Auto Accidents: An All-Too-Common Occurrence
The attorneys at our New Orleans car accident law firm know that car crashes are a fact of life. From minor fender benders in a parking lot, to serious fatalities on the freeway, odds are high that you – or someone you know – have been involved in at least one auto accident.
When personal injuries or property damage occur in a car accident, however, things can get messy. Who is responsible? Whose insurance policy covers what damage?
Things can get even more complicated when the car crash involves hitting someone on a bicycle, or driving a motorcycle, or simply walking along the road or crossing the street. Bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents often mean serious personal injuries to those victims. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are common here.
Car accidents with 18-wheelers or other big-rigs and commercial trucks can mean serious physical injuries to the victims. Truck accidents are widely known for their fatality rates.
Every day thousands of people get in their automobiles to drive to work, run errands, travel, and a wide variety of other reasons. With so many people on the road, the fact is that someone is going to be involved in an auto accident. Speeding, talking on their cell phone, ignoring posted traffic signs, or driving under the influence are all causes of accidents. When a driver is negligent and causes an accident, they will be liable in tort for compensating the victim of their wrongdoing, and in cases where drunk driving causes an accident, the victim may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Here are some tips from an experienced New Orleans automobile accident attorney about what you should do after you have been in a collision.
Distracted Driving Accidents
In 2012, 3,328 car accident deaths and 421,000 injuries in the United States occurred as a result of distracted driving. Distracted driving is a serious public health issue but can be prevented. Distracted motorists are dangerous on our roadways.
If you or a loved one was involved in a crash caused by a driver who was distracted, you have the right to obtain full compensation for losses that resulted from your auto accident. A New Orleans auto accident attorney at Bloom Legal can assist you in building your case and proving fault.
Distracted Driving Accidents and Car Accident Compensation
It is possible for you to obtain compensation after a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or violation of the law. Accident victims have the legal burden of proving that the other driver’s negligent or reckless actions directly resulted in the accident that caused you harm. A New Orleans auto accident attorney at Bloom Legal can help you prove your case.
Distractions significantly increase the risk of an accident. Some types of distracting behaviors, and leading causes of auto accidents, include:
- Using a cell phone while driving
- Paying attention to passengers, especially kids or pets in the vehicle
- Brushing hair, applying makeup or engaging in other grooming activities
- Reading maps or other materials
- Using a GPS or other navigation system
- Watching videos while driving
- Adjusting in-car controls such as the radio or CD player
In some cases, you will need to show that the driver engaging in these distracting behaviors was unreasonably careless. In other situations, such as when a driver breaks the texting ban, you can simply point to the violation of the safety rule as proof that the motorist was negligent. If you successfully establish that the other driver was negligent, you can be compensated for the losses that resulted from the accident.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents can leave victims seriously or fatally injured. It is common that hit and run accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers, who flee the scene in panic because he or she is under the influence and not thinking clearly. Drivers without adequate auto insurance or a valid driver’s license are also more likely to flee the scene of a car accident.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a hit-and-run accident it is important to understand the legal options available to you. While most victims of motor vehicle collisions can pursue a claim for compensation from the driver who harmed them, it is often difficult or impossible for victims of hit-and-run accidents to recover compensation from the other motorist. In order to get compensation you must deal with your injuries, you should consider the other options available to seek compensation. These include making a claim with your insurer based on uninsured motorist coverage.
A New Orleans motor vehicle accident lawyer at Bloom Legal can help you to determine:
- Who was responsible for the hit-and-run accident
- The most effective method for receiving compensation
Who is Responsible in Hit and Run Accidents?
In Louisiana, the driver who caused the collision is responsible for compensating victims for damages, including hit-and-run accidents. Law enforcement can help track down the driver who caused the crash. If the driver is found and you can prove that he or she was to blame, you can pursue a claim for compensation. You may be able to settle or recover compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Unfortunately, it is more probable that the driver who caused your accident will not be found. If this is the case, or if the driver doesn’t have insurance, you can make an uninsured motorist claim. When you file an uninsured motorist claim you are asking your insurance company to stand in for the driver and pay the necessary damages.
Uninsured Motorist Accidents
Louisiana law requires drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage when you buy auto insurance, unless you formally opt out of such coverage. After an accident you should check your policy to confirm you have uninsured motorist coverage.
If you are covered, report the accident and injuries to your insurer in a timely manner. You must demonstrate:
- You were involved in a motor vehicle collision.
- The collision was caused by a hit-and-run driver who has not been identified or who has been identified as an uninsured driver.
