Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson https://www.coxcoxfilo.com Personal Injury Attorneys, Lake Charles, Louisiana Mon, 04 Feb 2019 16:38:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Louisiana Distracted Driving Laws Explained https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/louisiana-distracted-driving-laws-explained/ Mon, 31 Dec 2018 20:26:17 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=1072 This year, House Bill 619, which would have prohibited the use of all wireless telecommunication devices in moving vehicles, unless the driver uses hands-free technology, made its way to the Senate in May but fizzled out by mid-November. “Currently our state is 49th in the U.S. for the most distracted drivers,” Rep. Mike Huval said […]

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This year, House Bill 619, which would have prohibited the use of all wireless telecommunication devices in moving vehicles, unless the driver uses hands-free technology, made its way to the Senate in May but fizzled out by mid-November.

“Currently our state is 49th in the U.S. for the most distracted drivers,” Rep. Mike Huval said in a local report. “We’re the seventh highest for traffic fatalities in the United States.”

Below, the injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain Louisiana’s current distracted driving laws and why the House-backed proposal didn’t pass.

Louisiana’s Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.

Although distractions are apparent in a variety of driving behaviors like eating, personal grooming, tuning the radio, etc., cell phone use tops the list in our state.

In an effort to reduce crashes, cell phone laws were passed in 2008. Specifically, the laws prohibit the use of wireless telecommunication devices for text messaging while operating a vehicle.

Our laws also restrict young and inexperienced drivers: drivers less than 18 years old or in their first year of licensure are prohibited from using any wireless communication device while driving. These laws also apply to adults with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.

Furthermore, school zone laws prohibit all drivers from using any wireless device when driving through a school zone.

While these laws may seem ordinary, clarification is required to establish what’s meant by text-based communication.

For example, Louisiana’s current text ban extends to posting or communicating on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, it does not include manually dialing a phone number to call a friend or taking selfies.

This has made it challenging for law enforcement to enforce distracted driving laws effectively.

House Bill 619 would have closed this loophole by making it illegal to hold a cell phone in one or both hands while driving.

Why Did House Bill 619 Fail?

According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, the number one driver distraction involved in most crashes is cell phone use; specifically, texting, and especially among teen drivers.

However, critics of House Bill 619 say there’s a clear distinction between holding a phone to one’s ear and responding to an email via text.

Some suggested Louisiana should change the penalty from a non-moving violation to a moving violation, which could potentially increase a driver’s insurance premiums.

Others argue the new legislation adversely affects the poor, “who don’t have newer cars with Bluetooth capability, more advanced smartphones, or money for headsets.”

It’s difficult to find consensus on the primary issue: do hands-free cell phone laws decrease crash statistics? Early studies suggested they do not, but many proponents of hands-free cell phone laws believe it’s the first step in the right direction.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “We know that high-visibility campaigns and enforcement, like Click It or Ticket and Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest has had a positive influence on driver behavior. That’s why seat belt use is at an all-time high of 84 percent and drunk driving is declining.”

More than a dozen states have implemented bans similar to House Bill 619, but inaction from the Louisiana Senate killed the proposal in November.

Get updates about important issues! ‘Like’ Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson on Facebook for local safety information and more.

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Louisiana Statutes of Limitations Explained https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/louisiana-statutes-of-limitations-explained/ Mon, 19 Nov 2018 17:03:06 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=1029 If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss because of someone’s careless behavior or negligence, understanding Louisiana’s statutes of limitations can be critical to your claim. Statutes of limitations address an important component of civil and criminal proceedings: the effects of time. Specifically, how much time can pass before reliable evidence may become compromised. Below, […]

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If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss because of someone’s careless behavior or negligence, understanding Louisiana’s statutes of limitations can be critical to your claim.

Statutes of limitations address an important component of civil and criminal proceedings: the effects of time. Specifically, how much time can pass before reliable evidence may become compromised.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss Louisiana’s statutes of limitations in more detail.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

Think of statutes of limitations like you would a deadline. If you miss the deadline, you may be prohibited from taking legal action.

The cause of action, or, the reason you’re filling a claim (e.g., car accident, on-the-job injuries, etc.), determines the amount of time after an event for which legal proceedings may be initiated.

The table below will help you navigate the time limits that may apply to your situation.

