Would You Pass Your Driver’s Exam Today?

by Dudley DeBosier | October 14th, 2019

Many teens count down the days until their 16th birthday, as that’s the youngest age to apply for and receive a driver’s license in Louisiana and throughout the U.S. Getting a driver’s license is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, as it grants them newfound independence and represents a major step towards maturity and adulthood.

But getting a driver license isn’t an automatic process just because someone turned 16. First, drivers must acquire a learner’s permit, which they’re first eligible to do at age 15 in Louisiana. Then, they must hold a permit for at least 180 days and complete the require amount of supervised driving. Finally, they must pass a road skills test at their local Office of Motor Vehicles location.

Both the written knowledge test for receiving a learner’s permit and the road skills test for receiving a driver license can be difficult to pass, and many first-time applicants fail. However, while applicants can take the test multiple times until they pass, once they do, they never have to take the test again, provided their licenses don’t expire and remain in good standing.

Get Instant Feedback on Your Driving Knowledge with this 10-Question Quiz

Whether you passed your driving exams decades ago or last week, there are almost certainly a few things about Louisiana’s traffic laws and driving requirements that you may be unaware of. And while most of those knowledge tidbits aren’t information you need every day, knowing them can make a big difference in your overall safety.

Ready to find out where you stand in your overall driving knowledge? Click on the quiz below to get started!

Improving your driving skills can be as simple as requesting a copy of the Louisiana Driver’s Handbook and taking a few hours to brush up on facts you may have forgotten. Enrolling in a local safe driving course can also help you significantly improve your confidence and safety behind the wheel.

How did you do? Whether you aced the quiz or got a score you’d rather soon forget, it’s important to know that learning, refining, and retaining driving skills and knowledge are lifelong pursuits—especially since traffic laws are subject to change due to new legislation every year.

How Can Driving Knowledge Help You Avoid an Accident?

Almost everyone knows the dangers associated with unfortunately common driving behaviors, such as speeding, texting while driving, and driving under the influence. But there are many other traffic laws and vehicle regulations that drivers must follow to both avoid tickets and to reduce their risks of being involved in crashes.

Louisiana traffic laws are wide-reaching and cover a huge variety of situations and scenarios that can occur on roads, including U-turns, one-way streets, four-way stops, driving near buses, driving through school zones, and more. Knowing basic traffic laws can help you get around safely most of the time, but any gaps in your knowledge can put you, your passengers, and other people on the road in dangerous situations.

If You Get Hurt in a Crash, We’re on Your Side

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse when it comes to harming others or their property, and that includes auto accidents. If you were hurt in a crash that was caused by a negligent or careless driver, whether they were speeding, texting, impaired, or failed to follow Louisiana’s traffic laws in any way, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses.

The Louisiana auto accident attorneys Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers want to help you get the compensation you deserve. From the day you contact us, we’ll treat you the way you deserve to be treated during this difficult time. Our clients are like family to us—not numbers and dollar figures—and we’ll do everything we can to maximize your chances of getting paid. That’s the Dudley DeBosier Difference. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Your Fall Leaves Viewing Guide

by Dudley DeBosier | October 7th, 2019

October means cold weather is sweeping in, and with it, the trees begin to change colors. Louisiana has some beautiful fall foliage, but to see it at its best means getting out of the city and heading out to the woods and state parks.

When you will see “peak” color will vary depending on where you are in the U.S., with northern states seeing colorful leaves in late September to mid-October, while Southern states usually don’t get brilliant color until mid-October through early November. But weather conditions can also change when peak color hits, so if you are planning on taking a trip to see the fall foliage this year, make sure to call ahead to your destination to ask about color conditions.

Louisiana isn’t the only place in the U.S. with beautiful fall foliage. We’ve put together a list of some of the best places to see autumn colors this year.

Safety Tips for Roadtripping

Roadtripping is a proud American pastime, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should take carelessly. Before you hit the road this fall, make sure to go over each item on our roadtrip safety checklist to see what you might need before leaving home. 

  • Ask your mechanic for a vehicle inspection. An inspection will locate any potential problems with your vehicle’s fluid levels, brakes, tires, battery, air conditioning unit, or other parts before they become a problem that could leave you stranded on the side of the road.
  • Consider renting a car. If you are going off-road, you will probably need a car with four-wheel drive and high clearance. You might also consider a rental if you’d prefer to keep the mileage off your personal car or if an inspection reveals a problem with your personal car.
  • Prepare for roadside emergencies. Always keep a spare tire, jack, gas can, and jumper kit in your car, and don’t assume your car has them already. Many newer cars only come with a tire patch kit rather than a spare tire.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Good items to pack include sunblock, bug spray, a flashlight, batteries and chargers, a multitool, first aid kit, water bottles, and blanket or towel, but you aren’t limited to these items.
  • Carry Cash. Some small towns, state or national parks, and toll stations won’t be able to process credit card payments.
  • Download, don’t stream, your music. If, or rather when, you lose cell signal, your streaming will go with it. You might also consider checking out CD or audiobooks from your local library. 
  • Have a backup map. If you lose cell phone service, you will also likely lose your phone’s GPS. Have a back-up plan, such as a physical map or separate GPS unit, and make sure to call ahead to learn about any potential road closures on your route.
  • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence.

 After a Road Trip Accident, Call Dudley DeBosier

At Dudley DeBosier, we know traffic accidents. And when you get in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we’ll give your case the attention it deserves, whether it happened on a fall road trip or simply on your way to work. We care about our clients, and we want to help your life get back to as close to normal as possible after an accident: that’s the Dudley DeBosier Difference.

Our phone lines are open 24/7/365, so don’t hesitate to call when you need help after a car accident. Your consultation is always free.

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week

by Dudley DeBosier | September 16th, 2019

Join us in celebrating National Child Passenger Safety Week as we learn more about the proper use of child car seats to protect kids from harm in car accidents. National Child Passenger Safety Week 2019 kicks off on September 15 and ends on September 21, which coincides with National Seat Check Saturday.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with car seat laws and regulations, because they may have changed since you first learned them. Louisiana just passed a new, stricter set of car seat laws that went into effect August 1st, 2019.

  • All children under the age of 2 are required to ride in rear-facing car seats.
  • All children age 2-4 must ride in forward facing seats with an internal seat belt.
  • All children age 4-9 must ride in booster seats.

If you want to learn more about car seat safety in Louisiana, open our presentation below. 

What to Tell Your College Student About Drunk Driving

by Dudley DeBosier | September 4th, 2019

If you have a college-aged child, you’re probably worried about their grades, their tuition fees, and their safety—especially if they go to school far from home. You may feel like you’re helpless to keep them safe, but one of the biggest risks that college students face can be reduced with parental involvement. 

That risk is drunk driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that impaired driving impacts young people more than any other age group, and nearly 10,500 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2016 alone. That accounts for almost 30% of all fatal accidents in the U.S. that year.  

3 Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Child’s Risks 

Even if you think your child doesn’t listen to you, studies show that positive reinforcement from parents can help reduce dangerous behaviors in children, regardless of their age. Remaining consistent and persistent with these safety-oriented steps can help your child stay safe during this important stage in their life: 

  1. Emphasize the consequences of drunk driving—Your child may be aware of the potential risks of a drunk-driving crash, but they may not know about the severity of a DUI. Getting arrested for impaired driving means expensive fines, jail time, a suspended license, and even academic consequences such as loss of scholarship or dismissal from school. 
  2. Talk about other ways to get home—Appointing a designated driver, using ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, calling a cab, using public transportation, or even calling you or your spouse are all safe and reliable ways to get home after drinking. Make sure your child knows their options. 
  3. Be responsible with alcohol—Set a good example for your child by never driving while intoxicated. In addition, avoid serving alcohol to your child and their friends if they’re under 21 or they’re planning on driving. Finally, keep alcohol in your home locked up and inaccessible.  

Were you or your child hurt in an auto accident? If so, our Louisiana car accident lawyers want to help. We have years of experience assisting injured victims after crashes, and we know what it takes to win. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

What to Expect: Truck Accident Claims

by Dudley DeBosier | August 21st, 2019

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, big trucks were involved in 107,000 injury-causing accidents and 4,657 fatal accidents in 2017 alone. Because of their weight and size, semi-trucks can cause significant damage to other vehicles during collisions, putting the occupants of those vehicles at risk of serious and even life-threatening injuries.

At Dudley DeBosier, we know how dangerous big trucks can be to other motorists. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer, it’s important to get experienced and dedicated legal representation on your side. Big truck accident claims can be difficult to prove, and insurance companies often put up a fight when victims pursue compensation.

You’ve got enough to deal with after your truck accident. We’re here to protect your rights and help you get the money you deserve while you focus on getting better. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

We’ll Make the Legal Process Easy for You

Getting a lawyer and pursuing damages after an accident can seem intimidating. You may be worried about how you’ll prove the accident wasn’t your fault, how much money you can get, and whether you’ll have to go to court.

Our Louisiana truck accident lawyers are here to take the stress of the accident and your compensation claim off your shoulders. We’ll put our experience to work for you in the following ways:

  • We’ll collect evidence that proves you weren’t at fault—We’ll gather witness statements, the accident report, dashcam footage, and even accident reconstruction data to prove you didn’t cause the crash while also determining who is liable for your damages. For example, whether to demand damages from the driver or trucking company owner.  
  • We’ll prepare a demand letter to get you the money you deserve—We’ll investigate how the crash has affected you, and then we’ll prepare a demand letter for the insurance company of the responsible party or parties that shows how much money you and your family need for your accident-related expenses and how much you deserve for your pain and suffering.
  • We’ll handle all communication with the insurance company—We’ll handle all phone calls and emails from the insurance company and review any of their settlement offers with you to ensure you don’t accept an offer that isn’t sufficient for what you’ve been through.

From the day you contact us until the day you get your check, you can count on our legal team to treat you like family. We know that you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, and we also know that you deserve experienced and understanding legal representation. That’s the Dudley DeBosier Difference. Contact us today.

How Music May Affect Your Risk of a Car Accident

by Dudley DeBosier | August 7th, 2019

Looking away from the road to mess with the radio dial or to try to find the perfect song on your playlist is a form of distracted driving and one of the leading causes of car accidents, but did you know one study has suggested that just listening to music without looking at the audio source is distracting enough to affect your driving performance? There have been several studies conducted attempting to measure the effect of music on drivers, and the results may surprise you.

The Pros of Listening to Music while Driving

Listening to music you like is a major mood-booster! When you are stuck in traffic, a good tune can reduce stress and aggression, and at the same time, reduce traffic errors and road rage. 

Listening to music is also shown to elevate your heartrate and keep you awake and entertained on long trips, decreasing the risk of accidents caused by drowsy driving. Some studies have even shown listening to music can actually improve a driver’s ability to perform some driving tasks, such as matching the speed of the vehicle ahead and staying within lane markers.

