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

Family awarded damages for crash five years ago

Louisiana residents know that motor vehicle accidents can happen at any time but that does not negate the importance of seeking compensation and justice after an accident occurs. Sometimes the path to that compensation and justice may be long but it is important to ensure that people's rights are properly protected and respected.

An example of a long path to justice can be seen in the case of a family that was injured in a crash nearly five years ago. In April of 2012, a woman and her two children were hit by a drunk driver on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The driver, a physician, was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent, more than two-and-a-half times the legally allowed level. Through an odd series of events, the doctor was never officially charged with a driving while intoxicated offense. In 2015, he was found guilty of vehicular negligent injury charges and his prison sentence was suspended while he was ordered to serve a five-year period of incarceration at home.

Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism

The outcome of many medical conditions is greatly affected by how quickly the patient receives treatment and care, yet some emergencies in Louisiana often go misdiagnosed. One of the most common of these conditions is a pulmonary embolism. For patients who are experiencing the symptoms associated with a blood clot in the lungs, a misdiagnosis can be terrifying and, in some cases, deadly.

 

Are Americas's roads getting safer?

Are you one of the many Louisiana residents who often wonders how safe you really are on local roads and highways? Motor vehicle accidents may be a sad fact of life but that does not mean you want to be involved in one. It can be important to see just  how big of a risk you actually face. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a glimpse into this.

Traffic fatality statistics are not yet available for all of 2016 but in looking at the first three quarters of the year, a tragic trend is identified. Deaths on America's roads jumped for the second consecutive year in these nine months after two consecutive years of declines. And, the two years with declines showed much smaller improvements than the subsequent two years showed declines.

Understanding the doctrine of negligent entrustment

Every year, countless new drivers take to the roads in Lake Charles. While most welcome these new motorists to the road, they likely also understand that new drivers often pose an increased risk for being involved in accidents. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2013, despite the fact that teens ages 15-19 only constituted seven percent of the total population in the U.S., they accounted for 11 percent of the total costs for all car accident injuries.

When people are injured in accidents with teen drivers, their expenses may go far beyond the benefits offered by theirs and other driver’s insurance. This may place them in the position of needed to seek compensation from the teens responsible for their accidents. Yet the odds are that the teen drivers involved lack the resources to help them cover their accident costs. In such a case, can one then attempt to hold the teen’s parents liable?

What to do if your surgeon made a critical mistake

Getting a surgery, even a minor surgery, carries a lot of risks. From potential interactions with, or allergies to, anesthesia to mistakes by your surgeon, a lot can go wrong. While it is rare, surgeons, like other doctors, can make serious mistakes during an operation.

If your surgeon operated on the wrong place, performed an additional, unnecessary surgery without your consent, or made a mistake that has impacted your health or required a corrective surgery, it may have been medical malpractice. You owe it to yourself and your family to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Assigning liability for accidents to trucking companies

Few accidents in Lake Charles can be as devastating as those involving collisions between traditional vehicles and semi-trucks or tractor-trailers. Our experience here at the Schwalben Law Firm in working with the victims of such accidents has taught us that these incidents can often leave those affected facing enormous financial and emotional burdens. You may understand this all too well if you or a loved one has experienced such an accident. If your incident has left you needing to seek compensation, then one question may enter into your mind: is the truck driver or the company that employed him or her responsible?

In some cases, the answer may be both. If you were struck by a semi-truck while the driver was in the course of making a routine delivery, then the principle of respondeat superior may apply. This legal doctrine (as described by the Legal Information Institute) states that an employer may be held liable for the wrongful acts of one of its agents, provided that such an act occurred while the agent was acting within the scope of his or her employment. In the aforementioned example, if the driver was truly on a delivery route when your accident occurred, then you may reasonably claim that he or she was executing the duties of his or her employment. In such a case, the trucking company that employed him or her would be responsible. However, if your accident occurred while the trucker was off duty, then it may be determined that he or she was not acting as an agent of his or her company, and thus respondeat superior may not apply.

Cancer misdiagnosis: not an uncommon mistake

While most doctors in Louisiana make every effort to provide an accurate diagnosis of any condition, new research is pointing to the fact that cancer may be mislabeled more often than was previously thought. Boston Magazine reports on the slight mistake that is costing U.S. taxpayers almost $700 billion each year and some misdiagnosed patients their lives.

 

Truck driving clearinghouse designed to reduce fatalities

A surprising number of people are killed each year as a result of tractor trailer accidents in Louisiana and across the nation. A portion of these accidents involve negligent truckers who are drugged or drunk while behind the wheel. As a way to decrease the number of truck drivers who risk the lives of others on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is developing a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Prior to this program, the trucking industry lacked a national database where information could be shared concerning truck drivers.

More specifically, the database will have information regarding truck driver’s alcohol and drug screenings, according to Commercial Carrier Journal. If a trucker fails a drug and/or alcohol test, refuses to submit to a test, is put on probation or has any other driving violations that data will be added to the clearinghouse. Other trucking companies will then be able to check the clearinghouse to ensure that an employee that they are hiring does not have any previous violations.

The most common avoidable car accidents

As Louisiana drivers may know, not all car accidents can be predicted or avoided. However, there are a number of intentional behaviors or actions that a driver can take that may lead them into a completely preventable accident.

Six Wise states that driving recklessly is one big potential ticket to a wreck, and it’s avoidable. This can include aggressive driving such as racing, chasing other vehicles or tailgating. It can also include distracted driving. No matter where the distraction comes from, such as chatting with passengers or checking one’s cell phone for texts, the results are the same. Drivers can accidentally miss road signs, not spot oncoming cars in time, run into other vehicles or objects, and more. Having a limited amount of reaction time will almost certainly boost one’s chances of crashing.

Cerebral palsy is a common birth injury but may be preventable

Having a child is the most momentous occasion in many people’s lives and for most it a time filled with joy and optimism. However, for some parents in Lake Charles, injuries sustain during their child’s birth may lead to a long road of time consuming and costly medical problems. Some of the more common birth injuries that babies sustain have to do with the brain and one condition that may develop is cerebral palsy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy can result from damage to the brain during birth. This damage can affect a child’s muscles and his or her ability to control them. The severity of the damage can vary greatly. Some people may be able to walk on their own while others may end up confined to a wheelchair.