Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
Personal Injury Law
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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Louisiana worst in nation for texting while driving

Texting while driving has become a large problem on roads and highways across the country, and according to a report by EverQuote, Inc.’s safe driving app, EverDrive, Louisiana is the worst in the nation when it comes to distracted driving. There was a 43 percent rate of phone use while driving in Louisiana, and the nationwide average had 38 percent of drives containing an instance of distracted driving. The data was collected through an app that used GPS and ran in the background of participants’ phones to rate each drive they made for a number of factors including acceleration, rotation, and the device screen activating.

Although Louisiana was not in the bottom of the overall state rankings, distracted driving is a problem that can cost people their lives. WBRZ reports that Allstate was visiting college campuses with a simulator that shows the devastating effects distracted driving can have. Drivers enter the stationary vehicle and face an unexpected obstacle while also on their phone. This program was developed because more than half of accidents are due to distracted drivers using their phones. Many of the drivers most at risk are also young and less experienced on the road.

Types of surgical errors

Do you or someone you love have to undergo a surgical procedure in the coming future? Or, maybe you have already had a procedure and believe that something isn't quite right. Either way, you should educate yourself about some of the types of errors that can be made. Ideally, preventing a problem is what you want to have happen but if this cannot happen, you will at least want to know what to look for to spot it as quickly as possible.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, poor communication among surgical team members may well be at the heart of some very serious types of surgical errors. Referred to as never events, these mistakes involve operations performed on the wrong people which may happen in cases where two patients have similar last names. Another type of surgical never event is a surgery that is performed on the wrong part of the body. For neurosurgeons it is said that operating on the wrong part of the spine may be a big risk. Another example may be the removal of a right ovary instead of a left ovary.

Compensation sought after worker's death

Residents in Louisiana who must grieve the loss of a loved one in an unnecessary accident at a work location may understandably be wondering what type of justice can come from such a horrible and unnecessary event. Many laws and regulations are in place designed specifically to keep employees safe while on the job. These regulations may include guidance on safety practices, requirements for maintaining equipment and more. 

A sad reality of life is that accidents on work sites can and do happen more often than people would wish. Even worse is the reality that innocent people die and their family members are left to live with the holes in their hearts. Such is the case for three people who died in an accident that happened after a tank exploded at a business in February of this year. The explosion took place at a containerboard mill in Louisiana.

Wife of former football player files for wrongful death

It has been just over a year since the death of former Saints lineman, Will Smith, who was shot eight times and killed after rear-ending another car and driving away. The New Orleans Advocate reports that Racquel Smith, his late wife, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Racquel Smith is suing Cardell Hayes, the man who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Will Smith. Hayes also shot Racquel Smith in the leg during the altercation. The lawsuit states that Hayes is the sole cause of her late-husband’s death, which in addition to her injuries from the shooting, have left the family at a significant loss both financially and psychologically. The lawsuit also names the car insurance companies for Hayes and Smith’s vehicles, which were involved in two crashes before the shooting.

State seeks to change medical malpractice laws

Louisiana residents deserve to feel confident in the quality of care they receive from doctors or other health care professionals. When concerns about care quality surface, it is equally important that people know they have the right to seek help and compensation. That is what medical malpractice suits are all about.

Current Louisiana law puts limits on how much money a patient can receive in damages from a medical malpractice claim. The law also outlines very strict parameters as to when a case may be filed or must be filed by. Details about who is allowed to participate in a medical review panel for these cases are also dictated by the current law. All of these things may be changed if state lawmakers approve two bills currently making their way through the legislature.

Highlighting the BAC standards for commercial truckers

No matter how skilled of a driver you may be, driving next to a commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck on any of the roads in or around Lake Charles can be intimidating. Given the sheer size of these vehicles, irresponsible actions by their drivers can produce devastating results. Some who have come to us here at the Schwalben Law Firm following a truck accident share the concern that the drivers who hit them displayed actions that seemed to imply that alcohol or other substances may have present in their systems. This prompts the question of whether or not the operators of commercial vehicles are held to higher standard when it comes to drunk driving.

Like many other states, Louisiana sets the legal blood alcohol content limit at .08 percent for drivers. Should one test any higher, he or she may end up facing criminal penalties. However, for commercial vehicle drivers, that limit is lowered to .04 percent. For an average 180-200 pound man, it may only take 2 12-ounce cans of beer or 10 ounces of wine to reach that limit.

Delayed diagnosis subject of new suit

Louisiana residents who put their lives on the line and serve in the United States military should be able to expect that they will be appropriately treated and cared for when they face health problems. That level of respect and trust should actually be there for anyone including veterans. However, too many veterans today face problems when it comes to receiving quality health care. This leaves many people facing worse problems than originally faced and wondering what they can do.

One man from Louisiana's St. John the Baptist Parish sought care roughly two years ago when his lower extemities were weak. The weakness in the region kept getting worse and he was seeking an explanation and treatment. Reports indicate that the man was eventually found to have had an abscess. However, this abscess was not discovered early on and therefore he did not receive the appropriate type and level of treatment in a timely fashion.

Filmmaker’s family sues after man lost at sea

Few people in Lake Charles likely ever intend to be negligent to the point of endangering another. However, oftentimes unforeseen circumstances arise that force people into action. Those who happen to be supervising an activity or excursion often accept the responsibility (whether stated or implied) for keeping participants safe. When doing so, they agree to extend equal consideration to all of those involved. If and when an emergency situation does arise, their decision on how to act regarding all participants could mean the different between responsible action and accusations of negligence.

Such accusations are currently being made by the family of a documentary filmmaker who died while on a diving excursion in Florida. The man had been diving near a shipwreck as part of a group. Upon surfacing, panic ensued after another one of the divers lost consciousness after getting back onto the dive boat. In a wrongful death lawsuit recently filed on behalf of the deceased filmmaker, it is alleged that the crew of the boat focused all of their efforts on the unconscious man (who also happened to be the owner of one of the companies sponsoring the dive). No one kept eyes on the man still in the water, and he was eventually lost at sea. His body was found three days later.

6 things to know about fatigued truckers

As you travel down I-10, you are likely going to see 18-wheelers. It is imperative that these truckers have their wits about them when they drive. If they don’t, other people who are in the interstate might suffer because of a semitruck crash. One cause of big rig crashes that all drivers should know about is fatigued driving.