The Cons of Listening to Music while Driving

If you can’t find music you enjoy anywhere up or down the radio dial, it can actually increase your stress levels, which has a negative effect on driving behavior. But music you love can also cause bad driving behavior, especially for younger and less experienced drivers. You may start to pay more attention to the song than the road, and begin making simple errors that can result in devastating consequences, such as forgetting to signal or check blind spots.

Fast music and loud music are also shown to have a negative impact on driving behavior. Drivers may subconsciously speed up to match the tempo of a song, while loud music is shown to reduce reaction time. Any music played at over 85 decibels can influence driver behavior for the worse.

What This Means for Your Playlist 

In general, music with a tempo of 60-80 beats per minute (BPM) is the safest to drive to, because it mimics the average human heart rate. Music with a tempo of 120 BPM or more can result in faster driving speeds and more traffic violations.

Researchers have suggested jazz, soft rock, and easy listening are the best options to listen to while driving, but if those aren’t your speed, we’ve created a Safe Driving Playlist for your next commute. Interested in how the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 scan? We’ve also charted out the top five safest and most dangerous on the radio now.

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Safest Songs to Drive To

  1. Old Town Road by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – 67 BPM
  2. Suge by DaBaby – 75 BPM
  3. Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs – 77 BPM
  4. Earfquake by Tyler, The Creator – 80 BPM
  5. 7 Rings by Ariana Grande – 70 BPM

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Most Dangerous Songs to Drive To

  1. bad guy by Billie Eilish – 135 BPM
  2. Talk by Khalid – 136 BPM
  3. Sucker by Jonas Brothers – 138 BPM
  4. If I Can’t Have You by Shawn Mendes – 124 BPM
  5. Sweet But Psycho by Ava Max – 133 BPM

Have You Recently Been in a Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident where you were not at fault, we want to help. Regardless of what music was playing, you deserve compensation. Contact Dudley DeBosier today for your free consultation.

Electric Scooter Safety for Drivers

by Dudley DeBosier | July 17th, 2019

If you’ve ever hopped on an electric scooter for a quick trip, you know how fun and convenient they can be. Scooters also help decrease traffic congestion, making it easier for drivers to get to their destinations on time. But sharing the road can be a dangerous prospect for scooter riders, as even low-speed collisions can result in dangerous injuries. Help make Louisiana roads safer for everyone by following these simple tips. 

What to Expect: Car Accident Injury Claims

by Dudley DeBosier | June 12th, 2019

After a car crash, the most important thing you can do to protect your health and your rights to compensation is get medical attention. Even if you don’t think you have injuries, it’s important to still get evaluated by a first responder at the scene of the accident or at your doctor’s office after the crash. Getting medical attention can address any serious injuries immediately, as well as rule out any internal injuries that might show up later on. It also creates a medical record that links your injuries to the car accident.

But even after you get initial medical help, you may be facing weeks—or even months—away from work, and you may not know what to do next. At Dudley DeBosier, we don’t think you should have to pay out of pocket for injuries caused by another person’s negligence, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve to move forward with your life. Read on to find out what happens when Louisiana car accident victims come to us for help.

How We Help Louisiana Car Crash Victims

When you contact the Louisiana car accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier, we’ll listen to your story to learn more about your claim. If we decide to take your case, we’ll start collecting and analyzing evidence, such as photos from the accident scene, witness testimonies, and police reports, to support your claim and determine who can be held responsible for your injuries.

It’s our goal to help you get every penny you deserve for what you’ve been through. That’s why our legal team calculates the total cost of your injury-related expenses, including your current and future medical bills, current and future lost wages, and pain and suffering, to determine a fair settlement offer. We then present that offer to the responsible party’s insurance company. If they refuse to pay you the money you deserve, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial.

After a Crash, Demand Dudley DeBosier!

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the Louisiana car crash attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are here to help. We put our clients first throughout every step of their injury claims, and it’s our goal to help you get maximum compensation for what you’ve been through. Contact us today for a free case review, and let us put our passion and experience to work for you today.  

5 Tips to Reduce Your Risks on Memorial Day Weekend

by Dudley DeBosier | May 22nd, 2019

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and according to AAA, it’s also one of the busiest times to be on the road. 36.6 million people traveled by car during Memorial Day weekend in 2018—nearly five percent more than in 2017. But with more travelers on the road, the risk of being involved in an auto accident increases.

Whether you’re heading out for a weekend getaway or driving across town to celebrate with family and friends, reduce your accident risk this Memorial Day weekend by following these five tips.

We hope you have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Sources: ValuePenguin, NHTSA, AAA NewsRoom

Move Over—It’s the Law.

by Dudley DeBosier | May 8th, 2019

When you hear a siren coming from behind or see flashing lights up ahead, it’s second nature to slow down, move over, and make way for emergency responders. But did you know that moving over for those vehicles is a state law?

While this is common knowledge to many, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that multiple states have seen an increase in drivers crashing into emergency responders stopped on the side of the road. In response, the NHTSA is urging drivers to review their states’ “Move Over” laws.

Do You Know Louisiana’s “Move Over” Laws?

Next time you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, follow these steps to help keep yourself and emergency responders safe:

  1. Slow down.
  2. Move over if possible.
  3. If it is safe to do so, change lanes in the opposite direction of the emergency vehicle.

If traffic conditions don’t allow you to safely move over or change lanes, decrease your speed. Louisiana law 32.125 explains these procedures in more detail. Familiarize yourself with this protocol to keep yourself, emergency responders, and others on the road safe.

Louisiana Auto Accident Lawyers

At Dudley DeBosier, we know that even the safest drivers can’t prevent someone else’s negligence. If you were injured in a car accident, our Louisiana car accident attorneys are here for you. It’s our goal to help you get maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

by Dudley DeBosier | April 24th, 2019

Sending and reading text messages is one of the most dangerous things you can do when you’re behind the wheel of your vehicle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that around nine people are killed and another 1,000 are injured every day in the U.S. due to distracted drivers. Although young drivers are the most likely to text while driving of all age groups, it’s a problem that affects all demographics—and it puts everyone on Louisiana’s roadways at risk.

Texting Involves 3 Types of Distractions

Anything that distracts drivers can increase their risks of being involved in accidents, but texting while driving is uniquely dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions:

  1. Visual—Sending and reading text messages requires taking your eyes off the road for seconds at a time. If you’re traveling at highway or interstate speeds, that’s enough time for your vehicle to travel the length of a football field.
  2. Manual—Unlocking your phone and then reading or writing a text message requires the use of your hands. And when your hands are on your phone, they aren’t on your steering wheel, and that puts you at risk of losing control of your vehicle.
  3. Cognitive—Safe driving requires focusing on the road ahead, maintaining a safe and steady speed, and tracking the movements of other vehicles around you. When you’re texting, you can’t devote your full attention to driving, and that can lead to accidents.

To reduce your risks, activate your phone’s “driving mode.” You’ll still receive text messages, but you won’t receive alerts until you’ve reached your destination.

Hurt by a Distracted Driver? You Deserve Compensation.

While you can do everything in your power to decrease your own risks of causing a crash, you can’t control the behaviors of other drivers. However, you can pursue compensation after an accident that wasn’t your fault—especially if the other driver was distracted.

Contact the Baton Rouge auto accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation. We’re here to help.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

by Dudley DeBosier | April 10th, 2019

Auto accidents can be expensive, but filing claims against the other drivers’ insurance policies can help injured victims recover compensation for their medical bills and lost wages. However, that option isn’t always available right away for victims of hit-and-run accidents—especially when the at-fault drivers can’t be tracked down or identified.

If you were recently the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may feel like you’re out of luck when it comes to filing a compensation claim. However, there are still a few options available to you when it comes to recovering money for the damages you’ve incurred.

4 Steps All Hit-and-Run Victims Should Follow

Wondering what to do after your hit-and-run accident? Following these important steps can help you protect your health and your rights to compensation:

  1. Call 911—Calling 911 accomplishes two important things. First, it dispatches an ambulance to the accident scene, which can help you and other victims get immediate medical attention. Second, it dispatches a police officer to the scene, who can file an accident report and interview witnesses—which can help law enforcement find the person who caused the crash.
  2. Get medical treatment—Auto accident injuries can be serious, but they’re not always obvious. Even if you don’t think you were seriously injured, you should still go to the hospital or visit a doctor right away. In addition to ruling out internal injuries, it will also create a medical record of the other injuries you suffered during the crash.
  3. Report the crash to your insurance provider—Auto insurance companies require notification of auto accidents within a short timeframe—often just a day or two after crashes occur. Reporting your accident not only satisfies this requirement, but it can also open up the possibility of recovering compensation from your own insurance policy.
  4. Call a lawyer—Getting an experienced Louisiana auto accident attorney on your side can be the difference between paying out of pocket for your hit-and-run accident expenses and getting full compensation. At Dudley DeBosier, we’ll do everything in our power to help you get the money you deserve, regardless of whether the driver who caused the crash is identified.

We don’t think you should have to go it alone after a crash, and it’s our goal to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact a Louisiana car accident lawyer at Dudley DeBosier today, and let us get to work for you.

Driving Distracted Could Cost You Your Life

by Dudley DeBosier | April 4th, 2019

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

by Dudley DeBosier | March 20th, 2019

Speeding, driving while distracted, and driving while intoxicated are well known as some of the most common causes of auto accidents. But sleep-deprivation—a condition that affects millions of Americans—may be just as dangerous as those behaviors.

Drowsy drivers experience many of the same symptoms as drivers who are intoxicated or impaired due to alcohol, drugs, or certain medications. Symptoms may include:

  • Reduced attention span
  • Slower reaction times
  • Impaired judgment

Because drowsy driving is so dangerous, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricts the number of hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel without time off to rest and sleep. But because there are no laws against drowsy driving for non-truck drivers, any of the estimated 70 million Americans who suffer from sleep deprivation may be drowsy at any given time behind the wheel.

How Big Is the Problem?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that around one in 25 adult drivers has fallen asleep behind the wheel in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving caused 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries, and anywhere from 800 to 6,000 auto accident-related deaths in 2013.

People with obstructive sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, and people who get fewer than six hours of sleep per night are most at risk for drowsy driving-related accidents. To reduce your risks, practice good sleep hygiene. That means going to bed earlier at night, avoiding alcohol and electronic device usage before sleeping, and waking up at the same time every day.

Injured by a Drowsy Driver? Get the Compensation You Deserve.

Ultimately, drivers are responsible for remaining alert, cautious, and safety-oriented when they’re behind the wheel. When they fail to do that and cause accidents, they can be held responsible for victims’ injuries and accident-related expenses.

If you or someone you love was hurt by a negligent driver, the Louisiana car accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are here to help. Call today for a free consultation.