Cause of Action Statute of Limitation
Contract 10 years
Legal or medical malpractice 1 year
Libel or slander 1 year
Fraud 1 year
Personal injury 1 year
Product liability 1 year
Wrongful death 1 year

 

Unlike other states, Louisiana has a fairly uniform limitation standard for most civil actions. However, when the clock starts ticking and when it stops is a question of debate that often requires qualified legal counsel.

Moreover, there are several exceptions to the limitations outlined above. For example, limitations do not apply to minors, and Louisiana’s discovery rule may postpone the start time for those who can’t act because they’re not aware of the injury/loss on the date of exposure.

There are nuances to each statute that are best left to an experienced attorney for interpretation.

Most cases will not extend beyond the time limits outlined above. So, it’s best to contact an experienced injury lawyer right away.

Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?

Statutes of limitations, or, periods known as prescription, appeared in early Roman Law and are, today, fundamental to codes of civil law in the United State and around the world.

Limiting the time actions may be filled promotes relief for plaintiffs and offers unique protections for defendants.

For example, without time restrictions, defendants would face the threat of being sued indefinitely, which could stifle opportunities and growth, especially for businesses.

Another important reason we exercise time restrictions is to reduce uncertainty in our civil justice system. When too much time passes, evidence can get lost, damaged, or compromised.

When evidence is compromised, it doesn’t just affect the plaintiff and defendant: it can also affect how the public perceives the court’s ability to solve complicated legal disputes.

Statutes of limitations are an important part of our civil and criminal justice systems.

If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss due to someone else, time is not on your side. Contact an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your legal options immediately.

At Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, we’ve been protecting the rights of injured people for more than 35 years, and we may be able to help you too.

Call 800-836-3702 for a free case evaluation, or contact our Lake Charles office online.

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Do I Have a Case? https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/do-i-have-a-case/ Thu, 25 Oct 2018 08:00:08 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=828 Accidents are unexpected, unfortunate incidents that sometimes result in damage or injury. But what you do after an accident shouldn’t be left to chance or circumstance. If you’ve been injured, the first step toward recovery is determining if you have a case. This step-by-step guide can help you weigh your options. Below, the attorneys at […]

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Accidents are unexpected, unfortunate incidents that sometimes result in damage or injury. But what you do after an accident shouldn’t be left to chance or circumstance.

If you’ve been injured, the first step toward recovery is determining if you have a case. This step-by-step guide can help you weigh your options.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain what makes a viable personal injury case.

Four Basic Questions

To get started, answer the four questions in the infographic below. If you answer ‘yes’ to all four questions, you may have a viable injury case.

 

 

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

The four questions above represent the foundation of most injury claims: 

  • The first question is about negligence. Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate or expected care in a specific circumstance. In tort law, people are expected to exercise reasonable care in their actions. The failure to do so could result in a negligence claim.
  • The second question is about damages. In order to bring a viable injury case forward a victim must prove that real damage was suffered. For example, if someone’s dog gets loose but the dog doesn’t damage any property or hurt anyone, no damage or injury can be claimed. Damage can include financial loss, injury, or death.
  • The third question is about evidence. To successfully recover damages, victims typically need a record of the incident and related expenses (e.g., police report, medical bills, medical records, etc.).
  • Lastly, the fourth question is about the extent of damages. It’s common for victims to accept an insurance settlement before they realize the full extent of their damage or injury. This is commonly referred to as short money, because it falls short of the total a victim would need to fully recover.

Louisiana Statutes of Limitations

In almost all Louisiana civil claims, the victim, also called the plaintiff, has one year to file a formal lawsuit—that’s not a lot of time. Louisiana’s one year limitation applies to car accidents, slips and falls, or any instance in which someone else’s negligence caused the harm.

There are, however, rare exceptions to this rule. For example, injuries resulting from a defective product may not be known to the victim at the time of injury. Moreover, minors involved in an accident may be able to step outside the one year time limit.

Louisiana’s statute of limitations also specifies how much compensation is available for certain types of injuries. Medical malpractice, for example, has a damage cap set at $500,000.

There is no damage cap for personal injury cases that do not involve medical malpractice.

Comparative Fault in Louisiana

Every state has its own way of dealing with injury cases when the claimant shares some responsibility for the accident, damage, or injury.

