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LAKE Charles Law Blog

Hours of service rule aims to curb trucker fatigue

Louisiana residents know that commercial truck drivers often spend many long and lonely hours on the road. This can lead to an increased risk of driving while fatigued which can, in turn, increase the risk of an accident happening. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration monitors the trucking industry and has instituted rules designed to reduce the amount of fatigue that drivers experience. The goal of these rules is improved safety for drivers and the public.

Referred to as the hours of service rule, the guidelines indicate that a driver may work seven or eight days in a row. If seven straight days are worked, a maximum of 60 hours may be logged in that time. If eight straight days are worked, they may include up to 70 hours. Before a new seven- or eight-day period can start, a driver must take a break of at least 34 hours.

The harsh realities of toxic spills

Toxic spills are often a double-edged sword, as such incidents can become hazardous to environments and residents alike. The number of toxic waste sites in Louisiana -- including the "dead sea" off the Gulf of Mexico and the tragic BP 2010 oil spill --  have raised concern for Louisiana residents and the United States as a whole.

Louisiana's beauty has been compromised by such debilitating incidents, and residents of the state have suffered greatly from these disasters, as well. While the solution to toxic spills may be complex, there are numerous organizations that offer clean-up services and support regarding hazardous waste.

Motor vehicle injuries: policies and services

Motor vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence across the United States. This problem is even more apparent in highly congested cities and during busy road hours. Louisiana officials take certain measures to reduce the possibility of collisions and to ensure the safety of those involved in crashes, closely scrutinizing each accident to determine possible causes.

Louisiana Crash Data Reports works to equip the public with statistical data based on information obtained on traffic crashes in the state. The state, sheriff and local police agencies provide this information, which also includes a number of variables that cause collisions. Agencies then use this data to determine policy settings toward improving the safety of Louisiana's roads. The following agencies and organizations use the data provided on Louisiana's Crash Data Report:

  • Louisiana Highway Safety Commission
  • Department of Transportation and Development
  • The U.S. Congress
  • Vehicle design engineers

Hot dogs sold nationwide may contain harmful bone fragments

It is time to check your refrigerator for a specific brand of hot dogs. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, hot dogs made by Marathon Enterprises known as Sabrett frankfurters may contain bone fragments. One person already suffered an oral injury from the pieces of bone and ligaments, and the company issued a recall of the products.

These shards can cause severe damage when all you want to do is enjoy an old-fashioned hot dog. Before you fire up the grill, make sure you keep reading for more information about the recall.

How do mass torts and class action differ?

Across the country, the term "class action lawsuits" are gaining more and more traction. However, there's another, similar term that you may not know of: mass torts. While these two actions share a lot of similarities, they also differ in very notable ways.

The Class Action Guide points out the primary differences between class action and mass torts. In a mass tort, the outcome depends on how much harm or trouble you have suffered through. In a class action lawsuit, all compensation that's received is divided equally among the participants. However, if you participate in a mass tort, the compensation you receive will be a direct reflection of the damage you suffered. For example, if you experienced organ failure due to a medication, you will receive more compensation than if you suffered from migraines.

Charges upgraded to vehicular homicide in fatal crash

Louisiana residents who are themselves severely injured in motor vehicle accidents or who lose loved ones in senseless crashes understandably want to see justice served. The negligence of some drivers injures or kills far too many people in Louisiana and across the nation every year. In some situations, the quest for justice or compensation may not always be immediate but may well happen.

An example of this may be seen in a case involving a fatal crash that happened last December just two days before New Year's Eve. Reports indicate that a woman pulled out of a driveway into the path of a motorcycle along a stretch of Louisiana 21. Originally cited for failing to yield out of a private driveway, the woman has now been charged with vehicular manslaughter more than six months after the actual accident.

HOA rules and risks

A home is supposed to be a person's castle, but for many in Louisiana living in homeowners' associations or other managed properties or communities, home is a place regulated by a long list of regulations. Adding a new fence or a unique mailbox could put a homeowner at risk of ending up on the wrong end of a dispute with the association.

As Huffington Post explains, most HOAs have a long list of rules all of the people are supposed to live by called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. Since these are so long and tedious to read, many people treat them like the user manual for a common product and figure things out for themselves. Yet ignoring them is a common way to end up at odds. Nothing would be more frustrating than spending $100 and hours to get your holiday decorations up by Thanksgiving only to be fined an additional $100 because your HOA only allows decorations after December 1. Agreeing to live in a place with an HOA means learning the rules.

3 tips for negotiating your first home purchase

Buying a home is probably the biggest financial choice you will make in your life. The process of purchasing residential real estate can be challenging and confusing for first-time homebuyers. If you do not have a plan in place, you may easily pay more for your home than necessary. Preparing yourself is crucial to avoiding errors.

First, you should learn how to negotiate. Understanding the local market is key to effectively negotiating your home purchase. Keep reading for negotiating tips

Different types of elder abuse

Do you have a parent, aunt, uncle or other loved one in Louisiana who can no longer live alone? This is a situation faced by many people around the south and the nation on a daily basis anymore and many families make the choice to move their relatives into nursing homes or other types of assisted living facilities. Even after taking the time to research a nursing home, it is understandable for relatives to worry about the level of care provided to the residents as many reports abound about abuse in nursing homes.

The American Psychological Association indicates that elder abuse can take many forms. This may well be part of what makes it so difficult to prevent or notice until things progress to a very serious level. People may be neglected by not having daily care provided on a regular basis such as baths, teeth brushing, clothes or bedding changes and more. These things may contribute to health problems for elderly people. Emotional abuse including name calling or being ignored can cause mental trauma.

Medical Malpractice in Louisiana

While the majority of interactions with doctors and medical staff are positive, when a patient in Louisiana has been harmed by the actions of his or her medical professionals it can be a very difficult time. Although the state has a fund in place to help victims of medical malpractice, the process is not always a simple one. 

As The Times-Picayune explains, each year there are complaints filed against nearly 7 percent of medical professionals in the state. The complaints are then discussed by a medical review panel, which is made up of three doctors, who vote on each complaint, and a lawyer who runs the panel. Typically the panels only find for the patient in fewer than 7 percent of cases since 2000. While the panel's decision is not legally binding, it is considered if the case goes to trial. If a patient wins their case in court, damages are capped at $500,000. This money comes from the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, which was established to help compensate those who were harmed through medical malpractice while also keeping insurance rates for doctors and other medical professionals low. Some people are also granted future medical expenses, which is not included in the $500,000, in order to help continue care. 

Lundy, Lundy Soileau & South, LLP

Main Office: 501 Broad Street Lake Charles, LA 70601 | Phone: 337-439-0707

Mailing Address: PO Box 3010 Lake Charles, LA 70602 | Fax: 337.439.1029