Accidents happen. Make sure you are prepared.

Accidents happen. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 10.8 million auto accidents in 2009. No one ever means for them to happen; that’s why we call them “accidents!” The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to be prepared in the event you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident. DWRE has created this checklist for our clients to help them put their lives back together following an auto accident.

  1. Check on everyone – Cars can be replaced; people cannot. Before you focus on any damage to your vehicle, make sure everyone is OK. If not, call 911 for medical assistance.
  2. Be polite, but don’t admit fault. In this situation, avoid saying things like “I’m sorry” or “I wasn’t paying attention” that could possible be seen as an admission of fault, and ultimately, liability.
  3. Talk to any witnesses, and collect their contact information for follow up contact.
  4. Contact Your Insurance Company – Even if you are at fault, you should quickly report the incident to your insurance company. Similarly, it is important for you to begin keeping track of the time and money you spend perusing your claim after an accident.
  5. Document the damage – Take photos of your car and the other car(s) involved in the accident. It is important to have photographic proof of the damage for your insurance company and to serve as evidence. It is helpful to keep a disposable camera in your car, or snap photos with the camera on your phone. You should also take notes that detail the accident and any injuries.
  6. Get an Insurance estimate – The insurance company can provide a valuation of the damages, which serves as the amount you can recover to fix or replace your car. Keep in mind that you can seek estimates from outside sources if you are not satisfied with your Insurer’s valuation.
  7. Collect offers – You do NOT have to automatically accept the first insurance estimate or offer you get.
  8. Hire an attorney – In the event of a dispute with your insurance company, or the other parties involved in the accident, what began as a simple fender-bender may turn complicated, so it’s important to seek experienced legal counsel. An attorney can coach you about how to speak with your insurance company, and should the other Insurance Company contact you, it is usually best to refer them to your attorney, who will have more experience handling this sort of situation.
  9. Download our checklist and keep it with you in your vehicle: DWRE_AutoAccidentChecklist2013

Stay Safe on the Water this Holiday

Over the July 4th Holiday in Louisiana, many people turn to the waterways for their outdoor celebration, and these celebrations often contain alcohol. According to the Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, receiving “a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road,” including jail time, fines and loss of boat operating privileges.

From the DWLF:
“In Louisiana, DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.”

This holiday, make sure that you stay safe and smart on the water. Though these rules are being strictly enforced by LDWF this season, people are still prone to drink and drive. If you or someone you know suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence on the water, you have a right to compensation. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to learn more.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day.

Source: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2013.

Explosion at Chemical Plant in Geismar, Louisiana

On the morning of Thursday, June 13, an explosion occurred at The Williams Companies, Inc. chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, which is located in Ascension Parish. The major explosion caused a fire at the plant, which reports have said claimed one life and injured more than 60 other workers. The plant is located about 20 miles from Baton Rouge, but nearby residents were apparently not harmed. Representatives of the company say that the blast happened at 8:37 a.m., and that the cause has not yet been identified as of this afternoon.  Local authorities say that the Williams Companies plant makes ethylene and propylene, both of which are highly flammable gases in the petrochemical industry.

Source: AP; Lafayette Advertiser; June 13, 2013.

Motor Vehicle Accident Advice from DWRE’s Personal Injury Attorneys

With schools out, many families take their vacations during the summertime, and those vacations are often road trips all over the country. While many people consider “being prepared” for a long road trip with the family to mean having plenty of snacks and games packed, it is important to make safety your top priority before you hit the road.

Have your vehicle inspected by a certified technician and make sure your tires are properly inflated. The driver should be sure to designate navigation duties to someone else in the car, even in today’s world of electronic GPS and turn-by-turn guided navigation, to avoid distraction. Avoid driving for too many hours at one time or when you are tired, and never drive under the influence of alcohol.

While we all try to do what we can to be safe on the road, accidents do occur. It is important to understand that an injury or a fatality due to a car accident may be compensated, particularly if it is associated with driver’s negligence. In such a case, the motor vehicle accident victim may be eligible to claim compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit may recover awards and damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

We hope everyone has a wonderful summer and please stay safe on the roads!