Louisiana follows pure comparative negligence, which allows an injured party to recover damages, even when he or she is primarily (more than 50 percent) at fault for the accident, damage, or injury.

Comparative fault laws only apply if the claim becomes a formal civil lawsuit. If this occurs, a Louisiana court will take into account who is responsible and to what extent and allocate damages accordingly.

For example, if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 but he or she is found to be 60 percent at fault, the plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by 60 percent. The plaintiff’s compensation total is now $40,000.

However, most claims don’t go to trail; it’s much more likely that the case will settle in negotiations. And since there’s no specific way to allocate fault, compensation is generally determined by the victim’s negotiation skills.

Why Representation Matters

Picking a personal injury lawyer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make following an accident. Moreover, choosing to work with an attorney increases the likelihood of a comprehensive settlement amount.

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, why go it alone when you don’t have to?

An attorney can help guide you through Louisiana’s complex legal system, negotiate with insurance adjusters and give you the space you need to focus on what really matters: recovery.

If you’ve been injured, or if you’re still not sure if you have a case, call our Lake Charles office at 337-240-9349 for a complimentary consultation, or contact us online.

 

Our attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything until we win your case!

 

 

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When Do Defective Products Get Recalled? https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/when-do-defective-products-get-recalled/ Mon, 27 Aug 2018 20:18:11 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=995 Defective products and recalls are not synonymous terms: the former is often the result of an absent or ineffective recall; the latter is a process initiated by a manufacturer when a product poses a public safety risk. Below, the personal injury lawyers from Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explore the differences between product recalls […]

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Defective products and recalls are not synonymous terms: the former is often the result of an absent or ineffective recall; the latter is a process initiated by a manufacturer when a product poses a public safety risk.

Below, the personal injury lawyers from Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explore the differences between product recalls and defective products, how to avoid dangerous products, and what to do if a defective product causes injury.

Product Recall vs. Defective Product

A product recall is a request from a manufacturer to return a product after a safety risk or product defect has been discovered.

Recalls are used to ensure public safety and to reduce the risk of legal action against the product seller or maker.

Product recalls articulate a clear and distinct danger, whereas product defects don’t always pose a public threat.

For example, software patches are used frequently to fix defects in popular phones and tablets. However, these defects pose no risk to public safety. Therefore, a defect may not require the recall of a product.

Government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provide oversight and encourage recalls when a manufacturer isn’t aware of a problem.

Once a safety risk has been identified, the recall process begins.

How Does a Recall Work?

A recall is typically a voluntary process initiated by the manufacture, but often encouraged by a government agency.

A recall involves informing the public and removing the product from retail. A recalled product can’t be sold lawfully, and manufactures must remedy previous purchases with refunds, exchanges, or repairs.

The media is commonly used to distribute information about dangerous recalls. However, not every recall makes it into the news.

Fortunately, recalls are tracked online by various agencies and organizations:

The Louisiana Department of Health is another way to stay informed about local recalls and other dangers that affect our communities.

The best way to avoid defective products is to stay informed. Never purchase a product that’s been recalled, and check databases for updates on important consumer protection information.

Defective Product Injuries

People injured by a defective product may be eligible for compensation under product liability laws. Product liability claims help victims recover damages for things like medical bills and lost income.

Viable product liability cases typically include one of three defect categories:

  • Design defect – when the injury was caused by a flaw in the product’s design
  • Manufacturing defect – when the product suffers a manufacturing error like a missing part
  • Labeling defect – when the product failed to clearly mark warnings associated with normal use of the product

However, a product recall isn’t necessarily proof that a product manufacturer is liable; but a recall doesn’t necessarily alleviate them of fault, either.

When lots of people are injured by a product, claims are often rolled into a mass tort action or class action lawsuit.

Product liability laws are complex and require the expertise of an experienced attorney. If you have questions about a product-related injury, call our Louisiana injury lawyers at 377-240-9349, or contact us online.

Get the information you need to live a safe and happy life. ‘Like’ Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson on Facebook for safety updates and relevant legal news.

