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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Trucking accidents are often caused by distracted driving

Long-haul drivers spend several hours behind the wheels of their big rigs. They, too, can get bored and complacent, which can lead them to look for distractions to keep their minds active while they travel. Sadly, distracted driving causes many trucking accidents in Louisiana and elsewhere.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration govern the rules and regulations that are to be followed by commercial motor vehicle drivers, including prohibiting texting and using mobile phones while driving. Texting is defined not only as typing or reading an actual text but also as using the other features of a smartphone, such as accessing email, web pages and instant messaging, among others. Basically, truck drivers are not supposed to reach for, hold or press more than one button on a mobile phone.

Fatal accident blamed on racing, surviving driver charged

The "Fast and Furious" movie franchise has made street racing appear glamorous, which could prompt some drivers to risk partaking in such a dangerous activity on Louisiana's streets and highways. These drivers risk both their lives and the lives of those who unknowingly end up sharing the roads with them. Anyone could become the victim of a fatal accident under these circumstances.

For instance, at the end of June, a 28-year-old man was traveling at excessive speeds on Louisiana Highway 500. As the vehicle approached U.S. Highway 84, it crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. It then slammed into a bridge railing and careened into a bayou where is came to rest partially submerged in the water. The driver died from the injuries he suffered in the impact.

Serious car accident possible due to defective door latch

Of all of the things that can go wrong while driving, one of the last things that many drivers expect is for their doors to come open as they travel. Unfortunately, this is exactly what could happen to approximately 830,000 vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company. The recall, which most likely includes many here in Louisiana, indicates that a serious car accident is possible due to a defective latch.

The vehicles affected by the recall include the 2014-2016 Ford Transit Connect vehicles, 2012-2015 Ford Focus and 2013-2015 Ford C-MAX, along with the 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC and 2013-2015 Ford Escape. The side doors of these vehicles have a pawl spring tab that can break. If that happens, the door will not latch and could come open while the vehicle is in motion. 

Toxic exposure to asbestos is often deadly over time

Asbestos is a material made up of numerous mineral fibers that are chemically altered and/or treated. The substance was manufactured as an insulation, a building material and floor tiles. It has also been used in vehicle clutches and brakes. Many industries that used to work with the substance here in Louisiana and elsewhere discontinued its use due to toxic exposure caused by its microscopic fibers that are not visible to the naked eye.

Continuously breathing in those fibers is a significant health hazard. Over time, scar tissue can build up in the lungs, which could cause a disabling and ultimately fatal lung condition called asbestosis. Other people exposed to the substance could be diagnosed with a form of cancer called mesothelioma, which is also fatal.

Investigation of two-vehicle fatal accident on U.S. 51 continues

Traffic patterns can change in the blink of an eye. If drivers are not prepared for that eventuality, the results could be disastrous. Troopers with the Louisiana State Police continue to wonder why the driver of a pickup truck in a recent fatal accident failed to stop in response to the traffic in front of it.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, the Louisiana State Police received a call regarding the accident. Upon arrival at the scene on U.S. Highway 51, it was discovered that a pickup truck had run into the back of a tractor-trailer. The 28-year-old driver and his two 27-year-old passengers all perished in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

Inadequate safety standards can lead to life-altering explosions

In April 2015, a Louisiana company experienced deja vu when a truck driver was injured in a manner "exactly" like an accident that occurred in 1999. At that time, the company was urged to improve its safety standards in order to prevent the same type of accident. Both explosions caused injuries to third-party truck drivers, but the most recent incident has altered the trucker's life forever.

The incident occurred during the unloading of a truck filled with asphalt that was over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. As the truck was being unloaded, it exploded. The victim suffered burns to approximately 90 to 95 percent of his body.

Alcohol-related auto accident kills 1 police officer, injures 2

When people think of law enforcement officers dying in the line of duty, their thoughts more than likely gravitate toward shootings and/or fights -- especially considering recent tragedies across the country. Most people probably do not think about a police officer being killed in an auto accident. However, that is exactly what happened recently here in Louisiana.

Three local police officers were conducting a traffic stop about two miles from Louisiana Highway 134 on U.S. Highway 165 sometime prior to 5 a.m. on the day before Independence Day. As interviews were being conducted near the parked patrol cars, a vehicle was approaching the scene. It veered over the fog line and slammed into one of the officers and then the other two. The officer who was struck first died at the scene. The other two officers were taken to an area hospital for injuries that were not considered to be life threatening.

Drunk driver crashes into car accident scene, several injured

The most dangerous time after a crash is when people, including emergency responders, are moving around the scene. Even when Louisiana law enforcement officials attempt to block off a car accident scene and warn other motorists, there is no guarantee that other drivers will heed the warning signs. In fact, police recently arrested a man suspected of driving under the influence after he crashed through the scene of an accident and several people were injured as a result.

Preliminary reports indicate that a car ran into the guardrail near where Interstate 10 splits with Interstate 12 at around 1:20 a.m. on a recent Sunday. Sometime thereafter, police and emergency personnel arrived and established a staging area in an attempt to warn other drivers. Sadly, a pickup truck driven by a 26-year-old man crashed into the disabled car and several people, including two of the emergency medical personnel and a police officer.

Investigation of fatal accident leads to arrest of Louisiana man

When a Louisiana driver fails to remain at the scene of a wreck, the police investigation often shifts from a simple crash inquiry into a manhunt. If a driver flees the scene of a fatal accident, it could be more problematic to locate him or her since at least one of the potential witnesses did not survive. Furthermore, upon locating the driver believed responsible, he or she could face harsher penalties than would have been possible after stopping, rendering aid and cooperating with police.

For example, on June 9, police responded to an accident that occurred on Interstate 10. The suspect vehicle rammed into the rear of another vehicle and went on to hit a second vehicle before coming to a rest. The driver then got out of the vehicle and ran. 

Driver in fatal accident sought by Louisiana State Police

Under Louisiana law, drivers are obligated to stop and render aid, if possible. They must remain at the scene of a crash in which they are involved. When a driver fails to do so, it could prevent a victim from receiving timely medical assistance. This could have been the case in a recent fatal accident that took the life of a pedestrian.

The 22-year-old victim was walking north on Louisiana Highway 56 on the northbound side of the highway. As he approached a bridge, a vehicle struck him, and the driver then fled the scene. The preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect vehicle was also traveling north at the time of crash and strayed over the fog line where the victim was walking.

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Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
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Lake Charles, LA 70601-4337
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