Post-Auto Accident Checklist

by Dudley DeBosier | March 11th, 2019

Motorcycle Safety Isn’t Just for Motorcyclists

by Dudley DeBosier | February 26th, 2019

Riding a motorcycle carries many inherent risks. That’s because motorcycles have no built-in safety equipment. When riders are involved in crashes, their helmets and riding gear are the only things that protect them.

Because of the dangers that motorcyclists face, it’s important for both riders and other drivers to be considerate, cautious, and safety-oriented on Louisiana’s roadways. Unfortunately, dangerous driving habits are common throughout the state. That fact, combined with the fact that drivers aren’t always on the lookout for people traveling on two wheels, means that motorcyclists face significant risks every time they ride.

What Types of Driver Negligence Contribute to Motorcycle Accidents?

Most motorcyclists are safety-conscious and take all of the necessary steps to protect themselves. But negligent and careless drivers can cause serious crashes in a split second. A few common causes of negligence-related motorcycle crashes include:

  • Not looking for motorcycles—Whether they’re turning left, entering an intersection, or changing lanes, drivers must always look out for other vehicles—including motorcycles.
  • Driving while distracted—Too many drivers rely on their peripheral vision or cursory glances at the road due to being distracted. When they do that, they may miss seeing motorcyclists in their path or next to them.
  • Speeding—Motorcycles can accelerate and slow down much faster than vehicles. When motorcyclists stop, speeding drivers behind them may be unable to slow down in time.

Other drivers aren’t always the ones at fault. Sometimes, governmental entities can even be held liable for crashes, especially when they know about but fail to address dangerous conditions on roadways such as potholes, debris, or broken asphalt.

Hurt in a Crash? We’re Here to Help.

At Dudley DeBosier, our Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcyclists often suffer severe and debilitating injuries in crashes. If you or someone you love was hurt on a motorcycle, we’re here to help. Call today for a free consultation.

Railroad Crossing Safety: What to Know

by Dudley DeBosier | February 19th, 2019

After a spike in fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles and trains in 2016, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission began re-emphasizing the dangers associated with railroad crossings and the need for drivers to make smarter decisions when approaching them. In 2017, Louisiana ranked seventh among all states for total number of train collisions, which included six deaths and 31 injuries.

Stay Safe With These Tips

Although railroad crossings are equipped with many safety features, including alarm bells, flashing lights, and barrier arms, drivers still face risks when they drive near or over train tracks. To protect yourself and your loved ones when driving near railroad crossings, it’s important to follow these tips:

  • Never try to beat a train—If you hear a train’s horn or a railroad crossing alarm bell, prepare to stop your vehicle before you reach the train tracks. Trains may be just moments from railroad crossings by the time you hear their horns or the crossing’s alarm bells.
  • Never drive onto railroad tracks unless there’s room ahead to fully cross them—Traffic can back up anywhere, including on roadways with railroad crossings. Always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the tracks in front of you when congestion is heavy and you don’t have enough space to drive beyond them.
  • Never cross without looking both ways, even if a train has already passed—Some railroad crossings have multiple tracks heading in multiple directions. That means another train may be traveling towards you immediately after the previous train passes through the area. Continue to yield after a train passes and look left and right before proceeding.

We’re Here for You After an Accident

At Dudley DeBosier, we’re proud to help victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents. Whether you were injured in a train collision or a motorcycle accident because of another person’s or parties’ negligence, we’re here for you. Call us today for a free consultation.

When the Roadway Is at Fault for a Motor Vehicle Accident

by Dudley DeBosier | January 16th, 2019

Studies show that most auto accidents are caused by driver error. In fact, around 90 percent of crashes can be attributed to things like speeding, following too closely, distracted driving, inexperience, and driving while impaired. But what about the remaining percentage of crashes?

An often-overlooked cause of crashes is the roads, streets, highways, and interstates we travel on every day. It’s easy to take the safety and reliability of roadways for granted, but they must be designed properly and they also require constant monitoring and frequent maintenance to be safe for all types of vehicles.

What Is the Government’s Role in Designing and Maintaining Roads?

Federal, state, and local governments are in charge of roads in Louisiana, and when they fail to keep them free from hazards, these parties can be held liable when crashes occur.

Some of the tasks that government departments and agencies are required to perform to keep roads safe for drivers include:

  • Building roads that are easily navigated and traversed—Roads are supposed to be designed with drivers in mind. But some roads are dangerous due to their initial design because of unnecessary winding curves or steep inclines.
  • Repairing damage after storms or inclement weather—Potholes, flood damage, rockslides, and downed trees can all make roads dangerous or impassable. It’s up to the government to make timely repairs or detour drivers away from those areas.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash that was caused by poor road conditions, you may be eligible to file a claim against the governmental body that was supposed to make it safe for you and other drivers. Call Dudley DeBosier today to find out how we can help.

What is “Discovery” in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

by Dudley DeBosier | December 19th, 2018

After a car accident injury, you have two choices: pursue an injury claim yourself with the insurance company or hire a personal injury attorney to handle the injury claim on your behalf. If you handle the claim yourself, the insurance company will most likely provide a quick settlement offer for you to sign. But things aren’t always what they seem. The amount of compensation they offer to provide may seem large—until you discover the true cost of your injuries.

If you hire an attorney to handle your claim, you’ll probably hear them mention the “discovery” phase of your claim if a lawsuit is filed. During this step, both sides (you and your attorney and the other driver and their attorney) complete the following 3 steps:

  1. Written questions – Often called interrogatories, these questions may be related to the accident or they may cover broad topics. You must answer these questions truthfully and to the best of your ability, but your attorney can help you object to any questions that are unclear or confusing.
  2. Request for production of documents – Paperwork related to the injury and the accident is gathered. Documents such as medical treatment records, wage loss documents, and photographs of the accident scene may be exchanged between both sides of the lawsuit during this step.
  3. Depositions – This step gives both attorneys a chance to ask people involved in the accident about their involvement and the extent of their injuries while under oath. Your attorney can help ensure the process is fair by objecting to unfair questions on your behalf.

Why is Discovery Important?

The information shared during the discovery phase can provide an experienced car accident attorney with the information necessary to determine a fair value for your case. Think of it this way: you can either take the insurance company’s word at face value, or you can rely on the facts of the case to help determine what your case is actually worth.

At Dudley DeBosier the choice is easy, and access to the evidence allows us to fight for the best interests of our clients every day.

Our Louisiana Attorneys Want to Help

We know the discovery phase of a car accident lawsuit may seem scary or intimidating—especially while you’re recovering from an injury. That’s why we do everything we can to make the process as painless as possible for the clients we help. Our Louisiana attorneys handle car accident cases every day, and we’re here to provide the guidance you deserve every step of the way. So don’t wait if you need help after a car accident—contact us now for a free case review.

The Holiday Season is Also DUI Season

by Dudley DeBosier | December 12th, 2018

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are filled with opportunities to get together with family and friends, and many of those festivities can involve alcohol. In fact, 16% of adults admit that they drink more than usual during the holiday season*, which means an increased risk of driving under the influence or sharing the road with intoxicated drivers.

At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, our commitment to safety doesn’t stop within the courtroom. That’s why our team urges you and your loved ones to arrange a safe ride home after any event where you choose to drink.

In fact, during recent years, we’ve provided thousands of Uber discount codes for free rides home after sporting events and during holidays where drinking is common. Want to learn more? Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest community efforts or fill out the Get Updates form at the bottom of our website to receive email updates from Dudley DeBosier.

Louisiana Lawyers Dedicated to Preventing Injuries

Our injury attorneys know the devastating effects of car accidents caused by drunk driving, and it’s our goal to help spread awareness of DUI accident dangers in Louisiana. We also know that injuries caused by negligence can happen anytime—even over the holidays. We’re here if you need us—just contact our  24/7 legal team to get the help you deserve.

From everyone here at Dudley DeBosier, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!

*Source: Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers

Insurance Companies Profit When Car Crash Victims Go Without an Attorney—Here’s Why

by Dudley DeBosier | November 22nd, 2018

Auto insurance coverage is supposed to help you cover the costs of your medical treatment and injury-related expenses after a car accident caused by someone else. Unfortunately for many injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, this situation can get complicated fast. That’s because every car accident is different—including the ways that injuries can affect the lives of those involved.

After all, a broken bone requiring surgery that leaves a medical technician out of work for a month is certainly a different scenario than a welder who faces a lifetime of back pain. So, how do insurance companies decide how much each case is worth?

The Business Model Behind a Quick Car Accident Settlement Offer

Insurance adjusters aren’t always transparent about the methods they use to determine case value, but one fact is clear: insurance companies are businesses designed to maximize their profits. This means paying out less than they take in, and they can accomplish this in one simple way: making quick settlement offers to victims who don’t know the true value of their case.

Here’s an example: A car accident victim suffers back pain after a rear-end collision. An insurance adjuster reaches out to chat with the victim and begin the claims process. After investigators determine both parties are partially at fault, a $15,000 settlement offer is presented to the victim in question, just weeks after the crash. The victim accepts, and by doing so, signs away their rights to pursue the any further compensation.

$15,000 covers the medical bills up to the date of the settlement and leaves a few thousand extra—not too bad, right? Not so fast. Consider this:

  • The victim hadn’t finished treatment when they signed the offer, and over time, learns that they will never recover to the way they felt before the crash. Treatment can help, but it isn’t free, and it may be required for years to come.
  • The victim is forced to consider another job with less physical labor—but also less pay.
  • The victim’s physician recommends surgery as an option to relieve the pain, but the full costs are not covered by their health insurance.

This Is Why We Want to Help

Unfortunately for many injury victims who go without a lawyer, the complications that follow the accident in the months and years to come can be devastating.

As injury lawyers, it’s our job to think ten steps ahead to ensure the clients we help have access to the resources they need to get their lives back. This means calculating past, current, and future wage loss, the full cost of their treatment over time, and the toll that pain and suffering may inflict on their daily life. And in many cases, the results we achieve are significantly  higher than the initial offer from the insurance company.

Don’t sign away your rights and let an insurance company profit from one of the most difficult times in your life. Contact Dudley DeBosier today, and let us work one-on-one with you to help determine the true value of your case. , Our goal is clear every step of the way—we want to change the way people think about attorneys, one relationship at a time.

Crashes Increase When Daylight Saving Time Ends—Know the Risks!

by Dudley DeBosier | November 1st, 2018

A telltale sign that fall is in full swing is the end of Daylight Saving Time. And at 2 a.m. local time on November 4, we’ll turn our clocks back an hour. But before you celebrate an extra hour of sleep, you should know the driving safety risks that come with the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Statistics show that the likelihood of a car crash increases around the autumn time change. Knowing the reasons why can help you avoid potential dangers and stay safe on the road!