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Avoiding Burn Injuries: 4th of July Safety Tips [Infographic] https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/4th-of-july-safety-tips-infographic/ Mon, 02 Jul 2018 21:24:25 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=640 In addition to knowing what types of fireworks are legal in Louisiana, the safe handling of fireworks is critical to personal safety. Make this Fourth of July a fun and safe event for the whole family! Review state laws and safety tips below. Louisiana Fireworks: Rules & Regulations The selling period for fireworks in Louisiana […]

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In addition to knowing what types of fireworks are legal in Louisiana, the safe handling of fireworks is critical to personal safety.

Make this Fourth of July a fun and safe event for the whole family! Review state laws and safety tips below.

Louisiana Fireworks: Rules & Regulations

The selling period for fireworks in Louisiana begins on June 25 and ends July 5. Fireworks are also available December 15 through January 1.

According to Louisiana statute, pyrotechnic fireworks are not permitted for individual use, sale, or purchase. However, there’s a list of permissible fireworks that individuals can safely, and legally, enjoy in Louisiana.

Permissible fireworks include Class “C” (consumer fireworks) as defined by the Department of Transportation and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Examples of legal fireworks include (but are not limited to):

  • Spark/showering devices
    • Cone or cylindrical fountain
    • Flitter sparkler
    • Ground spinner
    • Illuminating torch
    • Wheel devices
    • Toy smoke
  • Aerial devices
    • Helicopter aerial spinner
    • Mine or shell
    • Roman candle
    • Bottle rockets
  • Audible devices (ground or aerial)
    • Firecracker
    • Multiple tube fireworks

Louisiana cities, counties, and perishes may have stricter rules on fireworks. For example, Lake Charles bans the use of all fireworks, unless permits are obtained for professional displays.

In Lafayette, the city allows permissible fireworks, but there are time restrictions on when they can be used.

Get to know your local laws before you buy and use any firework in Louisiana. Violators will be fined; fines increase for subsequent offenses.

Firework Safety Tips

Fireworks are a big part of Fourth of July celebrations, and burn injuries are particularly common around this time.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016, fireworks caused 11,100 hospital visits and four deaths—the vast majority of these incidents occurred in July.

Even sparklers can be dangerous. Knowing how to safely handle fireworks is important if you want to avoid injury and potential property damage.

4th of July safety

How to avoid burn injuries:

  • Choose fireworks that are appropriate for the area you’ll be using them in.
  • Always purchase ready-made fireworks; avoid kits that require assembly.
  • Read labels and follow directions carefully.
  • Supervise children around fireworks at ALL times.
  • Light one firework/device at a time.
  • Always point fireworks away from people.
  • If a firework doesn’t seem to work, don’t go over to it or attempt to relight it. Stand back for a while. If you can reach it with a hose or bucket without getting too close, douse it with water.
  • When lighting fireworks, always keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Stay away from dry grass or brush when lighting fireworks.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away.
  • Keep your dogs in a safe place. Fireworks stress them out, and that can lead to injuries.

 

If you follow local laws and exercise caution when handling fireworks, you should have no problem enjoying a bit of sparkle at your next Fourth of July event.

Remember, local laws vary. Check your city’s municipal code for specific details about permissible fireworks.

If you find yourself injured by a negligent party-goer, call the personal injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson for relief.

Got questions about an injury? Call our Lake Charles office at 337-240-9349, or contact us online.

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SSD Denial: What You Need To Know https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/ssd-denial/ Thu, 31 May 2018 08:00:18 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=579 Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD, is a government-funded program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program is funded by payroll tax contributions; it covers every employee paying into social security. However, just because you’ve been injured doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get SSD benefits. In fact, the majority of Louisiana’s SSD applicants are […]

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frustrated-woman-paperwork

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD, is a government-funded program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The program is funded by payroll tax contributions; it covers every employee paying into social security.

However, just because you’ve been injured doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get SSD benefits.

In fact, the majority of Louisiana’s SSD applicants are denied benefits during the application process—approximately 65 percent of initial claims are denied.

Rejected claims are typically the result of missing records, improper filing, or lack of legal advocacy.

If your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have been denied, don’t panic. Below, the social security disability lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain Louisiana’s SSD appeals process.  

Louisiana’s SSD Appeals Process Explained

The SSA usually decides an initial claim within 65 days of receiving the application.

Once decided, a letter is sent to the applicant explaining the status of the claim. The letter will contain a description of your condition, what factors and medical records were considered, and a detailed explanation of the decision—most initial claims are denied.

