win your case.  

 

Contact Us Immediately Before Time Runs Out

Call today so we can begin the fight to win your rightful monetary settlement.  And don’t delay.   The statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims is limited.  If you don’t file in a timely manner, you may permanently lose your right to financial recovery. 

To speak personally with one of Gordon & Gordon Law Firm’s qualified, experienced Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield personal injury attorneys, call us today at 318.716.HELP (318.716.4357).

Are All Riders In An Accident Entitled To A Settlement?

In addition to drivers, passengers who are involved in an auto accident case have their own individual rights; even so, in some cases, where the driver doesn’t have any rights at all. The driver of a motor vehicle owes his or her passengers the duty to use reasonable care in the operation of the vehicle and is liable for the injured passenger damages. Dependent upon who is at fault in the crash, the driver of the car you were riding in may be limited to how much money they would potentially recover based on the amount of their own negligence.

As a passenger, you cannot be considered liable and are entitled to recover the full amount of your damages in a personal injury lawsuit. You are able to sue the other driver, the driver of the car you were riding in, or in some cases, both. The right to sue both drivers could be very important if you have suffered major injuries that cause damages higher than the insurance policy of each driver individually. If the driver of the car you were in was 50% responsible for the accident, then their recovery may be cut in half, which could affect the settlement you are able to pursue.

The driver of an automobile has the obligation to drive carefully and safely to prevent hitting other vehicles, but they also have a responsibility to prevent injury to passengers which is known as the duty of due care. If a driver does not exercise due care for their passengers’ safety, which results in a passenger being injured or killed, then the passenger, or the passenger’s heirs in the case of a death, has the right to compensation from the driver for all of the damages resulting from any injuries or loss.

In the event of an accident where you are a passenger, it’s very important to make sure the police get detailed information from both drivers involved. This is usually information such as name, address, phone number, insurance company info, license plate, etc. You should make sure that whoever is gathering information asks to see current registration for the other vehicle in the event that the driver is not the actual owner of the vehicle. The registered owner of a car could still be held liable under Louisiana’s permissive user law for letting someone else drive their car. The owner could also be held liable for your injuries if they allowed a known poor driver or someone that they knew was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to drive their vehicle at the time of the accident.

If you or a loved one were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a collision, then you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Do not speak with an insurance company investigator or adjuster before you have had the chance to retain a lawyer. A good lawyer will often advise you against giving a statement to the insurance company’s adjuster, as anything you say could be used negatively against you if your injury case were to go to trial.

Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have been helping passengers of automotive accidents with their injury claims for over 20 years. If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, call our office at (318) 716-HELP today to schedule your free consultation.

How Social Media Can Ruin Your Legal Case

Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with one another. We post our favorite pictures on Instagram, update our Facebook statuses to reflect where we are and what we are doing at any given moment, and tweet our comments for all the cyber world to see. Social media is now involved in virtually all aspects of daily modern life, including shopping, relationships, healthcare, education, and plenty more.

While sharing on social media has numerous advantages when it comes to networking and keeping in touch with family and friends, it also has many disadvantages. Oversharing is a common problem on social media platforms, and revealing too much about yourself online may have a serious impact on your personal and business relationships, as well as your finances. Many people overlook the importance that social media could have on a personal injury case.

Online photos and posts are increasingly being used as evidence in court. What, where, and when you post are being used as evidence in personal injury lawsuits across the country. These posts may cast doubt on your version of events, your character, or the extent of your injuries. Examples of the types of posts that may affect a personal injury claim include the following:

  • Photos or videos showing yourself engaged in physical activity, such as doing yard work, running a marathon, or going out for an evening of dancing, which can be used to disprove the injuries you claim to have suffered.
  • Status updates that prove you are engaging in activities that are contrary to your injury status or to your required treatment protocol.
  • Posts inadvertently admitting liability, or casting doubt as to whether you were partially to blame for your accident, can quickly come back to haunt you in court.
  • Internet tracking applications, which can be used to discredit your version of the circumstances leading up to your accident, as well as the actual time your accident occurred.