We’re Here to Help

At Dudley DeBosier, it’s our goal to make the community we serve a better, safer place to live—because we want to change the way people think about attorneys, one relationship at a time. If you need help after a Louisiana car accident, the attorneys at Dudley DeBosier want to help. Contact us today—the case review is free, and there is no cost or obligation to get started.

What to Do After a Car Accident Caused by a Friend or Family Member

by Dudley DeBosier | September 26th, 2018

As Louisiana car accident lawyers, we often recommend that people who are hurt in crashes caused by others should pursue compensation claims for their accident-related expenses. After all, why should victims pay out of pocket for medical bills and lost wages when they didn’t cause their own accidents?

However, many auto accident victims are hesitant to pursue claims if they were hurt in crashes caused by friends or family members. No matter who caused the accident, the facts remain the same if you were hurt: you have expensive medical bills piling up and you may be too hurt to go back to work.

It’s important to remember that filing a compensation claim “against” your friend or family member isn’t a personal issue, and it’s not designed to “punish” him or her. Auto accident claims are generally designed to recoup crash-related expenses from insurance companies—not from the pockets of the people responsible for accidents.

You Deserve Compensation. We Can Help You Get It.

Auto accident claims are business as usual for most insurance companies. When there’s enough evidence to prove that policyholders were at fault for injury-causing crashes, most insurance companies offer fair settlements—especially when victims have lawyers on their sides. That means the process is often over in a matter of months with no trial and no courtroom visits.

You won’t be pitted against your friend or family member, and you won’t be taking money out of his or her pocket when you file a compensation claim. Instead, you’ll get the money you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses from the legally required insurance policy of the person who caused the crash.

Let the Louisiana auto accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier help you with this sensitive matter. Call today for a free consultation.

What Is the Louisiana “No Pay, No Play” Law?

by Dudley DeBosier | September 14th, 2018

In addition to having a valid driver license to legally drive a vehicle in Louisiana, you also must be covered by a valid auto insurance policy.

Uninsured or under insured drivers who cause accidents can be held personally liable for the damages they cause to other people or property, and that money often comes straight out of their pockets.

But did you know that not carrying any (or enough) auto insurance also means that you may lose out on the chance to get compensation for a crash that wasn’t your fault?

Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play statute was passed in 2011, and it means that victims of another driver’s negligence are prevented from collecting the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages and the first $25,000 of property damages if they’re uninsured or at the time of the accident.

3 Things to Know about No Pay, No Play in Louisiana

The No Pay, No Play statute is complex. Here are three things to know about it, including important exceptions:

  1. The law only requires that drivers carry minimum liability insurance—not full or comprehensive coverage.
  2. The law doesn’t apply to drivers involved in crashes who are from other states with different insurance requirements.
  3. The law doesn’t apply if the at-fault driver broke certain laws before the crash, including driving while intoxicated, intentionally causing the accident, fleeing the scene, or if the at-fault driver is in for commission of a felony.

If you have questions about this law after a car accident, contact our legal staff today. We’re here to help.

Get Insured to Ensure You’re Eligible for Compensation

At Dudley DeBosier, our Louisiana car accident lawyers fight for the rights of injured victims like you. It’s important to always get in touch with a lawyer if you were hurt or your vehicle was damaged in a crash. We’ll review the facts and help you choose your next steps.

What Are the Time Limits to File an Injury Lawsuit?

by Dudley DeBosier | September 5th, 2018

If someone else’s negligence caused injury to you or someone you love, you can file a lawsuit to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, it’s important to note that you and your lawyer don’t have an indefinite time period to initiate the lawsuit. All jurisdictions, including Louisiana, have a “statute of limitations”—or time limit—that dictates how long victims have to file personal injury claims.

The statute of limitations for most accident and injury cases in Louisiana is one year from the date of the accident or injury occurring. That’s shorter than many other states, which may give victims two or more years to file a lawsuit.

Statutes of Limitations for Common Damages Claims

The one-year statute of limitations is true for almost all injury claims in Louisiana. It applies to all personal injury claims, including car accident claims. It also applies to wrongful death claims and medical malpractice claims.

However, because medical malpractice isn’t always obvious or noticed by victims until a significant amount of time has passed, victims can file claims up to three years after the malpractice took place—but the claims still must be filed within one year of victims discovering malpractice.

Another exception exists for injury cases involving victims under the age of 18 who were hurt by defective or dangerous products. Minors and their parents aren’t bound to the statute of limitations for filing claims for the injuries they suffered in those cases.

As you can see, understanding the statute of limitations for personal injury claims and its exceptions can be complex and confusing. If you have questions about your rights after an injury, we’re ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (866) 897-8495 to get started now.

365 Days Go Fast. Call Us Today.

Don’t jeopardize your claim by waiting too long to get compensation. A calendar year can pass in the blink of an eye, and with it goes your chances of getting the money you deserve. Contact our Louisiana injury attorneys to get the help you deserve.

Louisiana Motorcyclists: Here’s Why You Need to Wear a Helmet

by Dudley DeBosier | August 22nd, 2018

At Dudley DeBosier, our injury lawyers are very aware of the dangers motorcycle riders face in Louisiana. From distracted drivers to roadway hazards, the lack of protection offered by motorcycles can lead to severe or even fatal injuries that drivers of larger vehicles may not face.

Because our lawyers handle motorcycle injury claims every day, we want to offer one important piece of advice: wear your helmet, and make sure your passengers wear a helmet, too.

Not All Motorcycle Accidents Are Preventable

No matter how safely you ride or how experienced you are, you can’t prevent an accident caused by someone else. A helmet is your first line of protection against serious, or even fatal, injuries in the event of a crash. If you or someone you love were involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, call (866) 897-8495 or contact us online to get the experienced help you deserve.

Car Wreck Injuries: Not Always a Driver’s Fault

by Dudley DeBosier | July 23rd, 2018

Whether a car wreck involves multiple vehicles or a single vehicle, it’s common for many people—including law enforcement officers and insurance companies—to suspect that driver error was the cause of the crash.

While studies show that around 90 percent of auto crashes are caused by drivers making mistakes behind the wheel, 10 percent of crashes are due to other factors—and those factors mean other parties may be to blame.

At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to help all auto crash victims—including those who were hurt in crashes that weren’t caused by negligent drivers, but instead by negligent auto and parts manufacturers or even negligent governmental bodies.

How can other parties be held responsible for crashes?

Whether it’s a driver commuting to work, an auto manufacturer installing parts on a new line of trucks, or the government designing and building an interchange on a major interstate, all of those parties have a responsibility to uphold certain safety standards.

When a driver is negligent behind the wheel, he or she can be held liable for any accident-related expenses incurred by victims. The same should be true for big entities like billion-dollar auto manufacturers and state and federal governments.

Our lawyers handle cases involving auto manufacturers and the government the same way we handle all injury claims: we gather evidence that proves they breached their duty and we link that negligence to the damages that innocent victims suffered.

Don’t Pay Out of Pocket for an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault

After a crash, we’ll investigate to determine if any of the following factors played a role in the accident or your injuries:

  • Defective parts—Auto manufacturers don’t always properly inspect or test the parts that go into their vehicles—and that means innocent victims sometimes pay the price.
  • Defective design—Governmental agencies in charge of road design and improvement are responsible for safety above all else—but they don’t always follow through on their promises or their obligations.

Don’t pay out of pocket for a crash that wasn’t your fault. Let our legal team investigate, gather evidence, and fight for your rights. Call us today at 225-224-8465.

One Statistic Car Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know

by Dudley DeBosier | July 20th, 2018

After a crash, you expect the car insurance company to pick up the bill for your damages—and if your injuries aren’t your fault, it’s only right for them to provide a fair settlement offer. Yet despite the industry’s multimillion dollar advertising budgets, there’s one message that their spokespeople and mascots often neglect to mention—how much more money injury victims get from car insurance companies if they hire a lawyer.

According to a 2014 report from the Insurance Research Council, injury victims with a lawyer, on average, get 3.5 times more money than people without a lawyer.

Not sure if you should hire a lawyer?

by Dudley DeBosier | July 11th, 2018

Take it from someone who’s been in your shoes.

At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we know that making the decision to hire a lawyer after an accident or injury isn’t always easy. And even if we tell you that we offer free case reviews and charge no fees unless our lawyers get money for you, you may still be worried about what others think.

So, what do others think? You might be surprised to find out the answer!

Let Us Change the Way You Think About Attorneys

At Dudley DeBosier, we want to change the way people think about attorneys, one relationship at a time. That’s why we make it our goal to provide you with high-quality legal representation and excellent customer service. Call us at (866) 897-8495 to find out why so many of our clients give us 5-star reviews.

What If More Than One Party Is At Fault In A Louisiana Car Accident?

by Dudley DeBosier | June 18th, 2018

At Dudley DeBosier, our lawyers help Louisiana injury victims with car accident claims every day. Many of those car accidents fall into categories such as rear-end collisions, intersectional accidents, or lane-change crashes. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, determining which driver caused the crash is not always clear—and in some cases, both parties share the blame.

So, what happens if you are partially at fault for a car crash?

Let’s say you’re involved in a lane-change crash with another car that was speeding. You changed lanes without signaling, and the other driver struck your vehicle. In this case, Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence doctrine would come into play when determining damages. That means that each driver is assigned a percentage of blame for the accident, which is then reduced from the total amount of damages you could receive.

Determining the percentage of blame for each driver relies on a full investigation of the accident, but two facts are true in car accident cases where liability is disputed:

  1. You may still be entitled to compensation for your car accident, even if you were partially at fault for your crash.
  2. An experienced attorney can fight for the maximum amount of compensation you deserve by ensuring the facts of your accident are interpreted as fairly as possible.

Get a Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today

If you have questions about your rights after a car accident, even if you believe you may be partially at fault, contact Dudley DeBosier today. Our attorneys can review your claim and help determine your rights to compensation—dial 866-971-5201 now to get started. The call is free, and because we offer the No Fee Guarantee®, you won’t pay us anything unless we win money for you.

Case Understanding: The Life Cycle Of A Case

by Andrew Reynolds | May 16th, 2018

If you have been injured in a car crash due to another person’s negligence and have decided to pursue a claim for your injuries, you may not know what to expect and will probably have many questions.  How long will my case take? How much is my case worth?  The length and value of your case depends on several factors, so these questions can be difficult to answer since every case involves different facts and injuries.  However, while each case is unique, the lifecycle of a personal injury case generally remains the same and can typically be divided into three stages: Investigative Stage, Treatment Stage, and Resolution Stage.

Investigative Stage

The Investigative Stage begins immediately after the wreck, so it is important to gather as much information as possible at the scene of the crash.  If you can, you should try to do the following:

  • Contact the police
  • Take photographs of the scene, any visible injuries you sustained, and the damages to your vehicle as well as any other vehicles involved in the collision
  • Get the at-fault driver’s name, address, telephone number, insurance information, driver’s license number and license plate number
  • Obtain contact information for any witnesses

When you are able to, you should then consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  At Dudley DeBosier, one of our attorneys will thoroughly review and investigate your case by obtaining and reviewing the crash report, investigating insurance coverage, interviewing eyewitnesses, requesting copies of your medical records, and obtaining evidence essential to your case.