If the applicant is denied, they can begin the appeals process. Contrary to what you might think, appeals can have a better chance of approval than initial applications.

1.  Request for Reconsideration (Exempt Until Dec. 2018)

The first step, in the majority of states, is to apply for reconsideration. However, in 2014, Louisiana became one of 10 states selected to participate in a test model that removes the reconsideration step.

Currently, Louisiana residents are exempt from this step.

According to the SSA, modifications to the disability determination procedures will end December 2018. At this time, the determination process may include the reconsideration step. 

Call Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson at 337-240-9349 to discuss what disability determination procedures are relevant to your claim, or learn more online.

2.  Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge

As a resident of Louisiana, your first step is to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). The request must be made within 60 days of receiving a denial letter.

A hearing with an ALJ can be requested online by sending in the appropriate paperwork or by writing a letter to your local Social Security Office:

Social Security Office Information

149 W 18th St., Suite B
Lake Charles, LA 70601

Waiting for a hearing can be a tumultuous ordeal. On average, it takes more than a year to receive a hearing, during which time medical bills and lost wages produce significant financial strain for injured workers and their families.

An experienced SSD lawyer can help ensure you receive benefits, which could include back payments from when you first became disabled.

Your hearing may include vocational experts as well as medical professionals who will offer their opinions regarding your condition. You can also bring your own witnesses to help bolster your case.

Applicants will receive the judge’s ruling letter within 30 days of the hearing. In Louisiana, about 50 percent of appeals are approved after a ALJ hearing. If your claim isn’t approved, there are two more steps to take in the appeals process.

3.  File an Appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council

If the ALJ denies your request, you’ll need to request an Appeals Council review. The request to have your case looked over by the Appeals Council must be done in writing, using a specific form.

Like before, you’ll have 60 days after receiving the ALJ’s decision to request a review by the Appeals Council.

Appeals must meet specific criteria to move forward. For example, new or additional evidence should be available to support your case and a reasonable probability this evidence would have changed the ALJ’s decision must exist.

One of three things will happen at the Appeals Council:

  • They’ll deny your request for review, in which case you must move to the next step
  • They’ll remand the case, sending it back to the ALJ for reconsideration
  • They’ll approve your original request and award you SSD benefits

In most cases, the Appeals Council chooses either the first or second option. Only a small percentage of claims are approved by the Appeals Council.

4.  Going To Federal District Court

If the Appeals Council denies your claim or sends it back to an ALJ, you’ll be granted another 60 days to file a civil complaint at a United States District Court.

At this point, you will need to hire a Louisiana social security disability attorney.

Your lawsuit will not be against the SSA directly, but rather against the current acting Social Security Commissioner. Once the complaint is filed, you will receive a court-issued summons to serve to the local SSA office.

Their lawyers will reply with an answer that elaborates on why your claim has been denied so far. You and your SSD lawyer will need to write an opening brief, the SSA will reply again, and you’ll have an opportunity to construct a reply brief.

Next, a judge will look over your case and make a final ruling, a process that can take a year or longer.

Get the Legal Representation You Deserve

Appealing a denied disability claim isn’t a simple process—it can take years of waiting to make it through a single step. Furthermore, you’ll be responsible for gathering tons of information, keeping track of countless medical records, and filling out endless paperwork.

In short, it’s not something you want to go through alone; and with Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson on your side, you don’t have to.

Our office is proud to serve Lake Charles residents and injured workers throughout the state of Louisiana. If you’ve been injured and are no longer able to work, call us at 337-240-9349 for a FREE consultation.

If you work in Louisiana, be sure to ‘like’ Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson on Facebook for important updates and legal news you need to know.

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The Cost Of Offshore Injuries https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/the-cost-of-offshore-injuries/ Mon, 07 May 2018 17:46:46 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=968 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction industries have a collective fatality rate seven times higher than all other U.S. workers. Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are overrepresented by oil and gas extraction fatalities; however, the public rarely hears about these accidents unless a significant disaster […]

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction industries have a collective fatality rate seven times higher than all other U.S. workers.

Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are overrepresented by oil and gas extraction fatalities; however, the public rarely hears about these accidents unless a significant disaster occurs.

Below, the maritime injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss how these devastating accidents impact families and our community.

