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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Face collisions head-on: Prepare ahead

When drivers on Louisiana highways find themselves colliding unavoidably, having a plan for what to do next is an essential part of surviving the incident well. At Hale Law firm, we have helped numerous motorists recover following car accidents that disrupted their lives. 

FindLaw provides a brief checklist for accident survivors, giving instructions on steps to take in the wake of a life altering collision. First, unless the crash happens in a deserted place, FindLaw reminds drivers not to leave the scene. The police may charge motorists who choose not to stay with hit-and-run charges, a consequence you want to avoid. 

Ways you can effectively prevent falls in the workplace

While the risks of getting injured at work are present at any job, you may be well aware that those risks are heightened significantly in the construction industry. Because your workers are required to work at height to complete their assignments, they are subjected to increased danger from falling. Fortunately, with your proactive leadership, you can help your workers stay safer and effectively prevent falls from happening in the workplace. At Hale Law Firm, we understand the risks construction workers face and have experience helping Louisiana companies to facilitate workers' compensation claims.

According to OSHA Training Institute Education Center, some of the things you can do to encourage worker safety and prevent falls include the following:

  • Make sure your workers have convenient access to the proper equipment needed to do their job effectively and safely. Well maintained ladders, FPAs and scaffolding equipment can protect your workers so they can do their job without compromising their safety.
  • Take enough time to plan certain projects and educate your workers on which process to follow so they are familiar with your requirements. You should also provide safety information about how they should react in certain scenarios or when faced with danger.  
  • Coordinate regular trainings to teach your workers how to use certain equipment, how to look out for each other, and how to maintain a workplace environment that is free of danger. Encourage your workers to be responsible about their work and to avoid distractions and careless behavior.

Construction accidents and common injuries

When you decide to work in the construction field, you come to grips with the fact that you could suffer an on-the-job injury at some point.

While there are things you can do to protect yourself, such as wearing a hardhat and goggles, you never know what will happen as the days go by.

What are the “no zones” of a semi truck?

In a previous blog post, you learned some tips to driving safely around large trucks. One of those tips mentioned the trucks "no zones." In order to stay safe and to be able to share Louisiana roadways with trucks and avoid accidents, you must completely understand what the "no zones" are and why they are so critical.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "no zones" are essentially just another name for a blind spot. Every vehicle has them, but for large trucks, they are bigger and there are more of them. As you probably know from driving your own vehicle, if something is in your blind spot, you have no idea it is there, which can lead to all types of accidents. With a large truck, any accident is likely to be serious because they are so much bigger than you and your vehicle. If you get bumped by another car, for example, there may not be much damage. However, if a semi bumps into you, it could run your vehicle over or push you completely off the road. In other words, it is something you want to avoid.

Understanding the Glasgow Coma Score

The family and friends of those in Lake Charles who suffer traumatic brain injuries almost all share the same question: To what extent will their loved ones recover? That depends largely on each TBI victim's diagnosis. In the immediate aftermath of an accident that leaves one with a TBI, the grief that his or her family and friends feel might make it difficult to fully process the information that doctors share with them. Yet if there is one element that they will want to remember, it is their loved ones' Glasgow Coma Score. 

A person's GCS is determined by their response to external stimuli following a TBI. Clinicians will measure how well his or her eyes open, how well he or she responds to verbal communication, and his or her motor response. According to Brainline.org, numeric scores are assigned to each category as follows: 

  • Eye opening: 4-1
  • Verbal response: 5-1
  • Motor response: 6-1

Seat belt use saves lives in car accidents

Each day, drivers and their passengers face various hazards during their commutes. One of the best things motorists can do to minimize their risk of serious injury and death is to wear seatbelts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “crash related-injuries and deaths decrease in half when seat belts are used.” 

Despite Louisiana being one of several states with primary seat belt laws, many motorists continue to operate their vehicles without buckling up first. Common reasons why drivers do not buckle up include: 

  • Traveling short distances – Car accidents can happen at any time, regardless of the amount of time or distance traveled.
  • Seat belts are uncomfortable – Seat belts may seem like they are uncomfortable. But when they are properly adjusted, they are not. 
  • Safe driver – Even the safest of drivers are at risk of becoming involved in car accidents. Their defensive driving skills are not enough to compensate for the actions of drunk, reckless and distracted motorists. 
  • Airbags will protect them – When seat belts are not worn, the effectiveness of airbags decreases. Air bags are designed to work in conjunction with seat belts to provide maximum protection for motorists. 
  • Trapped inside of car - Some individuals believe they will become trapped in their vehicles after a collision. Ejections are one of the more severe incidents that can occur in a motor vehicle crash. Three out of every four serious car crash victims are likely to become projectiles and die states CBSNews.com. 

Do you know how to avoid distractions while driving?

Each second you spend on the roads in the Lake Charles area is one that may change your life forever. Car accidents happen all the time, especially when distractions are involved. In 2015, 3,477 people lost their lives to motor vehicle crashes where distractions were present, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many drivers believe they are good drivers. Those same individuals use distractions to keep them interested in the task of driving. 

No matter how good your driving skills are, do not engage in activities that require you to remove some of your attention from the roads. You risk injuring or killing yourself or someone else. Before you get behind the steering wheel again, take some time to review the following safety suggestions. 

Chronic pain: Getting the diagnosis right is the first step

Injuries take place for many reasons, and as someone with an injury caused by another party, you're dealing with the stress of the injury as well as the injustice of the situation. It's important for you to obtain compensation, but it's also important to know how to handle your injury.

Back injuries often result in chronic pain, and it's okay for you to feel unhappy about that. Emotionally, many people become anxious or depressed over chronic back pain, but you can overcome it.

What is the doctrine of maintenance and cure?

In maritime law in Louisiana, there is something called the doctrine of maintenance and cure. According to the Federal Bar Association, admiralty law typically sides with the employee in that there is an expectation of the employer to provide a safe work environment and to minimize any risks. If an injury occurs, the employer is expected to pay for the costs the employee incurs as a result of the accident.

Under the doctrine of maintenance and cure, if you are injured, your employer must provide financial maintenance to pay for your costs as long as you are unable to work in a seaman position. Your employer must pay until you are completely able to return to work. However, if your injury is so extreme that there is nothing further medical professionals can do to help you recover enough to return to work, then your employer's obligation ends. If upon first medical examination after your injury, a medical professional says you will not improve with medical treatment, then your employer has no obligation under maintenance and cure. You must be capable of improving and returning to work to continue to receive maintenance.

How can a fatal work accident affect employees?

Most people in Louisiana spend around 40 hours every week at work. It is common to become attached to co-workers. You may even become friends with them. The connections can often be deep. When a fatal accident occurs in the workplace, the toll it takes on everyone else can be huge. According to EHS Today, your employer should be prepared for a fatal workplace accident and be ready to provide services to you and the other workers to help you deal with the incident.

Survivors guilt is a very real thing. You may wonder if you could have prevented the accident or if something you did contributed to what happened. You will likely replay the incident over in your head. You may have trouble concentrating and doing your job safely and effectively. Your employer should offer counseling services and assistance to enable you to work through your emotions and recover.

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