Treatment Stage

If you are hurt or experience any pain after a wreck, you should seek immediate medical treatment.  Regardless of whether you intend to make a claim against another party for your injuries your health and wellbeing should be the primary concern.  Even after seeking initial medical care, you may not know the extent and severity of your injuries; therefore, it is important that you continue to seek medical treatment for any ongoing symptoms.

Insurance companies will frequently try to get you to accept a quick settlement after a wreck before you even know the full nature and extent of your injuries.  Imagine if your vehicle was damaged in a car wreck.  Would you accept a settlement for your property damages without knowing the extent of the damages to your vehicle?  Of course not.  The same should go for your own body.  Therefore, you should never accept a settlement offer without knowing the extent and severity of your injuries and consult with a qualified personal injury attorney.

Resolution Stage

Once your case is ready to be resolved, your attorney will attempt to settle your case with the insurance company or other responsible parties. Many times, a settlement can be negotiated before a lawsuit is filed; however, there are times when it is necessary to file a lawsuit depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.  After a lawsuit is filed, the “discovery” process begins. During the discovery process, each party will have the opportunity to obtain relevant factual information from each other in order to determine their adversary’s legal claims and defenses by sending interrogatories (written questions), requesting documents, and taking depositions of the parties and relevant witnesses in the case.

Even after a lawsuit is filed, most cases are resolved before they go to trial. The parties may reach a settlement agreement through negotiations amongst themselves or by mediation, which is overseen by a neutral third-party. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial and be decided by a judge or jury.

At Dudley DeBosier, our attorneys are here to help navigate you through the lifecycle of your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions of Personal Injury Clients

by Taylor Breland | March 29th, 2018

2 of the most popular questions: How long does this take and how much will I get in the end?

If you have ever been in a car crash, you understand how stressful it can be.  Dealing with insurance adjusters, getting your car fixed, and seeking medical attention – it can seem very daunting.  Clients seeking attorney representation often have many questions, however, there are two very common questions that are very difficult to answer.  One, how long does this process take?  Two, how much will I get in the end?  These questions are difficult to answer because there are a lot of things that can affect the timeline of a case and how much is recovered.

It is difficult to predict how long a case will take to be resolved because there are many factors outside of the control of the client and attorney, which can affect the timeline of a case.  These factors include; liability determinations, injuries, medical treatment, and insurance coverage.  For example, an intersectional crash may create a dispute as to who is at fault.  Sometimes in this instance, filing a lawsuit is necessary if the insurance company is denying a claim, which can take longer than resolving a case without filing a lawsuit.  Also, a case where somebody has sustained broken bones that require months of therapy could take longer than a case where the injuries are not as severe, simply because some injuries require longer recovery.

Similar to predicting how long a case will take, it is almost impossible to know what a client will receive in terms of settlement amount, until the very end.  Much like the timeline of a case, similar factors can impact how much a client will receive out of a settlement.  For instance, a case where there is a lot of insurance coverage may allow a client to be compensated more than a case where there is a small amount of insurance coverage.  Additionally, medical bills change as a client seeks treatment.  It is often difficult to predict what a client’s medical treatment will include at the beginning of a case, so as a client seeks treatment and incurs bills, the amount of the settlement could change as well.

Lastly, it is important for clients and prospective clients to know that a good attorney will keep their client informed of the case and provide straightforward answers to questions.   Some questions, such as the ones discussed above, may not be able to be answered.  Attorneys want to set reasonable expectations for their clients so if you have these questions in mind, please understand why it may be tough to get an answer.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Injury Claim

by Chris Keyser | March 16th, 2018

While most degenerative spine changes in middle-aged people are not symptomatic, or painful, it is generally accepted that the presence of a degenerative spine condition makes that person more vulnerable to an “aggravation” of the condition when subjected to trauma. In other words, someone with a “pre-existing condition” of degenerative spine changes who is involved in a car crash is more likely to come away with neck or back pain than would be someone with a “healthy” spine.

In Louisiana, the law provides that a person who negligently causes a crash or a dangerous condition that results in an aggravation of a pre-existing condition in the victim of the crash is responsible for the full extent of the aggravation. In the usual case, most car wreck victims have not had any diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI, of their neck or back. It is not until after the wreck, and after neck and/or back pain develop, that MRI studies are obtained.  When the MRI reveals degenerative disc changes, the doctors usually find that the wreck aggravated the pre-existing condition and made it symptomatic.

As we age, our spines undergo a gradual but persistent process of degeneration. Merely walking in an upright position causes wear and tear on the spine. Everyday stresses on the spine trigger a healing process that results in bony growth around the joints of the vertebrae. The result of this process may be referred to as degeneration, arthrosis, or spondylosis. Typically, our body can accommodate these gradual changes so that they are not painful.

Studies have shown that more than half of adults between the age of 30 and 39 have degenerative changes in their spine, including disc bulges and loss of disc height, that is not associated with symptoms. That is, it is not painful. By age 60, the incidence of degenerative spine conditions is closer to 90%.  If pain develops relating to the degenerative disc changes, the applicable diagnosis becomes degenerative disc disease.

The mechanism that causes this injury is that the forces on the victim’s body from the collision wakes up the condition that was not painful before the wreck and makes it painful. As a result, a person who was not in need of medical attention before the wreck is forced to get treatment to get relief from pain, soreness, stiffness, and spasm caused by the aggravation.

Fortunately, the law does not relieve a negligent driver or business owner from the responsibility of hurting someone simply because there was a pre-existing spine condition that was aggravated by the negligent actor. The innocent victim is entitled to be restored back to the condition she was in before the injury. This may take the form of past medical expenses and wage losses, future medical expenses and wage losses, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to use the pre-existing condition as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for the damage done by the folks they insure. Dudley DeBosier works hard to ensure that none of its clients are short-changed because of pre-existing conditions.

Keeping Records After an Injury

by Ross LeBlanc | February 20th, 2018

No one wakes up expecting to be injured in a car wreck or an accident. When something like that happens, it’s natural to feel unsure about what to do. However, one thing you should do no matter what is document everything you can regarding your wreck. Having this knowledge later will help you make an informed decision should the insurance company offer you compensation for your injuries. A few ways to keep a record of your wreck are:

  1. Take pictures

Phones today come equipped with great cameras and they are useful in documenting what happened after a car crash. Remember to take photos of every vehicle involved in the crash. It is also a good idea to snap a picture of other driver’s license plate, driving license, and insurance paperwork.

If you can, take photos showing where the vehicles came to a stop after the crash. You will never have another opportunity to do this, and it may later be important for your insurance claim.

  1. Keep track of your costs

The other driver’s insurance company may be responsible for reimbursing your out-of-pocket expenses. Or, if the other party denies coverage or responsibility, your own insurance may cover your expenses. In order to be reimbursed from an insurance company, you will need records of your expenses. Examples of receipts you should keep include rental expenses, towing receipts, or money spent replacing broken personal items.

  1. Keep track of lost wages

If the wreck took away your only means of transportation, or if an injury prevents you from being able to do your job, keep track of all the hours and days missed from work. It’s also a good idea to inform a supervisor, manager or human resource director at your job about your wreck and explain the reasons you cannot make it to work. And don’t forget to keep track of your recent check stubs or W-2’s to show how much you were being paid before the wreck.

Even if you are using sick time or vacation time, it is still important to track your time missed from work. And, even if you bought a disability insurance policy that pays you partial benefits, you should track your time missed from work.  Knowing how much time you missed from work, and what it cost you to miss that time, will help prove how a wreck affected your life and will help to show what the insurance companies should compensate you for.

  1. Keep a journal

It is a great idea to write down your version of how the wreck happened, and how you felt afterward. For instance, if the wreck caused you to miss an important event, or if your injuries start to interfere with your daily activities, document what happened and how you dealt with it in a journal. When it later becomes time to tell your story, a journal will help you to remember all the important details that people normally forget over time.

Should I Hire A Lawyer?

by Chris Keyser | February 9th, 2018

If you have been injured and are considering hiring an attorney, you may find yourself wondering if you need an attorney and how they can help you with your case. An attorney may have many different roles depending on the size, type and complexity of their client’s case. But in every case, an attorney should provide sound legal guidance, advocate on behalf of their client, and always represent the best interests of that client.

Sound legal guidance

  • Open, honest and frequent communication – It is extremely important that attorneys and their clients have open, honest, and frequent communication about the posture, status and the next steps or options in their case. In order to do so, attorneys and clients establish trust with one another so that they feel comfortable sharing information and having a healthy dialogue as the case develops.
  • Setting realistic expectations – Often times clients don’t know what to expect or what should be happening during the life of their case. It is the attorney’s job to counsel the client, explain things to them, set realistic expectations, and then deliver on the things that they can control. The attorney should fully discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case, how to utilize the strengths and overcome any weakness that may exist. These candid discussions help inform and set realistic expectations for both parties.
  • Properly evaluating the case – This can go hand in hand with setting the proper expectations for a client’s case. It is crucial that clients understand the true value of their case, what factors might influence the value of the case, and what might add or decrease the value of their case. Once armed with this knowledge, attorneys and their clients can work together to achieve the best possible outcome.

Represent the best interests of the client

  • Knowing your venue – In some cases, the attorney filing the action may have a choice of venue, or where they want the action brought. This may mean which Parish they want to file a lawsuit in or if they want to bring the action in Federal, State or City Court. Depending on the facts and other circumstances involved in the case, the attorney may recommend a certain venue as being more favorable if the attorney feels it would be most advantageous for their client to litigate in that court system. Venue should always be discussed with the client so that they understand the potential impact before this decision is made.
  • Making informed decisions together – Making informed decisions requires all the factors listed above. The Attorney should be educating and guiding the client throughout the representation process. The client should be able to trust and communicate openly and honestly with their attorney. Together, both the attorney and client should have input in the decision-making process.

