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LAKE Charles Law Blog

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. 

Deadly days of summer for teen drivers

As families across Louisiana gear up for summer road trips, it is important to use caution on the road and to stay vigilant. As CNN reports, Memorial Day kicked off the "100 deadliest days" behind the wheel for teen drivers, which have seen more than 5,000 people killed in car crashes that involved teen drivers over this time period from 2010 to 2014.

In fact, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are 16 percent more likely to end up in a car crash in these 100 days than the other 265 days of the year. Experts believe there are several factors that contribute to this increase. First, summer vacation gives teens more time to be on the road since they are out of schools and may have fewer activities, which means more time for cruising as compared to purposeful driving to and from school. This also means their friends likely have more availability as well, which adds to risks on the road. Many states have restrictions on passengers for newly-licensed drivers because the distractions teen drivers face when their friends accompany them in the car can be great. With a passenger in the car, a teen driver is 44 percent more likely to have a deadly crash than if they are alone in the car.

Concussion laws in Louisiana

As concussions in sports become a concern for parents across the nation deciding if they want their children to participate, it is worth knowing that Louisiana has laws on the books to help protect young athletes. According to The Advertiser, the Louisiana Youth Concussion Act was passed in 2011 and it established educational requirements for those involved in youth sports. Now, all officials, coaches, and staff, whether they are paid or volunteers, who are involved in youth sports for children between the ages of 7 and 17 to attend annual training on recognizing the symptoms of concussions.

Under the law, if there is any concern at all that a child has suffered a concussion they are to be removed from playing until a medical professional has cleared them to play again. This is meant to protect from a repeat injury because multiple concussions can result when the original injury was not properly treated and given the necessary time needed to heal. The training helps to set up a protocol to be followed, both to help the young athlete and to protect the organization from liability.

Louisiana's laws on distracted driving

Louisiana drivers who are concerned for their safety and the safety of those they love when faced with distracted drivers on the road should understand the state's laws on this topic. While 14 states around the nation have already banned the use of any cell phone in handheld mode by any driver, Louisiana has not according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Instead, Louisiana only restricts people with learner or intermediate driving privileges from the handheld use of a mobile phone while driving. When it comes to using cell phones in a hands-free mode, it is only school bus drivers and those persons in their first 12 months of being licensed who may not use a phone at all when behind the wheel. For these groups, this law is a primary law which means an officer could pull a driver over and cite them for that reason only. Texting while driving is expressly illegal for all drivers at all times.

Drunk driving death realities in Louisiana

Louisiana residents may have an infectious joy for life and a zest for celebrating but that does not negate the responsibility that every person who drives a motor vehicle has to act responsibly. People who make the choice to get behind the wheel of a car or other vehicle after consuming alcohol put themselves and countless other innocent people at risk. Just how big of a problem is drunk driving in Louisiana?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk drivers kill more people per capita in Louisiana than the rest of the nation. In 2012 alone, there were 3.3 people out of every 100,000 killed by drunk drivers around the country. In Louisiana, that number was 5.2 per 100,000. The disparity can be seen across all age groups as well.

How to find a good real estate agent

Once you decide to sell or purchase a home in Louisiana, you may find yourself at a crossroads about what you should do next. Regardless of the type of real estate transaction you intend to make, you should find a real estate agent you can trust to help. A good agent can mean the difference between you having a great and hassle-free experience and a troublesome one. 

Although real estate agents sell and show houses all the time, they may not necessarily represent your best interests. Here are some tips to improve your chances of choosing a good real estate agent for your situation. 

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