While the rules of evidence may eventually find written social media postings inadmissible, it is difficult to dispute hard evidence such as pictures and videos, both of which are easily located on many of our social media sites. Make sure you don’t ruin your case by inadvertently posting critical information on social media platforms, and keep a low profile throughout the duration of your case to ensure this doesn’t become a problem.

Defense Usage in Personal Injury Cases
Defendants and their attorneys in personal injury claims are looking for evidence that runs contrary to the claims in a case. Defense attorneys have traditionally sought information from friends, neighbors, employers, even hiring private investigators to unearth useful evidence to hold against you in court. In an injury claim, the plaintiff is seeking to recover damages for the harm they have incurred; therefore, the defense may try to use your social media messages, photos, etc., as evidence of your perjury to the court or defiance of court-related proceedings. Perhaps the plaintiff’s social media profile shows they were out dancing last week while claiming in court that they can barely walk? For this reason, it is important to always consider the potential impact that sharing any posts online may have on your case.

Usage for Other Types of Damages
Personal injury cases may also include claims of emotional distress, anguish, and pain & suffering, which suggest an individual is struggling with life, mental health, and/or well-being. On social media, people tend to project their image in a positive light, which a defendant could potentially introduce as evidence that questions your credibility with regard to your case – and it often works. Defense attorneys have been known to use posts of the plaintiff where they are smiling, participating in social activities, or attending parties, as evidence that the plaintiff is embellishing the true extent of their struggles or trauma.

Social Media Posts Regarding the Defendant
Plaintiffs should avoid any temptation to post negative information about those they oppose in a civil lawsuit. People may feel like using social media to redirect anger or as a means of “venting” their problems. This is not a good idea, since it will likely hurt your credibility and be used against you by making you appear overly bitter or spiteful toward them. It is possible that an opposing party could be looking for evidence to suggest that the claim is motivated by personal reasons rather than a legitimate injury.

Overall, social media is a new form of possible evidence that the courts are still trying to work through. It is in your best interest not to post anything to your social media accounts while you are actively thinking of suing, or are in the middle of an ongoing lawsuit.

Don’t Trust Social Media Privacy Rules
Don’t depend on privacy settings to protect you from consequences in a court case. Social media platforms regularly change their privacy settings without any warning to their users. By the time you realize that information you thought was private has become public, it will be too late to do anything about it. Additionally, nothing on the Internet is really private, nor owned by you once you share it online. Someone who is motivated enough can find a way to access your social media profiles, or connect evidence against you through tracking events and data.

Let’s face it, as hard as you may try to keep things private, even if all of your settings are correct, things may be shared and passed around and end up in the wrong hands. You really have no control if someone takes a screenshot of a post, photo, or tweet, and passes it around for the world to see. If you are committed to the success of your legal case, then don’t take any chances, don’t make excuses – just don’t do it.

Don’t Give The Opposition Any Ammunition
Even if you are a 100% honest, trustworthy, forthright person, and the merits of your case are unimpeachable, a social media post can and will be decontextualized, misconstrued, and otherwise misrepresented by the opposition in an effort to impugn your character to win the case on their behalf.

When you are in front of a judge or trying to reach a settlement, whatever you intended, or what was really happening, won’t matter once something is on the Internet and presented as evidence in court. What people believe about what you intended or what was really happening is all that will matter. Just because you are fair and honest, never assume that everyone you are dealing with is as well.

Social media is a breeding ground for creating misconceptions, misunderstandings, and reasonable doubt. Your lawyer needs to advise you about the consequences and work with you if social media can be used in any way to benefit your case.

Getting Help With Your Case
No matter what kind of legal battle you are facing, you’ll want to carefully consider your use of any type of social media platform while your case is active. Gordon & Gordon Law Firm works with each of their clients to make sure everything they are doing in their personal lives, including their use of social media, has no negative impact on their case.
Following the above instructions is not meant to distort or hide the truth from the insurance company but rather to avoid giving them the chance to mischaracterize or take something out of context that could be used against you.

You can expect that, whether we are representing you in a personal injury or any other type of case, you’ll be fully equipped with all of the information you need about how your personal actions can positively and negatively impact legal outcomes. If you need representation, and want to make sure your legal team is knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of social media and the legal implications of its use, give us a call for a no-cost consultation. We’re here to help.