Six Most Common Causes Of Wrecks

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | December 20th, 2017

We all would like to think that we are highly skilled drivers and that if the moment comes, we would be able to avoid a wreck using our skills and instinct. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many, if not most of us. However, maybe if we know the most common causes of wrecks, maybe we can avoid them in the future. Read below for the six most common causes of wrecks:

  1. Rolling right turn on red
    1. Situation: You don’t come to a complete stop at a red light to make a right turn. You look left, still accelerating—and as you make the turn you hit something or someone in the other lane.
    2. Solution: Come to a complete stop at a red light before turning right. It takes a few seconds but saves a huge headache.
  2. Falling asleep at the wheel
    1. Situation: Something we think could never happen to us, yet it happens way too often. Drowsy driving accounts for 21 percent of all crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The truth of the matter is, humans can’t judge their own sleepiness and we all fall into microsleeps we don’t even notice. Microsleeps can happen to anyone at any time, even while driving.
    2. Solution: Get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night, drink coffee if you know you’re tired. Don’t drive alone when you know you’re tired.
  3. Loss of control
    1. Situation: Loss of control accounts for 11 percent of all crashes. You take a sharp curve too fast or don’t account for the fresh water on the road after a light drizzle. And then the unthinkable happens, you lose control of your vehicle and slide off the road or into oncoming traffic.
    2. Solution: Adjust accordingly to the weather, the road and all external factors when driving.
  4. Into the unknown
    1. Situation: You wait to make a turn but something is blocking your view of oncoming traffic. You get impatient and make the turn anyway, then—CRASH!
    2. Solution: Never go if you can not confirm nothing is coming.
  5. Rear-ending
    1. Situation: You’re in the left lane and the person in front of you is going 55 in a 60. You ride way too close to their bumper to prove a point until they slam on their brakes and you slam into them.
    2. Solution: Maintain a safe following distance between you and car in front of you at all times. The rule of thumb is two car lengths.
  6. Distracted driving
    1. Situation: You look down at the radio, read a text, look at a billboard and suddenly you feel the vibrations of the rumble strips and you veer back into your lane. But, what happens when you run off the road or worse, into oncoming traffic? Distracted driving accounts for 33 percent of all wrecks according to the NHTSA.
    2. Solution: Always pay attention to the road and never text and drive.

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Bizarre but True: The Risks of Drowsy Driving

by Susan Shoptaugh | November 1st, 2017

Are you guilty of being a drowsy driver?

For most of us, the impact of a poor night’s sleep revolves around the loss or gain of an hours’ worth of sleep—at least that’s the only thing we think about. But research shows something else, that may surprise you.

Lack of sleep can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving,  if you’re behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s poll, 60 percent of us are guilty of drowsy driving.

Why does drowsy driving matter?

  • The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsy driving is a factor in over 16 percent of deadly crashes, 12.5 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization and seven percent crashes that result in towed vehicles.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drowsy driving results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year.

What can be done to reduce accidents caused by drowsy driving?

  1. Know when to stop and rest:
    • Heavy eyelids and difficulty focusing
    • Wandering and/or disconnected thoughts
    • Drifting from your lane or hitting the shoulder rumble strips
    • Trouble remembering the last couple of miles you’ve driven
  2. Get seven to eight hours of rest at night.
    • Research shows that those who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a car crash than people who sleep eight hours a night.
  3. Don’t overlook trouble sleeping. If you’re routinely having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing.
  4. Drive with someone else in the car especially for long drives.
  5. Coffee can help for short bursts, but a 20-minute power nap is better.

Whether you’re adjusting to daylight savings or just not feeling well rested, make sure you are driving safely and avoiding drowsy drivers.

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

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Motorcycle Safety

by Taylor Breland | May 8th, 2017

Motorcycles can provide a great sense of adventure and fun for those who ride them,  however, they can also be very dangerous. May is motorcycle awareness month, and it is important to raise awareness about motorcycle safety.  Being aware of motorcycle safety, statistics and laws will aide in making the roads safer for motorcyclists and others.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has resources in place that aim to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by motorcycle crashes.  There are training courses for beginner and more advanced riders that focus on mental and physical skills, which are important when operating a motorcycle.  These courses are a combination of classroom instruction and practical exercises.  It is a good idea for both beginners and advanced riders to stay up to date on motorcycle safety and these resources can help.  The application for the motorcycle training courses can be found at the following website: www.lahighwaysafety.org.

Motorcycle safety is crucial because each year riders are killed and seriously injured due to crashes.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,976 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2015.  This is an 8.3% increase from 2014.  Also, due to the nature of riding a motorcycle versus in a passenger vehicle, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and almost five times more likely to be injured.

In Louisiana, any person operating a motorcycle must wear a safety helmet that is secured properly with a chin strap while the vehicle is motion.  All safety helmets must consist of lining, padding, visor, and chin strap and shall meet other specifications that are established by the commissioner.

Lastly, it should go without saying, that both motorcyclists and passenger car drivers should avoid drinking and driving, and distracted driving (e.g. texting while driving). Following motorcycle laws will make the roadways safer for motorcyclist and other drivers. For a more complete set of motorcycle laws, please visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com

How Long Do I Have to Take Action in Louisiana?

by Cody Grosshart | February 15th, 2017

Under Louisiana law, a person suffering from an injury has one year from the date that the injury was sustained to file a lawsuit against the person and/or entity responsible for causing the injury. However, that does not mean that anyone should wait to take action to protect themselves and their rights. Being proactive about seeking medical treatment, establishing insurance claims, and retaining counsel will help the entire process run more smoothly. Therefore, the question should not be “how long do I have to take action,” but rather “how can I move forward today”.

Waiting to take action in a personal injury situation can cause problems in any number of ways. For example, when an insurance company or ultimately a court learns that you waited to take action, they could assume that your injuries and damages may not be as bad as they really are. Also, while waiting to take action you could be involved in another incident causing further injury which could make it more difficult to show that the original incident actually caused the injury from which you are suffering.

One of the best steps that an individual can take when handling a personal injury action is to seek legal advice as to what rights he/she has, the extent of those rights, and how to exercise those rights. Many law firms – including Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers – are more than happy to try to answer any preliminary questions that you may have pertaining to your personal situation. But do keep in mind that definite and concrete answers are very difficult if not impossible to come by early on in a personal injury situation, and that nothing you learn before agreeing to be represented by a licensed attorney should be construed as legal advice.

Texting and Driving: Let’s Choose Safer Roads

by Ross LeBlanc | February 8th, 2017

I see it every day in traffic, I see it while stopped at a red light, and I see it while driving on the interstate: lots of people around me are looking down at their phones while driving. I know you see it too, and neither of us should be surprised when this leads to a car wreck.

Wrecks happen when a driver is distracted. If a driver decides to look down and read an email or type a text message, that driver is deciding to ignore the safety of the surrounding drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This decision happens a lot, and the results are predictable. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated 431,000 injured in car wrecks involving distracted drivers.

We hope everyone around us drives carefully. Driving carefully does not mean looking at a smartphone every few seconds. We may think that no one will get hurt because we are just glancing at our phones and are not really distracted, but think about this: five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When driving at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded!

Mobile phones can be taken everywhere, and lots of us bring them into our cars and trucks. As a result, most of the drivers around you every day have a smartphone with them. Smartphones, with their touch screens, addictive Apps, and internet access, are a new and powerful distraction.

Although these devices help connect us with our family, friends, and the rest of the world, they often take us away from what’s happening right in front of us. Driving can be dangerous if we do not pay attention. That is what makes smartphone usage in cars and trucks so alarming.

Smartphones are not just for making phone calls and sending texts. They are popular, in part, because we use them to read emails, watch videos, and look at Apps like Facebook or Snapchat. These activities are more distracting than making a phone call.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans now own a smartphone. This is a sharp increase from the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone in 2011. Many of us can no longer imagine our work or social lives without one. With the increase in phone ownership, there is also increased phone use while driving. In fact, at any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

If it sounds impossible to stop using smartphones while driving, that illustrates the problem. People may believe they can be cautious and continue checking their phones from time to time while driving, or that they do it more safely than others do. The truth remains that there would be far fewer wrecks if drivers did not check social media or read emails while driving. My hope is that we all recognize the danger, use common sense, and protect each other while driving. If we choose to ignore the glow of the smartphone screen while driving, we will be choosing to have safer roads for ourselves and those around us.

How Long Do I Have to Recover Compensation For My Injuries Under Louisiana Law?

by Peter Ellis | December 7th, 2016

In a personal injury claim against a tortfeasor (at-fault party) in Louisiana, you generally have one (1) year from the date of the incident to either resolve your claim or file a lawsuit to preserve your case beyond that period. However, resolving your case and filing a lawsuit can be a complicated transaction requiring a professional’s assistance in order to make sure you are fully and competently protected.

This one-year period is standard in actions against at-fault motorists, merchants, premise owners, dog or cattle owners, and many other similarly situated persons. That being said, there are alternative timeframes within which a claim may be presented for differing types of insurance coverage. For instance, a motorist injured in an automobile collision may have a period of two (2) years from the date of the incident to present a claim or file a lawsuit and recover under a policy of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, which is carried by the injured claimant or on the occupied vehicle. Similarly, many policies which provide for Medical Payments Coverage allow for claims to be presented and paid within timeframes exceeding the general one-year statutory period, given that the treatment or injury occurred within that one-year timeframe.

Medical Malpractice claims in Louisiana, although following the same general statutory timeframes regarding instituting the action, require very specific procedural steps be taken within differing timeframes to properly preserve and present the claim. As such, medical malpractice can be a very time sensitive area of legal specialty for which a detailed consultation with an experienced attorney should be carefully considered. Similarly, actions involving the rights of minors may have extended time limitations provided by statute depending on the nature and cause of the action.

Whenever one is injured by another’s negligence in the State of Louisiana, the potential claimant must carefully consider the facts and circumstances surrounding the occurrence, and in most cases, consult with an attorney who can help decide which claims and corresponding time limitations may apply. The attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are skilled in handling many different types of injury claims and are available for a no-cost consultation at your convenience.

Louisiana Car Seat Laws

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | November 2nd, 2016

Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children under the age of twelve. We as parents, family, and friends want to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our family. The best way to prevent injury and death is by placing your children in the proper child restraints. This can be challenging with all of the different information and options that are now available to us. Fortunately, the State of Louisiana has set forth laws that provide specific safety requirement guidelines.

We hope the following information about child car seat laws in Louisiana will help you better understand and choose the best restraint for your child. However, please note that while this is the law, these are only the minimum safety requirements. For our recommended car seat options, see our blog on tips for picking the best car seat for your child.

Car seat requirements by Louisiana law:

  • Birth to at least 1 year OR Less than 20 pounds – Rear-facing infant or convertible seat rear-facing.
  • 1 year old to 4 years old OR  20 to 40 pounds – Forward-facing in a convertible or combination seat (used with the internal harness).
  • 4 years old to 6 years old AND 40 to 60 pounds – Belt-positioning booster seat (backless or high-backed).
  • 6 years old AND more than 60 pounds – In the backseat using the vehicle lap-shoulder belt or belt-positioning booster seat.
  • Under 12 years old – Ride in the back seat of the car, if rear seats are available.