Loved Ones Lost

Fatal Injuries in Oil and Gas

In October 2017, an oil rig exploded in a Louisiana lake just west of New Orleans. Seven offshore workers were hospitalized for burns and serious injuries.

Twenty-four hours after the explosion, the coast guard called off the search for a missing 44-year-old contractor.

The missing man, Timothy Morrison, was found several days later. In a statement from his family, Morrison was a “beloved father, husband, brother, and friend.”

When maritime workers die, dependent family members may be eligible to receive certain benefits. For example, the Jones Act or the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHS) allows surviving family members to file a lawsuit against a negligent employer.

Maritime law and compensation can’t replace a loved one, but it can pay the bills and ensure children receive adequate care. An experienced offshore injury lawyer can help navigate maritime laws that offer financial support to families.

Over a five-year period from 2007 to 2011, there were 529 fatal injuries in oil and gas industries; 62 of these deaths occurred in Louisiana.

Scott Eustis of the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental group said: “It’s always the workers who pay. And Gulf Coast workers will pay with their bodies, their lives, their children, who will grow up without fathers.”

Maritime Injuries Run Deep

Most people remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster, an explosion that took place approximately 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven maritime workers died, and 17 were injured.

This offshore disaster made headlines around the world because of devastating oil spills—the most significant environmental disaster in U.S. history.

This April, on the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, thousands of BP-hired cleanup workers petitioned in New Orleans following exposure to oil and toxic chemicals.

Tiffany Odoms, a widow now, says her husband was exposed to toxic chemicals on a shrimp boat near Dulac and died of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer.

“It’s not right,” Odoms said, “…to hear my baby cry…and wonder why she can’t go to heaven and visit her dad.”

More than 22,000 claimants have been paid under the 2012 class-action settlement, but the average claim only paid out $2,940. Thousands of more claimants are awaiting their day in court.

The BP oil spill dumped at least 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, which spread across 1,300 miles of shoreline spanning five states. Environmental disasters impact tourism in coastal states like Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

“It’s not consistent with our vibrant tourism, fishing, and recreation,” said Frank Knapp, president of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast. “…We all saw what happened to the Gulf Coast with Deepwater Horizon.”

BP Spilled Oil Affecting five states

Rolling Back Offshore Rules

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, smaller oil and gas extraction companies suffered after new regulations were adopted to improve worker safety and environmental controls. According to The New York Times, many of these companies oppose the new rules.

President Trump is rolling back drilling restrictions in nearly all coastal waters and limiting safety rules in the Gulf of Mexico specifically.

One investigation found that “…several of the independent companies seeking the rollback…had been cited for workplace safety violations in recent years at a rate much higher than the industry average.”

Many of these small oil and gas extraction companies are backed by Wall Street or private equity firms that invest in old or deteriorating platforms. Many of these rigs were left behind by larger companies like Chevron, who have since “moved to deeper, more lucrative waters.”

Louisiana’s economy is tied to rich oil deposits that span from the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico to beneath the sediment of the Mississippi Delta.

Offshore and maritime positions are among the most dangerous in the world, but they remain an important part of Louisiana’s culture and economy. But at what cost?

If you’re an offshore worker, be sure to ‘like’ Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson on Facebook for important maritime updates and legal news you need to know.

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Texting And Driving Statistics https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/texting-and-driving-statistics/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 09:00:13 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=680 Cell phone use while driving is a problem in Louisiana: according to one report, nearly half of all drives in Louisiana include unsafe phone use—that’s more than any other state. When drivers get distracted, people get hurt. And when people get hurt in Louisiana, the lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help. […]

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Cell phone use while driving is a problem in Louisiana: according to one report, nearly half of all drives in Louisiana include unsafe phone use—that’s more than any other state.

When drivers get distracted, people get hurt. And when people get hurt in Louisiana, the lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help. Our car accident attorneys know how devastating a crash can be, especially one caused by a distracted driver.

Below, we’ve outlined state texting laws as well as important facts and statistics to underscore the importance of focused driving.

Share this information with your family and friends (especially teen drivers) to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

Louisiana Texting and Driving Laws

Louisiana’s current distracted driving law includes a hand-held ban for drivers with a learner or intermediate license, a primary cell phone ban for bus drivers and novice drivers during their first year of licensure, and a primary texting ban on all drivers.