January is Teen Driver Awareness Month

January is Teen Driving Awareness Month, raising awareness for young people by highlighting the need for teen driver safety training. This is a great time to think about what parents can do to reduce the risk of accidents for the young drivers in your family.

Teens statistically become safer drivers as they gain more experience behind the wheel. The crash rate per mile driven is three times higher for teens age 16 to 17 than teens age 18 to 19.
Males ages 16 to 19 are two times more likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents than their female counterparts. The elevated risk is typically associated with higher rates of engaging in risky behavior such as speeding and driving while intoxicated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2,270 teens ages 16-19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to a car accident in 2014.

Common causes for teen car accidents include:

  • Inexperience
  • Distracted while driving
  • Speeding
  • Texting

The serious injuries and fatalities associated with these accidents are often a result of the lack of seat belt use by teen drivers and passengers.

Often times, parents are the ones who are seriously affected by the consequences for their teen’s poor choices. These consequences may include:

  • increased cost of auto insurance
  • suspension of license or permit
  • loss of driving privileges
  • injuries or fatality

Buckle Up – Always!
It is estimated that six out of 10 drivers, ages 16 to 20, who were involved in an accident in 2011 did not wear a seat belt. While you can’t be there to ensure your teen is buckling up every time, you can still have firm rules about the consequences for failing to wear a seat belt.
Make sure to spend as much time as possible in the car when your teen first starts to drive, and you can reinforce good behavior by being a good role model yourself. Put your seatbelt on before you even turn on the car – don’t wait until you get to the end of the driveway before you buckle up your own seatbelt. Your children are watching, and their driving habits may be affected by what you do – and what you don’t do.

“Stop The Texts”
Teens learning to drive today have grown up in the digital age, spending more time looking down at their phones, texting, instant messaging and tweeting at an ever-increasing pace. Of course, being young and inexperienced, they also often believe that they are invincible, or simply unable to calculate the consequences of the risks they assume. They think they drive a car and text at the same time without a problem. Wrong.

Nearly 60 percent of teenage driving accidents today are a result of “distracted” driving. We can tell our kids that the rule is “no texting while driving.” There are even plenty of apps available to block phone calls, text messages, and notifications, as soon as the key is turned in the ignition. It might seem a bit much, but wouldn’t you rather know that your son or daughter has one less distraction while they are behind the wheel?

Restrict Driving Times And Number Of Passengers
Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident at night or during the early morning hours. In fact, 16 percent of fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. 24 percent of fatal accidents occur between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.

Another big distraction for teenagers while driving is the number of passengers in the car. Teens do not have enough behind-the-wheel experience to handle a carful of noisy friends. At least for the first year after your teen has gotten their license, limit the number of passengers allowed to one.

No Drugs Or Drinking While Driving – Ever!
One bad decision can have a deadly ripple effect that will last a lifetime and impact many innocent people. And, while there must be a strict rule against underage drinking, the reality is that teens will make mistakes. They still need to know that they can always call somebody for a ride, even if they’ve made a bad choice.

The last thing we want our children to do is get behind the wheel simply because they’re afraid of what we might do if we discover they’ve been drinking. Make sure that your kids know you will pick them up, no questions asked, in order to avoid even more serious consequences if they do decide to get behind the wheel.

Special Concerns For Teen Drivers
Accidents may happen even if parents do everything in their power to keep their teen driver safe. All it would take is one wrong decision, a brief distraction, or an error in judgement, for a teen to cause an automobile accident.

The ability to seek compensation for injuries resulting from an accident depends on who is the at-fault driver. When a teen driver is at fault in an accident, Louisiana law allows the other driver to pursue a personal injury claim against the teen’s parents under the doctrine of parental vicarious liability. However, these types of claims require that the defendant prove the parents knew or should have known that the teen had a history of unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, running red lights, or texting and driving.

A teen who is found to have only partially contributed to the accident can still collect compensation for his injuries from the other driver’s insurance company, but compensation will be reduced by percentage of fault.