Failure to comply with these requirements can have harsh legal consequences as well. If you’re convicted of a child safety seat offense, you have the possibility of being ticketed and fined, with your fine amounts increasing for subsequent violations. Drivers that have been convicted of breaking a child safety seat law must provide the state with a Child Restraint Affidavit proving that they have acquired the appropriate child safety seat. Drivers have 30 days to submit the affidavit before the DPS will suspend said driver’s license until they have provided a notarized affidavit showing they obtained the appropriate child restraint.

If you have any questions regarding the correct safety seat for your child or about proper installation, visit one of the Louisiana Child Passenger Fitting Stations or the NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Stations. And always stay up to date or sign up for notifications about car seat recalls.

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It’s No Accident

by Steve DeBosier | September 15th, 2016

We’re used to hearing the term “car accident.” But most of the time, they’re no “accident” at all.

It’s time to start calling them what they really are.

Pokemon Go and Driving: Catch Em All, but Don’t Catch and Drive

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | July 20th, 2016

You may have seen them around. People of all ages walking around absent-mindedly while staring and flicking at their smartphones, conglomerating around parks, malls and downtown hotspots. Many of them are playing the new, massively popular app, Pokemon Go. The best way to describe the game is that It is a virtual scavenger hunt.  Since its release on July 6, Pokemon Go has gotten over 15 million downloads and has even surpassed Twitter in the amount of daily active users. It’s topped download charts in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

However, the game – which utilizes your phone’s GPS to catch virtual “Pokemon” – has been causing serious car wrecks. A quick Google search of “Pokemon Go car crashes” yields a wealth of Pokemon-related headlines:

Incidents have become so common that several police departments have issued Pokemon Go safety warnings. The National Safety Council even released a statement, urging gamers to understand that “no race to ‘capture’ a cartoon monster is worth a life.”

“People are putting themselves in dangerous situations,” said a police chief in Toronto. “We’re seeing people are playing while they’re driving and stopping their cars in the middle of the intersection to go get a [Pokemon] or something like that.”

While we understand the fun and excitement of the Pokemon Go app, we at Dudley DeBosier would like to remind everyone to use common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and not to drive distracted. And as an official Pokestop, we would like to encourage everyone to safely visit us, and please park your vehicles before catching any Pokemon near our office.

Baton Rouge 2nd Most Dangerous City for Drivers

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | June 15th, 2016

A recent study, unfortunately, confirmed what many Capital City drivers are already thinking: Baton Rouge is one of the most dangerous cities for drivers.

The report was developed by CRISIS (Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions). Besides ranking Baton Rouge as the second most dangerous city for drivers (behind Detroit), it ranked the city the third worst in the nation for average annual commuter traffic delay among mid-size cities, and eleventh worst in the nation for road conditions.

“Yet another report has independently verified what Baton Rouge area drivers unfortunately already know based on experience, which is that our roads are not only the worst in the state but among the worst in the nation for traffic congestion, road conditions, and now safety for drivers,” said Scott Kirkpatrick, executive director of CRISIS.

The analysis came after ranking the nation’s cities based on five factors: the rate of fatal crashes, the likelihood of an accident relative to other cities, the number of years between accidents, the risk of auto larceny, and the risk of having a vehicle stolen.

At Dudley DeBosier, we see the aftermath of auto crashes every day, and we are passionate about helping those who have been injured and making the roads safer.  Here are four quick reminders to keep you, your family, and others safe. While these tips may seem obvious, following this simple list can go a long way to help reduce the number of automobile crashes in Louisiana.

  • Don’t drink and drive. Louisiana’s drunk driving rates have gone down, but we are still the 5th worst state for drunk driving. With services like Uber and Lyft becoming more prevalent, there is even less of an excuse to put yourself and others at risk.
  • Don’t text and drive. We hear this all the time, but it still remains equally important. No text is worth risking your life, the lives of your passengers, or the lives of others.
  • Be extra careful in bad weather. Approximately 22% of all crashes occur in bad weather. Always turn on your headlights during dangerous weather, even if it’s the middle of the day.
  • Keep your vehicle maintained. Regular brake checks and tune ups are vital to avoiding accidents and mechanical problems.

Do you have other tips that you would like to share? If so, please comment below and let us know!

Photo credit: faungg

Are You Buying The Right Car Seat?

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | May 10th, 2016

Car accidents are the leading cause of death of children under the age of twelve. Studies show that over half a million children under the age of twelve ride in cars without being properly secured in an age-appropriate car seat. When properly using car seats, the risk of death is reduced by 71% and booster seats for children who fall in the correct age and weight class reduce the risk of serious injury by 45% when combined with proper seat belt use.

Car seat safety has been a hot topic among parents this past year. Every parent wants to make sure their children are as safe as possible while traveling in an automobile, but it can be difficult being that the right actions are being taken. Here are a few tips to follow to help keep your children safe in the event of a car accident.

  1. Always buy car seats that fit your child – it is important to buy car seats according to your child’s age and size, and you should update the car seat as your child grows. A good guide based on your child’s age can be found here.
  2. Do not go for the least expensive car seat – although children often will quickly outgrow their seats, it is important to spend a little extra on seats manufactured by reputable brands that contain important safety features. The hard truth is that the more you pay, the more safety features you will get. Features such as five-point safety harness with superior adjustability, additional padding, and a side-impact protection to protect your child’s head and chest in a side-impact collision are things worth spending extra on.
  3. Keep your child in the car seat as long as possible – studies show that the longer an infant rides in a rear-facing seat, the safer they are. In fact, it is now encouraged that children ride in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two. Keep your child in each car seat for as long as he or she fits in the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements to maximize safety.
  4. Install the car seat correctly using the LATCH (Lower anchors and tethers for children) car seat tether – since 2002, it has been mandated for all cars to be manufactured with a LATCH car seat tether which anchors the car seat to the bottom of the seat instead of using a seatbelt as a tether. Make sure you read all installation instructions and take every precaution described, and have your installation checked by a professional from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  5. Do not attach toys to car seats— While attaching a mirror and toys to your child’s car seat may keep them entertained and happy during a car ride, it is a potential hazard to your child. In the event of an accident, these toys could become projectiles that could cause severe injuries.
  6. Do not buy a used car seat – while it may be tempting to buy a reputable brand’s car seat for less by buying it used, this could put your child at risk for injury. Even though it may not have obvious damage, these car seats could have been compromised in a previous accident or may not be up to current safety standards.
  7. Always keep up with recalls and new safety standards – this may be the most important tip in the list. Every now and then a car seat or booster seat will be recalled by its manufacturer. It is important to be in the know. You can always check recalls online, but it is also recommended to register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer and subscribe to email notifications in the event of a recall.

Although it may seem overwhelming finding the right car seat for your child, being proactive in your search can be invaluable to his or her safety. With the right car seat, you can drive with a peace of mind knowing that your child is secure. Here are a few free resources to help find the perfect seat:

CarseatBlog: Written by a team of child passenger safety technicians, this long-running blog offers insightful and thorough reviews of current car seats.

Safe Ride 4 Kids: Safe Ride 4 Kids is an organization founded by a former firefighter and paramedic with years of experience witnessing the damage car crashes can cause firsthand. The blog offers a wealth of helpful advice, relevant to car seats as well as driving safety for pregnant women.

The Car Seat Lady: This website offers excellent tips, buyer’s guides, and infographics to help you navigate through finding the right seat.

Are You Automatically At Fault if You Rear-End Someone?

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | February 18th, 2016

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of auto accidents. And while you may have heard the following car – the car who rear-ended the leading car – is always at fault, that is not always the case.

This misconception is rooted in the idea of negligence. When analyzing where the fault lies in an accident, one should consider “Who was most capable of preventing this accident from happening?” or “Whose negligence led to the accident.” In most rear-end collisions, the answer to these questions is the driver of the following car because they have the ability and responsibility to be alert and maintain a safe following distance, allowing enough time to come to a complete and sudden stop if necessary.

However, sometimes rear-end collisions are not fully caused by the negligence of the following car’s driver and instead is partially or fully due to the leading car’s negligence. Here are a few scenarios where this may be the case:

  1. If the leading car accelerates in reverse into the following car. This is more common than you may think. For example if the leading car is waiting to take a left turn and enters the intersection, but the light turns red before they are able to turn. As a result, they back up to move out of the intersection. When the light turns green allowing for the leading car to take a left turn, they accelerate forgetting they left their car in reverse and accelerate into the following car. In this scenario, the accident was not caused by the following car’s negligence.
  2. If the leading car’s brake lights are not working. Without seeing brake lights, the following car does not stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision. In this scenario, the fault in this accident would not fall fully on the following car because the leading car was negligent in not having operable and illuminated brake lights.
  3. If the leading car gets a flat tire or breaks down, but does not pull off of the road or turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights. While the following car in this scenario does have an obligation as a driver to ensure that the road ahead of them is clear and safe to drive on, they still may not realize the leading car is stopped in enough time to stop their vehicle to avoid a collision. In this circumstance the following car may not be found fully at fault because the leading car could have prevented this accident by pulling off of the road or at minimum turning on the vehicle’s hazard lights.

Proving negligence of a leading car’s driver can be tricky, and will often require the work of an attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, we encourage you to call Dudley DeBosier for a free consultation 444-4444.

New Year’s Leads to Increased Risk in Drunk Driving Fatalities

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | December 30th, 2015

New Year’s Eve parties are exciting. On December 31, many people will come together to reflect on 2015 and make toasts and resolutions to a new year in 2016. However, enjoyments can often get out of hand and people can put themselves and others in danger – turning what should be a night to celebrate new beginnings to a night of recklessness.

According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) data, there were 234 drunk driving fatalities in Louisiana in 2014, representing 33.3% of all total traffic deaths. During the New Year and New Year’s Eve period, an even higher percentage of traffic deaths – 42% – were due to drunk driving.

Here are a few easy tips to make sure you and your loved ones get home safely:

  • If you plan on drinking, have a friend who’s a designated driver and leave your keys at home.
  • Before heading out, save a local transporation service’s number in your phone or download a rideshare app.
  • Watch out for your friends and make sure they don’t get behind the wheel after drinking.

If hosting a party, make sure to do your part to keep guests safe:

  • As friends arrive, check to make sure they have a designated driver.
  • Always offer food and water to guests.
  • Consider preparing fresh linens to turn your couch into a bed for guests who need to sleep it off.

Don’t ruin 2016 for yourself or others by getting behind the wheel after drinking. Dudley DeBosier encourages everyone to celebrate New Year’s in a fun, safe and responsible manner.

Will your case go to trial?

by Matt Terrell | October 26th, 2015

Whether due to anxiety about having to testify in front of a judge or a jury or because of concerns about how long it may take to resolve a case, people always want to know early on whether their case will go to trial.

The short answer is probably not.

Recent statistics show that about 95% of civil cases are settled before trial.

However, while most cases are resolved well before trial it remains a possibility that any particular case could, in fact, end up in litigation, and could possibly require a trial to resolve the claim.