No one in Louisiana is allowed to text and drive. Only experienced drivers are allowed to talk on the phone while driving with a hand-held or hands-free device; and certain drivers (i.e., bus drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers) are prohibited from talking or texting regardless of experience.

It’s also illegal to use a cell phone (talk or text) in a school zone during posted hours.

According to Louisiana statute, texting includes any text-based messaging on any wireless device—posting on social media fits into this definition as well.

There are a few exceptions. It is lawful to use a phone behind the wheel if:

  • You need to report an emergency (e.g., traffic hazards or accident)
  • Your personal safety is at risk
  • You need to report a criminal act against someone
  • You are legally parked
  • You operate an emergency vehicle and must use your cell phone as part of your job

Violations of the law include a minimum fine of $175. The maximum penalty is $500.

Texting and Driving Facts & Statistics

According to a report published by the Louisiana Highway Safety Plan, texting and driving is most common among Louisiana drivers less than 25 years old; 25- to 34-year olds are also likely to text while driving.

In 2017, nine Louisianans were killed in phone-related crashes.

Cell phones and texting are common distractions, but they’re not the only threat. Eating, grooming, tuning the radio, and fussing with children or pets pose significant risks as well.

Texting while driving is a national concern as well:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one-third of all U.S. drivers 18 to 64 years old read or send text or email messages while driving.
  • Reading or sending text or email messages and other distracted behaviors lead to approximately 420,000 injuries every year.

Not all people can multitask effectively—most people engage in what’s called task switching. Psychologists have concluded that task switching reduces productivity and safety.

Still not convinced? Take a look at these scary stats:

Texting and driving statistics

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What to do After a Car Accident https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/steps-take-after-car-accident/ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 08:00:31 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=611 Car crashes are typically caused by moments of distraction, negligent and/or reckless driving. Crashes may be short in duration, but the pain and suffering caused can last a lifetime. It’s certainly not fair to be the victim of another person’s mistake. But if you are, and a crash does occur, there are several steps you […]

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Car crashes are typically caused by moments of distraction, negligent and/or reckless driving. Crashes may be short in duration, but the pain and suffering caused can last a lifetime.

It’s certainly not fair to be the victim of another person’s mistake. But if you are, and a crash does occur, there are several steps you should consider taking immediately following the incident.

Follow These Steps After an Accident

  1. The first thing you should do is examine yourself and others in the crash for injuries. If there are serious wounds, or if anyone involved is unresponsive or unconscious, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  1. If you are able to exit your vehicle, examine other vehicles involved. If the vehicles are blocking traffic, move them as far off the road as possible. If the cars are too damaged to move, call 9-1-1 or your local non-emergency number for assistance. If 9-1-1 has already been contacted due to injury, sit tight and wait for their arrival.
  1. While you’re waiting for the police or tow truck, swap contact and insurance information with the other drivers. Never leave the scene of a crash without securing each party’s insurance information. If you were in a hit-and-run accident or you hit a stationary object, exchanging information may not be an option. Take pictures if you can to document the scene; your goal should be to gather as much information as you can. You should also call the police.
  1. Next, take a few notes on the experience. It’s a good idea to jot down the date, time, location, weather conditions, and any other details you think may be relevant. You may also want to note whether there were any distractions, such as cell phone usage, or if bystanders saw anything that may be relevant to the investigation. If there were any witnesses, try to collect their contact information as well. Ask if they’d agree to provide a statement to the police or to your insurance company.
  1. Contact your insurance company to file a claim. Be prepared to give them basic details of the crash. You may also want to write a description of the cars involved in the crash, beyond the license plate number (i.e., make, model, condition, etc.). If you can get it, a car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, could be useful to avoid further complications.

In Louisiana, it’s not a requirement to report any accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety. 

Other Important Considerations

When you speak to police or an insurance agent, don’t make statements that accept or place blame on any party. It’s particularly important to avoid admitting potential guilt. The insurance companies, police, and other authorities will sort out fault.

Furthermore, before you make a potentially detrimental statement, remember the worst thing you can do is lose your cool. Stay composed to minimize further damage.