Protecting Your Teen Driver’s Legal Rights
If your teen has been injured in an auto accident, seeking the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to protect his/her legal right to compensation. A skilled attorney can negotiate on your teen’s behalf for the highest possible settlement, even if your teen was partially at fault for the accident.

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm is committed to assisting Shreveport / Bossier City drivers in resolving their personal injury claims. To learn more, please contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our lawyers are experienced in handling auto accident claims and complicated insurance concerns, especially those that may come about in the event of a teen driver’s accident or injury.

Holidays Mean More Trucks On Area Roads

Commercial trucking is one of the top 10 deadliest industries in the United States. Although truck drivers face scores of hazards on the road every day, the holiday period is a particularly dangerous time to get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.

Northwest Louisiana sees its fair share of cold days during the month of December, and all it takes is one night of below-freezing temperatures to make the roads extra slick and dangerous to drive on. In addition to an increase in freight truck delivery vehicles on the roads, holiday travelers will be flooding the highways to visit distant loved ones. If you combine these hazards with an increase in drunk driving, then it’s easy to understand why designated drivers get nervous around the holidays.

Just like every other driver, commercial truckers have a duty to behave in a way that does not put other road users at risk. If a trucker breaches this duty of care, then he or she may be liable for any injuries that result. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in 2013. These crashes caused 95,000 serious injuries and 3,964 deaths.

If you will be driving over the holidays, you can reduce your risk of commercial truck & 18 wheeler accidents by following these five safety tips:

  • Be Patient: You may run into congested holiday traffic, and you might fall behind schedule due to adverse weather. Do not let your schedule cause you to drive recklessly, and plan your route with extra time to make it to your destination.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving: Texting, eating and drinking, gawking at billboards and adjusting climate controls can all contribute to accidents. According to the American Automobile Association, looking away from the road even for just two seconds can double your risk of crashing.
  • Check Your Blind Spots before Changing Lanes: With more drivers on the road, there is a higher risk that your vehicle will be in a trucker’s blind spot. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, nearly 10 percent of large truck collisions are same-direction side-swipe accidents.
  • Take Breaks: If you notice the signs of fatigue, pull over to a safe place and rest for at least 20 minutes. Pack some items to help keep you awake if you will be driving at night or during times with little rest.
  • Do Not Speed: If the roads are slick, you will require a longer stopping distance. This increases the risk of causing a rear-end accident. You can avoid this by reducing your speed and extending your following distance.

December Is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

On average, a person in the United States is killed in a vehicle crash involving alcohol every 50 minutes. We have seen too many lives cut short by impaired driving, and too many drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk every day. During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we reemphasize that impaired driving is never acceptable. We recognize that we can eliminate impaired driving through our choices, and we pledge to make the right choice by driving sober.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D Month), which is supported by both public and private sector organizations devoted to preventing impaired-driving crashes. To achieve the national health objective, communities like our own need to develop comprehensive and effective strategies to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has determined that carefully planned and well-executed mass media campaigns that attain sufficient audience exposure and are implemented in conjunction with other ongoing prevention activities are effective in reducing alcohol-impaired driving.

Forty years ago, alcohol was a factor in almost two-thirds of all traffic fatalities. Through the tireless efforts of States, communities, and advocacy organizations, we have made tremendous progress in reducing impaired driving and protecting the American people. Unfortunately, for the second consecutive year, we have seen an increase in the number of alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities on America’s roadways. In 2016, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. We must reverse this trend.

How Can We Prevent Impaired Driving?

December seems particularly suited to this observation because traffic fatalities that involve impaired drivers increase significantly during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period. On average, 25 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per day during December 2010. Young adults are among those at greatest risk for driving impaired. During December 2010, drivers 21 to 34 years old were alcohol impaired and involved in fatal crashes at a higher percentage than any other age group.

Six primary interventions determined to be effective include:

  • sobriety checkpoints,
  • 0.08g/dL blood alcohol concentration laws,
  • minimum legal drinking age laws,
  • zero-tolerance laws for young or inexperienced drivers,
  • school-based approaches to reduce riding with drinking drivers, and
  • some types of server-intervention training programs.

Comprehensive approaches that implement several interventions simultaneously will further reduce alcohol-impaired driving.

Why Do We Recognize National Impaired Driving Prevention Month?