At Dudley DeBosier one of our primary responsibilities to our clients is to ensure we obtain fair value for their claims.  If we are able to obtain fair value for a claim prior to filing a lawsuit, then the case may be resolved before a lawsuit is ever filed.  However, if fair value is not offered for the client’s claim then a lawsuit will be filed and the litigation process will begin.

Even in cases where a lawsuit must be filed, more often than not, the Louisiana attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers are able to obtain fair compensation for our clients without going through a full-blown trial.  In those rare instances where a case must go to trial because the defendant is being unreasonable and refuses to pay our clients what they deserve for their injuries, the experienced Louisiana attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, together with our outstanding trial preparation team, will work diligently to prepare for trial and put our clients in the best position possible to obtain a favorable judgement.

6 Types of Auto Insurance You May Not Know About

by Chris Keyser | October 9th, 2015

We’ve all heard the term “full coverage” right? But what does having full coverage really mean?

  • Full coverage is a somewhat illusory term that in most applications actually only means that you have liability coverage as required by Louisiana state law. Liability coverage means liability to others and is a policy of insurance that will compensate others if you were to cause a collision and injure someone or damage their vehicle. It will protect and insulate you from personal exposure up to the limits of your insurance policy but will not compensate you in any way. There are other optional coverages that exist that will help protect and compensate you for both fault and non-fault collisions.
  • Uninsured or underinsured coverage (commonly referred to as “UM coverage”) will actually compensate you if you are in a collision that is not your fault. UM coverage comes with both bodily injury coverage if you are injured and property damage coverage if your vehicle is damaged. In an uninsured situation, it will be the only coverage in effect if the at-fault party did not have any insurance. In an underinsured situation, it will take effect once the at-fault party’s policy limits are exhausted.
  • Medical Payments Coverage or “Med Pay” is a coverage that is for a pre-determined amount like $1000 or $2500 or $5000 that will help pay any medical bills you might incur as a result of a collision up to the limits of your Med Pay policy. It will usually cover not only the driver but also any passengers that occupied the vehicle and were injured as well.
  • Collision coverage is a non-fault based coverage that will help you pay for repairs to your vehicle for collision-related damage regardless of if you were at fault or not. Normally, there is a deductible you must pay or have deducted from the damage estimate and your coverage will then pay for any vehicle repairs above and beyond your deductible amount.
  • Comprehensive coverage functions much the same way as collision except that it covers any non-collision related damage such as vandalism, theft, weather-related damage like flooding or wind damage. Again, you would pay or have your deductible amount deducted from the damage estimate but your comprehensive policy would then pay for any repairs above and beyond that amount.
  • Rental coverage is another common and useful optional coverage. Rental is just what it sounds like; it will pay to provide you with a rental vehicle while your vehicle is under repair. Normally, rental policies are for either a specified period of time, like 30 days OR up to a specified amount of money, like $1000, whichever comes first. So it is usually in your best interest to select an inexpensive rental vehicle because you may use up the amount of coverage long before the stated time period elapses.

5 Tips For Filing A Claim After A Hit-and-Run

by Peter Ellis | September 11th, 2015

A hit-and-run collision can be a very frustrating event for anyone, especially if you do not have the right coverages on your insurance policy and the adverse driver is never identified. Here are some helpful tips to aid you in being able to file a claim:

  1. Gather any information you can on the fleeing vehicle. Any information gathered such as a license plate number, vehicle make/model/color can aid in finding the responsible driver. Make sure that you do not put yourself or others at risk by doing so.
  2. If the driver is never located, filing a claim can become more difficult. In this case, it is always safe to make sure you carry uninsured/underinsured bodily injury or property damage coverage in addition to rental reimbursement and collision coverage.
  3. In the State of Louisiana, carrying the fore mentioned first party coverages will make the process less worrisome.
  4. In the State of Louisiana, if the driver runs you off of the road and does not make any contact with your vehicle, the law requires there be an independent witness to support your claim. This could be another driver in a passing vehicle, but typically cannot be anyone in your vehicle or anyone who could present a claim from the same accident.
  5. Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to discuss specifics. Our attorneys are experienced in prosecuting claims from hit-and-run collisions, and we would love to help.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Thunder on the River Bike Fest

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | April 29th, 2015

Spring is in the air here in Louisiana and that means it’s time to get the motorcycles back out on the road. A great opportunity to get out and enjoy your bike and others’ as well will be taking place this weekend in the city of Monroe, Louisiana.

The Thunder on the River Motorcycle Fest will take place this coming Saturday, May 2, at the RiverMarket located at 316 S. Grand Street beginning at 10 a.m. The festivities will include a number of vendors selling motorcycle accessories and apparel as well as a bike wash and poker run.

According to an article from myarklamiss.com, music will be provided by radio station Rock 106 and the Mike McKenzie Band performing live. Food, such as Cajun cooking, sausages, egg rolls, and cupcakes, will be provided by a number of vendors as well.

With so many bikes in a concentrated area, the Baton Rouge motorcycle accident attorneys with Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers encourage anyone planning to attend this event to keep safety in mind at all times. This means wearing a helmet every time you ride a motorcycle. Being vigilant of other vehicles in traffic, driving defensively, and assuming motorists don’t see you or your motorcycle could also help prevent crashes from occurring.

At Dudley DeBosier, we know what a pleasure riding motorcycles can be and our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers hope these tips will help you and your loved ones have a fun and safe time during Thunder on the River Bike Fest.

Louisiana Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Distracted Driving Awareness Month Events

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | April 15th, 2015

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Louisiana and many different people and organizations are working together to spread the message about the importance of focusing on the road when driving.

In 2013, as many as 3,154 motorists in the United States lost their lives and approximately 424,000 others were injured in distracted driving accidents. Furthermore, it was determined that drivers who were not paying attention to the road caused 16 percent of all crashes.

The Louisiana car accident attorneys with Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers point out that there are several campaigns taking place throughout the next several weeks that will focus on reducing these numbers. First, several high schools in our area will partake in mock crash scenes that depict the outcomes of distracted driving.

Rise in DUI Accidents on St. Patrick’s Day

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | March 12th, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and that means the 30th Annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade will take place in downtown Baton Rouge this coming weekend. But with the celebration comes a completely preventable danger. The rates for DUI arrests, accidents, and fatalities notoriously spike around holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.

Many local businesses and restaurants will also be holding events around the parade route, many of which could include patrons partaking of alcoholic beverages. The Baton Rouge car accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers would like to remind those planning to attend the parade and other events about the dangers of drunk driving.

Reports indicate that in 2011, 226 motorists lost their lives as the result of driving under the influence (DUI) and more than 6,000 drivers were arrested for engaging in the behavior.

In order to keep drunk drivers off the road and to help ensure everyone gets home safely, our team at Dudley DeBosier will be offering free cab rides home to parade attendees who may have had too much to drink. To get a free Baton Rouge cab ride, just call Yellow Cab and mention that we here at Dudley DeBosier will be covering the cost of your ride.

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable time at the parade this weekend!

St. Patrick’s Day Safe Ride Home

by Dudley DeBosier | March 10th, 2015

Heading out to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Baton Rouge this weekend? Dudley DeBosier is offering free cab rides home through the St. Patrick’s Day Safe Ride Home program. The free cab rides will be available on Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 12 P.M. to 3 A.M.

DDB created this program to reduce the amount of drinking and driving that may occur during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The firm would like parade-goers to be able to safely enjoy the festivities that take place for St. Patrick’s Day in Baton Rouge and hopes that this program will encourage those in attendance to act responsibly.

Managing partner at Dudley DeBosier, Chad Dudley, expects that the Safe Ride Home program, in its third year now, will yield great results. He states, “Baton Rouge has a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration and we hope that encourages people to enjoy the holiday safely and responsibly.”

Dudley DeBosier’s Safe Ride Home program will only be available during the designated times on the specified date. Free rides are only available from an establishment that serves alcohol (i.e. restaurant or bar) to a place of residence within Baton Rouge. To take advantage of a free ride, please contact Yellow Cab of Baton Rouge at (225)-926-6400.

As part of the firm’s Random Acts of Kindness campaign, Dudley DeBosier employees will also be handing out cookies on Friday, March 13 from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and remind the community about the Safe Ride Home program. Everyone is welcome to stop by the office.

DDB places tremendous value in giving back to the community that has given us so much. The Random Acts of Kindness campaign has allowed employees here to get involved in the Baton Rouge area in ways they could never have imagined. A free cab ride and cookies are the perfect ways to spread kindness on St. Patrick’s Day!

Insurers Found to Use Unsafe Repairs Following Car Accidents

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | February 25th, 2015

When a motor vehicle collision occurs, we often depend on our insurance policy to cover the expenses. It’s important to remember though, insurance companies are businesses looking to make a profit that may not have their customer’s best interests at heart.

Louisiana state insurance requirements state each vehicle should carry a minimum amount of coverage to handle expenses in the event of an accident. Despite consistently paying policy premiums, many motorists have found insurance companies utilized cheap or dangerous parts and labor to repair their vehicles after an accident.

Some of the practices employed by insurers to lower repair costs include using refurbished, used parts. Many of these parts have been found to be from vehicles damaged in previous collisions as well. Shortcuts to reduce the time and labor of a repair are also commonplace.

CNN News reports insurance companies have guided customers to repair centers that will abide to the insurer’s repair demands, even if those demands mean the vehicle will not be repaired correctly. This has led more than 500 garages from across 36 states to file a lawsuit against top insurers, claiming their business practices are not only unethical, but unsafe as well.

The legal team from Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers explains these discoveries only highlight the need to have an experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer by your side if you have an insurance dispute stemming from a car, truck, or motorcycle accident. Call us at (866) 897-8495 to let us help you get on the road to recovery today.

Louisiana Car Accident Fatalities Decline for Second Year in a Row

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | February 4th, 2015

Highway safety is important to each of the Louisiana car accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. That’s why we are excited to learn the number of Louisiana motor vehicle collisions and fatalities in 2013 decreased from the previous year.

Data from the 2013 Louisiana Traffic Records Report show there were a total of 651 Louisiana car accident fatalities throughout the year. That was an almost 3 percent decrease from the previous year’s total.

A significant decrease in both pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities played a crucial role in the reduction of fatality numbers. Pedestrian deaths decreased to 98 fatalities in 2013, while bicycle deaths declined by more than 45 percent.

Many officials and experts are attributing the decline in accidents and fatalities to strict traffic laws in Louisiana. Bayou Buzz reports Louisiana has been praised for adopting 9 of 15 traffic safety laws that are believed to be crucial in preventing accidents from occurring. Some of these laws include requiring all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets, and creating stringent driving regulations for inexperienced teens.

At Dudley DeBosier, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers would like to applaud the citizens of the state for keeping our roadways safe. We also encourage you to keep this trend going by keeping safety in mind at all times when you’re behind the wheel.