- You were harmed in the collision and require compensation for the medical bills.
Detailed instructions must be followed when filing your claim with your insurer. Your lawyer can explain this procedure and ensure that you understand how to make a claim.
Unfortunately, some insurers do not pay uninsured motorist claims when they should. Some will deny legitimate claims and others will try to offer you much less money than you deserve. An attorney at Bloom Legal can help you with your initial auto accident claim and take legal action for bad faith if your insurance company is unreasonable in failing to pay as required.
Texting and Driving
Louisiana law prohibits texting while driving and restricts minors and new drivers from using handheld cell phones for any reason. Texting and driving is a primary offense in Louisiana and drivers face a fine of $175 dollars for a first offense and a $500 dollar fine for second and subsequent violations. The majority of states in the U.S. have similar laws because texting is so dangerous for drivers.
Unfortunately, not everyone obeys these laws and texting drivers can be a menace to others on the roads. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a driver who was sending a text message behind the wheel, you have legal rights. A New Orleans auto accident lawyer can help you pursue a damage claim so you can recover compensation for any injuries and losses that result from a collision that a texting driver causes
A Texting Driver is a Dangerous Driver
At any given daylight moment in America, around 660,000 drivers are manipulating electronic devices or using some type of cell phone. Distraction.gov reports that, as of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent each month in the United States and many of these were sent by drivers who were operating vehicles.
Texting and driving is extremely dangerous behavior. Someone who is texting is 23 times as likely to become involved in an accident as a motorist who is actually paying attention. This reckless practice has consequences not just for the person who cannot put down the phone but also for every other individual on the road.
When a texting driver causes a collision and injures others, that driver should be held liable for the serious injuries or wrongful death that he or she causes. Victims and surviving family members may pursue a personal injury claim to obtain monetary compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, funeral expenditures and/or lost companionship.
It is up to the victim to prove that the texting driver was careless and caused the collision as a result of his or her negligent actions. Because Louisiana law bans texting while driving, showing that the motorist was texting at the time of the accident can create a presumption of negligence. This can make it easier for victims to successfully prove their car accident case.
SUV Rollover Accidents
Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are top-heavy vehicles that have a tendency to roll over, especially if a driver is traveling too fast around a curve or abruptly swerves to avoid an accident. When a SUV rolls over, the driver and passengers inside of the vehicle can suffer serious injuries including head trauma, brain injury and spinal cord damage.
If you are the victim of a SUV rollover accident, the auto accident attorneys at Bloom Legal can outline your legal options given your accident-related injuries. Common legal options include pursuing a claim against the driver responsible for the crash or taking legal action against the SUV manufacturer.
An experienced vehicle accident lawyer from our New Orleans office can help victims of rollover crashes evaluate their situation and pursue a damage claim to maximize their chances for full and fair compensation.
Who is Responsible for SUV Rollover Accidents?
If a driver causes a collision, he or she can be held legally liable for resulting injuries and fatalities. The driver can be held responsible for injuries to passengers and other drivers and be required to pay for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or wrongful death damages.
If the car is designed in a way that causes the crash or exacerbates the injuries of the accident victims, the victim of the accident or his/her surviving family members may pursue a claim against the manufacturer of a vehicle for a design defect.
SUV accidents typically result in claims against car makers because of their tendency to rollover in accidents, especially older model SUVs. When the vehicle rolls, injuries to the driver and passengers are usually more severe.
If an SUV rollover caused your injuries, you are not required to prove the car maker was negligent. Product liability cases differ from car accident claims against other drivers because carmakers are strictly liable for any injuries that their products cause. Therefore, if you can prove you were injured because of the SUV, you can likely recover compensation.
Common Auto Accidents Questions
A New Orleans Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
Proving a distracted driving case can be difficult, but you can use many different kinds of evidence to make your case. If the other driver was texting or talking on a cell phone, for example, you can obtain telephone records from his service provider that show that the calls or texts were sent at the time of the accident. A New Orleans auto accident lawyer can help you to obtain this type of evidence, as well as assist with interviewing witnesses, retaining experts and obtaining police reports.
If you have proof that the other driver caused your injuries due to distracted driving, you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the driver’s insurance company. The insurer may be willing to pay for your losses without going to court, but be sure to have the settlement paperwork reviewed by your lawyer so you do not accept less compensation than you deserve. If you cannot agree to a settlement, a New Orleans car accident lawyer will help you prove your claim in court.
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Posted by: Tyler Ales