After speaking with the police, and if you’re lucky enough to have suffered no injuries, you should be able to return home. However, don’t drive a vehicle if you’re not sure it’s safe to drive. If it’s not drivable, get in touch with a towing service who can take it to your preferred or insurance-approved garage.

As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to visit your doctor to make sure you aren’t injured. Adrenaline runs high after an accident, and while you may feel uninjured, that may not actually be the case. Always seek medical clearance to avoid claim complications down the road.

The Bottom Line…

What you do in the moments immediately after an accident can determine whether or not you’re able to file a personal injury claim.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your next step is to find an attorney who is experienced with car accident claims.

At Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, we have decades of experience and a proven record of results.

If you’re involved in a car accident and you’d like to file a personal injury claim, contact Lake Charles office at 337-800-8888 for a free consultation, or contact us online to get started now.

 

 

car accident attorneys

 

Being in a car accident…

A car accident is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. Unfortunately, what you do in the moments immediately after an accident could determine whether or not you are able to file a personal injury claim. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, give one of our Lake Charles car accident attorneys a call to learn about your rights and how we can help protect them 337-800-8888.

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Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/why-you-need-a-personal-injury-lawyer-in-louisiana/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:47:36 +0000 https://www.coxcoxfilo.com/?p=910 In September, The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), an influential advocacy group raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States. This annual report evaluates state liability systems through the economic lenses of corporate America and attempts to persuade state and federal changes through pragmatic research and reporting. […]

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In September, The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), an influential advocacy group raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States.

This annual report evaluates state liability systems through the economic lenses of corporate America and attempts to persuade state and federal changes through pragmatic research and reporting.

According to the report, the New Orleans or Orleans Parish in Louisiana ranks last among all states for its liability system.

Louisiana respondents who include general and corporate council attorneys, corporate business owners, and executives graded judges’ impartiality, jury fairness, as well as the overall treatment of tort litigation worst overall.

ILR is attempting to shed light on the economic cost to the public of “frivolous” litigation and hopes to use survey data to initiate change at every level of government.

According to ILR’s website, “frivolous” litigation discourages businesses from operating or expanding in certain states if the climate doesn’t benefit corporate interests.

Among other things, the report also highlights why people should seek professional counsel if an injury is suffered or property damage is incurred in Louisiana. 

The lawsuit climate perceived by corporate lawyers and business owners is not the same climate experienced by victims of injustice. And although the report shines negatively on Louisiana, the opinions and survey data collected were only representative of entities that traditionally avoid litigation through whatever means necessary.

Louisiana’s Liability System: It’s Complicated

Despite great effort, there may come a time when a personal injury or accident insurance claim is too complicated to manage on one’s own. Injury cases are time consuming. Depending on the nature of the injury or damages, personal involvement in a case may be too demanding for a victim or simply beyond his or her skill set.

What’s worse, insurance agencies may not take self-representation seriously and could purposely delay actions, refuse to make a fair settlement, or deny a claim altogether.

Injury victims typically don’t have the tools, resources, or expertise to tackle the complicated liability system in Louisiana. This includes a deep understanding of tort law and liability rules, which differ from state-to-state.

Louisiana’s liability system gets even more complicated if a plaintiff is seeking damages from a government entity. Personal injury claims against the government require an entirely different set of skills and expertise.

The financial gravity of a personal injury case may also discourage self-representation in Louisiana. For example, cases involving large amounts in damages encourage extra attention and due diligence from a defense.

Self-representation could be effective when damages are small, but when there’s lots of money on the table, the cost of an attorney is well worth the expense—especially if the case goes to trial.

For injury victims, if there’s anything to glean from ILR’s report it’s this: big business doesn’t like the way our liability system works in Louisiana; this could be because judges and juries tend to side with victims if a case goes to trial or in certain types of cases such as maritime accidents or class action lawsuits.

Hire the Right Personal Injury Firm

When and if a personal injury or accident insurance claim becomes too much to manage, the best thing a victim can do is look for an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of litigation represented in the case.

The attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson L.L.C. are compassionate advocates against civil injustice, with more than 135 years of combined experience in the state of Louisianan.

We hold our sense of civic duty above all else, and we not afraid to take on powerful industries, employers, and businesses if you or someone you care about has been injured.

Keep track of what’s going on in Louisiana’s liability system! Like us on Facebook for news and information that will keep your and your family safe. 

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