A 2010 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 13.2 percent of all people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. Furthermore, rates of impaired driving differed dramatically by age. In an average year, 30 million Americans drive drunk, and 10 million Americans drive impaired by illicit drugs.

Drinking and driving affects all Americans. In 2012, 4.2 million adults reported having driven at least once within a 30-day span while impaired by alcohol. Driving while impaired, even after one drink, can dramatically change the lives of drivers, passengers, innocent bystanders, and their loved ones. My Administration is committed to raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and to eliminating it from our communities. Additionally, by reducing hundreds of harmful regulations, we are supporting our innovative American companies as they create new technology that can help us address impaired driving, from ride-hailing services to advanced vehicle technology. My Administration is also providing vital resources to law enforcement to support their efforts to keep our surroundings safe.

Ultimately, the responsibility for preventing impaired driving lies with each of us. We care for our loved ones when we keep them safe and prevent them from taking the wheel after drinking alcohol. By taking action to educate our fellow Americans, through coordinated efforts with family, friends, neighbors, schools, churches, and community organizations, we can reduce deaths and accidents and personal injuries arising from impaired driving.

Personal Injury Vs. Workers’ Compensation: Which One Should I File?

Have you been injured at your workplace or while performing your work duties, such as a slip and fall? If so, you may be thinking of filing a workers’ compensation claim to pay for your medical bills and help to recover your damages. However, did you know that you may also file a personal injury claim, which could provide you with a better settlement than workers’ compensation?

Generally, workers assume that when they are injured at work, the only option they have is through workers’ compensation; but in some situations, it’s possible to file a personal injury claim as well. Many believe that this is considered ‘suing’ your boss, when in reality a third party may be responsible, such as the owner of the building. In this scenario, the third party’s insurance would be responsible for handling the cost of their safety shortcomings.

When Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim

When you are injured at your workplace or off-site while carrying out work-related tasks and decide to file a workers’ comp claim, you don’t have to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other party caused the injury. Instead, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits even when the injury was your fault in some way. This is exactly what this type of coverage is for. It’s meant to protect workers who become injured in any way, since even if the injury was their fault, they would not have been injured if they were not on the job working for someone else.

If you decide to go with workers’ compensation, you will not receive anything outside of economic costs, but you may recover damages such as medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairment benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. You will not, therefore, be able to claim for pain and suffering. This is because workers’ compensation is actually a form of insurance, or a trade between the business owner and the providers of labor.

When Filing A Personal Injury Claim

The biggest and most important difference is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a workers’ compensation case is not. In order to recover damages against someone for a car accident, a slip and fall, or indeed any type of negligence claim, the other person must be negligent, meaning that he/she must have done something wrong.

Another difference between a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim is that the latter are not limited to any specific set of people (i.e. workers). In fact, anyone who is injured due to the negligence of another is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, including workers. But in order for an injured worker to recover damages through this more broad route, they must be able to prove that another person or party was at fault or negligent, and caused the injuries.

Unlike workers’ comp damages, personal injury damages are compensatory, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and damages for pain and suffering resulting from the injury.

If you have been injured in a work setting, you may wish to consider the following factors when considering legal remedies:

  • Who is liable for the injury?
  • Was the injury was directly caused by performance of work tasks?
  • Was the injury a one-time event or a recurring condition?

If you have further questions regarding an injury, it may be necessary to discuss more with your employer, or hire a lawyer for more advice.

You’ll Probably Need To Hire An Experienced Attorney

It’s unfortunate when you’re injured on the job, but there are options available to you. Injury and workers compensation laws have a special relationship that is often difficult to understand. You may need to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer to better understand and handle your case. Your attorney can inform you of the different options available to you with regards to an injury that occurred in a work setting. Also, if you need to appear in court or before a judge, your lawyer can help represent you in those times.

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm has been representing clients in the Northwest Louisiana area for over 30 combined years of experience. Attorneys Stephen Gordon and Daniel Gordon founded the law firm of Gordon & Gordon to provide legal representation for people who have been personally injured due to the fault of others. They both work and live right here in the Ark-La-Tex area and will provide a free consultation to you if you call our offices today.